12 Best Yarn Winders Tested & Ranked In 2024 Yarn Winder Guide

By Jodie Morgan | Updated: | Published:

Sick of messy yarn? Every knitter needs a yarn winder. Why get one? Read my full reviews of the best yarn winders.

Yarn Cakes in many different colors, reds orange, purples, green, grey, blue, purple. Created with a Yarn Winder

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.

Best Yarn Winder – Our Top Picks

Note: The above links take you to further information, current prices, and customer reviews on Amazon, Knit Picks, and Etsy.

Having a Yarn Winder makes knitting much easier and saves time. It’s an excellent alternative to your tired hands, and the benefits are numerous. There are many options for yarn ball winders.

Crocheting and knitting tools benefit both knitters and crocheters wanting to be efficient. This is the perfect chance to solve your messy yarn collection problem!

I reviewed, fact checked and updated this post on Dec 30, 2023.

Table of Contents

1. Best For Most People: Stanwood Needlecraft Ball Winder

Stanwood Needlecraft Winder

This hand-operated model ybw-a winder makes center-pull yarn cakes from 4 oz. balls. Say goodbye to a tangled mess of yarn. It’s strong and easy to crank. Great for everything from smaller ball sizes, yarn with flecks to blanket yarn.

Winding from Amish (tabletop) or umbrella-style swifts? Buy one with this winder. I discuss it in my best Yarn Swift Review. While instructions for setup are included, here’s an online PDF version of the manual.

Pros

  • The table clamp has a range of 1 3/4″
  • Made of quality materials
  • Easy to crank
  • Easy to operate hand crank
  • Great value for money
  • Doesn’t take up much space
  • Has a high star rating with happy customers
  • Excellent for winding scrap yarn

Cons

  • Only creates smaller balls. You may have to cut a larger ball in two

2. Best Budget Pick: Knit Picks Yarn Ball Winder

This compact yarn ball winder makes 3.5 oz balls, perfect for a lightweight thread. This winder pivots. If you have pain in your hands and wrists, the style of the Knit Picks yarn ball winder is comfortable. Much better than hand winding yarn.

This is the best yarn ball winder for those on a budget, and it best suits those with a beginner skill level.

Pros

  • Cheap price
  • Makes 3.5 oz yarn balls
  • Great for small projects or lightweight yarn
  • Clamps to tables without scratching the surface
  • Although it’s mostly plastics, it’s sturdy. The yarn guide is metal
  • Has directional arrows on the crank to show you which direction to go
  • Even cranking with minimal effort
  • A three-step setup
  • Perfect for beginners to wind yarn
  • Small, it stores in its box
  • User-friendly directions on the carton
  • Good if you have a tight budget
  • Position it for comfort and ease of use
  • Good if you have arthritis and tendonitis
  • Lightweight and portable, you can take it anywhere
  • The pull thread yarn balls mean your yarn comes out from the center.
  • Can be part of a winding station

Cons

  • Operating the hank crank isn’t as fast as some of the bigger models
  • Keep in mind this is smaller than the rest featured in this post

Here’s this affordable tool in action in this video by Toni from TL Yarn Crafts.

3. Best Luxury Option: Maple Jumbo Yarn Ball Winder With Table Clamp

This hand-crafted Maple wood knitting tool is a quiet achiever. It can wind up to 1 pound of fingering weight yarn at a time. It’s a workhorse. It’s easy to assemble. Use it on your workspace or tabletop or clamped on an edge. It’s portable and simple to use.

The style of this large-capacity ball winders can handle approximately fingering weight – 1 pound, and worsted weight yarn – 10 ounces. The winder photo shows it unattached to the table clamp.

Pros

  • Easy turn handle design allows for winding large yarn skeins
  • Less strain if you have wrist problems
  • Smooth winding motion
  • Replaceable parts (the steel and wood ones)
  • These winders are designed for durability and years of use
  • Made in the US
  • Multiple reviews with five stars
  • Large spindle capacity
  • Hard maple and premium maple veneered plywood parts
  • One year guarantee
  • Suitable for almost everything
  • Transform yarn hanks into compact center-pull yarn cakes
  • Place on a work surface or clamp
  • Dimensions don’t take up lots of space
  • Ergonomic design
  • Simple instructions in the info booklet
  • Excellent customer service if you have any questions or issues
  • Constructed to last a lifetime

Cons

  • Needs cleaning if you use it often

4. Hand-Turned Nostepinne For Handwinding Yarn Balls: One Skein Capacity

Made of wood with a varnished finish. The carved handle is comfortable to hold. There’s a groove at the top to tie on the Yarn to start winding. Use a hitch knot in the yarn to begin at the top.

The other groves on this compact tool are for decoration. Use a Nostepinne if you have little room and are happy to wind by hand. It’s a thing of beauty and has an antique look. Hand-wound wool winders like these are perfect for winding a yarn hank and yarn skeins.

Pros

  • The feature of simplicity
  • Creates center-pull balls
  • Free shipping in the US
  • Affordable price
  • Great budget product option
  • Hand held & portable
  • Ships to the United Kingdom
  • The seller gives you a great shopping experience

Cons

  • Only winds as fast as you can
  • Yarn shapes and content vary depending on how you wind
  • The number of cakes you can wind will be less
  • Take care as too much tension stretches the yarn

Looking for a cheaper version?

For a good example, try the Yarn Valet. It’s lightweight, comfortable, and has a tube compartment for storing stitch markers and notions.

Dr. Kelly from Ewe University Knitting Podcast reviews six styles. Dr. Kelly’s recommendations are honest.

If you’d like to skip to the Yarn Winders review section, head to 11.08. In her video, she reviews the following:

Note: The above links take you to further information, current prices, and customer reviews on Amazon and Etsy.

5. Beisaqi

This is easy to install, portable, and lightweight. Good for smaller and larger ball sizes of yarn. Once wound, your yarn skeins or yarn hanks will be easy to pop into a yarn bowl and knit. It helps make things easier and keeps yarn in order!

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Center-pull cake
  • Great stability in the frame
  • Place on your working desk or bench.
  • This device makes minimal noise
  • Excellent for examining yarn for imperfections and tangles
  • Good for beginners to knitting
  • Should ship to your country for a reasonable price

Cons

  • Instructions aren’t so easy to understand.

6. LAMXD Needlecraft Large Jumbo Metal

This heavy-duty metal yarn ball winder is easy to assemble and clamps to a table without damaging it. It winds up to 10 ounces of Yarn.

It has two metal swing arms, one to hold the Yarn, the other to keep the tension, so you don’t have to do it. This makes neat and compact center-pull cakes. Perfect for many yarn weights and handles larger hanks of Yarn.

Pros

  • The cogwheels and gears operate smoothly
  • Components are built to last
  • This item has a sturdy spindle
  • Any person can wind the yarn easily
  • One year manufacturers warranty
  • Winds large hanks with flat sides
  • Clamps to surfaces up to 2 1/8″ thick
  • Easy assembly for these items
  • Cast iron construction

Cons

  • Squeaks
  • If you go too fast, you can’t control the tension

7. Lacis II Compact Size

Lacis Yarn Ball Winder II Weaving Yarn

This ball-winder winds up to 4 oz of Yarn. Great for winding leftover Yarn into tidy yarn cakes. One of the choices for light and portable.

Pros

  • Excellent for winding hanks and leftover skeins into cakes of yarn.
  • Winds yarn without requiring cones or tubes.
  • Simple set-up.
  • Instructions for these plastic yarn winders are clear.

Cons

  • The arm slips occasionally
  • Doesn’t handle large amounts of fibers

8. Lacis Jumbo

Winds up to 7 oz of Yarn. Winds the Yarn at a diagonal and creates large yarn cakes. Great for different types and weights of Yarn. It handles bulky weight yarns to lace-weight yarns.

Experiment with your tension using different types of Yarn to ensure no difficulty. A screwdriver with a magnetic tip is included. Handy for putting in the screws. This model comes with instructions, but here’s a PDF of the manual for easy access.

Pros

  • Easy to set up the pieces
  • Great for winding regular yarn
  • Can wind larger amounts of yarn
  • Durable
  • Withstands many winds

Cons

  • Go slowly in the beginning until you get the hang of it
Mollie23 loves using her winder
@mollie23 loves winding. Follow @mollie23 for more great pics.

9. Knit Pro

Suitable for weights up to 3.5oz of yarn. It easily clamps onto any table for stable placement. Just be sure to extend the metal arm before clamping, as it can’t be adjusted once in place.

Pros

  • Easy turn handle design that is thicker than others models means less strain on your wrists.
  • Suits up to 3.5oz
  • Hand turn screw on clamp is easy to tighten
  • Creates center-pull yarn ball
  • The clamp has a rubber pad to keep surfaces from being scuffed
  • Setup is a breeze

Cons

  • Difficult to wind slippery yarns

10. Stanwood Needlecraft Large With Covered Metal Handle

This larger version makes large 10 oz. cakes. It’s easy to use, sturdy, and made of heavy-duty materials. Easy to put together and store away. Stanwood has a reputation for high-quality knitting accessories. One of the best yarn winders on the market. You can get back to your knit or crochet patterns much faster.

The Stanwood Needlecraft Large metal winder works with fingering weights to bulky weights. Handles cotton, wool, acrylic, and luxury yarns, like silk, cashmere, and merino.

The cost is worth the investment considering it will last for years and wind lots of Yarn. (Unfortunately, it’s not always available and is difficult to find.) A good alternative is the U-nitt Metal Jumbo 10 oz.

Pros

  • No need to cut 8 oz. balls in half
  • Features sturdy metal construction apart from the cogwheels, made from durable nylon material
  • Designed for heavy-duty use
  • Electrostatic paint so it won’t chip or wear off
  • Requires little assembly
  • Excellent for larger skeins
  • Sturdy metal crank with comfortable plastic handle
  • Straightforward to use
  • Lasts many years
  • Super smooth operation and quiet
  • Anti skid rubber pads on the bottom keep it stable while protecting your table from scratches
  • Has a metal table clamp to grip to a surface
  • Makes nice yarn “cakes” with a hole where the yarn pulls from the center
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Takes time to master

See a demonstration of how it works in this YouTube video.

11. Knitter’s Pride Mega

Knitter's Pride Mega yarn winding machine

No more tangles, knots, and frustrating hand-winding. A skein or hank is quickly turned into a compact and useable cake. These handcrafted wooden fiber tools are not only elegant, but they make knitting and crocheting a breeze.

Pros

  • Features rainbow colors decal on the bobbin and the crank
  • Solid birchwood
  • Winds up to 15oz (450g) of fingering weight yarn at a time
  • Quality ball bearings for smooth operation
  • Anti skid rubber pads on the bottom to keep surfaces scratch free
  • Table clamp included

Cons

  • Expensive but a wooden version is sturdier than plastic.

This video by Jayda is an excellent overview of how to set it up and use it.

12. Butuze

This is an affordable yarn ball winder. One that suits beginner knitters or crocheters, as it comes packed with value. The pack includes a range of accessories including stitch markers, yarn needles, and cable needles. Although the manufacturer doesn’t mention the capacity, you can expect to wind an average 3.5-ounce skein. You’d be best to control tension with your fingers by holding the strand close to the guide.

Pros

  •  Clamp will work on thickness up to 1.5
  • Wind up to 3.5oz (100g) of fingering weight yarn
  • Suitable for smaller amounts of fibers
  • Easy to set up and operate

Cons

  • Thicker yarns might have to be wound in 2 gos
  • Some users complained about the popping noise it sometimes makes
  • The plastic materials are not top quality
  • The clamp doesn’t have a protective pad
  • Only works with partial skeins of larger weights

The following options are no longer in production, so hence not in our list but they are worth mentioning because they were popular in the past.

Nancy’s Knit Knacks Heavy Duty

Heavy Duty Ball Winder by Nancy's Knit-Knacks

This model was favored by many. I was in touch with Pete Charles from The Oregon Woodworker. He told me the owner of Nancy’s Knit Knacks passed away. Unfortunately, the business hasn’t found a new owner.

If you find one second-hand, I recommend it. I’ll let you know if it becomes available again. Sign up to my mailing list to keep updated.

Nancy’s is a sheer joy to wind, super sturdy and fast. It’s long-lasting enough for the next generation. It had the largest yarn capacity of up to 16oz. Wind up to one pound at a time. It always received excellent customer ratings.

Simplicity Boye

Simplicity Boye Electric Yarn Winder

This model seems to no longer be manufactured so getting a new one is unlikely. Although listed it is often unavailable. Second hand versions are for sale on eBay. An Electric Yarn Winder using 120v a-c power. It winds by itself. Included is an easy to follow manual and you watch your yarn wind into tidy cakes. Some found the electric motor didn’t last. Looking for a powered model? See this post.

Recommended Yarn Winder Comparison Chart

Winders

Best

Luxury

Budget

Made By

Stanwood

Knit Store

Knit Picks

Product

YBW

Maple

3oz Winder

Material

Plastic

Maple

Plastic

Yarn Guide

Yes

Yes

Yes

Noise Level

Medium

Low

Medium

Tension

Good

Excellent

Average

Made In

Asia

US

India

Comfort

✓✓✓

✓✓✓✓

✓✓✓

Durability

✓✓✓

✓✓✓✓

✓✓✓

Ease Of Use

✓✓✓✓

✓✓✓✓✓

✓✓✓✓

Portability

✓✓✓✓

✓✓✓

✓✓✓✓✓

Versatility

✓✓✓✓

✓✓✓✓✓

✓✓

Speed

✓✓✓

✓✓✓✓✓

✓✓✓

Clamp

Yes

No

Yes

Capacity

4oz

1lb

3oz

Price

$$

$$$

$

Value

✓✓✓✓

✓✓✓✓✓

✓✓✓

Returns

30 days

30 days

30 days

Warranty

12 Months

Lifetime

Lifetime

Overall

★★★★

★★★★★

★★★

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Yarn Winders Pin

FAQs About Yarn Winders

Yarn Hanks

What To Look For

Here are considerations during the decision making process.

Sturdy Construction

Look for one built to last. Ones made of hardwood (like birch wood, rosewood, or beech wood) and metal are good. For ones with plastic, ensure they won’t break.

Pay attention to the protection of the gears. If the Yarn slips underneath the gears, it gets caught. In sturdy models, the gears are better protected. The table clamps should be sturdy without damaging the table’s surface in your craft room.

Easy Crank System

You want something for some serious cranking. While operating the crank, it should feel smooth and even while not pulling on the Yarn. It needs to feel sturdy and not like it’s going to break off!

Regia Yarns On Shelf

Ease of Set-Up

For beginner knitters, you want something quick, easy, and simple.

Size of Cakes To Be Wound

Yarn Skeins On Shelving

Consider your regular purchases of Yarn. Are the diameters and weights small hanks, up to 4 oz, or larger skeins/hanks 10 oz and above? Here is what experts recommend.

  • If you wind smaller cakes, look for one handling up to 4 ounces.
  • For larger cakes, use 10oz winders.
  • Anything above, use heavy-duty winder models made of strong materials.

Using a Ball Winder and Swift

Here is a fabulous video tutorial by Stacey at Very Pink Knits. The swift holds the Yarn while you wind it. Use a yarn winder and swift in conjunction with each other to save the hassle.

It’s not essential to have a Yarn swift to use a ball winder. However, yarn swifts make winding easier. As knitters, we want to get to knitting! The winder can hold your hanks of Yarn in place as you wind them. Watch to see it in action.

The important thing is to take your time when first starting out. This allows you to stop tangles from happening. There is nothing more frustrating than your precious yarn getting into a big mess because you’ve gone too fast!

Visit my post here for a full tutorial. Want a review of great ball winders and swifts? See my post.

What Is The Best Yarn Winder?

Out of all the products we researched, reviewed and tested, we liked the Maple Wood Jumbo Yarn Winder the best. It delivers quiet, effortless pain free winding making it a worthwhile long term investment.

Given all the above, we believe that so many happy knitters can’t be wrong and the Maple Wood Jumbo is definitely worth spending a bit more on.

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About The Author

Jodie Morgan From Knit Like Granny

Jodie Morgan (Author & Founder)

jodie@knitlikegranny.com | Lives In: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Author: Jodie Morgan is a passionate knitter and blogger with 40+ years of experience currently living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Taught by her mother and wonderful grandmother “Mama”, she fell in love with crafting from a young age. When she’s not knitting, you’ll find her enjoying a cup of coffee with cream, or sharing helpful resources and tips with the online knitting community. Get to know Jodie and the team on our meet the team page.

Crunchbase | Flickr | LinkedIn | MuckRack | Ravelry | Substack | Twitter

Comments

  1. Thank you for your reviews. Do you know of a winder that will twist two or more balls of yarn together to make a heavier weight?

    Reply
    • Hi Chris. Thanks for your question. I asked our readers for help on your question and this was the most helpful response from LadyCHE.

      “There’s really no need for knitters to wind together two strands of yarn into one ball. Just hold the two strands of yarn together as you knit. The very act of knitting twists adds twist.(Ask any knitter who frogs work done with two strands and now wishes to now separate the two yarns back into seperate balls- it can be frustrating.)

      However if you want to make a plied (i.e, add twist) yarn independent of you can use a drop spindle or spinning wheel (but of course you need to 1st learn the simple basics of spinning.) If you just want to simply wind a ball of two stranded yarns with out twist, you can just use an ordinary ball winder and hold the strands together as you feed it towards the winder. put the balls yarns into large deep bowl or box on floor, and hold strands in one feeding hand while turning crank with the other.”

      The yarn winders that can handle larger amounts of yarn would be your best bet. Cheers Jodie 🙂

      Reply
  2. Thanks for your thoughtful reviews! I have a Royal winder, and it makes tight, tidy yarn cakes just fine for me. But have you ever found a winder that makes the balls or skeins like you purchase at the store? I don’t like to store my yarn in cakes, and I’d love to have a machine for turning hard-to-store hanks into looser balls or skeins!

    Reply
    • Hi Julie. Manufacturers of yarn have special machines for creating the yarn balls or skeins you see in stores. I’ve never seen a yarn winder that winds yarn like this. When I do, I’ll let you know.

      Reply
        • Hi there Jenifer. Thanks for sharing how you create skeins. I looked at your lovely Instagram pics, the trindle you used to spin silk is something new to me. Cheers Jodie

          Reply
      • Hello Jodi and Julie, If you look up “Niddy Noddy” it is a simple wooden tool that a lot of handspinners use to create skeins out of their handspun yarn, usually to set the twist. Mine is a 2 yard Niddy Noddy and so it makes skeins 2 yards long. It takes a bit of learning, but in the end it is very easy to use and the results are lovely.

        Reply
  3. I have a Royal winder. It works well for me unless I have a small amount of yarn. When the hole is so large compared to the thickness of the cake, the center collapses. Does anyone make a winder with a smaller center hole?

    Reply
    • Hi Ernie. If you only have a small amount of yarn, have you tried wrapping it around a cardboard cylinder first? The bobbin part of most yarn winders has a similar diameter. Cheers Jodie 🙂

      Reply
  4. I live in an apartment and need a winder that does not need a clamp. My current one is from Royal but the clamp is damaging my table. I have tried a fabric placemat. Unfortunately, the clamp tends to slip making the winder unstable. Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Helene. Most Yarn Winders in my post have table clamps. One with none is the Maple Jumbo Yarn Winder. It’s beautiful and is a considerable investment. That’s no good! Why not try a silicon nonslip mat? If I find anything else, I’ll let you know. Cheers Jodie 🙂

      Reply
  5. Hello Jodie,
    Thank you for your reviews. Do you have any knowledge about the Knitter’s Pride Signature Mega Wool Winder and Swift? I am interested in it but don’t have any details about it. The Knitter’s Pride website does not give much information. I sent them emails with my concerns but have not received any response. Any help you can provide me will be appreciated. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Claudia. I’ve only seen a review of these products by Very Pink Knits. Staci highly recommends Knitter’s Pride products. What are your concerns? I’ll ask my readers if they can help. Cheers Jodie

      Reply
    • Hi Judi. Yarn winders can be used for all sorts of yarns. Most craft stores sell yarns in balls or skeins and are often easier to knit with directly from the ball/skein. Some knitters rewind these using a yarn winder to make a yarn cake that doesn’t roll around. Cheers Jodie

      Reply
    • Hi Sue. Wow! That’s a lot of yardage. None of the yarn winders listed in my article wind that length without cutting it. Let me do some research. Cheers Jodie

      Reply
  6. Hi, I see you made a comment about Nancy’s Knit Knacks Heavy Duty Ball Winder. I purchased the wood and patterns from an auction of Nancy’s equipment. I am in the process of inventorying the parts to see how many items from her list of equipment that I can put together. I think I can hopefully make about 100 Nancy’s Knit Knacks Heavy Duty Ball Winder. I also have extra gears and parts for people who may need replacements I am either going to see if anyone wants to buy some at a discount to sell in their shop or I may post on Etsy or Ebay. I can put together a lot of other Items from her web site if anyone is interested. If you are interested or know anyone that is, feel free to email me. It seems like these were well liked items and when mine are gone that will be the last of her items.

    Reply
    • Great news Anna
      Thanks for letting me know.
      When you have some listed on etsy please let me know as I am sure people would love a source of spare parts/replacements.
      Cheers Jodie

      Reply

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