Best Looms

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

14 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
173 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Buying guide for best looms

Last Updated October 2019

The art of loom weaving is a heritage craft. The loom holds thread or yarn taut while other strands weave between them in a crosswise fashion. There are a great many types of weaving looms with different features, but all weaving looms perform this same basic task.

Finding a new loom can be challenging whether you’re an experienced weaver or a novice. There are so many to choose from: small laptop looms with notches, complex floor looms designed for weaving fabric or carpet, and plenty of choices in between. Not only do looms vary in size and shape, they also vary in the skill level required for operation.

Read on to learn more about the wide array of weaving looms available to you. We present their merits and drawbacks in a way that will help you decide what you need. When you are ready to make a purchase, consider our recommended loom choices.

Hand-weaving using a non-mechanized loom is a traditional craft that produces an end product that is artful, beautiful, and sustainable.

Key considerations

Weaving turns thread or yarn into fabric by intertwining two separate threads at right angles to create a rug, cloth, or fabric. These two threads are known as the warp. The interlocking of the two is referred to as the weave. Primary types of weaves include twill and satin, which are manipulated to produce a diverse array of textures fabric for a host of different applications.

What do you want to create?

Textile artisans choose different loom styles and sizes depending on what they wish to create. Whether you’re interested in creating tapestry, fabric, runners, or rugs, there is something for you. But the end product isn’t the only choice you need to make. Weavers also must think about color, texture, pattern, and density. In terms of length, a final product could theoretically be as long as you want. Width, however, is determined by the size of the loom.

What is your level of weaving knowledge?

Loom weaving is a long, repetitive process that demands infinite patience. In short, it may not be a craft for everyone. Fabric artisans suggest starting small: take a class, try out different types of looms, and do a bit of research to help determine what area of the craft you find most intriguing before purchasing a loom.

If you are new to loom weaving, consider purchasing a lap, rigid heddle, or sprinkle loom. These are smaller and easier to master, but they allow you to gain experience and insight into the many diverse aspects of weaving.

How much space do you have?

Before you buy a loom and weaving tools and begin an ambitious weaving project, consider how much work space you will need. A loom is a fairly permanent object. Floor looms can be bulky and cumbersome, occupying a significant amount of space. When choosing your work space, select a location with good lighting and enough space to position the loom away from the flow of household traffic.

If you have pets, choose an area from which, if need be, they can be excluded: a playfully pulled thread produces a terrible mess that often requires several stressful hours to unravel.

Types of looms

Table looms

There are many different types of looms. If you are a novice weaver who has mastered the basics, consider a four-harness tabletop loom as the next natural progression in your journey as a weaver. A four-harness tabletop loom costs less than a floor loom. However, due to its light weight and narrow width, it is rather limited in its creative possibilities. It’s the most basic of this type of loom. (Many weavers use looms with up to 16 harnesses.)

Jack-type looms

A jack-type loom is the best choice if you plan to do a lot of fabric weaving. Jack-type looms are suitable for both balanced and unbalanced weaving (a harness ratio of one harness against three.) When choosing a jack-type loom, keep in mind that because each harness frame operates independently, treadling is noisier and more difficult than when working a counterbalance loom.

With a jack-type loom, the tension on the warp cannot be high, and non-elastic warps such as nylon or linen are not recommended.

Counterbalance looms

If you are looking for a fast, quiet loom with softer treadling than a jack-type loom, a counterbalance loom is an excellent choice. A counterbalance loom offers the added advantage of allowing a high warp tension, which is crucial in rug weaving. Counterbalance looms accommodate the weaver who wants the ability to use elastic warp, such as cotton or wool, as well as non-elastic warp. With a counterbalance loom, the shed is imperfect when weaving is unbalanced. However, shed can be manipulated by adding a shed regulator.

Floor looms

If space allows, you may want to choose a floor loom. Traditional floor looms are much stronger than table looms, but they take up a lot more space. Because of its greater depth, a floor loom provides a better shed and offers more creative possibilities than a jack-type loom.

Heavy wooden looms, strong, sturdy and durable, are best for weaving heavy textiles such as heavy yarn wall hangings, rugs, and runners. Keep in mind that most weaving projects take a considerable amount of time, requiring the loom to be set up and taking up space until the project is complete.

EXPERT TIP

If you work on your weaving project intermittently, cover your work with a drop cloth to protect it from dust and sun fading.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Lightweight jack-type floor looms, although they take up a good deal of room when in use, can be folded away for convenient storage.


Staff  | BestReviews

Accessories

A weaver can never have too much yarn. This delightful collection from Pacon includes 12 cones of 12 different colors. If you’re just starting out, it’s a small investment that will pad your yarn supply and make you feel ready to take on a new and exciting project.

Strip yarn is not yarn in the traditional sense; it is strips of fabric that have been cut for weaving purposes. It’s fun, as a weaver, to experiment with different weights, colors, and textures. We love the look of this patterned strip yarn from Bachaaya, and the larger pieces are sure to help your new project move along.

Similar to strip yarn, chunky yarn allows you to complete a weaving project faster, and this wool yarn from FLORAVOGUE comes in a rainbow of color choices to add to the fun. If you’re weaving something warm for winter, consider a chunky yarn like this for extra coziness.

You’ll need a place to store your yarn, especially if you have curious pets or children who may get into your loose supplies when you’re not looking. ArtBin’s authentic-looking caddy catches our eye for its retro look and style.

Loom prices

Budget-friendly: Looms in the lower price range are typically designed for beginning weavers. Easy on the pocketbook and generally made of plastic, you can find looms like these for $12 to $48. This type of product is great for learning the basics of weaving and for demonstration purposes, but as you progress in skill, you will likely want to replace it with something more sophisticated.

Mid-range: For a loom in the middle price range, expect to pay anywhere from $65 to $700. The middle range includes most wooden lap and table looms. If you’ve progressed beyond the initial stage of learning how to weave, you may wish to consider something here. Don’t let the wide price range deter you; a good loom of a smaller size is more likely to cost $300 than it is $700. However, if you’re looking for a large loom of outstanding quality, you can find products in the $600 to $700 range that should fit the bill.

Expensive: Advanced weavers can expect to pay from $700 to $8,000 for a traditional floor loom handcrafted from the finest exotic hardwood. Again, this is a large price range, but don’t be deterred. Only professionals and the most dedicated of hobbyists will find a need to venture past the $700 or $800 mark.

DID YOU KNOW?

Because of its greater depth, a floor loom provides a better shed and offers more creative possibilities.

Tips

  • If this is your first loom, start small. Experienced weavers suggest that an inexpensive laptop loom will give you a taste of weaving without spending too much money on your new hobby.

  • Jack-type looms are the best choice for weaving fabric.

  • Rigid heddle looms allow two-shaft weaving, which can be adapted to function as a four-shaft loom with the addition of a second heddle set.

Other products we considered

Sturdy and durable, the 20-inch weaving frame of the Beka Loom with Stand is perfect for beginners. Crafted from hard rock maple, the stand is portable, easy to assemble, and easy to adjust. This is an excellent value for the money.

Are you looking for something for a child? With a working width of eight inches, the Mikimiqi Multi-Craft Weaving Loom loom is perfect for children and other beginners. This budget-friendly loom is a small, portable practice loom suitable for experimenting with patterns and different types of yarns before using those materials on a larger loom.

Melissa & Doug Wooden Multi-Craft Weaving Loom is a little tabletop upright loom that is suitable for several different arts and crafts applications. It’s portable, lightweight, and easy on the budget. Made by a reputable toymaker, it’s another fantastic loom product for children.

A table loom is an excellent learning tool and portable enough to take to a workshop or carry in your luggage when you travel. Table looms are less expensive than jack-type looms.

FAQ

Q. How many years ago did mankind begin weaving fabric on a loom?

A. The art of weaving on a loom pre-dates the Paleolithic era. Excavations in the ancient tombs temples of Egypt revealed flax weavings dating back to as early as 10,500 BC. Fabrics woven from flax dominate the earliest dated weavings, followed by wool introduced around 2000 BC.

Q. When did mechanical loom weaving begin in the U.S.?

A. During the industrial revolution, the traditional loom found itself replaced by a machine. When John Kay invented his now-famous flying shuttle, weaving became faster and produced a wider variety of fabric. By 1785, mechanical loom weaving factories opened across the U.S. In 1803, the invention of the Jacquard loom, programmed by punch cards, dramatically increased fabric production. The first half of the nineteenth century witnessed white fabrics imprinted mechanically with natural plant-based dyes. Synthetic dyes were not introduced until the second half of the nineteenth century.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Karen
    Karen
    Writer
  • Marlene
    Marlene
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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