Captive vs Non-Captive Screws – What’s the Difference

Captive vs Non-Captive Screws

When it comes to fastening components together, screws are a common choice. What you may not realize is that not all screws are the same. Captive and non-captive screws are two types of screws that have important differences. Captive screws are fasteners secured to one part of an assembly, while non-captive screws can be removed completely. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the differences between captive and non-captive screws, as well as the benefits of each.

What is Captive?

Captive insurance is a self-insurance type involving risk management by forming a captive insurance company. It is a form of alternative risk transfer, which allows companies to insure and manage their risks instead of passing them up to traditional commercial insurers. This approach provides direct access to reinsurance markets while allowing companies more control over the handling, pricing, and management of claims.

What are Non-Captive Screws?

Non-captive screws are a type of fastener that does not lock into place. This allows for the screw to be easily removed and replaced. They are used in laptops, tablets, cell phones, electronics, appliances and furniture. Non-captive screws have an unlimited range of motion for removal or replacement due to no locking mechanism. This makes them ideal for frequently disassembled devices that need easy maintenance and repair access. The material selection includes steel, stainless steel (SS), alloy steel (AS) & brass alloys, usually depending on the application requirements needed from the customer’s perspective.

Difference Between Captive and Non-Captive Screws

Captive screws are fasteners with threads that extend to the head, thus providing a secure fit when fastening two parts together. Non-captive screws have no threads on the head and require a separate nut or washer for installation. Both serve different purposes and require their own set of tools for installation.


The most obvious difference between captive and non-captive screws is the presence of threads. Captive screws feature threads that run along the entire length of the screw, while non-captive screws only have threads on a portion of their length. This means captive screws are much more secure than non-captive screws, as they are less likely to come loose or fall out over time.

Head Types

Another difference between captive and non-captive screws is the type of head used. Captive screws typically feature a pan head or button head, while non-captive screws usually have either a flat or rounded head. The type of head used will determine how easy it is to install and remove the screw from its mounting surface.


Captive screws are much easier to install than non-captive screws as they do not require additional hardware, such as nuts or washers, for installation. Non-captive screws must be secured with additional hardware to stay in place, making installation more time-consuming and difficult.


Removing captive and non-captive screws also differ significantly due to their different designs. Removing a captive screw is simple, as it can easily be unscrewed using a standard Phillips or flathead screwdriver without additional tools or hardware. On the other hand, removing a non-captive screw requires special tools such as pliers or wrenches to loosen the additional hardware that holds it in place before it can be removed completely.


Finally, cost is another factor when deciding between captive and non-captive screws. Captive screws are more expensive than non-captive ones due to increased security and ease of installation/removal. However, depending on your needs and budget, they may still be worth the extra cost.


Captive and non-captive screws are two types of screws that have important differences and benefits. Both screw types have their place in equipment assembly but are used in different applications. Captive screws are perfect when screw retention is necessary, and the screw won’t be lost from the assembly, while non-captive screws are designed for accessibility and replacement. Choosing the right screw type depends on the purpose of the assembly, and understanding the differences helps select the most functional and cost-efficient option.



Recent Posts