Are These The BEST Wooden Knitting Needles? KnitPicks Options Laminated Birch Knitting Needle Review

by | Nov 10, 2022

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Looking for the best wooden knitting needles?  I’ve found them!  I’ve tested many brands and types of wooden knitting needles, and these are my all-time favorites.

I’ve been knitting for years, and I’ve tried a lot of different types of knitting needles. But when I want a wooden needle, I always come back to the same ones—the KnitPicks Laminated Birch needles. They are my favorite wooden knitting needles because they are so smooth and slick.

They are perfect for all types of projects, from beginner to advanced. Their affordable prices make them a great choice for everyone. If you’re looking for some of the best wooden knitting needles available, you’ll definitely want to check these out!

FYI: I have purchased every pair of KnitPicks needles I own myself, and I highly recommend them.  KnitPicks did not ask me to review their products, nor did they compensate me for posting this review.  However, I am a KnitPicks Affiliate. This means I may receive a commission at no cost to you if you make a purchase through one of my affiliate links or use my exclusive coupon code. See my affiliate disclosure here. I only promote high-quality products that I personally use and love, and all opinions stated are my own. 

The KnitPicks Options Laminated Birch Knitting Needle Collection

KnitPicks has multiple lines of knitting needles, but the Laminated Birch needles are my favorite.  They are made of strong birch in layers of beautiful colors, with the smoothest coating of all the wooden needles I’ve tried.

Two sets of KnitPicks Options Laminated Birch Knitting Needle Collection and accessories with white marble background

Why are they the best wooden knitting needles?

Here are all of the qualities that I think the best knitting needles should have:

  • Lightweight
  • Sharp Tips
  • Flexible Cords
  • Slick, smooth surfaces with as little friction as possible
  • No paint or other markings that can rub off
  • No areas that constantly snag your stitches as you knit

The KnitPicks birch needles have everything I look for in a high-quality knitting needle, without the flaws I dislike in other needles I’ve tried.  Let’s look at why I love these knitting needles so much.

Smooth Surface

The KnitPicks Birch knitting needles have a smooth, slick coating that makes them glide effortlessly through the yarn. This feature is especially beneficial for those who are new to knitting. It can be difficult to keep the stitches moving smoothly when using uncoated wooden knitting needles.  A high-friction needle surface, like on uncoated bamboo needles, can make your stitches tighter and more difficult to work into.  The smooth coating on the KnitPicks needles can make knitting easier for beginners and help with tension problems caused by high-friction needles.

If you’re a more experienced knitter, the smooth surface makes it much easier to knit faster. The coating helps the stitches glide across freely.  If you’re working with a slippery yarn, like silk, there is still a little friction so stitches won’t slip off.

Durable

The KnitPicks birch knitting needles are also very durable and long-lasting.  I’ve had some of mine for over 7 years, and they still look brand-new. The strong, laminated birch construction ensures that the needles won’t splinter or break easily, even with frequent use.  

Over the years that I’ve been using my KnitPicks needles, I have never had the coating chip or peel.  The circular needles have never come loose from their metal connection.  None of my needles have ever broken, either, and I have at least 30 pairs. (There might be a few more hiding in my stash somewhere.)

Lightweight

Another great feature of laminated birch knitting needles is that they’re very lightweight. They won’t weigh your hands down as you knit, making it easy to knit for long periods of time without getting tired.  

As with all wooden needles, the KnitPicks laminated birch needles warm to your hands. They do not feel cold like metal needles.  They also do not make the typical clinking sound that metal needles make as you knit.

Sharp Tips

The KnitPicks birch knitting needles have sharp tips that easily insert into stitches.  The tips are sharp with a slightly rounded tip, so they don’t split the strands of yarn as you knit.  

Etched Size Markings

The straight and interchangeable circular varieties of the KnitPicks birch knitting needles have etched size markings. The markings will never rub off, no matter how often you use them.   The markings show both the US size and the metric size in millimeters.

different sizes of laminated birch knitting needles with white background

The Straight Needles have their sizes etched into the wood on the ends of the needles.  These markings are also filled with paint. You can easily read the sizes, but the paint can’t rub off since it’s inside the grooves of the etching.

The Interchangeable Circular needles don’t have stoppers on the ends. Instead, the sizes are etched into the metal section that connects the needle tip to the cable.  If they were etched into the needle shaft, the texture would be more likely to snag the yarn. The metal section is the best place for the marking to go on this type of needle.

The double-pointed needles do not have a size marking, which I think is a good thing.  The entire length of a DPN is used in the knitting. If they etched the sizes onto the needle shaft, it would snag the yarn.  So in this case, it is actually better that the needles are not marked.  You can use a needle sizer to check and see which size DPNs you’re using instead.

Flexible, Memory-Free Cords

The KnitPicks interchangeable circular knitting needles come with detachable cords for the stitches to sit on as you knit.  These flexible cords don’t coil or kink on their own, so your knitting stays smooth and uninterrupted.

Since they are memory-free, you can store them coiled up, and they will not retain the coiled shape when you use them.

On the ends, there’s a threaded connection that screws into the metal end of the needle tip.  Sometimes, people have issues with the needle tips coming unscrewed from the cable as they knit. But if you use the included tightening keys to connect the needle to the cable, this won’t happen.  

needle metal cable connector and detachable chord with hand and white marble background

There’s a small hole that runs through the metal cable connectors on both the needle tips and the ends of the cables.  The small tightening key is like a pin that you can insert into these holes.  The tightening keys give you a better grasp and something to twist against so you can make sure the needle and cable are screwed together securely.  

Square or Round Needle Shaft

The KnitPicks birch knitting needles come in round or square shaft varieties.  The round shaft needles are best for knitters who prefer the traditional style of needle. The square shaft needles are best for knitters who prefer a little better grip.  

I have the FourSquare version of the short interchangeable needles. Although the round needles are not hard to grasp at all, the square shape does make it slightly easier to grasp the needles, especially the really short ones.

Multicolored Layers of Wood

Different colors and layers of KnitPicks birch needles with white background and names

Laminated birch is made from layers of wood, and the layers of KnitPicks birch needles are dyed in different colors!  Of course, KnitPicks makes a light, neutral wood version without the colors, but the beautifully colored ones are my favorite.  I have the Majestic, Caspian, and Rainbow wood needles, and they’re all so pretty!  I also tried out a set of Sunstruck DPNs and jumbo interchangeable needle tips.  The natural color blend is subtle, but pretty.

"Are these the BEST wooden knitting needles?" Pinterest image

Are KnitPicks Laminated Birch Knitting Needles good for beginners?

If you’re just starting out, you want needles that are going to be easy to use and won’t frustrate you. With the KnitPicks Laminated Birch needles, you don’t have to worry about that. The tips are pointy enough to easily go into your stitches as long as you don’t have super-tight tension.  The laminated birch is a great choice because it’s durable and long-lasting. You won’t have to worry about breaking or wearing down your needles as you learn how to knit.  These high-quality needles will last you for years to come, so you won’t have to keep upgrading your needles as you continue to improve your knitting skills.  Plus, for a little more money up front, you can get a set that includes a variety of needle sizes, so you’ll always have the right needle for the job.

What wood is best for Knitting Needles?

There are several types of wood used to make knitting needles. Laminated birch is one of the best because of its smooth coating.  This smooth finish doesn’t prevent the stitches from sliding easily across the needles like other uncoated wooden needles.  There are other types of wood used for knitting needles that also have a coated finish. However, they are usually much more expensive than laminated birch.

Bamboo needles, for example, usually do not have a coating, so their surface is not as smooth as laminated birch.  Without that smooth coating, there’s more friction on the surface of bamboo knitting needles. With more friction, it takes more effort to slide the stitches across the needles as you knit.  This can be an issue with any wooden knitting needle that does not have a coating on it.  So in my opinion, laminated birch is the best needle material for those who prefer wooden knitting needles.

Pricing

The KnitPicks Laminated Birch knitting needles are among the best wooden knitting needles on the market, and they come at an affordable price. 

If you choose to purchase pairs of needles or needle tips individually, a pair of straight knitting needles or interchangeable needle tips starts at about $7.50 USD.   Multi-size sets of needles start at around $30 USD, depending on the set.  

What types of Laminated Birch Knitting Needles are available from KnitPicks?

KnitPicks offers a variety of different types of wooden knitting needles, so you can find the perfect set for your project. 

They have interchangeable circular knitting needles, double pointed needles, cable needles, fixed circular knitting needles, and straight single point needles. 

This variety ensures that you can find the perfect set of needles for any project you have in mind, whether you’re working on a small project or a large one. 

Interchangeable Circular Knitting Needles

Of all the different types of needles, interchangeable circular needles are the most versatile.  A fixed circular needle has two needle tips connected by a long, flexible cable that the stitches can slide onto as you knit, whether you’re knitting flat or in the round.

With interchangeable needles, you can disconnect the needle tips from the cable, so you can switch between needle sizes and cable lengths any time you like.  This is awesome, because you don’t have to have a fixed circular needle in 5 or 6 lengths in each needle size to have a complete collection.

Cable Connectors

The cable connectors can also serve other purposes when used with the included accessories.  For example, if you need a really long cable, you can use the cable connector to join two cables together.  Or, if you want to use your size 7 needle tips for another project, you can remove them from your current project and attach the included end caps to the cable to keep the stitches from falling off the cable.  

If you want to remember what size needle you were using on that project, you can slip a needle size ID tag (sold separately) onto the cable to mark your needle size.  I think this is more convenient and functional than writing down your needle size, because the ID tag can’t fall off the cable once the end cap is on. A sticky note with your needle info on it is easy to lose.  

Uses for Interchangeable Knitting Needles

Circular needles aren’t just for knitting in the round.  You can knit flat pieces on a circular needle, which is great if you’re making large projects like blankets.  When knitting flat, you must have room for all of the stitches to fit on the length of the needle, and for larger projects, this is not possible with straight needles.  A long circular needle can easily fit all of your stitches onto the needle, even for large projects. 

If you need to knit small-circumference items in the round, like when knitting socks, gloves, or sleeves of sweaters, you can use the magic loop method to knit small items in the round with a long circular needle.

If you want to make something with really thick yarn, they also offer jumbo sized interchangeable knitting needle tips.

So if you’re looking for one set of needles that can do everything, a set of interchangeable needles will be the best knitting needles for you.  An interchangeable needle set with a good range of sizes will give you all the tools you need for any type of knitting project you’d like to make.

Short Interchangeable Circular Knitting Needles

If you knit a lot of smaller projects, like hats, you may be interested in the short interchangeable needles from KnitPicks.  These needles have shorter tips and shorter cables so you can knit at circumferences as small as 16″ around.  

Fixed Circular Knitting Needles

KnitPicks also offers their laminated birch knitting needles as fixed circular needles.  This means that the needle tips and cables are not interchangeable.  If you like fixed circular needles, they do have that option, but in my opinion, it’s much better to get the more versatile interchangeable needles.

Straight Knitting Needles

If you prefer straight needles (also called single point needles), KnitPicks makes those as well.  I have the 10″ straight needle set in the Caspian colorway, and they are of the same excellent quality as their other needle types.  Straight needles can only be used for flat knitting back and forth in rows. They work best for projects of small to medium width, like scarves.

Double Pointed Needles (DPNs)

Double pointed needles come in sets of 4 or 5, and are designed for small circumference projects knit in the round.  I tend to prefer circular needles for working in the round, but I do have a set of KnitPicks laminated birch DPNs for making socks.  Even though they’re thin (because the needle size is for working with thin yarn) and ever so slightly flexible, they’re not flimsy.  I wouldn’t call them indestructible, as you could probably break one in half if you used enough force, but for as thin as they are, I think they’re pretty sturdy.  The thicker needles in larger sizes will naturally be even more durable.  

Cable Needles

If you’re knitting a project with cables, chances are, you’ll need a cable needle to help you cross the columns of stitches.  The KnitPicks cable needles have small grooves around them for a bit of extra grip.  Cable needles usually only hold a few stitches at a time, so they can sometimes slip out of the stitches. The grooves on these cable needles prevent that.

Square Knitting Needles

Although most knitting needles have a round needle shaft, several companies have designed needles with a square shaft to give you a slightly better grasp on the needle.  Whether a square needle is best for you will depend on your personal preference, so I would recommend trying one out before taking the plunge and buying a whole set.  

If you like square needles, KnitPicks makes an entire line of them, only available in the Majestic needle colorway.  The Foursquare line includes sets of square interchangeable circularsshort interchangeable circularsfixed circulars, and cable needles.  I have the Foursquare Majestic Short Interchangeable set, and I love them!  The square shape is a little different from what I am used to, but it does help you grasp the needles slightly better, especially on those short interchangeable needle tips.  

Crochet Hooks

Even though this post is primarily about knitting needles, KnitPicks also makes a line of laminated birch crochet hooks.  They come in regular and interchangeable varieties (for Tunisian crochet). The interchangeable crochet hooks work with the same cables as the interchangeable knitting needles.  I have several of their regular crochet hooks, and they are excellent.  You can check out my review of their crochet hooks here.

My Experience With KnitPicks Wooden Knitting Needles

I’ve been using my KnitPicks wooden knitting needles for over 7 years, and I have never had any problems with them.  I have at least 30 pairs of these needles in the interchangeable circular, straight, and double-pointed varieties, and they are the best wooden knitting needles I have ever used.

I love the smoothness of the needle surface, the layers of colored birch, the smooth connections, and the sharp tips. The needles are lightweight and easy to use, and the sharp tips make it easy to insert into stitches.  These needles help me knit quickly and efficiently, and make my knitting time even more enjoyable.

I’ve enjoyed using them for all these years, and I know they’ll continue to be my favorite wooden knitting needles for years to come!

Should you buy KnitPicks Birch Knitting Needles?

If you’re looking for some of the best wooden knitting needles on the market, then I highly recommend giving KnitPicks’ Laminated Birch Knitting Needles a try. 

Made from beautiful birch wood, these needles are strong and sturdy, yet still lightweight and easy to use.  With a smooth, polished surface and a tapered point for precise stitching, these needles are the best option for any knitters looking for the perfect wooden needle.  They definitely provide an excellent knitting experience!

Whether you’re a beginner just starting out or an expert knitter looking to try something new, I think KnitPicks’ Options Laminated Birch knitting needles are the best on the market! 

Pros: 

  • Smooth surface
  • Lightweight
  • Sharp tips
  • Durable & high-quality
  • Needle types for every kind of project
  • Colored layers of wood are so pretty

Cons: 

  • I’ve been knitting with them for 7 years, and haven’t found any cons yet
"Are these the BEST Wooden Knitting Needles?" Pinterest image

FAQs

Are wooden knitting needles better than metal?

As I have tested various types of knitting needles over the years, I have found that when comparing a high-quality metal knitting needle to a high-quality wooden knitting needle, neither is actually better than the other.  If both needles are well-designed, with a slick, smooth surface, each material has its own unique benefits.  
Choosing whether a wooden or metal knitting needle is best for you will depend on your personal preference and budget.  The most important thing is to choose a high-quality needle.  
My favorite wooden knitting needles are actually more affordable than the best metal needles I’ve tested.  These wooden knitting needles are made from laminated birch.  Wooden needles do not feel cold or make little clanking sounds as you knit, while high-quality metal needles are slicker for faster knitting and can be more durable than wood.
Wooden knitting needles can be better than some metal knitting needles, but that depends on which needles you’re comparing.  The main thing that determines whether one knitting needle is better than another is quality and design. If you compare a high-quality wood needle to a low-quality metal needle, of course the wooden one will be better. But that does not mean wooden needles in general are better than metal.

How do I store my interchangeable knitting needles?

KnitPicks needle sets come with a clear vinyl storage case with slots for all of the needle sizes.  I use these for my straight needles, but for my interchangeable circulars, I have the KnitPicks Interchangeable Circular Needle Clutch.  There’s one for regular (4.75 inch) interchangeable circulars, and one for short (2.75 inch) interchangeable circulars.  These high-quality clutch-style cases are designed well for their circular needle sets, with a section in the middle that has slots for each pair of needles, and zipper pockets on the sides for cables, end caps, and tightening keys.  Each clutch folds closed with a magnetic snap.

Is it hard to change out the needle tips on the KnitPicks interchangeable needles?

No, it’s actually quite easy! The metal connectors on both the needle tips and the ends of the cables have small tightening holes where you can insert a tightening key to screw them together.  The tightening keys give you a better grasp and something to twist against, so you can make sure your needle and cable are securely attached.  That way, you don’t have to worry about the needle tips coming unscrewed while you knit.

How do I know what size needle to use for my project?

There are a few different ways to determine what size needle to use.  The best way is to consult your pattern, as it should give you a recommended needle size and gauge measurements.  The recommended needle size is a suggestion, matching the pattern gauge is not.  asdflink  Gauge is essential for every project that involves following a pattern, so you’ll definitely want to start with the recommended needle size, and then adjust your needle size to match the pattern gauge.  
If you’re making up your own project without a pattern, check your yarn label.  Most yarn labels will give a recommended needle size or size range for their yarn, so you don’t have to guess.  And of course, since you’re not following a pattern, you can adjust the needle size as you like to tweak the look and feel of the finished fabric. 

Can I use any type of yarn with the KnitPicks interchangeable needles?

Yes! You can use any type of yarn with laminated birch knitting needles
The needle size you need will depend on the weight and thickness of the yarn, so just make sure to adjust your needle size to match your pattern’s gauge.  
And if you’re working on a project without a pattern, be sure to check your yarn label for the recommended needle size or size range. Regardless of which type of yarn you’re using, laminated birch knitting needles offer excellent durability and performance, so they are the perfect option for every kind of project!

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