How Do You Size Piercing Needles?

Size Piercing NeedlesMany piercing enthusiasts know a lot about their own piercings but not about the procedure itself. While it is important to leave details to professionals it is also useful to know some of the basics. There are many people who wonder about the sizes of piercing needles and how to you size piercing needles. 

The Most Common Piercing Needles

Typical piercing needles are hollow, with a sharp, triangular tip. The tip is specially designed for easy piercing of the skin so it doesn’t cause much damage to the tissue. This is a huge difference to the piercing guns that cause a lot of damage and are not precise enough.

Hollow piercing needles are made for precision so this is why professional piercers use them so much. In fact, one of the basic signs that your piercer is a professional and reliable are piercing needles. Stay away from people who want to pierce using a piercing gun!

It is also important to note that most piercing needles are straight, which means that they produce straight holes. However, there are also curved needles that can be used for performing piercings. These needles produce curved holes. In order to have proper jewelry for such a piercing it is important to wear curved jewelry such as rings or curved and circular barbells instead of straight barbells and other straight jewelry types.

Curved needles often provide more safety and are ideal for piercings on small body parts when there is a risk of injuring the surrounding tissue. For example, tragus piercings and some other ear cartilage piercings use curved needles. Sometimes, the individual anatomy dictates the shape of a needle. For example, most nipple piercings use straight needles but some people need curved needles to produce a nipple piercing that is beautiful and properly placed.

How to Size Piercing Needles?

These piercing needles come in many different sizes (diameters). How to size piercing needles? It is no surprising to know that professional piercing needles come in several common sizes and diameters. Even the rarer sizes are carefully calculated and standardized so they can produce holes of standardized diameter, which in turn means to use jewelry of standardized sizes.

The sizes of piercing needles go by gauges, that is, the outer diameter of the needle. There are many different gauges to use but in practice, piercing needles start at 18 gauge (which produces a very small hole) and can go to very large gauges though most procedures are done with needles smaller than 8 gauge.

However, this doesn’t mean that procedures with needles that are as large as 6 or even 4 gauge don’t exist. These large needles are good for making big holes so there is no need to stretch the piercing from scratch.

In practice, however, most piercing needles are between 18 gauge and 10 gauge. The gauge of the needle (its outer diameter) directly corresponds with the size of the hole. It also dictates the size of the jewelry one needs to use for that particular piercing. The gauge of the jewelry you need for a piercing is the same as the gauge of the needle used to perform that piercing.

This is the easiest way to size piercing needles and to understand needle sizes. Of course, if people choose to stretch their piercing it will end up being bigger and of a larger gauge than the piercing needle used to perform the original piercing.

Common Gauges

Here are some common piercing needle gauges and the corresponding sizes in millimeters and inches:

Gauge    Outer Diameter in Millimeters      Outer Diameter in Inches


18                    1.27                                                    0.05


16                    1.651                                                  0.065


14                    2.108                                                  0.83


12                    2.769                                                  0.109


10                    3.404                                                  0.134


8                      4.191                                                  0.165


About Donna:
Donna Carlson is a staff writer for TheChainGang. She combines her love for body piercings with adult fun, such as sex toys, BDSM and other forms of pleasure. She says: “Piercings and sex toys often complement each other in the most sensual ways. I am happy to help you discover new ways to pleasure yourself and your partner. With a bit of practice, anyone can learn how to enhance their love life. And with a bit of courage, anyone can enjoy body piercings”. In addition to intimate piercings and adult toys, Donna also writes about body jewelry and other piercing adornments.

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