Knitter’s Pride Karbonz knitting needles – Review

A detailed review of the Knitter’s Pride Karbonz series – from the interchangeable knitting needle sets to the double-pointed needles.

Knitter’s Pride offers the only knitting needles range made out of carbon. The Karbonz knitting needles claim to be near indestructible while still offering the speed of metal needles and the grip of their wooden counterparts. So, truly the best of two worlds?

In this review, I will take a very close look at the full Karbonz range. Are they one of the best interchangeable knitting needle sets? And how about the double-pointed needles and the fixed circulars? How good are these?

various knitter's pride karbonz knitting needles

If you have you have been following me on Instagram or checking out the free patterns on my blog here, then you probably already know I am a huge fan of the Karbonz DPNs. Still, I will try to keep this review as objective and devoid of my obvious bias as possible. Why? Because just because something works for me and my style doesn’t necessarily mean it works for you.

For your convenience, here are the shopping links to the products I am reviewing in this article. I bought mine all on Amazon as well and found the best bargains there.

Note: I earn a small commission for purchases made through links in this artcile

Tip: If you are looking for more inspiration, here’s my list of 25 tools every knitter needs. Just starting out? Then read my guide with the best knitting needles for beginners.

Karbonz Needles: The Basics

Let’s take a look at the general system first. Because all Karbonz needles basically share the same general makeup. No matter if you buy the interchangeable or the dpns, the basic needle will be more or less the same.

(Almost) All Karbonz knitting needles are produced in two pieces: You have the sturdy nickel coated brass tip and then a body made from carbon fibers.

So, what are the advantages of this composition?

The Material

close-up of the carbon body of the karbonz knitting needles

Carbon is an amazing material for knitting needles. It’s extremely light, very durable, warm to the touch, and still offers a nice bit of friction so your stitches don’t fall off your needle if you look in the wrong direction for a second.

Because of this high friction (and maybe some technical issues as well), it’s not ideal for tips. That’s probably why Knitter’s Pride decided on metal tips. These are very slick and perfect for intermediate knitting. But let’s take a closer look.

The tips

comparing the tips of the karbonz needles with three other brands

The tips are not the sharpest of the lot and a bit shorter than say Chiaogoo or addi needles. So, I’m not sure they would be my premier choice for advanced lace knitting. The nickel-platting is probably something that some knitters won’t like – to me it always felt perfect (but I don’t have a nickel allergy).

Sadly, the taper of the interchangeable Karbonz needles is considerably shorter than of the competing brands. This is definitely something you will notice when knitting complicated stitches (like p2tog tbl or a double decrease). It’s nothing that ever bothered me personally but I would imagine that some knitters will notice the difference.

close-up of the minor kink where the body is glued to the needle tips

There is also a noticeable little kink where the tips are joined with the body. I have been knitting with these needles extensively (we are talking 100+ projects) and it never bothered me at all. You do notice it but I never had yarn getting caught in there at all.

used karbonz needles with the nickel coating of the tips partially rubbed off
Some of my very old Karbonz dpns

After some heavy use, the coating of the tips may eventually rub off. That’s the nature of all coating. The needles will still be useable but there will be quite a bit of discoloration because the brass will shine through.

I see it like this: All uncoated needles I know (HiyaHiya, Chiaogoo, etc) feel quite a bit slower and, for technical reasons, a coating cannot last a lifetime. If the coating is gone, they are on the same level as pure stainless steel, but you get a noticeable boost while it’s still on.

I’ve also read reports online that the kink between tips and body will eventually widen/rub off. This has never happened to me. And I daresay, if it didn’t happen after hundreds of hours of knitting with them, it’s not a general problem and rather something connected with an individual knitting style or rare manufacturing problem (and you get these with all knitting needles – no matter the brand).

The body of the needles

comparing the needle length of different interchangeable knitting needle sets
Comparing the Karbon with (from left ro right) addi, ChiaoGoo, Hiya Hiya

So, how do these needles feel in your hand? Quite amazing. The carbon is not cold at all and will warm quite quickly. They are also comparably lighter.

A set of 5 dpns in size 3mm weighs about 12 grams. The same Knitter’s Pride metal needles are 22 grams – that’s almost twice as much. It’s definitely something you will notice. Maybe not the most deciding factor but still nice to know.

I really love the grip any Karbonz needle offers. Even with just three stitches, it’s actually very rare for the needles to accidentally slide out, and it’s probably one of the reasons I practically never use needle stoppers when I put a work in progress on hold. I would say it’s not as much bamboo needles offer but quite a bit bit more than polished hardwood needles (Dreamz, Lykke, etc.).

the needle size has been rubbed off after only one use

One thing that might annoy some knitters is the fact that the needle size is only printed on the carbon. It will rub off faster than you can look. I never cared because I have a needle size card and out of habit I always check the size of all needles before I start anyway. Still, this could be improved in my opinion.

The durablity

I guess the unique selling point of the Karbonz knitting needles is the sheer durability. So, let me quickly address it. I do believe it’s a two-edged sword. First of all, I personally never really had any major problems with bigger metal needles (say 3.5mm and above). Not talking about wood here, because bamboo etc will splinter (especially at the tips) and break if you step on them. But I guess that is expected behavior.

Also, most circular and interchangeable needles break around the join towards the cable – and here you have no carbon. It’s the same kind of join and comes with the same kind of issues as all its competitors. And after all, half of the interchangeable knitting needles are actually metal and only the middle portion is carbon.

comparing the knitter's pride karbonz with the bent metal double-pointed needles by the same brand
Old metal knitting needles compared to the Karbonz

In my opinion, the Karbonz needles truly shine when it comes to small sizes and the 20cm double-pointed needles. I love knitting with 2.00 mm needles. Before the release of the Karbonz, I only knit with metal and these thin wires always ended up really crooked after two or three socks. It was a major problem (and money drain) for me.

If you like to knit with bigger needles, then I’m not sure you are really gaining anything compared to other quality needles – at least not in terms of durability. Besides, the tips are basically power glued to the carbon body and there is the unlikely potential that they can come off.

In all these years it never happened to me while knitting but twice when I stepped on them at a really bad angle. Now, for obvious reasons, knitting needles aren’t meant to be chewed up by dogs or stepped on. And of course, there are, just like with any other brand, manufacturing issues. What I’m trying to say here is: You get amazing knitting durability but they are not fool-proof either.

Together with the fact that the coating might rub off they are still not the “buy once in a lifetime” tool. And I’ve seen a lot of knitters expecting something different. But I guess it really depends on your expectations and budget.

I prefer knitting with small needles and there I can say from the bottom of my heart that they are so far the best and most durable knitting needles I found.

Knitting speed

knitting abit of ribbing with the knitter's pride karbonz knitting needles

In terms of knitting speed, they are actually surprisingly fast. They can’t fully compare to addi or the Knitter’s Pride Nova Platina but because of the metal tips you barely notice a difference. Even though it feels a bit like splitting hairs, they are thus probably not my favorite for plain stockinette stitch but quite perfect for the Bavarian Twisted stitch designs I so love and other a bit more complicated stitches.

The Karbonz interchangeable knitting needle set

the knitter's pride karbonz interchangeable knitting needle set and all its contents

Size Range: 3.00 mm (US 2.5) to 8.00mm (US 11)

The Knitter’s Pride Karbonz interchangeable needles sets typically come with 7 needles (3.00mm to 6.00mm) and 4 cables. There are also two cable extenders, a couple of cable stoppers, and cable keys in the “deluxe” set. It’s certainly not exactly the most accessories and needles ever. Do consider, however, that these sets typically cost only around 80-90 USD and you can buy more tips and longer cables if and when you need them (Chiaogoo, addi or Hiya Hiya are all more expensive).

There are also “special sets” with 8 needles. These come in a nice box, though I actually like the standard see-through pouches. Some say they look cheap but they are quite sturdy and do their jobs. I am not the biggest fan of zippers but I guess you can’t expect a gilded rosewood box for the money you pay.

If you already own an interchangeable needle set then the general system will be very familiar to you: You basically get a couple of cables in different lengths and you can screw them into the tips and thus create endless possibilities. A little key helps you to screw them tight.

attaching the karbonz interchangeable knitting needle tips to the cables with a special key

The join between the tips and the cables is remarkably smooth and nothing you will notice at all. It’s also very tight and it has never come undone while I was knitting with them. It’s thus a bit ironic that the permanent join towards the carbon body is the more noticeable of the two. Not in a negative way but certainly more pronounced.

close-up of the join between cable and interchangeable knitting needle

And that is definitely something you need to be aware of. These needles have three little kinks. One where the tip is joined to the body, one towards the end, and the join with the cables.

On the plus side, you get the super sturdy carbon needle body in between. Although I want you to be aware that half of the needle will still be metal – with all its pros and cons. So, I’m not too convinced how much sense this product actually makes.

close-up look at the karbonz interchangeable needle tips all set up - half of the needle body is actually metal

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love knitting with the Knitter’s Pride needles the most. I’m just not very sure if the short bit of carbon in between makes up for three tiny kinks you end up knitting with. But then again, the yarn never gets caught and I’m sure that a lot of knitters will appreciate the other benefits of the carbon piece in the middle.

I think the unique selling point of these is the fact that carbon is warmer to the touch (so if you are sensitive in that regard) and the surface is so much less slippery. So, if metal needles are too cold/slippery for you but bamboo needles feel a bit too slow and cumbersome, then this could be the perfect alternative.

The Karbonz double-pointed needles

the knitter's pride karbonz double-pointed knitting needle set - here the 6 inch version

Size Range: 1.00 mm ( US 00000) to 6.00 mm (US 10); 6 or 8 inches

The Knitter’s Pride Karbonz double-pointed needles are my go-to needle for knitting in the round. I don’t believe any other double-pointed needle on the market can compare. Let me explain why.

The dpns are quite pricey but if you buy the full set it becomes affordable. A single set of 5 needles usually costs around 15ish USD. This is quite a lot of money. But you can often get a full sock knitting set for around 50-50ish USD. And I feel that is a reasonable and fair price.

The typical sets come with 5 sizes: 2.00mm, 2.50mm, 3.0mm, 3.50mm, and 4.00mm. This should cover most of your sock knitting projects.

knitter's pride karbonz dpns in different sizes and lenghts - the 8 and the 6 inch versions next to each other

They are available in two lengths: 15 cm or 20 cm (6 or 8 inches) – depending on your personal preferences. 15 cm is more than enough to cover almost all sock projects. So, if that is what you are mainly going to use it for, I would pick the shorter option.

close-up of the join between body and tip karbonz knitting needle - there's only a tiny little gap

The only truly negative thing I could possibly say about the dpns is that they have two noticeable kinks where the tips are joined two the body on either end of the needles. Like I said before, it’s nothing that will make your yarn get caught. But if you are very sensitive about these things you will notice it.

Is it ideal? No. But neither wooden dpns or the metal alternatives are ideal either. Wood splinters, is not very durable, is slower but has nice friction. And metal is fast but slippery and bends too easily. And if you take a look at the whole picture then the Karbonz needles offer the least flaws.

the knitter's pride karbonz 1.00 mm needles still in their original packacking

One of the major advantages of the Karbon double-pointed needles is the fact that they go down all the way to 1.00mm needles (you can buy them here) and that alone is quite amazing. You should be aware that the really small sizes (so below 2.00 mm / US 0) are strangely flexible. They always snap back into shape though. Also, they don’t have metal tips. These pure carbon tips are somewhat strange to knit with.

the tips of the karbonz 1.00mm double-pointed needles up close

Are these small needles any good? Hm…difficult question. Most knitters probably don’t even consider knitting with such small needles. If you are one of them then you probably will know that such small needles are always a compromise. The Karbonz 1.00 mm needles basically feel like knitting with pencil refills. They are remarkably durable but it takes quite a while to build up some trust!

showing how you can bend the knitter's ride karbonz 1 mm dpns with your hands
These small needles are strangley flexible but always snap back once you release them

If you take care, they will not break and will never end up crooked as the metal alternatives do after looking at them the wrong way. But it’s a bit harder to knit complicated stitches with them.

The fixed circulars

two pairs of knitter's pride fixed circular karbonz knitting needles next to each other

Size range: 2.00 mm (US 0) to 6.00mm (US 10)

If you don’t want to buy a full set or would like to buy needles below size 3.00 mm then the Karbonz circular needles could be an option for you. Compared to the interchangeable the actual carbon body is quite a bit longer. They are both 13cm (5 inches) long, though.

The black cables are a lot more flexible than the colorful ones you get with the sets and, by default, the joins at the ends are much smoother as well. You can choose between 40, 60, 80, or 100 cm (15, 24, 32 or 40 inches) cables. They all have quite a bit of a memory effect but you can ease out the worst with boiling water.

close-up of the transition between cable and needle of the fixed circular karbonz knitting needles

I found them to be very sturdy and, so far, none of them ever broke while I was using them. Since they share all the other characteristics I already mentioned in this review so far, I guess there’s little else to write about them. Of course, you notice the joins but never in a way snagging occurs.

I really have to confess that I love knitting with them. They are my go-to circular needle for projects using a small needle size (so below 3.00mm). When it comes to the bigger sizes I got all my interchangeable needle sets, but for these teeny weeny projects in the round, they are the best I could find so far.

Summary of my Karbonz review

A couple of knitter's pride karbonz  knitting needles on a white board - still in their original plastic pouch.

So, let’s put it all together. I feel the Knitter’s Pride Karbonz knitting needles are the best choice for people who love knitting socks on small needles. The dpns are very durable, light, comparably easy to knit with and have nice friction to prevent stitches from falling off too easily.

While they are not indestructible and will show some wear after heavy use, they are still the best choice on the market in that department. On top of that, there is a nice size range that goes down to 1.00 mm.

The small size fixed circulars share all these advantages and are likewise a genuine option for people knitting doilies or other delicate projects where you often end up applying quite a bit of force to the needle. Finally, say goodbye to crooked needles!

The verdict on the interchangeable knitting needles is less clear in my opinion. While you do gain the general benefits of the carbon body (warm, light, pleasant friction) I don’t actually believe they are more durable than its competitors because they all share the same weaknesses around the joins.

I feel, if you are expecting a tool that will last you a lifetime, the Karbonz interchangeable needles might disappoint you. Don’t get me wrong. The Knitter’s Pride needles are actually my personal favorite needles and I love knitting with them. I’m just saying that you will have to decide for yourself if the relatively minor advantages make up for the much higher price compared to the Zing or Nova Platina interchangeable by Knitter’s Pride.

Here are the direct links to the different products I reviewed:

Anyways. That was my Knitter’s Pride Karbonz knitting needle review. Feel free to ask your questions in the comments below.

knitters pride karbonz knitting needles review

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