What are tamper proof fasteners?

Tamper proof fasteners are also known as security fasteners and tamper resistant fasteners, depending on their design. They have been created to prevent theft, vandalism, and unauthorized entry, as well as intentional malfunction, sabotage, and unapproved modifications.

The design of the fastener is what makes it tamper proof. Instead of a head with the recognizable Phillips or slotted grooves, these fasteners have unique heads. Regular screw drivers and wrenches won’t get the job done. Instead, a specialty tool is needed. This ensures that not just anyone can come along with a regular old tool bag and remove the fasteners.

Kinds of tamper proof fasteners

There are tons of different kinds of tamper proof fasteners. However, there are a few categories that these fasteners fall into:

  • Break-away heads – These special fasteners have two heads. You are able to utilize a regular screwdriver or wrench to tighten the screw, then that head can be removed, leaving a fastener that sits flush with the surface. There is no drive area with this screw, making it nearly impossible to remove.
  • Cap screw – This type of fastener utilizes an added plug. This plug doesn’t allow for normal socket wrenches to be used, but a special tool can be used to remove the screw.
  • 5-sided head – These fasteners look a lot like normal bolts, but they have five sides, requiring a special tool for removal.
  • One-way – Fairly common, the one-way fastener is easy to screw in with a traditional tool, but cannot be removed with the same tool.
  • Spanner – Spanner screws have two small holes which resemble the two side of a die, making it impossible to remove without a special tool.
  • Proprietary heads – There are tons of different kinds of tamper proof fasteners because their design is only limited to manufacturers’ imaginations. Many different heads are created that require different tools that each particular manufacturer provides with the order.

Potential problems with tamper proof fasteners

Just like any fastener or building material, there’s always a few potential problems.

Some tamper proof fasteners are literally tamper proof. Once that screw is inserted, it cannot be removed. Those screws will be there until the entire structure is destroyed.

Some fasteners are more tamper resistant than tamper proof. They require a special tool, which makes them more difficult to remove, but you’d be surprised at how easy it is for a dedicated thief or vandal to find a tool that will get the job done. Some companies even offer special driver bit sets catered to fasteners that are supposed to be tamper proof.

Screws that require special tools have an additional problem. If you misplace the tool, you’ll have to see if you can order another one before the fasteners can be removed.

Choosing the right fastener for your application

It all comes down to your particular application if you’re looking to purchase the perfect tamper proof fastener.

Will you ever want to remove the screw? If you can’t fathom any reason at all why the screw would need to be removed, choose screws with a break-away head. Just make sure you choose a product with a hardened head so that a new drive slot cannot be created with a file.

If you’d like the potential for disassembly, choose a screw that utilizes a special tool. Different screws offer different security levels, so choose a screw that’s a good fit for your particular situation.