Types of Fasteners (Screws, Rivets, and Washers) - Engineering Choice (2023)

Fasteners play a critical role in the construction of all sorts of everyday objects. If you’ve done any DIY projects, you’ve likely used fasteners to help get the job done. At All Points Fasteners, we’re passionate about the role quality fasteners can play for handy homeowners and professionals alike. Let’s take a moment to define fasteners and overview some of the different types, as well as the various uses for them.

What Is a Fastener?

Let’s start by defining what a fastener is. The term fasteners encompass a fairly broad category of tools, such as screws, nuts, and bolts, that share a common purpose: to mechanically hold objects together. Of course, things like glue can fulfill this function, but glue is not a type of fastener. Therefore, we need to add to our definition. Hardware fasteners mechanically hold objects together.

Typically, fasteners form a non-permanent joint. In other words, when you use a fastener to connect two components, you can remove it, and the separate pieces should come apart without suffering any damage.

The same wouldn’t be the case with a welded joint, for instance. The one exception to this rule is rivets, which fall under the category of fasteners but create permanent joints.

Though most fasteners form a non-permanent joint, this does not mean you only use fasteners when you want to be able to take something apart, and it doesn’t mean the joint is weak by any means.

Fasteners can reliably hold together objects that can experience a great degree of stress. That means they’re a great choice for permanent and non-permanent joints alike, providing versatility for the type of project you want to use them for.

The Most Common Types of Fasteners

Mechanical fasteners come in different types. Each of those types also has many subtypes that you can choose from. Among the different types of fasteners, here are the most common ones:

  • Bolts: These types of fasteners help to hold two unthreaded parts together. They can be called the most common types of fasteners.
  • Screws: For many people, when they think of fasteners, screws are the first thing to come to mind. Screw fasteners are one of the most versatile types of fasteners out there. Their threaded shafts give them durable holding power, and unlike a bolt, they don’t require anything to hold them in place. Typically, you use a drill to make a pilot hole in a material and then use a screwdriver to drive the screw in place. Screws come in a wide variety of types and sizes.
  • Nuts: A nut comes with an internal thread that works with a bolt to hold components together.
  • Washers: They are small, circular discs shaped like an annulus. They also work together with nuts and bolts and serve important fastening functions.
  • Nails: Nails have been used since ancient times, and they are still an everyday household item. You can easily spot the difference between a screw and a nail because a nail doesn’t have threading. While a nail doesn’t provide the same holding power a screw does, it has greater shear strength, making it the better choice for some applications.
  • Rivets: These are permanent fasteners that help secure several different types of components.
  • Anchors: Anchors get their name because they serve a similar function to a boat’s anchor, which embeds itself in the seabed to keep a ship from moving. Generally, people use these fasteners to connect something to a material like drywall or concrete. They embed themselves in the material and hold the object you’re affixing in place.

Types of Screws

1. Deck Screws

Longer screws are used for fastening down deck boards. Deck screws feature a type 17 point (notched point at the tip) to aid in chip removal during thread cutting which allows for an easy installation in wood and composite deck materials. A bugle head and square drive help to eliminate the stripping effect sometimes experienced with other types of drives.

2. Hex Lag Screws

Lag screws, also called lag bolts, are large wood screws. The head is an external hex and is driven with a wrench. Used for lag together lumber for framing, machinery to wood floors, and other heavy-duty applications.

3. Self-Drilling Screws

Self-drilling screws have a sheet metal thread with a self-driller cutting (TEK) point to pierce through 20-to-14-gauge metals. The higher the TEK number, the larger the drill point to pierce heavier gauge metals.

4. Sheet Metal Screws

Sheet metal screws (SMS) have sharp cutting threads that are cut into sheet metal, plastic, or wood. They have a fully threaded shank and sometimes have a notched point at the tip to aid in chip removal during thread cutting.

5. Wood Screws

Wood screws are partially threaded with large cutting threads and a smooth shank. They are designed to slide through the top piece of wood and tightly pull all boards together.

Types of Fasteners (Screws, Rivets, and Washers) - Engineering Choice (1)

6. Concrete screw

Stainless or carbon steel and used for fastening materials to concrete.

(Video) Types of Fasteners | The Home Depot

7. Masonry screw

Often have a blue coating and are inserted to a pilot hole in masonry.

8. Double-ended (dowel) screw

Have two pointed ends and no head. Often used for making hidden joints between two pieces of timber.

9. Drive screw

Smooth, round, or mushroom-headed with a reduced diameter shank.

10. Drywall screw

Often coated with black phosphate and designed with a bugle head. Used to attach drywall to timber or metal studs.

11. Eyebolt

A looped head is designed to be used as an attachment point. Also used for attaching wires across building surfaces.

12. Lag screw/bolt

A heavy-duty fastener.

13. Chipboard screw

Often wax-coated and used for fastening down chipboard flooring.

14. Mirror screw

Designed with a decorative dome or another cover to conceal the head.

15. Twinfast screw

Designed with two threads that enable it to drive twice as fast.

16. Security head screw

Designed with a head that is impossible to reverse, making it suitable for security applications.

Types of Rivets

Types of Fasteners (Screws, Rivets, and Washers) - Engineering Choice (2)

1. POP Rivets (Open-End)

POP Rivets, also known as blind rivets, are used to connect two pieces of material in a quick, efficient way. POP Rivets are tubular, comprised of a hat and mandrel; the length of the mandrel is snapped off when installed.

2. Closed-End POP Rivets (Sealed)

Closed-End Rivets differ from a standard blind pop rivet in that they feature a closed-end which creates a watertight seal.

3. Large Flange POP Rivets

The large flange also called Oversize, pop rivets have a larger washer on the hat than standard POP Rivets. Also known as blind rivets, they are used to connect two pieces of material in a quick, efficient way.

(Video) 03 Types of Bolts and Screws

Large flange POP Rivets are tubular, comprised of a hat and mandrel; the length of the mandrel is snapped off when installed.

4. Countersunk POP Rivets

Countersunk, also called Flat, POP Rivets, are used to connect two pieces of material in a quick, efficient way. The hat of the rivet is almost inverted, with a 120-degree countersink in the integrated washer.

POP Rivets are tubular, comprised of a hat and mandrel; the length of the mandrel is snapped off when installed.

5. Colored Rivets

Colored rivets are open-end pop rivets. Colored rivets have a hat that has been painted Wither brown, black, or white. These colors are used either to hide rivets and create a finished look or to make them extra visual by using the opposing color from the installation material.

6. Multi-Grip Rivets

Multi-grip rivets are often used to substitute conventional rivets where the thickness of installation materials can vary. The rivet simply expands to the size (within its range) and holds the two materials together.

7. Structural Rivets

Structural rivets are used to create a stronger assembly than standard stainless-steel pop rivets. They generate an intense amount of force and require a different tool to apply than a regular rivet.

8. Tri-Fold Rivets

Tri-Fold rivets, also called exploding rivets, have three cuts in the hat that cause the hat to fold outward when installed into three distinct wings. A tri-groove rivet has better strength and holding power than standard pop rivets.

Types of Washers

Types of Fasteners (Screws, Rivets, and Washers) - Engineering Choice (3)

1. Backup Rivet Washers

Rivet backup washers are used to create a larger install diameter giving the rivet a better hold and more support. Backup washers can help to prevent the pull-through of a rivet.

2. Belleville Conical Washers

Belleville conical washers are a type of washer that adds extra tension to a fastener assembly. They are commonly used in stacks to increase the load, deflection or both to an assembly depending on the stack. These washers can be considered lock washers because they add tension and absorb vibration to an assembly.

3. Dock Washers

Dock washers are heavy-duty washers, often used to build docks. Also used in heavy-duty construction where a thick washer is needed, dock washers are similar to fender washers with a small inside diameter hole.

4. Fender Washers

Fender washers are round washers with a small inside diameter hole. Fender washers are used to prevent pull-through and provide a greater bearing surface under the fastener.

5. Fender Washers – Extra Thick

Fender washers are round washers with a small inside diameter hole. Extra thick fender washers are thicker than standard fender washers and are used to prevent pull-through and provide a greater bearing surface under the fastener.

6. Finishing Cup Washers

Finishing cup washers form a cup for the head of the screw or fastener to fit in, creating a finish flush with the top of the head. Used for finishing, cup washers are shaped like a cup.


7. Flat Washers

Flat washers are round outer diameter thin plates with a center hole punched to the size of the bolt or screw. Flat washers are used to distribute loads of threaded bolts, screws, and nuts evenly as the fastener is tightened.

8. Flat Washers – Extra Thick

Extra thick flat washers are thicker than standard flat washers. These washers are round outer diameter thin plates with a center hole punched to the size of the bolt or screw. Flat washers are used to distribute loads of threaded bolts, screws, and nuts evenly as the fastener is tightened.

9. Flat Washers – Military Standard

Military standard (MS) flat washers go through extensive inspection for chemical, physical and dimensional qualities. MS washers must meet specific inner diameter and outer diameter specifications.

10. Flat Washers – 900 Series

Flat washers in the 900 series are round and thinner than a standard flat washer with a smaller inside and outside diameter.

11. Lock Washers – Split Ring

Split ring lock washers are used to prevent nuts, bolts, and screws from vibrating loose. These washers are rings that are split at one point and bent into a helical shape.

12. Lock Washers – High Collar

High collar lock washers are designed to fit under the head of a socket cap screw. Split ring lock washers are used to prevent nuts, bolts, and screws from vibrating loose. These washers are rings that are split at one point and bent into a helical shape.

13. Lock Washers – External Tooth

External tooth lock washers are used for locking and tension. Round washers with teeth on the outside, used for maximum holding power. Must be used with fasteners with adequate head diameter.

14. Lock Washers – Internal Tooth

Internal tooth lock washers are used for locking and tension. A round washer with internal teeth, designed to prevent a nut or screw head from loosening with the strut action created by the teeth.

15. NAS Washers

NAS washers are round washers with smaller inner and outer diameters. Often used in military applications because of the strict measurement specifications.

16. Neoprene EPDM Washers

Round washers that are slightly beveled with a neoprene lining. Often used with a sharp point and self-drilling TEK screws to make a watertight seal around the screw or metal roofing or siding.

17. Structural Washers

Structural washers are thick and strong, built for heavy-duty applications such as construction. These washers can be found in steel beams and girder fastener assemblies.

18. Square Washers

Square washers are square in shape and maybe flat on both sides or flat on one side and beveled on one side. Often used with square head bolts, square washers prevent pull through and provide a larger surface area and greater hold than standard round flat washers.

Types of Concrete Anchors

Types of Fasteners (Screws, Rivets, and Washers) - Engineering Choice (4)

1. Acoustical Wedge Anchors

Masonry acoustical wedge anchors are used to anchor and secured suspended wire to solid or hollow masonry materials. The fastener is inserted into the pre-drilled hole and then struck with a hammer which extends the wedge to hold the anchor in place.

(Video) 2014W ENGR380 Lecture30 Threaded Fasteners and Stiffness of Bolted Joints

2. Drop in Anchors

Drop-in anchors are internally threaded anchors that are commonly installed overhead and flush with the surface of the concrete. These anchors are commonly used to create handrails, lighting fixtures, and many other fixtures. They require a setting tool for installation.

3. Double Expansion Shield Anchors

Double expansion shield anchors are made for installing in softer materials or those of questionable quality. Their entire length expands in the hole to create a very secure hold. This expansion maximizes friction and holds on to the installation material.

4. Hammer Drive Pin Anchors

These anchors are used for lighter loads than other types of concrete anchors. Drive pins attach fixtures to masonry materials. A hammer is driven into the exposed head of the drive pin. This expands the base inside of the masonry material creating a hold.

5. Kaptoggle Hollow Wall Anchors

Kaptoggle hollow wall anchors are installed through a hole in the walls or block. Then a machine screw is screwed into the provided threading resulting in a secure hold. Kaptoggle wall anchors are proven to have better holding power than conventional types of hollow wall fasteners.

6. Lag Shield Expansion Anchors

These anchors are shielded expansion anchors used to hold lag screws. They expand outwards as lag screws are driven into them. This expansion presses against the installation surface creating a tight, secure hold. They also have very precise internal threading to allow the installation lag bolt to turn easily.

7. Machine Screw Anchors

Machine screw anchors are installed into masonry materials in a pre-drilled hole. Once placed inside the hole, a machine screw is threaded into the anchor and tightened. As the machine screw is tightened, a coned portion is pulled into the sleeve causing it to deform.

This deformation of the sleeve results in a tight wedge inside the hole that cannot be easily removed.

8. Masonry Screws

Concrete masonry anchors, also known as Tapcons, cut threads into concrete, brick or block when installed. Extended corrosion protection is gained from the blue climaseal coating. No hole spotting or inserts are required.

9. Plastic Toggle Anchors

Plastic toggle anchors are used in hollow walls or cinder blocks to create a fastening point for sheet metal screws. These anchors have legs that fold to enter a pre-drilled hole that expand when a screw is driven into them. Once the legs are fully expanded, the toggle anchor is securely in place.

10. Sammy’s Screws

Sammy Screws are used with threaded rods and save time by drilling into masonry materials. They have a female threaded portion to accept the threaded rod into it. Sammy’s are installed either vertically or horizontally and are commonly used due to their lower installation costs, flexibility, and ease of use.

11. Sleeve Anchors

Concrete masonry sleeve anchors consist of a threaded stud with an outwardly flared cone-shaped end, with a nut and a washer on the end. Tightening of the nut pulls the stud end into the expander sleeve, wedging it outwards and locking the anchor into the base material. Made for hollow concrete applications (ex. cinderblocks).

12. Toggle Wing Hollow Wall Anchors

Toggle Wings are used in situations when installing through a material. The wing can be bent in half and pushed through the material. Once it is all the way through the material it expands and can be screwed into to hold things in place against the rear side of the material.

13. Wedge Anchors

Concrete masonry wedge anchors are used to anchor and secure material and equipment to solid concrete masonry surfaces (ex. concrete slabs). Comprised of an anchor, a nut, and a washer. Used to fasten concrete to equipment, materials, generators, motors, pumps, pipe, strut, plastics, and wood.


What are the 5 basic types of fasteners? ›

5 Types of Fastening you Need to Have in your DIY Tool Kit
  • Fastening with Nails. Nails are one of the easiest methods of joining two or more pieces wood. ...
  • Screws Provide Durability and Disassembly Options. ...
  • Bolting Things in Place. ...
  • Permanent Joins with Rivets. ...
  • Adhesive Anchoring.
Aug 2, 2018

What are the types of screw fasteners? ›

Below are six common types of screws.
  • #1) Wood Screw. Perhaps the single most common type of screw is a wood screw. ...
  • #2) Machine Screw. A machine screw, as the name suggests, is a type of screw that's used in machining applications. ...
  • #3) Lag Screw. ...
  • #4) Sheet Metal Screw. ...
  • #5) Twinfast Screw. ...
  • #6) Security Screw.
Aug 23, 2019

What are the types of fastening in engineering drawing? ›

Studs, Nuts and Bolts are the few examples of the fasteners.
  • HEXAGONAL NUT: It is a general purpose nut used mostly on fasteners. ...
  • SQUARE NUT: The nut having a square shape is known as square nut. ...
  • FLANGED NUT: ...
  • CAP NUT: ...
  • DOME NUT: ...
  • WING NUT: ...
  • CAPSTAN NUT: ...
Mar 22, 2021

What are fasteners in engineering? ›

A fastener (US English) or fastening (UK English) is a hardware device that mechanically joins or affixes two or more objects together. In general, fasteners are used to create non-permanent joints; that is, joints that can be removed or dismantled without damaging the joining components.

What are the 3 types of mechanical fasteners? ›

There are three main types of threaded fastener; Bolts, Screws and Studs. Bolts have a head on one end (this is usually a hex head) and are threaded on the other.

What are the common types of fasteners? ›

5 Common Types of Fasteners
  • Machine screws. Machine screws feature accurate fine threads and are ideal for assembling machine components. ...
  • Wood screws. Wood screws are sharp-pointed screws with coarse threads. ...
  • Hexagonal head bolts. ...
  • Double-end bolts. ...
  • Eye bolts. ...
  • Cap Nuts. ...
  • Weld Nuts.
Apr 30, 2022

What are the 4 types of metal fasteners? ›

Different Types of Fasteners
  • Screws. For many people, when they think of fasteners, screws are the first thing to come to mind. ...
  • Nails. Nails have been used since ancient times, and they are still an everyday household item. ...
  • Bolts, Nuts and Washers. Nuts and bolts are another common type of fastener. ...
  • Anchors. ...
  • Rivets.
Jan 19, 2021

What is screw in engineering drawing? ›

1 shows the screw thread terminology. External thread (screw/vida - bolt/cıvata - stud/saplama): A thread on the external surface of a cylinder. Internal thread (nut/somun): A thread on the internal surface of a cylinder.

What is the difference between screw and fastener? ›

Fastener is a general term to describe something which is used as a restraint for holding things together or attaching to other things. The main physical distinction between screws and bolts is that screws are entirely full of threads while bolts contain shanks without threads.

What is a fastener screw? ›

Screws are fasteners that use their threaded shafts to provide holding power and are designed to be affixed with screwdrivers. A few of the most common types of screws are below. Wood screws – These are the most common wood fastener types and are specifically designed to attach wooden boards and planks.

Is a washer a fastener? ›

Lock washers are ideal fasteners that have a tendency to rotate or lose friction due to vibration or torque. There are many variations of lock washers, but they all prevent loosening by holding the nut and bolt in place. Some bite into the bolt and the nut with their ends.

What are the two main fasteners used in construction? ›

Rivets and nails are two common forms of permanent fasteners. Non-permanent fasteners: Non-permanent fasteners can be used more than once since they are easy to remove without causing damage.

What are metal fasteners called? ›

Examples of metal fasteners that create a permanent bond are screws, rivets, clamps, retaining rings or bolts. Non-permanent fasteners are items like quick-release couplers and pins that allow the movement of fastened parts.

Why are there so many different types of fasteners? ›

The reason for the different styles is cost and torque. Phillips (plus/cross) screws are self-centering, making powered screwdrivers possible. They're somewhat more expensive to produce than slotted-head. They tend to 'cam-out' easily under torque, making it hard to apply much torque.

What are the three primary types of threaded fasteners? ›

Common Types of Threaded Fasteners. The three primary types of threaded fasteners are nuts, bolts, and screws. Most fasteners are made of stainless steel or carbon steel, however there are also threaded fasteners made from other metals or alloys including titanium, copper, aluminum, nickel, and bronze.

What are screws with washers called? ›

A machine screw is a screw or bolt with a flat point. Available in a variety of drive types and heads, they fit a wide variety of applications. Often driven into tapped holes. Used with nuts and washers, also known as “stove bolts” or “stovers”.

What is the name of screw? ›

Fasteners with a non-tapered shank
American nameBritish name
hex cap screw hex bolt
Fine adjustment screw
machine screw
plow boltplough bolt
15 more rows

What are the different types of screws in engineering? ›

A selection of machine screws, from left to right: Hex screw, hex socket countersunk head screw, countersunk head cross screw, hex socket cap screw, and pan head cross screw. Machine screws have a standard thread on a parallel shaft, designed to be screwed into a tapped hole in a part, they may also be used with a nut.

What are the three parts of a screw? ›

The three basic parts of a screw are the head, threaded shank and point. There are different types of each, so it's important to know what works best for your particular job. Read on to learn how to make the right choice for your work. There are two basic types of screws: counter sinking and non-counter sinking.

What is the most common form of fastener? ›

#1) Screws

The most common type of threaded fastener is a screw. Screws consist of cylindrical-shaped pieces of metal with a threaded surface wrapping around the sides. On the top of a screw is a head, which is used to drive the screw into an object or workpiece.

What kind of screws for metal? ›

Self-tapping screws are good for use with metals, various types of plastics (plywood, fiberglass, polycarbonates), and cast or forged material, like iron, aluminum, brass or bronze. Self-tapping screws also work for surfaces where you can't secure the rear end with a nut.

What are structural screws called? ›

Structural screws are heavy-duty fasteners that offer a stronger and more secure connection than traditional screws. They are also known simply as construction screws because of their prevalence in the construction industry.

What are Type 17 screws used for? ›

This point type is primarily used in self drilling wood screws for particularly hard timbers like hardwoods. The sharp point and flute cut out helps remove wood chips and debris when drilling, reducing overall torsion on the screw heads and driver.

What is a screw and its uses? ›

The two primary functions of a screw are to hold things together or to lift objects. The threading around the shaft in a screw makes it an efficient tool to hold things together. The threads grip the surrounding material like teeth, resulting in a secure hold.

What is a screw and examples? ›

Screw is a simple machine which appears like an inclined plane wound around a rod with pointed tip. Hence, it appears like a nail with grooves on its circular curved surfaces. Examples : a drill bit, a bolt, a light bulb, etc.

What is screw process? ›

The most common method is a reciprocating die, in which the screw is rolled at extremely high pressure between two flat dies – one of which remains stationary. This process imprints the thread onto the screw, and can produce hundreds of screws per minute.

What is another word for fastener? ›

  • latch.
  • screw.
  • bolt.
  • buckle.
  • button.
  • catch.
  • clasp.
  • fastening.

How do you identify different fasteners? ›

Fasteners are identified by four or five attributes; Type, Material, Diameter, Length, and Thread Pitch or Count (machine thread fasteners only).

What is an example of a fastener? ›

Some examples of fasteners are bolts, screws, nuts, grommets, rivets, and studs.

What is the main purpose of a washer? ›

washer, machine component that is used in conjunction with a screw fastener such as a bolt and nut and that usually serves either to keep the screw from loosening or to distribute the load from the nut or bolt head over a larger area.

What are five examples of mechanical fasteners? ›

Mechanical fasteners come in many forms, including screws, nails, nuts, bolts, washers, anchors and rivets.

What are 4 types of wood fasteners? ›

The most common drive types for wood screws are the everyday Phillips and slotted head styles, but many other types are available, including hex head, square head, Torx/star head, and Phillips square head screws.

What is the difference between a fastener and a screw? ›

A bolt is a non-tapered fastener that uses a washer and nut to hold objects together. A screw is a tapered fastener that mates with an existing thread or creates its own thread in a material as it turns.

What are tiny screws called? ›

Micro Screws: Various Types and When to Use Them.

What are fasteners called? ›

Fasteners are hardware devices that join objects together. This includes bolts, screws, nails and more.

Which material is used for fasteners? ›

Steel: Most fasteners are made from steel. Specifications cover a broad range of mechanical properties that are indicated by a bolt-head marking system that identifies the fastener by grade.

What are the types of metal fasteners? ›

Metal fasteners are usually separated into two distinct groups – those that produce a permanent bond and those requiring either a releasable or a sliding bond. Examples of metal fasteners that create a permanent bond are screws, rivets, clamps, retaining rings or bolts.

Can you screw into ductwork? ›

For joining ducts

Self-drilling screws can be used in for connecting both circular and rectangular ductwork components.

How do I identify a fastener? ›

Fasteners are identified by four or five attributes; Type, Material, Diameter, Length, and Thread Pitch or Count (machine thread fasteners only).

What are the 2 common types of screws used in woodworking? ›

Wood Screw Head Types

Slothead screws are the most common variety used for driving the screw. They feature a simple slot that can be turned with a flathead screwdriver for penetration of the material. Phillips head screws have much greater functionality than the slothead variety.


1. Types of Bolts - Types of Bolt Heads
(Learning Engineering)
2. Screw It! Intro to Fasteners & Bolted Connections
3. ComparingThreaded Fasteners and Rivets
(Calvin Rans)
4. Design Guidelines for Mechanical Fasteners
(IIT Roorkee July 2018)
5. How to Measure Nuts, Bolts, Screws, & Rivets | Fasteners 101
(Albany County Fasteners)
6. Understanding Fastener Grades & Materials | Fasteners 101
(Albany County Fasteners)


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