Bolt vs Screw: Pros, Cons, and When to Use Which

The phrases “screw” and “bolt” are frequently utilised interchangeably. So, does that suggest they are the identical factor? No, not really. Even though in numerous techniques, these fasteners are, without a doubt, comparable, they are very distinct. In this guidebook, we’ll take a close look at each and speak about their most significant positive aspects and down sides.

We’ll also protect the most common utilizes for bolts and screws. Are bolts tougher to work with, or not? What will expense you more—a bolt or a screw? What instruments do you use for fastening? These are just some of the inquiries that we’ll include nowadays. We’ll commence by finding out about the ins and outs of bolts and then gradually shift on to screws and examine them in great element. Lastly, we’ll assist you make a decision which option is very best for you and why.

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New Bolts
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Screws were invented extended ahead of bolts. So, even however the notion is the identical, bolts are the up coming stage in evolution. They appear with a nut and a washer and give a tighter grip. This is their most significant edge. And while they’re a bit pricier, bolts are well value the expense for the proper venture. Are they effortless to use, although? What is the ideal use for bolts? Which one(s) must you choose? Let us chat about that following.

How Many Types of Bolts are Out There?

The listing is quite big and consists of dozens of fasteners created for specific duties. With that said, there are five sorts of bolts that contractors and Do it yourself supporters most typically use. Here’s a quick seem:

  • Carriage bolts. Short, with larger-than-average heads. Self-locking, they are best to use on wood-wood, wood-metal, and metal-metal.
  • Hex bolts. These can be distinguished by the six-sided heads and heavy-duty threads. Hex bolts are mostly used for machinery.
  • Specialty bolts. As the name suggests, these bolts are a bit different. They are available in various sizes and easily handle extreme pressure. Plus, specialty bolts are rust-resistant.
  • Lag bolts. AKA the lag screws, the lag bolts don’t come with a nut and have a pointy tip. You will, however, still need to pre-drill a hole for them.
  • U-bolts. The most advanced of them all, these bolts have a U-shape (hence the name) and come with two nuts.

Are Bolts Easy to Use?

A bolt is a mechanical fastener, and on its very own, a bolt is useless: it demands a nut to lock the joint and maintain two different locations tightly with each other. Furthermore, bolts cannot be driven in with a screwdriver. Rather, you are going to have to use a wrench or an Allen crucial to tighten or loosen the nut. Bolts usually get a little bit far more time to tighten in contrast to screws, but the difference isn’t that massive. Much more importantly, bolts come in diverse sizes that you are going to only be in a position to “handle” with the correct wrench.

That’s specifically why it is so typical to have a established of wrenches in the toolbox, not just a single single device. Alternatively, you can use a ratchet and sockets. Sometimes, a socket extension is required to entry a difficult-to-reach location. But prior to you do any of that, make a gap for that bolt. It doesn’t have a sharp tip like a screw and relies on a pilot drill gap to “clear the path” for it. On the vivid side, a bolt is much less difficult to disassemble than screws.

Image Credit: Edge2Edge Media, Unsplash

The Best Uses for a Bolt

Bolts can keep together not only wooden but also steel, concrete, beams, and studs. The holding strength of bolts is unmatched between contemporary-working day fasteners, and which is their largest selling point. Many thanks to the strong combo of the nut, the washer, and the threads, bolts do, indeed, have an remarkable grip. So, if you’re operating on a venture that depends seriously on the fastener, you need to go with a bolt.

Whilst the nut does most of the large lifting, it is the washer that spreads the stress/load over a more substantial area, producing the bolt that a lot stronger and far more reliable. In addition, this helps avoid wear. Ultimately, the nut and the washer do an outstanding prolonged-run job: the bolt won’t loosen because of to vibrations or organic aspects like humidity. Bolts are frequently employed in wind and solar farms, nuclear plants, pumps, valves, and oil rigs.

  • Unmatched holding strength
  • Handles heavy-duty tasks
  • Very easy to disassemble
  • Reliable and long-lasting
  • A bit on the expensive side
  • Requires pre-drilled holes

tool dividerScrews

Lag screws
Image Credit: Piqsels

Screws have been close to for ages (since the fifth century, to be exact). Today, they are the most well-known fasteners for keeping two individual items jointly. And the notion driving them is extremely easy. There is a shaft lined in threads and a head that suits distinct varieties of screwdrivers. The holding strength of a screw lies inside its threads. Screws are low-cost, commonly accessible, and don’t get a science degree to use.

Up coming, they are self-tapping and, in most instances, self-drilling. That implies there is no require to drill any pivot holes before driving screws in. How many sorts are there? How do you use them? Study on to find out!

How Many Types of Screws are Out There?

Just like bolts, screws are obtainable in many versions. They provide distinct purposes, of program, but work the same way. You just grab a screwdriver, turn the head, and press the screw in. Listed here are the five most frequent sorts:

  • MDF screws. Similar to the wood screws, the MDF variety pierces through medium-density fiberboard without splitting. That eliminates the necessity of drilling holes.
  • Drywall screws. Rather small in size, these screws won’t damage drywall and have an impressive holding strength. Certain types of drywall screws can’t penetrate metal—make sure to check this.
  • Double-threaded The name says it all here: with double-threaded screws, you’ll get an extra-strong grip, and the screws will go in quicker than any other fastener out there.
  • Decking screws. Almost half of a decking screw is covered in coarse threads. The other half is a shank. If you want to secure decking boards to a deck’s joist, these screws will be an excellent choice.

Then we’ve acquired the machine (created for steel) and masonry (perform effectively on concrete) screws, but they’re not “classic” screws as their suggestions aren’t sharp. Of course, you are going to have to drill holes for them. Sheet metallic and stability screws are also obtainable, but they’re a bit less well-liked.

Are Screws Easy to Use?

There is absolutely nothing difficult about driving a screw into a wall, floor, or any other surface area. Screws are simpler to work with than bolts and even nails. When working with a nail, you can hurt yourself with the hammer. Bolts, in flip, consider some acquiring used to. Screws, on the other hand, are really intuitive. As lengthy as you have got the appropriate screwdriver (say, a Phillips one particular), you’ll be able to push them in with no making use of also significantly stress or power.

General, screws are fairly reliable and very last for a long time. But they aren’t at all resistant to shear force. When there is pulling from a single side, screws split/snap fairly speedily, and there’s little you can do about that.

structural screws
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The Best Uses for a Screw

The greatest offering point of screws is their versatility and versatility. That is precisely why they’re similarly well-known amid contractors and Do-it-yourself enthusiasts. In distinction to bolts, most screws have very short shanks. As a end result, they are suited for a extensive variety of applications. And, just like bolts, these fasteners can manage a lengthy record of supplies/surfaces, including wooden, push boards, plywood, drywall, and sheet metallic.

They are not that wonderful on stone or concrete, although, but do maintain drywall panels in spot tightly. There are several activity-specific screws out there, like the decking, MDF, wood, equipment, and drywall screws. They are each and every exclusively made and manufactured to complete diverse tasks. Screws are primarily used in processing tools, warmth exchangers, enthusiasts, various plants, tanks, and warmth exchangers, not to mention property-dependent apps (like hanging a picture).

  • Versatile, flexible, and easy to use
  • Available in different shapes/sizes
  • Penetrates MDF and drywall without splitting
  • Perfect for basic DIY work
  • Not suitable for concrete or stone
  • Tends to snap under shear force

tool dividerWhat Do Bolts and Screws Have in Common?

Screws and bolts occur from the same loved ones. They are each mechanical fasteners that are utilized for joining two individual parts collectively. This can be wood, steel, drywall, or everything else. The two screws and bolts have threads (a helical ridge). Even so, whilst with a screw, most of the shaft is protected in threads, the same is not true for a bolt. With it, only a tiny portion of the shaft (20–30%) is threaded. The rest is what is identified as a shank.

But no make a difference which fastener you choose, it will come with a head (besides for the stability screws) which is utilised for tightening. You will need to have diverse instruments for that, although. Lastly, most bolts and screws are crafted from metallic. It can be steel (typical or stainless), aluminum, brass, and even bronze. Visually, they seem quite much alike, regardless of the apparent distinction in the size/length of the threads and the heads.

Are Bolts More Expensive Than Screws?

Yes, bolts value much more than screws just since they’re marketed with nuts and washers. Naturally, the producer makes use of a lot more metal to make them. On best of that, bolts call for a little bit added room to retailer, which also impacts the price. Yet another crucial element: individuals normally acquire screws in large sets the very same can’t be said about bolts. With that mentioned, certain screw types (like the double-threaded or the safety screws) can expense just as significantly or even more.

Before you make an order (if you are buying online), really do not wait to speak to client assist and understand specifically how much you are going to have to shell out. This will stay away from confusion when the client thinks they’re getting a pack (bolts nuts washers) but it turns out the business/maker is offering them independently.

Bolt and screws
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What is the Right Option for You?

Are bolts far better than screws? Or is it the other way all around? You can not genuinely choose a winner in this competitiveness. It all arrives to their distinct qualities and uses. If you are not confident which selection is best for you, verify out our swift comparison table. For particular projects, a bolt will be the obvious select, while in other situations, you will want to go with a screw.

Screws are ideal for swift, relatively easy tasks. They are functional, cheap, and straightforward to get your fingers on. Bolts, in flip, are the go-to decision for heavy-responsibility design and boast previously mentioned-typical keeping energy. So, if you like to perform with wood, steel, and other components, you ought to have the two screws and bolts in the toolbox!

When to go with bolts When to go with screws
It’s a heavy-duty, high-pressure project It’s a light/medium DIY project
Holding strength is a top priority Versatility is what you’re looking for
You’re working with concrete and stone You’re working with MDF and drywall
You’re looking for a reliable fastener You’re on a somewhat tight budget

tool dividerConclusion

Alright, that is almost everything we experienced to share! Together with nails, screws and bolts are the most commonly utilized fasteners and occur in many distinct styles. We have acquired massive and small, broad and slim, shanked, and threaded bolts and screws. The heads are also available in various types and dimensions. So, which possibilities will be best for your up coming project? That fully relies upon on what you’re functioning with!

Bolts and screws are related in several techniques, but they aren’t equivalent. They both have their pros, negatives, and greatest makes use of. So, set the understanding from our guidebook to excellent use, decide on wisely, and we’ll see you next time!



Showcased Impression Credit rating: Robert Ruggiero, Unsplash