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My Wooden Yarn Winder Guide To The Best Models You Can Buy in 2020. All The Choices

If you’re working with yarn packaged in hank form, a wooden yarn winder is an essential knitting tool. A very useful gadget for winding yarn into center pull balls or cakes.

Many hand dyed yarns are often sold in hanks and knitting directly from the hank is troublesome. You’ll be one big tangled mess before you know it! 

You save so much time using a yarn winder and the resulting yarn is a joy to to work with. The shape of the yarn cake is like a cylinder, flat on the top and bottom.

This allows for less movement when you’re knitting. I’ve wound plenty of yarn by hand into balls. If it escapes from my knitting bag, it rolls away very easily!

Wooden yarn winders look lovely set up in a craft room and they make less noise when winding.

I’ve reviewed the top picks with a range of price points. There’s something to suit people on a budget and for those who plan to do lots of winding and are looking for a heavy duty option.

Yarn winders are best used in conjunction with a yarn swift. I have reviewed a couple of the more popular wooden swifts available.

Table of Contents

Maple Jumbo Yarn Winder – Best Overall Wooden Yarn Winder

Fiber Artist Supply Co Maple Jumbo Yarn Winder

Fiber Artists Supply Maple Jumbo Yarn Winder is a well made product making winding easy. All surfaces are finely sanded so your yarn won’t snag. You can take the entire unit apart in less than a minute.


  • Ball bearings means the winder spins almost effortlessly. 
  • A well-balanced main winding assembly allows users to to opt to wind with or without a table clamp.
  • Can wind up to 1lb of fingering weight yarn and 10 ounces of worsted weight yarn.
  • One year warranty from date of purchase against manufacturer defects.


  • Need space for use

Here’s the Maple Jumbo Yarn Winder in action

Halcyon Yarn Heavy Duty Wooden Ball Winder

Halcyon Yarn Heavy Duty Wooden Ball Winder
  • Made of maple hardwood
  • Wind up to 1 lb balls 
  • Steel and commercial grade, heavy-duty Swiss gears 
  • The yarn guide arm can swivel 180 degrees to allow for 5 different angles
  • Includes 2 heavy duty table clamps that allow for mounting to a table thickness of up to 2.5″ 
  • One year limited warranty

Nancy’s Knit Knacks Heavy Duty Ball Winder – Best Heavy Use 16 Ounce Wooden Yarn Winder

Nancy’s Knit Knacks Heavy Duty Ball Winder

This winder is heavy duty and can wind up to one pound of yarn (16 oz) at a time. Simple to use and doesn’t require much assembly. Made of strong and lasting materials with an ergonomic design.

The wood is quality maple, looks beautiful set up on a table. Manufactured in the United States with Swiss-made gears. (The Swiss know their gears.)

The spindle capacity is perfect for a person who’s in the market for a bigger and more durable ball winder. A tool to wind all those big hanks.

A considerable investment but worth it. Excellent value for how long it lasts. It’s a work horse! Think of all the projects you’ll make.


  • The Heavy Duty Ball Winder by Nancy’s Knit-Knacks can wind up to 1lb. at a time.
  • Comes fully assembled with you only having to put the handle and yarn guide on it.
  • Has a sleek ergonomic design and focuses more on using your arm for winding.
  • Smooth operation and makes very little noise.
  • Can be adjusted in several ways. You can change the yarn ball at five different angles relative to the positioning of the machine.
  • Guaranteed to be easy to use and comfortable.
  • Flexible options for tension and yarn ball size.
  • Requires little assembly. It’s straightforward to use.
  • It’s made in the USA with maple wood and has Swiss gears.
  • It has a one-year warranty and an option of adding an electric motor.
  • It has excellent customer ratings and reviews


  • A small chance of experiencing yarn becoming tangled and overspun.

Note: Some users found they can wind on to cardboard cones using this winder.

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

Knitters Pride Natural Ball Winder – Best Budget Pick

Knitters Pride Natural Ball Winder


  • Winds up to 1lb of fingering weight yarn
  • Anti-friction bearing on the spool side for free rotation. 
  • Fine quality bearing provides super smooth winding of yarn. 
  • Anti-skid rubber pads prevents the winder from sliding and scratching the table.


  • Some customers found the yarn cakes are more loosely wound.
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

Knitter’s Pride Nostepinne

Knitter’s Pride Nostepinne

A simple design with no moving parts. It’s like a polished, carved stick.

Made of wood with a varnished finish. The carved handle is comfortable to hold. There’s a groove at the top to tie on the yarn to start winding.


  •     Creates center pull balls
  •     Great budget option


  •     Can only wind as fast as you are able
  •     Using too much tension as you wind stretches the yarn
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

The following products are made of wood, but are yarn swifts. They’re great for holding the hank of yarn in place instead of using the backs of dining room chairs. They rotate freely while a yarn winder is winding the yarn into cakes.

Stanwood Needlecraft Wooden Umbrella Winder

Stanwood Needlecraft Wooden Umbrella Winder

A medium-sized solid Umbrella Swift, made of birch wood material with a finely sanded finish. The overall construction and performance makes sure it lasts for years.

Able to handle skeins of 6ft in circumference. When working it’s fairly quiet and the spin is smooth.

The manufacturer selects wood pieces without scars or blemishes so these yarn swifts are less vulnerable to breakage and have a lovely uniform sanded finish.

The ends of metal tying wires are hidden into holes. No rough edges to hurt your hands or snag the yarn.


  • Holds up to 6ft skein in circumference.
  • Can clamp onto a variety of surfaces, 1 3/4 inch thick such as tables, benches or chairs.
  • Very sturdy construction made of quality wood.
  • Spins effortlessly
  • Packs down for storage.


  • On rare occasions, the clamp screw part can sometimes crack but screw replacements are avaliable.
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

She Lin Wooden Umbrella Swift Winder

She Lin Wooden Umbrella Swift Winder

A swift is used in conjunction with a yarn winder. The hank is placed over the arms of the swift and the end of the yarn is attached to the winder. Operate the winder and the swift rotates.


  • This swift is made with natural birch wood with a highly sanded finish, so your yarn won’t snag.
  • Easy to set up.
  • Able to operate with both hands free.


  • Table clamp can scratch some surfaces
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

Shop Darn Good Yarn

What Is A Yarn Winder?

A yarn winder is a tool used to wind yarn from a hank to make center pull yarn cakes.

Which Is The Best Yarn Winder?

The best yarn winder is made of sturdy materials with gears that are smooth when in operation.

Why Do I Need A Yarn Winder?

You need a yarn winder to make crocheting easier. Working from a hank without winding it first is no fun. The creation of neat yarn cakes with a center pull makes working your crochet projects a breeze.

No more tangled yarn monsters!

How Do You Use A Wooden Yarn Winder?

To use a wooden yarn winder you follow these steps:

  • Attach the winder to a flat surface with the provided clamp
  • Find the end of the yarn and place it in the slot of the bobbin
  • Thread the yarn through the yarn guide
  • Slowly turn the crank and the bobbin winds
  • Continue to turn the crank at a medium pace until the hank is completed wound into a yarn cake.

A Wooden Yarn Winder is a worthwhile investment for your crocheting pursuits. Made with quality materials and built to last, one of these is sure to bring you crochet joy for years to come.

I hope this information helps you to choose which one is right for you. If you have a question please get in touch or message me on Twitter.

Happy Crocheting!

About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, owner and creator of Crochet Penguin. (Yes, I’m a real person :) )

Thanks for being here. I created Crochet Penguin to help show 1,000,000 people the benefits of crochet & highlight alternatives to fast fashion.

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