Adam Wheater has signed a two-year deal with Essex after initially rejoining the club on loan from Hampshire.
The 26-year-old wicketkeeper and top-order batsman, who started his career at Chelmsford, had returned to Essex in August to see out the County Championship campaign.
Wheater moved to the Ageas Bowl from Essex in 2013, but had fallen behind Lewis McManus as first choice behind this stumps this season.
"It's great to be back," said Wheater.
"I'd like to thank Hampshire for their understanding of moving to Essex and wish them every success in the future."