Choosing a Screw
Kreg Screws are available in several different types, each with unique qualities that optimize performance in specific applications. Once you understand these qualities, it’s easy to choose the correct Kreg Screw. In this video, we take a few minutes to tell you about each type of screw, and we suggest a few simple guidelines you should consider to pick the best screw for everything you build.
Kreg Screw Qualities
Steel Kreg Screws are case hardened — a process that forms a tough outer shell (or case) to make the screw durable, but keeps the core softer to prevent the screw from becoming brittle. That means you get the best of both worlds: a strong screw that won’t snap. Kreg Screws are available in three finishes.
Zinc-coated screws are recommended for a wide variety of indoor projects where moisture is not a concern.
Blue-Kote™ screws are the best choice for damp or wet applications. They feature three anti-corrosion layers, making them perfect for outdoor use and high-moisture environments.
Stainless steel Kreg Screws are designed for use in extreme applications, excessive exposure to salt water, and other exceedingly corrosive environments, such as fastening ACQ-treated lumber.
Coarse-Thread screws are recommended for use with softwoods like cedar, pine, fir, etc. — as well as for sheet goods such as plywood and MDF — that are soft and not very dense. Coarse screws have deep, aggressive threads that bite into those soft fibers to ensure solid holding power.
Fine-Thread screws are the preferred choice for hardwoods like cherry, maple, oak, etc. that are hard and dense. Fine threads are less aggressive, so they’ll drive without splitting, but these screws have a higher number of threads per inch to ensure great holding power.
Ordinary woodworking screws and drywall screws have a head with a conical shape on the underside. The head on a Kreg Screw is perfectly flat on the underside to mates perfectly with the flat bottom in a Kreg pocket hole. When you drive a Kreg Screw into the pocket hole, this flat shape applies force straight toward the screw tip, so it holds the joint tightly together without deforming the pocket, which could split the wood. Kreg Screws are available in two head styles.
Maxi-Loc screws are a great choice for the majority of applications. These Kreg Screws have a large head that provides maximum bearing surface as the screw pulls tight in the pocket.
Pan-Head screws are perfect for dense hardwoods and for 1/2″ thick stock. Their smaller shank reduces the chance of splitting, and the smaller head allows them to fit places where space is limited and/or tight pocket-hole spacing is desired.
Selecting the correct screw length is the most important consideration when choosing a Kreg Screw. We suggest using the screw lengths shown below when joining materials of the same thickness (such as joining 3/4″ thick material to 3/4″ thick material). To help select the right screw length when joining materials of different thicknesses, our Screw Selector Wheel is a handy tool.
The threads on a Kreg Screw stop partway up the screw shank, which leaves a smooth area below the screw head. When the screw is driven in, the threaded portion grabs into the workpiece you’re attaching to, pulling the screw in. The other piece glides freely over the unthreaded part of the screw, allowing that piece to pull tightly against the mating piece — without unnecessary threads that can actually push the joint apart.
Working with Different Board Thicknesses.
Kreg Tool Tip: Working with Different Board Thicknesses | When joining boards of two different thicknesses edge-to-edge or end-to-edge, set your Kreg Jig® according to the thickness of the thinner board. The picture shows a ½”-thick board and ¾”-thick board that were joined with pocket holes. As you can see, the Kreg Jig® was set for ½”-thick material, the thinner board. We’ve also included a helpful chart that shows which Kreg Jig® setting and screw length to use based on material thickness.
Why should I use Kreg Screws?
Frequently Asked Question:
Question: Can I use any screw?
I wouldn’t use any other screw than a Kreg. The cost difference is relatively small, and their screws are far superior.
- Self-tapping tip reduces chances for splitting.
- Deep square drive never strips out.
- Very hard steel; i’ve never had one break off in the hole (the frustration from having this happen even once with another screw will have you thinking as I do almost immediately).
- They have a screw for everything.
- Threads only go up 1/2 the screw, this prevents the screw from pushing the two workpieces apart.
(Maybe the most important) Kreg screws have a flat bottom head which creates a solid joint and prevents splitting. This is a major difference Kreg has over many others.
- They are designed to be the best option for pocket joints. You may be able to go to a hardware store and buy similar screws at a better price, but be sure they have self-tapping threads.