Best Screw Extractors: Remove Stubborn Screws
Use any of these screw extractors to remove stripped, broken, or damaged screws in no time
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
Many mechanics have struggled to remove old, rusted, or damaged screws from a vehicle. Damage typically occurs when a screw has been in the system for a long time and starts to wear out. The next time something like this happens, consider using one of the screw extractors in our buying guide below.
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Screw Extractors
- Advanced gripping power. The edges of a screw extractor slide into the screw head and grab the sides better as it twists into the screw. This ensures the extractor does not lose its grip on the screw.
- Available in different sizes. A screw extractor kit containing extractors of different sizes has more tools to choose from. This is because the extractors can remove screws of different sizes. Most screw extractors are multipurpose and can remove screws and other fasteners.
- Easy to use. Most screw extractors are easy to use, even for first-time users. You can easily tap the extractor into a screw head without worrying if it will damage the threads.
Types of Screw Extractors
Straight Flute Extractor
This type of extractor is used to remove screws, studs, and bolts. It can extract screws on its own or using a nut. A special nut is attached to its end and turned with a wrench to remove the screw. A straight flute extractor has a less wedging effect than a tapered screw extractor. As a result, it has a lower tendency to lock screws into place. This extractor is designed to remove screws in softer materials or thin surfaces.
Spiral Flute Extractor
This extractor removes screws and other fasteners by fitting into a pre-drilled hole in the fastener. After it fits into the hole, you rotate it counter-clockwise to remove the screw. It is ideal for extracting socket screws, broken studs, and bolts. It is specifically designed to embed itself deeper into the screw as you turn it. As the fastener's resistance increases, its grip increases. A spiral flute extractor features a unique spiral design for extra gripping power.
Spiral Flute Extractor with Drill-Out End
This type of screw extractor allows you to use both ends. It is suitable for use on electronics and precision equipment. It is usually made of hardened steel. If you buy a set of spiral flute screw extractors, you can remove a variety of screws and bolts. The drill-out end is used to create a hole for the extractor to penetrate through. You then put the extractor in a drill or a wrench and remove the screw.
Irwin Industrial Tools
This company manufactures and distributes hand tools and power tool accessories. It was founded by Charles Irwin back in 1885 in Martinsville, Ohio. Back then, it was known as the Irwin Auger Bit Company as it sold auger bits. Innovation is the hallmark of Irwin tools and the company has an outstanding track record of new product development. It makes screw extractors that can be used by professional tradesmen like the IRWIN Screw Extractor for Spiral Screws and the IRWIN Screw Extractor Set.
Also known as Robert Bosch GmbH, this multinational Engineering, and Technology company has its headquarters in Gerlingen, Germany. It was founded in 1886 and its founder is best known for inventing the spark plug for automobiles. Bosch is one of the biggest suppliers of automotive parts in the world and also manufactures industrial products, building products, and security systems. We love its Spiral Flute Screw Extractor Set.
Alden Tool Company
This family-owned business has been operating in Connecticut since 1947. It specializes in the production of cutting tools and instruments. Its products include screw extractors, drills, reamers, and hand instruments. It is a big supplier to manufacturers of medical equipment and has ISO 13485 and ISO 9001 certifications. The Alden 8430P Pro Grabit Broken Bolt and Damaged Screw Extractor 3 Piece Kit is worth having in your tool kit.
Screw Extractor Pricing
- $10-$50: Most screw extractors are not pricey and fall in this category—even those made by popular brands. They usually come in a set and remove different types of screws and bolts.
- $50-$100: These screw extractors are made of pure steel and are highly durable. Some come in a kit that may include extension bit holders and socket adapters.
Screws come in a variety of sizes. If extracting screws comprises a large part of your job, it is best to get a screw extractor set with different types of extractors. These will be able to remove screws of different sizes. But make sure they are compatible with the screws you want to remove. Before buying a screw extractor kit, check the supported screws and screw sizes.
While some screw extractors can be attached to drills for easy screw removal, some only work with wrenches and ratchets. Some screw extractors bite the screws to provide a high amount of gripping power. Be sure to get an extractor made from high-grade steel, as this enhances the grip.
Most of the screw extractors on the market are made of steel. However, it is worth noting that not all of them are made of 100 percent carbon HSS steel. This high-grade steel is normally used in drill bits to ensure they pierce hard objects without any difficulty. Carbon fiber steel is used to make the strongest screw extractors, but these are usually expensive. If you have a limited budget, get a screw extractor made of cobalt. But make sure the manufacturer has not added aluminium or any other soft metal, as the extractor will not last long and will be hard to work with.
- Screw Damage Level. Screws that are rusted or painted are quite difficult to remove. They may not even budge unless high force is applied. Some manufacturers specifically design extractors for broken, rusty, and painted screws. These perfectly grip the screws and extract them. Be sure to buy an extractor that can remove damaged screws.
- Ease of Use. Most screw extractors have etchings showing the drill bit sizes they are compatible with. This makes them easier to use. Pick a screw extractor with this feature so that your work will be quick and effortless. The best screw extractors, in our opinion, are spiral flute extractors with drill-out ends because no matching is required. You simply drill using the drill bit, flip it, and then use the extractor to remove the screw.
Best Screw Extractor Reviews & Recommendations 2020
- Apply a few drops of penetrating oil around the screw and leave it to settle in for a few minutes. It will help you slide the screw out easier.
- Before drilling, cover the drilling tool with thread cutting oil that will help you drill through the metal in a shorter time.
- Consider using a sharpening knife to restore the sharp threads of a blunt extractor. If the threads are too worn out, you should consider replacing the extractor.
Q: What’s the use of the drill bit on the extractor?
A: The drill bit helps to remove screws with a stripped head. This occurs when you try to turn the head of the screw and find that there’s no friction, and the screw won’t turn. You can drill into the screw head to create threads and use the screw extractor to remove the screw by turning it in the opposite direction of the drilled threads.
Q: What’s a screw extractor’s ideal length?
A: There’s no standard length for an extractor. You should use one that’s compatible with the type of screw that you want to remove. The short and small diameter extractors work just as well as the larger versions. The only difference is the amount of time you will take to extract the screw, which depends on its size.
Q: Do screw extractors come with warranties?
A: It depends on the make, model, and brand you choose. Some companies give warranties for their products as a guarantee of their quality, but such tools don’t come cheap. Some manufacturers don’t offer warranties since the durability of the hand tool is also dependent on the user.
Our top pick is the IRWIN Screw Extractor. It comes with many replacement pieces, which are sturdy enough to remove stripped and damaged screws.
Our value pick is the IRWIN Screw Extractor Set for Spiral Screws. You get a five-piece set of screw extractors for the price of one.