While manually winding yarn can be pleasant and relaxing, it also has the potential of becoming a never-ending knot-untangling adventure you wish you hadn’t signed up for.
This is when yarn ball winders come to the rescue! So, what’s a yarn winder, you ask? These manual or electric tabletop devices are used to wind yarn into perfect center-pull cakes, balls, and skeins — and boy do they speed things up, too!
If you want to make life easier and focus on the creative side of your needlecraft or fiber art projects, we highly suggest considering a yarn winder. They come in different styles, prices, and capacities: you just need to figure out what works best for you.
Need some guidance? Keep reading to find our favorite yarn winders below!
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Best yarn winders: Quick picks
Yarn Ball Winder by Knit Picks
- Perfect option for beginners
- Compact size
Blue Epoxy Resin Yarn Winder by Star Handicrafts
- Upscale device
- One-of-a-kind design
- Ideal gift for longtime crafters
Valet Yarn Ball Winder by KnitPicks
- Portable and inexpensive
- Additional storage compartment
- For all skill levels
What is a yarn ball winder? Do I need one?
Yarn winders are incredibly time-saving, convenient, and can be relatively affordable, depending on your preferences and needs.
But the question is: Do you need one? We say yes!
Here are a few reasons why adding a yarn winder to your craft station will be worth it:
- The tool helps detect if there are defects in the yarn beforehand
- Creates a flat-bottomed ball that prevents yarn balls 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
Below you’ll find our picks for some of the best yarn winders we think every knitter and crochet enthusiast should own!
Whether you’re looking for a jumbo yarn winder, an electric yarn winder, or a traditional, wooden model, we’re confident you’ll find something in our lineup you’ll love.
1. Yarn Ball Winder by Knit Picks
- Modern design
- Very affordable
- Discount bundles available
This Knit Picks yarn winder is an excellent choice, particularly ideal for beginners who want to try out a quality tool for the first time without spending a fortune.
But don’t let its simple design fool you. This yarn winder can wind up to 100 grams of yarn, making perfectly shaped yarn cakes within just a few minutes!
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The plastic yarn winder is also very light and compact, which allows for easy storing no matter how big or small your craft workspace is.
For the sake of more efficient packaging, this yarn winder arrives with its metal arm unattached; this is the only part that requires assembling before getting 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 built with top gear, including materials that guarantee minimal noise coming from the device while at work.
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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 features a rubber padding to protect your surface.
In addition to this, this item comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee upon purchase; click below to learn more!
3. Blue Epoxy Resin Yarn Ball Winder by Star Handicrafts
- High-end yarn winder
- Smooth, manual operating
- Winds skeins up to 1b
If you’re looking for a unique, thoughtful gift for a loved one who’s passionate about knitting, this Epoxy Resin Yarn Winder by Star Handicrafts is absolutely stunning.
While upscale and on the pricier side, one thing is sure: you won’t find another model quite like this one. It’s perfect for avid crafters who love collecting one-of-a-kind tools — this yarn winder will look amazing on display!
Shipped from India and delivered worldwide, this yarn winder is built with Rosewood and features an anti-skid base, as well as an easy-to-remove spindle and arm fold that make storage convenient.
Note that this is a manual device vs. an electronic yarn winder and can wind up to approximately 1 lb worth of yarn. It’s important to know that this tool may take a while to assemble. However, when in doubt, remember: YouTube is your friend!
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.
Despite its simplicity, this tool helps manage the tension of more delicate yarn. It also offers the benefit of being a convenient, on-the-go alternative if you tend to craft from various locations.
Read also: Best knitting kits
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 device 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 Knit Picks item offers a little surprise you’ll enjoy.
Sleek and simple in design and color, this portable winder incorporates a storage compartment to hold a series of knitting tools: tapestry needles, small-sized knitting needles, and crochet hooks.
Read also: Best crochet hooks
This winder measures slightly over 9.5 inches long and 2 inches wide (at its widest tip) and makes uniform, consistent balls without fail!
Having access to a storage compartment and winding tool in a single item is certainly a plus busy needlecrafters will appreciate.
6. Yarn Winder by Craft Destiny
- Knitting kit included
- Small-sized device
- Ready to use right out of the box
This yarn winder is a smaller version of the more modern plastic crank style of this device.
Although it only holds up to 4 ounces of yarn, this pack offers other perks to make up for its smaller capacity: a complete knitting kit including stitch markers, a yarn gauger, measuring tape, and more.
Read also: Best crochet kits
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 and features a plastic grip on the end so your hand won’t slip while in action.
In addition, this yarn winder has rubber feet to protect your tabletop and can clamp onto surfaces that are up to 1.75 inches thick.
7. Signature Mega Wool Winder by Knitter’s Pride
- Anti-friction bearings
- Free shipping
- Unique design
If you’re looking for something a little different, wooden winders are great options — and undoubtedly more aesthetic than their plastic-built 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: Yarn bowl buyer’s guide
Not only is the device beautiful, but features a high-quality turntable and smooth operation.
This wooden 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’s definitely worth considering if you’re 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, portable 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 makes this a beautiful gift any crafter will love to have.
Read also: Knitting machine buyer’s guide
This elegant handheld winder features a series of grooved grips for a secured fit and minimum 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 up to 500 grams.
Read also: Best chunky yarn for arm knitting
This yarn winder is recommended for more experienced crafters and includes a table clamp, a non-slip base, and a belt-operated mechanism for additional winding space.
You can select from two types of wood and an extra belt at purchase; check out these options by clicking below.
10. Jumbo Electric Cone Yarn Winder by CPointBox
- Versatile device
- Speed control setting
- Adapter and plug 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 — especially rug tufters.
Read also: Essential tufting supplies
The fully adjustable speed control option is also a plus, giving you full control of the process. 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. It’s shipped from China and delivered worldwide.
All you have to do is 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!