What is the difference between ASTM and SAE Fastener Standards?

When looking at a bolt specification, you may notice that some are ASTM standards, such as ASTM F1554, and some are SAE standards, such as Grade 5 (a common bolt found within the SAE J429 specification). Outside the technical differences (mechanical requirements, chemical requirements, and other requirements) that vary between any fastener standard, the difference is between the organization that publishes the standard. ASTM and SAE are groups that publish standards for different purposes.

What is ASTM?

ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials is an “international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services. Some 12,575 ASTM voluntary consensus standards operate globally.” Their standards cover everything from structural bolts (ASTM F3125) to things unrelated to fasteners such as the Standard Test Method for Preparing Quantitative Pole Figures (ASTM E81). ASTM fastener standards are more widely used in the construction industry than SAE fastener standards.

What is SAE?

SAE International, formerly known as the Society of Automotive Engineers is another standards organization with a focus on automotive and aerospace standards. While similar in function to ASTM, it is the scope of their standards that is different. SAE has a more narrowly focused range of standards. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) tend to use more bolts manufactured to SAE standards than ASTM specifications.

What does this mean for you?

While you need to know which standards organization governs the bolts you order, both ASTM and SAE specifications are common in the fastener world, and one is not intrinsically better than the other. As mentioned above, ASTM fastener standards are typically specified for construction applications, while SAE grades are typically used for automotive and equipment applications. Whether you are buying ASTM or SAE fasteners, you can rest assured that your bolts from Portland Bolt will meet all of the requirements of any ASTM or SAE specification you order.

If you have any questions about an ASTM or SAE fastener standard or any other fastener-related questions, please give one of our helpful team members a call and we’ll be happy to help with whatever we can.

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