Most knitters are very keen to get into the knitting process, but before this, an organized yarn source is a must-have if you want to have an easier time knitting. This is where a yarn ball winder comes in.
A ball winder is a tool that helps you keep your yarn neat, firm, and organized by creating yarn cakes so that the thread does not get tangled or knotted to the point which it is almost impossible to use.
However, not all ball winders are equal in terms of quality. Some are better than others, and to help you make the best choice, below, we look at 5 of the best ball winders you can buy in the market.
Reviews of the Ball Winder 2021 – (Editors’ Choice)
As you consider buying a ball winder, please go through the product list below that we have come up with after hours of research and pick the one you prefer most.
1. Knit Picks Yarn Ball Winder
Knit Picks is a small and compact ball winder that will help you transform yarn skeins and yarn hanks into compact yarn cakes that are well organized and will unwind neatly as you knit or crochet in your projects.
This is made possible by a hand-operated design. You turn a handle manually as a rotating disc and cylindrical spindle above pull in the thread through a metallic guide to form a tightly wound cake in a short time.
The product can wind up to 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of yarn, and this can either be thin threads such as lace or fingering weights or thick strings such as worsted and bulky weights. It is recommended for the best results to use a yarn swift to create tight and compact cakes.
Before winding the cake, however, you must fix the unit on a desk or tabletop, and it comes with a clamping mechanism that gives you the allowance to fix it on any block that is up to 1.5 inches thick.
After use, the spindle and guide arm are very easy to disassemble for compact storage, and this quick and easy dismantling process also means that the kit is simple to assemble when new.
Features at a glance
- Small and compact size.
- Hand operated design.
- Can wind up to 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of either thick or thin yarn.
- Clamping mechanism with a max allowance of 1.5 inches for installation on table and desktops
- Easy to assemble and disassemble.
2. Stanwood Needlecraft Ball Winder
This is the top-rated ball winder, and compared to Knit Picks’ unit above, it is jumbo-sized and has a very sturdy construction designed to withstand heavy-duty use.
The heavy-duty design can be clearly seen in its special nylon material cogwheels, which are super tough but do not make as much noise as metallic cogwheels. However, since they are out in the open, ensure that they are kept clean and that no yarn entangles them for maximum efficiency during operation.
This design also includes two metallic thread guides, which are very important because they help maintain high thread tension so that the resulting yarn cake is tight and very compact.
No tools are required on assembly, which makes it very easy to set up straight after unpacking. It also has an easy to use clamping mechanism that lets you fix it on tables that are up to 2-1/8 inches thick, and it has super smooth edges that won’t scratch or leave any mark on your table as you clamp it into position.
In terms of weight capacity, this product can hold up to a 10-ounce maximum weight center-pull ball when wound around its spindle, which is roughly 2.5 times what smaller models can achieve.
Features at a glance
- Big in size.
- Sturdy construction for heavy-duty use.
- Tough special nylon material cogwheels that operate very quietly as compared to metal ones.
- Two metallic thread guides for maintaining high thread tension
- Easy to assemble.
- 2-1/8-inch clamping mechanism allowance.
- Super smooth edges won’t scratch or leave a mark on the table.
- 10-ounce yarn ball capacity.
3. Nancy’s Knit Knacks Ball Winder
Nancy’s Knit Knacks’ is the most expensive ball winder in this review, but it has the features to show for it. For starters, it is a heavy-duty product made entirely out of maple wood, which also gives it that antique, vintage-like look, as if it was made in the Viking age.
This heavy-duty build consists of heavy-duty Swiss gears and 2 heavy-duty table clamps, which allow you to mount the unit on tables that are up to 2.5 inches thick. Overall, this makes it very strong, affording it the capability of winding yarn cakes that exceed 1 pound in weight.
However, to achieve this, you must operate the winder manually using the handle, which is designed to make you utilize your forearm muscles instead of wrist muscles. This substantially reduces the risk of injury, making it safer to use.
A single yarn guide is built into the winder, and it can be swiveled 180 to enable you to wind the yarn from 5 different angles by positioning the feed in different positions relative to the spindle.
Other features include 10mm diameter steel shafts.
Features at a glance
- Heavy-duty maple wood construction.
- Commercial grade Swiss gears.
- 2 heavy-duty clamps with a mounting allowance of up to 2.5 inches.
- 1-pound yarn ball capacity.
- Designed to utilize forearm muscles as opposed to wrist muscles for safety purposes.
- The yarn guide can be swiveled 180 to enable you to wind the yarn from 5 different angles.
- 10mm diameter steel shafts.
4. Housweety Ball Winder
Housweety’s yarn ball winder is the most affordable product in this review, but this does not mean that it is substandard. Though not a heavy-duty unit, the product is fairly sturdy, with its plastic construction along the spindle and body casing, and a lead-nickel alloy construction on the shafts, handle arm, and thread guide.
The piece is also very compact, measuring 26 cm in height by 18cm in length, and in addition to this, it has a tool-free assembly process that takes a short time. A manual is actually included to help you when setting up, making it very straightforward.
Because of its compact size and plastic construction, this yarn winder is very lightweight, portable, and convenient to use, and is designed to operate very quietly.
Other features include a red and beige color on the plastics and an easy disassembly process after use for storage purposes.
Features at a glance
- Plastic construction on the spindle and body housing
- Lead-nickel alloy construction on the shafts, arm, and thread guide
- Compact in size, measuring 26 cm in height and 18cm in length.
- Tool-free assembly process with a manual included for easy setup
- Lightweight, portable, and convenient to use
- Operates very quietly
- Red and beige in color.
- Easy to disassemble after use.
5. U-nitt ML702 Ball Winder
If you want an affordable heavy-duty yarn ball winder, then U-it’s ML702 is the best option to consider. It is actually very similar to the winder from Stanwood Needlecraft above in terms of design and performance.
For instance, it can turn yarn, fiber, cotton, wool, lace, or string into center-pull balls that are up to 10 ounces in weight and has 2 metallic thread guides that maintain high thread tension so that the cakes are super compact in size.
Structurally, the jumbo unit has a heavy-duty cast iron, electrostatically painted body, with high-quality nylon cogwheels that operate quietly and very smoothly as compared to metallic wheels.
A clamping mechanism is also built-in to tie the winder to a table that is up to 2 inches thick. This clamp has a large 1.75-inch disc that firmly secures the winder to the table to prevent slipping.
Other features include a wingnut for attaching the yarn guide to the winder firmly tool-free, a U-hook designed guide that easily fits under the wingnut, a rubber ring on the yarn guide to stabilize it when in motion, a cone size of 4.75 inches in height by 6 inches in diameter at the base and it comes with 4 cushions to use as padding layers to protect your furniture from scratches as you mount it.
Features at a glance
- Heavy-duty ball winder with a cast iron, electrostatically painted body.
- 10-ounce yarn ball capacity.
- 2 metallic thread guides for maintaining high thread tension.
- High-quality nylon cogwheels operate quietly and smoothly as compared to metallic ones.
- The clamping mechanism can accommodate a table that is up to 2 inches thick.
- U-hook designed guide to fit easily under the wingnut during installation.
- Rubber ring to stabilize the yarn guide.
- 4.75 inch by 6-inch cone size.
- It comes with 4 cushions for protecting your furniture from scratches or other damages.
Are You Looking For Ball Winder? Here’s What You Need to Consider
This guide will help you select the best product from the list above by showing you what to consider before making your purchase.
In this case, capacity means the quantity of yarn that the winder can convert into a cake. It refers to the weight of the resulting cake, and therefore, if you usually use large quantities of organized thread for your knitting projects, you need a winder that can create large balls.
Heavy-duty units are the best for doing this because they are designed to produce large cakes with ease. Typically, these start from around 10 ounces to more than a pound ball capacity.
However, if you don’t need all that thread, smaller and cheaper alternative winders can produce 3- or 3.5-ounce cakes for smaller projects.
This factor is important because it determines the durability of the product. Heavy-duty winders with metallic constructions are the most durable due to the strength of the metal.
However, some variations exist, such as those with wooden bodies and metallic core or metallic bodies with nylon cogwheels. All these can be considered durable, heavy-duty units so long as all the parts are designed to withstand heavy usage.
Other parts of the winder, such as the clamp, should also be strong enough and have a wide disk that supports the winder over a larger surface area. However, it should not be scratchy to your furniture. Cushions would be an excellent addition to the pack to help prevent this kind of damage.
There are jumbo-sized ball winders and small-sized units. Jumbo winders are larger, of course, and they are good at making large thread cakes for large knitting projects.
On the other hand, the smaller units are easier to move around with because of their compact, lightweight build and are also cheaper. However, you can only make small yarn balls using such products.
An essential and indispensable part of any ball winder is its yarn guide. While most have just a single guide, some winders have two of them, which work together to maintain high tension in the thread so that that wound ball is tighter and more compact. This makes such winders have the edge over the single yarn guide units.
As you can see, there is a lot about ball winders than what meets the eye. The good thing, though, is that once you understand how they operate and what each feature brings to it in terms of benefits, you will be able to pick a good unit.
With this in mind, we hope that after going through this ball winder review, you will be in a better position to pick the best ball winder that meets all your needs and requirements.