Magnet Vs Pins: Which Is Better for an Enamel Pin?

Magnet Vs Pins: Which Is Better for an Enamel Pin? | Custom Pins Now

Magnetic backings are great for looking sleek and professional, while pin backings are better for security if you intend to do a lot of heavy movement.

How do you display pins with magnetic or other backings? Many factors determine the appearance of pins. The backing choice is one of them. Clutch and safety-pin backings can have an unintended bunching effect on fabric or falling not quite straight depending on where it is fastened, but magnetic pins can be easily adjusted.

The way that your pins will be displayed both on your clothing and in carrying bags or cases will be affected by the clasping mechanism. The primary materials used for pin backings are metal, magnetic, hard plastic, and rubber. They both have strengths and weaknesses that set them apart.

Price and appearance are the two main differences you will see when determining between buying pins with a magnet or more traditional pin backings. There are other considerations with how magnetic backings work that does not apply to other alternatives. This pin article features a full breakdown of everything you need to know to make a decision regarding which is best for presenting your pins to the world.

What You Need to Know About Magnetic Backings

Here are some things to know about magnetic backings before you choose them for your pin. These can help you determine if they are right for you and whatever plans you have for your accessories.

Wear with Caution

Powerful magnets are used with pins to make it as hard as possible to separate during regular daily activities. However, that means that they have the potential to affect small electrical devices such as Pacemakers. If you are someone you love intends to wear a pin, make sure it is not magnetic if they have a Pacemaker or similar device implant.

Magnetic pins can also hurt young children and pets, so you should be wary about keeping them out within easy reach. It can cause severe damage to their GI tract if unnoticed and left untreated. For this reason, we discourage magnetic pins for people who will be wearing them around children and pets (e.g., teachers, care workers, vet assistants, etc.).

Professional in Appearance

Favorited among companies for name tags and other uniform pins, the magnetic strip allows for the fabric to fall completely flat. It also does not damage it by causing holes, and this makes it ideal for if you have to wear a suit or expensive outfit. This is best for office work rather than retail professionals, where there would be a lot more movement that might potentially dislodge the magnet.

The Magnets are Expensive

The price will be jacked up if you get magnetic backings, and that is because the material to make those magnets is pretty expensive. They need to be strong enough for the bond to last all day long through regular movements, which means it needs to be very strong. Adding a magnetic back to your pin can increase the overall price by $0.50 – $3.00+ depending on where you are buying it from and how many pins you are purchasing.

Easier for People with Dexterity Issues

Magnetic backings are much easier for people who have dexterity problems since there is no need to mess with tiny little clasps. There are several types of magnetic clasp, but if you or someone you are buying it for have issues with moving their fingers, then a single bar magnet is best. The surface area is more extensive, and this makes it simpler to handle.

It Can Be Dislodged

Magnetic backings are best for pins that will not be associated with a lot of sweeping or abrupt movements (e.g., lifting, pulling, moving quickly, etc.). While the pin backing will stay in place all day, if left alone, it is relatively easy to break the magnetic connection between the pin and backing if it is pried loose by a thicker piece of material or brushing against something that pulls the pin.

Bulk Ordering Chaos

If you are ordering a bulk number of pins with magnetic backings, prepare for them to be challenging to untangle. The fronts and backs of 100+ magnetized strips will be clinging to each other, making it hard to keep them apart. Long-term storage of bulk magnetic pins is not as easy or straightforward as clutch pins.

Other Types of Pin Backings

There are at least a dozen popular types of pin backings other than magnetic, and each one has its own drawbacks and advantages. Instead of going over each one individually, we will break down the top three most popular. This should give you a better idea of which will be more useful under specific circumstances.


This is most seen on button pins, but you can see them on enamel pins for retailer employee names and team pins as well. The clasp is basically a safety-pin attachment, and they are ideal for thicker materials and circumstances where there will be heavy movement. While they can come undone, they are threaded through the fabric twice, making it harder for them to fall off accidentally or unnoticed.


The clutch is the most commonly used, and almost any enamel lapel pin you see at the mall or online is going to have a basic clutch back. There are some that lock, but those are for more expensive pieces to keep them from getting lost. Clutch backings can be made of metal, hard plastic, or rubber, and they can have one or two prongs depending on the size of the pin.


Pins that have a locking mechanism inside the backing are mostly seen on high-end jewelry. They are small, delicate, and designed to stay in place until the lock is disengaged permanently. This makes this ideal for military uniforms or fashion pieces that go with a specific ensemble.

Which One is Better for Your Pins?

So, which one should you use, magnetic or traditional pin-back? The answer is going to depend on where you are wearing them, why, how many you will order, and what kinds of materials are involved. Whether you are making them for your employees, a fundraiser, or as an accessory to a fashionable look, there are factors to consider.

How Many You Order

If you are ordering a large quantity, then keep in mind that magnetic pins are much more expensive, and that cost can add up fast, so instead of $200 or $300, you might be looking at $700 for a few hundred pins.

Materials Being Used

Magnetic pins are reliable for most shirts or slim blazers, but they cannot work well through multiple or thick layers (e.g., winter coats, some knits, denim, etc.), so you will want to choose the backing that is material appropriate. Thin clothing like silk, cotton, or polyester will allow magnets to hold strong.

Where and Why You Are Wearing Them

Name tags for a team-building exercise that requires a lot of movement and is not going to be needed for would have a safety-pin backing because they are easy, cheap, and keep the pin on better than a clutch or magnetic would with all the movement. However, if you were

Storing Your Pins for Events

There are quite a few kinds of cases available to make this easy for people who take their pins to events for buying, trading, and selling. They are mostly designed to keep the pins safe and easy to access, so the most popular is the book format with foam or plastic “pages” where the pins are attached. Magnetic pins may require empty pages between the ones you are using to keep the magnets from sticking to each other and pulling the pins out of place.

Mobile Storage

You can get stiff or soft carry cases from most pin outlets and retailers. One example is the Deluxe Pin Bag for sale by PinProsPlus, which is a waterproof, scratch-resistant, heavy-duty, page-sized bag with multiple interior pages for pins. They come in various shapes, materials, and sizes so you can find one that works perfectly for your needs.

Transforming a Pin-Back into a Magnetic Pin

If you find that one of your current pins might do better for you with a magnetic backing, then it is not hard to convert. All you need is a metal cutter, some strong bonding glue, a magnetic backing strip, and possibly a sander. Just do the following steps.

  1. Use the metal cutter to remove any pin prong (if a bit still sticks out, you can sand it down flat)
  2. Attach new metal backing strip with strong-bond glue designed for this purpose
  3. Viola! You have converted your first pin!

Presenting Your Pins If you want to show your pins either in your house or office, there are a few ways to do that, including framed pin displays. Magnetic pins can use cases with metal strips for each pin row, or you can use cardboard instead of heavy foam to fill the frame, making it possible to fix the magnetics in place.

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