Do You Know The Difference Between A Grommet And An Eyelet?

  • January 19, 2023

If you are manufacturing something like a tarp, flag, sail or boat awning, women’s corsets, hats, electronic components , chances are you will probably need a grommet or an eyelet. Both of these function as strengtheners for holes in fabrics and other materials, so how exactly are they different? In this post, we will tackle this common question and look at the distinct features of grommets and eyelets and how they are set apart.

Basic Difference between a Grommet and an Eyelet

Many people think that a grommet is always used with a washer and an eyelet is never used with a washer. This is a common misconception. Both grommets and eyelets can be used with or without washers.  The basic difference between a grommet and an eyelet is:  A grommet has a much larger flange in relation to the hole size than an eyelet.  A grommet has a larger flange and corresponding washer outside diameter to have more material surrounding the hole which makes the grommet more secure. Grommets have more of an “Industrial Look” than an eyelet. An eyelet has a smaller flange in relation to the hole size than a grommet. In applications where you don’t want the fastener to be one of the most pronounced items on the application, an eyelet is a good choice.  Properly set with or without a washer, eyelets have great holding strength.  So the decision needs to be made, do I want to use a grommet or eyelet for my application. Let’s look at common applications.


Let us begin by taking a look at grommets. A grommet is essentially a piece of hardware that has two parts, the grommet and the washer. Grommets can be used without the washer in certain applications but most commonly they are used together.  The best quality grommets are usually made up of brass with nickel or black oxide finishes. Brass is a malleable metal , and will flare and roll once the grommet is put in place and installed to hold two parts together. As such, it seals the fabric in between. The plus points of a grommet is that it is simple and fast to install, but they do require additional special setting dies. Rolled Rim Grommets and Spur Washers are one variation of grommets where extreme holding strength is needed.  Grommets are used in flags, banners, tarps, marine covers, nylon straps, backpacks  and lock out tags. Most grommet users need larger inside dimension hole sizes to accommodate a rope, metal cable or a  wide strap. Grommets sizes are quoted based upon the inside diameter (or ID) of the hole in the grommet after the grommet is set.  It is easy to determine the size grommet you need. If you have a rope that is ¼ inch in diameter you would use a #2 grommet because it has a 3/8 inch ID.


Next, we will examine an eyelet. Eyelets come in thousands of different sizes, although there are standard grommets such as Sisk Inc. industrial eyelets that can be used in just about every application. An eyelet is a one-piece hardware but they can also be used with washers where needed. Common applications for eyelets are:  holsters, knife sheaths, cases for electronics, dog and cat collars, belts, pinwheels, printing and finishing projects, clothing, baseball caps, cowboy hats, shoes, leather accessories, electronics, and many more industry uses.  Eyelets tend to be smaller than grommets on average and are used so as not to be too obtrusive in your project. For example, you are producing a tag for a finely made designer handbag. You want the Logo of the designer to be the most prevalent part of the tag so you would use a eyelet with a small flange to attach the cord thru to hold it onto the bag. If you were to use even a small grommet, the grommet would take up 1/5th of the surface of the tag, detracting from the look of the tag.  The same principle is used on garments. Unless the designer is looking for a very industrial look, they would not use a grommet. They would use an eyelet. 

Should I Choose Eyelets or Grommets?

If you are still undecided as to what type of fastener to use, let Siska install different size grommets and eyelets into samples of your work so you can make an educated decision by having the product in hand to look at.

Get your Grommets and Eyelets from Siska Inc.

If you are looking for eyelets and grommets for your project, Siska Inc. has a wide range for you to choose from. You will be sure to find what you need from our collection. If you have any questions regarding eyelets or grommets, feel free to contact our highly-trained staff and they can give you advice to help you.

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