The Best Terminal Screwdrivers for Thermostats and Controls

Finding the best terminal screwdriver can help tremendously if you are doing any kind of electrical work, especially in HVAC. Terminal screwdrivers are used to work with wires on terminal blocks. The flathead screws on terminal blocks are typically smaller than normal screws, and thus it is necessary to use a terminal block screwdriver to connect and disconnect wires from these terminal blocks. 

In this article, we’ll go over a few different terminal screwdrivers, some features of these terminal drivers, and discuss the qualities of the best terminal screwdriver.

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Best Terminal Screwdriver

With a stainless steel shaft, laser-etched blade, and insulation for up to 1000 volts, this terminal screwdriver has the most features of any that we reviewed.

This Wera terminal driver is probably one of the best terminal drivers out there. For starters, this terminal driver’s shaft and blade are made out of stainless steel for maximum strength and durability. 

Additionally, the blade of this terminal screwdriver is laser-etched to create a sharp edged surface structure that bites down into the screw head (excluding ⅛” blade width model). This Wera terminal driver also features a hexagonal-shaped anti-roll grip that prevents the tool from rolling away when set down on a surface. 

It is also insulated, with a rating for 1000 volts. For these reasons, we would agree that this is the best terminal screwdriver.

Best Thermostat Screwdriver

This electronics screwdriver comes with four different tips – two Phillips and two Slotted. 

This Klein 4-in-1 Precision Screwdriver set is perfect for keeping around the house, or in your front pocket for those random tasks. It has four different tips – #0 and #00 Phillips, as well as 1/8″ and 3/32″ Slotted. 

Since it has multiple tip sizes, this is the perfect thermostat screwdriver since it can fit in almost any terminal that you will come accross.

One of the key features of this screwdriver is that it has a rotating end cap that allows for comfortable tourquing.

 

Most Comfortable Terminal Screwdriver

This terminal screwdriver fits comfortably in any hand. If we had to pick a terminal screwdriver to use for all-day torquing, this would be the one.

The Klein Terminal Block Screwdriver is the industry-standard terminal block screwdriver. It features the tried-and-true cushion grip that Klein Tools is known for, and it fits comfortably in any hand. 

The Klein Terminal Screwdriver also has a magnetic tip for picking up those tiny terminal screws.

Thin Screwdriver

With a slim ergonomic grip, this terminal screwdriver is the sleekest out of the bunch. It insulated for up to 1000 volts. Because of its sleek design and insulation, it makes a great thermostat screwdriver.

The Wiha Insulated Slotted Screwdriver is the sleekest terminal screwdriver out of this bunch. It features a slim, ergonomic grip that fits comfortably into the palm of your hand. 

Because of its sleek design, this Wiha terminal screwdriver takes up very little space in your tool pouch. This thin screwdriver is also insulated, with a rating for 1000 volts.

Innovative Screwdriver for Power and Speed

The innovative grip of this screwdriver allows you to use it multiple ways. We also like the triangular shape of the grip, which prevents the terminal driver from rolling away.

The TEKTON Slotted High-Torque Screwdriver is a terminal screwdriver with an innovative grip that combines power with speed. The grip is designed for use in multiple ways. First, the grip allows you to leverage the power of your hand to generate maximum torque for stubborn screws. 

For faster jobs, the round ends of the grip allows for the spinning of screws quickly and continuously. Also, the three-sided triangular shape of the grip prevents the tool from rolling down sloped work surfaces.

About Terminal Screwdrivers

Terminal screwdrivers are used for tightening screws that are commonly found on screw terminal blocks. The type of screwdrivers that are commonly called “terminal screwdrivers” are slotted, and typically have a blade width of 3.2mm (⅛”) or 3.5mm (9/64″). This is because the screws that are found on the terminals of your typical programmable logic controller (PLC) are usually slotted, with widths of about 3.5mm. 

A 3.2mm or 3.5mm terminal driver can accommodate screw widths of 3.5mm. 3.5mm terminal screwdrivers usually fit very snugly into the screws of terminal blocks, while 3.2mm terminal screwdrivers have a slight wiggle. Terminal screwdrivers are also perfect for use as a thermostat screwdriver.

Below is a table that compares some of the dimensions of the terminal drivers. The blade width is the width of the screwing tip of the terminal driver. The blade length is the length of the shaft of the terminal driver, from the tip to where it connects to the handle. The handle length is the length of the terminal driver’s handle.

Terminal Screwdriver Comparison Table

Terminal Screwdriver Blade Width Blade Length Handle Length Total Length Weight Insulated
3.5mm (9/64”)
100mm (4”)
81mm (3 1/8”)
181mm (7 ⅛”)
29g (1oz)
Yes
Various
71mm (2.8”)
94mm (3.7”)
165mm (6 ½”)
31g (1.1oz)
No
3.2mm (1/8”)
102mm (4”)
95mm (3 ¾”)
197mm (7 ¾”)
68g (2.4 oz)
No
3.5mm (9/64”)
100mm (4”)
104mm (4”)
204mm (8”)
32g (1.1oz)
Yes
3.2mm (1/8”)
102mm (4”)
102mm (4”)
204mm (8”)
54g (1.9oz)
No

Why Should I Use a Terminal Screwdriver?

When faced with a small screw terminal, many people would go for their precision screwdriver or electronic screwdriver. While these types of thin screwdrivers would work just fine, they are not really designed to be torquing the screws that are found on control device terminals or thermostats. 

Precision and electronic screwdrivers usually have smaller blade widths, and smaller grips – they are best at torquing the small screws on electronics such as computers. 

However, there are some exceptions, such as the Klein Tools Precision Screwdriver Set we mentioned above. The great thing about the Klein Precision Screwdriver Set is that is comes with a 1/8″ Slotted bit, which is sufficient for working on thermostat terminals.