What is a Rivnut?


Understanding Rivnuts and How They Work.

A rivnut is fundamentally a captive nut that is able to attach onto a steel sheet surface for bolting purposes, where a hole opening is not possible because the material can't hold a bolt or a screw. These fasteners are highly resilient load-bearing threads that are the perfect solution for numerous  applications with thin walls. Ideal for punched or drilled holes, they can be installed at any stage of the production, even after finish coat is applied.

Rivnuts should be your first fastener choice when seeking to drill a smaller hole diameter or working close to the edge of your workpiece. Predominantly available with a countersunk profile & a lead-in chamfer at the base of the body for easy insertion. They are an simple solution that requires the use of a rivnut tool.


This is a simple process that involves a few steps.   

  • Step 1. Thread the rivnut onto the mandrel of the tool, some tools spin themselves to load the rivnut.  
  • Step 2. Place the rivnut into the pre-drilled hole and activate tool to begin swaging process. Tool’s mandrel will pull up rivnut causing body to collapse & bulge out 360° 
  • Step 3. The rivnut has now bulbed & created a lip on the blind side of the material and firmly interlocked itself onto the material.   
  • Step 4. Rivnut tool will either automatically or manually reverse out of the rivnut.


There are numerous descriptive labels associated with these types of fasteners including nutsertsrivnuts, threaded inserts and rivet nuts. Essentially, they are the same product, the different names or labels relate to different company’s brands, trademarks, or type. Overtime some of these brands have become the default product name.   


Rivnuts provide a quick, reliable, and low-cost system of inserting a thread in thin steel sheeting or tubular material. Rivnuts offer many benefits over other fasteners such as a nuts & bolt. An innovative invention by BF Goodrich who first used them to mount de-icing boots to aircraft wings in the 1930’s.

7 Key Rivnut Benefits

  • One side assembly for fast installations as access to the rear is not required.
  • Highly resilient, forming a permanent superior thread for the attachment of a bolt/screw.
  • Easy installations with minimal training. Rivnut tools are robust & readily available.   
  • Can be used to assemble two or more materials, like a rivet.
  • Installs into galvanised or pre-painted material without damaging surface.
  • Using rivnuts is safer than welding with no harmful vapours, heat or dust. 
  • Installs into a wide range of material gauges due to its high grip range tolerance.


When determining which rivnut suits your application, consider the body type, there are 3 main body types.

Round Body Rivnuts

These are the most popular type of rivnuts, especially the knurled body rivnuts due to their great resistance to spinning whilst being installed and vibration after installation. Our range of this type of body is called Nutsert xtralok. Predominantly, they have a low-profile wide flange head with the option of open or closed end rivnuts in steel, stainless and aluminium. 

There are a couple of round body options, including the smooth body rivnuts, and the slotted shank Plus Nuts or Jack Nuts. The slotted body rivnuts are ideal in lightweight material like plastics, fiberglass, and composites.  

Hexagon Shape Rivnuts

Hexagon shaped rivnuts are designed for use in punched hex shape holes and provide exceptional resistance to spinning (i.e., they cannot be unscrewed). Here at Aerobolt we have two options, and this includes (1) Half Hex (half hex & half round body) and (2) Full Hex shape for extra strength (predominantly hex shape body). We also have open or closed end hex rivnuts in steel or stainless. 

Threaded Studs Rivnuts

This is a rivnut with a protruding stud (thread) that enables a mating part to be attached to the surface. They are excellent option for a strong load bearing bolt in thin steel sheeting.

After you have selected the body type you will need to determine the correct thread size for your application, and material grip range. Rivnuts sizes are predominantly metric and start from M3 through to M12 with a select range of imperial sizes. Material grip range is the material gauge the rivnut will pull up in, this is critical in ensuring you have selected the right fastener. These two factors are essential in ensuring you have made the correct selection. Also review material type, head style, and torque to turn resistance.


After you have selected the correct rivnut to suit your application, you will need to consider tools. There are 3 main options: air, cordless or manual rivnut tool.

Air rivnut tools: For frequent rivnut installation, pneumatic (air-powered) is the easy choice. Air rivnut tools offer fast installations with consistent results. Some of the pros include: Easy to use—the tool spins the mandrel to thread the rivnut, then retracts to collapse the body of the rivnut with little physical exertion required. The tool will pull to either a set pressure or a set stroke. Cons: Require an air source such as a compressor, possibly limiting mobility and making remote use impractical.

Manual rivnut tools: For the occasional installation of rivnuts, manual tools are your most cost-effective option. They work by adding the rivnut to the end of the tool, squeezing/torquing, and retracting the tool from the now applied rivnut. Some of the pros include: Inexpensive, easy concept, great for the handy person. Cons: They require physical force to use.

Cordless battery rivnut tools: Cordless rivnut tools run on battery power and provide incredible versatility, hence allowing you to install rivnuts from practically anywhere. Like pneumatic tools, battery-powered tools are basically point-and-shoot. Pros: Mobility, speed. Cons: Batteries have limited charge before needing to be plugged in again, cost.


Rivnuts have 101 uses which make them suitable for various applications such as; automotive manufacturing, aviation, balustrades, commercial kitchens, commercial furniture & fit-outs, electrical appliances & switchboards, Emergency vehicles,  Farming equipment, HVAC (Heating, ventilation & air conditioning), medical equipment, military equipment & vehicles, Playground equipment, sheet metal fabrication, solar installations, refrigeration,  RV Vehicles, Trucks & Trailers, Ute canopy bodies, Utility vehicles and so much more.