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The Best Circular Needles For Magic Loop

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The Best Circular Needles For Magic Loop

Liat Gat - Founder

October 16, 2010

You really only need one piece of equipment to start learning Magic Loop: a 40– to 47-inch-long circular needle in a medium size, say, US size 7 or 8. Here are the brands I recommend.

Ready to try Magic Loop? Here’s what you’ll need to get tool setJust kidding.

You really only need one piece of equipment to start learning Magic Loop: a 40– to 47-inch-long circular needle in a medium size, say, US size 7 or 8.

You’ll also need about 50 yards of worsted-weight yarn, but you probably have some already.

If you’re ready to jump into learning Magic Loop, watch the basic Magic Loop tutorial here.

Let’s say you don’t already own a circular needle for Magic Loop and you need to buy one.

47 inches is best length of circular needle to buy for Magic Loop, as you will be able to use this length for any project, including two-at-a-time, which I promise you will want to try as soon as you get the hang of this technique.

36 inches is the shortest length of needle that can be used for Magic Loop, so if you already have this length at home, that’s fine, but if you are buying new needles, the longer, the better.

Shopping Locally For Circular Needles? Look For Addi Lace

You have a few choices when shopping for needles. Common brands you will find at your local yarn store will be Clover bamboo needles for about $9.00 and Addi Turbo and Lace needles for about $14.00.

Clover Bamboo Needles

Clover bamboo circular needles
Clover needles are made from bamboo and feel “safe”

You can also find Clover circulars at Michael’s and JoAnn Fabrics, but I don’t really recommend them.

You may be used to knitting on bamboo needles, but bamboo circulars can have an inflexible cable and a rough join, the place where the cable is connected to the needle tips, causing snags and frustration as you try to move your knitting along.

If you like the security of a bamboo needle (bamboo needles are less slippery than the metal Addi Turbos), I recommend you try a pair of Addi Lace needles, which cost about $14.

Addi Lace Needles

Addi Turbo Lace needles
Addi Lace needles are pointy and have a “grabby” coating

Addi Lace needles have a slightly rougher surface than the super-slick Addi Turbos, and they also have a pointier tip. This means more dexterity while you are knitting, and the ability to knit complicated stitches with ease. Ask any LYS employee and they will rave about Addi Lace.

Addi Turbo Needles

Once you’ve gotten the hang of the techniques, Addi Turbos, also about $14, are a great choice for making quick progress on your projects. They have a blunt tip and a smooth finish, helping you speed along like a Knitting Superstar.

Watch my tutorial on using your fingers to help you to prevent the stitches from popping off your needles as you whiz along, and watch my video on how to fix a dropped stitch in case one does.

Addi Turbo circular needles
I love Addi Turbo needles because they let you knit so fast

Addi Click Interchangeable Needles

Addi also has a fun option, called Addi Click, a set of interchangeable needles and cables. With one purchase, you’ll have most of the needles for Magic Loop you’ll ever need. You can buy other cables and needle-tips separately.

As of this writing, the Clicks are only available in the Turbo style, but they are working hard on a Lace version. The set of Addi Clicks is pricey, but compared to buying each needle individually, it’s a steal.

>>blog update: as of March 2012, Addi Clicks are available in Lace<<

A set of Addi Turbo clicks
Addi Turbo Clicks come with interchangeable tips in sizes 4-15

Shopping Online? Try Knit Picks, Hiya Hiya, or Signature Needles

Knit Picks Interchangeable Needles

Knit Picks, an online knit shop, has a popular and inexpensive set of interchangeable circular needles for Magic Loop as well. They come in wood ($85) and metal ($70), and the gorgeous multicolored wooden ones have a nice sharp point similar to the Addi Lace.

The cables are very flexible (and purple!), and the price is around the lowest available for this type of product. I know quite a few knitters who have been really happy to get this set as a gift.

Knit Picks Harmony interchangeable needle set
Many knitters love these needles – a few have said that the joins loosen over time.

HiyaHiya Needles

HiyaHiya Needles have also been attracting a lot of attention (and this blog post was updated to reflect that). They have sharp tips and flexible cables. Read some KnitFreedom reader reviews of the HiyaHiya needles here.

ChiaGoo Needles

ChiaGoo Needles are famous for their flexible red cables, smooth joins, and inexpensive price points. Here is a link to their 5-star rated interchangeable needle set.

Signature Needles

>> blog update May 2016: Recommendations on Signature Circulars revised <<

This list wouldn’t be complete without the famous Signature Needle Arts, widely regarded as the cream of the crop.

Made in a factory that machines airline parts, these precision aluminum needles have long, tapered points without being painfully sharp.

Signature needles are the official straight needle of KnitFreedom. However, their circular needles come in an interchangeable format only, and my readers and I have noticed a definitely not-smooth join on the cables.

At $40 per pair of needles, these are a real splurge. If a friend of yours has some, you may want to try them in person before you buy!

signature needles close up
Signature Needles are the cream of the crop – I recommend the “Stiletto Tip”

Easy Choice: 47″ Addi Lace Needles From Your LYS

If you want me to pick the best needles for Magic Loop for you, support your LYS and buy a pair of 47? Addi Lace in size 7.

For $14, you can start your Magic Loop project with a needle that you’ll continue to use for years.

Join The Discussion

Obviously I’ve only just touched on your options here – this post originally was intended to provide some easy guidelines for shopping.

Since I posted it, the number of options has grown, and many readers have contributed their own opinions. Read the latest comments on KnitFreedom Forum: What Are Your Favorite Needles For Magic Loop And Why?

Keep Reading

If you liked this review of the best circular needles for Magic Loop, let me know by leaving a comment!

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51 thoughts on “The Best Circular Needles For Magic Loop”

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  1. I have found the ChiaGoo interchangeables have the best join and stay joined. The needles are smooth and well pointed and the cables are very flexible. I love the Addi clicks, but I find the join has a bit of a bump and I have an awful time with their coming apart in the middle of a project, despite my using the little pad to join them and really tugging to be sure they are joined. I also have Knitters Pride (really the same as Knit Picks) and I like those as well although the cables are not quite a flexible as the ChiaGoos.

  2. Liat, you may want to update your recommendations regarding Signature Needles, as they have now permanently closed the business.

  3. I never compared my circular needle cords, only the tips and how the yarn moved on the needles. I am currently interested in magic loop knitting. So I compared the cords of 3 brands I have on hand ✋ A. Susan Bates Quicksilver; somewhat thick & flexible cord, bends with some effort. B. ChiaoGoo Red Lace; somewhat thick & flexible cord, bends with some effort. C. Susan Bates Silvalume; thin cord very flexible, bends very easily and with less space between the cord in the bend. I have ordered knitter’s pride because I’ve heard and read great things, and I will put them to the test.

  4. Hiya Hiya larger sizes are lovely needles, however, 2.25mm bend. They are surgical steel and hollow. 2.25mm should not be hollow as it weakens the needle.

    I am an average knitter but unfortunately my brand new set bent before I finished the first sock.

    I have a friend who has 2.00mm surgical stainless steel solid, not hollow, double pointed needles which are 35 years old and are straight as a die.

    I would not recommend this size or smaller – they are just not made robust enough to do the job.

  5. Oh, crap, i was about to buy the magic loop video but I have 2, not 1, Takumi clover bamboo interchangeable needle sets (ordered 2 by mistake, decided to keep both as I frequently lose stuff !) With shipping over 400 bucks…if the cables are not flexible enough l’ll make ’em flexible enough through the sheer force of my will!

  6. Katherine A Smith

    Liat, is the 6 inch tips on signature circs a problem for knitting small items. Should I invest in the 4 inch tips too? I mean is it necessary? Is it a good idea to buy only 47 inch chords for magic loop since its so versatile and cost effective. If I have 2 circs with 47 inch chords…is it a problem when knitting with 2 circs at a time on smallish items like hats etc. Give me your thoughts. Okay so im long winded…ha ! Kathy

    1. Hi Kathy,

      The best way to know would be to knit something small with the 6-inch tips. 6 inches does seem a little long, but the only way to know is to try it out.

      As far as cord lengths, since you have interchangeables I would definitely order cords in a few different lengths, since they’re not that expensive.

      I don’t prefer knitting with 2 circs but if you do, you will probably want your needles to be no more than 32″ long.

      47-inch cords are very versatile as you say, but they can also get in the way on small diameter projects. I have a combination of 40- and 47-inch needles, and I just make do with whatever length I have. :)

      1. Hi Rochelle,
        I absolutely love Signature straight needles (single points). They are so worth it. They make knitting so enjoyable. I get the stiletto tip. For their circular needles, they are not my favorite as of a few years ago when I tried them. I could feel the join at the cable. Many knitters swear by ChiaGoo circulars. I love my AddiTurbos. I hope this helps!

  7. After trying several different brands of circular and straight square needles, I fell in love with Knitter’s Pride Cubics – nice warm wood in the square shape, and much easier on my hands (and yarn) than the Kollage square metal needles. When I received a gift certificate for my LYS I ordered the KP Cubics interchangeables, which I have now used for Magic Loop and am currently using for a large lace shawl. The tips have a nice point for lace and they never come loose from the cables. I love them. I don’t recall seeing any other comments about the Cubics here so I thought I should offer my endorsement.

    I found your website today after a recommendation from my best friend, and I must add my thanks for all the great tips. I enjoyed reading comments on the number of projects to have going (I have at least 6 – one quick scarf for charity, one lace shawl for quiet times, a bookmark with cotton thread to try something new, a hat for hubby’s Christmas present, and an afghan as a long-term project I hope to finish and enter in next year’s county fair. There’s also always a crochet project to give my hands and brain a change of pace. Kind of fits with your latest post about the 3 Challenges model for picking a new project – what new technique do I want to learn next?

    Thanks for the great advice, and I look forward to following you regularly now.

    1. Hi Anne,

      Thank you so much for your comment! I really loved reading it. You’ve given me a great idea with your recommendation for yet another kind of needles that I didn’t know about.

      I’m going to take your recommendation and add it to all the others here in the comments and either update this post or create a new post that will be an even better resource for people comparing needles.

      Speaking of things that are easy on your hands, have you seen my post about pain relief for knitting hand pain? It’s my most popular post of all time, so if you or your friends do get hand pain from time to time give the exercises in that post a try.

      I am so happy that your friend recommended my site to you. That just warms my heart. And it sounds like you and I are of the same mind when it comes to the ideal variety of projects.

      Happy knitting (and crocheting)! Please do keep in touch.

      1. Thanks so much, Liat, for mentioning your post on pain relief. I noticed it when I first looked at your website yesterday but hadn’t read it yet. I’ve now tried the exercises on my left arm and hand which has been hurting a lot at the area where the thumb connects to the hand. Just doing the first stretch for a few seconds as I read the rest of the post was helpful. I’ve been trying to remember to do yoga hand stretches from time to time, but the first fasciae stretch is one I didn’t know. A million ‘thank yous’ to you and Kate for sharing your knowledge and bringing so much relief. I will share your link with the knitting group at my LYS – I know everyone will find it helpful.

        1. Hooray! I thought it would help. It’s hard to do that stretch for 60 seconds, but it makes a big difference. I try to remember to do it whenever I’m microwaving anything because it’s usually a minute or two. :)


  8. There’s a new needle in town that’s both good and inexpensive IMHO. The Knitters Pride Dreamz are a dream, sharp, slick but not tStraights, and come in every kind and size of needle you could want. Straights, DPNs, circulars, interchangeable, they have them. The needles are color-coded by size, so you always know what size you are using. They are available at many an LYS, and at Webs. The set of interchangeables I got was less than $70, and have a cable key to tighten and loosen the needles and cables. The have sets of 10 and 14 inch straights with the most used sizes and also sets of DPNs, which you won’t need if you learn Magic Loop.

  9. I’d like to throw Kollage Squares into the mix.
    Kollage has two Square Circular Needle lines: K-Kable(original) and Firm. They both make for Magic Loop perfection, because the cable is so pliable that it doesn’t stretch the stitches at the divide. In my experience, the K-Kable is less ‘grippy’, so sliding the stitches along the cord is easier.
    Personally, I like the copper-colored, Kollage Square ‘Originals’, but they’re not making them anymore. :-(

    1. I didn’t have a bit of luck with the Kollage square needle I bought. I tried and tried to make it work, but the cable was TOO soft and my stitches were impossible to move along. I am a fifty year knitter, so I should have been able to do it, but maybe with a slightly stiffer cable. I really liked the needle part being square though.

  10. OMG! I read this article and immediately and excitedly ordered a pair of Addi Lace 47″, which arrived yesterday. This morning I sat down with the intention of relaxing on my day off, and learning the Magic Loop technique while knitting a simple neck warmer. Aside from breaks to eat I have been working on this from 9am to now 8pm and still don’t have ONE ROW DONE! The 47″ cable flips all over the place–I’ve tried blow drying it to smooth it down, yet now it’s skewed in places, and no more straighter for the effort. I got a few rows donw earlier before noticing that the middle, where one loop of the cable pulls out, was twisted, so I ripped the whole thing out to start again. After recasting on I had to lay the whole thing on the table with sewing weights to keep the cables from popping up everywhere to make sure the stitches were not twisted. I got a bit along, and noticed it was twisted AGAIN! 9 hours of work and still NOT ONE ROW! I’m usually able to get the hang of things pretty quickly, and truly enjoy learning new things, but this “magic” loop has made for a very frustrating day, not to mention the waste in money and time. Beware, newbies!

  11. Hello, Maybe someone can help me with my circular needle problem. I have very large hands and when I hold circular needles the stiff part is not long enough for my grip. The side of my hand just has the thin part to hold. This does not feel secure and I feel that I am going to lose stitches. I knit using the continental method instead of the american. I believe that in the American style you are pretty much holding onto the needle ends whereas that is not case with the continental style. Any ideas or suggestions, please?

  12. The Addi Clic Lace needle tips are longer and great for lace projects. The Addi Clic regular set works really well for hats and cowls. I admit to being a needle snob as I have some arthritis in my thumbs and can only knit with the sharper needles such as Addi, Knit Picks, also like the Addi bamboo. Very nice quality needles. Only if f I have nothing else on hand will I try to knit with the Susan Bates, just find them way too heavy.

  13. Hi Liat,

    Can you buy Addi Lace at a local yarn shop, like AC Moore, Michaels, Joanne Fabrics, I haven’t been able to locate any. Thank You, your videos are amazing!

  14. I was given a second-hand Signature needle that had been donated to my local Boys and Girls Club. I didn’t recognize the logo but was very impressed with the quality and ease of the circular… and now I know why! I appreciated the needle already, but knowing the price makes me value it more.

    I have a set of Knitter’s Pride Dreamz interchangeables, and I’ve been very happy with them.

  15. A note from me about interchangeables and cables that swivel:

    I personally have never bought an interchangeable needle set. I had a full set of 47-inch Addis before the interchangeables really got popular, so I’ve never needed to buy interchangeables.

    I have used my friend Brittany’s Addi Clicks, and I actually don’t like them, because the needle part is too short for me to use very comfortably. My friend Julia likes her Knit Picks Harmony needles – the cable is really flexible, at least, and if you like pointy tips, you might like those. I don’t think they swivel.

    There is a way to stop the loops of cable from curling up in your face and bugging you. Maybe it will stop you from having to buy a new set…

  16. I too love the ChiaGoo needles. I first learned about them from the LYS where I took a class on Magic Loop. The ChiaGoo Red needles have a nice point, and I have not had one break. I purchased two, size 7 for the class, and size 1 for socks, since I knit fairly loosely and use size 1s for socks of fingering yarn. The only needles I have had break were not broken doing Magic Loop, but working on projects where the number of stitches required circulars. Once, I was on vacation when my needle broke, and after looking at the yarn stores in the area I ended up getting a new needle from Patternworks via Fedex so I could continue to work on the sweater. The shipping cost more than the needle.

    1. It makes such a difference to have the right needles, doesn’t it? I can’t blame you for paying the extra shipping to make sure you could work on your project. :) I probably would have done the same thing!

  17. Liat, the new site is amazing! I am loving this new redesign as I used to dig through multiple posts to look for something :)

    I wanted to add that I bought the Addi Natura clicks and they are a dream to work with! I used to be a fan of the Clover bamboo circs, but the joins would snag sometimes. After purchasing the Addi bamboo circs, I can definitely say that the joins are smooth (something every knitter wants). I have successfully completed a möbius cowl on my Addi Natura Clicks and would recommend them to anyone!

    1. Hi Cindy,

      I’m so happy you like the site redesign! I’m still open to any feedback you have as you explore the site and the old posts.

      Thank you for commenting and letting us know about the Addi Natura Clicks – I cannot possibly test and review every type of needles out there, so feedback from readers is so helpful. This sounds like another great option for knitters!

  18. I have been disappointed in the quality of the Signature needles. I bought 4 circular needles (## 6,7,8 and9) and on two of them the cable broke from the needle. That is a 50% failure rate. A little hard to take on an item as pricey as these. To their credit, the company promptly replaced the faulty needles but the breakage was still an annoyance one should not encounter in a quality product.

    Congratulations on the revised site. It is wonderful.

    1. Lola, thanks so much for telling us about what happened with your Signature needles. That’s information that can help everyone who is trying to decide whether to spend the money. I will say this – I’ve never had a pair of Addi turbos break- ever.

    2. I just received my Signature circular knitting needles and I too suffered from a broken cable from the bottom of the needle. I just go the needles yesterday, 1/26/2013, and picked up the project this morning 1/27/2013 and snap goes the cable. Thank goodness I have my Addi’s, but what a huge disappointment on the Signatures. Totally shocked that this happened. I bought the 4″ needle length maybe I need the longer ones so that won’t happen. Any suggestions?

    3. I also was disappointed with Signatures circulars, the join is not as smooth as Addis, which for the price is unacceptable. I sold them on Ravelry.

  19. New to sock knitting of any kind. I’m looking forward to Magic Loop. My delimma is the needle. Can you get by on one size or do you need more to get started? Right at the moment I can’t afford a whole set.

    1. I know what you mean. You can start with just one size of needle – I recommend a size 7, since you can knit a lot of projects with that size. You definitely don’t need to get a whole set while you are just learning.

  20. I’ve done Magic Loop on Susan Bates Silvalume 29″ circular needles with no problems. I’ve used size 4 and 7 for a child’s top-down sweater project.

    Some of the members of my knitting group say they love their Knitpiks – until they break, which apparently happens often. The company does replace them, but that doesn’t help when one is working on a complicated or large project and suddenly there’s a mass of dropped stitches in one’s lap.

    So, please don’t make knitters believe they must buy expensive circular needles – many of us don’t have unlimited budgets and can get by quite nicely with less expensive equipment.

      1. Vonna, Meg had a good point and I’m glad to know the Susan Bates needles work well for you too. I hope I didn’t come across as wanting people to buy expensive needles! Maybe I did, a bit. For the record, I only buy fixed Addi turbos and lace needles. I get Signatures as gifts occasionally, from my best friend. I haven’t been able to try Knit Picks, Hiya Hiyas, or the Susan Bates sets, so comments like yours are really helpful. :)

    1. Meg, that’s a great point. Thank you! I definitely don’t want people to spend money unnecessarily on expensive needles. I’m glad to know that the Susan Bates needles work well for you and Vonna.

    2. I’ve never had much luck with Susan Bates circulars. Every one I’ve owned I’ve managed to snap one needle off the cable. I have large hands and tend to manhandle my needles, though, so your mileage may vary. All my smaller needles (size 3 and down) tend to be curved after I’ve used them. Fortunately, my husband got me a set of Addi Clicks for my birthday. Later, about 2 years ago, I bought myself a set of Knit Picks interchangeables. I love both sets and have never had one break. Yet.:) I love the join on the Addis. You click them together properly and they’re not coming apart, but the cables seem a bit stiff, to me. Most of mine have kinks in them. The Knit Picks have more flexible cables, but you have to pay attention to the join so it doesn’t come apart. This doesn’t happen very often and usually the yarn starts catching and lets me know when they need to be tightened. Also, the little hole for the tightening key, is a great way for running a (string) lifeline. Just my humble opinion.

      1. I agree with Jan about the Knit Picks interchangeables. I also use the hole for running a lifeline. Here’s a tip for tightening the cable to the tips. My Boye set, which I don’t use any more because of the stiffness of the cables, came with a small round piece of rubber that allows you to get a better grip on the tip as you tighten it. My tips only rarely loosen while I’m knitting. You could make one with a jar lid holder or a floppy, thin mouse pad. Love being able to benefit from others’ experiences.

  21. I recently purchased some ChiaGoo Red Lace circs and am very impressed. The cable is plastic coated wire cable and totally behaves. The connection is so smooth I don’t have to do anything to get the stitches to slide up on the needle. And they are pointy. Perfect for socks. Just some to add to your list.

      1. I second the chia goos. They are an incrediable set of needles. But also like my knitters pride needles I got brand new interchangeable set at goodwill for $6.50. Score!

      2. Good Morning! I use ChiaoGoo circular needles for almost everything…straight knitting and knitting in the round. I have been knitting for several decades and once I found the ChiaoGoo needles, knitting became easier and more fun. I have had only one break…it was at the needle/cable join, so I had stitches off of the needle. Luckily it was a straight piece of fabric, so I was able to get them all back on a new needle. I recommend these needles; the cables are flexible and the needles pointed. Also, the bigger the width of the needle, the bigger the width of the cable, which I have found comforting when knitting heavy wool chunky yarn.

  22. I have been knitting with the Magic Loop method for at least five years and use it for anything knit in the round. I want to echo the thumbs-up for the HiyaHiya needles, my favorite (and since I collect knitting needles, I have many brands and types). Although I love the Addi Natura (bamboo) needles, I prefer the HiyaHiya (stainless steel) to the Addi Turbo needles because they have a”softer”finish and do not produce the glare of the Turbos (also a problem for me with the Signature needles), a real pain for my eyes. I have many of the HiyaHiya fixed circulars as well as the interchangeables, because …

    When I knit two socks at once, they are always on two different circular needles, as I find knitting two at once on just one needle hinders the portability I love about knitting socks.

    So glad I discovered this amazing site!

  23. I would like to add information about HiyaHiya needles. They have smooth joins and flexible cables which make them great for the Magic Loop method. I have been using them for almost a year. I use them exclusively. They have interchangeable needles along with fixed circulars. They feel great in my hands. They start at 000000 (6-0) and have size 1.5 needles to maximize the ability to make the items being knit match the gauge of the pattern.


    1. Kareena,
      Thank you so much for leaving this comment! I had never heard about HiyaHiya needles and they look great! Addis only start at size 4, so the fact that the HiyaHiyas come in such small sizes is fantastic. A set of needles size 2-8 is $67.50 at . Thanks for sharing!

      1. Sorry Liat. I just checked and the price has increased to $79.90. I went with the Knit Picks Options instead. I can’t wait to get them and start learning Magic Loop. :-D

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