Evolution of The Crochet Hook: Let’s Compare
This is a topic that tends to be very controversial due to the price points of crochet hooks, materials and designs. You may agree or disagree with my findings. The point to this article is to expand your knowledge on the differences. I’m not sponsored to exclusively use a Crochet Hook in my teachings, this means I can be objective and share my honest point of view.
Steel, Resin & Plastic Crochet Hooks
For about 20 years, I used a plastic or resin crochet hook. For me, this decision makes sense as this dates before online shopping and my local retailer only had this as an option.
To date, I have never broken a resin crochet hook. They are fairly strong and reliable. One thing that irritated my thumb on this hook is that the size of the hook is moulded at the thumb area. Many think it’s great to have that raised numbers at the spot for providing a non slipping grip, in some resin hooks I noticed that the raised digits are sometimes too high and with prolonged crochet that your thumb takes the imprint of the letters. Over time, it gets painful.
Plastic hooks, on the other hand, I have snapped a few. They seem to get fatigue at the neck area. In one crochet hook, it snapped right in half. I didn’t feel I was adding any excessive pressure. I questioned whether the constant usage makes the plastic bend slightly to create a weak area. I avoid plastic crochet hooks.
Price point I have seen these hooks between 25 cents – $2.99 each.
Plastic & Resin Hook Tips
- Ensure there is a thumb indentation where your thumb rests. It is much more difficult to look up and take your eyes off your project if your hook does not have an indentation. If the hook doesn’t have a thumb depression area, leave it on the store shelf.
- The thumb area is your hands natural resting point to keep your hook oriented. With a thumb area, your hook can freely rotate in your hands making you constantly having to adjust the hook in your hands.
- Check your hook for impurities. Flashing of plastic or potential nicks within the plastic that will catch your hook.
- Look at the shape of the head. Does the hook area look more round or does it have a sharp hook. Sharp hooks when grabbing the yarn tend to separate the plies of yarn. A more rounded hook area will speed you up as it tends not to separate your yarn plies.
- Plastic and resin is hard. Therefore it won’t take to the shape your fingers. It’s like if you were running all the time. Would you run in your Sunday Dress Shoes or choose Nike Runners? The choice for shoes seems obvious. The hook, in my opinion, is similar. For us crocheters, we probably hook more than we run.
- If you become sweaty or your hands are slippery, operating a plastic or resin hook becomes difficult and inconvenient.
Bamboo Crochet Hooks
I was hearing rumblings online that Bamboo Crochet Hooks were superior over Resin, Aluminum and Steel Crochet Hooks.
My biggest struggle as I had been thinking of buying a hook for 6 months but kept procrastinating because the price of the hook was $3.99. I had been using the cheap resin hooks and was trying to determine whether the price increase was worth it. I was worried about the hook snapping and being weak. In retrospect, my fears were unfounded and wished I had switched years earlier.
I will always tell viewers, if you have a choice, go for the Bamboo over the plastic, steel or resin hooks. The hooks have so many great properties. Not at all hooks are made equal when it comes to bamboo.
Price point is between $1.99 – $4.99 each.
Price point is the biggest factor for hook makers. The cheaper, the more of a chance manufacturers have to sell their products. Some manufacturers cut the costs by eliminating factors from the hook which reduces the manufacturing costs. At times, so cheap it compromises the quality.
- Cheaper bamboo hooks don’t have any thumb depression areas.
- Some hooks area shorter in length. For my hands being larger, the back of the hook touches and stabs into the back of my palm area.
- Some hooks don’t have the sizes marked on the hook through engraving or printing.
- Some hooks are not finished with a nice coating or fine sanded.
Why Choose Bamboo & Purchasing Tips
Bamboo offers a more comfortable feel to your hands over the other hooks.
- If your hand sweat, the bamboo absorbs the moisture. This allows the hook to not get slippery on you.
- With the heat of your hands, the bamboo blends the heat of your hand to the hook. It becomes a perfect balance. With steel, plastic or aluminum, the heat transfer of your hand to the hook is constant but the steel, plastic and aluminum don’t hold the heat and expel it. These other hooks are, in fact, stealing the heat the from your hands. You can experience cramping in your hands and pains in the long term of your wrists. Bamboo eliminates this issue.
- Look for hooks that have the thumb depressions.
- They are really strong and I have never snapped a crochet hook.
If you were to give me a standard crochet hook without a comfort grip, I will only choose a bamboo one.
Polymer Crochet Hooks
After I started educating myself more about hooks, my next step was to use a polymer ‘handled’ crochet hooks. I was looking for the comfort handle grip.
With working with Laurie Mueller, Xquisite Koncepts out of Alberta Canada, I came to learn that there are fine lines of a great polymer hook verses a hook that doesn’t work well.
A polymer crochet hook is clay that is moulded around a crochet hook and then baked. The making of a polymer crochet hook is actually a lot harder than one might imagine. The shape of the clay, where it is on the hook and the added features to the clay play a huge role on the comfort level.
Like Laurie determined, her first versions of crochet hooks are obsolete. She listened to feedback and perfected her craft with first hand knowledge on improvements to make an excellent quality polymer hook.
Customized Polymer Hooks by artists range from $8.00 – $25.00. The added costs of the clay, moulding design/process and baking usually are the factors for the prices.
Features to look for in a Polymer Clay Hook:
- Shape of the clay.
- Look for smoothness. Smoothness. Some polymer hooks I have seen appear to be rough, uneven or clumpy hooking.
- Thickness of the clay for durability and strength. If the handle is too thick in diameter, your wrists may experience pain as you have to rotating your hook on a more exaggerated turn as your hook gets bigger.
- Exaggerated Rotation: Try it be using your rotating your crochet hook, now grab a broom handle and rotate the broom to the same degree of turning. You will notice your wrist has to really bend to make the equal amount of turning. With each size of crochet hook increase, this turning action makes your wrist turn more. With an oversize clay handle, this is clearly obvious and crocheters may not realize why their wrists and arms are experiencing pain or discomfort.
- Positioning of how far back from hook where the clay starts.
- Weight of how much clay has been added. If the hook is heavy, your wrists and crocheting arm will get tired and quicker. Changing the weight of a crochet hook is really critical for crochet longevity.
The comfort of a great polymer handle is hit or miss. If reviewing to buy one of these, be sure to find consumer reviews for the hooks as other people’s opinions will help you determine what others think about these. Each artist is different and can impact the overall comfort level.
Tulip Etimo Hooks
This is when some of my fans start getting upset is when a crochet hook turns over the $5.00 range. Tulip Hooks range in about $10 – $15 each. For some of my fans they compare the price between fixed income issues, buying groceries, paying rent and etc. It’s a fair and valid and real perspective. I look at it from a different point of view.
I have been using my Tulip Hooks for 18 months and are the best hooks on the market in the comfort grip that I have come across. The Tulip Hooks have eliminated any wrist and joint pains in crochet for me. I look at the price as a health investment for myself. I crochet virtually everyday. My personal comfort of a one time investment in my crochet hook is really worth it.
The tulip crochet hooks have a more refined curvature to the handle. The rubberized grip is fantastic. Like a great pair of shoes where the soles take the shape of your toes, the comfort grip also does the same thing in the long term. It’s broken in to be my personalized grip.
You will see other ones on the market that are similar. I have been asked to stop using Tulip Etimo on my videos by competitors of Tulip. I am not sponsored by Tulip or have any relationship with them on any level. I am using the hook because I am genuinely love the hook.
On a price point of view and comfort, I would strongly recommend this hook over any other hook types of hooks. I only have 3 sizes in this hook, 3 most common sizes I use most.
Susan Bates Bamboo Handle Crochet Hook
Since joining on with Red Heart, I have been also using the Susan Bates Bamboo Handle Crochet Hooks. These hooks aren’t readily available here in Canada. It’s one of the reasons why I have never seen it on the store shelves. I had them shipped to me so I could experience them first hand.
Very competitively priced around the $3.00 – $4.00 range.
- The Bamboo Handle has the added plus of the Bamboo properties that I shared with your earlier about the heat properties.
- The thickness of the bamboo is great for the palm of your hand for adding thickness. A lot of positive reviews from consumers about this hook for those are experiencing arthritis and joint discomfort.
- If you are wanting a comfort grip and think $10 price range is too high. I would suggest these hooks as your alternative.
Furls Crochet Hooks
These are the Furls Crochet Hooks. These are hand turned and polished. They high quality resin that are designed, sculpted, casted, polished and top coated with exotic car paint. They are 100% American Made with a team of 20 artisans working on each hook during it’s development.
Price point is around $45 – $50 each.
The hooks are specifically engineered to match the hand shape. There is no guessing on what a hand should look like. I own 2 of these crochet hooks and they are fantastic.
The price point seems to get people all in a up roar of these crochet hooks being ‘expensive’. With all of the other crochet hooks I have discussed above as being imported with cheap labour from across the seas, the prices of the above hooks reflect cheap wages and importing. The price point of Furls Crochet Hooks are associated to real American wages. They have American craftsmanship applied to the hooks. We’ve become use to cheap imports, though it has knocked many of us out of a job. We value products based on imported products instead of American or Canadian made value.
Furl’s Crochet Hooks would prefer to keep the workers on American soil, keeping real American’s employeed. They will not ship their design over sees to knock American’s out of a job. Shipping the manufacturing process to China would greatly reduce the price but then American’s will be out of work and quality may be compromised.
These hooks are for those who can afford the luxury and would like to move up the chain in crochet hooks. Like anything in life, a car to get you from point A to point B and cost about $20,000. Meanwhile, you have those who don’t mind spending upwards of $100,000 for a car that can afford it.
It’s A Wrap:
Finally, crochet hooks are subject to your personal comfort and style. It can be determined on your value associated to the cost of a crochet hook. It could also be based on your medical condition of needing a specific type of hook. Like me, I took a journey of using different hooks to find the hooks that I like the best.
When I see people complaining about joint pain and etc on The Crochet Crowd, I always to myself, “Maybe it’s their crochet hook creating the pain… what if they switched their hook to try a different brand?”
I will say this out loud, since I have switched to the comfort handle grips, I cannot use a non-ergonomic hook. I misplaced my hook the other day and grabbed a regular resin hook as I gave up looking for it. After 20 minutes I had such severe pain and discomfort in my arm that I was forced to quit.
Yes, I crochet a lot and my hook should reflect that. Why ruin my joints on a product that isn’t meeting my needs.
Remember, I am not sponsored by any Crochet Hooks for exclusivity. My recommendations and thoughts are non-bias. You are the crocheter, you can make an informed decision that suits you the best.
Oh yeah, and buying your hooks a combo pack with different sizes all in the same pack is the best way to save money on buying crochet hooks. If you buy them individually, you may be spending more money than you need to.