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Overhead concrete installations: Drop-in anchor vs Concrete screws

Published: 2021-06-18 | Updated: 2024-02-27

Overhead installations can be tiring work, especially when you are working on big projects which will have hundreds of fixing points! We take a look at 2 of the most popular options when installing on concrete overhead to see which fastener can help make you more efficient and save those aching arms!


Drop-in anchors are specifically designed for use in concrete and provide a permanent fixture. They have a metric head that makes the drop-in anchor the most popular fastener for overhead applications, such as installing threaded bar to concrete ceilings or hanging cable trays. The metric head allows you to install items without needing any other tools, and the metric head can be re-used to help apply other installations. The design and the expansion of the anchor also means that the drop-in anchor allows for a small drill hole and low anchorage depth.

The anchors can come with or without a lip. The lip prevents the anchor from falling further than is necessary into the drill hole, while no lip means the anchor will be flush with the surface. This flush means that although the drop-in anchors cannot be removed, the hole and fixing can easily be filled in.

Although the drop-in anchor is relatively easy to install, with just a drill, blow out the hole, and a hammer, you will need to make sure that you have an appropriate setting tool, and the process can be tiring work especially when installing overhead.

overhead installation with drop-in anchor
Overhead installation with drop-in anchor


Although the drop-in anchor might be the most popular, the concrete screw provides a good alternative option.

The concrete screw is one of the quickest concrete fasteners out there and can be installed with just a drill, screw and impact wrench. You can save up to 60 seconds compared to traditional installation methods and unlike other anchors you do not need additional steps or tools, which makes it much faster and less tiring when installing overhead. 

The concrete screw also provides flexibility in that you can remove the screw once it has been installed. This is perfect for those times when a project changes or a mistake is made, and you need to readjust the placement of the fixing. 

When using the BTS6 H with internal thread, the screw also functions like a drop-in anchor providing an internal thread which you can attach different installations such as fastening rails and pipe clamps, making them ideal for overhead installations. 


Comparison Table of Drop-In Anchor versus Concrete Screw. Showing that Concrete Screws have some advantages over the anchors


We can see that both the drop-in anchor and the concrete screw come with similar approvals and certifications and have the same amount of installation steps. However, it is what you will do during those steps that will affect your efficiency when installing overhead. With the drop-in anchor you will need to hammer the setting tool several times in order to expand the anchor, requiring both hands, one to hold the setting tool and the other to hammer in; this process can be long and tiring especially after installing many fixing points. While the concrete screw will only need you to fix in the screw which will be completed in a matter of seconds! The drop-in anchor will also require you to have the additional setting tool and you will not be able to remove it if your project changes or there has been a mistake.

Overall, the concrete screw provides the best alternative, whenever possible, to using a drop-in anchor, significantly reducing installation time and fatigue when installing overhead on concrete.