Last updated: August 11, 2021

Our method

6Products analysed

54Hours spent

19Evaluated articles

89User reviews

Welcome to our big knitting machine test 2021. Here we present all the knitting machines we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best knitting machine for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a knitting machine.

Contents




Summary

  • The machine knitting machine lets you knit faster, so you need less time to try out creative knits.
  • Depending on the type of machine, you can knit challenging patterns and complex motifs.
  • Machine knitting does not completely replace hand knitting. Here too, stitches are cast on and each row is knitted individually. But a row is created by simply moving the "carriage" back and forth.

The Best Knitting Machine: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a knitting machine

What is a knitting machine?

The knitting machine is an invention that dates back to the 19th century. Machine knitting revolutionised the knitting industry. At that time, knitting jumpers, scarves or socks was only possible by hand. But now knitting can be done by machine as well as automatically.

A knitting machine can speed up knitting considerably and make it more creative. (Image source: pixabay.com / webqueen)

The often time-consuming and tedious work involved in knitting is replaced by the efficiency of the knitting machine. This not only relieves the strain on your wrists, but also gives you more freedom to experiment creatively with different knitted works.

Because of the quick unravelling and creation of the individual rows, you can dare to do more without losing a lot of time.

The first mechanically operated home knitting machines were developed in the 1950s. But thanks to the rapid technical development of the last decades, knitwear can be made in a variety of patterns.

The addition of electric, computer-controlled machines have also completely changed the insertion of motifs. Now even beginners can knit professionally.

With a knitting machine, knitting is easy. Mechanically operated, it knits row after row much faster than you ever could by hand.

How does a knitting machine work?

When knitting by hand, you work with two knitting needles, which you knit row by row from the left needle to the right needle. With a knitting machine it is a little different.

It works with 160 to 240 needles, depending on the type of machine.

These needles are attached to a needle bed, which in turn comprises several bars. The principle is simple:

Each needle holds one stitch.When working on the machine, the knitting carriage, also called the knitting cam, is guided along the machine in even movements. The working thread is threaded into the knitting carriage. It is placed in the hooks of the individual needles with each movement along the rails.

This creates new stitches by pulling the working thread through the stitches onto the individual needles. Then the stitches from the previous row are pulled over the new stitches. These then slide off the needles.

The needle hook, also called the latch, closes as soon as the working thread has been picked up. In this way, no new stitches slip off the needle with the stitches from the previous row.

Knitting with the machine is done over several rails. On these is a needle bed with up to 240 needles. By moving the knitting carriage you create a new row of stitches.

What are coarse, medium, fine or super fine knitters?

Knitting machines are divided into coarse, medium, fine and super fine knitters. Choose the knitting machine that best suits your needs in these respects. Not every knitting machine can process every yarn.

Coarse knitters are better suited for beginners while super fine knitters are only recommended for professional knitters.

A knitting machine with a coarse knitter has a needle bed on which the needles are 9 mm apart. In addition, there are also fewer needles, which makes this option particularly suitable for beginners. The fewer needles, the easier it is to keep track of your knitting. It is also easier to see if you have knitted all the stitches correctly.

The needles for medium-fine and fine knitting are much less robust than the needles for coarse knitting. The needle distances here are 7 mm and 5 mm, and you use finer yarn here.

As a rule, if you want to work thin yarn into more than 20 stitches per 10 cm, you should double it.

That way you can be sure that it won't break.

The superfine knitter works with very fine yarn. This machine has most of the needles spaced 5 mm apart. However, the more needles there are, the more difficult you will find it to use.

This is true when casting on and casting off stitches, but also when adjusting the pattern and checking the knitting. Therefore, the fine and superfine knitting is only recommended for advanced knitters.

Every knitting machine processes yarn of different thickness. It is important to know the difficulty level of the yarn. Then you can make the right choice.

What are the advantages of machine knitting over hand knitting?

Hand knitting and machine knitting are not so easy to compare. This is because you may already have gained a lot of experience in hand knitting and yet you have to learn the technique of machine knitting all over again.

This means that even for those who have never knitted by hand before, they do not have to face any additional challenge.

The clear advantage of machine knitting is that it is much quicker and so a larger knitted piece can be produced more quickly. The faster you can produce, the more you are encouraged to experiment and try different patterns.

Knitting can therefore be more enjoyable if you don't have to wait so long for the result.

When knitting by hand, you need to keep an eye on the instructions and count the stitches and rows meticulously. The machine does all these things for you. All you have to do is set the pattern correctly and then watch the yarn run.

The rest, like counting the stitches, is done automatically by the knitting machine. As a rule, the knitting is completely error-free.

This gives you more time to work out new knitting motifs, design garments or think up beautiful patterns. You can even knit your own "fabric" with the knitting machine and then cut and sew it. This is called "cut and sew".

Machine knitting is faster and saves time. It is easy on your wrists and gives you room for more creativity.

What do I need to know about machine knitting?

Machine knitting is automatic and works faster. But don't underestimate working with the machine. Working on the knitting machine does not mean threading the yarn, pressing buttons and then holding a finished knitted piece in your hands.

First of all, it is important that you familiarise yourself with the instructions for your knitting machine. After all, you don't want to damage the machine, and you also want to save yourself unnecessary trouble.

It is important for you to find out what functions your machine offers you and how you can incorporate them into your knitting.

With machine knitting, just as with hand knitting, you have to complete row after row. Of course, this is much faster because you only have to move the carriage up and down to complete a row.

But even with machine knitting you have to cast on stitches, increase them, decrease them and cast off if you want to finish your knitting in a shape you want.

Make sure you keep the yarn under constant tension to get beautiful stitches. A complex device called a feeder replaces the left little finger of the hand that controls the yarn feed.

Machine knitting is not necessarily simpler than hand knitting, but it opens up new possibilities that you would not have otherwise.

When knitting by machine, make sure you always tension the yarn and know the instructions well. First get to know the machine well.

How much does a knitting machine cost?

The cheapest knitting machine is the simple flat knitting machine. This starts at a price of 200 euros. The semi-automatic flat knitting machine with punch card has a starting price of about 300 euros.

The fully automatic flat knitting machine with punch card starts at 1000 Euros. Circular knitting machines are only available from several thousand euros.

Which manufacturers are there?

The most important manufacturers for your knitting machine are:

  • Brother
  • Pfaff
  • Singer
  • Silver Reed
  • Knittax
  • Creative
  • Passap
  • Empisal
  • Toyota

The cheapest knitting machine starts at 200 euros and can cost up to several thousand euros. Good manufacturers are Knittax, Brother and Silver Reed.

How do you clean a knitting machine?

Of course, your knitting machine needs to be cleaned regularly. Start with the needles. Push them up and clean either with a hoover or dust collector. These will reach the lint and dust that has accumulated in the gaps.

If your knitting carriage moves with difficulty, you can also remedy this. Spray the knitting carriage with a little oil and move it back and forth several times so that the oil is well distributed.

If your machine is gummy because it may have been passed down to you or you simply haven't used it for a long time, treat it with WD 40. This is a petroleum ether that you soak and clean the affected areas with.

Then oil these areas well. Make sure that you leave out the plastic parts as much as possible.

Where can I repair a knitting machine?

If your knitting machine is defective, contact the dealer or manufacturer of the machine. The same applies to parts that need to be replaced. Many retailers who sell knitting machines and accessories also offer a repair service or can refer you to a specialist. But often you can get good help and accessories at your local wool shop.

Decision: What types of knitting machines are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between four different types of knitting machines:

  • Simple flat knitting machine
  • Semi-automatic flat knitting machine with punch card
  • Fully automatic flat knitting machine with punch card
  • Circular knitting machine

Which of the knitting machines is the most suitable for you depends on your price expectations as well as your knitting skills with a machine. While some machines are limited with patterns and motifs, others offer the possibility to realise any motif.

Flat knitting machines are also called single bed machines. This is because they only have one needle bed available for knitting patterns. These machines knit all the knits right sides together and produce patterns that alternate right sides together.

The circular knitting machine is also called a double bed machine because it has two needle beds. This allows for much more complex patterns and motifs. For example, this machine can knit not only plain right sides together, but also wrong sides together.

What is a flat knitting machine?

The flat knitting machine is the first knitting machine invented. It is also called an embedding machine and provides a needle bed. This invention made it possible for the first time to quickly produce tubular and knitted goods that are knitted right sides together. This makes the fabric up to 100 % more stretchy.

This type of knitting machine knits everything plain right in the basic pattern. But you can also knit cable, Norwegian and tuck patterns. The flat knitting machine is the simpler type of machine and therefore cannot knit patterns in which right and left stitches are alternated or a patent pattern in which knitting is also done in the depth.

The different types of flat knitting machines are suitable for beginners and advanced knitters. Depending on the pattern or motif you want, you can choose to spend more or less money on a knitting machine.

What is a simple flat knitting machine and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

A simple flat knitting machine can only knit plain right sides together. You can choose between cable, Norwegian and tuck knitting patterns. One of the disadvantages of the machine is that you have little opportunity to incorporate motifs into the knitting and have to stick to the limitations of the machine.

With this machine you often have to work manually. This means that the time you need to knit a piece may not necessarily be reduced.

A simple flat knitting machine is especially suitable if you:

  • have large embroidery work
  • knitting straight from the right
  • finish the rest by hand
Advantages
  • inexpensive
  • for beginners
  • cable, Norwegian, and tuck patterns
Disadvantages
  • knits right side out only
  • no designs to choose from
  • limited in patterns

This machine is the cheapest of the machine knitting machines and offers you a good start as a beginner.

What is the semi-automatic flat knitting machine with punch card and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The semi-automatic flat knitting machine with punch card already offers more possibilities. With this knitting machine, different patterns can be knitted that are not possible on the simple embedding machine. Some of these machines also have a push-button automatic that takes over the knitting motifs semi-automatically. However, it is important to read the instruction manual of your knitting machine to get the most out of it.

A semi-automatic flat knitting machine is particularly suitable if you:

  • knit complicated patterns
  • know your way around knitting machines
Advantages
  • good value for money
  • push-button automatic
  • many patterns to choose from
Disadvantages
  • patterns must be set manually
  • motifs are limited

The disadvantage of this flat knitting machine is that the different knitting patterns have to be set by hand. This means that you have to adjust the controls accordingly and you should also be familiar with the instructions for your machine.
However, the machine offers excellent value for money if you are looking for a machine that gives you creative freedom, but is also a little harder to use.

What is the fully automatic flat knitting machine with punch card and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

The fully automatic flat knitting machine with punch card can be used for a variety of knitting patterns. You can use it for Norwegian, tuck, weave and hole knitting patterns, among others. You are free to decide where you want to knit in motifs or pattern stripes.

This knitting machine often has the option of plating, which means you can knit on both sides. To do this, you select two different colours, which then make up the front and back of your work.

The frequency with which you have to operate the control buttons is kept within a comfortable range with this machine.

Since this machine works with a punch card, you can knit any motif you can create on a punch card on an electronically controlled machine. You can also vary the knitting patterns as you like. For example, you can mirror or extend them.

With some machines that have a sensor, it is even enough to draw the pattern on a foil. The machine then scans your pattern and converts it into a knittable motif.

Advantages
  • Knit in motifs and patterns
  • little operation of control buttons
  • plating possible
  • patterns can be varied
Disadvantages
  • cost-intensive

With this versatile machine, it is not surprising that you have to reckon with a somewhat higher cost. This knitting machine is one of the most cost-intensive.

However, it pays off for professional knitting enthusiasts who value fast knitting and the ability to try new things.

What is a circular knitting machine and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Circular knitting machines are knitting machines in which the stitch-forming elements are arranged in a circle. An essential difference to flat knitting machines are the needle beds on which the needles move, as there are two of them. Therefore, the machine is also called a double bed machine.

In machine circular knitting, the working yarn is inserted into the needle, which then closes and pulls the yarn through the stitch. Since the machine has two needle beds, it is possible to knit not only plain right but also plain left.

Therefore, all patterns can be knitted from right-hand stitches as well as from left-hand stitches.
A double machine can make semi-circular or tubular knits and is therefore incredibly fast.

The stitch formation process is repeated with several threads, forming several rows per revolution.

In the process, the machine reaches a maximum output of 10 kg/h.

The produced fabric leaves the machine as a tube and is therefore called tubular fabric. Tubular fabric includes T-shirts as well as pullovers, which are recognisable by their lack of side seams.

The only disadvantage that arises with the circular knitting machine is the concealed front needle bed. The attached needle bed covers your knitting and therefore makes it difficult for you to see your knitting. This makes it difficult for you to keep an eye on the machine's progress and to notice any mistakes late.

The circular knitting machine produces highly professional garments. It is comparatively the fastest machine.

Advantages
  • two needle beds
  • knits tubular and semi-circular
  • knits plain left
Disadvantages
  • most expensive knitting machine
  • only for advanced knitters
  • needle bed conceals knitted piece

This knitting machine is only suitable for you if you already have some experience with knitting machines. Another option would be to learn it from someone with experience. Once this hurdle is overcome, you will be able to knit faster and more creatively with this machine than with any other.

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate knitting machines

In the following we would like to show you which criteria you can use to compare and evaluate knitting machines. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular knitting machine is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are the following factors:

  • The right size
  • Pattern design
  • Coarse, medium, fine or super fine knitter
  • Model design

In the next paragraphs, the respective buying criteria will be explained in detail and how you can classify these criteria.

The right size

Knitting machines vary in size, but generally require a relatively large amount of space. It is therefore important to decide before buying whether you have a permanent home for the machine or whether it needs to be put away regularly. Some knitting machines are not suitable for regular storage and should be given a permanent place in the household.

Even if knitting machines are not the smallest helpers in the house - so large and antique is not the norm. (Picture source: pixabay.com / Melmak)

Model design

Knitting machines are available in many different models. Each model differs in price and function. Therefore, it is important for you to know what you want to do with your knitting machine and what it must be able to do. A simple flat knitting machine is enough for you if you want to knit plain right patterns and do not need to machine any motifs.

Semi-automatic and automatic machines already allow for more complicated patterns. The automatic knitting machine even allows you to design your own motif. The circular knitting machine is the most expensive of the knitting machines, but with it you can knit tubes and semi-circular. You can then make tubular scarves, jumpers or T-shirts.

Coarse, medium, fine or super fine knitters

Depending on the knitting machine, you can use coarser or finer yarn for knitting. Thick yarn makes knitting easier and is particularly suitable for beginners who have not had much experience with knitting machines. The super fine knitter uses the finest yarn with the most needles.

This produces the most beautiful knitted pieces. However, the many needles also make the machine difficult to use and you should only try it if you have already gained some experience in machine knitting.

Facts worth knowing about the knitting machine

How do I learn to knit on the knitting machine?

Knitting on the knitting machine is important to learn professionally. Don't complicate your hobby by buying a machine and only trying it once.

Read the detailed instruction manual of the knitting machine, which informs you about its most important functions. In addition, you can also find extensive information on technology and operation on the manufacturer's website.

We also recommend a special knitting course in which you can gain your first experience with the knitting machine and find out whether you enjoy working with it. These can be offered as courses in your city.

However, if you already have some experience in machine knitting and know how to set patterns and motifs, you can already use many of the functions of the advanced knitting machine.

What should I look for in a used knitting machine?

Especially if you are a beginner, a second-hand knitting machine is often the best solution. A second-hand machine is much cheaper and prevents you from making a bad investment. Of course, you still want a high-quality machine that will last you for many years.

When buying a second-hand knitting machine, you should therefore pay attention to the following points:

  1. Have the seller demonstrate the knitting machine to you to make sure it still works. The previous owner may also be able to give you some information on how to operate the machine.
  2. Look closely at the machine's needle guide. If it is notchy or rusty, you should not buy the machine.
  3. Pay attention to the individual needles. If they are aligned evenly, they should be straight in their guides. If you then move them upwards, they should remain in line without twisting the heads. Also check that the needle latch closes. This can be tested with a normal piece of paper.
  4. Check the knitting carriage and whether it slides easily over the needle bed. The underside is especially important. It should not be damaged or have any other blemishes. This is very important because buying a new carriage often costs more than buying the whole machine.
  5. Make sure you get the knitting machine with all the necessary accessories. If you have to buy weights, combs or other accessories separately, it can be very expensive.

Always ask for the instruction manual for the machine. The manual will tell you what to do if a spare part breaks. If they are not available, you can also see if they are available online.

Which yarn suits my knitting machine?

Choosing the right yarn is an important point that you cannot ignore. It is often a beginner's mistake to choose the wrong yarn and suffer the unpleasant consequences.

Not only will the knitted piece become loose or distorted, but needles or knitting slides can also become bent.

When choosing the perfect yarn, the variety of colours is not the only hurdle (Image source: unsplash.com / Josh Edgoose)

You should consider the following points when choosing the right yarn:

  • Many wools have a knitting carriage symbol on their label indicating which knitting machine they are suitable for. If you are not sure, ask your wool retailer if the yarn will work in your knitting machine.
  • For your first attempt at knitting, use a yarn that is knitted by hand with a gauge of 2 or 3. This will make it easier for you.
  • Do not use yarn that is over size 4 on the fine knitter. The knitting will become hard and unstretchy. If you still want to use a thick wool, do so by skipping needles. You then work with every second or third needle. This will make your fine knitter look like a coarse knitter and the result will be to your satisfaction.
  • Cotton yarns are particularly suitable for your knitting machine because they are smooth and easy to knit with. Linen, silk and viscose also knit well. With viscose, however, make sure that no unwanted loops form.
  • Treat your yarn with paraffin to make it supple and easier to work with. As a substitute for paraffin, you can also drag the yarn over a candle.

Image source: 123rf.com / alexandersafonov

Reviews