Do you know the difference between the different types of earrings’ backs? Probably not, and that’s perfectly normal.
Earring backs are an often overlooked part of your jewelry, but they can make a significant impact on how comfortable and secure your earrings feel.
And while there are so many options out there, not everyone knows what they mean or why they exist. For that, we’re here to help.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything from push-back clasps to screw-on backs to make your life easier when shopping for earrings next time. You won’t want to miss it – keep reading!
Earring backs are the pieces of hardware (could be metal, plastic, or even wood) that keep your earrings in place by attaching them to your earlobes.
Here’s a breakdown of the most popular types.
1. Clip-On Earrings
These are the most popular type of earring backs because they make it easy to wear any type of earrings.
Clip-on backs are metal, plastic, rubber, or silicone clasps that clip onto the back of your earring, holding it in place. They come in a range of sizes to accommodate different earring designs. You simply slide them onto your post and voilà, earrings secured!
Clip-on backs are the ideal solution for those who don’t have their ears pierced or for anyone looking to occasionally wear different types of earrings and maybe costume jewelry/atypical earrings. They’re also a good earring option for children.
However, there are a few disadvantages to clip-on earrings, the most important being that they’re commonly found to be pretty uncomfortable.
Another drawback is that they’re sometimes not the safest option for security – putting all of your weight on just a single clasp could result in a lost earring. Those are some reasons why magnetic back earrings have replaced them as the most popular choice for earrings without piercings.
2. French Wire
French wire earring backs are also known as French hooks or fish hooks. A fish hook is a popular choice for dangle earrings, drop earrings, hoop earrings, or heavier earrings because they distribute the weight more evenly across your earlobe.
French wires are thin pieces of metal that curve around the post of your earring and attach to the back of your earlobe (without an actual back – the French wire just goes through your piercing through a curved wired hook).
Yet, not having a back also puts the earrings at a higher risk of getting lost if you’re not careful.
3. Push Backs
Push backs (also called butterfly backs, friction earring backs, or postbacks) are one of the most popular types of earring backs because they’re so simple and effective.
What’s called friction backs are a small, flat disk (almost shaped like a butterfly) with a hinged post/hole in the center that your earring goes through. This type of back is especially popular for earrings with a delicate design, like diamond studs or any simple earring, as it keeps them from falling off easily.
They’re also one of the most comfortable types of earring backs, as they don’t put pressure on your ear lobe.
The only downside is that they can be a bit tricky to use with large or heavy earrings, but they generally work with all earring types.
4. Latch Backs
Latch backs (also known as click-top or snapbacks) are another popular option for dangling earrings, drop earrings, and hoop earrings. They have a mechanism that goes over the earring posts, holding the earrings firmly in place.
You open them by pushing them down, releasing the catch on the hook. Then, you slide your earring through and close it before releasing it to secure your earrings.
Since they’re so secure and easy to use, latch backs are a great option for children (see toddlers’ earrings reviews, too).
Saddleback earring backs fit over the post of your earring, so it hangs through the center, making them especially popular for the best hoop earrings.
Saddlebacks are easy to use – you just open them by pushing down on the prongs, slide your earring through, and close them.
They’re also very secure, making them a good option for those who are often active or tend to lose their earrings often. That’s because they’re made to distribute weight across several points. This prevents the earrings from pulling on your earlobe or falling out.
The only downside to saddlebacks is that they can be a bit tricky to open, especially if you have smaller fingers.
6. Plastic Backs
Plastic backs, or rubber earring backs, are often used for basic stud earrings (see best diamond studs for men, too) because they’re so simple. They’re small rubber/plastic disks with a hole in the center that push onto your earring post.
Once you slide the post of your stud earrings through the hole on the back, it’s held in place by friction. Plastic earring backs are also one of the cheapest options for earring backs, making them a good choice if you lose them often.
The only downside is that they can be quite flimsy, so they’re not the best option for heavier earrings.
7. French Clips
French clip earring backs (omega backs) are a great option if you don’t have pierced ears. They slip on easily and hold your earrings securely in place with prongs or clasps that go over the post of your earring.
You just slide the earring backings onto your posts, and the French clips will grip firmly since the clip is on a hinge, so they’re a good choice for earrings with gemstones.
8. Jumbo Earring Backs
Jumbo backs are like plastic or rubber earring backs in that they’re disks with a small hole in the center. The difference is that jumbo backings are larger than other types of earring backs because they’re designed to cover your entire post, and they’re usually made of metal.
Jumbo backs are also exceptionally comfortable to wear with a super snug fit, and they work with nearly all earrings. They’re also not easy to lose since they’re so large.
Their only downside is that they don’t work as well with delicate or dangly earrings since they’ll show from behind your ears.
9. Screw Posts
Screw posts (or screw backs) are a popular choice for many earrings, especially those with gemstones or precious metals (see also best fake diamond earrings). they’re a type of post earring backing that screws onto your earring post to hold it in place.
You just slide the back over the end of your post and turn until it’s secure, making them easy to use as well as secure. Plus, screw posts are great for people who have trouble using other types of earring backs since they turn so easily.
However, one downside of a screw post earring is that you can’t just slide the backings on before putting earrings in such a way like you do with latch backs or French clip earrings, which means you might lose some time getting them to stay in place. The same applies if you’re trying to take the earrings off.
10. La Pousette Backs
La Pousette backs are a type of back that’s as secure as a lock to keep your earrings in place. In other words, they’re the most secure earring backs with a special indentation on the post for extra support, which means that if it slides down at all, it’ll get stuck and not be able to come off in any way.
In addition, La Pousette Backs feature a spring-loaded mechanism that’s activated with pressure. To put the backings on and off, you’ll just need to squeeze both ends of the back so that it opens up and enables the post to get inserted. Then, if you’d like to take the earrings off, you’ll simply squeeze the ends and pull off the post.
What Type of Earring Back Is the Best?
For most people, the best type of earring back is one that’s easy to put on and take off, like pushbacks. However, for those with active lifestyles and children, it’s best to get a pair of earrings with screw backs or other types that can’t easily be pulled off.
Are All Earring Backs the Same?
No, there are many different types of earring backs.
Some of the most popular include pushbacks, screw posts, latch backs, and French clips, among many others.
Some backs grip onto your earring post and secure it tightly; others feature a locking mechanism that won’t let go of your earring no matter what you do,
With so many different types of earring backs available, you’re sure to find the perfect one for your needs. Plus, there are different types of earring backs that are much easier to install than you might think!
No matter which type of earring back you choose, just always make sure that it’s comfortable to wear and won’t easily fall off, especially if you wear earrings on a daily basis.