Circular Knitting Needles – My Guide & Reviews

Circular knitting needles are versatile! Use them for many projects. I use fixed ones with bamboo or stainless steel tips.

Circulars make complicated knitting much easier! In this post, I share everything about these top knitting needles.

Circular Needles A Guide

Note: If you click a link on this page and make a purchase, I may receive a commission, but at no extra cost to you. Learn More.

My Quick Recommendations

Note: These aren’t good kids knitting needles. They’re better off starting with straight ones.

I reviewed and updated this post on June 6, 2022.

Table Of Contents

Best Circular Knitting Needles

Here are my Top 10 picks and brands for the best circular knitting needles.

1 ChiaoGoo Red Lace Circular Knitting Needles

ChiaoGoo Red Lace Circulars Check Price on Amazon

I adore these circular knitting needles. I’ve used them for my sock projects and shawls.

The red nylon covered multi-strand stainless steel cable is fabulous to work with.

In my experience, it’s flexible and doesn’t kink.

They’re an excellent investment.

Materials: Needles are made of stainless steel.

The bright red is flexible, multi-strand, nylon-coated steel cable. Speed knitters love the slick surface.

Needle Size US Three is pictured above.

Circular Knitting Needle Sizes Available:

  • 16″ (40 cm) in US000 (1.5mm) – US15 (10mm)
  • 24″ (60 cm) in US000 (1.5mm) – US19 (15mm)
  • 32″ (80 cm) in US000 (1.5mm) – US19 (15mm)
  • 40″ (100 cm) in US000 (1.5mm) – US19 (15mm)
  • 47″ (120 cm) in US0 (2mm) – US19 (15mm)
  • 60″ (150 cm) in US0 (2mm) – US19 (15mm)

Useful For

  • Medium projects
  • Baby blankets
  • Cardigans knitted flat or in the round
  • The body of a sweater
  • Perfect for a lace knitting project

Pros

  • The red nylon multi-strand stainless steel cord is a dream to knit with
  • The stainless steel is smooth and lightweight
  • Works with many yarns
  • Excellent durability

Want something smaller? See the Chiaogoo mini interchangeable needles.

The options for the best yarn shop are listed here.

2 ChiaoGoo Red Lace Circulars

ChiaoGoo Red Lace Circulars Check Price on Amazon

Knitters love this length of needle. It’s perfect for small circumference projects like

  • Hats for kids and adults
  • Baby clothes
  • Booties
  • Collars
  • Sleeves for adult sweaters

Materials: The needle is high-grade steel. The lace tips are pointy.

The bright red cord is flexible, multi-strand, nylon-coated steel cable.

US 6 needle pictured above.

  • Length – 16″
  • US000 (1.5mm) – US15 (10mm)

Useful For

  • The brim of hats
  • The body of baby garments knitted in the round

Pros

  • Perfect for smaller sized circumferences
  • The cord doesn’t kink and is memory free
  • Excellent sharp point to get into stitches
  • The joint between tips and cords is super smooth
  • Yarn moves over the tips without friction

Want to find soft yarn for baby blankets? My post has your back.

3. Chiaogoo Bamboo Circular Knitting Needles

ChiaoGoo Circular 40 inch (102cm) Bamboo Dark Patina Knitting Needle Size US 13 (9mm) 2040-13 Check Price on Amazon

The surface is grippy but smooth on these bamboo knitting needles, and the cable is excellent.

It has no memory, so it straightens with no need for steam or boiling water.

They’re the best knitting needle for beginners.

Materials: Bamboo circulars have smooth joins and pliable, clear nylon cables. They have a nickel-plated copper join.

Sizes 3 (3.25 mm) and larger are crimped to guarantee no separation, and they swivel!

Sizes 0 (2 mm) – 2.5 (3 mm) have the same excellent cable as RED circulars and TWIST cables.

The size is laser imprinted on each needle tip.

Circular Knitting Needle Sizes Available:

  • 9″ (23cm) – US0 (2mm) – US9 (5.5mm)
  • 12″ (30cm) – US0 (2mm) – US9 (5.5mm)
  • 16″ (40cm) – US0 (2mm) – 15 (10mm)
  • 24″ (60cm) – US0 (2mm) – 15 (10mm)
  • 32″ (80cm) – US0 (2mm) – 15 (10mm)
  • 40″ (100cm) – US0 (2mm) – 15 (10mm)

Useful For

  • Sweaters
  • Hats
  • Mittens
  • Gloves
  • Socks
  • Baby clothes
  • Baby hats
  • Home decor items
  • Blankets

Pros

  • Smooth surface with the right amount of grip
  • Wood needles are lightweight and warm in the hand

4 addi Turbo Rocket Lace

addi Turbo Rocket Lace Check Price on Amazon

Materials: The needle metal tips are coated with white bronze.

Producing bronze-coated needles uses less electricity and water and is more environmentally friendly.

Lace knitters love their versatility and knitting speed.

The new finish of addi knitting needles is perfect for those allergic to nickel! Flexible plastic cord.

Sizes available:

  • 8″ Cord Size – 0/2 mm – 5/3.75 mm
  • 12″ Cord Size – 0/2 mm – 9/5.5 mm
  • 16″ Cord Size – 000/1.5 mm – 17/12 mm
  • 20″ Cord Size – 000/1.5 mm – 17/12 mm
  • 24″ Cord Size – 000/1.5 mm – 19/15 mm
  • 32″ Cord Size – 000/1.5 mm – 19/15 mm
  • 40″ Cord Size – 000/1.5 mm – 19/15 mm
  • 47″ Cord Size – 000/1.5 mm – 19/15 mm
  • 60″ Cord Size – 000/1.5 mm – 19/15 mm

Useful For

  • Baby clothes
  • Cardigans
  • Blankets

Pros

  • Smooth metal surface
  • Stitches glide
  • Great points
  • Suitable for fine yarn weights

5 Clover Takumi Bamboo Circulars

CLOVER Takumi Bamboo Check Price on Amazon

I’ve used these knitting needles. They’re easy to use!

They have a smooth surface.

The plastic cord is flexible, and the join doesn’t snag on the yarn. There’s a little memory retention.

Beginners enjoy the sticking ability of these knitting needles. The stitches don’t slide off.

The Clover points are blunter, with less precision than a metal needle in lace knitting.

These work with heavier yarn weights and novelty yarns.

A good budget option.

Materials: Needles made from smooth Japanese Bamboo. The cord is flexible plastic.

Clover needles are made in Japan, so they have metric sizing for the length and diameter of the needle.

Cable length and sizes available:

  • 40cm – (2m – 10mm)
  • 60cm – (2mm – 10mm)
  • 80cm – (2mm – 10mm)
  • 100cm – (2mm – 10mm)
  • 120cm – (2mm – 10mm)

Useful For

  • Children’s sweaters
  • Smaller sized women’s pullovers
  • Baby blankets

Pros

  • Smooth surface
  • Warm to the touch

6 Hiya Hiya Circulars

HiyaHiya Circulars Check Price on Amazon

Materials: Needles are hollow, high-quality stainless steel. The cables are flexible plastic. (Like Chiaogoo.)

Useful For

  • Children’s and smaller sized women’s sweaters
  • Baby blankets

Available in

Steel Circulars

  • 9″ – US 000 – 9
  • 11″ – US 000 – 0
  • 12″ – US 000 – 9
  • 16″ – US 000 – 15
  • 20″ – US 000 – 15
  • 24″ – US 000 – 15
  • 32″ – US 000 – 15
  • 40″ – US 000 – 15
  • 47″ – US 000 – 15
  • 60″ – US 000 – 15

Sharps Circulars

  • 9″ – US 0 – 9
  • 16″ – US 0 – 19
  • 24″ – US 0 – 19
  • 32″ – US 0 – 19
  • 40″ – US 0 – 19

Pros

  • Yarn doesn’t snag on the join
  • Sharp points
  • Smooth surface

7 Knitter’s Pride Dreamz Fixed Circular Needles

Knitter's Pride Dreamz Check Price on Amazon

Materials: Needles are of dense laminated birch and black plastic cords.

Sizes Available – a wide range of needle tip sizes.

Dreamz Circular Needles lengths

  • 10″ – US 0 – 8
  • 16″ – US 0 – 17
  • 24″ – US 0 – 19
  • 32″ – US 0 – 19
  • 40″ – US 0 – 19
  • 47″ – US 0 – 19

Useful For

  • Cowls
  • Hats
  • Body of baby garments knitted in the round
  • Mittens
  • Sweaters

Pros

  • Gorgeous colors in the wood
  • Light in the hand

8 Knitter’s Pride Karbonz

Knitter's Pride Karbonz Fixed Circulars Check Price on Amazon

Needles made from High-Tech carbon fiber with tips in nickel and electroplated brass.

Shiny, smooth brass tips with perfect points. Ideal for all yarns and for every project.

The needles have high tensile strength, are lightweight with flexibility.

Unlike other metal needles, they’re warm to touch & gentle in hand. A smooth join ensures stitch glide and no snagging.

Love knitting with metal? These are good.

In the United Kingdom, these are KnitPro.

Sizes

  • 16″ – US 0 (2mm) – US 10 (6mm)
  • 24″ – US 0 (2mm) – US 11 (8mm)
  • 32″ – US 0 (2mm) – US 11 (8mm)
  • 40″ – US 1.5 (2.5mm) – US 11 (8mm)

Useful For

  • Lace knitting projects
  • Garments
  • Hats
  • Socks

Pros

  • Lightweight and speedy
  • Metal tips make getting into stitches easier

(Note: these aren’t for people with Nickel sensitivities.)

9 Knit Picks Nickel Plated Circulars

Nikel plated fixed circular

The smallest needle sizes and shortest circular needle lengths don’t accommodate the interchangeable screw.

(A feature of the Knit Picks Options needles.)

They offer durable fixed circular needles in the sizes and lengths not available as interchangeable circular needles.

Materials: These nickel-plated needles have a slick, glass-like surface so your stitches move freely.

The hollow brass tube is lightweight for hours of comfortable knitting.

Sizes

  • 16″ needles – US sizes 0 – 11
  • 16″ needles are 3-3/8″ long
  • 24″, 32″, 40″, 47″ – US sizes 0 – 3
  • Needles are 5-1/8″ long

Useful For

  • Mittens
  • Hats
  • Socks
  • Shawls
  • Sweaters
  • Larger knitted pieces

Pros

  • Small needle sizes
  • Durable
  • Flexible cable

10 Knit Picks Caspian Circulars

Knit Picks Capsian Circulars

Caspian fixed circulars have strong, smooth layers of laminated birch and sharp tapered tips.

The burnished surface of Caspian delivers the right amount of grip to manage slippery yarns.

It warms in your hands for hours of comfortable knitting.

  • 16″ needles are in US sizes 0 – 11
  • Needles are 3-3/8″ long
  • 24″, 32″, 40″, and 47″ needles are in US sizes 0 – 3
  • Needles are 5-1/8″ long

Useful For

  • Hats
  • Socks
  • Mittens
  • Toys
  • Sweaters
  • Larger knitted pieces

Want an interchangeable set of these needles? See my Knit Picks interchangeable knitting needles review.

Pros

  • The surface has a good amount of grip
  • Works well with slippery yarns
  • Comfortable to use
  • Great selection of sizes
  • Knit Picks Customer Service is excellent

Denise Circulars

Though these needles are still interchangeable, they’re excellent fixed circulars.

Features

  • Needle Sizes Available – US Size 0 – 15
  • Cord Lengths Available – 17″, 20″, 24″, 28″ and 38″
  • Needle Length – 4″ Long for US Size 5 – 10 ½, and 5″ Long for US Size 11 – 15
  • Made From – Plastic Resin material

Pros

  • Smooth joins
  • Stitches glide along the needle
  • Compatible with all other circular needles they sell
  • Lightweight and easy to use

Cons

  • Sometimes the needle catches or snag the yarn, but this is a defect in the manufacturing

For more details about the range of Denise Needles, read my guide.

What Are Circular Needles?

How are they different from straight or double-pointed needles?

The two needle points are attached by plastic or nylon cord.

Materials used in these needles

  • Bamboo
  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Carbon fiber
  • Acrylic

Bamboo circular needles are great because they’re easy to knit with. Bamboo needles are a great choice for beginner knitters.

Wood and Bamboo have more grip. Metal and carbon fiber have slippery surfaces.

Here are a few reasons they’re good to use.

Two kinds of tips

  • Pointed for lace knitting
  • Rounded for bulky projects

Do challenging knits, like socks and hats. Also make clothing and bags without seams!

Another great thing is the cable holds the project’s weight, letting it rest in your knitting project in your lap.

For projects needing double-pointed needles, use them with the “Magic Loop.” I’ve knitted socks like this.

There are different ways you use these needles.

When you’re knitting, the cord holds the bulk of your project. It prevents strain on your hands, wrists and shoulders.

Beneficial when you’re knitting things like sweaters.

They make knitting when traveling easier, no losing the needle down the seat.

Can you use straight needles instead of circular? Yes, though they’re handy to have in your knitting toolbox.

@MoKnits on Instagram
Knitting hats made simple using circular needles. Photo credit: Thanks to @MoKnits on Instagram. (Shared with permission.)

Choosing The Best Circular Knitting Needles

There are two types, fixed circular knitting needles and interchangeable circular knitting needles.

Fixed have a set needle and cord size.

Interchangeables have different needle sizes in pairs, can be swapped, and come organized in a handy bag.

Things to remember when choosing the best circular knitting needles:

  • Ensure the joins are smooth. Roughness catches your stitches and tears your yarn
  • Cords should be strong and flexible. (If the cables become too coiled, soak in warm water. This relaxes the coils.)
  • Doing lace knitting? Choose sharp tips to make it easier to do the intricate designs and decreases
  • Choose the right size and cord length for the project

Handy Tip About Fixing Kinks In Your Cables

Heat water to almost boiling. Pour the water into a bowl – enough to cover your needles.

Use a chopstick to ensure the needles are covered (don’t burn yourself). Leave them for about 30-40 seconds.

More if they aren’t relaxing.

Once the cables relax, remove them from the hot water and lay them flat on a towel. The cables should be kink-free.

Anna @aktricot on Instagram
The beginning of cowl. Circular knitting needles make knitting in the round a breeze! – Photo credit: Anna @aktricot on Instagram (Shared with permission.)

Interchangeable Circular Knitting Needles

If you knit a lot, you collect circular needles! An interchangeable circular knitting needle set solves that.

The needles attach to many cord lengths.

Ensure the cord length is smaller than the diameter of the knitted tube. If not, the stitches stretch, and you lose tension.

The price upfront may seem high, but if you purchase each, the cost is greater.

Find a circular knitting needle set with many needles and cable sizes.

Things to remember when choosing Interchangeable Circular Knitting Needles:

  • Needles should stay fastened to the cord. It shouldn’t unscrew or come loose
  • Sets with connectors are useful if you knit items like blankets.

Sounds good? Read my article on the best interchangeable knitting needles.

I feature popular brands of these types of knitting tools.

@knotty.medley on Instagram
Circular needles are used for chunky knits. Thanks to @knotty.medley on Instagram.

Guide To Cord Lengths

Cords are available lengths for different usage.

The circular knitting needle cables, including the needle tips (9″ – 40″.) Choose the right one to suit project.

All stitches need to sit on the cord without being stretched or bunched together. Not sure which length to use?

The pattern you’re knitting tells you.

Circular needles sizes are confusing. They have 2 numbers. For example, Size 10 24″ needles.

The needles are size 10. 24″ is the measurement from tip to tip, including the needle lengths and the cable together.

To get the full measurement, you measure the whole thing.

What lengths do circular knitting needles have? Here’s a list.

  • 9″ – Super-narrow items, socks, baby hats, sleeves, clothing for dolls. Anything shorter isn’t made, as they’d be impossible to use
  • 16″ – Small projects, baby clothes, booties, collars, and sleeves for adult sweaters. Also for knitting in the round and hats for kids and adults.
  • 24″ – Vests, cardigans, and other garments.
  • 29″ – Medium projects, baby blankets or cardigans, knitted flat or in the round. Also, for the body of a sweater.
  • 36″ – Heavy knitted flat things, like a shawl. Or small circumference creations knitted with magic loop.
  • 40″ and Over – Great fixed circular needles for socks or sleeves two at a time. Also blankets and afghans. These are the biggest cord lengths you’ll find.

Does length of circular needle matter? Yes.

Use a too small cord, and the stitches bunch up, lose tension, and become twisted.

Use a too big cord, and stitches stretch and become loose.

@yankeeknitterdesigns on Instagram
Beautiful cable pattern hats by designer Melinda Goodfellow. Photo credit: Thanks to @yankeeknitterdesigns on Instagram (Shared with permission.)

How To Knit With Circular Knitting Needles

There are two knitting methods. Knitting in the round and knitting flat.

Knitting in the round is where the cast-on row is joined, and you keep going until you’ve finished.

Knitting flat using fixed circular needles is like knitting on straights. You work back and forth.

Create each piece and sew them together at the end.

Circular needles are designed for knitting in the round, but you use both methods.

How Do You Knit On A Circular Needle?

Cast on your stitches, and distribute across the cord. The last stitch you cast on is the last one of the round.

Place a stitch marker here. It keeps them even.

If you twist them, the entire project becomes twisted. Undo your work and start again!

Knit a row until you reach the stitch marker.

You’ve done your first round. Put the marker on the right needle and knit the next row. Continue and repeat.

Say your knitting requires double-pointed needles. Do the project using two sets.

To knit in the round with this method

  • Cast on stitches needed on one set of circular needles
  • Slip half to the second set of circular needles
  • Slide the stitches to the other ends of your needles
  • Join them

How to Knit on Circular Needles in 5 Easy Steps

Studio Knit has an enjoyable and quick video on how to Knit on Circular Needles for visual learners.

With Kristen’s recommendations, you’ll create your first project in no time! She’s a fabulous knitter.

Knitters new to this method have an issue with joining the round, this info helps.

YouTube video

How To Knit Flat With Circular Needles

Knitting flat is excellent when you’re working on massive projects. For example, blankets, throws, and afghans.

The cables hold the project bulk. No aching limbs after a long day of knitting!

This method is the same as when you knit on straights.

No need to join the round, cast on, and knit.

Work from the left to right needle as usual, and switch hands when you reach the end of the row.

Continue and repeat as needed.

@TheKnitologist on Instagram
Fun colors and pattern for this chunky hat. Photo credit: Thanks to @TheKnitologist on Instagram (Shared with permission.)

Knitting In The Round

With this method, you knit on the right side of the fabric. You need to change your basic stitches for it to turn out.

Most circular knitting is done in Stockinette Stitch. The way you do this is you knit every row.

You don’t have to stop at the end of the row. Keep knitting around and around.

That’s the only difference when you knit on straights. There’s less sewing of seams than flat pieces sewed together.

For Garter Stitch, you knit one row, purl one row. For Reverse Stockinette, purl every row.

These are common stitches you’ll see in knitting in the round patterns.

Knitting in the Round for Beginners

Davina from Sheep & Stitch has an excellent tutorial about knitting in the round for beginners.

Davina has other video tutorials great for beginner knitters.

YouTube video

How To Use Circular Knitting Needles For A Blanket

Blankets are a massive labor of love. Large fixed circular knitting needles make it easier!

Holding a large number of stitches for a blanket is easier with these needles.

Ryan from RJ Knits has a great video to learn from.

YouTube video

Q&A

What Are Circular Knitting Needles Used For? 

Circular knitting needles are used for a variety of projects.

Smaller sized lengths like 16″ are perfect for hats and smaller circumference projects.

The tips of the knitting needles have a variety of points.

Material type

  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Bamboo
  • Plastic

Sharp points are ideal for knitting lace, and blunter points are perfect for bulky yarn.

The beauty of knitting with circular needles is the weight of many stitches is distributed.

Their primary purpose is to knit in the round.

Think

  • Sweaters
  • Cowls
  • Sleeves
  • Mittens
  • Hats

Knit flat by knitting back and forth with circular knitting needles. They’re wonderful for knitting blankets.

How Long Should Circular Knitting Needles Be? 

Patterns show the size and length of circular needles to use.

The circular knitting needles’ length depends on the diameter of the tube you’re knitting in the round.

Don’t use a needle longer than the diameter of the tube of knitting. You also don’t want them to be too short.

Knitting flat? It needs to be long enough to hold the stitches.

This is a guide for the length of circular knitting needles and the projects best suited to them:

  • 9″ or 12″ (22 or 30cm) are best for small tubes like socks, mittens, or cuffs
  • 40cm (16″) are useful for sleeves, hats, and bodies of children’s jumpers
  • 60 or 80cm (24 or 32″) work well for the bodies of sweaters for adults.
  • 100, 120, 140, or 150cm (40, 47, 55, 60″) are for knitting large projects in the flat

Knitters love these small circular knitting needles, but they have shorter needle points. 

You may not find them comfortable to knit with, depending on the size of your hands. 

Perhaps it’s better to use

  • A set of double-pointed needles
  • Other techniques like using 2 circular needles
  • Or magic loop

Can You Knit Anything On Circular Needles? 

Pretty much everything can be knit on circular needles.

Knit in the round and also flat pieces, so the choices are numerous.

For this type of needle the choices are endless

  • knit hats
  • Scarves
  • Shawls
  • Cowls
  • Beanies
  • Mittens
  • Socks
  • Sweaters
  • Blankets
  • Home decor items

Can Circular Knitting Needles Be Too Long?

If you’re making a project in the round, they can be too long. Don’t choose needles longer than the creation you’re making.

When Were Circular Knitting Needles Invented?

In 1918, the first US patent for circulars was issued.

How To Undo Knitting On Circular Needles

Here is a helpful video tutorial.

YouTube video

How To Transfer Knitting From Straight To Circular Needles

Here’s a tutorial by Judy’s Knitting Tips on Youtube.

YouTube video

Which Circular Knitting Needles Have The Most Flexible Cord?

Chiaogoo Red Lace are flexible and don’t kink.

How To Fix Broken Circular Knitting Needles

Here are two helpful video tutorials.

YouTube video
YouTube video

How To Keep Knitting From Rolling On Circular Needles

You can’t stop it when you’re knitting. Blocking it after you’ve finished straightens it out.

How To Fix Knitting Mistakes On Circular Needles

Here’s a helpful video tutorial on how to fix mistakes on circulars.

YouTube video

How To Measure Length Of Circular Knitting Needle

Here’s an excellent tutorial by Nancy from NobleKnits on Youtube. Nancy has authored helpful books.

YouTube video

How To Make Circular Knitting Needles

Clara Parkes from Knitters Review has a great tutorial on how to make your own circular needles.

Circular knitting needles are my favorite! They create great results.

Leave a note in the comments below if you have questions. Your email address is never published.

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About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, creator of Knit Like Granny. I started this site to show 1,000,000 people the joys of knitting & highlight alternatives to fast fashion. Please say hello!

Jodie Morgan Profile Pic

About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, creator of Knit Like Granny. I started this site to show 1,000,000 people the joys of knitting & highlight alternatives to fast fashion. Please say hello!

4 thoughts on “Circular Knitting Needles – My Guide & Reviews”

  1. Which circular needles have the “thinnest” cords? I want to use a circular needle as a life line on my next project.

    Reply
    • Hi Peg. Thin cords on circular knitting needles are those on small diameter needle tips. The larger the needle size, the thicker the cord tends to be. I am fond of my Chiaogoo 2.25mm (US1) stainless steel Red Lace circular needles that have a thin cord. I’ll do some investigation and get back to you. Cheers Jodie

      Reply
  2. Hello I would like to learn how to know sizes of circular needle in a pattern as they confuse me, they state lions brand circular needles 10.5(6.5mm) 29 inch(75cm) can you tell me how to read them thank you so much.

    Reply
    • Hi Christina. Sure thing. The 10.5 is the US size of the needle diameter which is 6.5mm (millimeters) in diameter. The 29 inches refers to the length from needle tip to needle tip and that includes the cord in between. So if you stretched out your circular needle so that it was in a straight line, it would measure 29 inches. Does that make sense? If you have any further questions, please get in touch. Cheers Jodie

      Reply

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