Rivet Guns – Which one should I buy?

Rivet Guns - Which Is the Best Rivet Tool? With Roger the Rivet Lad

Which Rivet-Tool Is Best For Me?

Selecting the right rivet gun depends on several factors with the most important consideration being you and your riveting application. There are hundreds of rivet-tools on the market and selecting “the right one” can be somewhat challenging. At Aerobolt® we have the technical know-how to guide you through the selection process with a range of professional rivet guns from Pop®, Makita®, Far®, Masterfix®, & Gesipa® plus a few alternative options that we have lab tested for quality and value. We test and re-test our rivet tool offerings before we go to market. When you buy a rivet gun from Aerobolt you can be assured of a quality rivet gun that is fit for purpose. 

In this blog article, we shall be reviewing both air rivet-toolscordless rivet guns and have a quick look at hand rivet-tools. Touching base with all important terminology and specification considerations such as "setting force", " stroke" and other attributes that can make your next riveting project easier. This is a beginners guide to selecting the best rivet gun with a number of simple to understand tables that provide an overview of the the different options, and a rivet-tool frequently asked question section that covers a range of popular questions that our customers ask. Are you having rivet gun hassles click here to review our repairing your rivet gun blog. 

What are the main types of rivet guns?  

There are 3 main rivet tool power categories: air, cordless and manual. Selecting the right power category depends on how often you install rivets, your specific application and installation volume.

Air rivet guns.

For frequent rivet installations in workshops, an air-powered rivet gun is an easy choice. Air powered riveters offer quick and continuous rivet installations with consistent results. They are the fast hassle-free option. Sometimes referred to as pneumatic rivet tools or hydro-pneumatic rivet guns, but to keep things simple we term them "air rivet guns". 

Pros: They are easier to use and require less effort than both cordless & manual rivet gun options, and often cheaper than cordless rivet-tools. Professional air guns feature rivet vacuum & holding capacity, this means the gun vacuums up the rivet and holds it in place as you align it with the hole. After you install the rivet they automatically extract the waste pin to the collection bottle. This means you don't have to tilt the gun backwards to push through the waste pin.   

Cons: These guns require an air compressor which may limit mobility. 

Manual rivet-tools.  

For the occasional installation of rivets, or where power is not available, manual rivet-tools are cost-effective and easy to use. Fundamentally they work by adding the rivet to the end of the tool, squeezing the handles, and retract. There are numerous different types of hand rivet-tools, including the popular Pop® T55 Rivet-Tool, (pic. on the right), this is a plier type. This means you hold one handle whilst pushing the other handle towards the handle you are holding steady. There is also a long handle lever type option this is where you apply pressure on both handles and push towards each handle. The long handle option provides the extra leverage required with larger diameter rivets or when installing stainless-steel rivets.

Pros. an inexpensive option, easy to use and ideal for the DIY gurus.

Cons: They require muscle force.

Cordless rivet guns. 

Cordless rivet guns means they run on battery power and provide versatility that  allows you to install rivets from practically anywhere. This makes the cordless rivet gun option ideal for building sites. Easy to use and similar to air rivet gun, simply point-and-shoot.

Pros: Mobility. 

Cons: Expensive & not as powerful or fast as an air rivet guns, also batteries have a limited charge. These guns don't have the convenience of rivet suction & holding capacity prior to installation or the automatic pin (mandrel) extraction feature after installation. This means they are not as easy to use compared to a professional air rivet gun that has these functions.

How do I select the right rivet gun?

After reviewing the power options you will need to consider some of the following criteria:

  • Rivet type: Are you installing standard rivets or structural rivets like the Huck rivet Magna-Lok?
  • Rivet material: Not all rivet guns will support all metal types. Steel, Stainless-Steel, or Aluminium etc.
  • Rivet diameter: Ensure a rivet-tool that coordinates with the right rivet diameter you are installing.    
  • High setting force suits high volume installs because they have a quicker setting cycle. This will save you time! 
  • Stroke: Longer stroke means single trigger installations rather than two, important with long rivets.
  • Rivet suction & rivet holding capacity as you align the rivet to the hole, making the job a little easier.    
  • Automatic pin extraction, this means you don't have to tilt the tool back to push the pins out.  

Other considerations include; weight, dimensions, shape, cost, etc. When looking at shape Aerobolt has a couple of options that differ from the traditional shape. A pistol rivet gun has a separate air barrel and head configuration which makes for a more manageable tool that is also a little lighter. Whilst a pencil shape in-line rivet gun which can be easily suspended to suit workbench applications.  

An important attribute of these tools is the rivet holding or rivet suction capacity. Select tools vacuum up and hold the rivet in place whilst you align the fastener to the hole. Also look out for the automatic waste pin extraction to the collection bottle trait. This feature means you don't have to tilt the tool backwards to push through the waste pins. Both of these assist in making riveting work so much easier and are normally associated with professional rivet-tools.  

Which is the best air rivet gun for standard blind rivets?

There are several pop rivet air guns to select, if you are installing large volumes of standard type rivets, the Far® RAC 171 should be your first option for an easy to use tool with a fast cycle time and the capacity to hold the rivet whilst working. This tool is renowned for its reliability, power, and so much more. For low volume rivet installations, the RT-50's rivet-tool series have become popular due to their price point and reliability. *NB this rivet gun doesn't have the rivet holding capacity nor the pin extraction feature that you will find with the professional Far® RAC rivet gun range.  

(Eg. Multi-grip rivets, Open end pop rivets, Closed end or Sealed rivets etc)
Rivet Gun Model Weight (Kg) Dims. L x H (mm) Force (kN) Stroke (mm) Rivet Type Dia. Size (mm) Price Approx.
RT-50's * See above 1.3 265 x 230 7.0 14 Standard Rivets 2.4, 3.2, 4.0 & 4.8 $120
RT-RAC83 1.7 200 x 220 5.4 19 Standard Rivets 2.4, 3.2, 4.0, 4.8*
* Alu. only
RT-10182 1.7 295 x 278 10.5 20.5 Standard & Structural Rivets 2.4, 3.2, 4.0, 4.8 $890
RT-10171 2.8 325 x 340 17.3 25.5 Standard & Structural Rivets 4.8, 6.4, 7.8* $1230
RT-GT3 1.9 312 X 317 14.0 25 Standard  & Structural Rivets 3.2, 4.0, 4.8, 6.4 $2000

Which are the best cordless rivet guns for standard rivets?

When working on construction sites, cordless rivets guns are sometimes worth their weight in gold. Here at Aerobolt, we have a comprehensive range of battery-powered tools including the popular Gesipa® PowerBird® that can effortlessly install both 4.8- & 6.4-mm rivets in all material, as well as the well regarded award-winning Pop® 2500 Cordless, or the entry level CQ80025 cordless gun. The CQ80025 is ideal should you be seeking a cordless rivet gun for the first time and the European options seem a little on the expensive side. This tool has proven popular with many of our customers for its reliability and its capabilities. A recent positive 5 star review sums up nicely the tool's attributes. Click here to read more. 

Rivet Gun Model Weight (Kg) Dims. L x H (mm) Force (kN) Stroke (mm) Rivet Type Dia. Size (mm) Price Approx.
Cordless Rivet Gun
2.1 270 x 290 15.0 27 Standard 3.2, 4.0, 4.8 & 6.4 $560
Pop Cordless Rivet Gun PB2500
1.7 320 x 240 8.5 25 Standard & Structural 2.4, 3.2, 4.0 & 4.8 $1400
Pop Cordless Rivet Gun PB3400
2.4 336 x 275 18.0 30 Standard & Structural 4.8 & 6.4 $1800
Gesipa Cordless Tool
2.1 280 x 290 20.0 25 Standard & Structural 2.4, 3.2, 4.8 & 6.4 $2500

Which are the best air rivet guns for structural rivets?

Structural rivets and structural rivet tools are a core product range at Aerobolt. We recommend the Far® range of rivet guns. The Far® brand rivet gun RT-10171 installs rivet diameter 4.8 & 6.4mm (3/16" & 1/4") structural rivets + general purpose standard rivets. Listed below a few other options. Aerobolt® has lab tested a few other rivet guns that install both type of rivets and the results to date have been less than satisfactory.     

Rivet Gun Model Weight (Kg) Dims. L x H (mm) Force (kN) Stroke (mm) Rivet Type Dia. Size (mm) Price Approx.
RT-10182 1.7 295 x 278 10.5 21 Standard & Structural 2.4, 3.2, 4.0, 4.8 $890
RT-10171 2.8 325 x 340 17.3 25.5 Standard & Structural 4.8, 6.4, 7.8* $1230
RT-10172 2.8 325 x 340 22.7 19.5  Structural 6.4, 7.9* $1800
RT-3000 Gun: 1.5
Pump: 7.1
430 x 205  21.6 28.0 Standard & Structural 4.8, 6.4, 7.9* $3600

Which are the best rivet guns for Structural Rivets & Huck Bolts?

When installing Huck bolts (pin & collar lock bolts) and structural rivets, there are only a few options to review. Consider the HG-10224 and the HG-10U05 or the popular Huck® Makita® Cordless Gun. These Huck bolt & structural rivet guns are renowned for their quality and reliability.    

Rivet Gun Model Weight (Kg) Dims. L x H (mm) Force (kN) Stroke (mm) Type Dia. Size (mm) Price Approx.
HG-10U05 2.4 240 x 340 22.7 19.5 Structural 4.8, 6.4 & (7.9 Rivets) $1300
HG-10224 2.8 275 x 322 19.0 21 Structural 4.8, 6.4 $1700
HG-BV4500AUS 2.5 358 incl. nose x 285 20.0 30 Structural 4.8 & 6.4 $2700
HG-10256 5.0 200 x 380 44.4 22.35 Structural 7.9, 9.5 $6200

How do you use an air rivet gun?

Listed below is a step-by-step process of how to use an air rivet gun.   

  1. Determine you have the right rivet for the application. 
  2. Ensure the rivet gun has the correct size nose tip and jaws.
  3. Next, align your material to be joined as desired and pre-drill the hole. 
  4. Load the rivet into the rivet gun pin tail (mandrel) first, so the body is pointing out.
  5. Insert the body of the rivet all the way into the hole. Rivet head should be sitting on top of the material.
  6. Squeeze the trigger until you hear the snap sound that indicates the pin tail has been removed.
  7. Most professional rivet guns have a built-in receptacle to collect the pins once it is removed.
  8. Congratulate yourself. Job well done!

Frequently Asked Rivet Gun Questions.

What's the difference between air rivet tool and pneumatic rivet tool? 

Both these terms refer to the same tool. Air tool, air powered tools or pneumatic tools are powered or operated by compressed air. Pneumatic comes from the Latin word "pneumaticus", which is from the Greek word "pneumatikos" meaning air, breath or spirt.  

What's the difference between a cordless rivet guns and battery rivet-tool?

These are different terms for the same tool, cordless rivet tools are also known as battery tools. 

What is the CAS cordless battery system?

This is the latest version of lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technology. A CAS (Cordless Alliance System) battery represents a longer charge and value compared to previous Li-ion batteries. The CAS battery is a shared platform by a number of European cordless tool manufacturers with the benefit of a longer charge, and better battery life than before. The CAS battery also features shorter re-charge times and air cooled charging technology. All this without any idle power discharge whilst not in use. 

Does an air rivet-tool need servicing?

Maintenance is most important with all tools and a rivet gun is no different. Checking moving parts like the jaws, piston and its oil is important because it ensures the correct installation of your rivets.

Where can I get my rivet-tool serviced?

Repairing or servicing your rivet tool is part of our 100% commitment in providing a total rivet solution. Aerobolt’s professional team can service and or repair rivet tools from Far®, Masterfix®, Pop®, Gesipa®, Avdel®,  Lobster® & more. Please visit the tool service and repair page here.  

Do you hire rivet tools?

Yes we do, we are Australia's #1 rivet tool hire company with 30 years experience in supplying to a wide range of markets. Aerobolt can offer flexibility with hire and provide daily, weekly, and monthly options. Please visit the tool hire page here.

Can you assist me in my rivets tool selection?

Sure we can! The Aerobolt® team can assist with selection by calling 02 9755 3747 or contacting us.  

Do you deliver rivet tools throughout Australia?

Yes, we can deliver Australia wide through our network team of courier companies. In Sydney we offer same day delivery if you order before 10.00 am. Deliveries to major cities such as Melbourne, Brisbane including regional South-Eastern Australia are either next day delivery or 2 days turnaround.

Do your rivet guns come with a 12-month warranty?

Yes, all of our power rivet guns come with a 12-month warranty. We import numerous tools from around the world and when there is an issue, we resolve the matter quickly here in Australia.

Where can I get my rivet gun serviced?

Repairing your rivet gun is part of our 100% commitment in providing a total rivet solution. We service and or repair rivet guns from Far®, Masterfix®, Pop®, Gesipa® plus more. Visit the tool service and repair page here.  

Do you hire rivet guns?

Yes we do, we are Australia's #1 rivet gun hire company with over 30 years experience in supplying to a wide range of customers. Aerobolt offer flexibility with hire and provide daily, weekly, and monthly options. Visit the tool hire page here. 

Can you assist me in my rivet gun selection?

Sure; call 02 9755 3747 or contact us to organise an appointment at our premises. 

Why does my new rivet gun keep failing?

This might be a warranty issue, as a direct importer of numerous rivet guns we can resolve most issues in house, even warranty issues where the fault is with the tool itself. We aim to minimise the wait and don't need the go ahead from the manufacturer. 

Why have my rivets failed?

There are several reasons why your rivets has failed. The issue could be a dodgy rivet or an installation issue. Either way we offer a wide range of technical services, including rivet testing services. We have teamed up with a NATA approved lab. that undertakes laboratory rivet testing services. Should you have a rivet failure, let us know so we can review your application and or have your rivets sent to the NATA approved lab for laboratory rivet testing.   

Rivet Gun Selection Summary

Rivet guns are used in numerous manufacturing and construction sectors. Rivets are one of the world’s most versatile fastener and come with a wide range of types for an endless list of applications. Today we covered the best rivet guns to install these fasteners because all the benefits associated with rivets mean very little if you are not using the right rivet gun. Often the best rivet gun is the one that can easily handle your rivet installation volume. The rivet guns we have outlined are a small sample of the extensive range available in Australia. There are many other good rivet guns from the likes of Pop®, Lobster®, Stanley® and so much more.

The Huck Aerobolt site has extensive information on rivet guns. To discuss your requirements, simply call on 9755 3747 or contact our friendly team who are 100% technically minded and can assist with selecting the right rivet gun (at the best price) to suit your application. 

Copyright © 2024 Aerobolt Australia Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.