Although winding yarn by hand can be somewhat meditative, doing this task manually is definitely time-consuming and likely to turn into an epic hassle of knots and tangles.
This is when yarn winders come to the rescue!
A yarn winder is precisely what the name sounds like: a device that winds yarn for you while you mostly remain effort-free.
By using this tool, winding a hank, a ball, or skein to get your knitting or crocheting masterpieces off the ground will become a step you no longer need to dread.
Despite these devices coming in different sizes and capacities, they all share the most important benefit: making your life easier!
To know where you can find the best yarn winder for your next project, continue reading to find inspiration for your next purchase.
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Best yarn winders: Quick picks
Yarn Ball Winder by KnitPicks
- Perfect yarn winder for beginners
- Compact size
Standard Electronic Maple Yarn Winder by theknitstore
- Electronic device
- Silent motor
- Pricey, but worth it
Valet Yarn Ball Winder by KnitPicks
- Portable and inexpensive
- Additional storage compartment
- For all skill levels
What is a yarn winder? Do I need one?
Yarn winders are incredibly time-saving, pretty much easy to find, and affordable, depending on your preferences and needs.
But do you need one? Yes!
The more traditional of these devices are usually recognized by their hand-crank winders that clamp onto a table, requiring minimal hand-operated winding work. However, there are heaps of convenient electric models and beautiful handmade wooden-sculpted yarn winders available too.
When looking into yarn winders, a yarn swift is also a tool to consider. Having one will help you place your yarn in an untangled fashion to support winding your material into a perfect, center-pull ball.
Advantages of using a ball winder yarn machine are:
- Helps detect if there are defects in the yarn before use
- Creates a flat-bottomed ball that prevents yarn ball from rolling as you pull
- Ensures material is untangled in all areas
- Quicker and more practical than hand-winding
- Allows you to speed up baseline work and focus on your knitting/crocheting project
- Makes compact yarn balls that are easier to store and organize
- Does not affect the elasticity of your yarn
- Enables access to both ends of the yarn
Whether you’re just getting into crafting with yarn or a seasoned pro, you should definitely look into getting yourself a yarn winder — we promise, it will totally pay off in the long run!
Best yarn winders
With the array of options on the market, choosing the best yarn winder can be a bit of a challenge.
Below you’ll find our selection of the top 10 yarn ball winders every knitting or crochet enthusiast has or — aspires to own!
Whether you’re looking for a jumbo yarn winder, an electric yarn winder, or just a standard yarn winder and swift, you can count on having more time to create and enjoy this craft with the help of these devices!
1. Yarn Ball Winder by KnitPicks
- Modern design
- Very affordable
- Discount bundles available
This KnitPick winder is an excellent choice, particularly for beginners who want to test this tool out for an affordable price while experimenting with a straightforward and practical option.
For the most part, this type of plastic winders are light and compact, which allows for convenient fitting into any crafting workspace, no matter how big or small.
But don’t let its simple design fool you. This yarn winder successfully winds up to 100 grams of yarn, making perfectly shaped yarn cakes in just a short amount of time.
For the sake of more efficient packaging, this yarn winder arrives with its metal arm placed flat and unattached. This is the only part that needs assembling (opposite the crank) once ready to get hands-on!
Knit Picks also sells a variety of yarn swifts you might want to consider to support your prep work before you start knitting or crocheting away.
2. Large Jumbo Metal Yarn/Wool/String/Fiber Ball Winder by LAMXD
- Reduced noise
- Rubber padding to protect surfaces
- Sewing trimming scissors included
If you tend to work on projects that require large amounts of yarn, a jumbo ball winder will surely come in handy!
This yarn winder has an unbreakable metal crank and is made with top gear, including materials that guarantee minimal noise coming from the device while at work.
Because it’s composed of cast iron and layered with plastic, its sturdiness and durability ensure lesser wear and tear than traditional models.
Creating thread balls ranging between 100 grams to 10 ounces, this yarn winder comfortably clamps onto tables up to 1.4 inches thick and comes in a rubber padding to protect your surface.
In addition to this, this item comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee upon purchase.
3. Standard Electronic Maple Yarn Ball Winder by theknitstore
- Electronic machine VS manual work
- Elegant, handmade piece
- Can be paid in installments
If the thought of having to manually turn your yarn into a ball makes you want to give up the craft altogether (yes, being lazy is human!), then this electronic yarn winder is the perfect solution for you.
This handmade maple electric yarn winder is not only functional but will look gorgeous next to all of your colorful, precisely wrapped yarn balls.
This machine has a rubber base to ensure stability and works smoothly, no matter how much you crank up the speed control.
Another great feature of this yarn winder is its silent motor, so you can expect total bliss while crafting away! Apart from looking beautiful, the sound of silence will be an additional delight!
4. Nostepinne Maple Wood Center Pull Ball Yarn Winder by Nagina International
- 100% money-back guarantee
If old-school crafting is your jam, it doesn’t get much simpler than this manual yarn winder: portable notched, sanded, and polished maple stick.
Despite its simplicity, this tool helps manage the tension of more delicate yarn and also has the add-on of being a convenient, on-the-go alternative for those who usually carry their projects everywhere they go.
Lightweight and functional, this wooden center-pull ball yarn winder is 11 inches long and 0.5 inches in diameter, allowing lots of yarn to be winded into a single ball.
Because there are so many modern options available today, this yarn winder may present a few challenges for those unfamiliar with this more traditional winding approach.
However, rest assured, there are plenty of free online resources for troubleshooting like this Knit with Hannah video on Youtube!
5. Yarn Valet Yarn Ball Winder by KnitPicks
- Secret compartment to store knitting materials
- Modern design
If you like the idea of a portable yarn ball winder but are looking for something a little different to stand out in the knitting crowd, this KnitPicks item offers a little surprise you’ll enjoy.
Sleek and simple in design and color, this portable winder is also a storage item for a series of knitting tools: tapestry needles, small-sized knitting needles, and crochet hooks.
This winder measures slightly over 9.5 inches long/2 inches wide (at its widest tip) and makes uniform, consistent balls without fail!
Having access to a secret crafting compartment and winding tool all in one is certainly something you won’t want to miss out on.
6. Yarn Winder by Craft Destiny
- Knitting kit included
- Ready to use right out of the box
This yarn winder is a smaller version of the modern plastic crank version of this device.
It can hold just 4 ounces of yarn, but what it lacks in capacity, it makes up for by offering a knitting kit including stitch markers, a yarn gauger, measuring tape, and more.
It’s also ready to go once removed from the box: just clamp it to a table, insert your yarn, and start spinning!
The handle is also ergonomic in its design and has a plastic grip on the end so your hand won’t slip while in action.
In addition, it has rubber feet to protect your tables and can clamp on tables up to 1.75 inches.
7. Signature Mega Wool Winder by YarnShop4U
- Anti-friction bearings
- Free shipping
- Unique design
If you want an upgrade from more modern yarn ball winders, try an attractive wooden one!
They take up more room, but they look much more elegant than their plastic counterparts. This large yarn winder is made from natural birch wood and can wind up to 450 grams of fingering weight yarn (also known as sock yarn).
Read also: Macrame cord: Where to buy and how to choose
Not only is the look of it beautiful, but the turntable of this winder has a sublime, colorful design that matches the quality of its smooth functionality.
The winder ensures perfect winding with its anti-friction bearing and rubber pads which help keep the machine firmly in place while at work. Despite being one of the priciest suggestions on our guide, it is definitely worth a shot if you are passionate about this craft!
8. Knitter’s Pride – Earth Nostepinne (Portable Yarn Ball Winder) by HandsomeFibers
- Grooved finger grips for minimal slipping
- Beautiful design
This easy, on-the-go yarn winder is made from an absolutely gorgeous piece of laminated birch.
The lamination process gives its earth tones a glossy, almost metallic shine that brings beauty and delight into the process of crafting every time.
This elegant handheld winder comes with grooved grips for a comfortable fit, not allowing slippage. The widest part of this winder is 4 inches and measures approximately 12 inches in length.
9. Rosewood Yarn Ball Winder by HeavenofCrafts
- Premium materials
- Extra belt option available
- Winds up to 500 grams
This rosewood yarn ball winder is a limited edition and Etsy Star Seller, a perfect choice for vintage enthusiasts who love to create an aesthetic workspace.
The premium quality of this item is ideal for large capacities and lets you transform hanks and skeins into organized center-pull cakes. It can wind up to 500 grams.
This yarn ball winder is recommended for more experienced crafters and includes a table clamp, a non-slippery base, and a belt-operated mechanism providing additional winding space.
You can select from two types of wood and an extra belt during purchase.
10. Jumbo Electric Cone Yarn Winder by EFFYTuftPunchCraft
- Versatile device
- Speed control setting
- Universal voltage adapter included
This electric yarn winder looks like an unexpected mishmash of different parts, but don’t be mistaken by its Frankenstein-like design.
Easy to put together, this winder has a cone-shaped piece to create “cakes” instead of standard balls and is especially handy for fiber artists — particularly for rug tufting.
The fully adjustable speed control option is also a plus, so you can set it as slow or fast as you like. Once done, you can remove the plastic spool directly from the machine and work off it.
This machine can be adjusted to work with finer yarns or multiple threads, which is a huge timesaver and can hold up to 500 grams of yarn.
Hook up your yarn, flip a switch and watch it go!
That’s it for our guide to the best yarn winders you can buy! Any advice for other intrepid crafters? Let everyone know in the comments below!