When you’re in the groove, it’s easy to lose track of time or your place when you are knitting.
While it’s not very productive to make notes after finishing every row, keeping track of your rows is essential for creating a final product consistent with the pattern.
Tracking your knitting rows eliminates mistakes made while spacing out your project and saves time undoing stitches that you made in error.
For example, if your pattern calls for a decrease every ten rows, you’ll want to be sure to knit ten rows, rather than spacing out and knitting seven before the decrease and twelve after the decrease.
I find keeping track of rows especially important for projects like socks where you want two identical finished products.
Rather than trying to eyeball the length of the cuff you’re working on, it’s easier to count the rows and ensure that both socks end up the same size.
To help you keep track of your knitting rows, we’ve compiled a review of the best knitting row counters on the market.
We’ve also prepared a handy row counter buying guide to help with the selection process.
Table of Contents
The Best Knitting Row Counters For The Money
#1 KTRIO Metal Hand Tally Counter - EDITOR'S CHOICE
First on our list of the best knitting row counters is this metal hand tally counter from KTRIO.
It’s small, compact, and packs in everything knitters need to make their experience as smooth as possible.
But, is it the right pick for you?
Features and Benefits
The KTRIO is a well-made tally counter and works like a charm.
First, the counter comes with structurally sound components and a complete metal frame. It feels sturdy, and if you’re tired of the frustrations that come with plastic counters, you’ll love KTRIO’s durability.
It can take a few knocks, dings, and even falls without breaking apart. This is not to mention it’ll serve you for quite a long time.
Though the KTRIO feels bulky, it still works well. For me, bulkiness is a non-issue since I have large hands, so it’s easy for me to wrap it under my arms, but users with smaller hands might have some small difficulty, but probably not.
Despite the metal construction and large design, KTRIO feels light and wraps securely around your finger for convenience.
The only alteration you might have to make on KTRIO’s design is adding some grippy adhesive tape on the slippery surface to allow for a better grip.
Most tally counters, especially knitting row counters, are limited to double digits.
But the KTRIO can display four digits at a time, allowing you to count up to a total of 9,999.
While this may seem low for some, it’s pretty useful as many crafters don’t usually need even half of that when knitting.
It also means it easier for knitters to create large projects such as blankets and shawls while ensuring tracking is not lost.
Unfortunately, this tracker can’t count back or allow you to subtract.
Ease of use
Using the KTRIO tally counter is quite easy, and you won’t need any prior knowledge of tally counters.
I like the satisfying “click” that the counter makes when advancing to the next digit.
Plus, resetting the counter is easy and quick since all you have to do is spin the dial once to restore “0000” to the display.
You don’t have to spin the dial nine times to reset the counter, as a single rotation of the dial gets you back to zero.
Another excellent feature of the KTRIO is the battery requirement, or rather lack of it.
It doesn’t require batteries, which is why many knitters choose this model over others. Not having to worry about battery life is super convenient, not to mention eco-friendly.
You also don’t need to worry about the counter zeroing out once the battery drains out. Since there’s nothing to turn off, you can continue to count your rows from where you left off. No need to worry about your data getting wiped out until you zero it out. This is also perfect for crocheting.
The KTRIO Tally Counter is presented as a counter for knitting, but it’s versatile and can be used for several other purposes.
The durability, ease of use, and performance make it an inspiring option for counting knitting or crochet rows, counting at sports events, when measuring cooking items, and many other tasks.
#2 Clover Knitting Stitch Counter - Runner Up Editor's Choice
Our second pick is a knitting counter from one of the most established brands in the knitting industry; Clover.
The Clover Knitting Stitch Counter, a bright and cheery item, comes with amazing functionalities and is sure to make every second of your knitting a delight.
Features and Benefits
The Clover Counter is charming with its vibrant color and looks.
It’s available in lime green, though I’d love to have other color options to keep track of all my projects.
For instance, there are times when I’d like to use two of these in the same project, but having both of them in the same color confuses me. Of course, I could have the neck holders in different colors, but, meh.
Nevertheless, it’s still one of my favorite brands of counters as it has a smooth click, locks in place, and doesn’t break easily.
Yes, the Clover Counter features plastic construction, but not the flimsy plastic you may be used to. They feel sturdy and don’t become defective at the slightest abuse.
The counter is also a nice size, not so small that it is hard to hold and use, but just small enough to fit into my little knitting accessory case.
How to use
Using the Clover Counter is a delight as it lets you use it any way you like.
If you want, you can wear it around your neck or even attach it to your clothes.
I prefer wearing mine around my neck when I’m crocheting in a car or on a plane.
And the best part is that it locks, so that my curious little one won’t mess up my project when I’m distracted.
The Clover Counter is a two-digit counter, tracking to a maximum of 99.
The tracking ability is underwhelming, especially when compared with our top pick.
Generally, the counter is ideal for tracking a single project and can be great if you have a simple repeating pattern.
However, for knitters who perform multiple patterns with a row, or rather complex projects, this counter can be a little limiting.
But I love that the locking function works well and that the push button doesn’t suffer from half-way numbers,
Ease of use
The problem with some counters is they require two hands to adjust the counter for the next row.
Fortunately, the Clover Counter has an instant action, which keeps knitters on the count for long periods without screwing up.
You don’t have to waste time trying to figure out where you are in the pattern.
Plus, the bright green makes it easy to locate the counter if it gets intermixed with the items on your lap while knitting.
The only improvement I would love to see is a bigger hole to allow the knitter to put the counter on an interchangeable circular needle.
Tailored for knitters
The Clover Counter is tailored to suit the needs of knitters.
It provides an absolute joy, and this excellent creation can be used at home, work, or anywhere to keep track of your stitches.
And you don’t have to worry about the battery running out on you, because it’s a mechanical option.
#3 Clover 336 Knitting Counter Kacha-Kacha - Simplest to Use
Here is another Clover counter, which is also a great contender for the best knitting row counter on our list.
It’s a simple to use option, and beginners will savor every moment with this piece of equipment.
But, is it the right option for you?
Features and Benefits
The Clover 336 is a handy little tool, perfect for knitters looking for a flat and one-handed use counter.
It’s much more convenient than circular or round counters because it doesn’t roll away from you when it falls.
The counter is a bit smaller than you might expect, but knitters like the modest size. With dimensions of 4.75 x 2.5 x 0.63 inches and a weight of 0.8 ounces, even smaller hands will find it easy to hold the counter.
Our only concern with the design is the lack of a lock, like the green Clover Counter we reviewed earlier has. It’s not a deal-breaker, though, since I simply use my round marker to mark where I am when I take a rest.
The Clover 336 has a limited but accurate tracking mechanism,
The device is a two-digit display option and lets you count up to 99 only.
While it may seem like a restriction, it isn’t, especially if you’re using the counter for simple knitting projects.
The restriction also doesn’t mean you can’t handle larger projects, because once you get over 99, you just keep on counting 1, 2, etc., knowing that it represents 101, 102 etc.
Easy to use
The Clover 336 has a simple operating mechanism.
It’s easy to push the button down and it can be pushed quickly to increase the numbers more quickly. Alternatively, you can use the white scroller on the right of the counter. I like to use the scroller when I need to change the numbers by a large gap, or to reset the counter to zero.
However, like most of the counters, the Clover 336 only counts up; it doesn’t support subtracting or backward counting.
When using the Clover 336, you don’t have to worry about the battery charge draining out on you.
The counter is a mechanical option, so it’s preferable to a digital option as it doesn’t skip and obviously can’t turn itself off once you take a rest or the battery drains out.
#4 Horsky Clicker Tally Counter - Versatile
Our fourth pick, the Horsky Tally Counter, shares many similar traits with our first pick, the KTRIO.
It’s a versatile option, with its usage going beyond knitting to any number of other tasks.
Features and Benefits
The Horsky is exactly what you need in a perfect knitting row counter.
It feels solid and sturdy and won’t break on you easily as the flimsy plastic options are apt to do.
It’s rather large and has some weight to it, but it’s comfortable to hold onto and will easily fit into your hands.
I find it durable, with its solid metal construction allowing the counter to stand up to daily abuses.
Not only is this offering durable, but it’s a four-digit counter, so it’s easy to enumerate just about anything with it.
As with the KTRIO, this counter displays four digits and can count up to 9,999, which is more than enough for knitting.
It’s the perfect option for knitters who need to keep tabs on their rows on large projects such as blankets or even highly complex and sophisticated projects.
Easy to use
If you need a counter to make it easier to track rows, numbers, or anything, you can’t go wrong with this option.
It has a simple operating mechanism. You just need to press the button to keep on adding the numbers.
And the good thing is the counter acts quickly, so you can even use it to count items as they’re recited from memory. You can’t go wrong with the Horsky.
As with all the best knitting row counters on our list, you won’t need a battery to operate this counter.
It’s a good thing, since it means you won’t have to worry about the battery draining out on you.
The mechanical tally counter also allows you to take a break and come back to where you left it, with no worry about the counter zeroing out.
The Horsky would be a great purchase for knitters who need a reliable and accurate counter that won’t fail them.
While the Horsky is tailored to suit the needs of knitters, it can also be used for other things.
When you’re not using the counter for tracking different forms of knitting and crocheting, you can also use it for other purposes.
I find it an awesome option for sporting activities, cooking, or even teaching your kids how to count!
#5 Susan Bates Universal Knit Count - Best for Circular and Double Ended Works
Our last pick, the Susan Bates Knit Count, is another fantastic knitting counter for you.
It’s a versatile, barrel-type row counter that can be used with different kinds of needles and very conveniently as well.
Features and Benefits
Double Duty Tools
Susan Bates universal counters are intended for circular and double-ended knitting needles.
They’re great for knitting in the round since they can double as stitch makers at the beginning of the round when using a circular needle.
While they’re compatible with different kinds of needles as they can be hung from a ring, I wouldn’t recommend using them for straight needles in smaller sizes. This is because the hole is large enough for bulky needles and might fall off when using fine needles.
Easy to use
The operating mechanism of the Susan Bates is quite simple, and beginners won’t struggle to get the hang of it.
You simply have to turn the two wheels on the surface of the counter to the right numbers, and that’s it.
We recommend, though, that you turn a single row at a time, to avoid errors.
One thing you’ll love about the Susan Bates is how the dialed number stays in the correct position.
At first, you might find the wheels a bit stiff, and you might require a bit more effort to get the wheel rolling.
The wheels eventually get smoother after use, but not to the point of getting loose.
Additionally, the dialed numbers on the counter don’t change like many of the substandard products do.
The Susan Bates has a strong and stable mechanism that keeps the numbers in place, eliminating room for error.
They’re a great pick for those who prefer accuracy over design.
Best Knitting Row Counters Buying Guide
In the section below, we shall look at everything you need to know about purchasing the best row counter.
How to keep track of rows
There are three essential varieties of row counters that you can purchase from yarn stores.
A barrel row counter can be clipped onto your knitting needle, so it’s always in sight. With the counter on the needle, it’s also unlikely that you lose or forget to mark a row.
These counters are often sold as pairs, one for smaller needles and another for larger needles.
If you’re considering just one barrel row counter, ensure that it fits the largest needle you use most.
Kacha-Kacha row counters have a button on top that you press to move the counter forward.
The counter draws its name from the sound it makes when moving the counter, something like Kacha-kacha.
It also allows you to move the numbers individually by hand if you need to.
They’re larger than barrel row counters and often threaded onto a necklace.
They are often provided on a neck band so you can wear them around your neck for convenience.
Many of these counters have the benefit of including a lock. It makes it difficult for someone to mess up your row by playing with the device.
An electronic row counter is a non-traditional, high-tech option.
These devices vary greatly by model and may be provided as complex or simple, large or as small as you like.
However, many have the same basic function and will digitally keep track of all your rows as you tick them off.
Also, many of them resemble a stopwatch and are mounted on a ribbon designed to wear around the neck,
Other electronic row counters are a watch band or a simple clamp or ring that fits on your finger.
Electronic row counters have four basic buttons; on-off, rest, up, and down.
Some of the electronic row counters have to stay on for the entire project, even when not knitting, or your project will get lost.
Others can store the count in their memory and can be powered down. However, you’ll pay more for this feature.
Other ways of counting rows
Some include the use of wearable counters, while others use good old-fashioned DIY ingenuity.
These methods are often seen as the traditional methods of counting rows, and they’re not any less effective than the use of devices. What matters ultimately is tracking your rows.
You can find hand-made row counters on different platforms, but one of the popular platforms is Etsy.
There’re numerous products to choose from, including beaded bangles, barrel counters, and watch-like row counter styles.
A search on Etsy is also a great way to fuel your ideas on projects you can do by yourself.
The best source of DIY ideas is Pinterest.
Simply search for DIY row counters, and you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
It’s an easy and budget-friendly way to create your row counter.
I also find it awesome to utilize your craft brain and take a break from what can become monotonous knitting.
Pencil and paper
If you want to go completely low-tech, you can opt for a simple piece of paper as a row counter.
You can do the marking right there on your pattern, so you don’t risk missing a row or misplacing the paper.
The ultimate row counting technique
In as much as row counters are handy tools, being able to “read” your knitting is an important and useful skill, and not just for keeping track of your rows.
You should learn to look at your knitting and recognize your stitching. This should make it easier for you to catch mistakes, identify problems, and fully understand the pattern’s design elements.
There’s no better way of learning your knitting than paying attention to what the pattern tells you.
The general idea of learning how to read your knitting is identifying the various stitches in the knitted fabric.
For instance, if you can identify an anchor point in your fabric, such as the cast-on row, then it becomes easier to count the rows from this particular point.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
The KTRIO Metal Hand Tally Counter is our absolute winner as it has everything knitters could want in their knitting row counters.
From the performance to ease of use and versatility, it ticks all the boxes for the best knitting row counter.
The KTRIO Tally Counter’s tracking performance goes beyond knitting, as the counter can also be used for other tasks such as sporting activities and cooking.