Hole plugs, explained

Pile of brightly coloured hole plugs

What are hole plugs?

All plugs fill holes, but not all holes are the same. Some are intended while others are accidental. Whatever the case, holes need to be sealed to prevent dirt, dust and moisture ingress. Covering the holes not only provides a clean finish, but also helps achieve structural integrity. This is the job of a hole plug, which is typically a push plug.

In this guide, we’ll explain what hole plugs are and cover these elements:

Plugs for holes come in different types for different functions. Some push-in hole plugs seal chassis holes and wiring outlets. Others are designed as screw-hole plugs, typically made of wood. Still others close off access holes. Hole plugs can top tube ends, or even act as protective bumpers, small appliance feet and drawer glides.

You can also get square, rectangular and round hole plugs in different materials.

Types of hole plugs

We’ll first look at plugs designed to prevent ingress of dirt, dust and moisture ingress.

Panel plugs

Plugs for holes in metal are typically designed for closing panel cavities while providing protection from sharp edges. Push-in panel plugs also protect against dust, dirt and moisture ingress during cleaning and manufacturing processes.

Plastic hole plugs: materials

Metal-hole plugs often refer to the plugs used to fill holes in sheet metal. The plug is usually plastic, although hole plugs can be made of metal. Metal plugs for holes are not commonly used but when they are, it’s usually to achieve an aesthetic effect.

Plastic plugs for holes are popular for their ease and flexibility for snapping into threaded and non-threaded holes. They’re also easy to remove. Rubber hole plugs are another option. Often rubber is referred to thermoplastic rubber, or TPR. TPR looks, feels and performs very much like rubber, but costs less.

Similar to TPR is thermoplastic elastomer, known as TPE. It’s often difficult to tell the two apart, but as a general rule of thumb, TPR is harder than TPE. TPE also costs less. Silicone and PVC are yet other similar materials, often used for masking processes. You can see how they all compare here:

Comparing materials

Resistance to chemicals TPE TPR PVC Silicone
Acids 3 4 2 2
Bases 3 4 3 2
Hydrocarbons 1 2 1 2
Sea water 4 4 4 4
Water 4 4 4 4
Max. operating temperature 210˚F 275˚F 200˚F 446˚F
Typical cost $$$ $$$$ $$ $$$$$


1=Poor/ 2=Fair / 3=Good / 4=Very good

LDPE and nylon 6/6 are two of the most popular materials when it comes to plastic plugs for holes in metal – or in any material, really. These two plastics are primarily used for plugs that protect against damage and ingress.

Resistance to chemicals Nylon 6/6 LDPE
Dilute acids 1 4
Dilute alkalis 2 4
Oils and greases 4 2 (variable)
Aromatic hydrocarbons 4 1
Halogenated hydrocarbons 3 (variable) 1
Alcohols 1 4

1=Poor/ 2=Fair / 3=Good / 4=Very good


LDPE, nylon and silicone are thermoplastics. You can learn more about these materials in Thermoplastics for caps and plugs.

You then match your measurements to the plug manufacturer’s size chart. If your hole’s outside diameter measures 0.625 inches, then ¾ inch plastic hole plugs will be appropriate for a snug fit.

Let’s say you want to use a domed blanking plug. Essentra Components makes it easy to select the size that you need. Let’s say your hole measures just over 0.8 inches. Note the compatible hole diameter. It matches your hole measurement. As you see in this portion of the specifications, a 1-inch hole plug will suit your needs.

Notice that the specifications also include height, or length. Go back to your measurement for panel thickness. If the length of this plastic hole plug does not exceed the dimension given here, then this is the perfect size for you.

You also have the option to view the sizes in millimeters for metric hole plugs.

Download free CADs and try before you buy

Free CADs are available for most solutions, which you can download. You can also request free samples to make sure you’ve chosen exactly what you need. If you’re not quite sure which solution will work best for your application, our experts are always happy to advise you.

Whatever your requirements, you can depend on fast despatch. Request your free samples or download free CADs now.


Email us at sales@essentracomponents.com or speak to one of our experts for further information on the ideal solution for your application 800-847-0486.