Wood, metal, plastic, glass, or even resin – knitting needles are made of all kinds of materials. And there’s no telling which type is the best. It all depends on the knitter’s preferences, as well as the yarn and type of project they’re working on. But today, I am talking to all of you who fancy natural materials and that warm, caressing feeling in your palms and fingers, while you’re juggling a pair or five of bamboo knitting needles.
If you are wondering why I picked this particular topic, here’s an answer. Even though many knitters are enthusiastic about bamboo needles, others are still hesitant as to whether they should use them. Old habits die hard, and I know I used to learn knitting with metal needles. So, let’s give bamboo a shot. In this post, you will learn all the relevant information about it, and I will also provide you with the top choices I found on the market.
Bamboo is a grass similar to wood, with a few properties that make it even better. For starters, it’s cheaper than wood, and better (or at least less bad) for our environment, thanks to its enormous growth rate. A tree takes anywhere between 15 and 50 years to grow fully. Compare that to bamboo’s average of three years and you’ll understand why bamboo is a “greener” alternative. Believe it or not, some bamboo species can grow over an inch in just an hour!
And it’s not just about the growth rate. Bamboo spreads very easily and doesn’t require special care or treatment, apart from warm, tropical climate. For all those reasons, it’s being used very widely across many different industries – in flooring and construction, for making kitchen utensils, fishing rods, chopsticks, bicycles, weapons, and even textiles. Yes, there’s even bamboo yarn. (So you can knit bamboo yarn with bamboo needles – a perfectly convenient and organic idea!)
Advantages of Using Bamboo Needles
In many respects, bamboo needles resemble their counterparts made of regular wood. But they haven’t become a more popular choice just because of their affordability. There are other reasons too.
- They are extremely light and flexible. Bamboo is an absolutely magical material. Even though it’s lightweight, it’s also very flexible, so the needles won’t break down easily. In fact, you would have to invest an immense amount of energy to even do it deliberately. As for the weightlessness, you will find it very gratifying when your hands don’t get tired even after hours and hours of knitting.
- Comfy, warm, nice to the touch, quiet. You know how cold metal needles always are, no matter how long you’re working with them? That will never happen with bamboo. Knitters suffering from arthritis will especially appreciate that. Also, they won’t give off that clackity-clack sound like metal does. (Actually, this last part could be a kind of a downside if you really enjoy that sound like my husband does.)
- Smooth but not slick. They will handle slippery yarns such as silk with ease and elegance. Regular wooden needles can be sticky. No such issues with bamboo! It’s harder to lose the stitches, since the yarn won’t fall off easily. If you’re a knitting beginner, you will absolutely love them.
- They require little to no maintenance. These needles won’t get rough due to wear and tear. On the contrary, they will get smoother the longer you use them. That can affect the size markings, though. If the tips get too sharp, you can sand them occasionally to prevent yarn tearing and splitting.
- Cheaper than most alternatives. Expensive doesn’t always mean better, and bamboo needles are a great example of that. They are way cheaper than wooden and most metal ones.
- Great for beginners. Knitting with bamboo needles is typically faster and more hassle-free than with other types. For new knitters, it means less frustration during the learning process.
Bamboo Knitting Needles – Best Choices in 2019
BetyBedy Bamboo Knitting Needles 36-Piece Set
Get this set of straight bamboo needles to serve you a lifetime. You will get 18 pairs in different sizes, from two to ten millimeters, with nine inches in length. To tell you the truth, I bought the set but have only used four pairs so far. Can’t wait to get to use all of them, at least once! The bamboo is bleached and carbonized, so it has smooth and mildew-proof finish. Needle sizes are engraved on the sides. You will find them super comfortable and smooth in your hands, allowing you to knit for hours without a break. Some customers complain that the heads tend to fall, but it’s nothing a little bit of glue won’t solve. I haven’t had that problem, though.
- They are smooth, lightweight and sit nicely in your hands.
- Mildew-proof and durable.
- Heads are not firmly attached.
LIHAO Bamboo Knitting Needles 36-Piece Set
Another set that’s equally great for novices and seasoned knitters. The yarn will stay where it should be, so you won’t be dropping any stitches. All the needles are 9.5 inches long, with sizes ranging from two to ten millimeters. Even though they are smooth, they still provide enough friction so the yarn won’t easily slip off. 57% of the customers on Amazon awarded the set with five stars, and it’s an Amazon’s Choice product, which should account for its quality. Plus, the seller is offering full refund if you don’t like the set.
- Thicker sizes provide just enough grip on the yarn.
- The set has all sizes you’ll ever need.
- The thinnest needles are extremely thin and can bend easily.
Fairycece Bamboo Knitting Needles 22-Piece Set
These needles are approximately 9.8 inches long and come in a bag that you can use as a convenient and cute storage option. I especially appreciate the bag, since needles are very easy to lose and manufacturers somehow tend to forget that. Eleven pairs are more than enough to get you started with various projects, and you can even do multiple projects at the same time. On the flip side, according to customer reviews, the thinnest pairs tend to break easily, even though bamboo is typically a sturdy material.
- They come in a bag that can be used for selection and storage.
- The set looks beautifully and can be a great gift idea.
- The thinnest needles are not very sturdy.
- Some customers reportedly got the wrong sizes.
Clover Interchangeable Circular Knitting Needles Takumi Combo Set
With five cords and 12 tip sizes, you will have a total of 60 combinations if you decide to get this set. Better yet, it comes in a customized case for easy carrying and storage. No bending, warping, scratching or breaking for these beauties – they are sturdy enough to withstand any project or treatment.
The cords are made of plastic and are very flexible and smooth. They are likely to swivel, but that can be fixed by dipping them into hot water, stretching them out and then cooling them under cold water. The very light color of the needles will stand out enormously when you are working with dark colored yarns.
- A huge variety of possible combinations.
- Light color makes them visible even with dark yarns.
- The cords don’t come off while knitting.
- The plastic cords can swivel.
BetyBedy Double-Pointed Carbonized Bamboo Knitting Needles 75-Piece Set
If you’re working with circular projects such as hat crowns, gloves, mittens or socks, you will either need circular or double-pointed needles (also known as DPNs). That’s where this mighty 75-piece set comes in handy. Every needle has a label with the size, so you won’t get confused even though there are so many of them. There are five needles in each size, from two to ten millimeters. They are carbonized, which makes them smooth and mildew-proof. If you notice occasional rough spots, just sand them and you’ll be fine. Note that some customers are reporting thinner sizes to cause splintering.
- Needle sizes are labeled on the side.
- A huge selection of sizes.
- The thinner sizes can cause splintering.
ChiaoGoo Spin Interchangeable Knitting Needle Combo Set
I love these combo sets! They can be more or less costly, but they usually provide you with everything you need. This one includes 13 needle tips and two sets of cords, for S and L screws respectively. That’s not all – you will also get two S and L end caps, L cord connector to combine different cords and make longer ones, two cord keys, a ruler, and a bunch of stitch markers. The cords won’t swivel or tangle. As for the points, they are sharp enough, but won’t cause splitting even when you work with bulkier yarns. If you like metal needles, you can also buy ChiaoGoo Twist Needle Set.
- A good value for the money.
- Great for doing multiple projects at once.
- The cables don’t swivel even when you connect them together.
- Some customers report parts not fitting as they should.
Make sure to also check out my earlier blog post on different types of knitting needles.