Best Rivnut® Tool

Worker builders at facade tile installation

This article contains affiliate links that generate a commission for this website. 

If you’re a metal worker or just a hobbyist who often find themselves working with metal than a rivet nut tool should always be close on hand.

Rivet tools help hold thin pieces of metal together. They are commonly used in aviation when working on busses by automobile enthusiasts to modify their vehicles. These small guns are capable of squeezing together pieces of sheet metal to insert a threaded cylinder for a bolt.

Also called Rivnut® or Nutsert® tools, you’ll learn everything about Rivnut® tools in this guide. Here we will give you a cross-section of some of the variants on the market today along with a brief buying guide on how this tool works and what to look for when purchasing one.

PRO TIP: Use This Tool To Make Drilling Rivnut Holes Easy

When you are installing Rivet Nuts, you need to drill the hole first. Any drill bit can be used.

However, one of the easiest hacks I have come across is this step drill bit. It has the sizes pre-marked on it and comes with a magnet card that correlates with the Rivet Nut sizes. Just slap that magnet anywhere it is convenient and store this bit with the Rivet Nut tool that you buy separately (I review those below).

This is solid steel, CNC-machined bit. It seems to be highly accurate on the sizing, and punched through thick aluminum with ease.

I don’t like to fight with my projects, and sorting through a set of drill bits to find one that it “almost right” and then spend the res of the project fighting with it, just seems like too much work for me. The time I save in being able to drill the right hole every time makes this worth it for me.


Astro 1442 Pneumatic Tool

product image of Astro 1442

This device is excellent for a multitude of applications, whether it is bicycles, body panels, or firewall additions. This tool has been designed to cut back on sweat with its torque hinges – this design multiplies your pulling force considerably, allowing you for a fastener device that gets the job done right every time. Included in this kit is a heavy-duty setting, which will enable you to interchange based on ten different metric sizes.

Despite a design intended to reduce the workload of the user, some have complained that it still requires far too much effort to get an adequate rivet hole. The reason for this is that the tool, when shipped, is completely dry. Applying just a small bit of grease at each of the pivot points will significantly reduce any strain on the user. It is recommended not to pull too hard as this tool has more than enough leverage to break itself.

Overall, this hand tool is less intended for delicate work like circuit boards and designed with tougher jobs like sheet metal. As far as installation tools go, this is a solid pick for an extremely reasonable price.

Pros

  • Toolless Quick Change Head
  • Automatic Rotation Lock
  • Interchangeable Mandrel

Cons

  • Requires Lubrication Before Use

Astro 1427 Powered Rivet Nut Tool

product image of Astro 1427

The Astro 1427 combines the advantages of a drill with the versatility of other rivet nut models. You can expect your rivets to last much longer as this model is specifically designed to pull instead of turn the threads in, creating a more secure bond.

The durability of this device is nothing to sneeze at either as it is composed of a billet aluminum body that can withstand tremendous pressure.

Compatible with most corded and cordless drills alike. For aluminum and stainless steel rivets, it is recommended to use a drill with a minimum 12V of power. Included in with this tool are eight mandrels and nosepieces in metric. Larger size mandrels are available such as M8, M10, 5/16-18, and 3/8 – 16.

Despite its body toughness, the quality of the mandrels has been called into question, with replacements often needed. Manufacturer replacements are available, so keep their contact information handy. Because of this the Astro 1427 is less recommended for professional settings but an excellent choice for residential and hobbyist setups.

Pros

  • Converts Drill into Rivet Nut Setters
  • Designed to Cause Less Wear
  • Withstands 4x the force Compared to Other Adapters

Cons

  • Mandrel Quality may not be as good as 1442

Muzata Blind Rivet Nut Tool Kit

image of Muzata Blind Rivet

This hand riveter set comes with everything you need right out of the package. There are hundreds of rivets in both brass and aluminum included inside this tool kit that organizes everything along with the hand tool itself. You’ll be able to set a plethora of different sheet metal thicknesses with the five different mandrels and nuts ranging from M3 to M8.

The actual tool has a pair of dual clip locks and an ergonomically designed handle that is coated in anti-slip material. The small size of the device makes it a great choice for car modification as it can get into parts not easily reachable by larger power tools. Despite the handle only expanding a total of 16 cm (6.3 inches), there is still decent power along with the pivot.

While a great rivet nut tool kit for those just starting it does have some limitations, it is not compatible with larger mandrel sizes like m10, m12, or higher; while far from crippling it should be noted that this kit is more designed for riveting smaller holes.

Pros

  • Huge 900 pcs Set
  • Single Hand Operation
  • Easy to Use with No Plugs Needed

Cons

  • Limited to Upwards of M8 Size

Pneumatic Nutsert Rivet Gun

pneumatic powered nutsert gun

If speed and power are your goals in your Rivnut® installation than look no further than this rivet nut set. Attachable to an air compressor along the bottom of the handle, this tool needs little time to smash in everything from brass, aluminum, and steel rivet nuts. The mandril capacity of this gadget ranges all the way upwards of 5/16″, making it more compatible with larger projects.

Made of exceptional craftsmanship yet simple design makes this one of the better ones on the market today. Nonetheless, some may find that this rivet tool is a little too heavy-0duty for their needs, on the account that smaller sizes like M3, M4, and M5 aren’t included in the package.

The forward and reverse controls, along with its dial regulator, helps users adjust the size at a moment’s notice. In short, this tool is a great choice for those looking to upgrade and tackle larger projects. If you do a lot of riveting, a pneumatically powered tool is much faster to work with. 

Pros

  • Quick Change Mandrel
  • Dial for Specific Nut Sizes
  • Forward and Reverse Controls

Cons

  • Overkill for Smaller Projects

Buyer’s Guide

How Does the Rivet Nut Work?

Rivet nut tools allow for the placement of fasteners in areas with reduced thickness and uncomfortable locations. While not all of these tools are the same, there are a few common features of all of them.

Once the correct hole size – approximately the same size of the rivet – is placed, then the fastener portion of the rivet can be put inside. The tool, either a manual or automatic, applies the nut by spinning it inside of the fastener and simultaneously tightening along the other side of metal. This creates a thread for bolts to attach to, with blind rivet bolts being inverted variants that have the bolt already attached, allowing for it to be threaded onto different sheets of metal.

Riveter Size to Metal Thickness

Knowing which rivet size to use is important as too small doesn’t work with especially thick sheet metal. As unofficial rules dictate that rivets are based on the metric system, with M3 sizes good for thicknesses upwards of 1.5 mm; M4 upwards 2.5mm; M5 upwards to 3.0mm; with each increase in rivet size applying to an extra 0.5mm of depth.

Manual vs. Automatic

A good heavy duty hand riveter can take you far but can have its limitations for larger projects. Rivnut® guns and drill attachments can make quick work of even large projects though they are often unnecessary when it comes to residential use.

Kits are Available

A good heavy duty hand riveter can take you far but can have its limitations for larger projects. Rivnut® guns and drill attachments can make quick work of even large projects though they are often unnecessary when it comes to residential use.

Rivet Tool Assembly

There are roughly five steps when it comes to assembling your rivet tool.

First, you’re going to want to retract the slide completely and then install the rivet nut finger into the associated stud.

There should be a hole to install a stabilizing rod, though every device is a little bit different. A screw that slides back up the ramp should be closed 0 to 1/4 inch. Finally, apply a small bit of oil on the tool to make operation easier.