Screwdriver alternatives: What To Use Instead Of A Small Screwdriver

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 15, 2022
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When you need to remove some screws from your furniture and wall or open your electric devices, you are seriously in need of a small screwdriver. Therefore, thinking about these tasks without the right screwdriver in hand can be challenging for you.


Don’t worry, because you are not alone on this journey. Many people face the same problem and sometimes can’t decide what to use instead of a small screwdriver. We have compiled a list of everyday items you can use instead of a small screwdriver. These alternative solutions can help you with your screwdriver tasks.

Alternatives To A Small Screwdriver

Generally, there are three types of small screws which are commonly used in our daily life. And, you cannot use the same method for different types. So, we are giving different solutions for different kinds of screws in this article.

In Case of A Tiny Screw

When we are talking about a very tiny screw, it is challenging to remove the screw without using a proper tool. Because the tiny screws contain tiny grooves and don’t fit with a thick or bigger alternative. Let’s have a look at the suitable options here.

  1. Eyeglass Repair Kit

This repair kit is a handy tool to use as a screwdriver and can be easily found in nearby stores. Apart from removing screws, this tool also serves as a variety of other tools. Therefore, instead of using a specific driver for a specific type of screw, you can use it for multiple screws at the same time.

  1. Tip of A Knife

You can use the tip of a small knife to remove the tiny screw. Try to find a smaller knife for better performance. Then, push the tip into the grooves and turn anticlockwise.

  1. Nail Cleaner

Nail cleaner or file is another simple tool that can be found in every home. The small tip of the nail file helps to fit in the small grooves. You just need to turn the screw counterclockwise.

  1. Tiny Scissors

If you have tiny scissors in your home, you can also work with them. Use the tip of the scissors to turn the screw anticlockwise.

  1. Tip of Tweezers

You can easily insert the tip of the tweezers into the groove. Besides, you can adjust the tip according to your needs. After inserting the tip, turn the screw counterclockwise to remove it easily.

In Case of A Flat Head Screw

The flat head screw usually comes with a single groove line on the flat surface of the head. As this type of screw doesn’t have any critical structure in the head, you can simply use the alternative options to remove the screw.

  1. Hard Plastic Card

Any rigid plastic card like a debit card or credit card will work in this case. Insert the card straight into the groove and turn the card for rotation.

  1. The tab of A Soda Can

When drinking from a can, you can take off the tab and use it as an alternative to a screwdriver. The thin side of the tab can be used for turning the screw anticlockwise and removing completely.

  1. Small Coin

A small coin can sometimes help you to remove a flat head screw. To do this, find a suitable penny and insert it into the groove. Turning counterclockwise will unscrew the screw.

  1. Edge of A Knife

If your knife has a thin edge on the opposite of the sharp edge, you can use both sides for unscrewing a flat head screw. Otherwise, use the sharp edge to remove the screw.

  1. Thumbnail

If the screw is loose enough and your thumbnail can handle the pressure, you can use it to remove a screw. Just turn the screw anticlockwise slowly, and it will be removed.

In Case of A Torx Screw

A Torx screw has a star-shaped groove, and this type of screw generally comes with a smaller size. Besides, the star-shaped is very sensitive due to its hole in the head. So, you need to be very careful when using an alternative to Torx screwdrivers.

  1. Used Plastic Pen or Toothbrush

In this case, you need to melt the plastic toothbrush or pen and attach it to the screw. After drying the plastic, the screw will move with the pen when you try to turn it counterclockwise.

  1. Tip of A Knife

Bring a knife that has a small tip and fits with the Torx screw. Turn the screw after inserting the tip of the knife to eradicate it.

In Case Of A Phillips Head Screw

philips head screwdriver

These screws have two grooves that form like a cross sign. Not to mention, sometimes one groove is longer than another one. Normally, the head of a Phillips screw is round, and the grooves fade away easily. Therefore, it is always recommended to be careful when you are using either a screwdriver or an alternative for removal.

  1. Solid Kitchen Knife

A kitchen knife with a sharp edge will work fine here. You just need to insert the sharp edge perfectly so that it doesn’t damage the screw. Then, turn the screw anticlockwise to remove it.

  1. A Thin Coin

Search for a thin coin like a penny or a dime, and insert its edge into the groove to turn counterclockwise. A bigger coin is a better choice if it fits the groove perfectly.

  1. Pliers

When you cannot find anything which fits the grooves, it is better to go for the pliers. Hold the screw using the pliers and turn anticlockwise.

  1. Old CD

The CD has a sharp edge and usually fits the grooves of the Phillips head screw. Insert the edge into the longer groove and turn it counterclockwise until the screw is completely removed.

  1. Hacksaw

Sometimes you can use your hacksaw for both creating a groove and removing the screw. So, when the groove is flattened with the head, hold the hacksaw vertically and cut the screw to create a groove. And, after putting the hacksaw into the groove, turn it anticlockwise.


With so many options available, removing small screws is a breeze. While we recommend using a specific screwdriver for a specific screw, you can use these alternatives when the right tool is not available. Nevertheless, be careful in both cases to keep the screw in place.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.