If you're looking for a new activity to keep idle hands busy or busy hands away from electronics, put your hands to work with a brand-new knitting machine.
If you've never woven or knitted before, knitting machines are the perfect accessory to acquaint you with the world of working with yarn. Knitting machines take the hard work out of knitting so you can focus on your favorite parts of a project. It's easy to weave hats, socks, and even blankets in a jiffy, and there's nothing more exciting than watching them take shape as you work.
If you're ready to get in the thick of things with weaving, check out our knitting machine buying guide. We're including our favorite one, addi's Express King-Size Knitting Machine Kit , whose accuracy and precision earn the machine a reputation for creating store-quality garments.
Considerations when choosing knitting machines
Types of knitting machines
Manual: Manual knitting machines are the most basic ones available. They're geared toward beginners who are just getting their bearings in knitting and yarn work. They're not significantly faster than traditional needle knitting, so they're a bit of an acquired taste.
Electronic: For the serious knitter taking their skills to the next level, electronic knitting machines are the way to go. Simply download patterns to the machine from your computer via USB and you're ready to roll. Even the most complex patterns are simplified, and you're able to design your own patterns.
Punch card: To operate punch card knitting machines, you need to insert a card into the device. Since they can handle both simple and complicated patterns, they're great for knitters who want to gradually work toward more complex projects. They're a fun, affordable alternative to electronic knitting machines.
Knitting machine gauges
Just like traditional knitting needles, knitting machines have various gauges to choose from. Of course, the gauge you choose depends on the thickness and weight of the yarn you select for your project. The thicker the yarn, the larger the gauge you need. Here's what to expect:
Chunky gauge, 8 to 9 millimeters apart: Needles in these knitting machines are eight and nine millimeters apart. They're best for making chunky knits seen in scarves, hats, and even sweaters.
Mid-gauge, 6 to 7 millimeters apart: These knitting machines are well-suited for making sport-weight through medium-weight knits, so they're considerably versatile. As a result, they work for knitters who are in the process of leveling their skills and are ready to take on more complex projects.
Standard gauge, 4.5 to 5 millimeters apart: These machines create a tight, smooth weave that is comparable to store-bought knitwear. They're for seasoned knitters who want to create higher-quality knitting projects that can be worn regularly or gifted.
Fine gauge, 3.5 or 3.6 millimeters apart: While they're the least common, these machines are create lacy or intricately woven knits. They're best suited for near-professional knitters given the attention to detail their projects require.
Knitting machine materials
Manual knitting machines: Manual knitting machines are available in a variety of materials. Plastic machines are the least expensive, so they're most popular for kids' knitting machines. There are also metal and wooden machines, which are more expensive. They also last longer, so if you intend to keep up with your knitting hobby, it's worth investing a little more in your knitting machine.
Other machines: Punch card and electronic machines are typically made of a combination of plastic and metal components. Considering they have a more complex design based on their broad range of capabilities, these machines tend to be much heavier and take up far more space than manual knitting machines. With that said, if you're a professional knitter who does commissioned projects, you'll appreciate the heavy-duty nature of punch card and electronic machines. You'd quickly wear out a manual knitting machine with your volume of orders.
Manual knitting machines are the least expensive and cost between $20 and $100. Punchcard knitting machines cost between $100 and $200. Some electronic knitting machines can cost as much as $1,000.
Q. I'm an adult who wants to knit, but some knitting machines seem a bit intimidating. What are my options?
A. You can explore a kids' knitting machine to see how quickly you can learn techniques and progress through projects. Many adults choose simple kids' manual machines since they're easy to learn on and are cost-effective.
Q. About how long will it take me to knit a hat on a knitting machine?
A. It's hard to say because it depends on your type of knitting machine, yarn thickness, and hat size. If you're an experienced knitter, it might take a couple hours, but beginners may take a couple days to work their way through the project.
Knitting machines we recommend
Best of the best: addi 's Express King-Size Knitting Machine Kit
Our take: Unmatched stitch quality and accuracy. Reliable and durable to last for years.
What we like: User-friendly, even for beginners. Even stitches every time create store-quality garments.
What we dislike: A bit expensive if you're only a hobby knitter.
Best bang for your buck: Darice's Set of Four Round Plastic Knitting Looms
Our take: Versatile set of four looms to handle projects of various sizes.
What we like: Budget-friendly option for novice and veteran knitters alike. Easy for kids to learn.
What we dislike: Since the looms are made of plastic, they're pretty lightweight and may seem flimsy.
Choice 3: Melissa & Doug's Wooden Multi-Craft Weaving Loom
Our take: Excellent choice for beginners who want to learn the ins and outs of weaving.
What we like: Quality wood frame that stands upright on a table. Kids and adults alike enjoy it.
What we dislike: It's definitely a big accessory, and there's a learning curve that comes with the style.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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