The Kreg system’s relatively high prices leave many wondering what alternatives there are for Kreg jig pocket hole screws. Most of us have screws lying around and would like to avoid spending top dollar on more screws for the Kreg system. There are alternatives, and I’ll share several with you today.
Kreg makes their jigs specifically for their screws. However, this doesn’t mean there are no alternative screws that will work with the Kreg jig. To find the best alternative pocket hole screws, you must first analyze the Kreg pocket hole screws and then match them.
Pocket holes need a screw with several characteristics. If the screw lacks any of the essential qualities, then the pocket hole joint will likely fail.
In the next section, we will share with you what you need to look for in a box of screws for them to work properly in a pocket hole joint. Then, we will give you some examples of screws that might be an option.
What to Look for in Alternatives to Kreg Pocket Hole Screws
Kreg pocket hole screws aren’t manufactured with a magical spell. These quality screws have specific characteristics that make them perfectly suited for the Kreg jig pocket holes.
Here are the things you should look for when looking for alternatives to Kreg jig pocket hole screws:
- Roberts square bit screws
This list shows the essential characteristics of the Kreg pocket hole screws. Let’s look into each of these in more depth.
When looking for an alternative to Kreg screws, one of the first things you should look for is a screw that is ‘self-tapping.” A self-tapping screw is on that does not need a pre-drilled hole. (these screws are sometimes known as self-drilling, however – there is a difference between the two).
When you make a pocket hole, the drill bit creates a “pocket” to hide the head of the screws; however, the hole does not penetrate all the way through. That is where the self-tapping properties come into play – these screws will bore through the rest of the way, creating a strong fit.
What does a self-tapping screw look like? Well, a self-tapping screw will have a little cut out at the tip of the screw – it almost looks like a microscopic router bit. This self-taping bit functions almost like a little router, as it cuts away the material, allowing the screw to get a good bite.
With that said, if you’re looking for an alternative to the Kreg screws, you’ll need to start by looking for self-tapping screws.
However, this is not the only characteristic – we go over several more in the sections below.
Washer Head Screws
It may come as a surprise to learn that the head of a screw plays an important role in your project’s outcome. There are many different styles of screw heads, and all of them serve a slightly different task.
For pocket holes, the Kreg system uses screws that have a washer head. The washer head is precisely what it sounds like, a screw head that appears to have a small washer welded to the head.
The washer head plays a key in the strength of the pocket hole joint. When looking for alternative screws, be sure to find some that have the flat washer heads.
Why so important? Well, in contrast to the washer head, you have screws like the bugle head. The bugle head screw has a cone shape from the head down into the screw. This bugle shape will allow the screws to imbed themselves neatly into drywall or deck wood; however, a bugle headed screw can prove disastrous for pocket holes.
Since the head of the screw is designed to sink into the wood, it will try to do the same for your pocket holes. As you drill and the screw sinks, two things happen. First, the screw is likely to go too far – making it difficult to retrieve if needed. Second, your wood fibers will be damaged or even split – leading to a useless joint.
As you seek out screws, look for screws with a washer style head.
Square Head Bit
The Kreg screws use a square or “Roberts” head screw for their pocket hole joints. The square-headed bits are probably not as important a quality as self-tapping or the washer head; however, the square head of the Kreg screw allows the drill to get optimal torque and control without stripping the screws.
The square head is particularly important in pocket hole joints, where the head of the screw becomes hidden. A Phillips head or flat head screw will be more likely to slip off or strip the screws.
Alright, we’ve given you several important characteristics. Now let’s go over a few popular alternatives and give you some ways to save money.
Alternatives to Kreg jig Pocket Hole Screws
We will go over four of the most promising alternatives for the Kreg jig pocket holes screws. We will give you the best information we can find. However, it’s impossible to guarantee the prices – prices change.
Also, not all screws are equal between brands. Kreg screws that are only one inch in length might be cheaper than an alternative brand that is two inches in length. Therefore, make sure you are matching things up to get the best comparison. That’s what we will try to do today.
Here is a list of possible alternatives:
These are four viable alternatives to the Kreg jig pocket hole screws. Let’s describe each in the sections below. Of course, take time to look at each of these by clicking on their links.
Customer Service Hardware Panhead Screws
Many woodworkers recommend this alternative to the Kreg pocket hole screws – and you can get a whole bunch for a reasonable price. These screws are Panhead – similar to the washer head in that they have a flat underside. They also have the self-tapping grove in the point.
These screws cost about four cents each and a half-inch screw. You can buy about 500 of the screws in the link for $24.
Massca Pocket Hole Screws
If you’re looking for a complete alternative to Kreg’s system, then Massca may be for you. Massca has there own set of pocket hole screws as well as stocking many pocket hole jigs.
Massca offers zinc-plated pocket hole screws in a 1000 count assortment for $39. This set includes coarse threaded screws for softwoods and fine threaded for hardwoods.
SNUG Pocket Hole Screws
These pocket hole screws are zinc coated, self-tapping, and square drive – they fit all the criteria for a reliable alternative to Kreg’s systems. Buyers report finding SNUG screws for cheaper than Kreg’s line of pocket hole screws.
When we looked into it, it appeared that the prices were comparable to the Kreg screws. However, keep an eye on the prices – you never know when things will shift.
Quick Screw Pocket Hole Screws
There is a distinct advantage to the Quick Screws – you can buy them in bulk. When you buy in bulk, you get the best prices. With that said, if you happen to be doing a lot of pocket hole related work, then the quick screw bulk pack could be for you.
These are self-tapping square drive screws – they are not zinc-coated. Quick Screw claims that these pocket hole screws work with all jigs.
We’ve now gone over four distinct alternatives to the Kreg jig pocket hole screws. We will give you several other creative alternatives to paying for Kreg’s pocket hole screws in the final section.
Alternatives to Kreg Screws – Final Tips
While there are certainly a couple of viable alternatives to the Kreg pocket hole screw, there are also other ways you can avoid paying top dollar.
First, you can go with a completely different joint option, like a mortise and tenon joint. These joints don’t use any screws; however, they take some time and skill to use correctly.
Second, if you are open to buying some Kreg screws, you can find reasonable prices by shopping around. For our purposes, after comparing Walmart, Home Depot, and Amazon, we found Amazon had some of the best prices. Also, buying Kreg screws in bulk will help get the cost per unit down.
Third, consider buying a small quantity of each and then testing them on your specific project. Just because something is an alternative does not mean that it is the best alternative. By sampling several types of screws, you will decide which screw has the best performance for the best price.
There are Alternatives to the Kreg jig pocket hole screws. Grab a small amount of the screws listed in this article and test them on your DIY projects – one may work better than the other.
Remember the characteristics we named when looking for alternatives: self-tapping, washer-head, square drive screws. If you keep these three things in mind, you shouldn’t have trouble finding several alternatives to the Kreg screws.
14 thoughts on “What Alternatives are there for Kreg Jig Pocket Hole Screws?”
I needed to know smallest screw size that works with pocket hole jig for small projects.
You could use 3/4″ long pocket hole screws.
How about a torque screw alternative?
Milescraft makes them. I’ve used them and they work great. I just need them to make exterior screws.
Did you try any screws from McFeeley’s?
I have used Grk brand screws they work better than kreg screws as they are much stronger and are a better drilling screw. They are more expensive but I bought mine for next to nothing from a hardware store that went out for business and am always on the lookout for businesses that are going out of business
Which GRK screw did you use?
Thank you very useful info as Kreg screws are expensive and its good to known there are alternatives
For good value, continuity of supply and ease of ordering I have found the Triton Pocket Hole screws a good compromise in my business fir carcass manufacture.
I just used 2-1/2” deck screws with standard heads and tips including the star bit drive to build two square frames for 2 fence gates and they seem to be completely solid with no issue. I’m sure it’s better for fine woodworking and cabinets to use the right screw but for this project no issues.
Kreg system allows you make some joints without having to spend on special tools. When you start buying their accessories, you spend so much money that you could have bought those special tools to begin with.
Grip Fast makes a #6 cabinet screw that works perfectly in Kreg micro-sized pockets. I can’t remember if they are self tapping, but they come in 1-1/2″ lengths too.
GRK pan head screws are another alternative. The design allows for a snug flat pan head to sit in the pocket and they also have a good selection of sizes for exterior use as well.
I am currently building a 150 foot long by 7 feet high fence and have been using Simpson Strong-Drive SD Connectors (#10 1/4″ Hex Head Galvanized Structural Screws) with no issues on the Kreg HD pocket holes. They are a little cheaper than the Kreg screws at the same dimensions, however they are vastly superior in the coating used. I did a test with the Kreg exterior screws (the screws that came with the HD jig and coated for PT lumber) by driving a few into 2X4 PT lumber once and then extracting them. The coating on the Kreg screws had basically come right off leaving the zinc coating underneath exposed (just the same as coated deck screws). This then leads to a Galvanic reaction (copper in the chemical used in PT contacting other metals) that literally speeds up the rusting process of a fastener and subsequent failure. Galvanized screws are not immune to this process (I believe stainless steel 316, Copper or Bronze Coated fasteners are the only ones that are) but do last considerably longer here in Southern Ontario. #8 2-1/2″ or 3″ deck screws will rust and fail within 7 years and in my opinion, the Kreg HD screws will probably do the same. Galvanized Structural Screws will last around 15 to 20 years of exposure to Copper and the weather conditions mainly because the heat generated during installation using a impact driver or drill doesn’t degrade the coating like it does on regular deck screws and Kreg HD screws. Trust me I have been building fences and decks for a long time now and have found galvanized structural screws and nails outlive the pressure treated lumber they were installed in. Hope this helps someone.