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

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

Want information about serious flat bed machines? I cover it here.

My Quick Recommendations

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

For those who want more, read my full reviews of the best knitting machines.

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

Table of Contents

The Need For Speed!

Some knitters swear by these tools. Don’t have the energy or hours for hand knitting? A knitting machine saves you time.

Knitting Machines are excellent for knitted hats, cowls, sweaters, and blankets. A knitting machine is 20 times faster than traditional hand knitting. Discover another world of stitching.

My Knitting Machine review has several hand-cranked knitting machine alternatives. Here are some of the best and most popular Knitting Machines.

Machine Knitting

There’s a real art to machine knitting. Some hand-knitters think it’s cheating. Machine knitters dispute this. It’s more complicated than hand knitting and being a hand knitter.

Like any new skill and tool, it takes time 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 changed since.

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.

Knitting machines can’t produce all hand-knit stitch types and techniques. The tuck stitch is possible on some. The tuck lace stitch pattern is exclusive to 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 tool) is required to create a garter stitch (looks like purl stitches).

More and more hand knitters are trying out machine knitting and finding there are a great many benefits. Saving time with stockinette stitch or rib fabrics.

Also adding skills to their knitting hobby.

Much easier doing it on a machine than hand knitting. It’s excellent 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 experience a steep learning curve. Many would argue hand knitting seems simple in comparison.

Most machines have a dial with numbers for how big the gauge is. However, these don’t match knitting needle sizes.

There is much to understand and master when machine knitting. However, they’re great for showering loved ones with knitted gifts!

Different Types Of Knitting Machines

  • Circular Knitting Machines – Creates 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 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’re manual. Or punch card (a card with punched holes to determine stitch patterns, where stitches are slipped, tucked, creating texture, like in a cable stitch, or knit in a different color). Or electronic/computer ready. (Aka punch card knitting machines. Flat Beds Knitting Machines are categorized into the weights of yarn they work with, into different row gauge machines.
  • (Hand knit gauge is different to the gauge on 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 – (preferred by hand knitters as they handle sport weight to worsted, including DK weight.
  • Bulky or Chunky Gauge Machines – (copes with a 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 produce tubes and flat knitting.
  • Brother Knitting Machines are a brand 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.
Stylish Storage Solutions by Knit Picks

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 sewn together to make a garment.

The critical 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 rest in four positions.

  • Non-working
  • Working
  • Upper-working
  • Hold

A circular knitting machine has needles in a circle and knits in the round.

If the machine is a hand crank, it doesn’t require battery power. It’s still much faster than knitting by hand!

Pattern Terminology

New to this technique? Here are some terms to know.

  • Cast On – Use the technique the designer decides or your preference. A latch tool cast on in machine knitting matches a long tail cast on in hand knitting.
  • Cast Off – Machine and hand-knit differ. A bind-off on the knitting machine uses a latch tool after the last row is knit. They’re similar once completed.
  • Decreasing stitches – This is an art form. See this tutorial for more.
  • Yarn For Lace Work – Using the transfer tool, move the stitch from one needle to the adjacent needle. Two stitches are on the adjacent needle, and the original is empty.
  • Waste Yarn (Scrap Yarn) – This unusual technique is common in machine knitting. For more information, see this helpful video.

The Best Knitting Machine For Home Use

Bottom line, the best knitting machine is the Addi Express Kingsize Knitting Machine. Create knitted fabric for scarves, cowls, hats, and flat sections.

Using a knitting machine for a range of simple creations saves 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.

This product is loved by knitters who complete hats, baby blankets, garments for keeping your neck warm, and other knitted items.

Many call it the best machine for knitting.

Want to speed up your gorgeous, finished knits? Consider the addiExpress King size Extended Edition.

The kit includes

  • Addi Express King Size Knitting Machine
  • Five replacement needles (replacement pins)
  • Punch cards
  • 1 threading tool
  • 2 stoppers
  • 4 base feet
  • Needle holder
  • 2 clampers (screw hooks)
  • Decrease needle
  • “Winding instead of Knitting” pattern book
  • Instruction manual
  • addi Express Crochet Hook

The Addi Express King has 46 needles, more than twice the number of needles in 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.

Pros

  • Sturdy construction materials.
  • Simple setup, easy to use, suitable for beginners
  • Portable
  • 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.
  • Offers rows back and forth and circular knitting functions, a bonus for projects requiring the assembly of pieces.
  • Cost-effective.
  • Makes 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 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.
  • Experiment to determine whether your knitting yarn workd with the machine.
  • The Addi can’t offer anything other than a 46 stitch knitted circle.
  • Unreliable digital row counter with memory function
  • Latch hook may split yarn if it’s too big
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Making A Hat On The Addi Express Knitting Machine

SkacelKnitting on Youtube has a fantastic tutorial on making a knitted hat in 30 minutes. Impossible? Not if you own an Addi Express Knitting Machine!

YouTube video

Knitting a Flat Panel On The addi Express Kingsize

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

YouTube video

addi-Express Professional Knitting Machine

addi-Express Professional Knitting Machine

The addi-Express Professional (aka the addi pro) features 22 needles.

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. Stitch together flat pieces to make knitted items wider.

Good for creating knitted items like premmie hats, doll bonnets, narrow scarves, mittens, fingerless gloves, and baby sweaters.

This machine comes with

  • addiExpress Professional Knitting Machine
  • Pattern Book
  • 5 Replacement Needles
  • 1 threading tool
  • 4 feet
  • 2 clampers

Pros

  • 22 needles
  • Create circular and plain knitted items
  • Suits many yarns
  • Great for a beginner
  • Made in Germany
  • Sturdy materials
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Easy to create smaller sized projects in a short 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
Check Price On Amazon
Addi Express Knitting Machines image by @melsnattyknits on Instagram
@melsnattyknits loves what she makes

NKOK Singer Machine

NKOK Singer Machine

Knit scarves, beanies, shoulder bags, socks, forearm, and leg warmers, and more. Made from plastic but treated with care, it lasts longer.

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

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

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Simple set-up, easier for young ones
  • Great introduction to knitting

Cons

  • Some assembly required
Check Price On Amazon
Singer Knitting machine
@vethblack loves her toy knitting machine

Smart Weaver Machine for Kids

Smart Weaver Knitting Kit Machine for Kids

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

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

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

Pros

  • Create tubes (circular knitting) or flat bits
  • Suitable for ages 6 & up

Cons

  • Different stages of use require adult help
  • No sewing needle included
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Prym MIDI Knitting Mill Machine

Prym MIDI Knitting Mill Machine

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

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Made in Germany
  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for small projects
  • Circular knitting and flat panels
  • Mode switch for added flexibility

Cons

  • Need to work the machine slowly to ensure no dropped stitches.
  • Takes experimenting to find the most suitable yarn.
Check Price On Amazon

Prym Knitting Mill Maxi

Prym Knitting Mill Maxi

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

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Circular design
  • Made in Germany
  • 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
Check Price on Amazon

Flat Bed Knitting Machines

Here are some great flatbed machines.

Silver Reed Mid-Gauge Knitting Machine

SilverReed LK150 Mid-gauge Knitting Machine

The Silver Reed Model LK150 is a good starter mid-gauge (6.5mm) knitting machine. This flatbed knitting machine knits a range of yarns, including Sport weight through to worsted weight yarns.

You’ll need to experiment with some heavier yarns.

The flatbed 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.

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
  • Includes a latch tool

Pros

  • Not suitable for bulky yarns
  • Lower quality worsted weight yarns are not suitable

Here’s a video showing the setup.

YouTube video
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Silver Reed Standard Gauge Electronic Knitting Machine

SK840 SilverReed 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, your computer, and knit Punch Lace, Weaving, Plating.

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

Pros

  • Electronic
  • Creates varied stitch patterns
  • Handles finer yarns
  • Suitable for machine knitters with some experience

Cons

  • Operating this machine would be a steep learning curve for a beginner
  • Considerable investment.
Clheck Price On 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 give unsatisfactory results. Use fluffier yarns such as mohair, 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 knitting machine patterns. With practice, you’ll come to an understanding of what you 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
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The Ultimate Sweater Machine

The Ultimate Sweater Machine

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

Use yarn of different weights and colors and many knitting stitches – cable, lace, Fair Isle.

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.

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

Pros

  • Six Key Plate matches every size knitting needle from 6 to 10-1/2.
  • Made in the USA
  • Cccepts yarns from sport to chunky
  • Portable
  • Light
  • Great for any machine knitting patterns
  • Make a variety of basic and fancy stitches

Cons

  • Takes time and a few practice sessions
  • Need to watch the instructional video several times.
  • Requires manual adjustment to do fancier stitches.
Check Price On Amazon

It’s hard to select the ideal knitting machine. Regardless of what you choose, you’ll save more time with these knitting devices than if you did hand knitting.

Good 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, 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!

21 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
    • Hello Candice, good idea to introduce your daughter to knitting. Start with the NKOK Singer Knitting Machine. I reviewed it above. Cheers Jodie

      Reply
    • The Addi King Size knits up larger projects like hats, cowls, and scarves and is the best machine for home use. It knits flat pieces too. 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 do you recommend please?
    Thank you,
    Richard

    Reply
    • Hi Richard. Thank you for letting me know about the USM machine. I’ll update my post accordingly. I’m no expert on the type of knitting machine you seek. I’ll ask my readers what they recommend and get back to you. Cheers Jodie

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

    Reply
  5. 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 do you recommend for making sweaters and larger pieces? The Addi Kingsize machine has only 44 needles. I need something durable, reliable, and able to create 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
  6. Hello, I want to make a lot of hats for my boys (5&7 yo). What addi machine do you suggest to use for kids’ hats? Thank you.

    Reply
  7. 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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