How To Remove Screws With Stripped Heads

You don’t have to be a professional carpenter to come across stripped screws. In fact, if you’re stripping screws, you’re probably not a carpenter. Also, you should throw a little back into your screw twists. And if that fails, try these friendly stripped screw removing tips from the DIY experts at Stack Exchange.

Photo provided by Stack Exchange.


I have Phillips head wood screws whose heads are stripped from my attempts at removing them with a drill. What can I use to remove these screws easily?

LordHits (originally asked here)

Answer: The Conventional Method

Damaged screws are extracted by drilling into the screw with a drill bit, then using a special screw extractor bit that is tapered and has threads which turn opposite to those of the screw.

The extraction process should be done slowly and carefully because the extraction process is more fragile than the normal insertion of a screw.

Check out Gilles’ Outlet for a detailed writeup of the process explained above.

Answered by Jeff Ferland

Answer: The Clever Shortcut

Use a rubber band. (As previously seen at Lifehacker.)

Answered by zzzzBov

Answer: Cut & Remove

Use a dremel or hacksaw to cut a notch in the screw head and then use a slotted screwdriver to remove it.

Answered by Tester101

Answer: Pro Grabit

The Pro Grabit extracts stripped and broken screws. All you need is a portable drill. I’ve used it a couple of times and it’s worked every time.

Answered by lqlarry

Answer: Pliers, Duh

I’ve found a pair of vise-grip pliers work great, as long as the screw isn’t buried all the way. Just clamp down around the head and start turning.

Keep in mind, this method might damage the wood around the screw as the jaws of the vise grip scrape the surface.

Good luck.

Answered by onaclov2000

Think you know the secret to extracting a stripped screw? Leave your suggestion in the comments or submit it at Stack Exchange, an expert knowledge exchange on diverse topics from software programming to cycling to scientific scepticism.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


5 responses to “How To Remove Screws With Stripped Heads”

Leave a Reply