LAST UPDATED: November 21, 2019
Best Rivet Guns: An Efficient Way to Install Riveted Joints
Try riveting joints as an alternative to screws and welding with these top rivet guns
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON November 21, 2019
Highly valued by construction workers and craftsmen alike, a rivet gun is a useful but often overlooked addition to your toolkit. Invaluable when it comes to things like vehicle maintenance, there’s no more efficient way of installing riveted joints.
There are many types and designs of rivet guns on the market, and choosing the best tool for your particular task can be a bit of a challenge. Our top picks will help you decide which rivet gun is right for you.
Electric-powered pneumatic riveter is capable of up to 2,423 pounds of pulling pressure and guaranteed performance at any angle. Includes a quick-release air valve for efficient high-speed work and reduced risk of overloading.
- Includes five different nose pieces in a range of sizes between 1/4 inch and 3/32 inch, which can be stored in the base of the gun
- Needs fairly regular maintenance/oiling for continuous use.
- Jamming issues
This rivet gun has a square shoulder fulcrum pin made out of cold-formed heat-treated steel. The pin does not rotate, causing hole elongation in engaging holes or untimely tool failure in imitation tools. The riveter has four nose pieces (3/32 to 3/16 inches).
- Rivet gun is made from high-strength aluminum alloy and is very durable
- Its upper handle is made from drop forged carbon steel
- Riveter is ideal for aluminum rivets and stainless steel rivets
- Nose pieces may get lodged in the gun, forcing you to remove them with pliers.
- Rivet tool requires a lot of hand strength
This riveter features a tool-less, quick-change head that lets you change mandrels and nose pieces easily by hand. You don't require a disassembly tool because it has a spring-loaded inner hex sleeve that locks the rotation of the mandrel automatically.
- Rivet gun is ideal for modification projects for off-road vehicles
- Short handle features double compound hinges that maximize leverage
- Comes with six mandrel and nosepiece sets and 10 rivet nuts in different metrics
- After a short period of use, the attachments may bend and begin to set the nuts off-center.
- Riveter is smaller than it appears in the image and its handle isn’t very long
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Benefits of Rivet Guns
- Ease of use. It's easy to attach rivets to pneumatic rivet guns. You can attach many rivets in a short period of time without experiencing hand fatigue as you would when using a manual riveting tool. With a manual rivet gun, you have to squeeze the handles together when working and this often causes hand cramps and muscle pain.
- Lightweight construction. Unlike the traditional rivet guns of yesteryear, handheld air rivet guns don't wear out the arms. You can use one for long periods because even the heavy-duty models don’t weigh more than 12 pounds.
- Ideal for remote work. If your job involves driving rivets in the topmost floor of a construction site or far away from civilization, a cordless rivet is the best tool for the job. It will deliver a precision attachment every time. It also has a lower error margin than a manual riveter.
- Enhanced safety. Cables can be a safety hazard not only on a factory floor, but also in any other workstation. A cordless rivet gun simplifies your workspace and improves your safety. It ensures the quality of work is consistent from rivet to rivet.
Types of Rivet Guns
This rivet gun is powered by compressed air and installs blind rivets very quickly. It has a built-in catch and is the fastest of all rivet guns. However, it has one major downside: It requires a hosed connection to compressed air. This makes it less portable and versatile than other rivet guns. If your project requires installing many rivets, this is the best tool for the job.
This riveting tool comes in different varieties. The two most popular types work almost the same way. The first one pulls mandrels into a mandrel holder, which means you only have to empty the catch. The second type spits out the mandrels from the front.
Battery-powered rivet guns do not have cables, so all you need to do is push a button to drive in the rivets. However, the models with a manual catch are usually more expensive than other battery-powered riveters. But you have to be careful not to overload the catch or the rivet gun may jam.
A lever riveter has a nose piece and works with a wide range of rivets. It is more heavy-duty than a hand-powered rivet gun and also user-friendly. Thanks to its lever action and larger size, you don't have to use a lot of physical strength. It may also have a collection bottle that catches snapped mandrels. This type of riveting tool is found on many job sites as it easily installs blind rivets. It is more expensive than a standard hand riveter.
This rivet gun uses a lever and squeeze technique to install rivets. However, you have to choose the right nose piece for the blind rivets you'll be installing. A hand-powered POP rivet gun comes with several nose pieces to fit different blind rivets. It is usually made of steel and features a rubber grip.
This type of rivet gun is ideal for occasional riveting. It takes a longer time to install rivets as you have to squeeze it with your hand. Don't use it for longer riveting projects, as it will stress your hands, wrists, and forearms.
For more than 30 years, this company has been producing innovative aftermarket tools for the military, aerospace, automotive, and medical industries. It is one of the leading names in assembly tooling and connector service. It has a manufacturing facility outside Portland, Oregon and its headquarters are in El Monte, California. If you frequently install rivets, get the Astro Pneumatic Rivet Tool and make your job easier.
SK Hand Tools
Back in the 1900s, the Sherman-Klove company was founded by Noah Grover and H. Sherman Klove. The main reason the company was created was to supply munitions in World War I. However, it soon started making motor housings in a screw machine plant. The company is now known as SK Tools and manufactures products using tough American steel. It has forging facilities in Colorado and is headquartered in Sycamore, Illinois. Its rivet guns, like the Marson Professional Hand Riveter, are very well-rated.
Ginour states that its goal is creating products that inspire its clients to live convenient lifestyles. The company produces hand tools, power tools, automotive tools, home and kitchen tools, and lawn and garden tools. The tools offer top performance and feature innovative technology, ensuring the safety of users. If you're in the market for a hand rivet gun, get the Ginour Hand Rivet Nut Kit.
Rivet Gun Pricing
- $20-$50: Here’s where you’ll find hand-powered rivet guns and lever rivet guns. Some come with different mandrels, rivet nuts, and nose pieces.
- $50-$100: This category consists of pneumatic riveters and some battery-powered rivet guns. The riveters are ideal for automotive and construction assembly work.
Rivet guns are usually made of metal, but the type of metal varies widely. A rivet gun made of iron is very durable but is heavier than a steel riveter. An aluminum riveter is the best as it is strong and lightweight. It also doesn't cause hand fatigue when used for long periods. Some rivet guns are made of heat-treated carbon steel for enhanced durability. Most feature ergonomic, non-slip handles for ease of use.
It's important to choose a rivet gun based on where you'll be using it. For instance, if you will be using it outdoors in a place where there is no access to electricity, you'll require a battery rivet gun or a riveter you can operate with your hand. But it is worth noting that hand-operated rivet guns are only ideal for occasional riveting. If you do your riveting indoors in a factory or an auto shop, get a pneumatic rivet gun which is faster and more efficient.
Nothing determines how comfortable your hand is like the handle of a rivet gun. A riveter with a rubber grip is the most comfortable, especially for people who rivet for long periods. However, air riveters (pneumatic rivet guns) do not require a handle. If your hands have limited strength, get a pneumatic rivet gun. You won't have to pull the trigger every time you're riveting or grip the gun tightly.
- Compatibility with Rivets. Rivets come in a wide range of sizes, so it's important to choose a rivet gun that is compatible with the rivets you will be installing. Some rivet guns are compatible with all types of rivets while some are not. Check the specifications of the riveter before buying.
- Size. Rivet guns usually vary in size, and the size determines how they are used. Small rivet guns are normally used in households and are not suitable for commercial use. Medium-sized and large rivet guns are suitable for use in factories, auto shops, and industrial spaces.
Best Rivet Guns Reviews & Recommendations 2020
This riveter excellently joins plastic or metal sheets together, allowing you to work more efficiently than you would if you were using a MIG welder. It has a high level of pulling pressure (2,423 pounds). That, coupled with its compatibility with different rivet nuts, makes it an all-round riveter ideal for working on a myriad of projects.
If you are a tradesperson looking for a powerful and versatile rivet gun with different nose pieces, this may be the right tool for you. It works very quickly and can install rivets at different angles, which is why it is a favorite among avid DIYers and seasoned professionals. It features a heavy-duty, quick-release air valve which makes it easy to use.
The PR14 is ideal for those tasks that require high-performance tools. It is a versatile workhorse that is capable of tackling rivets that range from 3/32 inches to 1/4 inches.
However, if you plan to use it every day, oil it regularly. If you fail to do this, it may start jamming.
This rivet gun has a slew of features that make it easy for you to complete different types of projects. The features include a square shoulder fulcrum pin that enhances its performance. It also has an easy-to-use handle and is constructed using high-strength aluminum alloy. Its upper handle is made from drop forged carbon steel.
The incredible construction of this rivet gun allows it to outlast many of its competitors. Its ergonomic handle provides a non-slip grip. The handle is made from cushion-molded vinyl for added comfort. The riveter also features a high-quality corrosion-resistant coating. It is ideal for demanding riveting projects and will give you many years of service.
This is a Marson product, a brand known for its installation tools. And while the company makes high-quality tools, this one has a few shortcomings. After a few months of continuous use, the nose pieces may start getting lodged in the gun, forcing you to remove them with pliers. And because the riveter is designed for larger rivets, it calls for a lot of hand strength.
There's the misconception that a rivet gun is only used in fabrication workshops, construction sites, for automotive repair, and in carpentry. This couldn't be further from the truth. Whether you are planning a DIY project or gearing up for a professional contracting job, a rivet gun can be an essential tool. It has become the go-to tool for driving rivets and is affordable, versatile, and easy to use.
If you need a heavy-duty hand riveter, this is a great choice. Astro Tools has designed this riveter with a no-frills design and it features a tool-less, quick-change head so you can easily change mandrels and nose pieces by hand. It comes with different mandrels, nose pieces, and rivet nuts and is quick at driving in rivets. Its short handle maximizes leverage thanks to its double compound hinges. The torque-multiplying hinges also improve the pulling force.
This rivet gun is easy to use and ideal for those who constantly carry out modifications on Jeeps and off-road vehicles. However, the attachments may bend after a short period of use and install rivet nuts incorrectly. The riveter is also smaller than it appears in the picture.
The WETOOLS Rivet Nut Tool is an inexpensive yet powerful device for any amateur or do-it-yourselfer. It features seven interchangeable mandrels all measuring different sizes, making it more versatile and functional. Each mandrel is constructed out of chrome-plated steel, increasing its durability as well. Best of all, they are heat-treated to be more indestructible, and the arm is built out of 45 carbon steel for maximum efficiency. This design also protects it from rusting or corroding if it gets wet or is left out in the rain. You can also conveniently carry the rivet gun and its accessories in a sturdy and rugged carrying case. It works great on tough surfaces such as aluminum.
While the rivet gun does include seven mandrels, it isn’t quite enough to tackle larger, more difficult projects. Professionals may want to steer clear of this rivet gun while those who want to do some work around the house should be fine. It also does not come with a few mandrel sizes as well. It may also be difficult to pack everything back into the case once you are finished using it.
WORKPRO’s Heavy-Duty Rivet Gun is one of the cheapest devices we could find. However, don’t let its low price turn you away, as it is one of the highest-rated rivet guns around. It is built with an infinite transmission that boosts its performance and power ratio up to 40 times, which makes it easier to use and less difficult for you. The body of the rivet gun is developed out of heat-treated carbon steel for added strength. It also extends the lifespan of the tool so you can keep it in the tool chest longer without swapping it out for a new one. It includes five interchangeable nose pieces that can be swapped out quickly and easily, plus 100 rivets.
There have been complaints that the head of the rivet gun is too large, which can make it more difficult to fit into tighter spaces. And, by no means is it built for experts or pros. It’s a tool that fits perfectly at home in the garage or tool chest, but won’t do a professional any good.
The REXBETI Rivet Nut Tool is built for the professional as much as it is for home projects. It is a 14-inch hand driver that includes seven mandrels and 60 rivets. Each mandrel can be swapped out by hand for added convenience. Plus, one of the best features of the gun is its soft rubber handle that increases grip strength. But the grip is only half of what makes the rivet gun so great. When you add on the long double-arm design, you get more power behind each job as well. Another great thing about this gun is its sturdy and portable carrying case that makes it simple to carry around. Plus, it’s easier to store away due to its compact design.
Like with one of our other choices, you get what you get with this rivet gun. There aren’t other mandrels you can use or pair with the tool. Another issue is the longer arms. While they are great at providing extra torque, they can be quite difficult to use in tight spaces like under a car or a small space.
The RZX Rivet Nut Tool measures 16 inches long and comes with a dozen interchangeable mandrels. The tool is cast in carbon steel for added weight, power, and durability when you need to take on the toughest of projects. It’s also rather easy to use and includes long arms that give you extra strength and power, too. It’s a great little tool for working on bikes, furniture, and vehicles. But what makes the RZX model stand out from other rivet guns on the market are its double compound hinges that increase its overall leverage. One of the other great things about the rivet gun is its ability to work on larger-sized nuts. It’s a beast when it comes to taking on tougher jobs.
That being said, it is quite expensive when you compare it to other available rivet guns. It is by no means overpriced, but you will spend a bit more on this than you would our budget choice. One of the other big disappointments with the gun is that it does not come with a case. You have to carry it and its accessories in a bag or a tool chest if you need to lug it around.
There may already be a best value rivet gun on our list, but if you only need the tool for a quick job, you’re better off with the TACKLIFE Rivet Gun. It comes with four swappable rivet heads and a 10-piece aluminum rivet set. But what it lacks in accessories, it makes up for in design. The rivet gun is developed out of a sturdy 1.8 mm thick steel, which helps increase its life. As a more compact tool, it is designed to be used with one hand. Its highly ergonomic shape makes it easier to grip. Plus, with its thermo-plastic rubber grip, your hand won’t hurt. It’s lightweight and built for anyone who is looking to complete a home project.
The tool isn’t the most aggressive when it comes to style or strength, but it can get the most simple job done without issue. There have also been complaints that the rivets may not always separate from the mandrel properly. If this happens, you may have to use a different tool to clip them off.
- Store your riveter safely away from heat and moisture as well as anything that might get stuck in the mechanism or gears. Your rivet gun will benefit from semi-regular maintenance and even occasional oiling. See the product’s instruction manual for more details.
- Riveters are powerful and can cause serious injury if not used properly. Never point a rivet gun at yourself, others, or any living thing.
- Always use your rivet gun in conjunction with the proper safety gear. We recommend equipment that protects your eyes, face, and hands.
Q: What does a rivet gun do?
Sometimes referred to as a pneumatic hammer, a rivet gun is used to make joints in metal and other materials. This involves hammering the head of a rivet into a hole hard enough that the tail is squashed flat and fills the hole.
Q: Can I tighten a rivet once I’ve installed it?
No. Rivets do not work like screws. They should be as tight as they need to be at the point of installation. If a rivet rotates, it is loose and will need removing and replacing.
Q: How do I take out a rivet if I make a mistake?
Removing a rivet is possible but time-consuming, so take care when installing one. This is done by chiseling, drilling, cutting or grinding it out of the metal. Alternatively, you could invest in a rivet removal tool designed for this very purpose.