Home / News / Torx Screws vs. Torx Security Screws: What’s the Difference?

Torx Screws vs. Torx Security Screws: What’s the Difference?

Jun 21, 2023Jun 21, 2023

Not only are there Torx screws, but you may comes across Torx Security or Plus screws in gadgets. Find out how to remove them.

Manufacturers are packing an increasing amount of tech into our gadgets by the day. One side effect of this is that as more proprietary tech gets shoved into our gadgets, they're also becoming harder to repair.

A lot of electronics—anything from smartphones to game controllers—are now put together with anti-tamper screws to prevent handy customers or repair shops from performing unauthorized repairs. One prevalent example of this is the new Torx Security (or Security Torx) screw that is now replacing regular Torx screws, leaving DIY enthusiasts' toolkits obsolete.

With their unique star-like shape, Torx bits were designed in the 1960s as an improvement over the similarly shaped hex screws and are the trademark of Camcar Textron. Also called star or six points, the screw features a hexagonal star with concave ends to maximize torque and prevent the screws from camming out, providing a better grip in the fastener.

Since Torx screws have six "points" instead of sides, the bit gets 12 points of contact instead of the regular six offered by hex screws, greatly increasing the amount of force that can be applied to the screw. They're usually found in consumer electronics, disc brake systems, hard disk drives, and a lot of internal computer parts.

As mentioned before, they also don't cam out, meaning you'll still be able to apply more torque even after you've exceeded the required amount. This can be problematic as not only you'll likely strip the screw, but can also damage your driver. If you're already dealing with one, we've covered how you can remove a stripped screw. The issue worsens when you're dealing with countersunk screws, but we've got five ways for you to fix that as well.

One great thing about Torx bits is the fact that they're universal. There's no SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) vs metric debate here, just a standardized set of bits that start with "T" and are followed by a number indicating the size of the bit or screw. The most commonly used Torx sizes are T6, T8, T10, T15, T20, T25, T27, T30, and T40.

That said, while Torx bits may be universal in terms of their size, the same cannot be said for the types of Torx bits you can find on the market. A lot of consumer electronics are now coming with Torx Security screws to prevent users or unauthorized repair shops from taking them apart.

Torx Security screws are identical to Torx screws when it comes to sizing, but they introduce a little dimple in the middle of the screw's recessed area preventing regular Torx bits from fitting and turning the screw.

The problem can be remedied by simply buying a set of Torx Security bits, but the purchase in itself is enough to deter many users and even repair shops from opening a particular gadget. They're essentially used when the manufacturer doesn't want the end user messing with the screws.

However, they're not as widely used as Torx bits themselves. They're also not available in every size regular Torx screws come in, with the most common sizes including T8, T10, T15, T20, T25, T27, and T30.

Another variation of Torx screws commonly used to prevent users from tampering with an item is Torx Plus. They feature an elliptical six-point star shape to eliminate the 15-degree drive angle you get on regular Torx screws, which allows the user to apply more torque to securely fasten the screw.

They're also great for increasing the lifespan of your tools as there's no radial stress present between the bit head and screw slot. Last but not least, the radial drive angle in Torx screws makes them unsuitable for high-speed applications, but Torx Plus solves that problem.

Once again, while the sizes are universal, that doesn't mean the bits are too. Torx Plus bits can be used in standard Torx screws, but not the other way around.

If you're buying a toolkit for the first time, it's best to get one with Torx Security bits. It might cost slightly more, but you'll be able to screw and unscrew both Torx and Torx Security screws with it.

As long as you're working with electronics, it's unlikely that you'll come across Torx Plus bits, so you don't really need to worry about that. However, in case you see yourself running into a Torx Plus screw, keep in mind that you will need to get the Torx Plus bit as well as Torx Security, since regular Torx bits won't fit.

If you were trying to take apart a gadget for repairs and ran into Torx Security screws, chances are you're probably going to need a new toolkit as Torx Security screw bits don't usually come separately. On the bright side, you finally have a reason to buy that shiny new toolkit for taking apart your favorite gadgets! Just make sure you put them back the right way or the Torx Security screw would be the least of your worries.

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018.