Self-Tapping Screws vs Regular Screws – What’s the Difference

Self-Tapping Screws vs Regular Screws

When it comes to screws, there are a lot of different types to choose from. Two of the most common types of screws are self-tapping screws and regular screws. While they may look similar, these two types of screws have some significant differences that can impact your project. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at self-tapping screws vs regular screws and explore what makes them different.

What is Self-Tapping Screws?

Self-tapping screws are designed to drill their holes as they are screwed into a material. They have a sharp tip and a unique thread design that allows them to dig into the material they are being screwed into. These screws are most commonly used in sheet metal and plastics, where it’s difficult to create pre-drilled holes. Self-tapping screws come in various materials, including stainless steel, aluminium, and brass.

What is Regular Screws?

Regular screws, on the other hand, require a pre-drilled hole before they can be screwed into a material. They have a dull point and a straight thread that works by cutting through the material. Regular screws suit various materials, including wood, drywall, and concrete. They come in different materials, such as steel, brass, and plastic.

Differences between Self-Tapping and Regular Screws

The primary difference between self-tapping screws and regular screws is their ability to create holes. While regular screws are already threaded and require pre-drilled holes, self-tapping screws only need a small indentation to start, making them a convenient option for materials like sheet metal, where drilling precise holes is difficult.

Another difference is the thread design. Regular screws have a straight thread that works by cutting through the material in a helical path, while self-tapping screws have a thread that looks like a series of horizontal steps spiralling around a cylinder. The unique thread design of self-tapping screws allows them to displace material when screwed in, creating their threads.

Finally, the size of the screw is also a differentiating factor. Self-tapping screws have a narrower shank than regular screws. They’re designed to be thinner and more pointy, allowing them to better cut through thin materials like sheet metal.

Which Screw to Use?

Knowing which screw to use depends on the material you’re working with and the type of project you’re undertaking. Self-tapping screws are the go-to choice for sheet metal and plastic, as they can create holes, while regular screws are better for materials that can be pre-drilled. Both types of screws come in various sizes and materials, making them suitable for different applications.


When it comes to self-tapping screws vs regular screws, it’s important to understand the differences between them. Self-tapping screws are ideal for materials that require screwing without pre-drilling, while regular screws are a better choice for easily pre-drilling materials. Either way, choosing the right screw can make all the difference in your project’s success. Always consider the material you’re working with and use the appropriate type and size of screw for the job.



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