When it comes to selecting a fastener, many factors require careful consideration. From type to material to size and more, fasteners are available in virtually endless configurations. Our industrial fastener selection guide is designed to help you learn the best strategies for determining the correct fasteners for your unique applications.

Fasteners Etc., Inc. is a leading expert in fasteners and industrial products. Our industrial fastener selection guide will provide the tools you need to determine the best solution for your fastener needs. Contact us with any questions, and our knowledgeable staff will be happy to assist you!

Types of Industrial Fasteners

Fasteners are defined by their ability to combine two or more materials with a mechanical joint. These joints are typically reversible, but for some fasteners, they create a permanent connection. There are many types of fasteners commonly used in industrial applications. Some of the most common fastener types include bolts, screws, nuts, washers, and rivets. Understanding various types of fasteners will help you determine the right style for your project.


Bolts are threaded fasteners with male ends and require nuts for secure fastening. They are used for applications with unthreaded holes, as the bolt and nut together form the connection. Bolts are not self-tapping, the base material must have the hole already available for installation.. Connections formed using bolts are reversible by removing the nut, making these connections non-permanent if necessary. There are many types of bolts, including hex head bolts, flush carriage bolts, and eye bolts. These bolts feature various head styles and are used for different applications. Bolts are some of the most common fasteners and can be found in virtually all industries.


Screws, like bolts, are threaded fasteners with male-style ends. However, screws do not typically require additional fasteners to form connections. They are often self-tapping in nature, and their threading cuts out a female connection in the fastened material, holding the screw in place. These connections are reversible, as screws can be removed by unfastening. Some of the most common types of screws include wood screws, machine screws, and lag screws. Screws are desired for their versatility and are used across all industries for various projects.


Nuts are threaded fasteners with female-style threading and are used to secure bolts in fastening projects. The insides of all nuts are threaded, but their exterior style varies from nut to nut. From hex shapes to cap shapes, nuts serve various purposes based on application. Some nuts are desired for reinforced strength, while others offer an aesthetically pleasing finish to bolt applications. Common nut styles include hex nuts, acorn nuts, wing nuts, and lock nuts. Nuts are found in most all applications using bolts, and as such, they offer the ability for removal.


Rivets are unique fasteners specifically designed for permanent connections. They are unthreaded and instead feature a smooth shaft with a head and tail at each end. Rivets are inserted by deforming or compressing the shank, which collapses the head and tail pieces together against the fastened material and forms a permanent joint. Standard styles of rivets include blind rivets, also referred to as pop rivets, and solid rivets. Because they form irreversible connections, rivets are used for specific, long-term applications across many industries.

Material Selection

Determining the correct material for your fastener requires considering factors including strength, corrosion resistance, and temperature. Understanding your project requirements is crucial for selecting the right fastener material for your application.

Common fastener materials include steel, stainless steel, brass, aluminum, and bronze, although fasteners are available in many materials. Additionally, many of these materials are available in various grades, altering their properties and creating unique specifications. In addition to multiple compositions, fasteners can also be coated with finishing such as zinc or chrome. These coatings can offer increased corrosion resistance or extend the lifespan of the fastener.

An important consideration when selecting a fastener is the environment of your application. For example, highly corrosive environments require reinforced, specialized fasteners, while marine applications demand weather-resistant fasteners. The strongest fastener is not necessarily the correct choice for every application. It is essential to choose the proper material for your fastener to achieve the greatest results for your project.

Size & Specifications

Choosing the correct fastener size for your application is essential for proper installation and long-lasting results. The fastener size must match the hole size in the fastened material. Additionally, whether the hole is threaded or the accompanying nut is threaded, the thread pitch must match as well to ensure secure installation. Length and shape are additional factors for consideration. Measuring the correct length for your project will ensure your fasteners perform at their greatest capabilities. Additionally, the shape of the fastener head must properly suit the application. From hex heads to rounded heads, understanding the correct shape necessary for your project will help ensure success.

Load-Bearing Capacity

Load-bearing capacity is the maximum amount of weight, or “load,” that a fastener can support during use without failing or causing damage to itself or the fastened material. Load bearing varies from fastener to fastener and is dependent on many factors.
The size of the fastener certainly affects its load-bearing capabilities. Larger, more heavy-duty fasteners have greater weight capacities than smaller, lightweight fasteners, as the bigger fasteners have larger surface areas and can distribute weight across more expansive areas.
The material of a fastener also plays a vital role in determining a fastener’s load-bearing capacity. High-strength materials can support increased weights, while softer materials like aluminum face reduced load capacities. The grades of various metals, or the mixture of alloys in the metals, also contribute to a fastener’s weight capacity. Reinforced fasteners can withstand intense weights and, therefore, have increased load-bearing abilities.
Load-bearing capacity is an essential yet often overlooked factor when selecting the appropriate fastener for an application. Fasteners with decreased weight capacities can be pulled through materials that require high load capacities, while high load-bearing fasteners used in softer materials can dent or harm the application, both of which lead to damage and can have adverse effects on project success. Choosing a fastener with the correct load-bearing capacity required will help ensure safety and structural integrity for your project.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While selecting the fastener you need, there are certain mistakes to avoid to ensure you choose the best fastener for your project.
Do not begin your search for a fastener without knowing precisely what you need. Ensure you fully understand your application before selecting a fastener. Knowing how your project’s environment may affect a fastener will help you determine the correct material for your fastener. Using an incorrect fastener in an industrial application can lead to project errors or failure. Therefore, ensure you fully understand the needs of your project to correctly determine the best fastener solution.

It is essential to educate yourself on the various grades and alloy mixes available for fasteners. Do not prematurely determine a material without understanding the grade variations and how that will affect the fastener's performance in your application. Instead, familiarize yourself with the components and structural designs of various metal grades to determine the right alloy mix for your project.
Finally, avoid choosing low-quality fasteners. While it may be tempting to select fasteners at low costs, it is crucial to refrain from sacrificing quality. High-quality fasteners will provide increased longevity for your projects, saving you money in the long run while ensuring project success.

Fasteners Etc., Inc. is Your Trusted Industrial Fastener Supplier & Expert

With so many variations of fasteners available today, selecting the correct fastener can be overwhelming. Fasteners Etc., Inc. is prepared to help you with all your industrial fastener selection needs.
Contact us today to speak with an expert and learn more about industrial fasteners.

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