It’s remarkable how knitting needles have evolved over such a short period.
Those of you who love hand knitting are probably aware of straight, double-pointed, and interchangeable needles.
However, the best circular needles are game-changers!
Circular needles, known more fondly as circulars, aren’t exactly new in the knitting space, but they are probably among the most versatile knitting tools I’ve come across. They allow for a variety of craft projects from bags and sweaters to hats.
Knitting versatility aside, there are numerous other benefits of picking a set of circular needles.
Circular knitting needles are a lot of fun to work with and make tackling complex projects an easy target.
I find circulars especially useful when working on flat or round pieces where you need the stitches to be tight.
This is not to mention that they are easier to use than straights because they don’t hit the table or your lap while you’re knitting.
I agree, they can be hard to master at first, but that’s a small compromise to make for a lightweight tool that reduces the strain on my hands, wrists, and shoulders. This is particularly helpful when working on heavyweight garments like sweaters, vests, and chunky-style cardigans.
Now, if you’re thinking it’s time to add a new and versatile tool to your knitting kit or are looking for a replacement for your set, our picks for the best circular needles will surely enhance your knitting experience.
Table of Contents
The Best Circular Needles For The Money
#1 ChiaoGoo Red Lace Circular - EDITOR'S CHOICE
The ChiaGoo Red Lace Circular is my favorite needle for professional and amateur use alike.
It seems to tick all the boxes for the best circular needle, and, more importantly, it comes with everything you need to complete your knitting needle set.
But, is it the right option for you?
Features and Benefits
Design and feel
The ChiaGoo Red Lace Circular is built to last for a lifetime, with the surgical-grade steel construction offering a solid and unbreakable grip.
Compared with flimsy plastic or wood options, this option is sturdy and won’t bend or incur damage, even when used on the chunkiest worsted yarns.
Durability aside, this circular is a fine option too, and for those who care about looks the polished silver steel cord and red plastic cover give the needle a sassy, upbeat look.
The ChiaGoo Red Lace features a two-part construction consisting of a steel needle and a twisted steel cable in a plastic coating.
We found the material combination perfect for die-hard speedsters as it allows knitters to work faster than any other material as the yarn slides freely without friction.
The steel is smooth yet “sticky” enough that the yarn won’t slip off the needles.
More importantly, however, the novelty of the steel cable inside a plastic cable serves two functions- strength and memory-free retention.
You see, most needles attach using a plastic cord. The problem with a plastic cord is they always want to curl around into a round shape, causing them to get in your way or entangle projects when knitting.
But not with the ChiaGoo!
While the Red Lace cords have plastic-like any other circular, they also fit the cord with a twisted steel cable.
The steel cord is stronger than plain plastic, so there’s less chance of your knitted project’s weight pull the cord from the needle.
The greatest benefit, though, is that the cord doesn’t retain memory and stays out of your way: no curling, no twisting, and no kinking.
The ChiaGoo Red Lace comes in various lengths ranging from 16, 24, 32, 40, 47, to 60-inches.
There’re the only needles I’ve come across offering 60 inches in length, which is perfect for magic loop projects like two-at-a-time tunic sleeves and Mobius knitting.
They’re super large too, and at five inches, the stainless steel needles will give knitters with larger hands something substantial to hold onto, which translates to less tiredness after long hours of knitting.
Unfortunately, the circular isn’t interchangeable, so it’s impossible to connect any additional length for longer cords.
This is not a deal-breaker, though, because the 60-inch cord gives you ample space for sweaters and bulky weight yarns and can accommodate thousands of lace weight stitches.
The ChiaGoo Red Lace features a pointed tip which is sharp enough to insert into the stitch easily.
The sharpness of the tips makes the Red Lace efficient for precise knitting, with no snaggy bits.
Although the tips were tailored for small lace weight yarns, many knitters have no problem using the tips on various yarns.
#2 Addi Click Rocket Interchangeable Circular Knitting Needle - Best for Speedy Knitters
If you want a needle that will improve your knitting speed, then the Addi Rocket may be the needle for you.
It’s a versatile option too, and knitters will enjoy using the Addi Rocket for various projects.
Additionally, it features a click-in connection that works well for knitters with arthritis or those who want simple solutions to keep their stitches on the cable and not falling off into their lap.
Features and Benefits
Design and feel
The Addi Click hollow brass needles are lightweight, but knitters find them durable.
Of course, they can’t match the sturdiness of the Red Lace steel, but if well taken care of, these needles should bring you years of knitting pleasure.
Most knitters choose Addi products because of their speed. The polish on the needle keeps stitches moving as fast as a knitter can knit.
The Addis are super sleek to knit with and help speed up your knitting.
The Addis are incredibly light and smooth, with a perfect joint that never snags on your work.
For instance, the lightweight plated hollowed brass tips work-up stitches quickly, and you’ll love how they slip under stitches easily as the tips taper to a nice sharp point.
The needle slides effortlessly, and you can work quickly and securely.
At the same time, the plastic cables are pliable, perfect for working the magic loop.
With a full length of about 5.5 inches, the Addi Click is more comfortable for an English style knitter like me who holds the needle like a pen.
The extended length also makes the Addi very comfortable to hold, especially for users with larger hands.
When it comes to the cable length, the Addi Click is available in various lengths, including 24″, 32″, and 40″.
While the Addi Click’s longest cable doesn’t come anywhere close to what we can see on the ChiaGoo Red Lace, the needle is interchangeable so cables can be connected to create even longer lengths.
And that’s not all!
The cable has a slot which the manufacturer brands as the SOS lifeline. It gives knitters a place to insert a piece of cotton yarn or floss for a lifeline.
It’s a great addition for knitters who work with lace and have tons of stitches and patterns. You put a thread through, and if you drop a stitch, it’s easy to work backward to the stitch you need.
The Addi Click Lace tips are exactly as described. They’re long and sharp, which is what you need when working on a lace project.
They’re easy to use and smooth and will rarely snag on your fabric.
Their extended length and sharp tips mean you spend more time knitting and less time fighting tight stitches.
And, they’re not just for lace!
While their tapered design is tailored for more delicate yarn weights, they’re also great for heavier material.
The Addi Rocket makes joining a needle to the cable quick and easy.
The joint is ultra-smooth, and even when working on something delicate like lace and smooth yarns it rarely snags.
#3 Exquiss Bamboo Circular Knitting Needles - Best for Kids
Third on our list of the best circular knitting needles is the Exquiss Bamboo needle.
It’s yet another top-quality circular needle that will appeal to the knitting needs of your young ones.
The colorful plastic cables visually appeal to kids, yet they maintain their practical performance for beginner knitters.
Let’s see what he Exquiss has in store for us.
Features and Benefits
Design and feel
Not all of us can afford a top of the line needle, and sometimes we have to settle for a budget option.
For the price, the Exquiss Bamboo needles are great and seem to be pretty durable.
Bear in mind they’re wooden options, so they don’t match the sturdiness of steel or nickel.
However, with proper care they should last you quite some time.
Though we’ve not had any problem with the needle, I would be especially careful with the cables and not allow worsted projects to impose their full weight on this product.
This circular knitting needle is made from bamboo wood and colorful plastic cord.
Bamboo needles are luxurious, lightweight, and smooth.
Unlike other wooden pieces, these needles are smooth, like metal needles but much warmer with a satiny feel.
The needle doesn’t catch on your yarn as other bamboo needles can do, and the shafts seem extremely smooth, even for use on delicate lace projects.
Beginners also have less to fear in terms of dropped stitches because the stitches on the bamboo don’t fall off as easily as they would on needles made from metal.
Each needle is attached to the other using bright, transparent plastic tubing which feels soft and flexible, yet strong enough to support worsted projects.
The cord works well and though the plasticky hollow tube tends to kink, it never comes off. However, care should be taken about the amount of weight to hold with the cable because they tend to break easily.
Other than that, the cords are super rigid and nice to work with.
The circular tips are great to use, though they may need some sanding, especially if you plan to use the needle on lace projects.
But for bulky, worsted projects the tips rarely snag on the yarn and might be a great option for those just starting out on their knitting journey.
The Exquiss comes in different sizes, ranging from 2mm to 10mm.
It’s an accommodative option, allowing knitters to pick the size they feel they’re comfortable knitting with.
The larger size means one can comfortably work using worsted yarns and create numerous stitches with relative ease.
It’s also possible to handle large projects as well without feeling overwhelmed.
The Exquiss circular includes nearly everything your kid will need to start their journey into the creative knitting world.
Each pack contains 18 carbonized circular needles plus 18 additional straight needles. It also includes accessories like plastic pins, a measuring rule, sewing needles, and scissors to make the knitting process simple and fun.
#4 Vancens 18 Pairs Bamboo Knitting Needles Set - Best Budget Pick
The Vancens is our budget pick and is also a great option for those who are looking for something more modest.
Yet, it’s a practical solution to all your knitting needs, as it comes as a set complete with 18 natural bamboo needles.
The shape of these tools, along with the materials, makes it easy to use the needles. Additionally, it’s easy to identify each of the needles from the size written on its body.
Features and Benefits
Design and feel
The Vancens are good for the price and offer decent durability.
While the Vancen’s durability is not as good as our other picks above, it’ll keep you going for some time if you look after the product.
The cables are hollow plastic and tend to break if used on heavy worsted projects.
However, you’ll love how the bamboo needles hold up pretty well. They’re smooth and light too, which is great for those who suffer from joint pains as they require less tension and come with a handy thumb rest.
Overall, this needle pack’s quality is pretty good, and while it might not be high enough quality for seasoned knitters, the pack definitely appeals to beginners or children.
If you would like a needle that will help with your arthritis or relieve pain in your hands, you can’t go wrong with this option.
The bamboo needle is nice to have and feels smooth while working with yarn.
I also love the lightness of the bamboo, and the feel is sensual and pleasant.
My only concern is with the plastic tubing; although it’s quite flexible, it’s “grippy,” and the yarn doesn’t slide along it as well as I would have hoped.
After every few stitches, you need to stop and coax the stitches along the plastic tube and onto the bamboo needle.
It also feels a bit flimsy and tends to break off easily, especially when used with a heavy material like worsted.
However, remember the Vancens is a budget purchase, so it’s always good to limit your expectations.
The Vancen’s tips aren’t as sharp as I would have liked, but this is not an issue since I can always sharpen them with sandpaper.
The yarn snags on rough spots, but sanding out helps, making it easier to work with silky yarns that need extra grip.
When sanded, though, they’re quite effective for fine yarn and lacework, and I find them especially useful for hats (magic loop).
As with the Exquiss, the Vancens come in different lengths, ranging from 2 to 10 mm.
The wide range promotes the needle’s overall versatility, allowing knitters to craft different projects from hats and socks to shawls.
#5 Knitters Pride Dreamz Deluxe - Deluxe Option
Our last option, the Knitters Pride deluxe set takes wooden needles a step beyond our previous picks.
It uses densified birch wood to create a strong and sturdy needle.
The Dreamz Deluxe is a wonderful option for those who love wooden knitting needles but seem to break them easily.
Features and Benefits
Design and feel
The densified birchwood makes a strong yet lightweight circular needle.
The Pride Dreams is less likely to dent with use than typical wooden needles and will last for years without snagging yarns.
The needle’s hardness also allows most yarns to slide as if on a metal needle and gives the Dreamz a bit of stickiness, just like bamboo or regular wood needles.
While not as forgiving as bamboo or regular wooden needles, this option does warm-up with use, so they might be a great pick for those who experience soreness in their hands while knitting.
They could also be a great choice for first time knitters who need to feel the speed without losing stitches.
The densified birch is as strong as metal but comes at a fraction of the weight.
I found it useful for knitting worsted weight yarns without the fear of the needle breaking on me.
It’s lightweight too, so you’ll find another reason to roll on another yarn without feeling fatigued.
At the same time, the screw-in plastic cables are easy to connect.
They work perfectly for the magic loop and small items such as hats.
I also found them quite useful for tasks such as kinking and curling, which can be distracting.
The only challenge I found with the tips and cables is the coloration, making it difficult to see stitches, especially when knitting with either dark yarn or yarn a similar color to the tips and cables.
The Knitter Pride comes with a generous length of five inches, which I find ideal for knitters who need more needles and less cord to hold.
Also, knitters like me with large hands or those that tire easily might also benefit from this length.
The Knitter Pride’s tips aren’t too rounded yet are not too sharp, making this needle ideal for almost any yarn weight.
I find it perfect as a good general use needle, but lace knitters and those who knit tightly may find the needle not quite sharp enough to get into stitches, especially when increasing or decreasing.
Most knitters will find that a yarn weight rated at a light light all the way up to a bulky yarn of five all work well.
As with most of the interchangeable circular needles, the Knitter’s Pride employs a screw-in join, which is seamless and doesn’t risk tangling your yarn.
However, the screw-ins tend to come apart more easily than other joins, so we recommend tightening the join to ensure the tips and cables don’t come apart whenever knitting.
Best Circular Needle Buying Guide
Much of what you look for when choosing the best circular needle can be applied to any knitting needle.
The general rule, though, is you need to understand what you’re going to knit, the type of yarn you’ll be using, and the build of the needle.
To cut to the chase, we’ve prepared a comprehensive guide below, outlining everything to consider when purchasing your next circular needle.
Factors to Consider when Buying a Circular Needle
The length of a needle refers to the amount of area from the needle tip to the opposite end.
If you’re using a large-sized yarn or worsted weight or even higher, a longer needle gives you more room for spacing out the stitches.
On the other hand, a shorter needle results in the work being crammed, resulting in stitches being dropped.
There’re two common types of needle tips; sharp and pointed or round and blunted.
The sharp and pointed tips, also known as lace tips, work best when used with fine yarns such as cobwebs, lace, or fingerings.
The sharpies are also great for socks and gloves with smaller size needles as it’s easier to work on them with tighter stitches.
Conversely, blunt-tipped needles work best with heavier yarn weights or yarns that split easily, such as cotton, acrylic, novelty yarns, and loosely spun fibers.
However, some seasoned knitters use sharp needles for all their projects. Once they are accustomed to the lace tips’ speed, they find the speed of blunter needles slow and cumbersome.
Knitting needles come in various materials, and each material type has its pros and cons.
When it comes to performance, there’s not much difference between the materials, and a lot of the time, the choice boils down to personal preference.
However, it’s good that you experiment with the different materials to find out what you like best.
Some of the popular materials for knitting needles are:
Bamboo needles are strong yet flexible.
Many knitters also like bamboo’s feel, not to mention its lightness also makes it a good choice for knitters with wrist or hand pain or arthritis.
Keep in mind, though, that yarns stick more to bamboo than to some other materials, and the resistance means fewer dropped stitches.
Beginners may like bamboo’s sticking ability, but for more experienced knitters the same sticking may slow them down.
If you like the feel of bamboo, then wood may be a good alternative to plastic or metal.
Wooden knitting needles have many properties similar to bamboo needles.
However, softer woods such as pine and birch tend to dent after heavy use which cause the yarn to catch, which might slow fast knitters down.
Carbon fiber knitting needles bring another dimension to the world of knitting thanks to their ultra-lightness.
However, in a set, carbon fiber needle tips may vary unless the manufacturer added a metal tip such as brass.
Lace knitters may want to examine the carbon fiber needle tips to ensure their use meets their needs.
Plastic needles are most often used when knitting with super bulky and chunky yarns.
They are very light and less likely to promote tiredness in the hands than heavier tools.
However, they tend to break more easily, and may bend with the weight of the heavy knitted fabric, and may retain the bent shape.
When choosing a plastic needle, consider those with a smooth finish to avoid yarn snagging on the needle as you knit.
Aluminum needles are lightweight and strong and may appeal to knitters who need a longer-lasting option than wood.
However, these needles can also bend, especially if stepped on, and their surface can get scratched.
Stainless steel needles are perfect for speed knitters or those who need to finish their projects in double time.
Stainless steel needles are also quite heavy-duty, and, unlike other materials, they hardly scratch, dent, or bend.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are circular knitting needles used for?
A: Circular knitting needles are among the most versatile types of needles on the market and can be used for a great variety of projects.
Depending on the needle’s length and tips, circular needles can be used to knit sweaters, sleeves, hats, gloves, mittens, and shawls among many more.
Q: What’s the ideal length of a circular knitting needle?
A: Many times, your project’s pattern determines the length of your needle. A circular needle’s length will depend on the diameter of the tube you’re knitting when you are working in the round.
You can’t use a needle longer than the diameter of the tube of knitting.
If knitting flat, the length is usually less critical as you only need to worry about the needle being long enough to hold all the stitches.
Here’s a rough guide for the length of circular needles and projects best suited to them:
9, 12 inches
Sock, cuffs, and mittens
Ideal for hats and sleeves
60, 80 inches
Sweaters for adults
40, 47, 55, 60
Large projects in the flat
Q: Can you knit anything on circular needles?
A: Circular needles allow you to knit round and flat pieces, so the choice of projects is hugely varied.
You can knit pretty much everything on circulars, from beanies, socks, mittens, and blankets to home décor items.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
Our top pick on the list of the best circular needles is the ChiaGoo Red Lace Circular.
We feel this needle deserves the top spot for several reasons.
First, it sports a steel construction that is virtually unbreakable and will hold strong even when knitting the large worsted projects.
The other main reason we chose the ChiaGoo as our editor’s choice is the memory-free performance.
This option is uniquely designed with a steel wire inside the steel cable to ensure it doesn’t curl, kink, or even get in your way while knitting.
Finally, it’s available in different lengths, with the highest measurement being 60 inches making it perfect for large projects.