Things to Consider When Choosing Self-Tapping Screws

Screw_for_wood111Self-tapping screws work by drilling its own hole into the material. They essentially eliminate the need for a “pilot” hole, as they feature a gap in the continuity of the thread. This differs from a traditional machine screw, which cannot drill its own hole. Self-tapping screws are commonly used in applications that require access to multiple layers of material.

While most self-tapping screws work in the same basic manner — generating a flute that’s comparable to those on a tap — there are some subtle nuances between the different types. If you’re looking to buy one or more self-tapping screws, keep reading for some helpful tips on how to choose the right type. In this blog post, we’re going to reveal a few key things to consider when choosing self-tapping screws.

Thread Forming vs Thread Cutting

Most self-tapping screws fall under the category of “thread forming” or “thread cutting.” A thread-forming self-tapping screw is designed to displace the material without removing it. A thread-cutting self-tapping screw, on the other hand, is designed to remove the remove the material as it is inserted.  The latter is particularly effective for applications where precision is required. By removing the material, there’s less risk of the self-tapping screw jeopardizing the structural integrity of the respective material.


You should also consider the material of which the self-tapping screw is made. Stainless steel is the most common material, as it offers a balanced combination of strength, durability and resistance to rust/corrosion. Some self-tapping screws, however, are also coated with other metals like zinc for enhanced strength. Self-tapping screws are also available in aluminum, which is usually cheaper than its stainless steel counterpart.


Of course, you’ll need to choose self-tapping screws in an appropriate thickness for your respective application. If it’s too thin, you may struggle to insert it. If it’s too thick, you may damage the material in which it is inserted. So, determine exactly how thick you need your self-tapping screws, and choose an appropriate size.

Winged Self-Tapping Screws

As the name suggests, a winged self-tapping screw features wings that are larger than the thread formed. The purpose of these wings is to create a clearance hole in soft materials while still being able to destroy harder materials like metal.

Hopefully, this gives you a better understanding of how to choose the right self-tapping screws

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