It is easy and affordable to learn how to crochet – all you need is yarn, a crochet hook, and some instructions on how to get started (like how to chain, single crochet, etc.)!
That said, there are many different types of crochet hooks, and it can be confusing for the beginner crocheter to figure out the right hook to purchase.
If this sounds like you, this guide offers insight into crochet hooks, including size, materials, how to hold a crochet hook, and more, so keep reading!
What Is a Crochet Hook?
Let’s start with the basics: what is a crochet hook? Well, a crochet hook is a pencil-shaped tool with a hook at one end.
A basic crochet hook is used to snag one loop of yarn through another, without the aid of any other tools, to create crochet fabric.
There are three key sections to any crochet hook:
- The point. This is the tip of the crochet hook, which can vary from pointy to rounded.
- The “throat.” This is the “hook” end of this tool, which can have one of two shapes: inline or tapered. This is the part that actually makes the loops of your crochet fabric.
- The body. Some crafters call it a handle, but there are actually three different parts to the body of the crochet hook. First is the shaft, which is what holds your loops or “yarn overs” when crocheting. After that is the thumb rest, which can vary from deep and obvious to subtle. Finally, the remainder of the body is technically the handle.
Crochet Hook Types
There are a few different kinds of crochet hooks that are used for specific techniques, such as Tunisian crochet; these hooks may be longer, double-ended, or otherwise slightly different from basic crochet hooks.
Most crochet hooks are similar to one another, with the biggest variation being whether the hook is inline or tapered. In the above photo, the crochet hook on the left is an inline hook, and the hook on the right is tapered.
Inline hooks are pointier and have a flatter and deeper throat than tapered hooks.
Neither type of crochet hook head is inherently better for beginners than the other. That said, if you’re having trouble learning how to crochet, then you might want to switch out the hook head you’re currently using for the opposite style.
What to Look for in a Crochet Hook
There are a few things that you want to look for when choosing your crochet hook, such as the following:
Crochet hooks range from tiny to extra-large. Size refers specifically to the size of the hook head and throat of the hook.
Typically, a larger hook head will also have a correspondingly larger handle. Larger, in this case, refers to the diameter, not linear measure, as most crochet hooks are the same length.
Crochet hooks are numbered/sized differently depending on whether they are small hooks for thread crochet or larger hooks for yarn. Therefore, the size you’ll need will depend on the materials you’re using to crochet.
Hook for Different Yarn Weights
Most beginners will start with yarn rather than thread. These crochet hooks are labeled with a letter as well as a size in millimeters.
The smaller the letter and number, the smaller the hook. For instance, a crochet hook that is size “B-1” is going to be 2.25 mm, which is significantly smaller than a crochet hook that is a “K – 10.5”, which is 6.5 mm.
This millimeter amount is the diameter of the hook, and if you think about it, that will impact the size of the loops that you make with it – you’ll get bigger loops with larger crochet hooks.
The size of the crochet hook that you select needs to be comparable to the weight of the yarn that you are using. Most yarn labels will tell you the correct size crochet hook for that yarn.
Generally, we recommend using a worsted-weight yarn as a beginner and a mid-sized crochet hook, such as a size G-6 or H-8 (The Craft Yarn Council offers a crochet hook chart).
Thread crochet hook size
Crochet hooks for thread are slightly different than yarn. They are labeled with numbers instead of letters, and they also have a millimeter amount on them. However, the larger the number, the smaller the crochet hook.
So, for example, a hook size 9 is 1.25 mm while a hook size 10 is smaller than that at 1.15 mm.
Note: Sometimes with the thicker thread, you can use the smallest of the “yarn crochet hooks” – sizes B or C, for example.
Crochet Hook Material
A crochet hook may be made from a variety of materials, and the hook head may have a different material than its body.
Material of Crochet Hook Head
Oftentimes, the crochet hook head and body are made from the same material. This is generally aluminum, plastic, or bamboo.
The entire hook – including the handle – is made as one piece from this same material. Crafters who are just beginning to crochet often find that aluminum hooks are the easiest and most affordable choice as opposed to bamboo or plastic hooks.
Sometimes, the crochet hook head is made from one material and the handle from another. In this case, the hook head is typically made from steel or aluminum. Steel Metal hooks are usually used for thread crochet.
Material of Crochet Hook Body
The body of the crochet hook may be made from the same material as the hook itself. However, the handle can also be made from other materials, which is especially true for ergonomic crochet hooks.
These often have a plastic or wooden body while the hook head is aluminum or steel. Crochet handles can also be made from other materials. In fact, people often make their own DIY handles from polymer clay.
Crochet hooks may also be made from acrylic, glass, wood, rubber, and other alternative materials.
Do I need an ergonomic crochet hook?
After you have been crocheting for a little while (or if have arthritis or other hand pain issues), you may find that an ergonomic crochet hook will serve you better.
This is a hook that has a uniquely shaped handle that provides a comfortable grip and reduces any likelihood of hand pain from making crochet stitches.
However, note that an ergonomic crochet hook alone won’t solve problems of hand pain related to arthritis, carpal tunnel, or any repetitive stress injuries.
Rather, you might need physical therapy, hand exercises, frequent breaks, a resting pad for your wrists, ergonomic gloves, and/or other accommodations if you suffer from one of these issues.
That said, ergonomic crochet hooks can go a long way toward making it easier for you to crochet and avoid problems with finger, wrist, and other hand pain.
So, if you crochet frequently or have a reason to be concerned about hand pain, visit your local yarn store and see if they will let you try out a few different options.
How to Hold a Crochet Hook
There is no right or wrong way to hold a crochet hook; crafters can make adaptations that feel comfortable and work well with their own style of crocheting.
That said, there are two common ways that people hold a crochet hook: like a knife or like a pencil. Sometimes, gripping it one way works better for certain techniques than the other way, so it’s worth it to practice both and see what works best for you.
You can learn more about both of these methods of holding a crochet hook from our guide for learning how to crochet.
Some Extra Tips and Info on Crochet Hooks
Here are a few more things that you might want to know about crochet hooks:
- Manufacturers aren’t always perfect with exact hook sizes. Although every “H” crochet hook should theoretically be the same, that’s not always the case. The difference should be minute, but if you’re a perfectionist, make sure you don’t switch hooks in the middle of a project!
- Susan Bates and Boye are two brands to know. There are many different brands of crochet hooks, but Susan Bates and Boye are by far the most common affordable names. They each come in individual hooks and sets, are color-coded by size, and aluminum is the top seller (although the brands make other materials as well). The difference is in the hook head; Susan Bates’ hooks are inline while Boye’s hooks are tapered.
- There are also common ergonomic crochet hook brands. Clover and Addi are the two most recognized names when it comes to affordable ergonomic crochet hooks.
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