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What Is a Stubby Screwdriver?

K. K. Lowen
K. K. Lowen

A stubby screwdriver is a tool used to facilitate access to screws located in areas that cannot be reached easily by a regular screwdriver. Sometimes, screws exist in places that are not wide open and may have something blocking access to them from the opposite side. With a stubby screwdriver, it is possible to reach screws that are obstructed in some way because they are shorter than most screwdrivers.

Another purpose of this type of screwdriver is ease of storage and transport. By design, stubby screwdrivers are much smaller than normal screwdrivers. Some people use them as emergency screwdrivers because the small item may be placed in a variety of spaces without taking up much room. Car glove boxes or other compartments in vehicles, purses, small tool boxes, and household drawers are all common places in which people may keep a stubby screwdriver.

Stubby screwdrivers may come in a ratchet form.
Stubby screwdrivers may come in a ratchet form.

Using this type of screwdriver may require different techniques than using a normal-sized screwdriver. The handle is sometimes the same size as a regular one, but often it is the handle of the screwdriver that is smaller than usual. This may require the user to hold the small screwdriver differently than he would grasp a regular screwdriver. For example, the palm of the hand may be used more than the fingers when turning the screwdriver.

As there are several different types of regular screwdrivers, different styles of stubby screwdrivers are also available. Some do not have a dedicated rod extending from the handle. Instead, they have a port that can hold different kinds of bits. Often the bit holders are magnetic so the bit will not fall out during use. Some stubby screwdrivers also may have a ratchet handle to facilitate ease of use.

These screwdrivers are manufactured with a variety of features, sizes, and shapes. If a screwdriver is very diminutive in size, it is generally referred to as a mini screwdriver instead of a stubby one. Screwdrivers that are stubby are also made with different types of heads to accommodate different types of screws. Additionally, they are available in various lengths and with different sized and shaped handles. Some handles are made from plastic, whereas other handles may be coated or have rubber grips.

A stubby screwdriver can be obtained by itself, but it is also possible to buy one as part of a set. Sets contain several small screwdrivers of various lengths, diameters, or with different features. Regular screwdriver sets often include a stubby screwdriver within a group of larger screwdrivers, providing a range of options.

Discussion Comments


@turkay1-- Oh, you must have tried one of the super-mini ones!

They actually come in different sizes and there are stubby screwdrivers that have a full sized handle, just a short blade. You should get one of those, I'm sure you will be able to use it.


@ddljohn-- I can't use a stubby screwdriver and for exactly the opposite reason, my hands are too large!

I was fixing my cabinet a few weeks ago and I couldn't get to the back with my screwdriver. I asked my neighbor if he had something that would be useful and he gave me his stubby screwdriver to use.

The screwdriver got to the back of the cabinet all right, but I couldn't hold the thing in my hand because it's so unbelievably small. I don't understand why they don't make these with a more bulky handle for people like me.


I use a stubby screwdriver all the time and not just because it fits into any tight spot. Stubby screwdrivers are just easier to work with.

I have small hands and I think for that reason, I have a hard time maneuvering a regular sized screwdriver. And there are times where I have to use it with just one hand because I'm holding the screw in place with the other hand. A stubby screwdriver is perfect for this. It's shorter, so it's easier to hold and keep in place.

I would manage just fine if I didn't have a regular sized screwdriver at all and just had stubby screwdrivers.

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    • Stubby screwdrivers may come in a ratchet form.
      By: YK
      Stubby screwdrivers may come in a ratchet form.