Penta-What? Pentalobe!

What is a pentalobe screw and why would you need a pentalobe screwdriver?  Let’s examine a brief history of this little beast.

Firstly, like a Pentagon (shape with five sides) a Pentalobe is a screw or screwdriver with five points.  They come in six sizes from 1 to 6.  The nomenclature of this can be confusing though, as different companies have different ways of naming their pentalobe sizes.  You will see TS1, which can easily be mistaken for Torx size.  You will also see variations on the letter P (P1, P2, Etc..) and PL (PL1, PL2…).  There even some who make it as clear as possible and call it Five Lobe.

Pents up close 2.jpgThe confusion doesn’t stop there, though.    In 2009 Apple launched the pentalobe screw, and that’s about all they did.  There was no regulatory sizing so the brains at iFixit reverse engineered the screw and made a driver to work with it.  Since it was similar in size to a Torx T2, the called it a P2.  After they did this, Apple released sizing information and revealed that iFixit’s P2 was actually a size 1.  It was after all this commotion that WIha released their set of pentalobes (to Apple Standards), so their PL1 is actually the same size as iFixit’s P2.  Did you get all that?  To keep things simple (and since this is the GERMAN tool blog) we will use Wiha’s sizing standard, PL1-PL6.

So now that we have sizes under our belt the ultimate question is why?  Why would someone need a five-pointed precision screwdriver?  The answer is simple.  Apple.  Not the fruit (though I suppose you could use a pentalobe screwdriver for digging out apple seeds).  Apple, the modern-day tech conglomerate which made Steve Jobs a household name.  Do you have a Mac Computer?  Or an iPad?  Or iPhone?  Do you want to get inside of that device and play around with the guts?  Then you are probably going to need a pentalobe precision screwdriver.

Which one you might ask?  Let’s take a look.

Do you have an iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5C, 5S, 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7, 7 Plus?  You need a PL1 pentalobe.
Do you have an Apple Watch?  You will need a PL2 to change the band.
Do you have a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro with Retina Display?  PL4 is your guy.
To be specific, do you have a 15” 2009 MacBook Pro?  To get to the battery you will need a PL5.

Or if you are in doubt, Wiha has this nice 6-piece set that has all the sizes you need:


What you really need is the PL3 and PL6 size drivers though.  What are they used for?  Nobody knows.  But won’t they look great on your bench?

Shop for all your pentalobe needs at KC Tool:



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