All Types of Ear Gauges - The Ultimate Guide

Written by: Stretch It Body Jewellery



Time to read 9 min

Model With Stretched Ears Wearing Grey Labradorite Stone Plugs
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Stretch It Body Jewellery

SIBJ is one of the world's leading online specialist retailers and wholesalers in ear stretching kits, plugs, aftercare and body jewellery. We have over 10 years of experience in selling high-quality, unique ear stretching jewellery providing the knowledge, expertise and tools to stretch up confidently and safely.

"An ear stretching kit really is every beginner’s best friend. Because these kits take the guess work out of ear gauges, coming with everything you need, and providing a blueprint for stretching at a measured pace."

Feeling a bit overwhelmed about the different types of ear gauges available? We hear you! Ear gauges can feel like a foreign language when you’re new to the ear stretching community. But, fear not!

Our ultimate guide will take you on a journey through the sometimes weird and always wonderful world of stretched ear gauges. So, let's get into the nitty-gritty of the many types of ear gauges for every lobe and occasion.

1. Plugs

​Aqua Blue Glass Ear Gauges

These solid circular pieces of jewellery are the bread and butter of ear stretching. For this reason, there are lots of different types of plugs for ear gauges, from surgical steel to natural materials like semi-precious stone and wood. Yes, folks, there’s a flare plug for everybody, whether you prefer the sleek and steely look of metallic plugs or a more organic vibe.

In addition, they come in different flare types. But, we’re easing you in gently. So, we’ll come back to flares later.

2. Tunnels

Black Glass Double Flare Tunnels

These bad boys are like plugs but with a twist – they’ve got a hole in the middle, like a Polo mint or a window to your soul (well, at least your ear lobe!). Also known as flesh tunnels or eyelets, there are multiple types of tunnels to suit every style, including:

Plus, these wildly popular types of ear gauges are available in a rainbow of colour options. Their versatility makes them a firm favourite when you like to switch up your look frequently.

3. Ear Weights & Hangers

Bird Skull Ear Weights

These heavy hitters are the ultimate show-off pieces for your stretched lobes. Think of them as extravagant types of ear gauges to wear for special occasions. 

Ear hangers come in various shapes and sizes and are sometimes intricately designed, with symbols from regal shields and skulls, to lucky cats and death moths adding an extra layer of meaning to your stretched ear gauges.

A friendly word of warning… These statement ear gauges are too hefty to be worn all the time. So, don’t be tempted, as overwearing can cause thin spots at the bottom of your lobe.

4. Teardrops, Coffins & Other Shapes

Coffin Shaped Stone Ear Gauges

Why keep going round in circles when you can have:

Teardrop plugs are perfect if you like a bit of asymmetry, while coffin plugs flaunt your spooky side, and hearts ramp up the romance. Introducing different types of ear gauges adds a quirky twist to your ear stretching adventure, equipping you to curate a jewellery collection that’s truly you.

5. Tapers

Surgical Steel Ear Stretching Tapers

Tapers are spike-shaped tools for stretching your piercings. They’re so-called because they’re larger at one end and gradually become smaller. Many ear stretchers use O-rings to hold them in place, but you actually shouldn't wear tapers as jewellery!

Tapers can be found in a variety of materials, each offering a different feel and weight for the stretching process, like:

But remember, tapers are TOOLS, not jewellery. They’re safe if used correctly. But rushing can lead to blowouts or torn lobes. Patience is key, friends!

*Lightweight tapers like our bone twisted tapers featured below are designed to be worn in stretched lobes if you want that look, but keep wearing times to a minimum!

6. Pinchers

Black Acrylic Pinchers For Stretched Piercings

Pinchers are C-shaped pieces of jewellery, like crescent moons, but thicker at the curve and tapered at the ends. They come in various materials, including black obsidian and wood, for a more natural aesthetic.

And they’re a double bubble, because they’re not just types of ear gauges. Additionally, pinchers are also frequently worn in septum piercings.

Furthermore, some folks prefer using pinchers than tapers to stretch up, especially at smaller sizes. This might have something to do with the fact these curvaceous ear gauges give a gradual stretch without the discomfort of jabbing into your head while you sleep.

7. Plug Hoops

Barbed Wire Plug Hoops For Stretched Ears

Ready to pimp your plugs? Plug hoops can be worn as normal earrings in standard pierced lobes, or in stretched ear gauges through flesh tunnels. Either way, they add an extra flair to your look, making your ears a customisable fashion statement.

Better still, they come in an eye-catching range of styles, from simple hoops to elaborate charms and dangles. If bees and butterflies don’t float your boat, paperclips or pentagrams might, kitting you out to express your style in edgy and exciting ways.

8. Fake Gauges

Fake PVD Ear Gauges

Want the look of stretched ear gauges without the commitment? Then you’ll want to pay close attention to fake gauges, the perfect accessories for ear stretching smoke and mirrors. These ‘pretend’ types of ear gauges are nothing short of genius, giving the stretched look , minus all the time, effort, and semi-permanence.

They’re designed to mimic the look of real stretched ear gauges by incorporating piercing bars into each piece of jewellery. And they’re available in the styles you’d expect to see seasoned ear stretchers wearing, including:

With designs from checkerboards to Pride rainbows to owls, it’s little wonder fashionista Gok Wan has been spotted rocking them on the red carpet.

9. Ear Stretching Kits

Black Glass Dead Stretching Kit For Stretched Ears

An ear stretching kit really is every beginner’s best friend. Because these kits take the guess work out of ear gauges, coming with everything you need, and providing a blueprint for stretching at a measured pace.

The SIBJ Team always recommend the following kits as the absolute cream of the crop:

Surgical steel dead stretching kit

Stretch like a pro with polished, hypoallergenic 316L surgical steel single flare plugs. Tiny 0.5mm increments make stretching quicker, safer, and easier. Ideal for healed piercings.

Titanium dead stretching kit

Even extra-sensitive piercings can be safely stretched with ASTM F-136 titanium single flare plugs. These hypoallergenic, lightweight, and biocompatible plugs also come in 0.5mm increments for simple and pain-free stretching when gentler handling is needed.

Surgical steel pro gauge dead stretching kit

Stretching past 10mm (00g) is smooth sailing with 316L surgical steel single flare tunnels. Polished, hypoallergenic, and featuring 0.5mm increments, they ensure hassle-free and pain-free stretching when you’re experienced with larger types of ear gauges.

In fact, they’re practically foolproof so long as you follow the instructions and don’t do too much too soon. They even include measuring cards to prevent any size mishaps. A no-brainer!

10. Single Flare

Yellow Tiger

Single flare plugs are a breeze to put in, take out, and clean. They have one flared end and an O-ring on the other to hold the plug in place.

These types of plugs for ear gauges are ideal for freshly stretched ears and also for effortlessly going up a size. What’s more, they’re especially useful during the healing phase, easily manageable while minimising irritation, because they don’t need much wo/manhandling.

11. Double Flare

Double Flare Teal Glass Tunnels For Stretched Ears

Double flare plugs have two flares, one at each end. They’re a more secure fit than their single counterparts, but trickier to insert, especially if you’ve recently stretched. For this reason, double flare types of ear gauges are best for fully healed ears.

Aesthetically, they give you the same look from both sides, and come in a variety of materials and designs, from simple but impactful glass to intricate wooden carvings, coupling practicality and durability with uniqueness and style.

12. Screw Fit

Gold PVD Double Flare Screw Fit Tunnels

Screw fit tunnels and plugs come in two parts:

  • A single flare that sits in the earlobe
  • A back piece that screws on

Internally threaded options are the best. This is because there’s no potential for damage from rough threads chaffing against your piercings. Otherwise, internally threaded screw fit types of ear gauges are great for recovering or sensitive earlobes. You’ll experience a secure fit without any additional stress to your lobes.

One other thing. The easy wear factor also makes them a surefire choice if you’ve got a particularly active lifestyle and you’re always thinking about ways to prevent accidents from happening.

13. No Flare

O-ring savvy no flare plugs and tunnels have, as their name indicates, no flares or lips. Instead, they’re held in place with two O-rings front and back, making them a great option for fresh stretches.

No flare types of ear gauges are a perfect fit if you prefer a minimalist look over showier options. They’re also the ones for you if comfort and ease of use during the ear stretching process is your number one priority.

14. Saddle Flare

Brass Saddle Plugs With Amethyst Inlay

Saddle flare plugs are smooth operators and the most popular double flare type. The design makes them easier to insert, thanks to the smooth, continuous curve to the tip of the flare.

As if that isn’t enough, the curved shape of saddle flares helps distribute pressure evenly, reducing the risk of irritation and promoting better healing. Win: Win!

15. Flat Flare

Flat flare tunnels and plugs are another type of double flare plug.

Instead of the smooth curve on saddle fit plugs, the wearable area is completely flat and the flares are a harsher but potentially more secure fit.

Another advantage of this style is the wearable area ends up being larger, great for those with thicker lobes.

16. Concave Face

Concave Indian Agate Stone Plugs

Concave face flare plugs are hollowed inward, giving a bowl-like appearance. So, you’d be right to assume these ear gauges are more about aesthetics than fit, due to their unique look. 

Their concave faces create an interesting visual effect, and there are plenty of options in terms of different materials and finishes to match your personal vibe.

One notable advantage besides aesthetics is the concave plug style uses less material which makes the plugs lighter in weight, perfect for larger, heavier gauges like stone plugs.

17. Convex Face

Grey Labradorite Convex Stone Plug

Concave stretched ear gauges curve outward like a sphere, making convex face flare plugs the yang to concave’s yin. Like their concave cousins, this bold design choice is also primarily for aesthetic purposes. So, it’s literally down to your personal preference for inwardly or outwardly curved ear gauges.

Convex plugs also come in a variety of designs and materials, from sleek metals to stunning stone plugs.

18. Flat Face

Flat Face Green Line Jasper Stone Plugs

Don’t get a kick out of curves? Flat face flare plugs, with their continuous, level surfaces, might just send you to stretched ear heaven. Look no further if you prefer a classic, understated look without sacrificing style. Throw into the mix they’re straightforward, clean, and easy to maintain, and you know you’re on to a winner.

All clear now about all the different types of ear gauges? We hope this guide has given you the knowledge and inspiration to continue a confident and stylish ear stretching journey.

At Stretch It Body Jewellery, you’ll find everything you need to know about the processes and products to help achieve your ear goals. Visit our website for detailed guides and a supersized selection of the sickest, most unique jewellery around. We’ve got you covered. It's time for us to shut our mouths and let your ears do the talking!

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