// October 14th, 2011 // 28 Comments » // Blog, Crochet
Welcome to my ultimate crochet hook review! There are so many crochet hooks available on the market… it can be really hard to choose one! In this post, I’m going to teach you some crochet hook anatomy, we’ll talk about how to pick a hook depending on your particular crochet style, and then I’ll review some popular hooks. Let’s get started!
Crochet hook anatomy
How well do you know your crochet hook? Before you can figure out which hook will work best for you, you’ve got to get to know the basic anatomy of the hook.
Here’s a diagram:
- Point: this is the part of the crochet hook that pokes into the stitch you’re crocheting into. The point can range from very pointy to rather dull (rounded). Sometimes called the ‘tip’.
- Groove: The groove is the indentation that catches the yarn as you pull it through a stitch. Grooves can be either deep or shallow, although there’s no standard way to ‘measure’ the ‘groove depth’.
- Throat: the throat is the part of the hook where the loop transitions from being caught in the groove to its resting place on the shaft. Throats can be either ‘inline’ or ‘tapered’. This is perhaps one of the most salient features of a hook, and the throat style is often described on the package.
- Shaft: the shaft is the part of the hook that the loop rests on while you are crocheting. It is the part of the hook that determines the size of your stitches.
- Thumb rest: this part is pretty self-explanatory! It’s an optional indentation that allows you to rest your thumb on the hook.
- Handle: another self-explanatory part! The handle is the part of the hook that you’ll hold while crocheting. Handles are usually made from the same material as the rest of the hook, but some styles of hook feature ergonomic or comfort handles.
More hook differences
In addition to the points raised above (inline vs. tapered throat, pointy vs. rounded point, etc.), hooks can differ in many other ways. Hooks can be made in many different materials (metal and bamboo are 2 of the most common), of course, come in different sizes and those sizes can be printed on the hook in different ways (ranging from ‘not at all’ to ‘laser inscribed’).
Want to know what all of these differences mean to you and your quest for the perfect hook? Keep reading!
Hook anatomy in action
So, now you know the terminology associated with hook anatomy, and have a rough idea of ways in which hooks can differ… but what do all these differences look like in action? What’s the difference between a pointy and a rounded point? Let’s find out!
The point of a hook makes a big difference to the way you crochet. A pointier point allows you to stick your hook into the next stitch much more easily than a rounded point, but comes at the risk of splitting your yarn. If you’re using a splitty yarn, then a rounder point is advisable.
The groove is what catches your yarn as you pull it through the loop you’re working on. If the groove is too shallow, you’ll lose your yarn. If it’s too deep, it may get in the way of your crocheting rhythm. You may find that, as you become more experienced, your preference for groove depth changes.
An inline throat means that the width of the throat is the same all the way down the hook. This style helps some crocheters keep a more even gauge (especially for those who tend to crochet tightly). A tapered hook is much smaller at the top compared to where the throat meets the shaft.
The shaft of the hook is what determines the size of your stitches. Since it’s job is to produce an even-sized stitch, most hooks have a straight shaft. However, occasionally, you’ll find a hook with a tapered shaft, and you’ll need to practice to make sure your gauge is spot on.
A hook may or may not have a thumb rest. For some crocheters, a thumb rest is a convenient place to put your thumb and a way to maneuver the hook. For others, it just gets in the way. Whether or not you need one depends on your crocheting style.
The handle doesn’t need to be made from the same material as the hook. Many hooks have handles that are just an extension of the hook (or are ‘plain). Other hooks have comfort or ergonomic handles for your crocheting comfort. A ‘comfort handle’ is bigger than a plain one, and easier to grip. An ‘ergonomic handle’ is specifically shaped to rest in your hand for maximum comfort.
Picking the hook that’s right for you
There’s no such thing as the perfect crochet hook. There may be a perfect hook for you, but not all hooks work for all people.
Finding the right hook for you takes some trial and error, but you can narrow down your search by paying attention to your crochet habits. Here’s a little quiz that will help you out:
Do you roll your hook? When you’re crocheting, do you roll the handle around in your hand? Or do you like to keep your thumb firmly planted? If you’re a roll-er, then you’d do best with a hook without a thumb rest.
pictured: Susan Bates Bamboo Handle
Hooks to try: ChiaoGoo Bamboo, Addi Bamboo, Addi Comfort Grip, Clover Takumi, Etimo Cushion Grip.
Do you crochet tightly? If you tend to crochet very tightly, a hook with a tapered throat will probably only make the problem worse (as you’re tempted to pull the yarn tightly around the thinner parts of the throat). Try a hook with an inline throat.
Hooks to try: Susan Bates (all models), any hook made from Bamboo (because of the way tapered hooks thin at the top, most wooden/bamboo hooks feature inline throats for strength).
Are you always splitting your yarn? If so, you probably need a hook with a rounder (rather than pointier) tip.
Hooks to try: HiyaHiya, Addi Comfort Grip, Susan Bates (Bamboo, Quicksilver and Aluminum), Kollage Square Hook, Addi Swing, ChiaoGoo Bamboo Handle.
Do you find it difficult to insert your hook into the next stitch? Then you’re a candidate for a pointy crochet hook!
pictured: ChiaoGoo Premium Bamboo hook
Hooks to try: Almost any wooden/bamboo crochet hook sports a pointy tip, including: Addi Bamboo, ChiaoGoo Bamboo, Clover Takumi, Brittany
Do you toss your hooks into one bag and then forget what size they are? You need a hook that has the hook size permanently etched/carved into the hook. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck pulling out your gauge every time you need to crochet!
Hooks to try: Addi Comfort Grip (color-coded handles), Susan Bates (raised lettering on all models), ChiaoGoo (sizes laser-etched into all models), Boye (raised lettering on all models)
Have you broken your fair share of hooks? You’ll need one that’s super strong. There are a few varieties to try. Metal hooks are very difficult to break. Plastic hooks are flexible, so bend and are slow to break.
Hooks to try: Any metal or acrylic hook. If you love bamboo, try ChiaoGoo, which is made from Chinese Moso bamboo, which is supposed to be the strongest bamboo around.
Do you find it hard to ‘catch’ your yarn while crocheting? A hook with a deep groove may be just the answer you’re looking for.
Hooks to try: Kollage Square hook, Susan Bates (all models).
Looking for something a little fancy? Do you make a statement with your hook? Then you’d probably love one with a decorative handle.
pictured: Furls handcarved hook
Hooks to try: Furls handcarved hook, Brittany.
Do your hands ache after too much crocheting? A handle with a comfort or ergonomic grip might help you out. A comfort grip is a handle that is bigger than a standard handle, and easier to hold. Ergonomic grips are curved to fit in the palm of your hand.
pictured: ChiaoGoo Comfort Grip
Hooks to try: Addi Swing, Addi Comfort Grip, Etimo Comfort Grip, ChiaoGoo Comfort Grip, Susan Bates Bamboo Handle, Kollage Square Hook.
Do you have arthritis? If you have arthritis, crocheting can be an achy task. You may find crocheting with an ergonomic or comfort grip (above) more comfortable. I’ve heard some folks with achy hands prefer plastic hooks (since they bend in your hand as you work) or wooden/bamboo hooks (because they’re warmer than metal) helpful.
Hooks to try: Susan Bates Crystalites, ChiaoGoo bamboo, Clover Takumi.
Do you have trouble seeing your stitches? If you need a lot of light to see well while crocheting, a light-up or glow-in-the-dark hook might come to your rescue!
Hooks to try: Susan Bates SmartGlo, Clover Crochet Lite.
Crochet hook reviews
As I said, there’s no such thing as a perfect hook. What works well for one person may be a disaster for someone with a different crocheting style. The best thing that I can do, as a reviewer, is tell you the pluses and pitfalls of various crochet hooks. What you end up loving is going to be dependent on your style!
There are oodles of crochet hooks on the market, and I didn’t have the time to review them all! And, to be honest with you, I’m not sure you’d be interested in reading all of them. I mean, lots of companies make a bamboo hook… and the differences between them are pretty minimal. So, in this review, I’ve focused on hooks that are different from the rest!
The Addi Swing is the ‘most ergonomic’ hook that I’ve tried: it really is made to fit perfectly in the palm of your hand. It also has some flexibility (the actual handle is some type of plastic, without the metal hook penetrating into the handle), so it’s very comfortable on your hands.
And the hook is made from the same high-polished chrome as the Addi knitting needle (my personal favorite needle), making for low-friction and speedy crocheting.
Even though I love holding the hook, I don’t love actually crocheting with it. Perhaps my hands are too small? I can’t pin it down exactly, but something about the design of the hook forces my palm to be further from my thumb than I like it to be. Despite giving it a fair go, I just can’t get used to it.
Pluses: The handle is super-comfortable, the head is quick and the hooks are clearly labelled for size.
Pitfalls: Because the hook is made to fit the hand, it might not be perfect for everyone’s hand or crocheting style.
Verdict: Totally worth giving a try if your hands are a bit achy. Although, I might try to find a friend with one to test out before splurging.
Kollage Square Crochet Hook
The square handle was invented by Kollage… so it’s completely unique to the brand. The package claims that the hook decreases stress and strain, and is perfect for those who have arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome.
I have the same general comment with this hook as the Addi… it feels fabulous! But, I have trouble crocheting with it. Maybe it’s me! The Kollage hook has the thumb rest 1″ lower than the Susan Bates or Addi Premium hooks, which for me, is just too far away. However, I think there are oodles of people out there who would love this hook.
Pluses: The handle is super-comfortable and isn’t as ‘hand-specific’ as other ergonomic hooks.
Pitfalls: The thumb rest is much lower than other hooks, which may require some adjustment for folks.
Verdict: Feels lovely, but like other ergonomic hooks on the ‘nice’ side, I’d try to touch one in person before committing.
Susan Bates Bamboo Handle
This hook sports the ‘standard’ Susan bates hook, with a bamboo handle below the thumb rest.
Because the handle is below the thumb rest, using this hook feels a lot like crocheting with a Standard Susan Bates hook. The advantage is a slightly bigger handle to hold on to.
Pluses: The bamboo handle may feel more comfortable for some crocheters.
Pitfalls: Since only the handle (below the thumb rest) is bamboo, the design may not be sufficiently ‘comforting’ enough for those with pain to experience relief.
Verdict: If you’re in love with Susan Bates hooks, and are looking for a step up, give this one a try.
ChiaoGoo Comfort Grip
This hook features a sleek metal head with an oval-shaped bamboo handle, laser-etched with the hook size information.
The bamboo on this hook is super-smooth… I just love touching it! The handle is also very comfortable: fits nicely in your hand without being over-shaped.
Pluses: The hook feels wonderful, and gives a nice handle for someone who wants to hold onto wood, but crochet with metal. Unlike other comfort hooks, the handle begins comparatively high up the shaft, making this hook comfortable for those with smaller hands.
Pitfalls: This hook is about 1/2″ shorter than other hooks, so it may not be comfortable for those with bigger hands.
Verdict: If you have arthritis (that’s helped by working with wood over metal), this hook and the Kollage are two hooks on the market that still allow you to crochet with the speed of a metal head. This hook may not be for you if you have larger hands, but see if you can try it out in person. This hook feels amazing to the touch.
Addi Comfort Grip
This hook features the same head as the Addi Swing (above), but with a much simpler handle. The handle is slightly thicker than normal hooks, and provides ridges for better grip.
The hook is marked only with ’5′ (it’s a 5.0mm size H hook), which might not be convenient for those who haven’t fully gotten the hang of the metric system. The handles, though, are also color-coded, which is useful for picking the right size out quickly from a whole assortment.
Pluses: This hook gives you a bit more to hold onto than a plain hook, and the ridges will be welcome to people who find metal hooks too slippery. (yes, one side-effect of crocheting too speedily is sweaty hands!)
Pitfalls: There isn’t much ‘comfort’ to this hook except that the handle is thicker than an average hook.
Verdict: If you find an average hook too skinny, this handle will be a welcome improvement for you. I’m not convinced it’s the best hook for those looking for comfort in the sense of ‘lessening aches in hands while crocheting’.
Furls hand-carved hook
This hand-carved hook is a fabulous piece of artistry. I can’t believe someone out there has the talent to make these… but obviously, the folks at Furls do!
The hook is absolutely beautiful, feels incredibly smooth and has a medium-pointy point. The shaft on the hook is tapered, which means that there isn’t a part of the hook that has a resting place for the stitches (perhaps there’s a centimeter where it isn’t tapered? It’s hard to tell.). This feature will probably make it difficult for many crocheters to obtain an even gauge… although maybe it just takes practice.
Pluses: This. hook. is. stunning.
Pitfalls: The tapered shaft is a sticky point. In practice, my loop slides way too far down the handle, giving me bigger stitches than I’d wanted.
Verdict: With practice, you could probably develop a rhythm that will give you even stitches. Functionality aside, this hook is beautiful, and makes an amazing addition to any collection.
Susan Bates SmartGlo hooks
These hooks really do glow in the dark!
I tried these hooks out during my 36-hour power outage (courtesy of Hurricane Irene), and although they really glowed, they’re not meant to actually let you crochet in the dark. These hooks would be beneficial if you’re working on very dark yarn or if your eyes need extra light as you work (as so many of us do as we age).
Pluses: They’re fun! They glow… that’s kinda cool.
Pitfalls: They aren’t a replacement for a lamp.
Verdict: Being a youngster with great eyes (I’m actually light-sensitive, so I’m rarely seeking out more lighting) who works at home (where I can turn on a lamp if I want), I probably wouldn’t use these. But, if you work on-the-go in places where the lighting isn’t great (the subway comes to mind), these might give you the boost you need!
Ultimate Crochet Hook Review Wrap-up
Phew! That’s a lot of hooks! There’s even more on the market… there’s too many to get them all!
I really hope you’ve enjoyed all of this information and maybe you’ve spied a new hook you want to try!
I’d love to hear in the comments about your favorite hook! What’s the one you love using now? Are there any you’re inspired to try? Let me know!