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My Knitting Machine Guide. 10 Best & Machine Knitting Facts You Need

There are two types of knitting machines. Cheaper circular knitting machines for home use and kids and more robust and expensive flat bed versions.

If you want more information about the serious flat bed machines, I cover that down below. The previous sections are all about circular models.

My Recommendations For Those In A Hurry For Circular Knitting Needles

Best For Most People – The addi-Express Professional Knitting Machine is of great value and reliable. Suitable for hobbyists and smaller knitting projects.

Best For Larger Circular Projectsaddi Express Kingsize is fabulous for knitting hats and scarves. Sturdy, fast, and durable.

Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices, and customer reviews on Amazon.

For those who want more, keep reading for my full reviews of all the best knitting machines currently available.

Image is colorful skeins of yarn in red, yellow, pink, green, purple.

The Need For Speed!

Some knitters swear by these tools. Knitting by hand takes time. Although it’s gratifying, sometimes you want to complete it. If your life is busy, and you have limited time for hand knitting, a knitting machine will save you time.

Knitting Machines are excellent for knitted hats, cowls, sweaters, and blankets. A knitting machine can be 20 times faster than the traditional way of hand knitting. Introduce yourself to another world of creating stitches.

My Knitting Machine review has several hand-cranked knitting machine alternatives. Below is an overview of some of the most popular and best Knitting Machines available.

Table of Contents

Stylish Storage Solutions by Knit Picks

Machine Knitting

There is a real art to machine knitting. In the case of some hand knitters think it’s a cheat’s way of creating garments. Machine knitters dispute this. It’s more complicated and difficult than hand knitting and being a hand knitter.

Like any new skill and tool, it takes time and technique to master machine knitting. With practice, the production and process of knitted garments and accessories, machine knitting is much faster.

William Lee invented the first knitting machine in 1589. Circular knitting machinery development has certainly changed since then.

The difference between machine knitting and hand knitting is machine knitting is semi or fully automated with many knitting needles in a bed. Hand knitting is done by hand with two knitting needles.

When a hand knitter moves into the field of knitting machines,, there are skills to learn.

Not all hand-knit stitch types and techniques can be reproduced identically on knitting machines. The tuck stitch is possible on some knitting machines.

For example, when creating a stockinette stitch on knitting machines, the purl side is the “right” side! Also, a garter carriage part (garter bar) is required to create a garter stitch, which looks like all purl stitches, for example.

More and more hand knitters are trying out machine knitting and finding there are a great many benefits. Namely saving time, particularly with garments requiring stockinette stitch or rib fabrics.

Also adding additional skills to their knitting hobby.

Much easier doing it on a machine than hand knitting. It’s also an excellent choice if you knit for a profit and have a buying market for your hand knits.

Most hand knitters going from hand knitting to machine knitting will experience a steep learning curve. Many would argue hand knitting seems simple in comparison.

There is much to understand and master when machine knitting.

Types Of Knitting Machines

  • Circular Knitting Machines – Can create knitted tubes such as cowls and hats by knitting continuously in the round.
  • Flat Bed Knitting Machine – Crafters, smaller-scale knitwear producers, and boutique producers commonly operate flat bed knitting machines. Garments created on a flat-bed machine have side seams, so piecing is required. It is not possible to knit in the round. These machines work rows back and forth. They can be manual. Or punch card (a card with punched holes to determine stitch patterns, where stitches are slipped, tucked, creating texture, like that in a cable stitch, or knit in a different color). Or electronic/computer ready. This type can also be known as punch card knitting machines. Flat Beds Knitting Machines are categorized into the weights of yarn they can work with, into different gauge machines.
  • Fine Gauge Machines (handles knitting lace weight yarns, thinnest thread yarns, fingering weight yarn, even baby weight yarns).
  • Standard Gauge Machine (handles anything finer than DK weight.
  • Mid Gauge Machines ( are preferred by hand knitters as they handle sport weight to worsted, including DK weight.
  • Bulky or Chunky Gauge machines (can cope with a large range of yarn thickness)
  • Single Bed Machine – has one flat bed of machine needles. It produces jersey or stocking stitch knitting.
  • V-bed Knitting Machine – consists of two beds located across from each other and can produce tubes and flat knitting.
  • Brother Knitting Machines are a brand that is popular for knitters wishing to create garter stitch on their machines as they offer a garter carriage. It has the option of an additional carriage, a lace carriage.

What Does A Knitting Machine Do?

A domestic knitting machine creates knitted fabrics in a semi or fully automated way. It’s most often used to knit flat pieces then sewn together to make a garment.

The key parts of a flat bed knitting machine are a needle bed with up to 200 needles and a knit carriage moving from side to side.

The needles look like tiny latch hooks and can be placed in four positions: non-working, working, upper working, and hold.

A circular knitting machine has needles placed in a circle and knits in the round. It can also be used to knit flat pieces.

If the machine is operated by hand crank, it doesn’t require battery power.

Which Is The Best Knitting Machine For Home Use?

The best knitting machine for home use is the Addi Express Kingsize Knitting Machine. It’s possible to create knitted fabric for scarves, cowls, hats, and other things. Flat pieces can also be created.

Using a knitting machine for a range of simple creations will save you time. You won’t need to learn too many new techniques to use this home knitting machine. Learning the basics is not difficult. See my review below.

Addi Knitting Machine Express Kingsize

addi Express Kingsize Extended Edition

The #1 Best Selling larger sized Circular Knitting Machine on the list. The addiExpress King size Extended Edition is worth the money.

Loved by knitters who complete hats, baby blankets, garments for keeping your neck warm, and other knitted items effortlessly with this product, which many call the best machine for knitting.

If you want to speed up your gorgeous, finished knits, consider the addiExpress King size Extended Edition.

The kit includes an Addi Express King Size Knitting Machine including 5 replacement needles, punch cards, 1 threading tool, 2 stoppers, 4 base feet, needle holder, 2 clampers, “Winding instead of Knitting” pattern book, and an instruction manual. Also, an addi Express Crochet Hook.

The Addi Express King has 46 needles, more than twice the original one, allowing larger pieces.

Perfect for knitting scarves and woolly hats, or an infinity scarf. Knitted fabric panels for jumpers, sweaters, and blankets. The machine is cranked by turning the handle.

You finish in a shorter amount of time than if you hand-knit. Mind you, the time to seam flat pieces together is the same as when you’ve knitted.

Key Features

  • Made in Germany, sturdy construction materials.
  • Simple setup, easy to use, suitable for beginners
  • Portable and space friendly

Pros

  • Made in Germany, Addi Express machines offer excellent construction quality.
  • Addi Express machines are straightforward to set up and begin knitting on.
  • Speedy, less time in completing designs.
  • The Addi offers both rows back and forth and circular knitting functions, a bonus for projects requiring the assembly of pieces.
  • Cost-effective.
  • Can make panels.

Cons

  • Lacks tension piece control mechanism: the only thing controlling your stitch size on the Addi is your knitting yarn. The yarn guide is just there to keep your yarn in place. You’ll need to use hand manipulation to adjust it.
  • There is no way to mechanically adjust the tension piece on these machines to make the stitch smaller or bigger.
  • Need to experiment to determine whether your knitting yarn will or won’t work with the machine.
  • The Addi can’t offer anything other than a 46 stitch knitted circle.
  • The digital row counter with memory function can be unreliable.
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

Making A Hat On The Addi Express Knitting Machine

SkacelKnitting on Youtube has created a fantastic tutorial on making a knitted hat in less than thirty minutes. Impossible? Not if you’re the proud owner of an Addi Express Knitting Machine!

Knitting a Flat Panel On The addi Express Kingsize

When you’ve bought your brand new knitting machine, you want to use it right away. Every minute you spent studying complex material and diagrams could be spent knitting!

Here’s a tutorial on Knitting a Flat Panel piece. Created by SkacelKnitting on YouTube. There are plenty of great tutorials on the internet.

addi-Express Professional Knitting Machine

addi-Express Professional Knitting Machine

The addi-Express Professional (also known as the addi pro) has 22 needles.

You can machine knit circular knitted items in knit stitch and panels on this machine. The size of the tube is something fitting around your arm or leg. Flat panels can be stitched together to make knitted items wider.

Good ideas for suitable projects would be premmie hats, doll bonnets, narrow scarves, mittens, fingerless gloves, and baby sweaters.

Key Features

  • 22 needles Circular and plain knitted items can be created
  • Many yarns can be used
  • Great for a beginner
  • Made in Germany with sturdy materials
  • Every product purchased from an Authorised addi Dealer comes with a Lifetime Warranty.

Pros

  • Easy to create smaller sized projects in a short amount of time.
  • Perfect for making small hats for Premmie babies or dolls, socks, scarves, and fingerless gloves.
  • Wonderful for projects donated to charities.

Cons

  • Difficult to get neat edges when creating rows of knit stitches for flat panels.
  • Bulky weight yarn, stiff yarn, or cotton yarn are a challenge.
  • Be mindful of the yarn weight you are working with
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon
Addi Express Knitting Machines image by @melsnattyknits on Instagram
@melsnattyknits loves what she can make

NSI Knitting Machine for Kids (Age 6+)

Do your children love to knit? A great beginner introduction to machine knitting for kids. Lovely idea to share some crafty time with your family.

A children’s knitting machine. Ideas suitable for this machine (with a little help) are kid-sized scarves, leg warmers, mittens, and hats. They can make gifts for their friends.

Good price point, but remember this isn’t the same grade as other more professional machines.

Key Details

  • Made of Plastic Set includes knitting machine, safe sewing needle and two skeins of thread.
  • For 6+ years

NKOK Singer Knitting Machine

NKOK Singer Knitting Machine

Another option for a children’s knitting machine. Knit scarves, beanies, shoulder bags, socks, forearm warmers, and more. Made from plastic but treated with care, it will last longer.

Some younger users will need help through some stages, casting on and off. Kids need to pay attention to go at a reasonable pace while still having fun.

The NKOK Singer Knitting machine is pink and white. Recommended for ages 8 and up. The pack includes a knitting machine, two skeins of yarn, one knitting hook, one yarn needle, and instructions.

Key Features

  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Simple set-up, easier for young ones

Pros

  • A great introduction to knitting

Cons

  • Some assembly required
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon
Singer Knitting machine
@vethblack loves her toy knitting machine

Smart Weaver Knitting Kit Machine for Kids

Smart Weaver Knitting Kit Machine for Kids

On this knitting machine, knit scarves, beanies, shoulder bags, socks, forearm warmers, and custom products. Kids will love seeing the loops create something they can say they made.

The Smart Weaver Knitting Machine is made from plastic. Treated with care, it will last longer. Some will need some help casting on and off.

The Smart Weaver Knitting Kit Machine is recommended for 6 and up. A small circular knitting machine. Perfect for the little knitter in your life.

Key Features

  • Able to create tubes (circular knitting) or flat panels
  • Suitable for Ages 6 & Up

Pros

  • Will be able to make knitted creations (with a little help)

Cons

  • Different stages of use will require adult help.
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

Prym MIDI Knitting Mill Machine

Prym MIDI Knitting Mill Machine

It’s portable and lightweight. The largest number of stitches you can use is 20 when knitting in the round and 16 when knitting flat panels. Try a sample first before making something big.

Key Features

  • Lightweight
  • Made in Germany

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for small projects
  • Circular knitting and flat panels
  • With a mode switch for added flexibility in what you can create

Cons

  • Need to work the machine slowly to ensure no dropped stitches.
  • Takes experimenting to find the most suitable yarn.
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

Prym Knitting Mill Maxi

Prym Knitting Mill Maxi

It’s lightweight and hand-operated. The largest number of stitches you can use is 44 when knitting in the round and 40 when knitting back and forth panels.

Key Features

  • Lightweight
  • Circular design
  • Made in Germany

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for circular and flat panel design.

Cons

  • Need to work the machine slowly to ensure no dropped stitches.
  • Takes experimentation to find the most suitable yarn weight
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

Flat Bed Knitting Machines

Silver Reed LK150 Mid-Gauge Knitting Machine

Silver Reed LK150 Mid-gauge Knitting Machine

The Slver Reed Model LK150 is a good starter mid gauge (6.5mm) knitting machine. It knits a range of yarns including Sport weight through to worsted weight yarns. You’ll need to experiment with some heavier yarns.

The machine is lightweight, and made of sturdy plastic. It’s like a fancier version of the Bond Elite.

This model doesn’t work well with lower quality worsted weight yarn you’d get from a dime store. They cause stress on the carriages as they’re less pliable than quality yarns.

You can knit many projects such as sweaters, mittens, beanies and blankets.

Pros

  • Excellent choice for beginners
  • The manual is clear and easy to follow
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to set up and pack away
  • Finding replacement parts is easy

Pros

  • Not suitable for bulky yarns
  • Lower quality worsted weight yarns are not suitable
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

Here’s a video showing the set up of the LK150

SK840 Silver Reed 4.5mm Standard Gauge Electronic Knitting Machine

SK840 Silver Reed 4.5mm standard gauge electronic knitting machine


The SK840 knits stockinette and most hand-manipulated designs. Such as slip, tuck, fairisle, thread lace, knit-weaving and plating.

It knits lace, fingering and sport weight yarns.

Couple it with the data cables, DesignaKnit Software and your computer and you can knit Punch Lace, Weaving, Plating and more. Plus more features DesignaKnit has to offer.

This knitting machine is 4.5mm (5.6) gauge with 200 needles. It’s a great option for sweaters and large projects such as afghans.

Pros

  • Electronic
  • Varied stitch patterns can be created
  • Can handle finer yarns
  • Suitable for machine knitters with some experience

Cons

  • Operating this machine would be a steep learning curve for a beginner
  • A considerable investment.
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

Bond Knitting Machine

Bond Knitting Machine

Great for making adult garments, coats, afghans, skirts, children’s garments, or your favorite clothing.

The 100 needles allow for 1000 stitches per minute. The needles are metal, and they sit in a hard plastic bed.

You get the best results with smooth, medium-weight yarn. Extra-bulky, fine, or nubby yarns can give unsatisfactory results. Fluffier yarns such as mohair can be used, but it would be best to pair this with another yarn.

You also get a set of four key plates and hand tools to make different stitches and more complicated patterns. With practice, you’ll come to an understanding of what you can create. Expect to have times of frustration.

Pros

  • Supports popular handknit yarns
  • knits 1000 stitches a minute
  • Suitable for professionals

Cons

  • A little challenging to set up
  • Not ideal for beginners
  • Be aware some of the listings are for used machines, be sure to select the new item
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

The Ultimate Sweater Machine

The Ultimate Sweater Machine

A knitting machine with a six key plate. Super fast for a lot of projects such as an adult sweater or afghan.

Can use yarn of different weights and colors. Many knitting stitches can be used – cable, lace, Fair Isle, and many others.

A detailed instructional video is included on all the basic stitches and fancy stitches. Compatible with hand knitting patterns as well as ultimate knitting books.

This machine has six key-plate to match every size knitting needle from 6 to 10-1/2. Make an afghan or sweater up to 100 stitches across.

Able to knit 1200 stitches a minute. Every machine has a detailed instructional video on all basic stitches and fancy stitches. Has a limited manufacturer’s warranty.

Key Features

  • Six Key Plate Can match every size knitting needle from 6 to 10-1/2.
  • Made in the USA

Pros

  • It accepts yarns from sport to chunky.
  • Portable and reasonably light
  • Variety of basic and fancy stitches are possible

Cons

  • Takes time and a few practice sessions to use and work correctly.
  • Need to watch the instructional video several times.
  • Requires manual adjustment to do fancier stitches.
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

t can be incredibly hard for beginners to select the ideal knitting machine. There are many models to sift through. Your best bet is to decide what sort of design (big or small) you want to create with a knitting machine.

Regardless of which one of the many knitting machines you choose, you’ll save time with these knitting devices than if you did hand knitting.

Best of luck using your new favorite tool. 🙂 I’d love to hear about your journey.

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About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, owner and creator of Knit Like Granny. (Yes, I’m real :) ) Thanks for being here.

I started Knit Like Granny to show 1,000,000 people the joys of knitting & highlight alternatives to fast fashion.

I love knitting and have met so many fabulous knitters through this site. I enjoy learning and helping others discover the joys of working with yarn.

Please say hello!

24 thoughts on “My Knitting Machine Guide. 10 Best & Machine Knitting Facts You Need”

  1. I have a daughter who’s not so interested in knitting with needles, I thought she might like a knitting machine. Which is the best for a 10 year old?

    Reply
    • Hi Candice, good idea to introduce a knitting machine to spark your daughter’s interest in craft. The best one to start with would be the NKOK Singer Knitting Machine. I’ve shared a review of it above and hope that helps. Cheers Jodie

      Reply
    • The best knitting machine for home use is the Addi King Size as it knits up larger projects like hats, cowls and scarves. You can knit flat pieces too. There’s more information in my post. Cheers Jodie

      Reply
  2. Thanks for your review of the two different sizes of Addi knitting machines. It’s helped me decide to get the King size as I want to make bigger projects

    Reply
  3. Jodie,
    The USM detailed in your website looks fantastic, but, seems unavailable everywhere given that it was discontinued in 2015.I
    I am looking for a table top machine (horizontal type) for my wife to use. Ideally for sweaters, dresses etc., possibly as an at home business. Thus, needs to be robust. Also needs to be able to do multi-stitch, Fair Isle, multi-colour, super-flexible etc.
    What machine would you recommend please?
    Thank you,
    Richard

    Reply
    • Hi Richard. Thanks for getting in touch. I will update my post with what you have found regarding the USM machine, thanks for letting me know. I am by no means an expert on the type of knitting machine you are looking for. I will ask my readers to see what they recommend and get back to you. Cheers Jodie

      Reply
  4. Hi Jodie! Great Post! Which machine would you suggest does it all? I’m interested in making adult sweaters and hats. Thank you in advance!

    Reply
  5. Hi Danyelle. So glad you’ve found this info helpful. I recommend the Addi Kingsize machine. It’s an investment but you can make adult hats and sweaters with flat panels. I have a post on Addi Knitting machine. Hope this helps. Cheers Jodie

    Reply
  6. This is good information for basic hobby machines, but leaves out the better quality machines. For sock knitting the New Zealand auto knitter (NZAK) sock knitter is still available, and for flat beds, the Passap, Brother, and Silver Reed machines are all still available.
    All of these options are significantly more expensive, but for those who are looking for a robust, trouble free machine with flexibility and options not available in the ‘toys’ presented here. The learning curve is the same, but the frustration level is reduced.

    Reply
    • Wayne,
      Which machine would you recommend for making sweaters and larger pieces? The Addi Kingsize machine has only 44 needles. I need something durable, reliable and able to make panels of 100+ stitches.

      Reply
      • For sweaters and larger pieces I would recommend the silver reed machines. The Lk150 is a good start to see if you like it, and works similarly to the better sk360 or sk840 metal bed machines. It should be about $400 or so as compared to the $2000 plus for the sk series. Buy from dealer or reconditioner as they can be a bit pesky to set right.
        Happy knitting

        Reply
  7. I’m a crocheter. I can knit but haven’t in years. I’d like to make garments via machine (adult size) which flatbed machine wod you recommend?

    Reply
    • Hi there. There is some great information found in Wayne’s comment about flat bed knitting machines for adult garments. “For sweaters and larger pieces I would recommend the silver reed machines. The Lk150 is a good start to see if you like it, and works similarly to the better sk360 or sk840 metal bed machines. It should be about $400 or so as compared to the $2000 plus for the sk series. Buy from dealer or reconditioner as they can be a bit pesky to set right.”

      Reply
  8. Hello, I would like to make a lot of hats for my boys (5&7 yo). What addi machine would you suggest to use for kids hats? Thank you.

    Reply
  9. I have a Bond incredible sweater machine that has been inthe box (in pristine condition) for 20+ yrs. It has a VCR tape to watch for instructions and I no longer have a VCR. Can I get a DVD somewhere?

    Reply

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