A sock knitting machine can be just as useful for real-deal knitters and hobbyists alike.
These devices allow longtime needlecrafters to experiment with different techniques while providing beginners with a fun, time-saving alternative to traditional knitting.
While a more advanced circular sock knitting machine can cost a pretty penny (I’m talking thousands of dollars!), there are more accessible options for those just starting out.
With this in mind, we’ve lined up our favorite models for home crafters, kids, and more. Want a quick taste of what’s on offer? Check out our top picks below!
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Unique 3D printed sock knitting machine for experienced machine knitters and CSM collectors willing to splurge on top-notch devices.
What is a sock knitting machine?
A sock knitting machine is a compact, manual device used to speed up the process of sock-making.
There are straightforward hobby models for home crafters and children, as well as high-end, customized devices like 3D-printed sock knitting machines for mass production or highly experienced knitters.
Each sock knitting machine takes different types of yarn depending on its make and specific capacity. Most models incorporate a manual crank vs. powered switches. However, there are ways to make adjustments — we’ll discuss this further below.
Also, circular knitting machines for socks are usually smaller replicas of standard knitting machines used to make larger projects such as blankets and garments.
The Addi sock knitting machine, for example, is one of the most sought-after models and is available in various sizes: the most popular being the 46-needle King Size Addi.
How does a sock knitting machine work?
Each sock knitting machine tends to operate differently, however, hobby models typically share similar features.
These machines generally feature roughly 20-30 needles to create loops of yarn that are woven together into a seamless tube, which is then shaped into a sock.
The needles move in a circular motion, picking up and dropping stitches while the yarn is fed through the machine and guided by a tension mechanism.
The fabric tube grows until it reaches the desired length, at which point the machine stops knitting and the sock can be removed.
Best sock knitting machines
Finding the perfect sock knitting machine to accommodate different skill sets and demands isn’t necessarily easy — especially if you’re searching for something affordable.
That said, we’ve gathered our top picks to suit everyone, from complete beginners to seasoned knitters.
Best sock knitting machine: Addi Express Pro Knitting Machine
Addi knitting machines are the cream of the crop in the machine knitting world and, undoubtedly, the most competitive brand in the market. And rightly so.
While the King Size Addi is a must for highly invested machine knitters, if you’re determined to stick to sock-making and other small to medium-sized projects, the Addi Express Pro is an excellent alternative — and cheaper.
The Addi Express Pro features 22 sturdy plastic needles and can knit tubes (~3-6 inches/ 10-15cm diameter) and flat panels (~6-8 inches/ 15-20cm). In addition, the benefit of this device is that it’s compatible with various yarn types, making it the perfect pick if you’re all about experimenting with different materials.
However, basic #3-4 yarn works best, although you can go slightly bulkier. Besides your sock knitting machine, this pack will include five spare needles, a threader, plastic legs to set up your device, and two table clamps for additional security.
Unlike more generic models, this machine incorporates a row counter: this will make keeping track of stitches and rows effortless! Note that this knitting sock machine is operated with a manual crank.
But there is a nifty trick to get things moving even more quickly: an Addi machine adapter. These are affordable, easy to build onto your device, and will get things rolling with the simple help of a standard drill.
Apart from socks, the Addi Express Pro is suitable for thin scarves, slipper socks, legwarmers, baby beanies, small amigurumi, and more. Remember that anything larger, such as adult hats or ponchos, will not get done with this device.
Overall, investing in this high-quality Addi is where it’s at if your goal is top-notch results and reliable performance.
Best value for money: Sentro Smart Knitting Machine
Sentro is another reliable knitting machine brand, especially for its undeniable value for money.
Much like the Addi, Sentro is well-known for its larger 48-needle model. However, this 22-needle version makes for the perfect sock knitting machine for crafters on a budget, adult beginners, and creative teens.
It’s also much cheaper than the Addi, going for under $40. This hard-plastic device features non-slip suction cups to help your machine stay in place while cranking, although you might want to purchase some table clamps separately for extra security.
There are also adapters you can buy for this brand/device; see them here. This dual-mode machine makes flat and tube pieces (roughly 3 inches wide) and can accommodate more than just sock-making: knitted toys, scarves, baby beanies, and gloves, to name a few.
Again, don’t expect to get into heavy-duty knitting with this machine. If you want more options, then we recommend the larger Sentro model instead.
Mind you, using compatible yarn with your machine is essential. Like most circular sock knitting machines, we recommend using lightweight sport and baby yarns (#4 and under).
Heads up, this device doesn’t respond well to the uber-popular (and one of our favorites!) Red Heart Super Saver yarn: it’s an excellent yarn for rug tufting but not for this machine.
It’s important to point out that one of the tricky parts about purchasing a Sentro is that you’ll come across a lot (and I mean a lot) of generic look-alikes. While these devices’ overall look and functionalities are similar, they will display different brand names.
However — surprise, surprise — they’re mostly manufactured in the same place. That said, whether you get an official Sentro or a “knock-off,” know that you’ll essentially be getting the same machine. On the other hand, we like to stick to Sentro, so if you’re anything like us, click below to get the real deal.
Best for beginners: Prym MIDI Knitting Mill Machine
In a way, it’s fair to say that Prym is somewhat of a direct competitor with Addi in the sense that both brands attract very loyal users and have a pretty solid fan base (yes, crafters can be groupies too!)
That said, this is an excellent choice if you’re “team Prym” and are looking for an easy-to-use sock knitting machine for an affordable price. Or, if you’re simply not up for splurging on an Addi.
The Prym MIDI knitting mill creates both tubes (20 hooks to create an 8-inch circumference) and flat panels (16 hooks to create 4.75-inch wide pieces). Better yet, this machine makes changing yarn colors a simple task that’s easy and intuitive to learn.
Besides socks, it’s perfect for small projects like cuffs, legwarmers, wristbands, textile phone cases, and more and is extremely user-friendly, whether you’re an experienced machine knitter or starting from scratch.
It incorporates a versatile tension guide with multiple positions, which allows you to accommodate different yarn types. Yarns with needle thicknesses #2-6 are very compatible.
With 100g of 420m-long wool, you can knit something up within just a few minutes. Talk about getting things done! Of course, this will only happen once you’ve fully mastered this device and know how to use it correctly.
Like the previous items, you will need to crank this device manually, but Prym does sell this Universal Row Counter under its brand.
Best pro-grade sock knitting machine: Knit the Change 3D Printed Circular Knitting Machine
This 3D-printed sock knitting machine is available on Etsy and is destined for the ultimate sock maker looking for one-of-a-kind devices and customized knitting possibilities.
Since it’s created through 3D printing, this machine will come in separate parts vs. a completed device. This means you’ll be required to assemble this item from scratch. No quick setups here!
Compared to standard circular knitting machines for socks, 3D-printed models are more expensive. And understandably so. Each device is based on a singular design developed by creative individuals and, therefore, holds greater value.
And while this particular machine will cost you slightly over $400, you’ll be happy to know that this is a pretty sweet deal in the 3D-printed CSM world. For example, the popular brand Dean & Bean sells this model for just a little under $1000 — and this is one of the more affordable alternatives.
This specific machine includes three cylinders (48, 54, and 60) and 60 needles that work with each. This allows you to make other items other than socks. The base mounts directly onto a table with the help of bolts and nuts included in your set.
To install your base, you will need to source clamps on your own, however. Stitch tension is adjusted with buttons featured at the front of the machine, and you’ll have a row counter to help you monitor your stitches as you knit.
This counter works incredibly well, especially since it registers data when your device is in “sleep mode”. In return, this allows you to pick up where you left off after you’ve taken some time away from your knitting activities.
Know that this machine works best with #1 super fine sock yarn, although we encourage reaching out to this seller if you’re thinking of experimenting with other types of yarns. We really like Opal Yarn, for example; it’s perfect for everything from socks to sweaters.
Want to learn more about 3D-printed sock knitting machines? We’ve left a few resources at the end of our article, including free downloadable designs!
Best for kids: WISHRUN Mushroom Knitting Machine
This mushroom-shaped circular knitting machine for socks is the way to go if you’re looking for easy-to-learn options for children and young teens.
Besides being intuitive and fuss-free, it’s a great-looking sock maker with the perfect size for smaller hands. While ideal for socks, this device has 32 needles, meaning you can make more medium-sized items too, such as toddler beanies, thin scarves, amigurumi, and more.
This is a great pick to make basic rag dolls and sock puppets!
Adults can also get something out of this option, especially if curious about test-driving the sock-machine-making trend on a budget. You don’t have to jump in with an Addi right away!
Just remember that this is a very basic model — but it works very well nonetheless. This machine knits flat and round stitches with the help of a hand crank and works best with super fine yarn, although you can go slightly bulkier.
Keep in mind that this is a more generic product, so go easy on the crank to ensure your knitting stays aligned and tangle-free! Also, purchasing a digital row counter separately will help you immensely as a beginner: this item is not included.
One of the cons of this model is that instructions may be a little scattered. However, the upside is that there are tons of online tutorials to get you through your doubts. Or, who knows, your kid might be a natural and get the hang of things quickly!
In addition to this device, sets will include a crochet needle, a non-slip mat, instructions, two hand needles, screws, suction cups for the base, and four basic lightweight yarn skeins.
Resources, tips, and tools for machine sock knitting projects
Before diving into your sock-making ventures, there are a few tools and additional resources that we believe will help you work more efficiently. Especially if you’re just starting out!
Below are a few tools that will keep your craft desk tidy, knitting organized, and your projects looking great!
- Yarn winder: Wind up loose yarn quickly into perfect skeins and cakes. This will enhance workflow and provide a roomy craft table.
- Yarn bowl: Add a yarn bowl to your craft area to hold debris-free skeins in place as you work. In addition, they provide the perfect amount of tension to help you control your yarn as you knit.
- Knitting machine adapter: Add an adapter to your crank to speed up work with a drill, whether you need to knit in bulk or give your wrist a well-deserved break. Note that these are available for different brands. You can easily find the Addi adapter and Sentro adapter online.
- Row counter: These add-ons are affordable and worth the purchase to ensure your work always stays on track.
- Crochet hooks: These will come in handy when casting off and applying finishes to your socks.
The internet is an excellent source of inspiration, ideas for workarounds, and helpful tips.
Here are a few we think will come in handy.
- Free yarn conversion chart
- Quick and Easy Socks on the Addi Express Tutorial
- How to Knit Socks on the Sentro Knitting Machine Tutorial
- Free downloadable 3D sock machine printing design by Printables
- Thingiverse 3D printed sock knitting machines
- How to build a 3D-printed sock machine
- Machine Knitting Sock Pattern
- Rainbow Sausage Dog Circular Knitting Machine Pattern
That’s all for this guide on the best sock knitting machines for crafters! Which machine or model will you be getting? Let everyone know in the comments below!