Best Knitting Needles for Knitters of Every Budget and Experience Level
Whether you're just getting started with knitting or you've been doing it for a while, your knitting needles are an important tool for the craft. In fact, it's only one of the two tools that you have to have for traditional hand knitting; the other being yarn, of course!
So you're looking to purchase some new knitting needles.
How do you choose the best option for your experience level and your budget?
Choosing Your Knitting Needles
I know this makes picking out your knitting supplies a little more difficult, but I do want you to know that there's a reason there are so many different options: everyone has a different preference when it comes to their knitting. Especially with their yarn and needles. That also means there is no right or wrong selection, and there is no universally "best" option. As knitters, we each have a different tension, and different ways of holding our needles and yarn.
Another thing that I want to point out, which may seem a bit obvious, is that cheapest isn't necessarily always the best route to go. If a knitting tool that you're using is making your knitting process frustrating or irritating, it may be a good idea to start looking at an alternative tool, which often requires a larger investment.
This year I finally invested in some new knitting supplies that have been absolute game-changers. The decision to purchase these products was something I had been hmm'ing and ha'ing over for multiple months. I finally let myself invest in these knitting supplies, and it truly makes my knitting so much more enjoyable. One of those investments was a set of Chiagoo interchangeable needles (don't worry, I talk all about them later on!), and now I don't have to fight my old broken knitting needles as I work on a project. It feels so good!
Alright, so let's talk about selecting your knitting needles.
That seems like it should be an easy enough task, right? Yes, until you find out there are straight knitting needles, circular knitting needles (including interchangeable knitting needles), and double pointed knitting needles... as well as bamboo knitting needles, metal knitting needles, and plastic knitting needles! Oof -- so many options!
The most important things to keep in mind are:
If you're a tight knitter, you might prefer metal knitting needles. If you're a loose knitter, you might prefer bamboo knitting needles. That's because your yarn slides easier on the metal needles than the bamboo needles. (However, I'm a loose knitter, and I like metal knitting needles, because I like that the yarn slides so easily!)
Metal knitting needles will likely last you longer than bamboo, because they won't break nearly as easily when you sit on them, step on them, etcetera.
If you have trouble finding your second needle when working with straight knitting needles, I highly recommend circular knitting needles.
Unfortunately, the only way you'll figure out the best option for you is to try them out for yourself.
So let's get into my top knitting needle recommendations!
Note: this blog post may contain affiliate links (so, if you purchase using the link, and the product qualifies, I may receive a small monetary compensation for recommending the product; it does not change the cost of the product for you), but I continue to recommend the exact same products that I've always recommended!
Straight Knitting Needles
If you're an absolute beginner knitter with a limited budget, I recommend a simple pair of straight bamboo needles, like this set with 18 pairs from Amazon.
Now, if you plan to knit for many years to follow, don't plan on these being the only knitting needles you ever use. They likely will break, and you may decide you like a different material or style of needle, but these will be great for getting you started!
In fact, these are what I started on. I still have mine, I'm only missing a few pairs (because they broke), and sometimes I'll still use them when I'm working on a dishcloth knitting pattern. (If you're looking for a free, simple dishcloth pattern, you can check out a few of my patterns here.)
Price: This set of 18 straight bamboo knitting needles currently costs $10 USD on Amazon.
And if you're looking for an inexpensive pair of straight needles with a needle case, check out this set with 16 pairs of needles for $13.99 USD on Amazon.
I find the bamboo needles are easier to work with as a beginner knitter because of their weight, but if you're having trouble with your yarn not sliding well on your bamboo needles, or you're interested in trying out some inexpensive metal needles, I recommend this set of 11 metal knitting needles, which comes with a simple case and a few additional knitting supplies, from Amazon for $13.97 USD.
If you're looking for a higher quality straight knitting needle, I recommend Knit Picks' wooden Straight Needle Sets. The wood material will be a little more slick than bamboo. You have the option to choose from 10 inch needles (for $49.99 USD) or 14 inch needles (for $59.99 USD), but either option includes 9 pairs of needles and a vinyl knitting needle case.
Now the reason I don't use my straight knitting needles very often any more is because I discovered patterns that are worked in the round (often projects such as hats, mittens, socks, and sweaters are worked in a circular so you don't have to seam your project in the end -- brilliant!).
Knitting Needles for Working in the Round
There are two types of knitting needles that you can use for knitting in the round: circular knitting needles and double pointed knitting needles. Circular knitting needles are comprised of two needles that are joined by a cord, which is known as the cable. Double pointed knitting needles look a bit like straight knitting needles, but there's nothing to keep the stitches from sliding off the end; instead there's a point on both ends! When working with double pointed needles in the round, you'll typically use four or five knitting needles.
Personally, I prefer circular knitting needles because:
You can use a longer circular needle for any project you want, whether it's worked in the round or worked flat, and whether it's a small project or a large project. This means you only need one circular knitting needle in each size you use.
You only have to keep track of one knitting needle!
I find working with several knitting needles (for using double pointed needles) quite fiddly.
Now, the only way you can use a longer circular knitting needles for every type of project is by using magic loop, and some people hate magic loop! So, it's totally a personal preference thing. If you're just getting started with working in the round, I recommend purchasing a cheap set of circular needles and a cheap set of double pointed needles, or purchasing one size of each to test out. You can also check out my working in the round knitting tutorials, where I demonstrate using circular needles with magic loop, and I demonstrate using double pointed needles. Watching those videos in and of itself might give you a good idea of which you'd prefer!
Ok, so into the actual recommendations!
Circular Knitting Needles
Inexpensive Circular Needles
If you're just wanting to try out circular needles and you have a small budget, I completely recommend this inexpensive bamboo circular knitting needle set on Amazon. It's the first set I had, and I still use them frequently (and Snickerdoodle Knits has been my full-time business for nearly three years now!). I've broken several (where the needle joins the cord), especially in the smallest sizes and from working with heavy projects. But, it was completely worth the price, and I can't believe how well they've held up. I believe they are the best circular knitting needles for beginners that aren't ready to make the investment for higher-priced needles.
Note: the connection for the smallest sizes is a little rough, so the yarn tends to catch. So that is something you will have to deal with in exchange for the money savings. (However, when we're beginning, we often aren't using those smallest sizes anyway!)
I actually don't have the case for my circular knitting needles, but it looks really nice, and the set includes all sorts of other knitting supplies that I'll be listing below! If you don't want the extras, you can also get the set of needles by itself on Amazon. If you go this route, you have the option to get the 16 inch length or the 32 inch length. I personally prefer (and recommend) the longer length, because you can use it for more projects. However, if you know you'll be working entirely smaller circumference projects, the 16 inch length will be great for you!
Price: At the time I'm writing this post, the set with the knitting needle case and additional knitting supplies costs $17.99 USD, and the set without the case costs $9.99 USD. Yes, both sets include 18 circular needles! (And both sets are on Amazon.)
Or, if you want to try out straight knitting needles and circular knitting needles, you can get this set, also on Amazon, which includes 18 pairs of bamboo straight knitting needles, 18 pairs of bamboo circular knitting needles, plus several additional knitting accessories for $18.99 USD.
Mid-Range Circular Knitting Needles
If you're looking for a mid-price circular knitting needle that is a little bit better quality, I primarily recommend metal or plastic. These needles typically cost around $2 USD per needle when purchased as part of a set. (The inexpensive needles above are about $0.55 USD per needle when purchased in a set.)
This set of five 24 inch circular needles on Amazon includes a smaller range of sizes and won't work as well for large projects, but they are a nice needle, and the joins are smooth, which makes for a great knitting experience.
This set of six 40 inch circular metal knitting needles on Amazon includes a large range of sizes, but that means you will also have quite a few gaps in that range. If you are a beginner, you may get frustrated with the very long cables, but this is a great cable length for your bigger projects!
Price: The five pairs of 24 inch metal circular knitting needles currently cost $9.99 USD, and the six pairs of 40 inch metal needles cost $12.99 USD on Amazon.
Another material possibility is plastic knitting needles. This is a great in-between material: more slick than bamboo needles a nice, lightweight material. Sometimes when you purchase plastic knitting needles, you end up with a hard plastic cord that isn't flexible, but this set of 12 circular needles on Amazon has the same cords as the wooden circular needles that I recommended above. You will find the connections with these needles are also similar to the wooden needles. This set is currently $21.39 USD for twelve 32 inch (my preferred length!) circular needles.
Higher End Circular Knitting Needles
There aren't many fixed circular knitting sets in the higher price range. Instead, you'll likely be purchasing your needles individually, typically ranging from $10 to $15 each. (If you're looking for a set, hop down to the Interchangeable Knitting Needle section below, because that might be just what you're looking for!)
My top circular knitting needle recommendation, if you have the budget for it, is Chiagoo Red Lace Knitting Needles. (As I mentioned earlier, I prefer metal knitting needles... if you prefer wood knitting needles, I recommend Knitter's Pride Dreamz circular needles.) Both of these links will lead you to search the options on Amazon.
Chiagoo makes a nice, high quality needle with a cable that bends easily with your project but doesn't have any "memory" so it will continue to be completely flexible no matter what project you use it on!
Interchangeable Knitting Needles
"Wait a minute.... there's another circular knitting needle option?!" Yes, yes there is!
Interchangeable knitting needles are circular needles that can detach from the cord. This allows you to have just a few cords that you can change out between your knitting needles. It also means you can change the length of your cord mid-project (like, if you're working a shawl and want to start on a short cord and increase the cord length as the project gets bigger), AND you can change the size of your knitting needle tip mid-project (often found when working the ribbing of a hat or cuff) without changing the full cord, AND you can have a different sized needle on one end of the cord than the other (which is especially helpful if you have a hard time sliding your stitches off the end of the non-dominant needle).
Again, my absolute top recommendation for an interchangeable knitting needle set is going to be Chiagoo's Red Lace Twist interchangeable knitting needle set, and they are commonly viewed as the best interchangeable circular knitting needles. I personally prefer the longer tips, because I like to have longer needles, but you can get the Twist set with 5 inch needle tips or with 4 inch needle tips (both links lead to Amazon). Each of these sets includes 6 cables and 13 needle sizes, and a few additional knitting supplies. There are also smaller sets available if you don't want that large of a range of needle sizes.
I've heard several knitters complain about the needles coming detached from the cable for some of the other brands, but almost everyone I've talked to is extremely happy with these needles, and they were the circular needles that I've seen most recommended among knitters.
Price: The Chiagoo Red Lace Twist interchangeable needle sets are certainly an investment (an investment that took me a long time to finally make, but now that I have purchased them, I absolutely love them!). The 4 inch tip set is $160 USD on Amazon, and the 5 inch tip set is $165 USD on Amazon, which comes out to about $12.50 USD per size -- but you have so many more options than you do with fixed circular needles!
However, if you don't have the budget for them, I totally understand, and there are other quality sets as well! Based on what I've heard from other knitters, I can strongly recommend Knit Picks' interchangeable sets, which fall into the mid-range cost range.
Mid Range Interchangeable Knitting Needles
You'll have to check out the Knit Picks website for all of the color options (both in wood color and cable color!), but their wood sets include 9 needle sizes and 4 cables for a cost of $60 USD, which comes out to about $6.67 per size, which is about half the cost of Chiagoo's needles. Their Mosaic set is a combination of the bright and bold Radiant colors, sea-inspired Caspian colors, and jewel tones from the Majestic colors.
Knit Picks also carries an aluminum set of interchangeable needles, with all of the same information: 9 needle sizes, 4 cables, and $60 USD; it's just aluminum instead of wood!
Another mid-range interchangeable knitting needle set is the Takumi wooden needles made by Clover. This is a set that includes 12 needle sizes and 5 cords for a cost of $96 USD, which is about $8 per size.
Inexpensive Interchangeable Knitting Needle Sets
Interested in just giving the interchangeable knitting needles a test drive? Amazon carries a set of aluminum interchangeable knitting needles that are only about $2.50 per size. This set includes 13 sizes and 8 cables for just $33 USD.
Not sure if you'd rather wood or metal for your interchangeable circular knitting needle set? You can get a taste for both with Knit Picks' TRY IT Needle Sets. These sets give you the option to try your choice of wood and nickel. It comes with a US size 6 (4 mm) wood tip and US size 7 (4.5 mm) nickel tip plus 24 inch cable and a 40 inch cable. You can try it all out for $14.99 USD.
Double Pointed Needles
Since I don't regularly use double pointed needles for my knitting, I'm not an expert in this category, but I have heard great things about Knitter's Pride Dreamz and Knitter's Pride Zing double pointed knitting needles, as well as Knit Picks' double pointed knitting needles. Knitter's Pride and Knit Picks' needles both tend to fall in the mid-range of prices.
Mid-Range Double Pointed Knitting Needles
Knitter's Pride wooden Dreamz DPNs are available from Knitters Pride on Amazon for $29 USD for six sets of 6 inch needles, which is $4.85 USD per set. This set includes US sizes 0 to 3 (which is 2.0 mm to 3.25 mm), and each set has five needles.
You can purchase individual sets of five Knitter's Pride metal Zing double pointed needles on Amazon for $9.95 USD per set of DPNs (DPN stands for double pointed needle), and they have 6 inch or 8 inch length options in sizes US 0 to US 11 (2.0 mm to 8.0 mm).
Knit Picks' wood DPNs come in 4 inch, 5 inch, or 6 inch lengths; with six needles per set; and with a case for the needles. The 4 inch set includes seven sizes (US 0 to US 4, which is 2.0 mm to 3.5 mm) for $23.99 USD (less than $3.50 per set). The 5 inch and 6 inch sets include six sizes (US 0 to US 3, or 2.0 to 3.25 mm). The 5 inch set currently costs $25.99, and the 6 inch set costs $26.99 (about $4.50 per set).
Note: The prices I've given here are for the Sunstruck color that Knit Picks offers. The other colors come in similar prices. They also have a package of six sets of 8 inch DPNs for $45.99.
Knit Picks' metal double pointed needles are very similar in cost to their wood DPNs. Their 6 inch Nickel Plated double pointed set includes six sizes (US 0 to US 3, or 2.0 mm to 3.25 mm) with five needles per size for $26.99 USD, and their 8 inch Nickel Plated DPN set includes six larger sizes (US 4 to US 9, or 3.5 mm to 5.5 mm) with five needles per size for $39.99 USD.
Inexpensive Double Pointed Needles
And of course we want a super inexpensive option, right?! I will caution you, though, that you be careful when looking at less expensive double pointed needles. I have one set of wooden DPNs that have a very rough finish, so my yarn catches on the needles, making knitting with them a very frustrating process. That said, this inexpensive set of double pointed knitting needles has great reviews, and I think this is going to be your best option if you're looking at the lower cost point needles.
This set of wooden double pointed needles on Amazon includes 15 sizes (with 5 needles per size) of 8 inch DPNs, and it's currently listed for $7.45 USD, or about $0.50 per size.
Sets with Circular Knitting Needles and Double Pointed Knitting Needles
Interested in trying both the circular needles and the double pointed needles? There are a few different options!
If you're looking for metal needles, this set sold on Amazon includes12 stainless steel circular needles and 4 sets of stainless steel double pointed needles for just $12.99 USD.
If you're looking for bamboo needles, there is also a set on Amazon that includes 18 bamboo circular knitting needles and 15 sets of bamboo double pointed needles... plus a selection of additional knitting supplies! This full set is currently available for $14.99 USD.
And that's all! Which knitting needles are you going to try first (or next)? Do you know which material you prefer? Will you be getting straight, circular, interchangeable, or double pointed needles; or will you be trying out a few different options to start?
If you're getting ready to purchase several new knitting supplies and feeling a bit overwhelmed, download this free knitting supplies checklist to keep track of which supplies you want to get first. I also have a blog post all about the best knitting supplies to accompany your needles.
Now do you need a way to store and organize all of your knitting needles? Check out my favorite knitting needle cases here.
**Notes About This Blog Post: As an Amazon Associate, and affiliate with Knit Picks, I earn from qualifying purchases. All product photos are the photos from the website linked.