What's the Difference Between Plain & Spur Grommets?

Item # X-HT-300092

When shopping for grommets, have you ever wondered what the differences are between all the options? Will using one over another be better for your project? Those are great questions, so let's start at the beginning. Grommets are two-part metal pieces of hardware that reinforce a hole made in fabric. There are two common types of grommets: the plain grommet (sometimes also known as the washer grommet) and the spur grommet.

Since both types of grommets are used to reinforce holes, how different can they be? Fairly different, actually, and those differences will have a big impact on the performance of your projects. Let's take a closer look at the features of plain and spur grommets and show you how to install both.

Plain Grommet

Plain grommets installed and uninstalled.

These grommets are typically made from brass or other lightweight metals. Plain grommets are used most often in lighter duty applications like flags, bags, or curtains and are easy to install with a hole cutter and plain grommet die set. The drawbacks to plain grommets are that they are not strong enough for medium to heavy applications and they have a tendency to spin and break down the fabric.

Spur Grommet

Spur grommets installed and uninstalled

Spur grommets get their name from the small teeth or spurs on the female portion of the grommet. These teeth dig in to the fabric and wrap around the male portion of the grommet to provide a strong grip and to keep the grommet from spinning. Spur grommets are made of heavy metals such as brass, nickel, or stainless steel and are used for medium to heavy applications like tarps, tents, covers, and awnings. Spur grommets require their own die set for installation and, since they are heavier metal, can take a lot of force to install.

Sizing & Installation

All grommets are sized with numerical sizes (#00, #0, #1, etc.) that correspond to their inner diameter. Both plain and spur grommets have these sizes, but plain and spur grommets of the same number are not identical in size. For example, on a #2 spur grommet and a #2 plain the inner diameter of the plain grommet will be slightly smaller.

Both types of grommets must be installed with their own specific die sets. The plain grommet die set will not install a spur grommet and vice versa. To see how to install grommets of both types, check out this video.

Are you thinking up any projects with grommets? Share your ideas in the comments!