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The secret to getting highly productive in knitting or crocheting lies in being neat and organized.
And one tool that will help you achieve this is the best yarn winder.
The handy tool will save you the time-consuming (and sometimes annoying) task of winding your yarn skein by hand.
It also ensures you don’t end up with frustrating tangles and knots—which ain't fun!
If you’ve made up your mind to get a yarn winder, it’s important to understand that there are plenty of them at the market today…made with different materials, manual and electric, and with varying costs.
BEFORE you choose a yarn winder, you’ll need to ensure it’ll meet your specific needs.
In today’s guide, we’re going to share with you a total of 11 best yarn winders that will make knitting life easier (and what to look for when buying a winder).
What’s a Yarn Winder?
Many questions might be running across your mind…like what is this odd thing? Do I really need one? And so on…
In the simplest possible terms, a yarn winder refers to a ball winder used to transform yarn hanks into ready to use balls or cakes.
A typical winder allows you to secure the tail end of your skein at the top of its cone before winding so that you can create a ball that you can use from the center or top.
The MAIN idea behind using a yarn winder is to save you time. Depending on the bulkiness of your yarn, you can wind a 5o-yarn ball 60 seconds or less! If you do this by hand, it’ll take up to 10x longer—taking up all your time for knitting.
Another reason why you should use a yarn winder is that it helps prevent your yarn from getting easily tangle when using. If you try getting toward the end of a skein without first winding, there are high chances that some yarn barf will get involved somewhere—requiring you to stop sewing and fix the mess!
Many crocheters have also admitted that these tools can be a great way to inspect your yarn for any knots or weak points, enabling you to fix them before you start your project.
And yes, you can make your own yarn cakes from scratch with your yarn ball winder, instead of spending your cash on a ready-made cake.
Any partial skeins that are left over after finishing a project will be easier to keep organized when in cakes as opposed to when they’re in the form of floppy skeins.
Apparently, a yarn winder will help you accomplish many more things than you can imagine!
In our next section, we’ll take a look at the 11 most used yarn winders currently available on the market.
Our Best Yarn Winder Picks:
1. Knit Picks Yarn Ball Winder
We kick off our yarn winder review list with the Knit Picks Yarn Ball Winder. This is one of the most popular ball winders for knitters and crocheters who want to get more productive in their work.
When you first lay your hands on this winder, you might doubt its and ability and convenience due to its lightweight feel and the need for assembly… but once you set it up in 3 easy-peasy steps and try it out, you’ll get surprised at how durable and efficient it is. It’ll easily transform your hanks and skeins into compact center-pull balls which sit nicely as you work on your project.
To set up this manually operated winder for correct operation, you simply position the guide arm opposite the winding hand and voila! You have a little cool gadget that can handle yarns of up to 100 grams (or 3.5 ounces).
With this winder, you can wind mass balls of yarn at a time. It’ll help you create the perfect cakes—similar to those you’ve been buying from the stores—with the ultimate ease.
As for the price tag, this is one of the best bargains you can get today!
2. Stanwood Needlecraft YBW-A Hand-Operated Yarn Ball Winder
Next in the line, we have the Stanwood Needlecraft YBW-A Yarn Ball Winder. This particular yarn features a good-looking design that combines royal blue and cream colors. Like the previous winder, this one is also hand-operated.
The winder will also make it possible and easy for you to make the center pull balls… but with yarns of a greater capacity than our previous model (can handle up to 4oz yarn capacity).
It comes with a clamp-on base, allowing you to securely and firmly fix it on the edge of a table, bench chair, or any other convenient location. The good thing about these clamp-on winders is that they become more stable to operate, making the overall winding task easier.
For the best results, we recommend you to use this yarn winder with a swift yarn winder (Amish and Umbrella style swifts will do). However, this is not to say that you cannot operate the winder with your arms only.
The overall craftsman of this ball winder is also worth a mention. Compared it to the model YBW-B from the same manufacturer and most of the other models out there, we found that it operates more smoothly and with less noise.
3. Cutehill Umbrella Swift Yarn Winder
If you’re looking for the best yarn swift and ball winder with affordable cost, you’ll find this Cutehill Umbrella Swift Yarn Winder a great choice. It comes packed with great features and functions usually found in the higher-priced models.
Also a manually operated winder, this tool is great for winding laces, lines, yarns, fiber, and a variety of other strings.
Like the previous models, you’ll also need to clamp it on a table to make it stable and ready for use. Luckily, the setup process is super-easy (with pictorial instructions included). We recommend you to mount it on a table of thickness greater than 1.69 inch (4.3cm). Keep in mind that the clamp is adjustable to facilitate horizontal, vertical, or angled operation.
When fully set up, the winder will not take up much space…its exact dimensions are 17 x 19 x 21 inches, and has a clamp/clip height of 1.69 inch(4.3cm).
Probably the best about this package is that it comes with one-piece umbrella swift yarn winder included. The integral handle of this swift winder will enable you to use it as a winder.
4. Stanwood Needlecraft Large Metal Yarn/Fiber/Wool/String Ball Winder
Stanwood Needlecraft Yarn Winder is the best yarn ball winder popular among professional knitters and crocheters. It has far much greater yarn winding capabilities than the standard winders, which explains why it comes at a higher cost.
One of the top reasons why professional love this winder is its superior quality, heavy-duty construction to enable it to hold up to heavy use. The cog wheels are made using special nylon material which is not only super-strong but also produces less noise than metal cogwheels. The entire frame is painted using electrostatic painting to ensure it does not easily come out.
Assembling the machine is quite simple and straightforward…and does not require any tools. You just clamp it onto a table, and that’s all (being a heavy-duty machine, you can attach to tables with a thickness of up to 2 1/8").
The edges of the machine are super-smooth to ensure it won’t leave any marks on the table.
Another fascinating thing about this yarn winder is the ability to handle up to 10 oz of yarn—which is 2.5 times bigger than what the smaller models can handle. You can choose to pair the winder with a swift winder (Umbrella or Amish style), or any other device…or just use your arms.
5. Housweety Yarn/fiber/wool/string Ball Winder
At position #5 of our top yarn ball winder reviews, we have the Housweety Yarn Ball Winder. This is a great choice for avid crocheters and knitters looking for the best portable (lightweight and compact) yarn winder that they can conveniently take anywhere.
The hand-operated winder is extremely easy to set up and does not require any tools for the job. You just need to lock it on the table, tighten it up with the included button… and it’s ready for use!
The affordably priced yarn winder is made to wind up to 250 grams of yarn so it might not be the best choice for bigger projects. Since it features a durable construction of plastic plus alloy, you can rest assured that it’ll hold up to dozens of winds without any issues.
Like the fellow small winders featured on this list, this winder operates smoothly and quickly, with very little noise.
6. Marrywindix Bobbin Winder Yarn Winder
Marrywindix Bobbin Winder Yarn Winder is also a compact, lightweight yarn winder which you can take with you to any place. We recommend this winder for family use or beginner crocheters and knitters.
Falling in the same affordable price range as most of the other small winders we’ve discussed above, this model will help you transform your loose yarn into immaculate, well-organized yarn balls. It will turn your yarn skeins and hanks into clean and neat center pull balls and cakes which will make your knitting easier and hassle-free.
It boats of a heavy-duty plastic construction which enables it to withstand many, many winds without any issues. Not to forget an elegant design for the style-conscious users.
The functional gadget little or no assembly. It easily attaches to a table, bench or any counter top without leaving behind any marks and damages. The attachment cramp will work on any winder with a thickness of up to 1.5 inches.
7. Lacis Jumbo Yarn Ball Winder
If you’re an avid knitter, you should also consider the Lacis Jumbo Yarn Ball Winder as one of your top options.
The reason why we recommend it to avoid readers is that it comes with a large capacity—can hold up to 10 oz of ball yarn. It does an excellent making center pull ball yarns.
As with all the other winders that made up to this list, this winder installs easily and quickly. It conveniently clamps to the table.
If you have a hank of yarn, you can use this jumbo winder in conjunction with a swift yarn winder.
The full package includes: the jumbo ball winder, yarn guide and yarn guide mount, winder body, cone, two swing arms, and a set of instructions.
8. Windaze Yarn ball winder
For medium-sized projects, you can’t go wrong with the Windaze Yarn ball winder. The yarn winder is designed with just the right amount of durability to last you a long period of time. It’s easy to use for everyone and comes with an affordable price tag.
Getting the winder ready for use is as easy as clamping it on the table, chair, or any countertops with a thickness of up to 1.4 inches. As long as you properly clamp it, this tool will remain ultra-stable as you continue winding more and more yarns.
When it comes to performance, this functional winder is also unbeatable! It’ll easily transform your skeins and hanks into clean and neat center pull balls and cakes which will make your crocheting or knitting life easier. It’ll make it easy for you to make jumbo yarns by providing even flow and preventing bunches, snags, and tangles that are annoying and frustrating.
Users are also happy that this winder makes less noise when running and will wind yarn balls or cakes up to 7 oz. The cogwheels are also fully sealed to prevent them from ‘eating’ your yarn.
You’ll also note that this winder comes integrated with two swing arms. You can use either of them…but NOT both of them at once. The second arm usually acts as a counterbalance.
9. Vktech Swift Yarn Fiber String Ball Wool Winder
As we wind up our list of the best yarn winders, we take a look at the Vktech Swift Yarn Ball Winder. We recommend this 100% brand NEW, improved, top-quality winder for knitters and crocheters looking for the best compact inline winder.
A highly affordable yarn winder, this hand-operated is incredibly easy to use.
First, you’ll need to set up this machine so that you can start using it…this involves clamping or locking it on the table and tightening it up with the included button and its ready for use.
Once it’s fully assembled, the tool will enable you to wind your loose yarn up to 4 oz for more organized knitting.
Also shipped together with this winder is a plastic shaft for added user convenience. The winder produces less noise during operation.
Don’t forget the inline yarn winder features a compact (Size: L*W*H) 22cm*8.5cm*22cm/8.6) and lightweight design to make it a highly portable model that you can carry with you and use anywhere, anytime.
10. Simplicity Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder
If you’re after the best electric yarn ball winder, this is your part. The Simplicity Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder is one of the favorite electric winders for many knitters and crocheters. Being an electric model, you expect it to come at a higher cost than the hand-operated models.
Any serious knitter and crocheter will appreciate how this winder will make their life easy. As with the manual models, it comes full dedicated to turning your loose skeins and hanks into neat balls for stress-free knitting.
The biggest advantage of using this electric model over the manual models is that it executes its job quite faster…plus its powered by electricity, so your wrist won’t get fatigued when running it. With adjustable power levels, you’ll be able to adjust how fast the machine winds your balls.
Unlike the manual models, there’s no setup needed for this electric winder. All you need to do is plug it into a standard 120V power outlet, put it on and it’ll jump into action. No clamping onto the table is required (instead, the machine will suction to the countertop where you’ve placed for extra stability).
Likewise, using this winder is simple and straightforward for everyone. It comes with a set of instructions on how to operate it.
The included will make the machine easy to carry with you to any place!
11. LXD Needlecraft Large Jumbo Metal Yarn/Wool/String/Fiber Ball Winder
We close our top yarn winder reviews LXD Needlecraft Large Jumbo Yarn Ball Winder. As you can tell from its name, this is also a heavy duty yarn winder (with a yarn capacity of up to 10 ounces) that will meet the needs of avid knitters and crocheters.
The overall heavy-duty design of this hand-operated winder enables it to withstand heavy use. The manufacturer has used special nylon material for its cogwheels. This not only makes them unbreakable but also allows them to produce very little noise during operation.
With electrostatic paint, the painting on this winder will not come out easily, even with repeated use.
Installing the yarn winder is super-easy and doesn’t require any tools. The machine is designed to clamp on tables as thick as 1.4 inches. Since its edges are super-smooth, it’ll leave any marks on your table, bench or any countertop where you mount it.
You have nothing to lose by ordering this winder…it comes with a 30-day money back guarantee, meaning you can send it back to the manufacturers within 30 days of purchase if you aren’t satisfied with it.
What To Look For Before Buying One?
As we did mention earlier, the market is filled with multiple yarn winder models. What this means is that you have to be sure the model you pick will meet your specific yarn winding needs and requires.
A few factors go into choosing a suitable yarn winder for you.
When buying a yarn winder, one thing you should look for is the sturdiness of the winder.
You should look for something will last you for an extended period, even with regular use, even if it means paying a little bit extra.
The durability of a yarn winder is directly proportional to the types of material used to design it.
Wooden yarn winders are highly durable and tend to last the plastic winders.
If the winder you plan to buy is made of plastic materials, it’s alight provided it feels durable and has no bad track record of breaking after a few uses.
The table clap used for the winder should also be durable to offer an excellent overall grip for a more stable during operation.
Ease of Use
Remember you’re buying this tool because you want to make your knitting easier, so it should not give you headaches and frustrations during use.
A winder that comes with a simple and straightforward model should give you an idea how to operate it by just looking at it.
Ensure it comes with an easy crank system which feels smooth and produced even tension. In other words, it shouldn’t feel like it’s pulling yarn or it's going to break at any minute.
While still on it, make sure it’s easy to set up too. As you’ve seen in our reviews section above, all the models we’ve featured here require no tools to assemble and come with user manual for easy setup.
The size of yarn balls or cakes (or how much yarn a winder will hold) a yarn winder is also an important consideration when buying a winder.
The low-end models will hold around 3.5-4oz while the higher-end models can hold as much as 16oz or more of yarn cakes.
For heavy-duty use, you’d want to get a yarn winder with an excellent yarn capacity of 10 ounces or more. For medium duty use, a capacity of 7-10 ounces will do. And for smaller projects, consider getting the low-end 3.5-4oz winders.
NOTE: if you get a winder with too small capacity than your needs, you’ll be forced to break your skein into two, which isn’t always good!
The price varies from one type of yarn winder to another.
Depending on your finances, you should be able to decide how much you’re willing to spend on a yarn winder.
And when deciding on a budget, keep in mind that an electric yarn ball winder will cost more than the compact, hand-operated model. A decent electric model will cost you around $89 while a manual winder will cost about $15.
If you’re a beginner crocheter with limited resources, you might consider getting a cheap (but functional) manual winder for now.
For avid knitters and crocheters, you can also find a manual model that meets your yarn winding needs... but getting an electric model will make your work even easier.
Electric vs Manual Yarn Winder
We’ve briefly discussed the electric and manual yarn winders and how their cost varies from each other.
Just a quick reminder, the electric models will cost you more but will enable you to wind more yarn balls and cakes in a shorter period of time (the cost will range from $89 to $210).
The electric models are also less labor intensive as the winding process is electrically powered. This will save your wrist and ensure your hands don’t get fatigued before you can even start working on your project.
The hand-operated winders, on the other hand, will cost less but will take a bit longer to wind your skeins and hanks of yarns into well-organized yarn balls or cakes (you should expect the cost to fall between $11 and $60).
If you don’t have much money to spend, then you’ll obviously limit yourself to the manual winders.
One issue about the manual yarn winders is that it might not be the right winder for knitters with arthritis or dexterity issues.
However, a good number of users will prefer using the manual winder over the electric winder. This is mainly because the manual model offers you full control over it—enabling you to choose for yourself the tension as well as the amount of cake yarns to make.
Besides, an electric yarn ball winder will always require you to mount it near an electrical power outlet. This is unlike the hand-operated machine which you can attach to any table or countertop in your home.
Yarn Winder DIY: How To Build One?
If you’re a handyman and you love trying out new things, this is your part.
Making your own yarn ball winder at the comfort of your home is possible and easier than you can imagine.
The advantage of making your own yarn winder is that it enables you to save some cash, customize your yarn to fit your specific needs, and learn a new skill in the process.
Check the following video on how to make your own winder from freely available materials:
If you want to get more productive in your knitting and crocheting projects, you should start by organizing your loose yarn skeins or hanks into neat, well-organized, balls or cakes.
Since doing this by your hand will consume much of your time, we recommend you to invest in a great yarn winder.
This is a handy tool designed to help you to transform your hanks or loose skeins into ready to use balls or cakes—saving you time while eliminating the knots and tangling associated with loose yarns.
In this guide, we’ve just outlined the 11 most popular yarn winders currently available on the market today. We carefully arched this list to ensure it has yarn winders that fit the needs of different crocheters and knitters.
We’ve also shared with you the KEY factors to look for in a yarn winder when shopping.
Follow this guide to make it easier for you to choose the best yarn winder for your needs.