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Rivet guns don’t always make it into the average tool kit. It’s a shame as they are incredibly useful when trying to install tough joints between metal sheeting, which makes them invaluable on construction sites but also in general vehicle upkeep.
In this guide to the best rivet guns, we cut through the overwhelming amount of products available so that you can purchase a rivet tool that best suits your needs. There are a variety for sale that range from a blind rivet gun to a pop rivet gun to even a pneumatic rivet gun. We go through the different types to help you choose a rivet tool that is most appropriate for your needs.
The Best Rivet Gun
This is a great rivet gun due to its clever design, which makes it easy to use. It’s a pneumatic rivet gun, and it can be very powerful, but what we love about it is that disassembly of the tool is never needed due to the spring-loaded inner hex sleeve that automatically works to lock the rotation of the hand-installed mandrel.
It has a quick-change head, so users can change the nose pieces and mandrels very quickly with their hands.
Shorter handles to maximize leverage with double compound hinges
6 interchangeable mandrel or nosepiece sets
10 pieces of 6 different rivet size
- BrandAstro Pneumatic Tool
- Weight5 pounds
This is a good value rivet tool that can be used easily at home and by novice users due to its good leverage. It is sturdy despite the low price because of its strong material construction.
It fits a variety of rivets, which also come as standard with the tool, so users can start to work with their cordless rivet gun as soon as they receive it.
Offers good value for money
Comes with five different sized nose pieces and five different rivet sizes
- Weight3.2 pounds
This rivet tool is highly durable and very straightforward to use. It fits steel and aluminum rivets from 3/32 inch to 3/16 inch and stainless steel rivets up to 5/32 inch.
It also has a feature that you don’t often see. It has a square shoulder fulcrum pin that is made from cold formed steel that is also heat treated. This is important as it means that it can prevent pin rotation so that users can be safe against hole elongation or even premature tool failure.
Cushion moulded handles
Aluminum alloy body
Square shoulder fulcrum pin designed to stop pin rotation
- Weight1 pounds
This is an excellent example of a highly affordable cordless rivet gun. Made by Tekton, this allows users to install rivets efficiently through its easy to use design that includes non slip handles that allow for the greatest leverage. This means that it is suitable for everyone.
Securing sheet metal or heavy fabric quickly becomes a painless task therefore and many users employ it to repair bodywork on their cars. It comes with three rivet heads which are kept in the handle for quick access and easy storage.
This is a very strong and reliable hand rivet gun that comes with 40 rust proof rivets too.
Non slip handle grips
Comes with rust proof aluminium rivets
Rivet heads and wrench can be stored in handles
- Weight1.45 pounds
This rivet press is able to be used on even the busiest of construction sites. It is a quality tool to add to anyone’s tool kit therefore and is straightforward to use as well. It is possible to use this rivet press tool with ⅛ inch, 5/32 inch and 3/16 inch rivets.
What marks it apart from many other rivet tools is that it uses stainless steel rivets which means that it can even be used in marine applications. It also comes with a helpful removable ejector spring.
Die cast metal construction for longevity
Uses stainless steel rivets to allow for marine applications
- Weight1 pounds
This hand riveter from Astro has extra long handles that really help ever single users, regardless of their strength, get some leverage so that installing many rivets is always easy. For something that is so heavy duty and durable, it is also very reasonable priced.
It is also very comfortable to use despite being such a powerful piece of equipment. This is down to the moulded plastic handles. It’s an important design feature as it allows users to install several rivets in the same session with this example of an excellent rivet tool.
Designed with a plastic container for the waist
Extra long handles
Comes with five nose pieces ranging from ⅛ inch to ¼ inch
- BrandAstro Pneumatic Tool
- Weight4 pounds
Campbell Hauser have made an excellent example of a pop rivet tool and this is easily in the running for the best pop rivet gun on the market. It is incredibly strong so can be used on the most difficult projects in either cars or other vehicles, and even for construction work.
In terms of pull, it can produce up to 2000 pounds which is a massive amount, but importantly it allows users to get on with their projects quickly and safely. They can be confident in the quality of their end work.
Hardened steel jaws to allow for high quality installation of rivets
Can be used in even the toughest of jobs as it produces 2000 pounds of pull
Air rivet gun that is suitable for automotive and construction work
- BrandCampbell Hausfeld
- Weight3.88 pounds
This impressive set of rivets and hand rivet tool is an extremely capable cordless rivet gun. Its sturdy design allows for rivets to be installed in the most difficult of spots or places. Plus, it helpfully has a quick change head design so that users can switch mandrels and nose pieces by hand.
Additionally, the whole pack comes with a handy storage case so that all the many rivets and the various nose pieces can be put away easily and in an orderly fashion so that it is quick to use from the outset the next time it comes to be used.
Ergonomically designed handles
Pumping rod between handles to help with loading of thread rivet nuts
Comes with 7 mandrels and 35 rivets in different sizes
- Weight2.4 pounds
This hand riveter from Malco is an excellent purchase for those who need a simple-to-use, hand-operated rivet gun in their tool kit. The design allows for enough pulling power to set the most popular-sized rivets available.
It’s made from heavy-duty steel so it is durable with a long life. The handles are cushioned in red vinyl for comfortable use. The outside jaw grip adjustment wheel is a good feature that opens and closes with ease.
Allows for one handed riveting
Can set larger diameter rivets
Nose pieces stored in handle for easy storage
- Weight1.25 pounds
This air rivet gun tool comes packed with additional parts so that it should answer all your riveting needs. It is perfect for those that want to do some auto body repair work as it is a very efficient air riveter when using the regular rivets. Users can employ this air rivet gun in many directions, including upside down which increases it uses.
The rivet gun itself is also very easy to use and can be used even with low pressure. It is an excellent value piece of equipment to add to any tool kit.
Powerful pop rivet gun
Allows for high speed production
Air relief valve prevents overloading
- Weight6 pounds
Best Rivet Gun Buying Guide & FAQ
What is Riveting?
Before buying a rivet gun, it is a good idea to know exactly what riveting is in the first place so that you can make sure that you definitely need a rivet gun at all. In short, a rivet is a form of permanent fastening. A rivet itself is metal and is made up of a cylinder that has a head on just one of the ends. The end without a head is known as the rivet’s tail.
To install a rivet, the rivet is put into an already made hole and then the tail end of the rivet is bucked. This means that it actually gets bigger so that the rivet is held in place. Bucking the rivet essentially means that by hitting the head, the tail actually becomes bigger as the rivet is being hit so hard that the tail end is flattening.
When the rivet has been installed, tension loads can be supported by it as there are two head ends in the now dumbbell shaped rivet. It can also take loads that are at right angles to it, which is a rivet’s primary purpose.
What to Consider When Buying a Rivet Gun
While the use of a rivet tool is easy and straightforward, with little to no specialist training needed, there are still a number of things to consider before you buy a rivet gun. Firstly, you should really think about the amount of rivets you will want to install and how frequently. This will have a big bearing on the product you buy in terms of cost but also in terms of different features that you will want to see in your chosen rivet gun - ie whether you want a pneumatic pop rivet gun or a blind rivet gun amongst others.
Additionally, have a long think about where you will be using your rivet gun. For example, if you out in the open air with no access to electricity, you will need a battery operated riveter or a least a riveter that can be operated by hand. However, this obviously has repercussions on the amount of rivets you will be able to install. If you are inside, in a factory for example, a pneumatic rivet gun would be better as it is faster and far more efficient, especially when the repeat setting is used.
Benefits of Riveted Joints
There are a whole host of benefits to employing the use of a riveted joint, which is why they are so commonly used in so many common situations. The benefits of them are:
- Being far more reliable than typical welded joints when it comes to be exposed to vibrations, shocks and impacts.
- Non ferrous metals can be used to make a riveted joint as well as non metal materials. This means that far more materials can be used like aluminium alloy, plastic, brass, asbestos or copper.
- There is no after effect from heat as no heat was ever used to create the joint making it much more stable and reliable.
- It is easy to see whether a riveted joint has been installed properly and can be used.
- Dismantling a riveted joint results in the component parts being less damaged than when a welded joint is taken apart.
Different Types Of Rivet Guns
One of the reasons there are so many rivet guns on the market is that there are so many different types of rivet guns available to purchase. They are:
- A standard riveter. This is a very basic tool with two handles. It has a number of changeable nozzles so that users can install all different sizes of rivets.
- Two handed riveter or long arm riveter. Long arm riveters give users a greater amount of leverage for when they need to install bigger rivets. They also, obviously, have longer arms than the standard models so have a greater reach available to users. This can make installation easier as well as having two handles which enables users to squeeze the riveter which results in the application of more pressure.
- Lazy tong riveter. This curiously named rivet gun has a body that is able to extend due to the lattice work of metal that it is formed from. Users need to pull and push the handles open and closed so that they insert the rivet.
- Long nose riveter. Ths long nose that this rivet gun comes with can come in handy if you need to install rivets in recessed areas.
How to Use a Pop Riveter
Using a pop rivet gun is easy when you know how, which is fantastic news given how useful pop rivets and a pop rivet tool can be. Above, we have listed a few of the best pop rivet guns, but here we look at how to use them.
- Drill two pieces of metal or plastic to a size that is ever so slightly bigger than the rivet.
- Pass the pop rivet through the holes in both sheets.
- Use the rivet gun to push the pin in by squeezing the handles together.
Best Rivet Gun FAQ:
Q: What is a rivet gun?
A: A rivet gun is also sometimes known as a pneumatic hammer. It is used to install rivets which are a form of joint in various carpentry and metal work projects. They work by hammering the large head end of a rivet into a hole at such a force that the tail, or narrow end, is flattened out to fill the hole it was initially placed in. The force is large in all rivet guns, but especially ones that are pneumatically powered.
Rivet guns themselves can vary in shapes and sizes, like a pneumatic pop rivet gun versus a simple blind rivet gun. They also come with a variety of handles, all of which are suitable for different uses. The aforementioned pneumatically powered ones also come with a regulator so that the amount of air that enters the tool can be controlled. The user then controls this with the trigger in the handles. It activates the piston which works back and forth to hit the rivet head that then works in conjunction with the bucking bar to flatten the tail of the rivet.
Q: Should I use protective equipment to operate a rivet gun?
A: Given that a pop rivet gun is a tool that is used to install rivets into metal, they are very powerful pieces of equipment so we should all be wearing protective gear to ensure our safety at all times. In addition to this, there are number safety precautions we should take on board.
For instance, users should ensure that they have thoroughly read the instruction manual before they start using their rivet gun - even if they have used other rivet guns before. Each gun will vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer so users need to be aware of any differences.
In terms of protective equipment that should be worn, remember that safety goggles are an absolute must so that your eyes will always be protected from flying particles or debris. In addition to goggles, users should make sure that they wear gloves as well as a jacket. Anyone that is in the same working environment should wear the same kit too, even if they are not operating the gun itself. Avoid wearing loose clothing too as this can get in the way of eyesight as well as the gun itself. Long hair, as a consequence, should be tied back.
Other safety precautions to take are, not to use your gun in the presence of explosive materials. Lastly, always point the gun away from yourself as well as other people and when you are finished using it, store it in a safe place.
Q: Does my riveter need any servicing?
A: Rivet guns should have regular services by a trained professional. Rivet guns can cause a lot of damage if they are not performing correctly, but they are also a piece of kit that should only ever be serviced by an experienced mechanic.
Q: How to remove a rivet if I drive it wrong?
A: There are a number of ways to remove a rivet if you drive it into a hole incorrectly, regardless of whether you have used a hand rivet gun or a pneumatic model
You can remove rivets with a grinder and drill by grinding off as big an amount of the wrongly placed rivet as possible using the grinder and grinding wheel. Care needs to be taken here though that the metal around the rivet is not damaged. Then use a hammer and punch to push or hit the pin part of the way through the rivet. This is a starter hole that will help guide the drill bit. Then, obtain a drill bit that is a whole size smaller than the rivet itself. It is now that you can drill out the last remaining part of the rivet pin. By ensuring that the drill goes right into the center of the pin, the hole won’t get any bigger. The last part of this method is to change the drill bit to a size that is the same as the rivet and then drill out the rivet pin. You can then replace with a new rivet.
You can also remove rivets with a chisel. This can be done by literally shearing of the head of the rivet when a chisel is placed flush with the metal surface the rivet has been forced into. Hammer the end of the chisel so that it starts to work under the rivet head. A punch can be used to pull out the pin of the rivet that is left.
Lastly, if a rivet has been installed incorrectly, it can be removed with a specialised rivet removal tool. You will need a drill bit the same size as the rivets you are using, though most rivet removers come with a variety of drill bit sizes. Attach the appropriate sized one to your drill and slide the guide and bits in to the correct position on the rivet remover. Start to adjust the drill depth so that when it is turned on, only the rivet is removed. Then, simply drill out the rivet.
Our Top Pick
Astro Pneumatic Tool 1442 13" Hand Rivet Nut Setter Kit - Metric & SAE W/ 60pc Rivnuts
Of all the rivet tools on the market, be they a blind rivet gun or a pneumatic pop rivet gun, this is by far our most favored model. We love its ability to have its nose oieces and mandrels changed quickly as well as the sheer amount of power that it has.
Users will not be disappointed when the purchase, quite simply, the best rivet gun on the market.