Crochet Hooks: The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Right Crochet Hook | thecrochetfox.com

Crochet Hooks: The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Right Crochet Hook

As with all crafts, you need the right tools to be successful. Crocheting is no exception, so it is important that you find the right crochet hook that is comfortable for you and which also is best suited to your project.

Whereas the basics of a crochet hook are all the same, there are numerous variations of crochet hooks on the market. You will be able to find crochet hooks that are square, round, pointed, long, short, curvy, angular – the list goes on.

As they all have different strengths and purposes, how do you choose the hook that is right for you and your project?

Anatomy of a Crochet Hook

Illustration of parts of a crochet hook

The Head, Lip, and Bowl

The head, lip, and bowl differ in shape from hook to hook. This part of the crochet hook is what gets inserted into your crochet stitches.

Illustration of parts of a crochet hook focusing on the Head, Lip, and Bowl

The Head of a Crochet Hook

As a matter of fact, the design of the head affects your crochet speed, agility as well as performance. Furthermore, the head can be anything from very sharp to completely rounded. In addition, it can be either inline or tapered (see below).

As mentioned, a crochet hook can have either a rounded head or a pointed head. A hook with a more rounded head is perfect for when you are working with plied yarns that might be prone to splitting.

Conversely, a hook with a more pointed head is ideal for when are crocheting a dense fabric.

The Bowl of a Crochet Hook

The bowl of a crochet hook can also have different shapes. For instance, it can have a sharp, angular wedge. This type of bowl will release loops more quickly.

In addition, crochet hooks can also have more round and generous bowls. This type of bowl is ideal for working with thicker fibers as well as multiple fibers. It is also great for complicated stitches that require many loops.

In some hooks, the bowl may angle toward the back or the front inside the head, which suits some crochet styles but not others.

The Lip of a Crochet Hook

The length of a crochet hook’s lip dictates the depth of the bowl. Longer and shorter lips have different uses.

If you are working with fiber or loops or fuzzier yarns, a longer lip is useful. This is because the deeper bowl will hold on to the loops better.

When working with a single DK weight or fairly simple stitches, a shorter lip will probably be better. This is because the shallower bowl releases the loops more easily.

The Neck and Throat

Illustration of parts of a crochet hook focusing on the Neck and Throat

The neck and throat of a crochet hook is the shaped section that guides your yarn into the working area. In other words, this part is where the loops are held before they are worked off.

You find the throat just below the top of the hook. The throat can be either inline or tapered (see below).  

The shape of this part of the hook will greatly influence your gauge. Furthermore, the length and circumference of this area will affect both the consistency and the shape of your crochet stitches.

The Shaft, Handle, and Finger Rests

The shaft, handle, and finger rests are the parts of the hook that crocheters grasp, so they are often the focus of ergonomics.

The shaft or grip is where you rest your thumb when you are crocheting. Not all crochet hooks will have a thumb rest/grip. You should pay close attention to this area as many find that the wrong grip can cause finger and wrist pain.

Illustration of parts of a crochet hook focusing on the Shaft, Handle, and Finger Rests

The handle is the part of the crochet hook that is held by the crocheter. Crochet handles can be shorter or longer, so pick the type you prefer.

In addition, the crochet handle can be the same size as the rest of the hook. For most crocheters, this is perfect. However, for others, a larger handle might be preferable.

It is important that this part of the crochet hook is comfortable. If you can, test-drive a new hook while crocheting, do not just try holding it in your hand.

You may also want to check out my section on ergonomic handles below.

Inline vs Tapered Crochet Hooks

There are two different crochet hook styles on the market: inline crochet hooks and tapered crochet hooks. The main difference between the two types of hooks is in the head shape.

Illustration comparing inline and non-inline crochet hooks

As a matter of fact, the slight differences in how the heads are shaped can alter the way the yarn passes along the hook. This in turn can alter how the hook navigates the stitches.

The debate on whether inline or tapered crochet hooks are the best have gone on in the crochet community for a long time.

What is an inline crochet hook?

A bundle of wooden crochet hooks next to a cake of brown yarn next to a text area which says "Crochet Hooks: The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Right Crochet Hook, thecrochetfox.com"

An inline crochet hook has a more rigid decrease from the shaft to the head. This means that inline hooks tend to have a more snug hold on the yarn than tapered hooks.

The characteristics of an inline crochet hook are:

  1. The head is inline with the shaft.
  2. The neck and shaft have the same diameter.
  3. The hook is deeper than in a tapered hook.
  4. The tip is pointier than in a tapered hook.

What is a tapered crochet hook?

The throat of a tapered hook is smoother than that of an inline hook. This allows for the yarn to slip off the hook more easily.

The characteristics of a tapered crochet hook are:

  1. The head is not in line with the shaft.
  2. The neck is narrower than the shaft.
  3. The hook is not as deep as in an inline hook.

Crochet Hook Materials

Crochet hooks can be made from many different materials. However, the most common materials are wood, metal, and plastic. Having said that, you can also find crochet hooks made of other materials such as, for instance, glass or clay.

You might feel overwhelmed by the many material choices, so I have tried to narrow it down for you.

Wooden Crochet Hooks

Wooden crochet hooks are often more expensive than metal or plastic hooks. However, they have a nice and warm feel to them in the hand.

A wooden crochet hook

In addition, they are lightweight and are often comfortable to grip. They are also great for more slippery yarns.

Pros

Eco-friendly and sustainable

Warm to the touch

Comfortable to grip

Grips the yarn well

Light weight

Cons

Often more expensive than other materials

Often not marked with hook size

Even though bamboo is not a wood, crochet hooks made from bamboo are usually found in this category. Bamboo crochet hooks are often the first hook type beginner crocheters encounter due to their affordable price point.

Two bamboo crochet hooks

They are also great as they have a nice grip which prevents yarn from slipping when crocheting.

So, if you find that your yarn slips of the hook when using a metal or plastic hook, then a bamboo or wooden crochet hook might be the right choice for you.

Pros

Eco-friendly and sustainable

Inexpensive and readily available

Warm to the touch

Comfortable to grip

Grips the yarn well

Light weight

Becomes smoother and perform better over time

Cons

Quality may vary

Not always smooth on purchase so you may need to sand it a little bit.

Metal Crochet Hooks

Metal crochet hooks are typically made from either steel or aluminum. Commonly, you will find that hooks made for crocheting with yarn are made from aluminum. 

Three metal crochet hooks

On the other hand, hooks made for crocheting with thread is usually made from steel.

Hooks made from metal are the most commonly used crochet hooks and are widely available.  In addition, they are also very durable, and it is not uncommon for them to be passed from one generation to another.

As the yarn easily glides on and off metal hooks, it makes for quick crocheting. In fact, you will find that more experienced crocheters often prefer these hooks.

Some crocheters might find that all-metal hooks are uncomfortable or even painful on their hands. If that is the case, look out for metal hooks with rubber handles – this will ease your grip.

Pros
Cons

Strong and durable

Can be cold to the touch

Faster crocheting due to less grip on the yarn

Can be harder to hold

Widely available

Can cause fatigue in the hand

Good general use hooks

Heavier than crochet hooks in other materials

Plastic Crochet Hooks

If you are a beginner crocheter and do not want to commit to a full set of crochet hook just yet, then buying a couple of plastic hooks might just be the answer for you.

Yellow and peach plastic crochet hooks

Furthermore, plastic crochet hooks by their very nature are light. That makes them a great choice if you are prone to pain or stress when crocheting.

They are also great for working on large projects using chunky or bulky yarns.

Have you experienced carpal tunnel?

If you have, you may want to give plastic crochet hooks a try and see if they alleviate the problem.

Pros

Inexpensive and readily available

Grips the yarn reasonably well

Warm up quickly

Light weight

Comfortable to grip

Available in a lot of fun colors and designs

Cons

Not environmentally friendly

Cannot be recycled

Holding Your Crochet Hook

If you are new to crocheting, you might find it helpful to learn about the two most common ways of holding a crochet hook.

I would recommend that you try out both grips to see which is most comfortable for you and that you find the easiest to work.

The Pencil Grip

The clue is in the name. You hold the crochet hook in your dominant hand just like you would hold a pencil.

With the crochet hook facing you, your index finger and thumb will grip the hook while the rest of your fingers act as a support.

The Knife Grip

If you are using the knife grip, hold your crochet hook the way you would hold a knife when cutting your food.

With the crochet hook facing you, your middle finger and thumb will grip the shaft of the hook while you place your index finger along the top.

Atypical Crochet Hooks

Crochet hooks have evolved and today you will find a vast array of different types on the market.

Looking to try thread crochet?

If you are interested in trying thread crochet, you may want to choose a Susan Bates hook. This brand has a line of bamboo-handled crochet hooks that are especially designed for this type of projects.

The hooks have a wider handle which offers a better grip when working with the small head of the hook.

Looking to trim garments, etc.?

If you would like to make crochet trims on towels, baby clothes, etc., you may want to try out a really sharp crochet hook. These hooks have been designed to poke holes in fabric.

Ever wondered about the really long crochet hooks or the ones with a plastic wire at the end?

These are Tunisian crochet hooks and are used for Tunisian crocheting which is a mix of crocheting and knitting.

Double-ended crochet hooks are hooks that have a head at both ends. This particular hook is also for Tunisian crochet.

Looking to light up your work?

A light-up crochet hook glowing in the dark

Finally, some really fun hooks – light-up crochet hooks! These crochet hooks have a built-in light so you can crochet in the dark if you like! I find them great when crocheting with dark colors which can be a strain on the eyes.

Ergonomic Crochet Hooks

Ergonomic crochet hooks are becoming increasingly more popular. These hooks have been especially designed so that the shape of the handle fit the hand better.

A pink wooden ergonomic crochet hook

Are you feeling pain and discomfort when crocheting?

If the answer is yes, then it might be an idea to try out an ergonomic crochet hook. The right kind of crochet hook can help ease the pain and discomfort when crocheting.

Crochet hooks that are designed with ergonomics in mind are also great for arthritis sufferer. Typically, these hooks will have a metal head and rubber handle.

However, you will also find ergonomic hooks in other materials and with an enlarged handle.

The crochet hooks with ergonomic handles come in many different shapes, so you may have to try out a few different ones before you find the perfect one for you.

Would you like to turn your favorite crochet hook into an ergonomic one?

If your favorite crochet hook is beginning to cause fatigue, you may want to try and make it more ergonomic by adding a grip.

There are a number of different grips or cushions on the market that you can easily place over your favorite hook.

Crochet Hook Sizes

The size of your crochet hook is determined by the yarn you are using, the gauge you want to achieve as well as the type of stitches you are working.

In fact, there is so much to be said about crochet hook sizes that I decided to write another article about this topic. You can find this article here: Crochet Hook Sizes.

Best Crochet Hooks for Beginners

As a beginner crocheter, there is no right or wrong crochet hook for you. Ideally, you should try out a few different hooks to find out which one suits you the best. However, as you gain more experience, you may also find that the crochet hook you choose to use will also depend on the project you are crocheting.

But where do you start as a beginner crocheter?

Avoid speciality crochet hooks like Tunisian crochet hooks and hooks with two heads. Go for a middle of the road crochet hook that is not too expensive.

It should have a medium size. The most common crochet hook sizes are a US G and H. This is the same as a Canadian and UK size 6 and 8. In metrics, it is the same as a 4.0 mm and 5.0 mm hook.

Furthermore, you should go for an “inline” crochet hook. The deeper throat these crochet hooks have make it easier to control the yarn when slipping stitches off the hook.

In addition, an inline crochet hook will also help beginners keep their loops at a more consistent size.

Last but not least, you should consider the weight of your crochet hook. A lighter crochet hook will definitely make your crochet project more enjoyable.

Now that you’ve read about crochet hooks, why not supplement this knowledge by reading this article about crochet gauges. Check it here: Crochet Gauge: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Gauge Right.

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