Rivets are specific, headed, usually non-threaded fasteners that are beaten or pressed into place to secure two or more items together. Rivets are cylindrical mechanical fasteners capped with a flanged or forged head on one end. Rivets have different shaped heads, including domed, flat, or countersunk.

Rivets come in a variety of configurations depending on the type of riveting. A tubular rivet has a cylindrical or tapered hole at the end, which is shaped or curled back by another tool during the setting process to form a clinch head against the material. A rivet nut or nutsert, is a threaded rivet which is used to provide secure, permanent hold in high-load applications.

Rivets can be made of many different materials, including steel, copper, plastic, and other metal alloys, depending on the material being secured together, possible weight restrictions, and the potential for corrosion. When the weight of the materials or the possibility of corrosion is an issue, a manufacturer may use a copper, aluminum, or plastic rivet. Plastic button rivets may be removed and used again, and are useful in applications where materials need to be non-conductive.