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Best Yarn Winders in 2021 Reviewed

Not only are there different types of yarn winders, but each model varies in quality drastically. This can make it difficult for a newcomer to keep up. Whether it be an umbrella winder or a tabletop product, each one is going to make life a lot easier and it is only a matter of taste that separates the two.

We have included both types in our list of the best yarn winders. Each product is made to a high standard, and this is the best the market has to offer. So, it doesn’t matter what type you prefer, there is an option for everyone to make the winding yarn as easy as possible.

Summary of the Best Yarn Winders
Reviews

Editor’s Choice: Knit Picks Yarn Ball Winder

Not only is this one of the most popular products available, but it is also the best yarn winder. It comfortably winds up to 100 g of 3.5 oz yarn with everything up to bulky weights accommodated for. Its main strength is that it can allow the user to turn yarn hanks and skeins into tight center pull cakes that are easy to knit or crochet. To make it easy to store, the spindle is removable, and the yarn arm folds meaning it packs down small.

Secured by a clamp, it is conveniently positioned on the edge of a table or workbench and will attach to anything that is up to 1.5 inches thick. Known for its reputable customer service, Knit Picks is a company that seemingly cares about the knitting community, so it’s no surprise that they have put so much love into this yarn winder.

PROS:

  • Winds up to 100g of 3.5 oz yarn
  • Easy to store
  • Clamps to a table
  • Easy to use
  • Excellent quality
CONS:

(none)

Best Accessories : Yarn Winder by Craft Destiny

No one likes a complicated yarn winder which is why this is an excellent choice. The setup is as simple as it gets so it won’t be long before those yarn cakes are piling up. There are enough metal parts to ensure it will last a long time and the hand crank feels smooth. The metal clamp is sturdy and can fit on a table that is up to 1 3/4 inches thick.

It can wind up to 4 oz of yarn and included is an accessories kit for knitting and crochet. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee so purchasing is risk-free. This is an excellent choice for anyone from a beginner to an experienced knitter who wants to transform those skeins and hanks into neat cakes.

PROS:

  • Well built
  • Winds up to 4 oz yarn
  • Accessory kit included
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
CONS:

  • Cannot be used to combine two or more colors

Best For Beginners: LAMXD Yarn Ball Winder and Yarn Umbrella Swift

This is one of the easiest products for making pull thread balls. The umbrella swift ensures the seamless creation of each ball and the metal crank helps to move the thread smoothly. It is the crank that is surprisingly strong, made of quality metal to ensure it doesn’t break despite being lightweight.

Its maximum yarn capacity is 100g of 4 oz and will fix to a table that is up to 1.4 inches thick. Because of its compact size, it allows the user to bring more fiber for spinning and although it is better when the yarn is not on the thick side, it can still work well with most heavy yarns. An ideal yarn ball winder for beginners since it is easy to use.

PROS:

  • Yarn winder and umbrella swift in one
  • Metal crank is smooth
  • Max yarn capacity is 100g of 4 oz
  • Easy to use
CONS:

  • Better with thinner yarns

Best Decorative: INTAJ Rosewood Yarn Winder – Large Wooden Yarn Winder

If there is such a thing as a showstopper yarn winder, then this would be it. The attractive rosewood design makes it a pleasant winder to look at in any workspace. It can accommodate up to 450 g of fingering weight yarn which is a more generous capacity than a lot of the competition.

The spool features an anti-friction bearing to ensure the rotation is smooth and there are anti-skid rubber pads that stop it from damaging the table or moving around when in use. The hand crank is smooth and ensures easy movement of the yarn, spinning it into skeins. It is also available in beech wood for a lighter look but both are fully functional and can wind up to 6-8 oz of yarn, depending on how thick it is.,

PROS:

  • Can wind up to 8 oz of yarn
  • Looks great
  • Smooth rotation
  • Anti-skid rubber pads
CONS:

  • Takes a little getting used to

Best Large Capacity: U-nitt New Look! ML702 Metal Jumbo Large Yarn Winder

With a 10 oz capacity, this has more room to accommodate the larger yarns. The cast iron body is painted to make it look more user friendly in a workspace and the nylon cogwheels are heavy-duty. It easily clamps onto a table and has a generous 2-inch thickness that others do not offer.

The winder can be used to pull a variety of materials into a center-pull ball and these include yarn, wool, cotton, fiber, laces, and string among others. Neat little touches like a small rubber ring that helps to keep the yarn guide stable when in motion help to make this the best large yarn winder. The yarn guide fastens with a wing nut meaning there are no tools required to assemble or fix the product in place.

PROS:

  • 10 oz capacity
  • Cast iron body
  • No tools required
  • 2-inch clamp space
CONS:

  • A bit more expensive than some of the other options

Best Affordable: Marrywindix Bobbin Winder Yarn Winder Table Clasp

A simple yet effective yarn winder, this is an affordable option that is reliable and works well. Any loose yarn or string can be made into neat balls that easy to store and use. There is minimal assembly required so it is pretty much ready to use out of the box. There is also next to no noise and it is a lightweight product with a smooth winding mechanism.

The clamp can attach to a table that is up to 1.5 inches thick and although there are no added accessories or extras, it is easy to use and does exactly what is needed from a basic yarn winder.

PROS:

  • Easy to use
  • Clamps on tables up to 1.5 inches thick
  • Lightweight and low noise
CONS:

  • No added accessories
Yarn Winder Buyer’s Guide

Although these are simple products, a bad yarn winder can make life difficult, adding strain to what should be an easy task. Convenience is the name of the game with these products but without prior knowledge on what they should be capable of, a lot of people end up with products that do not make perfect balls of yarn.

To help make this purchase easier, we have compiled a list of things to remember when buying a yarn winder, as well as a detailed overview of its uses.

Do I Need A Yarn Winder?

Anyone who knits or crochets regularly will find that using a yarn winder makes a big difference. Not only does the yarn pull much easier when using a winder, but it helps to keep a consistent pace when knitting. There is no slow down to adjust the yarn or pull it into place. Unwinding and adjusting untidy yarn is frustrating, but easily avoided. 

Why Doesn’t Yarn Come In Balls?

Because they are rolled by machines, and a ball shape is not as easy for them to roll en masse. They are made into hanks and skeins because it is the easiest way for them to do so in large quantities. With a yarn winder, this is easy to remedy and wind into a shape that is easier to work with. Not everyone wants to work from a ball.

Why Doesn’t Everyone Knit From A Skein?

This is not the most convenient way, and mostly because the yarn does not come out so evenly.  It can easily tangle which means stopping to untie knots when you are in the flow. Some patterns will require the user to knit from both sides of the skein which is one of the reasons they are not made into balls. 

What To Look For In A Yarn Winder

Clamp Size

Not everyone has the same size table so not one size of yarn winder will fit all. Some have a more generous space to offer in the clamp to hold the device in place. Measure your table first to make sure it will be useful when it arrives. 

Yarn Capacity

Some of the larger options can hold up to 10 oz of yarn whilst others are only capable of holding 3.5 oz. This matters less if the yarn thickness is not on the heavy side but it is better to check the compatibility with your needs before purchasing. 

Low Noise

A squeaky yarn winder can be a sign that the tension needs adjusting or it is being turned too fast. Still, the better products are known for being low noise no matter what. No one in the house wants to listen to a noisy winder turning again and again so look out for reviews that say this is a problem.

Accessories

Added extras are always welcome but unless they contain essential items needed or that you are missing, it is always better to opt for a quality yarn winder over the best package as it may be at the cost of a reliable winder.

Different Types of Yarn Swifts

Umbrella

These are easily recognized because of the name and look like a mini clothes hanger. They spin well, in tune with the turning of the wheel. Arguably the best thing about them is that they fold in and pack down small. With screw-in clamps to stay in place they are affordable and do a good job of winding yarn.

Tabletop 

The more common type that people tend to use, again they attach to a table and use a clamp to stay in place. A lot of them will have anti-skid materials to stop them from damaging the table and have a winding handle mechanism that is smooth. Sometimes known as ‘Amish’ yarn winders they are good for winding hanks and are often made of wood and look as though they have been rotated onto their side.

Yarn Winders

This is the type that we have been looking at closely so they should be recognizable. They typically have a good capacity for holding plenty of thick yarn. Using a crank mechanism to wrap the yarn which forms the cake. It is important to remember to control the tension and pay attention to how neatly it winds.

Is A Swift Necessary When Using A Yarn Winder?

Winding a hank into a ball is going to be particularly difficult without a swift but working a center pull and turning it into a ball can be done without a swift. It never hurts to have one around just in case.

How Much Does A Yarn Winder Cost?

These devices are real-time savers, and the affordable price makes it a tempting purchase for any knitter. Most quality products are close to $50. It is possible to pick up a decent yarn winder for around $25 but this is unlikely to have been made from quality materials although it will still be useful.

A high-end product is anything over $50.

What Is The Best Yarn Winder?

After reviewing multiple products, we found Knit Picks Yarn Ball Winder to be the best. It has a smooth mechanism and can wind up to 100g of 3.5 oz which is plenty enough for most people. It can clamp onto a table that is up to 1.5 inches and stays in place well with a stable motion. 

The spindle is removable and it packs down relatively small making it easy to store.

Should I Roll A Skein Into A Ball?

It is unlikely that a skein is going to be good to go as it is. This is why a lot of people choose to use a yarn winder and shape it into a ball. This is going to be much easier to work with and there should be next to no tangles that you would otherwise have to deal with when trying to use a skein. The time it takes to use a winder is going to be worth it.

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