How to Remove a Screw When the Head Breaks Off

wood screw

A broken screw head can be a frustrating obstacle in your DIY project. Such a mishap can happen while constructing furniture, setting up a new gadget, or even fixing a device. But, don’t worry. There are a few proven methods to handle this situation effectively. Here’s an informative guide on how to remove a screw when the head breaks off.

Materials and Tools Needed

  • Drill with a reverse function
  • Screw extractor tool set
  • Metal cutting bit or cobalt drill bits
  • Safety glasses
  • Work gloves
  • Needle-nose pliers


1. Safety Precautions: Always put on your safety glasses and work gloves to prevent any injuries during the process. Safety should always come first in any DIY project.

2. Gripping the Screw with Pliers: If a small part of the broken screw is still above the surface, try using the needle-nose pliers to grip and turn the screw counter-clockwise. Sometimes, this is all that’s needed to remove the screw.

3. Using the Drill: If the pliers method doesn’t work, opt for the drilling method. Utilize a metal cutting bit or cobalt drill bit that is slightly smaller than the screw’s shaft. The goal here is to drill a hole into the center of the screw shaft.

Put your drill into reverse mode and begin drilling slowly into the center of the screw shaft. Ensure the hole you drill is deep enough for a screw extractor.

4. Using a Screw Extractor: Once the hole is deep enough, swap your drill bit for the screw extractor. Screw extractors are designed to dig into the screw and reverse it out. They are two-sided, with one side used for drilling a hole into the screw (if you haven’t used a separate drill bit already) and the other for extracting.

Place the extractor into the hole you’ve drilled and turn it counter-clockwise. The extractor should grip the inside of the hole and begin to turn the screw out.

5. Cleaning Up: After the screw has been successfully extracted, clean up the area. If necessary, replace the old screw with a new one, ensuring not to repeat the same mistake that caused the head to break off in the first place.

Patience is key while removing a screw when the head breaks off. The removal process might take some time, but it definitely decreases the chances of damaging your material. This informative guide should help you navigate your way through a broken screw head dilemma, helping you get back to your DIY project in no time.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.