What's the difference between a Cabinet Screw and a Pocket Hole Screw?

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Forum topic by LoJack posted 02-28-2018 04:55 PM 2835 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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29 posts in 1434 days

02-28-2018 04:55 PM

I am curious as to what the differences are since I can’t seem to find any literature around it, but notice there is a drastic difference in price.

I’ve watched a few videos where spacers are attached, or cabinet cases joined together with self tapping cabinet screws. They have a washer head.

But when I look at the hardware store, the #8 1 1/4” Cabinet screw, and a #8 1 1/4” pocket hole screw look almost identical other than the coating.

Are there strength differences between these fasteners?


6 replies so far

View RobHannon's profile


336 posts in 1303 days

#1 posted 02-28-2018 05:15 PM

Not sure on the exact screws you have but the differences between the cabinet screws and pocket screws I buy are the cab screws use a torx driver and have a wider diameter head. The pitch is the same or at least very close on the cab screws and the softwood pocket screws. There are fine pitch pocket screws for hardwood, there may be cabinet screws like that as well but I have never had any reason to look for them as I have only used cabinet screws for attaching sheet goods.

View MrRon's profile


5913 posts in 4015 days

#2 posted 02-28-2018 05:20 PM

The “pocket screw” was adopted by Kreg Jigs, but they are both the same. The pocket screw is a more descriptive term as to where it is used.

View Walker's profile


385 posts in 1244 days

#3 posted 02-28-2018 06:03 PM

I have the little kreg R3 and after running out of the pocket screws that came with it, I never felt the need to purchase screws specifically labeled “pocket screws”. Seems to me it’s just marketing in order to charge more. I get that a washer head type screw will fit better against the flat bottom of the pocket hole, and a partially threaded screw will draw the pieces tighter than a fully threaded screw. However, I always have spax construction screws on hand so I often just use those, and they work just fine.

-- ~Walker

View bondogaposis's profile


5787 posts in 3123 days

#4 posted 02-28-2018 07:24 PM

Pocket screws generally have a washer head and are square drive, they also have a drill point. Regular cabinet screws are just wood screws and come in many types of heads and don’t have a drill bit point.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4420 days

#5 posted 02-28-2018 07:32 PM

If you try to put screws with a star-drive in
a pocket hole you may find you don’t have
a driver long enough. The driver extension
chucks won’t fit in a pocket hole. I’m sure you
can get a long shank star-drive bit but don’t
be surprised if your hardware store doesn’t
carry them.

View Woodknack's profile (online now)


13386 posts in 3152 days

#6 posted 02-28-2018 07:33 PM

Cabinet screw is a washer head. Pocket screw is a pan head.

-- Rick M,

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