At Knit Picks, we know that having the right set of needles is what makes knitting enjoyable, and we strive to have a wide variety of material, types, and shapes to choose from at affordable price points. We work directly with our manufacturers to create our exclusive needles, and our small Knit Picks team knits with every new style on our personal projects to be sure they meet our high standards and will be loved by knitters everywhere. Learning more about our materials, types, and shapes will help you to find the perfect styles for your hands and projects.

About Our Needle Materials

When selecting needle material, there are a few benefits between the different materials that may make one slightly better than another for a project or skill level, and we aspire to include every popular material in our needle selection. Every needle material can work well for a project, with slight added benefits or drawbacks, so the most important thing to consider when choosing a needle material is if it’s comfortable in your hands. That can be challenging to determine from a written description, so we offer Try It sets with a wood and metal needle paired together!

Materials »


Naturally warm to the touch, wood needles are comfortable to hold and slightly flexible, making them incredibly easy on the hands. Most Knit Picks wood needles are made from laminated birch. The lamination process creates a strong and smooth needle, which means yarn glides easily when working with them, though some wood texture remains. The natural texture of wood is ideal for working with slippery yarns such as silk and great for beginner knitters because it makes it harder for stitches to accidentally slip off the needles. The biggest drawback to wood needles is that they can break if sat on or chewed on by a pet, but well-cared for wood needles that get safely stored away after use can last a lifetime.

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Nickel needles have dedicated fans due to the super smooth surface for speedy knitting. Textured yarns or “stickier” yarns slide easily over the needle, so it’s a great choice for knitting with wool. Our nickel-plated needles have a slick, smooth surface which allows your stitches to move freely while the hollow brass tube is extremely lightweight for hours of comfortable knitting for most. Nickel needles can be cold and inflexible, which can be desirable because they do not break easily, but those with hand stiffness or other hand mobility difficulties may find them uncomfortable to use for long periods of time. Nickel can also be a common allergy and patina if not stored properly, so this metal needle is not an ideal fit for every knitter, but for those without allergies, they’re a popular choice.

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Stainless Steel

Stainless steel needles like our Reflections needles offer all the benefits of metal needles with very few drawbacks. Our Reflections needles are slick and light thanks to their hollow 100% stainless steel tips, and they warm slightly as you use them. These are the slickest needles we offer, with a super smooth surface that speedy knitters will love. Although the stainless steel alloy includes a tiny amount of nickel, these needles generally do not cause reactions for knitters with nickel allergies, and they won’t tarnish or patina if left out and untouched. The strength of stainless steel allows for finer gauge interchangeable needles to be able to hold up to long term use, so our Lace IC set that features needle tips as small as US 0 (2.00 mm) is available exclusively in stainless steel.

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Aluminium needles, such as our Prism needles, are the lightest metal needles and can have super sharp points. These needles warm in your hands as you use them, and they have a moderate amount of texture when compared to other metal needle types that helps keep stitches from accidentally falling off the needle. Aluminium needles are a great choice for newer knitters who prefer metal needles, and they’re the best alternative to wood for wood-needle fans who find working with a sticky yarn is slowing them down too much. Because aluminium is not a very rigid, strong metal, aluminium needles can bend easily and lose their shape, which is why we only offer Prisms in larger needle sizes.

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The Different Needle Types

The type of needle used is typically dictated by a pattern or project, so we made sure to have a wide selection to choose from! Although all needle types are useful for at least one project category, some needle types can be used for a lot more projects than others, so understanding the limitations of some types can help when building a needle collection on a budget.

Types »

Straight Needle

When imagining knitting, straight needles often come to mind. They’re easy for beginners to learn on because the endcaps of straight needles help to make it clear which end to work from. Straight needles can only be used on projects that are knit flat in rows, and the length of the needle limits how many stitches can be held.

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Fixed Circular Needles

Fixed circular needles connect two needle tips in the same size permanently with a set-length cable. They can be used to knit either in the round or flat, and fixed circular with a long enough cable can be used to magic loop and knit smaller circumferences. The cable length can restrict the amount of stitches that can be comfortably knit, so most knitters tend to have a selection of lengths for each size they use if they prefer fixed circular needles.

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Interchangeable Circular Needles

The most versatile needle option, interchangeable circular (IC) needles are similar to fixed circular needles, but the needle tips are connected to the cables using a threaded join similar to a screw, so needle tips and cable lengths can be interchanged to create custom circular needles. Although an IC set has a larger up front cost, they tend to be more affordable for passionate knitters because a set of 9 tips with 3 cable lengths provides the equivalent number of options as 27 fixed circular needles, and the tips and cables can also be purchased individually to create custom sets.

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Double Pointed Needles

Coming in sets of 5-6, Double Pointed Needles (DPNs) are shorter needles with points on both ends that are used in squares and pentagon arrangements to work in the round in small circumference. Stitches will be evenly divided between 4-5 DPNs, and the remaining needle is used to knit the next set of stitches, which frees up a new DPN that becomes the working needle. They are not ideal for knitting flat or knitting larger circumferences in the round.

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Cable Needles

As the name hints, cable needles are for cabling, but they’re never used alone. Cable needles are very short and are used to hold stitches to the front or back to shape a cable while the rest of the knitting is done using any of the needle styles outlined above.

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Two Needle Shapes

If you didn’t know knitting needles come in different shapes, we can’t blame you! The introduction of non-round knitting needles was relatively recent in the long history of fiber crafts, but we love the different experiences they offer. Choosing a needle shape comes down to what is most comfortable in your hands.

Shapes »


You can’t go wrong with the classic! Stitches move freely on round needles, and knitters have full control over their stitch tension and needle hold. Because there are fewer stress points on round needles where they may break, round needles can be made in a huge range of sizes and materials.


Square needles like our Foursquare needles provide flat surfaces for your fingers to rest on, and this creates better posture, which helps relieve stress on joints and hand fatigue. The better posture also helps produce more consistent stitches for knitters who struggle with that issue. There are some limitations in needle material and size due to the unique shape.

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