The best ergonomic knitting needles

Review of the most popular ergonomic knitting needles for arthritis & co – Prym, Addi, Knitter’s Pride, etc.

Do you feel pain while knitting? Do your wrists or fingers hurt? Do you have arthritis or maybe chronic tendonitis? Well, then you definitely should look into ergonomic knitting needles. These, often weirdly shaped needles, can alleviate pain and reduce the pressure and stress your hands are exposed to while knitting.

different ergonomic knitting needles for arthritis

The following sets are currently available on the market:

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

How do ergonomic knitting needles work?

diagram/drawing showing how ergonomic knitting needles work

All ergonomic knitting needles on the market try to increase the surface area of the point of contact. Your needles are round and your fingers are oval as well. As a result, the full force you apply to your knitting needles is focused on the single point where these two “cylinders” meet. If the needles are square or triangular needles, however, this force gets distributed a little bit more evenly. In the long run, this leads to less pain and/or calluses.

In addition, warm materials – like wood or plastic – that don’t wick away heat from your fingers (like most metals do) help to prevent injuries. Special tips, cables, and other such features often facilitate knitting even further.

The result: You need to apply less force to knit the same stitches, your hands are in a more relaxed position, and you may have to move your wrists less – preventing inflammations and blockages.

So far, at least, the theory. But do all these ergonomic knitting needles on the market deliver on that promise? Let’s find out!

Knitter’s Pride Cubics

knitters pride cubic knitting needles in the package

In my opinion, the currently best ergonomic knitting needles on the market are the Knitter’s Pride Nova Cubics (note: they are marketed as KnitPro in Europe). They are available as fixed circulars, interchangeables, and double-pointed knitting needles.

comment patreon showing that ergonomic knitting needles work
A comment I received from a loyal fan on my patreon account

All of them definitely do help against knitting pain to a point where I received comments from my patrons and loyals fans stating that they made knitting possible again – despite arthritis. Let’s take a look at why I like them so much.

knitter's pride nova cubic needles close up

The Knitter’s Pride Nova cubics are coated (the hollow core is made from brass). This means they have a lovely slick finish that allows for fast and efficient knitting. The needles glide through the stitches like butter. Most importantly, the coating also smoothens the edges of these cubic needles.

knitters pride nova cubic ergonomic needles on a table

While other products feel sharp against your fingers if you pick them up at a bad angle, the Nova cubics settle into your hands quite effortlessly.

tips of the knitters pride nova cubics super close up

The tips are sharp but not too sharp – similar to other Knitter’s Pride products. They are not so pointy that they hurt your hands when you push them but entering complex increases or decreases with them is definitely no chore.

If you ask me, the taper could be a little bit longer. It’s rather on the short side and lace knitters might be inclined to complain. In my opinion, it’s still within acceptable limits and I’m reasonably sure that tight knitters will benefit from it since they don’t need to push stitches too far up the needle. After all, when it comes to knitting ergonomics, any little movement you can avoid counts.

join of knitters pride cubics super macro shot

When it comes to interchangeable knitting needles, the joins fall within reasonable standards. The transition is not utterly smooth and definitely noticeable when you glide across it with your fingernail but the yarn normally doesn’t get caught when you push new stitches to the needles.

The standard sets and fixed circulars come with flexible plastic cables that have a nice thickness to them. These cables do have a memory effect and they will eventually curl up.

attaching different cables to the knitters pride cubics interchangeable

That being said, one of the reasons why I can recommend the Nova cubics so much is the fact that they are interchangeable with all other Knitter’s Pride products on the market. If you prefer steel cables, then you could combine them with the cables of the mindful collection. Or, use the slightly more flexible and thinner cables that are part of the Karbonz line.

Of course, the same applies to all other accessories. When it comes to ergonomic knitting, I do feel this is a very powerful asset that all other brands on the market cannot offer you. Depending on the needs of your body, the yarn you are using, and the project you are working on, you get to graft the perfect needle/cable combination.

PROS:

  • Smooth finish, no hard edges
  • medium sharp tips perfect for intermediate projects
  • can be combined with all other Knitter’s Pride Products
  • typically very affordable

CONS:

  • Coating will eventually rub off
  • Join between cable and needles could be a bit better

Buy the Knitter’s Pride cubics on: Amazon | Etsy

Knitter’s Pride Symfonie Cubics

knitter's pride symfonie cubics close-up

The same brand that offers the Nova cubics, also offers ergonomic knitting needles made from laminated birchwood. These are called Symfonie cubics and do look quite striking.

These needles have the same overall construction and shape but are quite a bit lighter (3 grams instead of 8-9 grams). On top of that, wooden needle typically feels a bit warmer in the hands. Both could be a lovely bonus for people with arthritis.

There are three potential issues I have to point out with these needles.

tips of knitters pride symfonie cubics compared to nova

First of all, the tips are a little bit blunter. Not much but noticeable. But that’s something most wooden needles have in common and there’s only so far you can file them to a point without risking them breaking with every stitch. A lot of beginners actually might enjoy a more rounded tip that doesn’t hurt your fingertips as you push against the needles.

The taper, however, didn’t need to be that short. It’s so short that it makes entering more complicated stitch quite a bit difficult. Plus, depending on your knitting technique, you might even collide with the edges of the cubic body when you enter a stitch. This could potentially feel a bit irritating as the tip of the other needle doesn’t glide across these edges in a smooth way.

join of knitters pride symfonie cubics close-up

You should also know that the edges themselves do feel quite a bit sharper. In my hands, they feel somewhat sharp to a point where it feels like I am holding all edges. This is, of course, a highly personal impression and will depend a bit on how sensitive you are and how you hold your needles.

The transition towards the cables also introduces, for some weird reason, another noticeable step. It won’t catch the yarn but it’s still noticeable.

All in all, I believe the Nova cubics are a very smart ergonomic product that does make sense even for a little bit more advanced patterns. Personally, I can’t make the Symfonie cubics work. Then again, I never was a big fan of wooden needles, to begin with. So that might explain my bias.

Addi Novel

addi novel ergonomic knitting needles on a table

A couple of years ago, addi also introduces a very smart ergonomic knitting needle product: The addi novels.

These needles also have a square profile but go one step beyond. Along the body of the needle, you will find a row of little indentations that are supposed to massage your hands as you hold them. I am not sure how this will work.

close-up of the addi novel ergonomic knitting needles

From a theoretical point of view, I can, however, say that a concave dent will allow your fingers to nestle into the needles even better than just a flat surface. So, even if you are doubtful about the massage function, the product does make sense.

The needles are made from coated white bronze and are quite slick (but interestingly not as slick as some other addi needles). They are remarkably light and do rest comfortably in your hands.

tips of addi novel compared to knitters pride cubics - close-up
The taper of the addi novel (left) compared to the Knitter’s Pride cubics (right)

Of all the ergonomic knitting needles on the market, the addi novels do have the longest and sharpest taper. This could be the ideal product for someone who experiences pain in the fingers/wrists while knitting but still wants to tackle lace or complicated cable designs.

join of addi novel fixed circulars close-up

The transition toward the cable is quite noticeable. The little step will frequently catch the yarn as you push new stitches to the needle and it’s definitely something you need to get used to. That being said, addi also offers the novels as fixed circulars. So that definitely is an option for everyone who doesn’t like the addi-click system.

addi novel interchangeable knitting needle join macro shot

The sets come with the standard addi plastic cables. I personally like how malleable and flexible they are. Some people, might not like that they can curl up quite a bit. As of now, addi does not offer any wire cables.

curly cables of the addi novel needles on a table

In terms of overall knitting quality, I do believe that the addi Novels are a hard contender for the best ergonomic knitting needles on the market. Sometimes, I do hit the needles from a weird angle and that can feel a bit weird and I do feel they could be a bit faster. But if your main focus is lovely tips, then definitely give those addi novels a try!

Pro:

  • probably the smartest grip system on the market
  • allow for dynamic knitting
  • super long taper
  • very light

Con:

  • not everyone likes the addi-click system and curly plastic cables
  • a noticeable step towards the cable (interchangeable needle sets only)

Buy the Addi Novel on: Amazon | Etsy

Prym Ergonomic knitting needles

prym ergonomic knitting needles on a wooden table

The next needles I want to talk about in this review are the Prym Ergonomics. These needles are quite special and look decidedly different than all the other ergonomic knitting needles out there.

First of all, they are made from plastic. Prym calls it “high-performance synthetic material”. The smaller sizes (2.5mm) do get some carbon fibers in the mix for added durability. As a results, the Prym Ergonomics are more or less weightless and feel quite warm (and not sticky at all) in your hands.

various tips of the prym ergonomics in different needle sizes

The tips of the needles are also worth noticing. All Prym Ergonomics needles taper off into a pronounced tear-drop-shaped tip. The German company calls them “hook tips” and they greatly facilitate knitting stitches as the yarn is less likely to slip off your needles as you (try to) pull the stitches through.

tear drop shapped tips of prym ergonomic knitting needles close-up

While these unique tips do make it a little bit harder to enter stitches, the effect is less pronounced than you might think. In fact, they actually make knitting quite a bit easier whenever you are knitting with a yarn that splits easily or knit with multiple strands held together.

close-up of the triangular middle portion of the prym ergonomics needles

The center of the needles is triangular and has a little grip patch on one side. Other than looks, I personally couldn’t really notice that this patch does anything. The triangular profile, of course, could potentially be a bit easier on your hands.

prym ergonomics knitting needles in different sizes

It doesn’t work for me as I hold my thumbs a little bit further up (actually right at the transition between round & triangular). On top of that, the triangular part is only integrated into needles from 4.5mm and onwards. The smaller sizes are all round and the grip patch also gets reduced in size the smaller it gets.

flexibile end piece prym ergonomics

The bigger needles also have a flexible portion toward the cable. This possibly helps with pushing new stitches to your needles when you are knitting in the round. I am not sure how well this actually works because sometimes the yarn still catches a little bit.

That being said, despite being “slow” plastic, the stitches actually glide across the needles quite well – mainly because the triangular part in the middle is narrower than the rest = less resistance.

stainless steel cables prym ergonomics close-up

The cables are coated wire. So there’s no memory effect. Yet, they are quite thin and super malleable. Sometimes stitches catch at the transition. It might thus not be the first choice for magic loop.

PRO:

  • Very good beginner needle
  • good for yarn that splits easily
  • super light

CON:

  • A bit slower to knit with and more difficult to enter stitches
  • no interchangeable needle sets are available
  • triangular shape is not suitable for everyone

Buy the Prym Ergonomics on: Amazon | Etsy

Important things to consider when choosing a new knitting needle

There’s one super important thing you need to know: There are not THE best ergonomic knitting needles, there are just the best for YOU. This has to do with individual preferences and knitting styles. Also, your hands might be bigger or smaller – but the needles are all the exact same size and so is the yarn.

On top of that, there are many reasons why you might want to pick up ergonomic knitting needles. Maybe you just have slight pains in your fingers when knitting for a prolonged time. Maybe you have arthritis and even a couple of stitches already hurt. Ultimately this could mean that a needle that works for me, won’t work for you at all – simply because your body has different demands.

That’s why I recommend getting a couple of different needles from different brands and try things out. Knit a coaster or a swatch and see which one you like best/works for you and then you can commit to buy a whole set.

All in all, you definitely should also consider changing your overall knitting style. Different regional styles tension the working yarn differently. Continental does it with the left hand, English with the right hand, and Portuguese around the neck. Some styles use knitting sheaths and belts to support the needles, etc, etc.

You may have to do some unlearning of bad habits and that takes time and patience. Sometimes can even be frustrating. In fact, it will probably take longer than learning. And even “just” new needles will require you to hold them slightly differently to accommodate those grip patches or the cubic shape.

Anyway, that was my review of ergonomic knitting needles. Comment below if you still have any questions

the best ergonomic knitting needles - a review for people with arthritis or hand pain

15 thoughts on “The best ergonomic knitting needles”

  1. I am a big fan of the Prym ergonomics. I really like the blunt tip because the stitches don’t fly off. I wish Prym would make them in a true US size 1 (2.25mm) for double points because that is the size I use to knit socks.

    Reply
  2. Thanks a lot for these tests! Very useful for your elderly / arthritis-ridden followers 😂
    I saw that you quoted me. I promise that I won’t charge you 😉
    Karin (in extremely dry Denmark)

    Reply
    • haha. Yeah I did! Always great to hear some validation that these things actually work and I thought it might help other ppl fo rsure!

      Reply
      • Oooh this Addi silver ones I want to purchase but I’m not fond of circular needles all the time and was hoping to find them without a cable 🙁 but I do t see that as an option or I haven’t looked well enough. I wanted to be sure to purchase them through your link. Norman, you’re awesome and I’m glad I found your YouTube videos! You have made my happy place better! Continued peaceful success!

        Reply
  3. Thank you for this information. I have tried several types of needles over the years to find those that feel most comfortable.
    Prym needles were my favorites for a long time, but I’m not impressed with the cable. The Addi Novel and Kollage square feel fairly good in my hands, but I find the very bright metal is hard on my eyes. Wood feels comfortable in my hands, but I do like a sharp point for most projects, so I only have a couple of circulars, which come in handy for using slick yarns.

    Reply
  4. I purchased a U.S. size 7 needle (fixed circular, not interchangeable) Addi square rockets, just for the purpose of knitting dishcloths because I find cotton yarn uncomfortable to knit with. I like the square shape of the needle and the point is fine, but I actually don’t like the way the textured surface feels, but without it, I think stitches would slip off the needle easily when knitting. They are faster than my Knitters Pride, but the finish wore off one of those needles and I feel the drag on it when I knit.

    Reply
  5. hi norm,
    i’ve been using Knitters Pride cubics, both metal & wood, for about 5 years now and i have a collection of them and wont use anything else because they are so easy on my hands (i.e., ergonomic).
    thank you for this article … it is very comprehensive and meaningful.
    best regards,
    margaret

    Reply
  6. I have one KnitPro Nova cubic that I really like and was considering getting more. Your review of these and other brands was really helpful. Thank you!

    Reply
  7. I love my Prym(s) also, but not in the small sizes for socks. I do wish they had a metal version with tear drop points. My biggest wish is for a good organizing system for all of my double points and circs. Granted the organizing system would have to be a large construction tackle / tool box. So Norman, that may be your next task…. How do you organize your tools?

    Reply
  8. So grateful to you for describing in detail the taper of the points of these needles. I recently discovered I knit much more happily with needles with a longer taper, and am looking to revamp my entire needle collection!

    Reply
  9. Hi, Norman,
    My Knitter’s Pride Nova Cubics Platina are my favorite needles! However, even these don’t have sizes that go up to US 17. When I use CYC 6 yarns, I need the large sizes – 9mm, 10mm, 12mm – but no needle maker other than Knit Picks (wood) makes square needles past 8mm!
    Do you know of any large size square needles – especially metal? I love the addi Novels and Ewenicorns, but, again, they only come up to size 8mm. Many new yarns coming out lately are CYC 6 or 7 (I am now trying Lion Brand Re-spun Thick and Quick, CYC 6) and I have only been able to find the Knit Picks Foursquare Sunstruck Interchangeable needles in larger sizes, although they aren’t metal.
    If you know of ANY other square needles, PLEASE Email me. I have osteoarthritis in both CMC thumb joints, and my needlework is very painful without square needles. Needless to say, I don’t do lace, as I need the larger size needles and hooks.

    Reply
  10. I have a set of Kollage interchangeable needles that I have used for a number of years. I have arthritis at the base of my thumb. I prefer them to the cubics which I have. I must squeeze my needles when I knit which causes pain. The Kollage needles are square and the edges don’t allow me to squeeze. I also love the point which is not sharp but pointed enough to slip right into the stitches. The company is now in Canada and shipping is pricy if only ordering new cables!

    Reply
  11. I have found knitting in the Norwegian style helps eliminate arthritic pain and muscle fatigue immensely.

    Norwegian knitting is less strenuous on your hands and wrists.(imho) The repetitive motions are smaller and you do not have to worry about yarn tension.

    On metal knitting needles yarn slides off easier. Wooden needles have more grip.

    Reply

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