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Highly valued by construction workers and craftsmen, a rivet gun is a useful but often an 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 the task can be a challenge. Our top picks will help you decide which rivet gun is right for you.
Astro Pneumatic PR14 Air Riveter
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
Marson Professional Hand Riveter
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
Astro Pneumatic Hand Riveter Kit
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
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 tool, get the Ginour Rivet Nut Tool 3 in 1.
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 2021
- 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.
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