Industrial Piercing Alternatives You’ll Love: 7 Cool Ideas

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Your visit to the piercer to get an industrial piercing may have ended with them informing you that you don’t have the anatomy for it. That can leave you disappointed and wondering, “Are there industrial piercing alternatives?” 

The good news is there are a few piercings that look similar to an industrial piercing, and we’re sharing 7 options in this guide. But before we get into them, let’s explain why an industrial piercing may not be suitable for you.

Who cannot get an industrial piercing?

flat upper ear without fold - Industrial Piercing Alternatives You’ll Love: 7 Cool Ideas
Flat upper ear without fold


You can’t get an industrial piercing if you have a flat, undefined inner ear cartilage. This is because there’s no tissue to hold one of the two piercings required for an industrial piercing. 

Also, if your inner cartilage protrudes to the point where it may touch the barbell, you can’t get the traditional industrial piercing. An industrial piercing on unsupportive anatomy typically leads to migration or scarring, so visit a professional and experienced piercer.

7 industrial piercing alternatives to try instead

If your ear anatomy can’t take an industrial piercing, here are some alternatives.

Floating industrial piercing

floating industrial piercing


A floating industrial piercing is the best alternative to an industrial piercing. It involves two flat piercings and a customized barbell. The significant difference is that the piercing goes through the ear from the front to back and, as a result, gives the look of a floating bar. The piercing looks different based on the individual’s ear structure.

Chain industrial piercing

chain industrial piercing


This variation of the industrial piercing can use the piercing holes of typical industrial piercing, that is, a forward helix and outer helix piercing. It can also use a forward piercing and a flat piercing. The jewelry on each piercing hole is connected with a chain so you can skip the rigid bar. 

This type of piercing ranks between 5 and 6 on the pain scale, as it still involves piercing through cartilage. However, people have different pain thresholds. 

Vertical industrial piercing 

vertical industrial piercing


If a horizontal industrial piercing won’t work, then a vertical industrial piercing is a great option. Like the traditional industrial piercing, it’s uncommon and rated between 7 and 8 on the pain scale. This is because it involves piercing through thick cartilage twice. 

This piercing typically involves a long barbell that goes through the helix and the bottom conch. However, it has several variations based on the ear’s anatomy. 

Top orbital piercing 

top orbital piercing


An orbital piercing involves two piercings connected with a hoop. Although typically done on the lobe, they can also be done on the upper cartilage. They take about 6 weeks to heal on the lobe, but on the cartilage, they take about 6 – 9 months. They’re unique and give a similar aesthetic to an industrial piercing.

Forward helix and flat piercing 

Forward helix and flat piercing 


The forward helix piercing is done around the upper cartilage closest to your face, while a flat piercing is done on the flat part of your upper cartilage. Although these piercings are individual, wearing bold jewelry pieces can give a similar aesthetic to the industrial piercing.  

Double helix piercing

Double Helix piercing


If you want the full upper ear look, then a double helix piercing is one to try out. In this case, the double helix is on the same side compared to the industrial piercing. A double helix piercing is done on the outer cartilage of your ear and can be styled with either rings or studs. Most people can get an outer helix piercing, but a forward helix piercing requires a suitable anatomy.

Triple flat piercing 

triple flat piercing


A flat piercing is done on the flat area of your upper ear cartilage. You can make a statement with your jewelry choices. The triple flat piercing will adorn most parts of the upper ear, similar to how the industrial piercing barbell fills it up. This is a good option for those with flat ears, as they can easily accommodate a cluster of flat piercings.

Industrial piercing jewelry alternatives 

Barbells are not the only jewelry option for an industrial piercing. Here are some other jewelry options to consider. 

Chain industrial piercing jewelry

QWALIT 16gauge Industrial Earrings Chain Industrial Piercing Jewelry with Chain Industrial Bar Piercing Surgical Stainless Steel Double Helix Earrings for Women

This jewelry option has a set of 5 jewelry pieces with a gauge size of 16G. It’s made of stainless steel and is hypoallergenic, making it suitable for those with metal sensitivity.

Customers like how it comes in different styles, allowing them to wear the jewelry on an industrial piercing and a double helix piercing. If you have an upper ear that protrudes outwards, this is a better choice than wearing a barbell that will press on it. 

Captive bead industrial piercing jewelry

Forbidden Body Jewelry Stainless Steel Captive Bead Ring, Captive Bead Ball, Captive Hoop Cartilage, 14g 10mm Every-Day Surgical Steel Captive Bead Ring Body Piercing Hoops 3mm Balls

The forbidden body jewelry captive bead comes in a pair and is made of surgical steel. Customers have said it’s good value for money and the metal doesn’t irritate sensitive skin. With the captive bead jewelry, you can switch up the look of your industrial piercing and make it look like typical helix piercings.

Labret stud industrial piercing jewelry 

BodyJ4You 3PC Labret Tragus Cartilage 16G Studs, Internally Threaded Surgical Stainless Steel, Helix Lip Monroe Medusa Conch, Versatile Piercing Jewelry

This is a 3-piece set of 16G straight studs. They’re internally threaded and feature a flat back and CZ stones. The studs are available in different lengths: 6mm, 8mm, and 10mm, and stone sizes: 2mm, 3mm, and 4mm.

Customers have said it looks nice, and you can wear it in different types of piercing, including an industrial piercing. The stud is comfortable for each ear piercing, and you can purchase a detachable chain to switch up the look.

Frequently asked questions

We’ve answered some questions you may have about industrial piercing alternatives.

Is a scaffolding piercing the same as an industrial piercing?

Yes, a scaffolding piercing is the same as an industrial piercing. It’s called scaffolding because of the typical barbell jewelry that connects two holes and gives it a construction aesthetic. 

What is a bad anatomy for an industrial piercing?

A bad anatomy for an industrial piercing is a flat and undefined outer ear. Also, if your helix ear cartilage protrudes where the bar will cross so that it touches the barbell when worn, you shouldn’t get a traditional industrial piercing.

What is a floating industrial piercing?

A floating industrial piercing is an alternative to traditional industrial piercing, which involves connecting two flat piercings rather than two helix piercings with a single piece of jewelry. This arrangement gives the illusion of a floating bar. There can be different variations to this piercing based on the individual anatomy. 

Get piercings just as hardcore

It’s clear now that you can get different piercings but still achieve the same results. Some of these industrial piercing alternatives require specific anatomical structures. Your best bet is to visit a professional piercer with years of experience to determine what’s best for you.

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