Essential Guide to Cordless Dual-Type Fastener Tools

A deep dive into the emerging types of multipurpose portable fastening tools and profiles some of the latest innovations in battery-operated tools. 

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Fastener systems continue to be used in new ways, and no matter whether fasteners are used on the shop floor or at a jobsite, it’s important to have efficient and versatile fastening tools for installation. You not only want the right tools for the job, but you also want tools that are reliable and easy to use. If you can use the same tools for different types of fastener installations, you need fewer tools to get the job done.
More shop workers, contractors, solar installers, mechanics, field service professionals, and others are using cordless fastening tools for the installation of multiple fastener types. Newer battery technology gives portable fastening tools more power, and new designs make them lighter and more versatile so that they can be used for various applications. Battery systems are also more standardized, making using the same batteries among multiple tools easier. And fast-charge battery systems reduce downtime to promote greater efficiency and productivity.
This guide offers insights into the emerging types of multipurpose portable fastening tools. These new battery-operated tools are more powerful than ever. Fastening tool manufacturers are designing them to handle different nose assemblies for different types of fasteners, such as rivets and lockbolts, so you need fewer tools to do the job. The guide also will profile some of the latest innovations in battery-operated tools from the best cordless tool brands, including Huck, Marston, Makita, Gesipa, and Goebel. 

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Chapter 1

Why the Move to Battery-Operated Fastening Tools?

Battery-powered fastening tools are becoming mainstream, and the new cordless designs have made battery-operated tools more powerful and flexible.

Portability is still the primary reason more installers are adopting battery-powered fastening tools. Portable tools have always been a logical fit for spot repairs or applications that call for occasional use. Now, portable tools can be used on the job for extended periods, whether at a construction site, in a shop setting, or for applications such as installing solar panels. The ability to use a single type of installation tool means installers need to keep track of fewer tools on jobsites, and fewer tool repairs are needed.

More professionals are adopting this new generation of portable tools because they are designed for more applications. Since they have more power, they can be used to install larger rivets and fasteners. And manufacturers are offering a wider range of nose assemblies in larger sizes.

Portable rivet tools also boost productivity. Batteries are becoming lighter, more compact, and more powerful, and the tools are more lightweight. Lighter tools can be used for more extended periods with less fatigue to workers. Standardized battery systems make it easier to swap batteries between different tools and have batteries on hand, charged, and ready to go. Charging systems are more efficient, so batteries can be recharged quickly.

One of the greatest advantages of portable fastening tools is their ease of use. Hydraulic and pneudraulic tools require specialized training to balance the power systems to the application and ensure that compressors are working correctly and hoses are connected. For heavy-duty applications such as construction, using pneumatic systems in the field can require specialists on-site to set up and repair compressors and tool sets, which increases both downtime and expenses. With battery-powered tools, no training is required. You simply install a fresh battery and the right nose assembly and go to work.

Portable tools are less expensive than hydraulic systems. Even the most powerful and sophisticated battery-operated tools are three-quarters the cost of low-end pneumatic tools. Battery-powered tools tend to be more reliable, and using fewer, less-expensive tools that won’t break down means saving time and money.

BV-13 and BV-17Howmet Aerospace and Huck recently launched these first-of-its-kind cordless lockbolt tools. Check them out!



With all these benefits, it’s no wonder portable fastening tools are being used for more applications, including:

  • Field repairs: Whether it’s a quick repair to a truck, railroad car, boat, or some other application, more power and versatility make battery-powered tools ideal for spot repairs in almost any situation. 
  • Construction: For projects where power access can be a problem, battery-powered tools offer a logical solution. Not only do the batteries mean these tools are untethered from a power source, but their portability also makes them easier to use in hard-to-reach places. 
  • Factory assembly: More battery-powered tools are finding their way to the assembly line. Portable tools do the same job as hydraulic or pneumatic tools, and they also make the workplace safer by eliminating hoses that can create a hazard.
  • Solar installations: The boom in solar power has opened a new field of applications for rivets and lockbolts. Portable fastening tools are ideal for rooftop solar installations because they require no specialized training.

The added versatility of portable power tools makes it easier to use rivets and lockbolts almost anywhere. 

Chapter 2

An Overview of Battery-Powered Tools

Portable fastening tools are gaining popularity because they are easier to use, require no hoses or power cords, and require little or no training. However, they aren’t a substitute for the more powerful fastening tools except in some cases where using slightly less installation power is acceptable. The improvements in battery design are closing the gap between portable and pneumatic tools.

Nickel-Cadmium Batteries

The first generation of battery-powered tools used nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries, which revolutionized the development of portable power tools. Before the introduction of NiCad batteries, toolmakers experimented with lead-acid batteries, like the batteries used in cars and trucks. Lead-acid batteries tended to be too large and heavy for practical use in power tools, and they couldn’t hold an adequate charge. More importantly, they couldn’t generate enough torque.

NiCad batteries revolutionized the design of portable power tools just as they launched a new generation of rechargeable consumer electronics. NiCad batteries are compact, lightweight, and can be recharged repeatedly. Many consumer-grade power tools still use NiCad batteries.

NiCad batteries have their shortcomings. The biggest disadvantage is that they are made from nickel oxide hydroxide and metal cadmium, making them an environmental hazard and more expensive to produce. NiCad batteries also suffer from the “memory effect,” so if they aren’t cared for properly, they tend to “remember” the number of previous discharges, which limits recharge life. Charging is less efficient as well. You only store 70-75 percent of the power used to charge the battery.

Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries have become the industry standard for professional power tools since they can deliver more power in a more compact design. Li-ion batteries can provide almost as much power as hydraulics or pneumatics. They also run longer on a single charge than NiCad batteries.

Li-ion batteries are perfect for portable riveters since the tools are required to use short bursts of energy repeatedly. They also deliver more consistent power, need less time to recharge, and are lighter and smaller, so they are ideal for handheld power tools.

Other Innovations in Battery Technology

Battery technology continues to evolve with new capabilities that make them even more valuable for professional, portable power tools. The voltage of Li-ion batteries has increased from 12 volts (V) to 18 V and higher. Higher voltage means more power is available in portable tools, which can mean more pulling power or torque.

Battery chargers are more efficient as well. Li-ion batteries charge faster than other rechargeable batteries, and manufacturers are offering fast-charge systems to make their battery-powered tools more efficient and promote greater productivity.

Manufacturers are standardizing batteries. For example, the 40-amp batteries from Makita sold at your local hardware store or building supplier for consumer power tools are the same ones used for all Makita tools. That means you have one type of interchangeable battery for Makita fastening tools, drills, saws, and other power tools. It also means you have a common type of battery charger.

European manufacturers have banded together to form the Cordless Alliance System (CAS), providing a common battery pack for all leading tool brands. By shopping for equipment with the CAS label, you can be sure that batteries are interchangeable between tools and brands and use a common charger type.

Chapter 3

Using Portable Tools for Blind Rivets and Lockbolts

The improvement in portable tools opens the way for new applications for blind rivets and lockbolts.

Blind Rivets

Blind rivets have been in use for more than a century. They were invented in 1916 for aircraft manufacturing to connect workpieces when you have access from one side of a joint. Blind rivets provide a secure and lasting bond when nuts and bolts work loose over time, especially with heavy vibration.

Installing blind rivets is much faster when you use power tools. Rivets are set in a pre-drilled hole, and the tool pulls the internal pin or mandrel to collapse the rivet shaft on the blind side. The rivet tool pulls the two pieces together for a firm joint, and once the rivet is set, the tool breaks off the mandrel in one smooth action. A blind rivet can be installed in a fraction of a second using power tools, which makes them ideal for assembly line applications where you want a secure and lasting joint.

Because they are resilient, easy to install, and vibration-resistant, blind rivets are used in various applications, including agricultural machinery, trucks and transportation equipment, railroad cars, residential lighting, consumer electronics, and more. Large blind rivets are even being used to construct buildings and bridges. Blind rivets are made in different sizes and materials for different applications. The application determines the type and power needed in a portable fastening tool.


Like blind rivets, lockbolts consist of a pin and a collar, but they are stronger and more durable than blind rivets. Lockbolts can also be set from one side of a joint and are set faster using power tools.

Louis C. Huck invented the lockbolt. His goal was to create a fastener design that would eliminate the weaknesses of nuts and bolts, such as failing under a load or becoming loose from vibration. The lockbolt provides a stronger, lasting joint because it has a larger cross-section connection between the collar and the pin to handle more stress. The lockbolt also features a locking collar rather than a threaded nut, so it won’t work loose. Like the blind rivet, lockbolts also have detachable pintails. Once the collar is swaged and the lockbolt is set, the exposed pin is sheared off and discarded.

Where blind rivets have a smooth pin, the lockbolt pin is threaded like a nut, and the collar has a smooth bore. The lockbolt joint is formed by swaging the collar to the pin. The lockbolt tool is designed to pull the pin to bring the joint together, then apply pressure to the collar to form a tight seal against the lockbolt threads. Lockbolts are used for high-stress applications because they resist loosening from vibration or fatigue.

Lockbolts are also used in transportation, equipment manufacturing, construction, and applications where a lasting, vibration-resistant joint is essential. Lockbolts exceed conventional bolts in both shear and tensile strength, and they are faster to install than nuts and bolts, especially with power tools.

Huck Neobolts and BobTails

The Avdel NeoBolt and Huck BobTail are specialized lockbolts that are high-strength, vibration-resistant, and don’t leave leftover pins.

The Avdel NeoBolt is a two-piece locking system similar to the lockbolt but without waste. Unlike blind rivets and conventional lockbolts, there is no pin to break off, so there is no metal waste, no installation shock, reduced noise, and no risk of stray pintails being dropped in the work area. Since there isn’t the additional shock of breaking off the pin, the NeoBolt also reduces operator fatigue.

The NeoBolt is offered in various diameters and lengths and can be installed using conventional tools equipped with the proper nose assembly. NeoBolts are used in the same applications as other lockbolts, including trucking, mining, agriculture, commercial vehicles, fences and security screens, bridge building, and power and utility services.

The Huck BobTail has a similar design and delivers five times the fatigue strength of conventional nuts and bolts. It can be installed in less than two seconds and uses low-swage technology, so you can use lightweight, ergonomic fastening tools. Since you don’t have to break off the pintail and no untreated metal is exposed, the fastener is corrosion-resistant. Installing BobTails also means less vibration for operators and no stray pins to litter the work area.

The BobTail comes in a range of sizes from ¼ inch to 1 inch and in metric diameters. It is available in steel, stainless steel, or aluminum.

Now let’s look at some of the latest dual-purpose, battery-powered tools used to install blind rivets and lockbolts.

Chapter 4

Cordless Dual-Type Fastening Tools

Fastening toolmakers continue to expand their catalogs of battery-powered tools. The best cordless tool brands are improving their existing tool designs to take advantage of innovations in battery technology, and they are developing lighter and more powerful portable tools. Here are a few innovations we have seen hit the market in recent months.


Developed by Makita and Arconic Fastening Systems, The Huck BV13 and BV17 are the newest additions to the RangeForce line of battery tools, offering 13,000 and 17,000 pounds of force, so they can install most Huck fasteners without the need for pneumatic or hydraulic power. 

The BV13 is for HuckBolts, and the BV17 is for blind fasteners from 5/16 inches up to ½ inch in diameter. These units use 40 V Li-ion batteries with an approximate recharge time of 28 minutes for the 4-ampere hour (Ah) battery and 40 minutes for the 5 Ah battery. They weigh about 16-18 pounds, depending on the battery.

The Huck BV2200 and BV4500 RangeForce tools have been gaining popularity among solar installers. These tools use an 18 V 5 Ah battery and can handle blind rivets and lockbolts from 3/16 inches to 1/4 inches and feature a stroke length of 1.18 inches. The BV2200 has a pull force of up to 2,200 pounds and can be electronically adjusted for pull force ranges from 392-2,200 pounds by pressing a button at the base of the tool. The BV4500 has a pull force of 4,500 pounds and is adjustable from 400-4,500 pounds, depending on the set point. They weigh between 4-6 pounds.


Recommended Pull Force Settings for BV4500 and BV220 


Goebel, the German tool manufacturer, has introduced the Goebel GO-LB1, a cordless lockbolt tool with an 18 V Li-ion battery, to compete with American toolmakers at the low end of the market. The GO-LB1 is a lightweight tool at 3.3 pounds and is designed for 3/16-inch and ¼-inch nose assemblies with a 9.65- by 10.24-inch pull stroke.


German tool manufacturer Gesipa is one of Europe's leaders driving CAS battery standardization. The company’s BirdPro tool series takes full advantage of the CAS interchangeable battery system, offering seven models with 18 V battery power. Li-ion batteries are available in both 2 Ah and 4 Ah configurations. 

The BirdPro series covers a wide range of applications. For example, the AccuBird Pro has seven nose assemblies, the PowerBird Pro Gold tool handles extra-strong fasteners, and the iBird Pro C has setting process monitoring. There are also options to adjust the setting force and stroke.

Gesipa is taking the lead in developing smaller portable fastening tools, such as the Gesipa Birdie. The Birdie is being billed as the smallest, lightest battery-powered riveting tool in its class. The Birdie weighs less than 2 pounds without the battery and is designed for long-term use with less fatigue. It can be used for a wide range of applications, handling blind rivets up to 3/16 inch with a pull force of 2,250 pounds and a pull stroke of 1 inch. Like most battery-powered units in this class, the Birdie features a brushless motor that makes it virtually maintenance-free. It also has a spent mandrel container.


To compete with the Huck BobTail, Stanley offers the PB2500N cordless NeoBolt tool for ¼-inch and 5/16-inch lockbolts. This tool has a DeWalt 20 V 4 Ah battery for more power, and the DeWalt charger offers a 30-minute recharge time. The PB2500N has a pull force of 2,000 pounds, a stroke of 1 inch, and weighs a little more than 5 pounds.

Stanley’s also offers smart riveting tools. The PB2500 smart rivet tool can install 1,100 steel 3/16-inch open-end fasteners with a single battery charge. What makes the tool “smart” is an onboard touchscreen process monitoring system that includes an OK/not OK notification for each rivet installation. The unit has a capacity for 500,000 settings and has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

The BR12PP-8 process monitoring smart blind rivet tool is fully programmable and sets 1/8-inch to 3/16-inch rivets. This battery-powered rivet gun has an onboard display and can be programmed for advanced error-proofing, such as rivet count, job selection, and connection to user error-proofing systems. It has onboard storage for up to 500 rivet pulls, tracking force, distances, speed, current, and bus voltage, and data can be readily exported for analysis. The BR12PP-8 can be configured using a barcode reader for up to 16 job profiles for multiple rivet types of application thicknesses.  

The SB25PT-05 is Stanley’s battery-powered speed fastening tool which can install 800 3/16-inch steel NeoSpeed fasteners on a single battery charge. This tool has a long barrel design for easy access in tight spaces and uses DeWalt Li-ion batteries with fast charging times and quick-change nose jaw and tail jaw systems to cut downtime.


Japanese toolmaker Lobster offers the R1B1 and R1B2. These units operate on a 14.4V battery and are very fast, making them ideal for use in a factory or production environment. They also have a 2,361-pound pull capacity and a 0.866-inch stroke. 

Lobster tools have an ergonomic design and weigh 4.19 pounds, making them ideal for long-term use. They are energy-efficient, so they can install more rivets on a single charge. Added features include an LED spotlight to illuminate the application area, increased capacity for mandrel collection, and a power-disabling safety device.


Italian manufacturer FAR has developed a new line of portable rivet tools that use 16V and 20V Li-ion batteries. The FAR EB 500 features a 16 V 2 Ah battery and is designed to handle 3/32-inch to 3/16-inch rivets. It has a pull force of 2,248 pounds and a 0.827-inch stroke.

The FAR EB 640 can handle 3/16-inch t0 5/16-inch rivets and has a 20 V 4 Ah Li-ion battery. It has a pull force of 4,496 pounds and a 1.181-inch stroke.


Marson offers the BT5 and the BT6, both highly affordable portable rivet tools that operate on 18 V 2 Ah batteries.

The Marson BT5 rivet gun handles 3/32-inch to 3/16-inch blind rivets with a 0.866-inch stroke and a pull force of 2,248 pounds. The tool weighs 4.21 pounds with the battery pack, and the battery has a recharge time of 45 minutes.

The Marson BT6 cordless tool has tips for ¼-inch and 3/16-inch rivets with a 1.024-inch stroke and a pull pressure of 4,496 pounds. The BT6 weighs 4.28 pounds, including the battery.

Huck Cordless Power Rig

The Huck 964B Powerig falls into its own portable tool category. While other portable tools use rechargeable batteries to power the tool, the Huck 964B Powerig is a battery-powered hydraulic power system designed for low-volume use, such as field repairs.

What makes the 964B innovative is that it makes hydraulic power portable. With this battery-operated Powerig, no external cords or power sources are needed, which means no gas pump or noisy electrical generators on a jobsite or where you need to make a repair in an area without power. The 964B connects and operates like any other hydraulic system, so you have access to the full range of hydraulic tools and nose assemblies, including those you may need for big jobs, such as railroad repairs, construction site use, large equipment repairs, and more.

The 964B Powerig is ideal for large-diameter fasteners such as the C50L lockbolt, the Huckspin2, and BobTail fasteners. It uses an 18 V 9 Ah Li-ion battery and features a motor speed of 7,000 rpm. The reservoir capacity is 70 cubic inches, and the unit can reach 10,000 PSI with adjustable pressure relief valves to control pull and return pressures.

It doesn’t operate as quickly as conventional hydraulic systems, which is why it is useful for low-volume use. However, it is highly portable since the entire unit weighs 74.5 pounds when the reservoir is full, so you can use it virtually anywhere.

Chapter 5

The Future of Portable Fastening Tools

You can expect to see more battery-powered fastening tools hit the market in the coming months. The few tools in this guide show that batteries have more power, are more compact, and need less time to charge. There is a growing movement toward battery standardization, so batteries will be interchangeable between tools. Having charged batteries in reserve to power cordless saws, drills, and fastening tools is sure to improve productivity.

The best cordless tool brands and leading manufacturers are driving the trend toward better batteries to power portable tools. Just as companies such as Gesipa are driving CAS battery standardization in Europe, we are seeing similar trends in North America. For example, DeWalt continues to gain ground as the leading provider of battery-powered tools, and DeWalt batteries are reliable and readily available in any hardware store.

As batteries become lighter and less expensive, more manufacturers will introduce more battery-powered tools. For example, STANLEY Engineered Fastening has been introducing several new portable tools, and there are rumors they may be phasing out their pneumatic fastening tools.

Bay Supply has been providing fasteners since 1962 and has one of the most extensive inventories of parts and tools, where we have electronically cataloged every product and specification to make online search easy. We also have a comprehensive resource library that contains engineering specifications, data sheets, product attributes, tool manuals, instructional videos, manufacturer catalogs, and other information.

And Bay Supply is proud to introduce the first buyer’s marketplace for fastener products, where sourcing professionals, manufacturers, and distributors can collaborate, quote, and transact business effortlessly.

Whether you are looking for the right type of rivet or lockbolt or aren’t sure what tool best suits your needs, Bay Supply’s knowledgeable team is available to help. Contact us to request a quote or for assistance finding the best fastening tool for your next job.

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