You don’t hear about the rivet gun as much as you hear about the nail and hammer, but it is just as effective. Even better.
When you have tough joints to make, and what you have in your toolbox just isn’t cutting it, that’s when you turn to riveting.
What is a Rivet Gun?
A rivet gun is known by two other names: Pneumatic hammer or tool and riveter.
This is the tool behind the resilient strength of riveted joints. This bond works like a nail or screw, only that in this case the joined materials are completely sealed from either side, so it is impossible to disassemble this.
A Rivet Gun uses a bucking bar that supports the top of a rivet to push pressure from the hammer to the head and buck or compress the rivet so firmly that it totally seals two materials.
This is most times done with pneumatic (air/gas under pressure) power, which as it turns out is enough to hold two materials with enough strength and efficiency permanently.
And a Rivet?
A rivet is a type of pin or nail that is used to fix something. It holds two things together.
The rivets could be called fixing instruments that allow you to join two or more elements together, could be sheets of wood or metal.
Its structure is a stem and a head larger in diameter than the rest of the rivet. To use it, its stem is brought to what you want to fix and inserted; the head, due to its size, will make sure the joint is strong.
Using rivets to join two elements together is simple and economical. The bond that is formed with rivets is permanent. It cannot be disassembled.
Trying to do that damages it all together. That’s where using screws has an advantage over rivets, because screws can easily be disassembled and put back together. On the other hand, rivets offer greater durability.
There are two major types of rivets: compression and blind. The latter, in turn, are divided into threaded, expanded, one with stretching mandrel, and one with a guided pin.
There are also specific rivets to take note of, they are:
- Open with stem breakage
- Clover type
- High strength
- Expandable T
- High retention.
What is the Rivnut Tool?
A Rivnut is also called a rivet nut, that name is used interchangeably. It is a nut that folds into itself to create a rivet.
This folding is brought about by the action of the rivnut tool (which has other names too: nutsert tool and rivet nut gun).
Top 10 Best Rivet Gun Reviews in 2020
1. Astro Pneumatic Tool 1442 Hand Rivet Kit
The Astro brand is one of the most reliable brands you can get especially in the rivet gun market. For example, the Astro pneumatic tool has been discovered to work incredibly.
The Astro pneumatic tool makes the process of creating joints a very simple process and takes less than a minute to install rivets.
Its design supports mandrel change and other pieces with one hand in a matter of seconds.
Assembling the tool before you use it won’t be necessary. It even comes with a spring-loaded inner hex that locks the rotation when installing.
Using this tool affords you a lot of conveniences, you need little to almost no effort to operate this Astro Hand Riveter. Its ability to work with six different nose pieces from M5 to M8 and 10-24 to 5/16-18 and more is exceptional. You can even buy other separate pieces to use with this tool without worrying about having problems with it.
You should make sure to set the knurled rivet nut before using it, and you will have an excellent tool for fastening and unfastening. And it will never let you down.[amazon box=”B003TODXQW”]
2. Meterk Professional Hand Rod Rivet Gun
The Meterk Professional Hand Rivet Gun has a user-friendly design with a rubber handle that helps support comfort, increases durability and save strength.
The handle and head of the gun are made of high-quality carbon steel which makes it strong enough to perform jobs of great work strength, prevent corrosion and make it much more durable.
The Meterk hand rod rivet comes with a knob design that is found between handles, that helps unloading and loading of threaded rivet nuts quick and easy.
It has an amazing 7 interchangeable spindles (metric M10, M8, M6, M5, SAE 10-24, 1/4-20 and 5/16-18), 35 rivet nuts (5 rivet nuts per spindle), one alloy steel wrench of high quality and one quality toolbox which contains all the accessories and space you need to keep neat and orderly.
It has so many functions like fastening metal plates, cars and trailers. It is also used for furniture repairs and other Do-It-Yourself projects around the home. The wide function and design of this tool make it an extraordinary riveter.[amazon box=”B07L5N9P8W”]
3. REXBETI Professional Rivet Setter Kit
The Rexbeti Professional Rivet Setter Kit provides easy rivet operation with its extended arm and soft rubber handle, which saves labor.
Built from bulky carbon steel and with a beautiful heat-treated finish, you can expect this riveter to be very durable and resist corrosion for a long time.
It comes with an outstanding 6 pieces interchangeable mandrel parts (M6, M8, M8, M10, 1/4-20, 5/16-18, 3/8-16) and an extra 1/4-20 mandrel for replacement. Each of the mandrel sizes has 10 pieces nuts, and all the nuts are parked differently for fast, orderly and easy access. You should note that the M6 mandrel was installed in the gun.
The long arm and rubber handle of the rivet setter kit offers enough force to help you install rivets easily without any unnecessary problems.
The rivet setter kit is extremely portable because all its pieces are packed in a compact carrying case of high strength. This case helps all the tools fit into their respective place to prevent moving around and scraping.
This rivet setter kit is outstanding and very user-friendly.[amazon box=”B07MVXN7LK”]
4. Astro Pneumatic Tool PR14 Air Riveter
This air riveter is one of the most effective options in the industry. You can rest assured that with this riveter, you don’t need much effort to get the job done.
It is capable of offering an outstanding capacity because of its ease of operation and its powerful pulling force of 2,423 lbs.
Its impressive design helps it to do lots of rivets a day without any issue, which is part of the reason why it is used industrially for repair and modification.
The Astro Pneumatic PR14 has outstanding strength for really hard operations by just a pull of the trigger. This tool delivers up to 2,600lbs of power due to its stainless steel build, setting it apart as one of the riveters out there that makes hard jobs easy.
The quick-release valve enables you to save time by allowing you to return almost immediately to the original mode.
You can assemble the tool more effectively and avoid overloading for the same reason.
Only a few pneumatic riveters on the market are as versatile as this one, and it even has storage for 3 nose pieces which makes it an overall convenient product.[amazon box=”B000MQ9H4W”]
5. Marson 39000 HP-2 Professional Hand Riveter
The Marson 39000 HP-2 has been listed as the number one selling hand riveter in the industry by Marson’s website and having heard reviews from expert carpenters, we understand that the website wasn’t exaggerating.
The tool has to handle cushion-molded with vinyl to give a comfortable hand grip and great traction, so you don’t have to worry about slipping and missing your precision shots.
It is manufactured with aluminum alloy for an assured long lifespan and quality. It is specially built for stainless and steel rivets and is exceptionally lightweight (weighing only 1 pound).
This tool has you covered for fixing aluminum and steel rivets from 2/32” – 3/16” and stainless steel joints up to 5/32”, a long shot for other riveters.
- Brand: Sherman
- Model: 39000
- Weight: 1 lbs
6. ARROW Heavy Duty Riveter Kit
The Arrow manual heavy-duty rivet provides you with portable fastening and everything you need to start riveting.
It has four interchangeable heads: 3/26″, 5/32″, 3/32″ and 1/8″. It is also designed to work with 3/32″ to 5/32″ rivet nuts for general rivets jobs. And helps make loading and ejection easy.
It has a fantastic handle that is spring-loaded and makes loading rivets fast and simple. Its rubber handle prevents slip grip during rivet placement.
It’s construction with steel increases it’s lifespan and makes it best for working on heating and cooling ducts. Its length helps you work easier even in hard to reach places, making the tool great for general rivet task such as furniture works.
This powerful riveter kit has 120 rivets of 6 different types, which helps it accommodate various riveting jobs. This kit helps you have the right rivets always, such as the steel rivets for indoors and aluminum rivets which act for both outdoors and indoor tasks.
The kit includes arrow heavy-duty rivet gun and arrow 120 rivets pack. It is important to note that this rivet gun is not recommended for use with 3/16″ (5mm) all-steel rivets. One thing we like about this kit is that it has a one year warranty.[amazon box=”B07GDK8K71″]
7. WORKPRO Heavy Duty Rivet Gun
This rivet is made with thickened heat-treated carbon steel which helps it extends its service longer and makes it more durable.
It firmly holds the rivets in place due to its internal three-jaw steel chuck structure; it also fits rivets that are made from a variety of materials such as stainless steel, iron, and aluminum rivets.
A piece of amazing news is that this rivet gun passed the 3-1/4 foot anti-fall test, which is evidence of its overall excellent quality.
It has 5 interchangeable nose pieces which includes 3/32″(2.4mm), 1/8″(3.2mm), 5/32″(4.0mm), 3/16″(4.8mm), 1/4″(6.4mm).
Four of these nose pieces are located at the grips. It also features a design that allows for fast and simple changing of nose pieces manually. It is important to note that the nose pieces are adjustable for different rivet sizes.
This rivet gun also comes with 100 rivets of 5 different sizes which makes it flexible and great for riveting jobs.
One amazing thing about this rivet gun is that it is designed with infinite transmission to maximize its transmission ratio up to 40 times instead of the normal connecting rod transmission. This design takes the hard work out making it highly efficient and labor-saving.
The user-friendly handle allows you to operate the riveter with ease. It is very portable and can fit into your bag or the pocket of your work clothes.[amazon box=”B07PJQTXRL”]
8. Astro 1423 Heavy Duty Hand Riveter
Studies have shown that Astro riveters are among the best riveters in the market, and the 1423 heavy-duty hand riveter is not left out.
It is much more comfortable and easier to use, providing exceptional leverage for stronger performance than most. It is shorter than other options seen in the market by 40%, especially 1/4 inches ones.
Its small makeup gives you the required results in areas you find hard to reach.
When it comes to flexibility, you can easily make changes where required while doing joints. You will find this very helpful when you’re pressed for time.
It was designed to be adaptable so that you can get outstanding results with little or no mistakes with this high-accuracy riveter.
The more exciting news is that you can use this riveter with any kind of rivet, including the 1/8, 3/32, 3/16, 1/4, etc, and almost any kind of material, from stainless, aluminum to similar metals.
Adding the drill adapter which can be bought separately would give you a very effective and versatile riveter.[amazon box=”B0039697ME”]
9. TACKLIFE HHR1A Pop Rivet Gun
One of the tools ranked at the top of the list of making life easier for people, Tacklife HHR1A Pop Rivet Gun has a unique shape and design.
It is built in such a way that rivets can be changed faster with little or no effort and also reach areas which are tough to work on.
The riveter has a body made of 1.8mm thick steel which enhances its body strength, making it suitable for professional use and modification for cars and motorbikes.
The tool does not need disassembling. It is spring-loaded in its inner hex sleeve, making it automatically lock in the rotation of hand-installed mandrels. We can’t begin to tell you how this makes the whole riveting process much easier.[amazon box=”B086WMGS76″]
10. Milwaukee Electric Tools 2550-20 M12 Rivet Tool (Bare Tool)
The Milwaukee rivet gun is one of a kind because it is known to be powerful, easy to grip and versatile. It was designed for professional domestic tasks.
It has a user-friendly design that will let you work for as long as you intend to without wearing you out.
Features such as easy to work with, comfortable to hold and its rubber grip which fits into any hand cozily make using this tool not only convenient but just pure joy.
This rivet tool can be used for a wide range of projects ranging from metal roofing, fixing number plates to the fastening of joints through sheeting, and it displays incredible strength for pulling and riveting.
There is an LED light on the base in case you are working late and don’t have much ambient lighting.
With this tool, expect to access light spaces easily because its 6.5″ length makes it very compact.
The assembly of the tool is solid, so you can expect it to last a very long time. The belt clip it comes with tops it all. It is the reason why this is a super cool tool you can get along on your side.[amazon box=”B07C67BGVJ”]
Things to Consider Before Buying a Rivet Gun
There are many rivet guns on the market. If you don’t know exactly what you want to do with it and the nature of your project, you may end up getting confused because of so many choices.
That is the whole point behind this guide, we will help you choose wisely.
Before you buy a rivet gun:
1. What Type of Rivet Gun Should You Get?
For any different purposes, there are different types of rivet guns. Do you want the pneumatic type or the blind rivet gun? How are they different?
Let’s digress into types of rivet guns before coming back to our considerations, okay?
As the name implies, this is a riveter operated with one hand. The plus side is that you need only one hand and one strike to use this to install rivets. It is designed to be small and comfortable, to be used on small projects.
Pop/Blind Rivet Gun
This is the most common one available on the market. It uses gears and some hand-action to install rivnuts.
You will find this useful when you are working on projects where only one side is accessible.
This one relies on the power of pressurized air/gas. It is accurate and comfortable to use.
These ones are also divided into two main groups:
a. Manual pneumatic riveters: they are those that are light, operated by hand and are very simple to use.
There are different models. Depending on the model, some come with a nail collection cup, stem suction system, with rivet counter and a cycle counter, etc.
Also, depending on the model, the nozzles can be changed, which allows us to use rivets of different sizes.
Likewise, there are more efficient pneumatic riveters, since they use less air.
Also, depending on the manufacturer and the model, some riveters are built to be lighter than others. These types of riveters are of the industrial type.
b. Bench- and foot-operated pneumatic riveters: they are of greater size and their weight can be upwards of 60 kg. These ones are also used industrially and cannot be carried around.
As the name implies, they are usually subject to a workbench, or standing, are attached to the floor.
These are just for knowledge sake, we are not talking about those industrial-grade riveters in this article.
2. What Material is it Made Of?
You want your tools to be durable and last a long time in service, so the material it is made of is very important.
Experts recommend that you go for those ones made of iron, they are light but at the same time very strong.
You can always choose those guns made from iron and steel; they can perform okay but not as strong as the option we recommend.
3. What Size is Compatible with Your Project?
Rivet guns come in several sizes from 3/14” to 6/18”. But sometimes you might not be sure of what you should be looking for.
In those cases, opt for versatile rivet guns. They are compatible with almost all rivet sizes.
If you are working in hard-to-reach areas, the size of your riveter becomes very important. Size and strength go hand-in-hand. If you want to work on a large project, choose the professional-sized rivet guns.
On the other hand, a small riveter will go well with smaller projects where strength isn’t necessary.
4. How Easy is it to Use?
This can always affect your productivity.
If you get a rivet gun that doesn’t fit into your project’s geometry or doesn’t fit perfectly in your hands, you might get tired too quickly.
If you get the right size for you and your project, you will find joy in your work. If you want a firm grip, pay attention to the riveter’s handles.
Rubber handles are comfortable and have a nice grip and afford you maximum leverage.
Why Do You Need a Rivet Gun?
The reason why using rivets as your joining system trumps the others is that it’s economical, we’ve already mentioned this. But that’s not all.
Do you know that if you want to join two pieces of different materials even when only one of those pieces is visible, you can do that easily with rivets?
Think of all the other times situations like this gave you a headache.
You can do this in many different ways, so you can get whatever results you require, even making it aesthetically pleasing.
How does a Pneumatic Rivet Gun Work?
The pneumatic riveters are used to assemble or join two pieces, with a single rivet. It involves very strong pressure so that both pieces are put together very tightly.
If in any case, you want to join pieces on both sides, a solid rivet is made. On the other hand, a blind rivet is used when the piece is being joined to a solid side since you will have to add an extra piece to the mouth of the riveter.
The pneumatic riveters, mostly industrial, are usually very light and use air pressure to achieve efficient results.
To be honest, rivets are not that great all the time. In fact, although they are a fairly secure fastening mechanism, rivets can fail when they are crushed or when they break.
In those cases, the link between the fixed elements will be broken since the rivet cannot serve its function.
Some of the cons of using rivets are:
- The union that is achieved cannot be disassembled, which makes it difficult and even prevents you from correctly maintaining and cleaning the part.
- It is not a good alternative when working with thick pieces.
How to remove a rivet if I drive it wrong?
Whether it was a pneumatic rivet or hand rivet, these tips will help you remove a rivet if you drove it in the wrong:
Grinding: You can grind off a large chunk of a wrongly placed rivet with a grinder or grinding wheel. Then use a hammer and a punch to push it out of the hole. Ensure that you take special care not to damage the surface of the material the rivet is attached to.
This hole is called a starter hole; it will help guide the drill bit. Then use a drill bit which is one size smaller than the rivet and drill out the remaining part of the rivet.
Make sure the drill goes into the center of the pin, that way the rivet hole won’t get any bigger.
Then change the drill bit to one that is the same size as the rivet pin and drill out the rivet pin. It is now you can put a new rivet pin in its place.
Chiselling: You can chisel rivets out of its hole. You do this by shearing off the head of the rivet with a chisel placed flush with the surface of the riveted material.
Then hammer the chisel to get under the rivet head. After this, use a punch to pull out the pin of the remaining rivet.
Rivet removal tool: There is a special rivet removal tool for removing rivets that have been installed incorrectly.
First of all, find a drill bit that’s the same size as the rivet you want to remove.
Most rivet removal tools come with a lot of different drill bit sizes.
Once you attach the proper drill bit size to the drill, slide the guide and bits into the right position on the removal tool.
Adjust the drill depth so that when the drill is turned on only the rivet will be removed, and then drill out the rivet.
Safety Considerations When Using a Rivet Gun
It’s easy to use rivets, so easy that even injuring yourself or damaging something else in the process happens easily as well.
There are certain rules you can follow to make sure that you don’t injure your hand with the riveter or you don’t damage the riveter (or any other thing) while using it.
Some common safety rules for using a rivet gun are:
- Read the instruction manual that comes with the riveter you bought. Manufacturers have anticipated almost all the ways riveting could go wrong and have written down ways to avoid them in the manual. Make sure to read it before using the tool. Also, note that not all rivet guns are the same so that manufacturers might have different safety instructions for different models. Make sure you read the user manual of the rivet gun you are about to use.
- Do not use your riveter near flammable substances or combustible materials. A heavy-duty rivet gun could spark, and this could lead to an explosion if flammable materials are too close.
- As with any other instances of doing this kind of work, wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Protect your hand, eye and your face while working. Good safety gloves and protective goggles are absolutely necessary.
- At no point in time should you point a riveter at animals, other people or yourself! You could sustain serious injuries (some life-threatening) and also do the same to others if the rivet gun fires up.
- Do not wear loose clothing, or wear your hair long. They could get in the way of eyesight as well as the rivet gun itself, which most likely will turn out to be dangerous to you, your work or others.
Should You use protective equipment to operate a rivet gun?
Rivet guns are used to install rivets into metals, so you should expect them to carry a lot of power and sometimes shoot off some debris. Always wear PPEs when working with rivet guns to keep yourself safe. We discussed this in much detail above, but here’s a summary:
- Read the instruction manual that comes with the riveter you bought
- Do not use your riveter near flammable substances or combustible materials
- Always wear personal protective equipment (PPEs)
- At no point in time should you point a riveter at animals, other people or yourself
- Do not wear loose clothing, or wear your hair long.
Frequently Asked Questions about Rivet Guns
Here are detailed answers to most of the questions customers ask about rivet guns and riveting:
Rivet guns are used to drive rivets into two elements (wood or metal) to join them together.
Your rivet’s diameter should always be three times the thickness of the two elements you are trying to fasten together. That means if you are joining two 1/20” thick sheets of metal, the diameter of the rivet should be 3 * 1/20 = 3/20 inch (or 0.15 inch). For this case, you will need a 5/32” rivet.
Blind rivets are driven into tight holes which cross the two sheets of materials being joined.
You use blind riveters in joints where only one side is reachable. Hence, the “blind” in the name.
The thickness of the materials you’re attaching has to be equal to the length of the rivet you are using.
It happened that you installed a rivet, but it didn’t fit right. There are a few ways you can remove an undesired rivet:
-Drill it, or
-Use nose pliers to pull it off the surface.
Your rivet gun will get jammed if you use rivets that are too strong or too weak for it. To avoid this happening again or fix the problem, try removing the rivet with a plier. Then make sure you use the right type of rivet for the gun.
You can never use rivets or nose pieces again after the first use. They are always damaged after using it the first time.
Your rivet is not supposed to rotate. They are meant to be fixed, tight and not moving at all. If they are rotating, it means they are loose.
No, you cannot tighten a rivet. They are meant to be fixed tight when they are installed. Some people try to tighten their rivets by hammering them; this will affect the integrity of the rivet over time. Make sure to fix your rivets correctly, and always use the proper sizes.
Your rivet should be as long as the two sheets you’re riveting are thick. That means it should be enough to penetrate the materials from one end to the other.
Many times we find ourselves struggling with the wrong tools. This doesn’t make you a bad worker. It happens to the best of us; being swayed by amazing ads is almost unavoidable.
But once you get your hands on the right tools, all of a sudden you’ll feel like a legend on the workbench.
If you want to feel like a legend getting amazing results with your riveting projects, you need the best quality rivet gun for your specific need at that point in time.
Whenever you are choosing a rivet gun to buy, make sure you always bear in mind what you need to use it for.
Our expert review on the top riveters available in the market will direct you to exactly what you should use for your project.
With that, and the helpful tips and FAQs, you can rest assured that your perfect product is on this list.