Above all, the rivets used on projects must be reliable and enduring. A fastener that fails can lead to more problems, so ensuring you have the right hardware for the job—and then doing the job right—is imperative.
Beyond this, the choice of rivet can affect other critical work factors. How much will this rivet cost? How difficult will it be to install? Do I have the right rivet on hand for the job? Without the right answers to these questions, costs can add up.
Before examining the pros and cons of multi-grip and standard-grip rivets, understanding the definition of grip is essential. In short, grip is the combined length of the two materials being riveted together. If two pieces of metal are each 1/16th of an inch thick, your rivet must have a grip of at least 1/8th of an inch to fasten the materials together.
What Is a Standard-Grip Rivet?
A standard-grip rivet is simply designed to fasten two materials of a certain combined thickness. The grip is standard, meaning its size must closely match the thickness of whatever will be riveted.
As their name implies, standard-grip rivets offer standard functionality for fastening materials together. They are a viable option for just about anything that can be riveted.
Pros and Cons of Standard-Grip Rivets
One key benefit of standard-grip rivets is that they are generally less expensive than multi-grip rivets. Additionally, ordering them is a straightforward process—if certain grips are needed, the corresponding rivets are ordered to fit.
However, with standard-grip rivets, any variance outside of a given grip range can compromise the joint. In other words, standard-grip rivets must be precise to effectively work. Rivets with too much grip might require extra work for proper installation—and even then, the resulting strength may be diminished.
For projects requiring a wide range of grip thickness or products that differ by manufacturer or style, a wide variety of standard-grip rivets in your supply will be necessary. Inventory management becomes a challenge, and if you discover an area for which you don’t have the right-sized grip on hand, delays can occur.
What Is a Multi-Grip Rivet?
Multi-grip rivets are an outstanding alternative to standard-grip rivets. Though standard-grip rivets are often solid in their own right, a project may require something with more versatility and efficiency. They provide incredible versatility for your project. They fit a wider range of grip sizes so that if thickness differs somewhat, whether thinner or wider, the rivet can accommodate the variance.
From a fastening standpoint, multi-grip rivets can help address precision needs. These rivets offer versatility in that they can be set in a variable grip range depending on the combined thickness of the two materials being fastened. In other words, the same rivets can be used for one application, even if the surface gets a little thinner or thicker.
Multi-grip rivets offer other benefits, including:
- Better hole fill: Multi-grip rivets expand radially to deliver a better fit, even with irregular, oversized, and misaligned holes.
- Added weather resistance: Moisture is less likely to seep through the setting because of the better hole fill.
- Better inventory management: Multi-grip rivets generally fit three different grips; stocking one rivet for three grips—rather than three separate rivets for three sizes—streamlines inventory and makes ordering online easier.
- Aesthetic consistency: If an application has several different rivets populating a small area, the resulting hodgepodge may detract from the product’s appearance, particularly with consumer goods. Multi-grip rivets offer a uniform look.
- High vibration resistance: The improved hole fill results in joints that better withstand vibration.
Multi-grip rivets are ideally used for projects in which the materials’ thickness varies—even where rivets are within a short distance of each other. They also better fill oversized holes for stronger fastening. Multi-grip rivets are often used for the following projects: automotive, domestic appliances, electronics, electrical equipment, light industrial, and HVAC.
Pros and Cons of Multi-Grip Rivets
The versatility of multi-grip holes is unmatched. They typically cover three grip ranges, so as the thickness of a section of the material’s structure begins to vary, you won’t be scrambling to find the right rivet. These rivets expand radially, thus resulting in greater hole fill and providing a cleaner final set.
Because projects won’t require so many specific sizes of standard rivets, ordering becomes simpler, and you are less likely to run out of a certain size. Also, aesthetic consistency improves because an area isn’t populated with several different types of rivets.
However, multi-grip rivets take longer to apply; this is countered by a stronger fit and less effort to toggle between different sizes. And regarding pricing, multi-grip rivets are generally more expensive than standard-grip rivets. Cost is offset by reduced labor—work interruptions decrease because you always have a usable rivet on hand and the resources needed to manage rivet inventory.
Considerations When Purchasing Multi-Grip Rivets
As you’re evaluating and ordering multi-grip rivets, consider the following factors.
Domestic vs. Import
A recent trend in the fastening industry is the increased availability of foreign-made rivets. Although some international manufacturers, such as Ornit, deliver high quality and dependability, many foreign fastener companies use cheap materials and shoddy construction to sell their goods at a lower price. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for—substandard imported multi-grip rivets can lead to work delays and poor results. The savings aren't worth the risk; stick with domestic manufacturers and imports from established, trusted brands.
Ring-Grooved vs. Crimped
Two basic body styles of multi-grip rivets are available: ring-grooved rivets, popularized by POP, and crimped rivets by Avdel. Ring-grooved style multi-grip rivets feature rolled rings that allow for a clean, circular collapse of the body when rivets are set, thus providing more aesthetic appeal. Crimped style multi-grip rivets have some excess flashing on the outside of the rivet body. This visual difference may be of concern to some users.
The original Avex brand multi-grip rivet also has a unique tapered bore hole in the rivet body, which optimizes clamp-up and collapse consistency. The Avdel Avex, which is considered the first multi-grip rivet and has been used for decades, offers more strength, though both ring-grooved and crimped styles are excellent choices for multi-grip applications.
Price vs. Need
Multi-grip rivets are generally more expensive than standard blind rivets, but users find the cost is offset by efficiency gains and fastener performance. In addition, one grip size of a multi-grip rivet can replace 2-3 sizes of an individual grip size blind rivet, allowing a reduction in overall inventory of rivets and enabling cost reduction. Stainless steel multi-grip rivets are also available and are perfect where corrosion resistance or performance with elevated temperatures are required.
Bulk Purchases vs. Packets
Because multi-grip rivets require added cost, conventional wisdom might be to buy packets in limited supply. This might be sensible if you only rarely or occasionally use them, but remember, multi-grip rivets are designed to fit a range of grips and holes. This versatility can make buying these rivets in bulk a more economical choice. Online distributors that offer quantity break discounts are your best bet to get the multi-grip rivets you need at competitive prices.
For many projects and jobs, multi-grip rivets offer flexibility and resource management that you often don’t experience with standard-grip rivets. Moreover, benefits such as stronger fit and better durability are added bonuses that improve performance and profitability in the short and long term.
Originally published August 2018, updated September 2020