Torx Bits Vs Star Bits - What Are The Differences And Which Is Better? - Car, Truck And Vehicle How To Guides - Vehicle Freak (2023)

Screws and bolts come in different lengths, thread patterns, and thicknesses, but there’s also a matter of screw drive patterns. There’s some confusion about the differences between them, especially the Torx and star bits.

The difference between Torx Bits vs Star Bits is that Torx is the trademark name, while star represents the generic descriptor – the terms can be used interchangeably, as the tools are identical.

Differences Between Torx and Star Bits

Torx is the trademark name of the screw drive developed in 1967 by Camcar Textron. Because of its 6-pointed shape, it’s commonly referred to as star bit, while the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has described the shape as hexalobular internal.

Because of the patent protection, Torx was only made by Camcar Textron and licensed manufacturers. It has expired a few decades ago, allowing everyone to use the star shape drive as they please. It appears that the Camcar Textron is even losing the grip on the Torx trademark, as the name is often used in the marketing of other manufacturers.

The main benefit of the Torx bits is the higher resistance to cam-out – the likelihood of the bit slipping out of the screw and damaging the head. You’ve likely faced cam-out often with the slotted and Phillips head screwdrivers (“minus” and “plus” heads).

Another reason for the widespread use of Torx is the higher torque transfer and resistance to wear when compared to the hex (Allen) key. Hex keys and bolt heads are notorious for stripping because of the small angle at which the force is applied.

The measurements of Torx/star bits start with a capital letter “T”, followed by a number between 1 and 100. The most commonly used bits sizes are T10, T15, and T25.

Torx vs Star – Which Is Better?

Torx Bits Vs Star Bits - What Are The Differences And Which Is Better? - Car, Truck And Vehicle How To Guides - Vehicle Freak (1)

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

As the standardized bit shape can be freely copied, other than the quality of metal, there’s virtually no difference between official Torx screwdrivers and any of the star options.

There are several types of Torx bits that strive to improve upon the formula, but comparing them is not necessary. The design of each screw is carefully considered before it’s installed in a vehicle – that’s why we still see slotted, Phillips, and hex heads despite the fact that a star pattern is a better option.

External Torx

Torx Bits Vs Star Bits - What Are The Differences And Which Is Better? - Car, Truck And Vehicle How To Guides - Vehicle Freak (2)

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

The external Torx has a reverse design to the classic Torx and works like a socket. The head of the screw is raised and has the star pattern on it. Instead of a screwdriver, you’d use a socket and a ratchet to work the screw. Like the classic hex socket, the Torx sockets provide better control, but the star pattern provides superior grip and a significantly lower chance of stripping the bolt.

The measurements of the external Torx start with a capital letter “E”, and do not follow the same sizing as the classic Torx. The E2 external is approximately the same size as a T5, E4 and T20 are comparable, and so on.

Torx Plus

Torx Bits Vs Star Bits - What Are The Differences And Which Is Better? - Car, Truck And Vehicle How To Guides - Vehicle Freak (3)

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Introduced in 1990 just as the patent for the original Torx expired, the Torx Plus is an improvement on the original design. The main benefits of the Torx Plus shape are the greater torque transfer and reduced tool wear.

Instead of a 6-pointed star, the pattern is reminiscent of a mechanical gear with squared-off teeth. The classic Torx Plus is abbreviated to IP (Internal Plus) while its external variant is shortened to EP (External Plus).

The standard Torx bits are compatible with Torx Plus, but it’s not an ideal match because of the gap in the star flares. On the other hand, the Torx Plus is completely incompatible with the standard Torx, as the star flares won’t fit at all.

Tamper-Resistant Torx

Torx Bits Vs Star Bits - What Are The Differences And Which Is Better? - Car, Truck And Vehicle How To Guides - Vehicle Freak (4)

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

The Tamper-resistant Torx (Torx TR or pin-in Torx) is available in both classic and Torx Plus variants. The bit has a round hole in the center, while the screw has a matching post. This means that a slotted screwdriver or a classic Torx cannot be inserted and used to release or damage the screw.

While the standard Torx TR has six points, the Torx TR Plus only has five, most likely to retain structural strength.

Other Torx Variants

Torx pattern comes in a few other variants that are not as commonly used. In fact, despite being improved upon several times, the classic Torx is still the most popular option.

Torx Paralobe is the latest improvement of the design, similar to the Torx Plus but with rounded edges. It’s supposedly 20% better than Torx Plus and 40% than the classic Torx in terms of torque transfer.

Torx ttap bit has a protruding rod at the very top that slots into the base of the screw. This feature significantly improves the stability of the bit as it’s rotated. The standard Torx can be used on the Torx ttap screws, but the compatibility doesn’t go both ways.

Torx Plus Maxx Stemsshape the tip of a screw to look like an external Torx plus. That way, the screw can be gripped from both sides, like you would a hex bolt and nut.

AudiTorx combines the tamper-proofing of a rivet with the torque transfer of a Torx. The screw is tightened as normal, but once a certain amount of torque is applied, the head will snap off and leave a rivet-like screw that is very difficult to remove.

AW drive has been designed by Würth as a direct competitor to the Torx. It’s also hexalobular but has a tapered profile for improved stability and centering.

FAQs

Torx Bits Vs Star Bits - What Are The Differences And Which Is Better? - Car, Truck And Vehicle How To Guides - Vehicle Freak (5)

What is the difference between Torx and Torx Plus?

Torx Plus is an improvement on the Torx design and cannot be used with old screws. The classic Torx can be used on Torx Plus screws and bolts, but it will be a loose fit.

Are there metric star bits?

Star and Torx bits use neither the metric nor imperial scale. They follow the special “T” sizing or the “E” sizing for the external Torx variants.

How do you open a star screw without a screwdriver?

The specific design of the star screw head makes it difficult to open with anything but a star screwdriver of appropriate size. A flathead screwdriver can be used, but you’re running a risk of cam out and stripping the screw.

Can you use an Allen key instead of Torx?

Because of the fundamental differences in design, the Allen key will not fit in a Torx screw head, and therefore cannot be used.

Is Torx 5-point or 6-point?

Torx is a 6-point star in all but one variant. The safety Torx Plus uses a 5-point star instead of 6.

Why do Torx screws exist?

Torx was designed to replace, or at the very least create an alternative to the slotted and Phillips head screwdrivers. The primary benefit of the Torx pattern is the lower chance of damage to the tool and screw, while simultaneously increasing the applicable torque.

Is Torx better than Philips?

From a technical standpoint, Torx is better, but there are other factors to consider. There’s not a household in the world that doesn’t have a Phillips head screwdriver, and for most applications, it’s more than enough.

What is a TT Torx bit?

TT Torx is another name for the anti-tamper Torx that has a hole in the middle of the bit and a protrusion in the screw to prevent the use of incompatible tools that would damage it.

Torx Bits Vs Star Bits - What Are The Differences And Which Is Better? - Car, Truck And Vehicle How To Guides - Vehicle Freak (6)

What does a Phillips screwdriver look like?

You likely already own a Philips screwdriver without realizing it – they’re the plus or cross-shaped screwdrivers. There are five main sizes of Philips screwdrivers, ranging from zero to four.

How do I know my Torx size?

Every Torx bit has a marking on the side that consists of a “T” prefix and a number. Torx bits range from T1 to T100 and do not follow a metric or imperial measuring standard. However, you can measure the distance between two opposite star tips and compare it to a Torx chart to get the size.

Is Hex the same as Torx?

The two screw drives may look similar, but they operate on different principles and are not interchangeable. Technically, you could use a Torx screwdriver on a hex screw, but you’d risk damage to both components.

What are the most common Torx sizes?

Even though Torx bits range from T1 to T100, the most common sizes are the T6, T8, T10, T25, and T35.

Summary

Star and Torx bits may be the same thing, but there’s a lot of variation inside their category. The standard, external, and anti-tamper bits are available in both classic Torx and Torx Plus variants. In a good Torx bit set, you’ll find all the options you’d need to work on Torx screws and bolts.

Check out some other topics from VehicleFreak:

Husky vs Kobalt: Which Brand Is Better?

Differences Between Wera vs Wiha Tools

License Plate Screw Size – Find The Right Screw Size For Your Vehicle

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Pres. Carey Rath

Last Updated: 01/21/2023

Views: 6225

Rating: 4 / 5 (41 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Pres. Carey Rath

Birthday: 1997-03-06

Address: 14955 Ledner Trail, East Rodrickfort, NE 85127-8369

Phone: +18682428114917

Job: National Technology Representative

Hobby: Sand art, Drama, Web surfing, Cycling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Leather crafting, Creative writing

Introduction: My name is Pres. Carey Rath, I am a faithful, funny, vast, joyous, lively, brave, glamorous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.