Do zippers and metal buttons set off airport alarms?

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Happy Wayfarer is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

There is no need for airport security to be as time-consuming as it is made out to be. The truth is, if the lines are short and you’ve done your homework, you can breeze through security.

However, not knowing what airport scanners detect and the items you must remove at airport security would surely slow you down.

The fact that certain airport scanners are more sensitive than others is a source of irritation. In some cases, airport security officers may have the final say on what you must remove from your carry-on luggage.

Now, the question is do zippers and metal buttons set off alarms? Given that we all love to go casual, most often to the airport, it can be a common concern among people whether zippers and metal buttons can set off metal detectors.

Let’s find out:

Do zippers and metal buttons set off airport alarms?

Some travelers may be concerned that the metal detectors at airport security will be triggered by the metal buttons and zippers on their jeans; however, these metals are so little that it is highly improbable that they would be picked up by the detectors.

The sole circumstance in which you need to exercise caution is if your jeans have a chain attached to them; in this case, you are required to remove the chain so that it can be screened individually.

Metal detectors are created using such a way that they do not trigger tiny zippers and metal buttons on most occasions. However, hand metal detectors may detect clips on garter belts and metal objects slightly larger than zippers and buttons made of metal.

What Can Set Off Metal Detectors At The Airport? What Should You Remove?

Here are a few things that you should ideally remove when going through airport security to prevent setting off the metal detectors at the airport:


Belts with metal buckles will cause the metal detectors at airport security to go off. As a result, you will be asked to remove your belt and place it in a tray so that it may be screened separately from you. This is the case at the majority of airports.

If the belt you are wearing is made of plastic, it will not cause the metal detectors to go off, and therefore, you will not be required to take it off. However, the fact that the buckle on your belt is made of plastic might not be immediately visible to the security personnel at the airport. In addition, if your belt is showing, you will almost certainly be requested to remove it regardless.

It is probably just simpler to take it off rather than to go through the effort of going back and forth with security trying to explain the material that the belt is made from.

Bobby pins

It won’t make a difference if you have one or two bobby pins in your hair, but if you have a head-full or even a hand-full of bobby pins in your hair, it will be enough to set off the metal detectors at the airport security checkpoint.

Rings (and other jewelry)

Only jewelry crafted from magnetic metals will cause an alarm to go off when passed through a metal detector.

Because of this, it is not necessary for you to remove rings, necklaces, bracelets, or piercings that are of high quality provided that they are manufactured from silver, gold, or platinum.

However, the detectors are more likely to go off if the jewelry you are wearing is both inexpensive and fashioned from materials of lower quality.


As is the case with jewelry, you should remove your watch if it is made of low-quality metals or if it is excessively huge and hefty. If there is no reason to remove it, you should not worry about setting off metal detectors by keeping them on your wrist. At certain airports, you will be required to remove your watch regardless of the material it is made of.

If your watch is very pricey and you are concerned about leaving it unattended in a tray, you should either place it in an interior pocket of your jacket or pack it away in your carry-on luggage instead.


It is common practice to let passengers continue wearing their smartwatches and other electronic wristwear, such as FitBits while passing through airport security checkpoints. However, this may vary from airport to airport, and you may be required to remove your smartwatch before proceeding through security.

Because we are not aware of any instances in which smartwatches have caused metal detectors at airport security to go off, you should be fine leaving it on unless you are specifically instructed not to.

Underwire bra

There are thousands of women that go through airport security every day wearing underwire bras without triggering the alarm, despite the fact that some people have stated that this is not the case. Think about wearing an underwire bra with plastic, a strapless bra, or a sports bra if you truly want to avoid setting off the metal detectors at all costs.

Hearing aid

At the airport security checkpoint, you won’t be asked to remove your hearing aid, and the metal detectors won’t go off if you have one in your ear. If your concerns have not been allayed, you have the option of informing a member of airport security about your hearing aid; but, as was previously said, it is highly unlikely that they will require you to remove it.


Both body scanners and metal detectors at airport security will continue to function normally despite the presence of pacemakers. Nevertheless, the handheld scanner that is used by airport security after the initial detector has been activated has the potential to harm pacemakers.

As a consequence of this, it is highly recommended that you inform airport security that you have a pacemaker by displaying your pacemaker card to them.

Metal plate or screws

After surgery, if you still have metal implants in your body, you should let airport security know in advance. This is one of the situations in which the outcome will be determined not only by the amount of metal present in your body but also by the sensitivity of the metal detector at the airport.

Before you pass through the metal detector, you have the option of informing security personnel about any metal you may have on your person. You also have the option of determining whether or not the alarm goes off and when it does so.

Read More

How Early Can You Go Through Airport Security?

Author - Willa Carson
Happywayfarer author Willa Carson
Hi, I'm Willa Carson, a passionate traveler who has been exploring the world for 7 years. Whether it's trekking through the Himalayas, exploring ancient ruins in South America, or simply savoring a cup of coffee at a local cafe, I believe that travel has the power to enrich our lives in countless ways. So join me on my journey and let's discover the world together!
Read more about me here.

Leave a Comment