Benefits of Pan Head Screws

4 min read

What are Pan Head Screws?

You have probably regularly encountered pan head screws, but you may not know why they are specified over other screws. Simply put, a pan head screw is a screw with a low height, rounded head with a flat bottom. Interestingly, these screws have earned their name because the heads look like an upside-down frying pan because the top is slightly domed with a flat bottom. The screws are also commonly referred to as “round head” screws. If you see a picture of these screws, you will immediately recognize them because they are used in many applications. However, you may not know the specific advantages these pan head screws can afford to your machine designs. Let’s dive in and see why these fasteners are so valuable without delay.

Critical Benefits of Pan Head Screws

Low Profile Height

Because the head height on pan head screws is low, it will not significantly protrude above the joint. While pan head screws do not sit completely flush with the joint, they are great at achieving minimal protrusion above the surface. Thanks to their rounded design, they do not present any shape corners or edges. They are ideal to be specified in tight-fitting spaces or where a nearly flat surface finish is desired. In any case, it’s easy to overlook how a protruding head may cause significant issues in machine designs in relation to close-fitting parts until you encounter interference in your machine design.

Ease of Torque Application to Screw

The large, rounded head can accommodate a deep drive recession which makes it easy to grip with a screwdriver, making it easy to drive the head and apply high torques with just a screwdriver. Sometimes this aspect of the screw is overlooked until something goes wrong. Expressly, pan head screws, mainly the crosshead drive (Phillips) screws, can accept large torques without the risk of the user stripping the drive head of the screw or slipping the drive head out of the drive, a condition called “cam-out.” This is a significant reason why pan head screws are used in many diverse applications.

Resistance to Unfastening Torque

The head of the pan head screw has a relatively large diameter, meaning that fastened joints employing pan head screws have significant bearing surface area. This means that when the screw is subjected to high torques that try to unfasten the screw, the bearing surface clamping force can resist these torques and help the screw maintain its applied installation torque.


Put plainly, the rounded head looks better when compared to other bulky, angular head screws that protrude from fastened joints or parts. In all applications, the pan head screw has a streamlined, flat look that fits snugly well with joints or parts where appearance is a consideration for the designer.

With a better understanding of pan head screws and their numerous benefits, you can optimize their placement in your machine designs. You will also begin to observe new places where they can be incorporated into your design, realizing their benefits in new areas. To this end, MISUMI carries a variety of sizes and configurations of pan head screws available to fit the most unique fastened joint applications. Explore the selection here.

About the Author

Carlicia Layosa

Carlicia is the Marketing Automation Manager at MISUMI. She holds a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering and a master's degree in Energy Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Associate, Marketo Certified Expert, and is passionate about education and training.

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