Choosing Knitting Needles is challenging. Understand the size, many materials, and types of knitting needles with my guide.
I share why you need to knit a swatch and test your gauge. 🙂
I reviewed and updated this post on January 8, 2022.
Table of Contents
- Best Knitting Needles
- Diameter & Length
- Knitting Needle Sizes
- Knitting A Test Swatch
- Needle Materials Used
- Best Knitting Needles Brand
- Where To Buy Knitting Needles
- Storage Solutions
Best Knitting Needles
- Clover Takumi Straight Needles – Best Bamboo Straight Needles
- Chiaogoo Red Lace – Best Sock Knitting Needles
- Hiya Hiya – Best Circular Needles
- Karbonz – Best Double Pointed Needles
- Addi Lace – Best Lace Knitting Needles
- Lykke Deluxe Set – Best Wooden Interchangeable Set
Do you want to buy yarn online? Here’s how.
Clover Takumi Straights
Made from Bamboo these single point needles have a slight grab. These are a great choice as needles for beginners, because the stitches don’t slip off as easily.
- Smooth to touch
- Won’t catch your yarn
- Comfortable to hold
- Renewable resource
- Some customers found the surface splinters but this is rare.
Read my knitting tools review.
Chiaogoo Red Lace
I love these needles, they are the best knitting needle for socks using the magic loop method.
The red nylon cables that have stainless steel wire inside, don’t have memory and they are sturdy. The join between the tips and cable is smooth and doesn’t snag the yarn.
Stitches glide over the stainless steel surface of the tips.
Used for both flat knitting and knitting in the round, circular needles give flexibility.
- Cable doesn’t kink
- Tips are tapered with a sharp point
- Excellent range of needle sizes
- If you don’t like the feel of metal, these aren’t for you.
What about not using needles at all? Learn to knit with your arms!
Similar to Chiaogoos these stainless steel circulars are excellent for knitting in the round. Think sweaters, hats and cowls, blankets and afghans,
- Flexible plastic cords
- Smooth join between tip and the cable
- Available in many sizes
- A few people found the plastic cable had memory
Karbonz Double Pointed Needles
These carbon fiber needles from Knitter’s Pride are lightweight and have more grip than a stainless steel version. Often referred to as a DPN.
- Pointy tips
- Works with all sorts of yarn
- If you have a nickel allergy the tips are nickel plated bronze
- Smaller diameter needles may bend and break if not used gently
Knowledgeable lace knitters prefer these needles because of their pointy tips and slick surface. Their popularity is well known in knitting circles.
A wise consideration is to use tip protectors when taking these needles in a bag.
- Yarn glides easily over the surface
- Sharp lace tips
- Intricate stitches in a lace design are a breeze
- Excellent for speed knitters
- Comes in a range of sizes and cable lengths
- A little pricier than other metal needles
A luxury wooden interchangeable needles set have a lovely look and feel.
Their products are handmade in Nepal by local craftspeople using local materials. They support their employees and their families in a variety of ways and take care of the environment as well.
- A hardwood similar to maple in terms of density and bending strength
- The wood quickly adapts to your body temperature
- There is little friction or sticking when the yarn slides
- Cable connectors, keys & stoppers are included
- US size marked on tips
- All parts are stored in a stylish case
- The convenience of having different combinations
- The cable color is dark and can make counting stitches difficult on the cable
- Due to the grip on the surface, fast knitters may not like it.
- Not as pointy as a lace tip
Diameter & Length Of Knitting Needles
Sizes used in a knitting project depend on
- The thickness of yarn
- Stitch used
- The project design
They come in varying diameters and lengths. The needle diameter determines the stitch sizes.
- Thicker needle – larger stitches, looser fabric
- Smaller one – tiny stitches, tigher material
The project determines the length.
- Large project – longer needle or cord
- Small, flat projects – any needle length
- Socks – short circular needle or double-pointed needles
- Straight needles – 10-16″ (25-40 cm)
- Circular needles – 12″ to 60″
If you have lots of stitches, you’ll need extra-long needles.
Different countries have different numbers/measures.
- Australia – metric sizes (millimeters) mm
- Canada – same as the UK
Everything you need to know about knitting needle size. Plus, a handy international conversion chart.
- Metric sizing
- US sizes
- UK sizes
- Japan sizing
The knitting needle isn’t labeled with the size? Get a Knitting Needle Gauge.
Knitting A Test Swatch
Every knitter has a different tension. (How tightly they knit.)
Knitting gauge – how many stitches per inch with a particular yarn and knitting needle. It’s essential to know yours to have success,
How To Find Your Gauge?
Knit a test swatch in the chosen yarn and suggested needle size. Measure how many stitches per inch you knit. If yours matches the pattern, great!
It depends on a combination of needle size and how tight your tension is.
Adjust up or down a needle size until your test matches the pattern if it doesn’t match. Need a tutorial? Read one by Davina at Sheep & Stitch here.
Materials For Knitting Needles
Knitting needles are made from various substances. Read my list for more.
Bamboo knitting needles are lightweight, but don’t slow you down much.
Most of the knitting I do is on quality bamboo circular needles. They’re the best knitting needles for knitting cotton dishcloths. They’re light in my hands. A trusty friend for knitting hats.
- Excellent for starting out.
- A slight grip
- Knitted stitches don’t slide
- Great for slippery yarns.
- Sustainable materials
- A good choice for anyone who loves wooden options
- Low cost
- Can catch the yarn
- Gets warm and sticky after a lot of use
- Needles may not suit certain projects
An ancient material similar to bamboo.
- Warm to the touch
- A bit of grip
- Slightly flexible
- Hard to find
Made from milk protein. They’re similar to plastic needles. They are gorgeous and come in tortoiseshell or pearly colors.
- Nice colors
- Smooth & lightweight
- Warm in the hands
- Slightly flexible
- Short and blunt
- Finding needles made from this is hard
- Limited availability
This high-tech material is super light with a non-slip surface. Popular with knitters using lace weight yarn or fine and silky yarns.
- Some don’t brass, and others are sensitive. These are a great alternative
- These items are expensive
- Hard to find
Yes, they exist! Usually made with Pyrex to make them more durable.
- Array of lovely colors and patterns
- Stitches don’t slide off accidentally
- They make unique, cool gifts for knitters
- Thes accessories are breakable
- Expensive prices
- A bit of grip
Many knitters prefer the slippery coating on metal needles. They’re smooth and fast. Makes a real difference for your fast knitting needs!
Here’s a selection of what they’re made from.
A pair of metal needles has the pointiest tips, like lace needles. Excellent for certain yarn weights and knitting socks.
Most gold knitting needles are metal, coated in a gold finish.
- Minimal friction
- Suit hairy and fibrous yarns
- Great for speed
- Excellent for the magic loop
- Not sutiable for learning to knit
- They click when knitting. Soothing to some, irritating to others.
- Avoid this knitting needle material if you’re someone with tendonitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or Arthritis.
- Curface can corrode or get scratched over time.
Lightweight, smooth, and flexible. They’re warm in the hands after knitting.
There are two variations.
- Normal grey
Dozens of brands produce these types of needles.
- Plan on knitting with bulky yarn or using huge knitting needles? Choose these
- Works with different weight yarns
- Many colors, good for encouraging young beginner knitters
- Affordable price
- Keep in mind they’re subject to warping
- Not too durable
- Don’t last as long as some other materials
Quiet, smooth, but not slippery. They’re sometimes exotic woods and have carved ends or painted decorations.
Colorful knitting needles are almost always made of wood.
Types of wood.
- Warmer in your hand and lighter than metal needles
- Comfortable to use
- Catch and slow you down
- Blunter tips than others.
Types Of Knitting Needles
Here are some different knitting needles.
On knitting forums, experienced knitters recommend bulky yarn for beginning knitters. This type of yarn uses thicker needles.
Decide on the type of yarn and read the label. It tells you the best size needle.
Beginner knitting projects like a scarf have a suggested needle size. Gauge won’t matter so much. With complex patterns, start swatching.
Circular needles have two knitting needle tips.
- Approx 5″ long
- Connected by a flexible cord – nylon cords or plastic ones
- Cord lengths vary – 16″-50″
The circular tips come in
Your choice depends on your material style preference in straight needles. Although they’re designed for the knit in the round method, they also knit back and forth.
You rest the weight of the project in your lap. As a result, the knitting is lighter on your wrists. Hurrah for fewer pain problems!
Great for a variety of garments like a sweater. Sometimes they have lifeline holes for knitting things like lace projects.
Circulars are essential for knitting projects like shawls. Small circular 9-inch sock knitting needles are popular with knitters.
Double point needles (DPNs) are short needles with points at both ends. A double-pointed needle is commonly sold in sets of 4 or 5. Designed for knitting in the round.
Newbies may have a problem with using this, so practice some easier projects before attempting anything complicated.
Best for socks, gloves, baby hats, adult hat crowns, or seamless sleeves.
Size 50 Knitting needles come in straights and circular needles. Light and versatile – for scarves, big throws, blankets, or rugs.
Knitting with these takes practice. Not for people with wrist strain.
Designed for comfort and easier knitting. Great for any technique.
These are excellent if you have hand pain/hand strain, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or want something to keep knitting for longer.
Some lovely handcrafted needles are often made of wood or bamboo. They have an heirloom quality and are made to last a number of years.
Hexagonal Knitting Needles
These look similar to a pencil. Indian Lake Artisans create beautiful wooden hexagonal-shaped needles.
- Multiple resting points for your fingers
- Relax your grip and still maintain control
- Stitch gauge remains the same
- Yarn rests on the outer ends of the hex shape
- Needle wood tip is sharp
Interchangeable needle sets have short needle tips. These knitting tools combine to create circular needles of different lengths and sizes.
Interchangeables are assembled by
- Screwing pieces together.
- Snapping in place
- Using a small key
A set of interchangeable knitting needles seems expensive and high-end. Considered luxury needles, interchangeables make life much easier.
However, they’re cheaper than buying each size and length separately.
The tips are made from
- Durable plastic (Denise Interchangeables)
Usually shorter in length than an average-sized needle and with blunter tips, these are specifically designed for small hands. They’re most commonly made of plastic but can be made of bamboo or wood too.
The square design of the needle shafts (the tips are still pointed) stops the needles from twisting as you knit.
Knitters experience less tiredness in their hands and wrists and knit more evenly. Many are wooden, but Knitter’s Pride uses metal.
Most have to go up a size to get their standard gauge. Test it before taking on a new project with a differently shaped version.
Straight Knitting Needles
The most common type of knitting needle. (Aka single pointed needles.) These needles come in a needle set of two. Great for your first project!
- 7″ (good for children)
Best for smaller projects like scarves, baby blankets, and wraps.
Use end caps (point protectors) over each needle tip when taking a rest from your knitting. This stops the stitches from falling off the needles.
From as recently as the 1980s to as far back as the 1920s. A favorite of collectors and knitters who like lightweight needles.
Best Knitting Needles Brand
Here are some choices of knitting needle manufacturers.
- Addi – German company. Known for slick, fast aluminum and metal needles.
- Aero – Vintage aluminum needles from the 60s, 70s, & 80s. They last a lifetime
- Boye – Affordable needles great for new knitters.
- Brittany – Sustainable family-owned US business. Sells birch needles
- Bryspun – Designed for arthritis, hand strain, or carpal tunnel syndrome.
- ChiaoGoo – Chinese family-owned giant. Various needle types and materials
- Clover – Japanese company. Known for smooth bamboo needles
- Crystal Palace – Polished and cured bamboo from Japanese bamboo in Japan
- Deborah Norville – Manufactured by Premier Yarns, with smooth birch wood
- Denise – Small USA family business. Interchangeable plastic needles.
- Furls – Beautifully handcrafted wooden straight needles.
- Hiya Hiya – Known for their sharp metal needles
- Hobby Lobby – Stocks generic needles and some from dwell-known brands.
- KA (Kinki Amibari) – High-quality bamboo needles of the strongest bamboo
- Knit Picks – Their needles are made from laminated birch.
- Knitter’s Pride – KnitPro in Europe, they have various needle styles.
- Kollage – Square needles designed for comfort and ease of use.
- Inox – A subsidiary of Prym, these are made of smooth aluminum.
- Lantern Moon – Luxury Needles of Ebony Wood.
- Lion Brand Yarn – Family business in the USA. They have plastic needles.
- Lykke – Handmade birch needles in Nepal by local craftspeople
- Neko – Curved DPNs, a unique take optimized for comfort.
- Pony – A company based in India produces various needles
- Prym – Specializes in ergonomic needles, comfortable and smooth plastic.
- Signature Needles – A family US business. Luxury colored aluminum needles.
- Susan Bates – Perfect for novices, these are affordable and versatile.
- Tulip – Smooth needles of local bamboo, they’re quality and well made.
Let me help you decide with my top recommendations.
Knitting needles need to stay organized. Otherwise, you’ll never find the one you want! Find solutions in my post knitting needle storage.
Specific products too, like –
Plenty of helpful knowledge about the best knitting needles. I hope my buying guide helped you out.
Have any questions? Have a product purchase you love and want to let me know? Leave a comment. Your email address is never made public.
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