How to Select High-Quality Marine Snap Fasteners

Item # X-HT-300699

A complete snap fastener is made up of three to four individual pieces. You combine these pieces into two finished components — the top and bottom halves of the fastener — by installing them in your project.

Four-piece sets include a button, a socket, a stud and an eyelet. The button and socket rivet together to form the top half of the fastener. The stud and eyelet rivet together to form the bottom half of the fastener. The stud/eyelet piece then snaps into the button/socket piece. There are also three-piece sets that include a button, a socket and a stud with a screw in it. Buttons, eyelets and screw studs come in different lengths to fit various application thicknesses.

Choosing High Quality Marine Snap Fasteners 3Left: Cloth-to-cloth snap sets have four pieces. Right: Cloth-to-surface snap sets have three pieces.

Quality is key when it comes to these hardware components. We carry Sailrite® brand snap fasteners and DOT® snap fasteners suitable for marine DIYs. Whether you’re making covers, upholstery, sail bags or other marine canvas items, the snaps you need are at Sailrite.

We’ll talk more about Sailrite’s lineup of top-notch fasteners later in this blog. But first, let’s discuss why it’s so important to have strong, corrosion-resistant fasteners.

Benefits of First-Quality Snaps

Durability & Longevity

One of the primary reasons to opt for high-quality snap fasteners is durability. Low-quality fasteners can wear out, corrode or break over time, leading to frustration and potentially costly repairs or replacements. High-quality snap fasteners are designed to resist wear and tear from consistent use. They also generally flare properly and aren’t prone to splitting. Let’s talk more about these issues and why avoiding them is critical to proper snap function.


What’s flaring, and why is it so important? The barrel on a snap button must flare outward (or in other words, roll backward on itself) to catch and hold the inside surface of the socket during installation. The same is true for the eyelet barrel and the stud on a cloth-to-cloth set. When the barrel flares successfully, you have a securely set fastener that won’t twist or pull out of the fabric.

Choosing High Quality Marine Snap Fasteners 5Compare the neat flare of the Sailrite barrel (left) to the overly flared barrel on the off-brand button (right).

A quality snap won’t flare before it punches through the fabric, ensuring it has full holding power once set. This is especially important for self-piercing installation methods such as the Pres-N-Snap tool, which punches a hole in the fabric as it installs the snap. (In other installation methods, you punch a hole in the fabric first.) Quality snap barrels also produce even rolls that resist flaring too much.

On the other hand, a shoddy snap may flare before it’s fully through the fabric application. In addition, low-grade snap barrels don’t always produce even, consistent rolls. It’s even possible for the barrel to flare too much. (This can happen to thin barrels when excessive pressure is applied during installation.) All these installation errors can result in an incomplete or unsuccessful set, greatly reducing the snap’s strength. A poorly flared snap may pull out of the fabric or twist within the application.


Splitting occurs when the barrel on a button or eyelet comes apart or cracks. Splitting is a common problem with low-grade fasteners for a couple of reasons.

Choosing High Quality Marine Snap Fasteners 4Compare the neat flare of the Sailrite button barrel (left) to the split barrel on the off-brand button (right).

First, remember that the barrels on shoddy snaps often flare improperly. This greatly increases the chance that the barrel will split just from regular use. Second, cheap fasteners are often made from poor-quality or thin metal. These snaps are weak right from the start, and it doesn’t take much pressure to split them. Either way, a snap loses its holding power when it splits.

When you choose snaps that are durable and made from first-rate materials, you can rest assured that your hardware will have excellent longevity.

Environmental Resistance

You’ll also want to prioritize snaps that can stand up to various outdoor and marine conditions. Moisture, heat, UV rays, saltwater and other environmental factors can cause low-quality snaps to corrode or deteriorate, compromising the integrity of your work. When choosing snaps for marine projects, look for ones made from stainless steel or plated brass. Snaps made from these metals are often designed to resist challenging conditions and maintain their strength for years to come.


Whatever project you're working on, reliable fasteners are essential for keeping things in place. Low-quality snaps may pop open unexpectedly or fail to fasten securely. That’s because the springs in these snaps tend to deform easily.

What do we mean by a spring? It’s not a traditional, coiled spring like you may find in your favorite pen. A spring in a snap fastener is the open loop of metal found inside the bottom rim of the socket. The socket is the only part of a snap fastener that has a spring.

Choosing High Quality Marine Snap Fasteners 6For best holding power, a snap spring should be just slightly smaller than the groove it sits in. Note how well the spring fits into the Sailrite fastener (right) versus the extra room in the off-brand fastener (left).

This spring is what grabs and holds the stud to keep a snap fastener closed. On a high-grade fastener, the spring maintains its shape — and therefore, its holding power — with time and use.

But the spring on a low-caliber snap may be made of an inferior metal that is prone to bending. Once the spring loses its original round shape, it becomes difficult to close the snap securely. And even once this deformed snap is closed, it has much less holding power than an undamaged snap.

By using high-quality snap fasteners with stainless steel or brass springs, you can trust that your projects will stay securely fastened until you’re ready to unsnap them.

How to Spot Quality

Now that you know why you shouldn’t settle when it comes to snaps, how can you tell what’s good and what’s not? Distinguishing between well-made and poorly made snap fasteners is crucial to ensure that your projects work properly for the long haul. Starting out with first-quality materials will also save you the hassle of replacing worn or broken fasteners in the future.

Choosing High Quality Marine Snap Fasteners 7Get snaps in packs of 10, 100 or 1,000. 10-packs are great for sampling!

If you’re on the fence about a certain fastener, we suggest trying them out by ordering the smallest pack available. That will give you the opportunity to feel the snaps, inspect them up close, and test their performance in different environments or projects. Buying a small pack to sample is an inexpensive way to make a confident choice before you invest in a larger quantity of snaps for your projects.

During your testing, look for these markers of quality:

  • Material Composition: Look for snaps made from durable materials like stainless steel or nickel-plated brass, which are resistant to corrosion and wear.
  • Fit: Well-manufactured snap fasteners fit together snugly. When snapped, they create a secure connection.
  • Holding Power: The sturdy springs in high-quality snaps will keep their shape even after repeated or heavy use. These snaps won’t lose holding power and should take just as much force to unsnap every time as they did the first time. On the other hand, the springs in inferior fasteners may break or deform after normal use, making them too easy to unsnap and susceptible to popping open on their own.
  • Consistency: Look for snap fasteners from reputable brands such as DOT and Sailrite. Trusted brands tend to maintain consistent quality across their products.
  • Customer Reviews: Reading customer reviews and getting recommendations from experienced DIYers or professionals can be valuable in identifying quality snap fasteners.
  • Price: Quality snap fasteners are typically priced higher than low-quality ones due to better, thicker materials and superior manufacturing processes. Very low prices may be a red flag, as they often indicate subpar materials and craftsmanship.

Sailrite’s Snap Fastener Inventory

So, it’s easy to see that quality matters when it comes to snap fasteners. You’ve come to trust Sailrite for first-quality DIY materials — and snap hardware is no different.

Our inventory includes stainless steel snap fasteners and brass snap fasteners with different finishes to perfectly complement any project. These high-end yet affordable DOT and Sailrite snaps give you the best of both worlds in performance and beauty. With an array of cloth-to-cloth snaps, cloth-to-surface snaps and individual components to choose from, you’ll always find exactly the snap you need for your DIYs at Sailrite.

Cloth-to-Cloth Snap Sets

Choosing High Quality Marine Snap Fasteners 8Cloth-to-cloth snaps are great for windshield covers and other marine canvas projects.

  • Attaches two fabric applications together.
  • Makes new, complete snaps.
  • Four-piece sets that include buttons, sockets, studs and eyelets.
  • Material and finish options:
    • Brass snaps with shiny nickel or matte black finish.
    • Stainless steel snaps with high shine.
  • Available in packs of 10, 100 and 1,000.

Shop Cloth-to-Cloth Snaps

Cloth-to-Surface Snap Sets

Choosing High Quality Marine Snap Fasteners 9Install and use cloth-to-surface snaps in fiberglass, wood, metal and more.

  • Attaches a fabric application to a hard surface.
  • Makes new, complete snaps.
  • Three-piece sets that include buttons, sockets and screw studs.
  • Material and finish options:
    • Nickel-plated brass snaps with stainless steel screw.
    • Stainless steel snaps and screw with high shine.
  • Available in packs of 10, 100 and 1,000.

Shop Cloth-to-Surface Snaps

Individual Snap Components

Choosing High Quality Marine Snap Fasteners 10A variety of individual snap components available at Sailrite.

  • Can be used for cloth-to-cloth or cloth-to-surface applications.
  • Great as replacements for broken or missing snaps.
  • Available components: buttons, sockets, eyelets, studs and screw studs.
  • Material and finish options:
    • Brass with shiny nickel or matte black finish.
    • Stainless steel with high shine.
    • Additional screw stud options:
      • Nickel-plated brass stud with unfinished brass screw.
      • Nickel-plated brass stud with stainless steel screw.
      • Stainless steel stud and screw with high shine.
    • Additional button options:
      • Pacific Blue enameled.
      • Black enameled.
      • White enameled.
      • Navy enameled.
  • Available in packs of 10, 100 and 1,000.


Choosing top-notch snaps for your DIY masterpieces is a small investment that yields significant returns in durability, reliability and aesthetics. The next time you embark on a DIY adventure, remember to get your snap fasteners from Sailrite. It’s the best way to give your projects snaps that will stand the test of time — and that you can be proud of.

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