Here’s the gist of it: it doesn’t matter where you are a total amateur or have been knitting for a lifetime, everyone absolutely hates wasting their time by engaging themselves with monotonous, boring tasks with a fiery passion. One such task like this happens to be hand-winding endless balls of yarn – it’s not too terribly complicated to do properly but let’s be honest, it’s time consuming.
Why spend time doing this when you could rather be spending time actually knitting and sewing? This is where yarn winders come into play. Not only are they hugely affordable and easily obtainable, they make life so much better by allowing you to make organised, clean ‘cakes’ of yarn within mere moments.
But wait! It may be tempting to rush out and grab a winder of your own but just hold on a hot second. Just as you might have experienced with other knitting and sewing tools, you should know that not all yarn winders are made equal. Some may be bigger, others smaller, some may last longer and others, shorter while some winders may do certain tasks better than others.
So, in order to help you knitters find a yarn winder that best suits your specific, individual needs, we invite you to check out our list down below where we’ve reviewed some of the best and most popular options out there in the market right now!
Best Yarn Winder of 2020
1. Darice, Yarn Winder, White
Starting with one of the easiest to use yarn winders on our list, Darice’s Yarn Winder comes as a whole product that’s practically ready to use out-of-the-box. There aren’t many components to this winder too so you shouldn’t need to feel intimidated at all when it comes to using it. Furthermore, given its small size – coming at 7.5 x 5.7 x 4.1 inches – it makes for the perfect travel companion (or gift) if you intended to move around a lot with a yarn winder.
That being said, given its smaller size, the Darice Yarn Winder will be better suited for small quantities and skeins of yarn as you’ll only be able to produce modest sized balls at best, 4 oz. to be precise.
That being said, it even comes fitted with a table clamp that allows you to secure it to any hard surface which makes winding an even easier experience with its already easy-to-wind handle. Though we should note that because this winder is entirely hand-operated, you have to make sure you wind at a sufficient pace otherwise you’ll end up with a mess on your spool.
Regardless, if you can work your way around this tiny caveat, then the Darice should be high on your list on any given day.
2. Stanwood Needlecraft YBW-A Hand-Operated Yarn Ball Winder
With a similar holding capacity to the Darice (4oz.), the Stanwood Yarn Ball Winder may not be as light or as portable, but what it loses in weight, it gains in pure durability. This winder is built to last for a very long time, with solid high-grade materials including its metal crank, which they boast as unbreakable, amongst other things. And all this coupled with their one year unconditional warranty practically guarantees a lifetime of use granted you properly take care and maintain this yarn winder.
Now, one surprising thing is that despite its obvious durability, it operates as smoothly as silk and won’t produce those annoying creaking noises at the slightest, even with the heaviest of usage.
If you liked the clamp feature that the Darice comes equipped with, you’ll also find this present here which only makes hand-winding your balls of yarn easier. Likewise, when it comes to assembly, it probably wouldn’t be a stretch to say that even a child would be able to set this yarn winder up!
3. Diamondo Hand-Operated Manual Wool Yarn Ball Winder Holder
A lighter alternative product produced by Diamondo is their Hand-Operated Manual Winder that is designed specifically for the knitter’s specialist toolkit. With a size of 8.6 x 8.6 x 3.3 inches, you’ll be able to produce larger balls of yarns much unlike the other two products above and despite its larger size, it weighs less than 15 oz. in total!
Of course, the trade-off for its portability comes when we look at the durability of this product. We’re not saying that the Diamondo is going to break within weeks after unpacking it but simply that it uses lower quality materials and won’t survive as many unfortunate accidents as say the Stanwood winder. Regardless, with proper care and attention, we’re confident that the Diamondo can easily last for years under the right hands.
It too, comes with the little clamp with we all know and love along with low noise mechanisms so even in the quietist of households, you shouldn’t worry about annoying your family, housemates and neighbours. So, if you’re looking for something light, affordable and functional and don’t mind too much about build quality then the Diamondo is right for you.
4. Stanwood Needlecraft Large Metal Yarn/Fiber/Wool/String Ball Winder
If you have more ambitious – both in size and creativity – projects at the back of your mind, you should definitely be looking at yarn winders that have larger capacities as well to satisfy your creative itch. One such product is Stanwood’s Large Metal Winder which boasts an impressive holding capacity of up to 10 oz.
With an ultra-heavy duty winder like this coupled with its construction from rust-resistant steel and high-quality plastic, this device is not just built to last. It’s built to withstand even the heaviest of loads. Despite its intimidating composition, you’ll be surprised to find that thanks to its reinforced nylon gears, operating this device still remains an easy experience that keeps noises and creaks down to a minimum.
With its large size standing at 12 x 7 x 7.7 inches, you probably won’t be able to treat this yarn winder as you would with a more portable option so chances are this tool will probably be secured safely at home during the span of its life. Finally, if assembly isn’t your forte then fear not. Stanwood has designed product with you specifically in mind!
With its tool-less setup, you don’t have to worry about this at all – just unbox it and you’ll be ready to go in seconds.
5. windaze Hand Operated Manual Wool Winder Holder
Sitting lower on the rung of price, the Windaze Manual Yarn Winder offers a brilliant comprise between price and function. But make no mistake, it may be cheaper than some alternatives on our list, but you’ll still be getting a product that is just as every bit durable as any high-end product. Further, it’s a pretty adaptable yarn winder – being able to be clamped and secured onto not just tabletops but counters, chairs, and more which can be adjusted effortlessly thanks to its little hand-operated crank.
Besides its clean, appealing aesthetic design, you’ll also find this winder to be hugely portable given to its light weight so moving this thing around shouldn’t be a hassle. While its silky smooth operation and squeaky-less cranks ensures that even under the heaviest of workloads, you won’t be annoying anyone around you.
Now, it isn’t as large as the Stanwood product above so you won’t be able to work with particularly large quantities of yarn but for any medium-sized load of up to 7oz., the Windaze will shine just as bright as any other product on our list. Just one catch: don’t go too fast when winding unless you’re looking for a mess!
6. Knit Picks Yarn Swift
Sure, while you can certainly get by with owing just a yarn winder to sort out your stringy messes, we certainly believe that that is only one side of the equation. On anyone’s quest to organisation and neatness, you’re going to have to go a little further and take a step into the direction of essential accessories. Think about it for a second – were you actually planning on winding endless lengths of yarn spread about on the floor or clumped into a dusty corner of your table? This is a huge no-no as it risks both damaging your yarn and forming those so-not-fun knots for you to later untangle.
One way to get around this is through Knit Pick’s Yarn Swift which conveniently holds your hanks of yarn as you wind them down into organised balls. Beautifully craved out of smooth Birch wood that gives a natural, homely look to the product coupled with metal hardware fitted onto key areas, with this product you’ll get something that both looks great, feels great and can last for a long time.
Plus, it’s super easy to set up. It comes in one large piece and operates just like your umbrella – prop it in place, open it up and hang your hanks of yarn. With a device like this, it becomes almost inexhaustible to have a messy workstation!
7. Yarn Swift Yarn Winder Yarn Ball Winder Knitting Yarn Holder
Much like the yarn swift above, cuteDIY offers a fantastic alternative product though this time you’ll find hard plastic and wood in place of Birch wood. That being said, this yarn swift isn’t anywhere near flimsy as you might expect – with a metal construction, this thing can withstand even the nastiest of drops and roughest of handling.
Plus, it being mainly metal means that it’ll fold up more compactly than wood, so you’ll be able to store this swift with even more ease. Lastly, this product should be able to handle any material even under the heaviest of loads – from lace to Aran to anything, this thing will practically be able to complement your yarn winder all the way without breaking a single sweat.
Do note that we’ve seen reports claiming how this product has lasted decades even with daily usage so if you’re not too keen on replacing your yarn swift on a regular basis then you should look no further.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are yarn winders essential for my sewing kit?
Technically you don’t have to get one, at least in theory. Going solo or getting a helping hand from an unwilling family member certainly has been the go-to option for many out there. But of course, we completely advise against this – not using a yarn winder will make you spend literal hours doing a task that is mindbogglingly tedious.
You could instead be actually knitting! Why would anyone choose to do it manually is beyond us – just make the small investment for your kitting future and take the plunge. Trust us, you won’t regret it.
Are yarn swifts essential if I choose to get a yarn winder?
Again, if we’re working with just technicalities then, no. But having one will make your life even easier and will shave off time wasted on doing things unrelated directly to the actual knitting. Our stance on this is pretty unsurprising: they aren’t expensive and the return on investment you’ll immediately start to receive is huge.
So, get out there and get a yarn winder, either one of the two on our list or anything decent in the market!
Are manual yarn winders better than electric yarn winders?
Personally, we have a soft spot for manual yarn winders. Sure, on one hand electric winders may seem in theory, more convenient and quicker to wind than their manual counterparts, this comes with two serious costs. First, the more obvious cost deals with the price – electric winders often cost significantly more than manual winders and this isn’t even including any associated electric bill.
And second, with an electric winder you’re not going to be in control of the entire process. Control is oh so crucial when it comes to all things related to knitting – it lets us precisely dictate the size of our cakes, the length, lets us spot out any problems with greater ease and even allows us to feel more involved in the process. Then again this is a hugely personal decision – just look towards your own preferences and needs first before making any decision.