Has long been a teacher of English Literature, after the retirement focused on freelance copywriting. She’s now our full-time writer since our website allows her to know more about the hobby of her lifetime – sewing.
A professional fashion designer and seamstress. Isabel has her own video blog where she shares her experience about all the aspects of sewing – from choosing suitable materials to step-by-step instructions on how to sew a summer skirt.
Last updated: July 09, 2021
In this article, we’re looking into the best knitting needles. If you’re a beginner, you might not think there’s too much of a decision to make. Don’t they all do the same thing? Actually, there’s a lot of variety to knitting needles.
We’ve reviewed 35 products in total and brought you the very best, including our editor’s choice, the CLOVER 3683 Interchangeable Circular Knitting Needles Takumi Combo Set. These are excellently made, with stainless steel tips and a robust bamboo design. Takumi is arguably the best knitting needles brand, and they only use the finest materials in the construction of their knitting needles. This is one of the reasons the 3683 set is so good. We’ve got 8 reviews of top models included below.
In order to make our reviews, we’ve looked at lots of features to evaluate one type of knitting needle from another. The size (or multiple sizes) have been discussed, along with the material used to make the needles, what type of needles they actually are and how many are included in the package. Knitting needles are pretty simple designs, but they need to be reliable. Our article is structured as a simple overview table with ratings, then the individual product reviews. Finally, we’ve got a full buying guide to help you choose which knitting needle design or manufacturer could be for you.
More features: 5 nylon cords, tapered tip, stainless steel joint
This is a stunningly well made set of knitting needles which is manufactured in Japan. It is an interchangeable set of needles, made with Takumi bamboo. You receive 12 different pairs with different needle sizes varying from 3 to 15 (3.25-10mm). There are also five different cord lengths, 16-inch, 24-inch, 29-inch, 36 and 48-inch).
The needles are so well manufactured and made with bamboo, and even a stainless steel joint. The five different cord sizes lets you adjust to your own specific needs and preferences. The fact that the needles are some of the best interchangeable knitting needles means you can use them in any different combo you like.
To protect the brilliant craftsmanship, you can use the executive case which has a leather-style design (though it isn’t real leather). The case also acts as a way to keep everything organized, so you won’t be struggling to find the right size mid knitting.
The excellent design also makes these needles a brilliant gift. You can feel the quality, and the compact design of the case is another big plus point. If you know someone that loves knitting and want to buy them a gift, everything they need in terms of needles can be bought with one simple package.
These bamboo needles are good for beginners and advanced knitters alike. They’re a bit on the pricey side if you are just starting out.
Why are we impressed?
Comes with a convenient case.
12 different sizes.
Made with excellent bamboo with stainless steel tips.
Bamboo design is very lightweight.
What negatives must you be aware of?
Some people have said they would prefer a 12 inch cord.
CHIAOGOO 7400-C Twist Tip Interchangeable Complete Set – Best for Lace
Material: stainless steel
Size: 1.5-5 mm
Quantity: 13 pairs
More features: lace tips, 5 nylon coated multi-strand cables, end stoppers and needle gauge included
The CHIAOGOO 7400-C Twist Tip Interchangeable Complete Set is another convenient set of knitting needles with a smart design. We’ve named it as the best set of knitting needles for lace, as they come with lace tips ready to use.
The sets come in 13 pairs in total, including 10cm sets, steel finishes and three different cable lengths, these are 8″ (20 cm), 14″ (35 cm), and 22″ (55 cm) cables that allow you to make 16″ (40 cm), 22″ (56 cm), and 30″ (76 cm) circulars. T
The cable connectors are color coded, and these are very easy to read.
There are lots of different accessories included, such as the twist and spin tips, lots of cables and other accessories. All can be switched between needles to allow you to make the choice of how you want to use the CHIAOGOO.
The fabric case is good quality and a great way to keep everything enclosed and safely protected. The case is pretty small at 6″ x 8″ in size and comes with 29 inner pockets for you to store things such as tips and accessories.
Though they’re not the cheapest option, remember that you get 13 sets and the case included.
What stands out?
Sturdy and well made needles with steel.
Comes with lots of accessories.
29 pockets within the case for storage.
13 different sizes of needle.
What cons did we manage to find?
Cords can be hard to tighten, make sure you use the included key tool.
More features: weaving tools included, storage box
The Exquiss Knitting Needles Set has been named as the best value choice for those looking for a cheap and simple set of tools for starting to knit. The needles vary from 2-10mm and there is a huge amount in here including 36 single-pointed needles and 36 circular. There’s also a full box featuring loads of weaving tools and accessories. You can easily get started with knitting, if this is the first set you ever get you can rest assured you get everything you need, on a budget.
A lot of people are turning to bamboo for learning to knit due to the fact it is so lightweight and simple, plus bamboo products are usually great value. These are some of the best bamboo knitting needles.
You can use this set to do pretty much anything in terms of knitting, from sewing and marking to weaving scarves, the tools are all there for you.
The circular needles are decent quality, and they are color coded with a colorful plastic. The tubing on the products is transparent and flexible, and good enough quality for beginners.
As you advance in the world of knitting, you may move to more expensive tools that are a little better made or have steel involved in the construction (these needles are just simple bamboo) but these are still some of the best knitting needles for beginners.
What stands out?
Loads of value for the money.
Lot of sizes to choose from.
What cons did we manage to find?
The straight needles can be a little curved.
Not ideal if you need something very durable, no metal or steel used in the construction.
addi Knitting Needle Turbo Circular Skacel – Best Professional
Size: 3.25 mm
Quantity: 1 pair
More features: skacel cord, lifetime warranty, rounded tips
The addi Knitting Needle Turbo Circular Skacel has been named as the best professional knitting needle due to the fact it is incredibly well-built and suitable for use in even the toughest situations. The circular design is connected by a well-made cord so you don’t have to worry about it coming disconnected.
Skacel is a brand known for their immense quality. addi Turbo® needles are made from steel with plated brass tips. The cord is pliable and easily adjustable, with snag-free joins.
Amazingly, this comes with a lifetime warranty! The immense german manufacturing and design really is built to last. This means that if any defects occur when you have the needles, you can get a replacement. It is very rare to find a knitting needle offering a lifetime warranty, as you can imagine.
This is not a set, so it is suitable for those who know exactly what they want from a knitting needle in terms of size and cable length. This is another reason why it is best for professionals.
The default size is 3.25mm, but there are sizes from 1.75mm to 12mm in the range. If you want, you can buy multiple sizes for different knitting situations. This can work out a little on the expensive side, but the lifetime warranty and the fact these are elite quality make up for this.
What makes it stand out?
Extremely good quality, professional models.
Made from stainless steel.
Come with a lifetime warranty.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Can work out pretty expensive if you buy all your needles individually.
Best for use with bulky yarn.
Lykke Indigo Driftwood Interchangeable Gift Set – Eco Friendly
Size: 3.5-12 mm
Quantity: 9 pairs
More features: 5 cords, 8 stoppers, denim pouch included
These knitting needles have been named the best interchangeable knitting needles, but we could equally have nominated them as the best gift set, they are an amazing little set in a very cute package, perfect for giving as a gift to anyone who is into knitting. There are 9 pairs, which is not as many as some other sets, but they still have plenty of variety in terms of sizes, 3.5mm to 12mm are included.
They are also made out of driftwood material, this is something of a novelty, they’re the only items on the list to be made out of driftwood, and this gives an excellent boutique and luxury feel, plus it is eco friendly.
The pouch is small at just 5” making it a good option for a portable knitting set. Some of the other sets on the list are much bigger and harder to fit in your luggage or take with you on the next trip.
Though only 9 sizes are included (that’s still plenty for most people), 12 tips and 5 cords are also included. This is all interchangeable, as the name suggests.
A pouch for the accessories is also included, it comes with 8 Stoppers. 4 Cord keys and 2 connectors to make this a full set, perfect for getting started with knitting.
Why did it make our list?
Compact and portable at just 5 inches.
Includes 9 different pairs.
Makes a fantastic gift set.
What is not ideal about it?
Driftwood isn’t the best material for the hands, if you get sore when knitting, look elsewhere.
Knitters Pride Dreamz Deluxe Interchangeable Needle Set – Easy to Use
Material: polished wood
Size: 3.5-8 mm
Quantity: 9 pairs
More features: 3 color coded vinyl cords, end caps and case included
The Knitters Pride Dreamz Deluxe Interchangeable Needle Set are the best needles for people who struggle with their hands. If you experience pain in your hands and fingers after or during knitting then these could be a great option for you. The polished wood makes an excellent option for comfort, and they don’t put too much pressure on your hands. Some people with arthritis have even found this design helpful.
The polish also helps you with your knitting rhythm, the yarn slips off the needles and doesn’t snag or cause other issues. Minimal knitting frustration.
Like many other knitting needle sets, this has a set of 9 pairs of needles, but there is much more included, such as 3 different sizes of vinyl cords, end caps and the case that encloses everything. The case has 7 different pockets within allowing you to store all sorts of different accessories, there’s even room for small knitting projects.
The cord is easy to connect, the smooth join avoids any sort of snagging. The flexible cords also lay flat and are resistant to kinks or unwanted twists.
Generally, these are very well made, they come with sizes of 3.5-8 mm, so if you need a bigger model, you may need to look elsewhere. Some of the other needle sets on our list are over 8mm in size.
What makes it special?
Easy on the fingers.
Smooth join for easy connection of cords.
Color coded cords.
What cons did we find?
Doesn’t have needles above 8mm size.
Love2Knit Interchangeable Knitting Needle Set, US5-9 – Best for Beginners
Size: 3.75-5.5 mm
Quantity: 5 pairs
More features: vinyl case included, 2 end buttons and extender included,3 cords
The Love2Knit Interchangeable Knitting Needle Set, US5-9 has been named the best for beginners. One of the great things about this set of needles is that it comes at a very affordable price, so you can get to experience a decent set of interchangeable needles, all at different sizes, without having to spend loads of money. This is another reason it is great for beginners.
The plastic quality doesn’t feel the nicest, but it does a great job for beginners and it is pretty reliable. These are no cheap imports, the needles are made in the USA and come with a guarantee.
The needles are interchangeable and they are compatible with any Denise brand set. The five needles included are in US sizes 5-9. These are pretty versatile. The three cords are 20, 24 and 32 inch but you can even extend them to join two cords.
They come in a simple case. It’s not very decorative or luxurious, but there is a storage pouch in the back for you to keep accessories.
Generally, these are versatile and affordable needles for people getting started or getting back into knitting after a break. For such cheap needles, they have some good features.
Why is it special?
Compatible with other Denise sets. Great if you upgrade.
Well made and should last you years if looked after.
What are the flaws?
Only sizes 5-9, no bigger or smaller needle pairs.
Cables are pretty thick, not suitable for “magic loop” technique.
Knit Picks Caspian Double Pointed Wood Knitting Needle Set – Best Double-Pointed
Size: 2-3.25 mm
Quantity: 18 pairs
More features: vinyl case included
If you are looking for double pointed needles, you’ll know that they are used for knitting things in the round that have become small and can’t fit circular needles within. When you knit a hat or the fingers of a glove, the stitches nearer the top become fewer and further between, so won’t go all the way around a circular needle. Thin, double-pointed needles are needed for this scenario.
For reliable double pointed knitting needles, consider the Knit Picks Caspian Double Pointed Wood Knitting Needle Set.
These double pointed needles are in six pairs, ranging from US size 0 (2mm) to US size 3 (3.25mm). The included vinyl case is simple, but does a good job of keeping all of the needles included. They’re actually pretty sturdy, you might think that small needles would snap, but these can keep going for many years of use if you treat them right.
They’re a cool design, too, though this isn’t vital to the best knitting needles, it’s a cool extra feature, the sea-inspired color scheme is a bonus.
The sharp points make it easy to knit things like hat crowns, the fingers of gloves or even tighter knitting needs.
There is a smaller sibling product, which is 4 inches instead of 6.
What makes it special?
Great for knitting in tight spaces.
Pretty sturdy for thin, double pointed needles.
Not overly expensive.
Excellent sea-inspired design.
What cons did we find?
Some of the tips could be a little sharper in an ideal world.
Wood finish could be a little smoother.
Things to Consider
Time for the buying guide! Here, we’ll talk much more about what you should expect from knitting needles, what you need from them, and how to choose the best ones for you. There are lots of varieties, and some are better for different types of knitting or for knitting different things. Our buying guide should be able to help you narrow down the right option.
The importance of knitting needles
Knitting is an enjoyable habit, many people find it very therapeutic and it’s very constructive, too. It’s so nice to have something that you’ve made. Knitted items make wonderful gifts, too.
To get into knitting though, you need the right needles. What is best for one project may not be best for another, and this is why there are so many different varieties. Getting the right needles (and all the right materials, for that matter) is very important to the quality of the product. If you don’t have the right needles, you may not be able to complete your project, for instance, if your needles are too thick, you may not be able to do some of the more intricate knitting needed to make things like fingers on gloves.
Types of knitting needles
The “type” of knitting needle can get a bit confusing. Here is some more info on the types and what they mean:
Straight – these needles are commonly for knitting “flat” you will knit on the right side before flipping the item over and knitting on the other side. Longer needles are better for big knitting items and ambitious products.
Circular – these are a pair of straight needles with a cable in the middle to join and turn into one “circular” design. These needles are good for knitting using an “in the round” method. You don’t have to flip the knitting. You can use circular needles like straight needles if you want, but it also lets you create bigger tube designs, great for big scarves, for instance.
Double pointed – we’ve briefly discussed these already, double points mean there is a point on each end. They can be used to make smaller tubes, and work in the same “in the round” method as circular needles. As they’re much smaller, and make tighter stitches, they’re great for small details like mittens or sleeves. Sometimes you will see these referred to as DPNS or double pointed needles.
You probably aren’t taking up the hobby of knitting to just learn one of these types. You may need to know how to do more than one type of knitting in order to finish projects. Knowing how to use straight or circular needles is great, but for detail you might need double pointed, or certainly thinner needles.
Luckily, many of the best knitting needles we’ve discussed within this guide are sold as sets, and you can mix and match which needles you’re using. Some even have cables and cords to connect two straight needles to turn them into a circular design. Having multiple types of knitting needle in your arsenal can help you loads when it is time to do detailing or move onto a different knitting pattern.
How to knit for beginners
Are you brand new to knitting? It can be tough to know where to get started and what the best advice is for brand new knitters! Luckily, there’s a big knitting community out there to help you. While we’ve written some tips below, it can be best to visually see what someone is doing. This fantastic video gives you an insight into the basics, and the channel has loads of other videos regarding how to knit:
You will notice from this video that a lot of the early steps involve choosing the right equipment. The video focuses on choosing the right yarn for your knitting, and also discusses some more about knitting needles. This shows how vital it is to get the right needles and make a good buying decision for your needs.
You should start by knitting something simple. It is easy to assume that this means something small, but smaller designs can often mean a lot more work, and specific equipment such as double point needles in order to get the detail right. Something like a scarf can actually be a pretty simple pattern to follow for a beginner. Blankets are also a good option for beginners, though there is a lot of work to put into all that knitting. For something smaller, you can knit a dishcloth! (Yes, really!)
The best advice for someone getting started is to get used to the actual action of knitting. It becomes “muscle memory” and the repeated movement will become second nature. This is something people also find quite therapeutic. The process of each stitch in knitting is not something that it is easy to write down, but watching the above video will show you how to use the basic knitting techniques to start to create different patterns.
Knitting is not something that it is super easy to get used to, so try not to get frustrated when you start out. Everyone makes mistakes in their first projects, the key is to start to get used to using your brand new knitting needles.
Features to consider while buying the perfect knitting needles
So, what are the features to think about when you are buying knitting needles? What have we based our reviews on? We’ve discussed all the most vital features below, as well as discussing why they need to be considered before you take your choice.
Prices are closely tied to the materials used to make the needles, but there is more to it than this. It can be easy to spend a lot of money on a new hobby like this, especially if you want to get the right gear. Some needles are an investment, though, and should last you years. You can find knitting needle sets for under $100, or even specific beginners sets such as the Love2Knit Interchangeable Knitting Needle Set, US5-9, that are a little bit cheaper. Even under $50.
At the lower price range you are likely to get plastic knitting needles or ones without quite as much build quality. If you are happy to pay the extra, you can find some amazing needles such as the addi Knitting Needle Turbo Circular Skacel, a professional needle which even has a lifetime warranty!
Commonly, needles are made out of one of three types of materials:
Wood/Bamboo – bamboo is very similar to wood (it’s technically a type of grass) and it is becoming popular as it is cheap and can be grown very quickly. Both feel pretty similar. These materials can be great for lots of different varieties of yarns and projects. The finish on the wood will dictate whether it has a rough or smooth finish. Rough surfaces are usually pretty common if you are using wood.
Steel/metal – as you would expect, steel knitting needles are the most durable out there. Other metals like aluminum are sometimes used, too. This is cheaper to find. Metal needles are very smooth to the touch and if you are good at knitting, this can help you to get a fast rhythm. It works well with yarns of all varieties, but wool and metal needles is a match made in knitting heaven.
Plastic – obviously plastic may not feel the most professional, but the material makes a great choice for those just getting started. Plastic is really flexible and versatile for use with lots of different types of yarn. Most people have some plastic needles kicking around somewhere. Actually, if you need to make large stitches then plastic can be the best choice.
The circular knitting needles on the market can be used with different tips. This is a good way of getting the most out of your knitting needle tips. Interchangeable needles allow you to change the needles and cables. For instance, you can swap a 50cm cable for an 80cm cable, or 4.5mm tips for 6mm tips. You can use end stops to hold the stitches on a cable, so even if you need to use the needle tips on another project, you can swap these around.
The length of your knitting needles is something you need to learn how to judge. Which length should you use for which project? If you have a pattern to knit from, it may specify a certain length that you need to use. If you buy a knitting needle set such as the CHIAOGOO 7400-C Twist Tip Interchangeable Complete Set, you can get multiple different lengths and sizes to choose from.
Your style of knitting is something that you should think about when deciding length. If you are likely to be knitting while out and about, or need something to fit in a bag, a 20cm needle could be ideal for you. If you like to keep the needle tucked under the arm then longer lengths are suitable, 35cm to 40 cm are great for this.
Circular needles are a little different. You need to choose a length shorter than the circumference of whatever you’re knitting. This will mean the stitches don’t stretch around your needle.
The magic loop method needs long cabled needles. So you should look for over 100cm in total. This sounds a lot but by the time it has looped around it will be correct.
The cable is what connects the two needles to create a circular needle. Many of the knitting needle sets give you different lengths to choose from. If the needles are interchangeable, you can choose which cable you should use. Larger cables are great for larger projects such as sweaters.
Number of needles in set
You might think that more needles just means more choice. It also means you can alter the actual way you are knitting. if you have an interchangeable set then you can change the cable, and match the needles up with different lengths, suitable for different projects.
Obviously, it is great to have a lot of choice, and some of the sets on our list have 12 or 13 different needle pairs within. This means suitability for all kinds of projects.
Also, this can be a good way to save money. Buying as a set is usually a lot more affordable than buying individual needles. For instance, the excellent, professional needle, addi Knitting Needle Turbo Circular Skacel is high quality but quite expensive for one pair of needles. If you plan to buy all needles like this it can work out quite expensive.
Nobody wants to buy needles that break after a few uses. Your needles might get a lot of use, and this means that it is worth getting something that is well made. Bamboo and wood might be breakable if they are put under pressure. Steel models can be very reliable in terms of their durability. Plastic needles are hard to break but they can warp if they are damaged, this can make them hard to use.
Tips for circular knitting needles users
If you are new to circular knitting then there are some tips you can take on board in order to get the most out of it.
Learn the magic loop method, this video can show you the positioning for the needles in order to use this knitting technique:
Be careful to avoid any twisting when knitting with circular needles, these are sometimes hard to notice but can result in kinks when you stretch out the finished product.
Learn how to join the loop, this is essential to complete the knitting, and is different from straight knitting techniques.
When knitting in the round, the gauge will usually be different from flat knitting. You need to switch the needles. You can get different swatches that help you to choose the right size for your projects.
Knitting needles as we know them have been around for about a century. The first US patent was registered in 1918. Actually, the process has been around for a much longer than this, and there have even been ancient artifacts from Egypt that were knitted over a thousand years ago! A popular technique in Britain can also be dated back to the 1600s. Though it is hard to pinpoint the first knitting needles, they were first made on a large, industrial scale in the last 100 years.
When you need to work out the size of the knitting needles, you should check the pattern you are working from. This should tell you the size. You can also specify if different parts of the pattern need different needles. You can also learn a lot from the yarn you are using, which should tell you the sizes of knitting needles in the US sizings.
Yes, you can use straight needles to knit a blanket if you wish. This is not the way it is usually done, a lot of people use circular needles, and find this much easier when it comes to knitting blankets. You can look for a specific pattern for straight knitting a blanket. This is easy to do, but the actual knitting is not! A blanket is quite a big undertaking.
Yes, bigger needles can make bigger stitches. This means the rows are also bigger and you can cover the same space with less yarn. However, remember that the insulation won’t be as good, so it isn’t the best for hats or blankets.
The editor’s choice is the CLOVER 3683 Interchangeable Circular Knitting Needles Takumi Combo Set, this set features 12 different needles and are interchangeable with multiple cables to choose between. The bamboo design is comfortable and easy to use as well as being lightweight, we’ve rated these 9.9/10.
The CHIAOGOO 7400-C Twist Tip Interchangeable Complete Set have a rating of 9.8/10, they’ve got fantastic tips if you are going to be using lace patterns. There are 13 pairs of interchangeable needles.
Next up on the list is the Exquiss Knitting Needles Set is rated 9.6/10 and is one of the best knitting needles if you are looking for value for money. There is a lot included in the package and the value for money is clear.