Choosing the right carriage bolt for your needs can be a daunting task, given the wide variety of options available in the market. But worry not, because we've got the top carriage bolts of 2023 listed and reviewed here for you.
What is a Carriage Bolt?
A carriage bolt has a rounded head with a square neck beneath it. The square section grips into the material to prevent the bolt from turning when the nut is tightened. It's a versatile piece of hardware that's crucial in many construction and furniture projects.
Carriage bolts are available in several coating types, each providing a different level of protection against corrosion.
Zinc Plated: These bolts are coated with a thin layer of zinc that protects them from corrosion. They're ideal for indoor use where they won't be exposed to harsh weather conditions.
Hot-Dipped Galvanized: These bolts undergo a process where they're dipped in molten zinc, providing a thicker, more durable coating. These are recommended for outdoor use or in moist environments.
Stainless Steel: Stainless steel bolts offer excellent corrosion resistance and are ideal for projects that require a high level of durability.
Size and Length
The size of a carriage bolt refers to the diameter of the shank, while the length refers to the distance from underneath the head to the end of the bolt. It's important to consider the thickness and type of materials you're working with when choosing the size and length of your bolts.
The thread count of a bolt affects its strength and how easily it can be inserted or removed. Higher thread count bolts are stronger and provide a tighter fit, but they can also be more difficult to work with.
Carriage bolts come in different grades, which refer to their strength. The two most common grades are:
- Grade 2: Ideal for light to medium-duty applications. They're often used in furniture and other indoor applications.
- Grade 5 and Grade 8: These are stronger bolts used for heavy-duty applications. They can withstand higher levels of tension and are often used in construction work.
How to Choose the Right Carriage Bolt
Here are some factors to consider when choosing your carriage bolts:
- Project Requirements: Consider the type of project you're undertaking. Indoor projects may only require zinc-plated or stainless steel bolts, while outdoor projects may require hot-dipped galvanized bolts for extra protection against the elements.
- Material Thickness: Make sure your bolt is long enough to go through the material you're working with and still leave enough thread to secure a nut.
- Strength Needs: Consider the strength you need from your bolt. If you're working on a heavy-duty construction project, opt for higher-grade bolts.
- Budget: While stainless steel bolts offer excellent corrosion resistance, they are also more expensive. Consider your budget and the specific needs of your project.
Where to Buy Carriage Bolts
You can find carriage bolts in local hardware stores or online. Buying in bulk can save costs, but make sure you're buying the right size and type for your project.
- Local Hardware Stores: Stores like Home Depot or Lowe's have a wide variety of bolts. You can physically inspect the bolts and get advice from the staff.
- Online Marketplaces: Websites like Amazon, eBay, or specialized online hardware stores often have a wide variety of options, often at competitive prices. Make sure to check reviews and seller ratings before purchase.
Our Top Picks of 2023:
1. Everbilt Galvanized Carriage Bolt
Everbilt is a well-known name in the hardware world, and their Galvanized Carriage Bolts are no exception. These bolts are composed of low-carbon steel and are galvanized, which provides excellent corrosion resistance. The square shoulder under the rounded head helps keep the bolt in place while tightening the nut, adding to its high functionality.
However, some users have reported that the galvanized coating can wear off over time, particularly in harsh weather conditions. Despite this, Everbilt's carriage bolts are still a strong contender for the top spot, given their affordability and overall good performance.
2. Crown Bolt Stainless Steel Carriage Bolt
Crown Bolt's Stainless Steel Carriage Bolts are a little pricier, but they offer superior quality. The stainless steel body ensures high durability and excellent corrosion resistance, making them suitable for outdoor projects. The smooth, domed head also adds a finished look to any project.
A few users have noted that the square neck beneath the head is a bit small, causing the bolt to spin in the hole during tightening. However, this issue seems to be only occasional and does not significantly detract from the product's overall performance.
3. Hillman Zinc-Plated Carriage Bolt
The Hillman Zinc-Plated Carriage Bolts are an affordable and reliable option. They're made from low or medium carbon steel and have a zinc-plated coating, providing good corrosion resistance. The head is designed to resist turning when the nut is tightened or removed, which adds to the ease of use.
However, the zinc coating can be prone to chipping, which may expose the underlying steel to corrosion. Despite this minor downside, the Hillman Zinc-Plated Carriage Bolts provide great value for money and are a solid choice for indoor projects.
4. Prime-Line Hot Dipped Galvanized Carriage Bolt
Prime-Line's Hot Dipped Galvanized Carriage Bolts are a step up in terms of corrosion resistance. The hot-dip galvanizing process provides a thick, durable layer of zinc that resists rust better than other methods. This makes these bolts an excellent choice for outdoor projects, especially in harsh weather conditions.
The only downside is that the hot-dip galvanizing process can sometimes result in a rougher finish, which may not be as aesthetically pleasing. However, for projects where durability and corrosion resistance are key, the Prime-Line bolts are a top pick.
5. GRK Fasteners Carriage Bolt
GRK Fasteners offers a unique take on the carriage bolt with their version. These bolts have a patented reverse thread at the end of the bolt, which prevents the bolt from loosening over time. This innovative design can be a game-changer for projects that are subject to vibration or movement.
The GRK Fasteners Carriage Bolts are made from hardened steel and are coated with a proprietary Climatek coating, which provides excellent corrosion resistance. However, they are the most expensive option on this list, which may be a deterrent for some users.
Choosing the right carriage bolt requires a good understanding of your project needs and the different types of carriage bolts available. By taking the time to understand these aspects, you'll ensure the success of your project and the longevity of your constructions. Remember to take into account factors like coating types, size, length, thread count, and grade when making your choice.