Stainless Steel vs Titanium Earrings: What's the safest?

Stainless steel and titanium have long been popular choices for jewelry, particularly earrings! However, the latter is often considered the better alternative.

Ever wondered why? What are the things to consider when choosing one over the other?

In this article, we put stainless steel vs. titanium earrings head-to-head to answer these questions. We looked at their key similarities and what sets them apart. Do titanium earrings truly deserve the crown?

An Overview of Stainless Steel and Titanium in Jewelry

Before we go down to the nitty-gritty, let’s first get to know stainless steel and titanium as materials used in jewelry-making. Both materials are used widely all over the world because of similar properties like strength and resistance to corrosion. They are both known as hypoallergenic metal and the most popular body jewelry materials. Be aware that titanium steel is not titanium, this is a name that is sometimes used to promote a product that is stainless steel, and not made from titanium.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is an alloy metal known for its versatility and adaptability. It’s typically a combination of iron, carbon, chromium, and nickel content. There are also other fusions using elements like silicon and magnesium. Please note that there are different grades of surgical steel. We'll talk about this later.

We see stainless steel used in a variety of metalworks aside from jewelry. It’s used in tableware, appliances, and kitchen utensils, to name a few.

Even though it’s low-cost, most stainless steel earrings are strong and durable—making it a popular budget-friendly choice and one of the most popular jewelry materials.


Titanium is naturally found as an oxide but can be turned into a lightweight transition metal.

Like stainless steel, it's also used in several other fields besides jewelry-making. We see this metal used in creating aircraft and surgical equipment because of its ability to resist rusting and tolerate corrosion.

It’s a popular choice for jewelers because it’s light, which makes it comfortable to wear and scratch resistant. It’s also widely known for its hypoallergenic quality.

Main Difference of Stainless Steel and Titanium Earrings

Now, what makes stainless steel and titanium earrings different from one another?


Stainless steel and titanium earrings usually seem like the same material from the outside. When we take a closer look, you’d be surprised to know that there are some subtle differences.

While both appear as silvery metals, titanium looks a bit darker than stainless steel. It has a medium gray base color and the latter has a lighter steel gray base.

Another color difference is when both materials are held against a grinding wheel. Titanium will exude white sparks but stainless steel will produce more yellow-orange colored sparks.


Regarding overall strength, stainless steel is considered a stronger material than titanium. That is; if you’re comparing the highest grade of stainless steel with pure titanium.

When looking at low to mid-grade stainless steel alloys, titanium can match the sheer strength of these materials. Sometimes, lower-grade steel alloys are even weaker than aluminum.

Despite being weaker than high-grade stainless steel, you’d be surprised that titanium has a high strength-to-density ratio.

Now, what does this mean? If we’re looking at strength per unit mass, titanium does better than stainless steel. In short, it can be just as strong as stainless steel at half the weight!


Speaking of weight, lightweight earrings are a must for many people! A lighter-weight material gives jewelers more freedom in creating bigger and grander pieces without sacrificing wearability.

The weight of stainless steel earrings depends heavily on the type of stainless steel and the specific alloy used, but most are already lightweight. Well, earrings made of titanium are twice as light!

About the previous section comparing the strength of both materials, titanium having a higher strength-to-weight ratio is a key factor to this characteristic. Despite being a lighter metal, it doesn’t break easily. While their strengths can sometimes match, pure titanium is less dense, making it much lighter.


Titanium is the more expensive material in comparison with stainless steel. In terms of earrings, those made of stainless steel are priced much lower.

This is mainly because it’s not a precious metal like gold or silver but an alloy composed of traces of other metals and nonmetals.

Technically, titanium isn’t considered a precious metal, either. However, it’s priced fairly higher than stainless steel because it isn’t as common. On top of that, it requires a process of reduction before it can be used as a transition metal for jewelry making.

While both are considerably budget-friendly, titanium can come at a steeper price point. Some titanium jewelry pieces have a premium value because how the material has been dubbed a “luxury metal.”

Advantages of Titanium Earrings

Now we have the key similarities and differences between stainless steel and titanium. Next, we can outline why many people consider titanium a better choice for jewelry pieces like earrings. Below are the main advantages of titanium earrings.

Hypoallergenic and Biocompatible

Titanium’s hypoallergenicity is one of its biggest selling points. You might be thinking, what makes metals hypoallergenic? It’s often the presence of or traces of nickel in the material’s main composition. The most common skin allergies come from Nickel.

Pure titanium doesn’t contain even the smallest traces of nickel—a potential allergen for some populations. While it’s possible to have titanium allergies, these cases are relatively rare. It is the safest metal for the human body.

For people with sensitive ears, titanium earrings are the best option because they’re biocompatible. This means that this material can’t cause harm to living tissues.

It’s non-toxic—an essential feature for any type of body jewelry. This also implies that titanium earrings are less likely to cause infection or irritation.

On another note, we think it’s important to mention that medical grade stainless steel exists! The types of surgical stainless steel alloys that fall under this category are also safe options for earrings because it’s specifically made to be body-friendly.

However, since not all stainless steel alloys are implant grade, titanium is still the best metal and the safest option to avoid skin irritation for those with nickel allergy. These are important reasons why the Association of Professional Piercers recommends titanium for new piercings and body piercings. It is the best choice to help the healing process of first piercings.

Water resistance and High longevity

If you’re looking for a durable and long-lasting jewelry option that can withstand the harsh effects of water, titanium is a great choice. You can wear it in the shower because it is not affected by water. It's the top choice for durable, everyday jewelry since it's tarnish free. Maintenance of titanium jewelry is almost non-existent, no need to polish it or store it in a safe place.

Titanium is great for people who love swimming because it is non-reactive and resistant to corrosion caused by exposure to chlorine. Unlike other metals, such as silver, nickel, and zinc, which can react with chlorine and cause discoloration or deterioration, titanium is not affected by chlorine. The corrosion resistance of titanium is well documented. A stable, substantially inert oxide film provides the material with outstanding resistance to corrosion in a wide range of aggressive media, including salt water.

Where to Find Titanium Earrings

Are you convinced that titanium is the better material for hypoallergenic earrings compared to stainless steel? If yes, and if you’re looking for a place to find real titanium earrings, the search is over!

Here at For Rebel Skin, we specialize in creating pieces for people with sensitive skin, for different allergic reactions. We offer the largest choice of titanium earrings made from G1 pure titanium or G23 ASTM F-138 implant grade titanium.

Price points may differ depending on how pure the titanium in each piece is, but expect the best allergenic materials.


A word about surgical steel earrings

Surgical stainless steel is one of the most widely used metal alloy for hypoallergenic earrings. Surgical steel is a type of stainless steel that contains less nickel than other stainless steel alloys. This makes it less likely to cause an allergic reaction and is a good hypoallergenic option.

Many people believe that stainless steel is nickel free, but most stainless steel alloys (even surgical stainless steel) contain 8-12% nickel. On the other hand, stainless steel retains nickel molecules better, and that is why many people are fine with stainless steel jewelry. It's a perfect choice for people with mild to moderate allergies.

Stainless steel jewelry doesn’t rust as long as the protective layer of chromium is maintained. Unlike materials like bronze or brass, it doesn’t oxidize, ensuring it won’t change color over time. The 316 surgical steel, is a superior metal that doesn’t corrode or rust very easily. It can last for a long time even when exposed to saltwater. 316 stainless steel consists of 2% molybdenum. This mineral prevents corrosion and keeps the metal sturdy and intact. 

Although stainless steel is a very tough metal, consistent exposure to chlorine can corrode and damage it which is why it is recommend removing any stainless steel jewelry before entering a pool.

The Verdict

To sum up the battle of stainless steel vs. titanium earrings, the latter takes the cake. Especially for initial piercings. Titanium jewelry pieces are lightweight, durable, and highly hypoallergenic. On top of that, they’re relatively budget-friendly compared to precious metals and can be molded into a wide variety of styles.


That said, sometimes, the decision also boils down to personal preference. Since stainless steel is a more inexpensive option with lots of similar advantages—save titanium’s hypoallergenic properties—people prefer this material over titanium. If it's your choice, it's a good idea to buy 316L surgical grade steel jewelry to protect your skin from future metal allergies.