About Blind Rivets

Blind rivets are named so because they can be installed without access to the back side of the item being riveted. They are composed of the rivet (green) and an integrated mandrel (orange)


How blind rivets work

Blind rivets are installed in a tight hole that passes through the materials being riveted (Step 1 & 2). A riveter is used to pull the mandrel back while holding the rivet in place (Step 3). As the mandrel is pulled back it deforms the rivet pushing the sides outward until the mandrel snaps (Step 4). This expanded size forms the back side of the rivet holding the materials together.

Rivet Instalation Step 1 Blind Rivet Instalation Step 2 Blind Rivet Instalation Step 3 Blind Rivet Instalation Step 4
Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4


Important: See our tips for Using Blind Rivets to avoid installation problems.


There are several common types of blind rivets each with its own advantages. The most common are:

Standard Rivet


These rivets are the most common blind rivets and the least expensive. However, they are not water tight and are not as strong as some other rivet types.

Closed End Rivet


These rivets are similar to standard rivets except that the mandrel is completely enclosed. The result is that when installed sealed rivets are water tight.

Multi-grip Rivet


These rivets are specifically designed for situations where you don't know how long a rivet you might need (the grip). They are more expensive than standard rivets, but when a long length is used on thin material they compact, leaving less material hanging off the back as shown below.

Multi-grip Multi-Grip rivet Multi-grip Rivet Installed
Standard Standard Rivet Standard Rivet Installed

This can be important as excess rivet length can lead to interference with moving parts.

Interlock Rivet


Interlock rivets are the most common type of 'structural' or high strength rivet. They are specifically designed to provide superior pull out and shear strength. This additional strength is achieved by using a specially designed mandrel (orange) that is pulled into the rivet (green), creating a double thick wall as shown below.

Interlock Rivet Installed Interlock Rivet
Before Installation Installed

A side effect of the extremely tight fit of the mandrel inside the interlock rivet is that interlock rivets are water tight.

Because they are designed for maximum holding power, interlock rivets are found only in large sizes. For this reason smaller hand riveters do not have the strength to install them.

Head styles

Similar to screws blind rivets come in several head styles.

Dome Head Rivet


Considered standard, dome is the most common head style.

Flat Head Rivet


Countersunk for a flush fit.

Oversize Head Rivet


A larger head typically used in softer materials to increase the load bearing area.


Rivets are specified by the material of the rivet and the mandrel in that order. For example:

Aluminum/Steel = Aluminum rivet with Steel mandrel

Often steel mandrels are specified with aluminum or stainless steel rivets because the steel mandrels are less expensive than matching aluminum or stainless mandrels. Unfortunately this can lead to problems in some environments. As you can see from the cross section below part of the mandrel (orange) remains in the rivet (green) after installation.

Installed Rivet

The steel mandrel can corrode, weakening the connection and leaving ugly rust streaks coming out of the rivet. The presence of steel can also lead to a galvanic reaction with the rivet or surrounding material. For this reason, Bolt Depot always recommends matching rivet and mandrel materials.

For more information on specific materials please see our Materials page.