Aluminum, Steel, and Stainless Steel Rivet Nuts

August 3, 2023

Aluminum, Steel, and Stainless Steel are the three raw materials used to make rivet nuts, also referred to as internally threaded nut inserts, or Rivnuts®.


Aluminum fasteners are extremely lightweight, weighing about one third as much as steel.  Aluminum is good for nautical marine, automotive, and aerospace applications that focus on weight reduction opportunities.


Aluminum is made of non-magnetic material, typically in the 5056 or 6061 grade. One of the most commonly available general-purpose aluminum alloys is the 6061 grade.

Regular steel is magnetic, typically either 1008 or 1010 grade.

Stainless Steel could either be magnetic or non-magnetic. The 300 series (302HQ, 304, 316 grades) are considered food grade and non-magnetic, which makes it suitable for electronic environments as well. The 400 series of stainless steel, usually 430 grade, are magnetic.


Aluminum and stainless steel offers natural corrosion resistance. The 430 grade offers great corrosion resistance, but for the best corrosion resistance, look to the 300 series, with 316 being the ‘best of the best’. These materials are excellent for wet, water, salt, and outdoor environments.

Steel needs a coating, usually a commercial zinc yellow or zinc clear coating, which creates good corrosion resistance for indoor applications or outdoor applications that don’t experience severe weather conditions. Typically this offers about 50 to 100 hours to red rust per ASTM B117. Zinc nickel coating is a specialty option too, with certain zinc nickel coatings offering up to and over 1,000 hours to red rust per ASTM B117, WOW!


Steel fasteners are intended for use in applications needing a strong and reliable connection between two components. Because of their many advantages, stainless steel Rivnuts® are used in industries such as marine, food grade and automotive. The benefits of stainless steel Rivnuts® include high strength, excellent corrosion resistance, proven durability, good fire and heat resistance, and better load capacity, which allows the connection point to be subject to higher torque levels without separating from each other. The major benefit of stainless steel over standard steel Rivnuts® is the superior corrosion feature they offer when exposed to elements like water, salt and heat. This reduces the maintenance required and costs associated with rust or exposure damage. Stainless steel Rivnuts® perform very well in extreme temperatures compared to standard steel, which makes them ideal for applications where temperature changes affect performance in such applications as engines.

If you are looking for a more superior bonding strength, like in stainless steel Rivnuts®, but at a lower cost, then steel rivet nuts might be the perfect solution! Steel fasteners are also hard, durable, and withstand wear over time. By adding a waterproof rubber seal under the head, steel rivet nuts can be used for your application in the oil and gas industries as well as automotive and rail transport.


The typical manufacturing process to create aluminum, steel, & stainless steel rivet nuts, is the raw material which comes to the manufacturing plant in wire form, coming off a coil that is fed into a cold header that “mashes” the wire into a rivet nut shape. Some cold headers can 100% “finish” the rivet nut, but typically, the rivet nut is then finished on a machining center that holds the tight dimensional tolerances that are demanded by rigorous automotive and aerospace applications (per NAS1329 or NAS1330 aerospace specifications).

Should your application require a specific material, please make that known when asking for a quote.

Aluminum Alloy 6061 is also Commonly Referred to as:

  • UNS A96061
  • AA 6061
  • AlMg1SiCu
  • 3.3214 Aluminum
  • H20 Aluminum

Aluminum alloy 5056 is also Commonly Referred to as:

  • UNS A95056
  • AA 5056

Nobility of Aluminum, Steel, and Stainless Steel

Typically, aluminum rivet nuts are used in aluminum applications. Occasionally, an aluminum rivet nut would be used in a steel or stainless steel application, which can bring into play “galvanic corrosion” due to the different noble proprieties of the materials. In an undemanding indoor environment, galvanic corrosion may pose less of a concern, but in demanding outdoor environments, one would caution putting aluminum rivet nuts into stainless steel applications. The aluminum is less noble (more anodic) and stainless steel is more noble (more cathodic). Aluminum and Steel (especially steel that has zinc plating) get along better, as both are less noble (more anodic). A general rule of thumb is to use the rivet nut material that matches your application, but there are instances where they can be mixed. This is a Reference Only guide to nobility and for exact noble performance requirements, users must complete testing of their exact application.

nobility of common metals chart

Aluminum, Steel, & Stainless Steel Rivnuts® | Rivet Nut Applications

Rivet Nut USA stocks standard/unified and metric aluminum, steel, and stainless steel rivet nuts in a selection of styles and an assortment of diameters and lengths. Rivet nuts offer multiple head flange configurations (thick/flat, thin, countersunk heads), body configurations (round smooth body, round knurled body, full hex body, half hex body), open-end and closed-end rivet nut inserts. Closed-end rivet nuts provide better waterproofing as water is less likely to seep through the rivet nut into the backside/inside of the application.

Rivet Nut USA has you covered for ALL of your fastening requirements.

From the one-off small usage applications to high volume manufacturing/production scale quantities, Rivet Nut USA has the knowledge and engineering expertise to help you select the right fastener and installation tooling for your application.

Industries that Use Aluminum, Steel, & Stainless Steel Rivnuts® | Rivet Nuts in Production

  • Aerospace Equipment Manufacturing
  • Automotive Manufacturing
  • Construction Equipment Manufacturing
  • Energy Equipment Manufacturing
  • Marine Equipment Manufacturing
  • Medical Equipment Manufacturing
  • Military Equipment Manufacturing
  • Oil, Gas & Chemical Equipment Manufacturing
  • Over-the-Road (OTR) Equipment Manufacturing
  • Plane | Plane Equipment Manufacturing
  • Restaurant Equipment Manufacturing
  • Window Manufacturing

AND MANY MORE! Rivet nuts and Rivnuts® come in aluminum, steel, and stainless steel material and in a wide variety of shapes, lengths and head types to match any fastening job out there.

Rivet Nut Thread Size Options

Rivet Nut USA stocks various thread sizes for all applications.

Metric thread sizes: M3 | M4 | M5 | M6 | M8 | M10 | M12

Standard/Unified thread sizes: 4-40 (440) | 6-32 (632) | 8-32 (832) | 10-32 (1032) | 10-24  (1024)| 1/4-20 (2520) | 5/16-18 (3118) | 3/8-16 (3716) | 3/8-24 (3724) | 1/2-12 (5013) | 1/2-50 (5020)

Aluminum Rivet Nuts, Steel Rivet Nuts, Stainless Steel Rivet Nuts
a commercial oven that was manufactured using aluminum rivet nuts, steel rivet nuts, and stainless steel rivet nuts

Contact Rivet Nut USA for ALL Aluminum, Steel, and Stainless Steel Threaded Insert Purchases

Rivet Nut USA is the premier distributor and supplier of aluminum, steel, and stainless steel rivet nuts (also known as threaded inserts, Nutserts® & Rivnuts®) for industrial applications and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Our technical expertise, second-to-none customer service (we return quotes same day and answer the phone by the third ring) and ISO 9001 Quality Certification make us the go-to for all of your fastener solutions. Contact the trusted experts at Rivet Nut USA today!