If you are new to crocheting, you may have seen the two main types of crochet hook styles on the market and wondered which one you should choose. The two main styles of hooks used in crochet are the inline hook and tapered hook.
What’s the difference between inline and tapered crochet hooks? Inline hooks are straighter, so the hook is placed in line with the shank. Tapered crochet hooks taper at the throat, narrowing toward the hook. Beginners tend to find inline hooks easier to work with, but many experienced crocheters prefer tapered hooks for speed.
Many people say that tapered hooks are easier to use, while others swear by inline crochet hooks. So which is the best one for beginners? In this article, we’ll discover the biggest differences, and which one is a better choice for you.
Understanding Crochet Hook Designs
If you’ve just started learning about crocheting, every crochet hook may look the same to you. However, the design of the crochet hook is an extremely important aspect that will decide not only how your stitches will look but also your comfort while working.
Before we get into the details of the different types of crochet hooks, let’s talk about the features you should pay attention to before buying a crochet hook:
The size of a crochet hook is usually printed on the hook’s handle. For example, your hook may read “5mm.” This crucial information will help you decide which yarn weight to use for your project, as well as how big or small your stitches will look.
Handle and Thumb Rest
The majority of the length of the crochet hook will be used for the handle, with a small flat area where you will place your thumb while you work, called a thumb rest.
Although you likely won’t be holding the crochet hook at the handle, this area will help you balance the crochet hook and make it easier to maneuver the hook while you work.
The portion of the needle that connects the handle and the hook is called the shaft. The diameter of the shaft will decide the size of your stitches, and it’s what determines the size of your hook, too. That’s where that “5mm” came in before.
The hook is the pointy end of the needle which forms a hook at the top of your crochet tool. This is the part that will be inserted into the work to create new stitches. The hook often has a triangle shape with a slightly rounded tip that it won’t snag the yarn while you work.
The throat of the crochet hook is where the yarn is placed. This area will help to carry the yarn to create new loops and prevent stitches from dropping. The throat has to be big enough for the coordinating yarn size, otherwise, the crochet hook could snag and damage the yarn.
Now that you know the different parts of a crochet hook, let’s take a look at the differences between two popular crochet hook designs and explore what’s best for you.
InLine Vs. Tapered Crochet Hooks – What’s the Difference?
Crochet hook designs seem simple and straightforward enough, and beginners may think that there’s no difference as long as the crochet hook does its job. However, if you’re a seasoned crocheter, you may prefer one over the other, as each design has its pros and cons.
There are two main styles of crochet hooks: inline and tapered, with slight differences in design.
Inline hooks have a geometrical design, where the hook is placed in line with the shank. The shank often has a rounded, cylindrical shape, and the hook’s throat is created with a diagonal “cut” in the shank. Therefore, the hook will have the same size and a similar round shape as the shank.
In comparison, a tapered hook is – you guessed it – more tapered at the throat to create a smaller hook head. Compared to inline hooks, tapered hooks often have shallower mouths, so some people may find it more difficult to grasp yarn with a tapered hook. Tapered hooks usually have extended necks, compared to the all-around even look of inline hooks.
Which Type of Crochet Hook is Easier for Beginners?
While both types of crochet hooks can get the job done, they’re not created equal, especially if you are a beginner.
Beginners may struggle with creating an even tension for their stitches, so their work may be too tight or too loose. If you’re using a tapered crochet hook (which, again, has a tapered design where the hook neck is smaller than the shaft), your stitch may be looser when the loop is made near the shaft and tighter when the loop is made near the neck.
Inline crochet hooks are more favored by beginners because the neck has an even width all-around, making it much easier to create even stitches and hold even tension.
Inline hooks usually have pointier heads and deeper hooks. This makes it much easier to penetrate stitches and pull live yarn through tighter stitches. Beginners may appreciate this feature more since this design makes it much easier to create new loops without much effort.
Which Type is Best For Seasoned Crocheters?
While inline hooks are much easier to use for beginners, they may cause some pain for seasoned crafters.
Since inline hooks have an even width all around the shaft, it will also take more movements to wrap the yarn around the shaft to create a stitch. If you plan on crocheting a larger piece of work for a long time, using inline hooks may cause a lot of wrist pain and muscle soreness.
Experienced crocheters may prefer tapered hooks for this reason. Since they have no problem creating an even tension for the stitch, opting for tapered hooks will help them create stitches effortlessly with fewer movements.
You will find that it’s typically much faster to create a piece if you work with tapered hooks because it takes less effort to create a stitch. Because of its rounded head and shallow hook, a tapered hook will be less likely to snag your yarn and damage your work.
Since tapered hooks tend to have a slimmer handle, you may find that it’s easier to hold and easier to work with. Inline hooks often have a chubby, rounded handle, so it may be a bit more difficult to hold for an extended period of time.
What Type of Yarn Works Best With Each Hook Type?
Even if you are not a beginner, you may still appreciate the design of an inline hook, thanks to its deeper hook head. This design is especially useful if you are working with chunky yarn because it will make it easier to grasp and maneuver the yarn.
Tapered hooks tend to have a shallower grip, so working with chunky yarn may be a bit more difficult, and you’ll be more likely to drop the yarn and the stitch while you work. You may prefer lighter weight yarns for tapered hooks and keep the chunkier or heavy weight yarns for inline hooks.
If you are working with a yarn that has more than four plies, however, you will probably find that it is best to work with a tapered hook.
Since inline hooks tend to be pointy with a sharp hook, it tends to snag the yarn while you work and damage the yarn. This is especially frustrating if you are using four-ply yarn or 10-ply cotton yarn since the plies can get caught in the crochet hook and mess up the stitch.
You won’t have this problem with a tapered hook, because the rounded tip will protect the yarn and make crocheting a lot smoother. You won’t have to worry about yarn plies getting snagged by the hook tip, and your work will have a more even finish.
Which Crochet Hook Type is Superior?
It’s really a matter of personal preference which type of crochet hook you prefer for your project.
If you are a beginner, we recommend using inline hooks. It is much easier to create even stitches. Since inline hooks have a larger throat, you will find that it’s easier to create new loops and stitches.
When you acquire a bit more experience and work on longer projects, you can switch to using tapered hooks. This type of hook is more comfortable for most people to use since it doesn’t take a lot of wrist movements to create new stitches. If you’re confident in your ability to create uniform stitches, using tapered hooks will make it quicker and more effortless to finish a project.
Depending on the type of project and the type of yarn you’re using, you may prefer one type of crochet hook over the other. For thinner yarn or yarn with more plies, we find that the shallow throat and rounded tip of the tapered hook work best because it won’t snag and damage the yarn.
On the other hand, if you are working with chunky yarn, inline hooks with a more pronounced throat will be much easier to work with, because this type of hook will carry the yarn nicely, and won’t have to worry about dropping yarn while you work.
We also recommend inline hooks for yarn with fewer plies, because inline hooks have very sharp tips that may get caught in the yarn plies and damage your work.
Before you start a project, it’s best to consider your skill levels, your yarn, and your design, before picking the type of crochet hook that would work best to help you create a nice piece without much effort.