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There are magnetic screwdrivers that help the operator to keep the screw on the driver when there is no pressure on the screw. However, I wonder, does the magnetic field assist the operator in turning the screw?

Edit: I understand that the main feature of a magnetized screw driver is to help the operator keep the screw in place once placed on the tip of the screwdriver. What I want to know is, is there any amount of force, however minuscule, from the magnetic field, that also turns the screw, however small an amount, from the magnetic field of the magnetized screw driver?

I've used both magnetized and unmagnetized screwdrivers, and I can't say that, from the feedback I've gotten from my hands, I intuited the answer. Also, I didn't control for the size of the screwdriver, the geometry of the screw, the resistance of the material, the vigor of my hands, etc. etc. From my layman's knowledge of physics, I would guess that a magnetized screwdriver would effect a very small force on the screw, but not one strong enough that it could be felt physiologically .

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No, the magnetic field only holds the screw onto the screwdriver. It cannot exert a torque on the screw + screwdriver.

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  • $\begingroup$ But does the magnetic field help keep the screw aligned with driver, reducing the tendency for the blade of the driver to pop out of the slot as torque is applied? $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Mar 15, 2019 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ In my experience, the strength of the attraction between the magnetic screwdriver and the screw is much less than the forces exerted between the screwdriver and the screw while the screwdriver is being used to drive the screw into a stiff material like wood. The detailed shape of the screwdriver blade and slope of the slot walls in the screw have a greater influence on reducing the tendency of the driver to pop out of the slot. $\endgroup$
    – S. McGrew
    Mar 15, 2019 at 17:32
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The fact, that the tip of a screwdriver is magnetic, is mainly for the purpose that putting a screw onto it becomes easier. Pressing the screwdriver onto the screw is still necessary for not letting the screwdriver slide of the screw due to applied torque.

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