The Nuts and Bolts of Choosing The Right Fastener

Question about which nut goes with what bolt? This handy guide teaches you the nuts and bolts of nuts and bolts.

A Nut & Bolt For Everything

After you have learned the nuts and bolts of nuts and bolts, please visit our extensive collection of fasteners that are perfect for every job or project imaginable


Carriage Bolts
  • Head is rounded and has no slots
  • Under the head is a square "shoulder" that's countersunk to keep the bolt from turning when the nut is tightened
  • One of the few bolts designed for use with wood
  • Used where a protruding head is not desirable

Machine Bolt
  • Has a hex head
  • Designed to be applied with a wrench or socket/ratchet
  • Threaded a portion of its length or the entire length
  • Used as a general utility bolt

Stove Bolt
  • Head is slotted and may be round, flat or oval
  • Has threads the entire length of the bolt
  • Used as a general utility bolt 

Threaded Rod
  • Has no head
  • Available in lengths up to 3' long
  • Can be to cut to length with a hacksaw
  • Requires nuts at both ends
  • Ends are usually concealed with caps or plugs
  • Used when additional length is needed

U-Bolt, J-Bolt, Eyebolt
  • Have no heads
  • Used as a support for hanging items

Nuts & Washers

The complete fastening system consists of a bolt, a washer, and a nut. The key to success is matching the right components to the project at hand. 

Flat Washers
  • Available in various thicknesses and diameters
  • Serves to prevent bolt heads from pulling through the material, to increase the tightness of a fastener, or to prevent friction or leaking
  • Size is determined by the inner diameter
  • Size of the fastener head determines the washer size needed

Hex Or Square Nuts
  • Most common nut
  • Generally has square or hex-shaped head, and is available in many variations of thickness and finish

Lock Nut
  • Has hex head
  • Available with threaded nylon inserts to prevent loosening

Lock Washers
  • Has teeth either on the inside or the outside to prevent the loosening of a fastener

Wing Nut
  • Designed to be tightened or loosened by hand
  • Useful for material that will be regularly removed or replaced

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