Choosing the Right Grommet

grommet assortment

The small but mighty grommet is a piece of hardware used to reinforce holes in fabric. Grommets are paired with coinciding washers that engage with each other on either side of the fabric (sold in sets through Trivantage®).

While there is a lot out there to choose from, certain manufacturers make stable metal grommets specially built for heavy-duty uses. There are several types of grommets and washers, depending on application and size demands. They can be used in tarps, industrial covers, boat covers and other marine uses, custom awnings, banners, grommet curtains, drapery, outdoor upholstery, and more. 

What Do Grommets Do?

Grommets are rings used to protect holes in thin materials like fabrics, sheet metal, and carbon fiber. Grommets or eyelets are used so that wires, rope, or cords can be put through your material without tearing through or misshaping the hole. You can find grommets made out of a variety of materials and in many different sizes with varying hole diameters.

What Types of Projects Use Grommets?

Grommets have a wide range of applications for residential, commercial, and industrial use. You can typically find grommets on everything from shoes, curtains, and tarps to covers for boats and vehicles.

How to Install a Grommet

The basic process for installing a grommet is very simple. You can easily install multiple grommets within a few hours with a hammer, measuring tape, grommet, washer, fabric, and a hole punch.

First, measure where you would like the center of your grommet to be on your fabric. Mark the center with a pencil. Center the hole punch on the pencil marking and create the hole. Insert the tall part of your grommet to the underside of the fabric. Place the washer on the top side of the fabric. Pound using the hammer to fasten the washer, fabric, and grommet together.


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Types of Grommets

plain grommet
Plain grommets are the standard “base model” that work best in general or lighter applications. They pair with plain, tooth, or neck washers.
rolled rim grommet
Rolled rim grommets offer a slightly thicker material for heavy-duty projects. The rolled lip engages with spur washers.
self piercing grommet
Self-piercing grommets feature a sharpened edge. Eliminating the need to pre-punch a hole, they pierce through the fabric while placing the grommet and washer in the same step. Not recommended for multiple layers of fabric or thick fabric.

Washer Types

plain washer
Plain washers work best in general or stationary uses.
tooth washer
Tooth washers feature interlocking teeth that bite down for heavier duty projects. These also come in a small tooth form that pairs with self-piercing grommets.
spur washer
Spur washers offer more teeth than tooth washers for the most robust and secure option. They’re ideal for demanding conditions that experience movement (e.g., marine settings).
neck washer
Neck washers feature a longer flange and are used to reinforce holes in barrel-to-barrel settings. Recommended for thicker fabrics.

Grommet Size Chart

Grommets and washers are assigned a standard sizing number from #00 to #4. Keep in mind, though, sizing is slightly different between plain/tooth and spur grommets/washers. Take care in selecting the properly sized tools for the types of grommet and washers you’re installing.

For example, a #0 Spur Washer has an approximate inner diameter (ID) of 5/16”, therefore, will pair with a #1 Hole Punch or Cutter (not a #0, which makes a 1/4” hole).

See grommet size chart below for corresponding sizes (in inches).


Size ID (inner diameter) OD (outer diameter) Hole Size
#00 0.175 0.425 3/16
#0 0.248 0.545 1/4
#1 0.287 0.682 9/32
#2 0.362 0.815 3/8
#3 0.433 0.970 7/16
#4 0.488 1.050 1/2


Size ID (inner diameter) OD (outer diameter) Hole Size
#0 0.270 0.668 9/32
#1 0.380 0.790 3/8
#2 0.430 0.886 7/16
#3 0.430 0.970 15/32
#4 0.565 1.125 9/16


Size ID (inner diameter) OD (outer diameter)
#0 0.291 0.547
#1 0.355 0.697
#2 0.460 0.838
#3 0.528 0.955
#4 0.590 1.107


Size ID (inner diameter) OD (outer diameter)
#2 0.468 0.840
#3 0.545 0.945
#4 0.603 1.053


Size ID (inner diameter) OD (outer diameter)
#0 0.340 0.645
#1 0.454 0.790
#2 0.514 0.893
#3 0.528 0.968
#4 0.642 1.118


Size ID (inner diameter) OD (outer diameter)
#00 0.220 0.425
#0 0.294 0.531
#1 0.355 0.705
#2 0.429 0.840
#3 0.475 0.945
#4 0.540 1.047


Materials Grommets Come In

You’ll find grommets and washers in a few different materials, each containing its own benefits. The following are four of the most common choices.

  • Brass is a durable, moderately priced material that resists corrosion and can withstand high temperatures. Brass grommets are popular because they can live in just about any environment. Because the material is malleable, it’s easy to work with.
  • Stainless steel is less malleable than brass but very strong, making it best for use in self-piercing grommets.
  • Aluminum is lightweight but durable and corrosion resistant. Since it’s not as strong as brass or steel, it’s generally used for lighter uses.
  • Nickel and black plated options offer different finishes with added abrasion resistance.

Related Tools

Using the right grommet tools help make the installation process go much smoother. We recommend pairing the following tools with your preferred grommet style and a distinct fabric for a professional result. You can also find grommets on sale in our Specials section.
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