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The Difference Between Grommets and Eyelets

When you are manufacturing a sail, tarp, or boat coverings like an awning, the difference between grommets and eyelets can be challenging to discern. They both serve similar purposes but have different features that suit specific tasks more than others. So, what exactly are these two pieces of hardware and how are they used? In this blog, we will take a look at their differences.


A grommet is a unique piece of hardware created by pressing two parts together through pre-punch holes established  in the fabric. The quality of a grommet is typically determined by its material. For example, brass and stainless steel are both malleable metals which means they will flare out when installed to lock two parts together while also sealing any fabric between them. Grommets ensure that no water or air gets through.

Grommets are one of the most common types of textile fastener in use, and they install quickly and easily but they require an exceptional setting. If you are looking for an extra-strong hold, a spur grommet will be perfect for your requirement. It has small teeth or spurs on them, which bite into the fabric so it does not spin over time. It can also provide more excellent durability compared with other types.

Grommets are generally used for heavier fabrics such as sails, tents, tarps, or flags, but also in bootlaces and corsets. Grommets are a must for any application requiring the protection of wiring and cabling. Holes in metal or other rigid materials can cause damage if they are not surrounded by one. Hence, these protective grommets must be used carefully. In aviation applications specifically (and marine), these hardware pieces can prevent cuts caused by wires or sharp edges.


When it comes to eyelets, you may get confused as some people refer to small grommets as eyelets, like the holes your shoelaces go through. However, in other industries, eyelets are special hardware.

Eyelets are a more traditional and time-consuming method for hole reinforcement. They are used in conjunction with brass rings, which must first be hand-sewn over an already punched opening with waxed twine before being locked into place using a setting die that has been prepped just right. It will hold all manners of material shapes with its capabilities. The eyelets create this strength by keeping everything together, so there will be less risk.

Though both components can strengthen holes in lacings, eyelets are usually smaller than grommets and do not have the same durability. They are used in crafts and decoration, like garments, curtains, electrical wires, and belts.

Selection Of Eyelets or Grommets

Few factors determine which type of eyelet or grommet will work best for your project, such as:

  • The thickness of the material being used.
  • The size of the hole.
  •  The visibility of the area, and if it is decorative or functional.

Grommets are more expensive than eyelets and are readily available in many markets. Since grommets are regularly used in shower curtains and slipcovers, you can easily find grommets in hardware stores. On the other hand, eyelets are also available in fabric stores or hardware stores. Additionally, eyelets are available in multicolor options, unlike grommets. This is one of the primary reasons for their application and they are the preferable choice for belts and accessories intended to color match background fabrics. Grommets are typically available in the original metal color, though they can also be found with black or white strings.

NSN Gamut is a global supplier of NSN and aviation components. We are a premier purchasing platform for aviation components, obsolete semiconductors supplies, electrical connectors, hardware, and much more. Whether you require new and top-quality parts or obsolete items, our robust database has everything you need to carry out your operations efficiently. Feel free to contact us for any aircraft-related queries.


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