The difference between Tri-Wing, Tri-Groove and Trigram

Tri-wing screwdriver is often mistaken for similar types of tamper-proof screwdrivers.
Y screwdriver and Tri-Wing are the same tool, Triangular slotted screwdriver has a small difference; it hasn’t got a hole in the center of screw-head. Trigram differs very slightly and it is sold under the label trigram/triwing most commonly.Tri-groove is a completely different type of screwdriver.

Let’s see the difference between these three mentioned security fasteners, and other similar but not the same screws and drivers which cannot be used for unscrewing Wii or Gameboy. Some of them can be recognized at the first look since they differ by the shape of the extension head, while the other may look similar but surely won’t fit the screw perfectly as a proper tool. Find a screwdriver for your needs before shopping for it!

Tri-Wing screwdriver

tri wing design tamper proof threeTri-Wing have characteristically triangular slotted recess that matches only the appropriate bolt. It’s shape is easy to remember since it has curved wings or flat ones on some symbols. No matter it’s made of stainless steel, triwing screws easily get stripped if using a screwdriver tip of the wrong shape. Tri-wing screwdriver is specially designed to protect the valuable accessories like Nintendo Wii and GameBoy. tri yUnboxing without Tri-Wing driver or simply said tampering will damage the product for sure, no matter how much torque you add. That’s not so important if you are dealing with a toy from fast-food, but expensive consoles don’t look very nice when you see scratches or broken plastics. The left picture represents Tri-Wing screwdriver used on the gadgets, sometimes called Y screwdriver or trigram. Do not confuse this screwdriver with Opsit, it has the exact same design but reverse threads. Unscrewing can be done by turning the screwdriver clockwise, which is the opposite of Tri-Wing and regular screwdrivers.


trigram driver gameboy nds ndsl wiiThe edges are tapered and the ends are flat, which is not the case for Tri-Wing. Trigram screwdrivers are available in sets of 2, 5 or up to 10 pieces, or as unique bit mounted on a proper socket. Trigram is used for Gameboy, NDS, NDSL and Wii under the name triwing/trigram screwdriver.


tri groove screw typeThe wings aren’t joined in the middle. Tri-groove usually refers to the two types of screwdrivers: the regular, without connection between the radial slots and Australian, “holt-head” version. The slots on the screw-head are not centered to make handling better. Both bit tip and screw head can be found on the market. tri groove nutThe nut connectors are not uncommon for Tri-groove security screw drives.

Other Tamper-proof Screwdrivers

tri arc


Tri-Arc screwdrivers have three arches. They obviously vary from tri-wing, so it’s hard to go wrong.

Torx Tri-Lobed

tri lobe torx shapeTorx 3-Lobed screwdrivers are sometimes used in Europe for tamper-proof screws and they are very rare for USA.


tp3 triangularTP3 have triangular screw shape which can be replaced with 6-side Torx, in case the size matches.
tp3 screw

Every mentioned screwdriver is a registered trademark of TamperProof or Phillips Screw Company.