Screw extractor user guide – remove broken screws like a pro!

Removing screws that have been stripped or damaged is very difficult with a normal screwdriver. The screw extractor has been designed to deal with this very situation. It takes the form of a narrowed drill bit with reversed thread and makes removing screws that have been rusted into place, rounded out or otherwise tricky to remove a simple task. 

Screw extractors can be purchased individually, as a two piece set consisting of a drill bit and extractor or a full set of sizes and extra parts including drilling guides. 

How they work

Before applying the screw extractor, the matching drill bit is used to drill a hole into the top of the screw. Using a tap-wrench (or T-handle) or locking pliers to secure it, the screw extractor is worked into the pre-drilled screw. The spiral fluted, reverse thread attaches to the pre-drilled hole allowing the screw to be easily removed from its position. 


The correct sized screw extractor is defined by the size of the screw or bolt to be removed. Purchasing your screw extractor as part of a set takes out much of the guess work, however charts also available to ensure you get the right size tool for the job. Screw extractor sets come in a wide range of sizes, suitable for all size screws, bolts and other fasteners. Most businesses deal with similar sized screws according to the type of equipment they deal with, so choose your set accordingly. 

Using a screw extractor


You will need the correct size tap wrench; an electric drill; a drill bit that is smaller than the offending screw; the matching sized screw extractor; a pair of pliers; plus some WD-40 or other lubricator. 


  1. Insert the drill bit in the electric drill and make a small pilot hole in the centre of the screw or bolt. Some people prefer to punch a hole in the top of the screw head first to help guide the drill. 
  2. Insert the screw extractor into the tap wrench. Apply a few drops of WD-40 into the screw hole. Place the screw extractor into the hole and slowly turn anti-clockwise until the screw can be removed from its position.
  3. You can also use an electric drill on reverse rotation to operate the screw extractor. 
  4. To remove the screw from the extractor, grip the fastener with pliers and turn the screw extractor clockwise. 

Screw extractor construction

These parts are constructed out of hardened steel or steel alloy such as chrome vanadium steel, carbon steel or similar. The hardening process creates a tough and stable material for extra durability. 

The screw extractor makes removing stripped screws and bolts a safe and easy job. Using this tool keeps the hole integrity. With a clean removal of the damaged screw, it is more likely that it can be replaced with a new screw in the same spot. For more information about screw extractors and sizing, ask the experts at RSOnline.

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