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Hand Riveter vs Powered Rivet Gun – In-Depth Comparison

Home » Tools » Hand Riveter vs Powered Rivet Gun – In-Depth Comparison

Rivet technology dates back to the 30th century BC where it was first used in joining simple wooden pieces. Later, artisans found a way to use wooden rivets on mega structures like heavy doors, planks on boats and ships and other mega handiwork. With the advent of the 19th century, however, the growing need for metal rendered wooden rivets obsolete. And now we have two most common types of rivets, hand rivet guns, and powered rivet guns.

hand riveter vs best rivet gun

Deciding on the best rivet to buy can be frustrating, especially when torn between a hand riveter or a powered rivet gun. You need to comprehend the basics of each type. Getting insights into their differences will help you make the right choice.

1. Source of riveting power

Source of power is a crucial consideration when it comes to riveting tools. When using a hand rivet, you need to apply force manually by using your hands to drive in the rivets. And what effort should you employ when using a hand riveter? Well, different types of hand riveters require different amounts of energy to drive in a rivet. If you are using a small hand riveter, then a single hand can sufficiently supply the effort needed. However, a large hand riveter may require that you use both hands to provide the much-needed energy.

On the other hand, powered rivet guns are powered by an external source of energy. Examples include; hydraulic riveters powered by compressed air, electric riveters powered by electricity and battery riveters powered by a battery.

2. Speed

A hand riveter may not be an ideal riveting tool when you need to accomplish a large task within a short period of time. For obvious reasons, a hand riveter can only accomplish tasks as fast as the person who is using it. If you are working slowly, it implies that you won’t be able to accomplish many tasks within a short period of time.

rivet guns are a better choice for big jobs

Powered rivet guns, on the other hand, are designed to accomplish tasks at a higher speed. This is because they are powered by external energy sources that don’t need effort from the operator. For instance, electric rivet guns are powered by electric energy which means they can accomplish much in a short time.

3. Cost and efficiency

Are you restricted by a tight budget yet you need to accomplish a riveting job? If so, then a hand riveter can be an ideal choice for you. Hand riveters are incredibly cheap. You will be able to find a hand riveter that can accomplish your task quite well and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to get one.

However, if you are looking for efficiency over cost, then a powered rivet gun can be a perfect choice for you. This is because the powered rivet guns can provide powerful blows with a high speed but they are costly compared to hand riveters. The cost of powered riveters varies based on speed, size, and the brand.

4. Operation

Hand riveters also called manual riveters are not so different from powered rivet guns in regards to their operation. The only difference is that the former requires lots of effort to achieve the desired result. A quick comparison of the parts between the two types of riveters yields very little contrast aside from the power button and electric cord found on the powered rivet guns. Using a hand riveter is quite easy even for a beginner. The instruction manual should be enough to get you started.

With all this information, I’m sure you can now tell what the upsides and downsides of the two riveters. Let’s now look at a few disadvantages common to both;

Common to both is once fixed, you cannot dismantle. Furthermore, a seal is required to avoid water and air to seep through. Both are also expensive and costly to repair once damaged. Building hydraulic riveter requires air compression while hand riveters are labor intensive.


Depending on your preference, you are now in the best position to choose the best riveter. Acquiring a powered gun will hasten your work while acquiring a hand riveter will save your cash though you will accomplish less. You now know which riveter to buy next, right?

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Updated: July 14, 2018

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