Driving screws should be among the easiest of all operations performed in the home or shop. But if you don't have the right screwdriver, it can be one of the most frustrating.
The basic screwdriver has four parts: handle, shank, blade and tip. Although wood-handled screwdrivers are available, those with plastic handles are preferred because of their greater strength and lower cost.
Screwdrivers come in a number of sizes, and tip designs correspond to several screw heads. Among the driver and screw types available are cross-slot varieties such as the Reed & Prince and Pozidriv designs, the square, recessed Robertson head and the star-shaped Torx pattern. But the overwhelming majority of screws you'll encounter are either cross-slot Phillips head or traditional slot-head.
Flat-tip screwdriver sizes are specified by the length of the shank and the width of the tip. In general, the longer the shank, the wider and thicker the tip and, accordingly, the larger the screw that can be driven. Lengths commonly range from 1 to 12 inches, with tip widths from 3/32 of an inch to half an inch. An assortment of half a dozen screwdrivers, including small, medium and large lengths of varied tip widths, will serve for most of the work you'll encounter.