Join 350,000 subscribers and get a daily digest of news, articles, and more.
If you install joints through sheet metal or other uncompromising materials for DIY jobs, you likely know how difficult it can be without the right tool. Check out these top-rated rivet nut tools to simplify your next project.
Buying Guide for Rivet Nut Tools Our Picks for the Best Rivet Nut Tools Final Thoughts
Zachary McCarthy is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. He has a bachelor's degree in English from James Madison University and experience in blogging, copywriting, and WordPress design and development. In his free time, he can be found frying up Tangsuyuk or watching Korean films and MMA events. Read more...
Ellie Miller is a full-time copy editor and occasional writer for LifeSavvy’s reviews articles. With years of experience in substantive and copy editing, proofreading, and publishing, she has edited thousands of online articles, as well as memoirs, scientific essays, book chapters, and workplace training documents. She hopes you’ll find some new favorite products here on LifeSavvy like she has. Read more...
Rivet nut tools are great for those who regularly undertake automotive or construction projects that require riveted joints. Since rivet nuts do not require welding to adhere to a workpiece, they can be used on various materials.
Why buy a rivet nut tool?
Rivet nut tools are incredibly effective at fastening different materials to one another, especially when the back of an installation is inaccessible. When one understands this, it is easy to see why they are necessary for DIY mechanics and those who work on large machines. Despite their incredible versatility, rivet nut tools are often straightforward to use and feature lightweight designs that minimize strain.
What should you look for in a rivet nut tool?
What are the different types of rivet nut tools?
Rivet nut tools usually utilize one of four primary designs: hand-powered, lever, battery-powered, and pneumatic. Hand riveters are the least heavy-duty style of the bunch but can still be a cost-effective option for DIYers to lay relatively small rivets in less demanding materials. However, they also require the most strain on the part of the user. Levered rivet nut tools work with a wider array of rivets and are suitable for some heavy-duty applications while minimizing user force. Finally, battery-powered and pneumatic rivet nut tools are the best options for driving rivets on a job site. They require the least work on the part of the user but need a battery or compressed air in order to function. If your task requires a lot of rivets as quickly as possible, add one of these tools to your toolbox.
This tool features mandrels that can be removed by hand and comes with 70 rivet nuts.
Pros: For the DIYer who doesn’t sit around using rivet nut tools all day but needs something reliable when the occasion warrants, this WETOLS 14-inch Rivet Nut Tool is an incredibly reliable tool for the price. Featuring durable, corrosion-resistant steel construction that holds up against flexing during applications, this tool is easier on the hands than similarly-priced models. It comes with enough mandrels and rivet nuts to get you going on a variety of projects and includes a handy carrying case that makes organizing your gear a piece of cake.
Cons: While this is a great tool overall, there are a couple of issues that might not be ideal for newbies. First off, the instructions that come with this product aren’t very helpful, so it might be useful to seek out videos online if you are confused about how to use this product. Additionally, exchanging thread sizes can be a little tricky due to some sharp threading.
Bottom Line: In terms of build quality and reliability, this rivet nut tool from WETOLS outperforms much pricier products, making it a great choice for those who need a rivet nut tool to simplify their auto repairs. That being said, those seeking a product that’s ready for heavy-duty applications will likely need to look elsewhere.
This rugged rivet nut adapter is a great time-saver that is tailor-made for demanding applications.
Pros: Featuring a sturdy aluminum body that holds up well to frequent use, the Astro Pneumatic ADN14 Rivet Nut Drill Adapter Kit is a must-have for DIYers who frequently undertake projects that require setting a ton of rivet nuts. This versatile adapter stands out for pulling rivet nuts in order to set them, which limits the amount of wear and tear it’ll experience with prolonged use. It also allows you to work in tighter spaces than your average lever rivet nut tool, assuming your drill sports a fairly compact design. If you’re seeking to limit the strain on your arm while getting the job done as quickly as possible, give this rivet nut adapter a try.
Cons: This adapter requires a drill with a torque-limiting clutch, but even if you have this, it can be tricky to find the sweet spot to prevent stripping the threading on your rivet nuts. For this reason, you’ll want to set some practice rivets before you use this tool for its intended application.
Bottom Line: Setting hundreds of rivet nuts with a lever-style river nut tool is a time-consuming task that’ll take a surprising toll on your body. Consider investing in this adapter if you have a drill ready for the job and desire the ability to set hundreds of rivet nuts without the project taking all day.
This pneumatic rivet nut tool is easy to use thanks to its intuitive, lightweight design.
Pros: Featuring an easy-to-use design that can be utilized for applications with minimal clearance, the KIARUO Pneumatic Rivet Nut Gun is a great choice for those who prefer working with pneumatic tools. This rivet nut gun is easy to operate thanks to its intuitive forward and reverse buttons and quick-change head. Although this tool is rugged enough for steel rivets, it’s also quite light, making it a stellar option for those who anticipate prolonged use.
Cons: Unlike some other pneumatic rivet nut guns, this one isn’t compatible with stainless steel rivets. Also, it’s fairly expensive compared to lever rivet nut tools, so if you don’t plan on getting a lot of use out of this product, you should probably save some money and opt for a more cost-effective model.
Bottom Line: While KIARUO is not a brand that most people will be familiar with, their rivet nut gun competes well with pricier rivet nut guns from major brands. Although this is not an ideal product for heavy-duty applications, it’s a great option for those who wish to lay steel rivets as efficiently as possible.
This rivet nut tool kit features a toolless quick-change head design and includes six interchangeable mandrel sets.
Pros: This rivet nut tool from Astro Pneumatic features a rugged design that allows you to get the most out of its torque-multiplying hinges, making it much easier to use than standard single-hand models and even most lever-style rivet nut tools. It also sports a spring-loaded inner hex sleeve and shortened handle for maximum leverage in confined spaces. This kit also supplies 10 pieces each of its six rivet nut sizes, giving buyers a lot of options in terms of application. While it’s a little on the pricey side, its tool’s durability and high-quality rivet nuts make it an excellent choice for those seeking an all-in-one option.
Cons: Like most levered rivet nut toolkits, the rivet nut tool included here requires careful use since its arms do not operate in perfect tandem. Thus, maintaining a perpendicular approach is imperative for a clean installation. It’s also worth noting that this tool is more expensive than some comparable models, despite including fewer mandrel options. But in terms of quality, it’s still a great value for the price.
Bottom Line: Astro Pneumatic is perhaps the most recognizable name on the market for rivet nut tools, and this high-quality kit is a great starting point for those seeking their first rivet nut tool. While this product will likely cost you a few extra bucks compared to similar kits, it’s a small price to pay for such a durable and high-quality tool.
This budget-friendly rivet nut tool stands out for its ergonomic design and unbeatable price point.
Pros: If you want to add a light-duty rivet nut tool to your toolbox, this one from RZX is a reliable option for small aluminum rivet nuts. This budget-friendly tool holds up quite well with prolonged use and sports an ergonomic design that is easy to grip. While it’s not suitable for heavy-duty applications, it inserts aluminum rivet nuts like a dream, which is all you can expect for the asking price.
Cons: This is a product suitable for light-duty applications, so those expecting to utilize steel rivet nuts with it will end up with shattered expectations and possibly a damaged tool. That being said, it does what it’s designed to do for a fraction of the cost of comparable hand riveters.
Bottom Line: While this tool won’t last very long if you’re frequently testing its limits, it’s still a great option for the occasional light-duty application. Due to its compact design, it’s also handy for when your go-to rivet nut tool lacks the clearance to set a rivet nut. That being said, DIYers looking to quickly set steel rivet nuts will need to seek out a more heavy-duty product to meet their needs.
Rivet nut tools can simplify a vast array of DIY jobs, but not every tool will be up to the task. Be sure to do your research to find the best product tailor-made for the applications you have in mind.
This is no ordinary newsletter.