Crochet hooks come in many different materials from aluminum and steel to silicone, plastic, bamboo, and even glass. The most common hooks you tend to come across are aluminum and plastic styles, but many crocheters swear by wooden hooks due to their beauty, quality, and quiet (non-squeaky) nature.
There’s no definitive ‘better’ crochet hook as wooden and metal hooks suit different crocheting applications and preferences. Smooth steel and aluminum hooks, for example, work very well with fine, precise projects using lightweight lace/sock yarn, whilst wooden hooks are more porous, providing more grip when working with silky/slippery yarns.
Neither hook material is really superior or inferior to the other – the crochet hook you go for ultimately comes down to your budget, preference, and crocheting use. To help you consider which hook material may be best for you to try, we’ve answered some common queries about wooden and metal hooks, plus we’ll pick our top steel and wooden hook recommendations!
What are Steel Crochet Hooks Used for?
Steel crochet hooks are also known as ‘crochet thread hooks’ and are normally used for intricate yarn projects such as making doilies, jewelry, and other delicate decorations.
These hooks are finished with a very smooth and slippery tip which makes them the perfect choice when working with very fine airy yarns such as lace-weight (2-ply) and sock yarn or fingering-weight yarn (4-ply). Steel hooks usually range in size from 0.60mm (the smallest) up to 3.50mm (the largest).
Are Aluminium Crochet Hooks Good?
Absolutely! Aluminum hooks are highly durable and usually come in sizes ranging from 2mm up to 12mm for bulky weight yarns. Alongside plastic, aluminum hooks are usually more affordable than most other types and so probably the best starter hooks for beginners.
You can get basic aluminum hooks with a straight, slimline handle or if you suffer from joint/wrist pain, ergonomic aluminum hooks are available which are designed with wide thumb rests and soft-grip rubber handles. The hook tips themselves are often very smooth, making yarn glide easily along the shaft.
A possible downside for some crocheters is that they can make a squeaking sound when used with certain yarns and can be cold to the touch as they do not have a rubber grip/pad around the handle.
What is the Difference Between Steel and Aluminum Crochet Hooks?
Aluminum crochet hooks are available in larger sizes up to 12mm for use on various types of crochet projects whereas steel crochet hooks come in tiny sizes (0.6mm onwards) specifically for the purposes of more intricate thread crochet.
Because aluminum is a more pliable, bendy metal, this wouldn’t make it appropriate for a very delicate, thin hook tip as it is not as sturdy as steel. On the flip-side, aluminum is more versatile as you can use it to make small amigurumi toys all the way up to chunky blankets and rugs.
Are Metal Crochet Hooks Allowed on Airplanes?
Yes! According to TSA (Transport Security Administration) all crochet hooks are allowed in your carry-on luggage and your checked bags. All they ask is that crochet hooks (metal or otherwise) are “sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers.”
Just note that these rules apply to domestic flights within the US only and may differ in other countries. The final decision to let you fly with your crochet hooks will also rest with your TSA officer, so it’s wise to travel with cheaper, non-luxury hooks just in case they are confiscated.
Are Wooden Crochet Hooks Better?
Wooden crochet hooks are generally more expensive than metal hooks. However, they hold and reflect warmth unlike metal hooks and some crocheters can find them more comfortable to hold, especially the ergonomic styles with chunky handles.
Depending on your crocheting style (i.e. crocheting fast), wooden hooks can prevent the stitches and loops slipping off your hook as easily as they do on metal ones, since wood is rougher and porous and will grip onto yarn (especially natural yarn fibers like wool and cotton which tend to split).
Since wooden hooks are made from natural materials, they can also be a better choice if you experience allergic reactions to metal or the latex found in many rubber or plastic hook handles.
The downside is that wooden hooks are not as durable as steel or aluminum hooks and may splinter over time, especially if they are a smaller more delicate hook size.
Does Crochet Hook Material Matter?
Generally speaking, hook material will not matter if you’re a beginner since both metal and wooden hooks are comfortable and easy to use. However, as you become more experienced in crochet and wish to try various projects, you may decide that you wish to use a different hook type for different applications.
You may also get to a point where your individual crocheting style determines which hook feels nicer in your hand i.e. fast or slow, loose or tight tension and grip, whether you prefer a ‘pencil’ or ‘knife’ hold etc. It really comes down to personal choice and you can only really know which hook material is best after trying a few.
I have sets of aluminum hooks, plastic hooks, and one very nice ergonomic hook in my collection and though I have my favorite go-to hook, it took a bit of trial and error with various hook types before I found the best choice for me and the projects/yarns I tend to work with, so try a few and find the right hook material for you!
3 Best Steel Crochet Hooks
Clover Armour Steel Hooks
These pretty ergonomic pastel-colored steel hooks are color-coded to help beginners distinguish between the different millimeter sizes which range from 0.60mm up to 1.75mm in this set of 7 hooks.
The hook handles are made with soft grip elastomer rubber handles for a more comfortable hold and feature a wide flattened thumb rest to ease fatigue and discomfort. A great set for beginners and more advanced crocheters with joint or wrist issues.
Tulip Steel Crochet Hooks
These chunky ergonomic steel hooks by Tulip come in a pretty range of pink and purple shades and are designed with a finely-polished steel tip to eliminate yarn snag for smoother, efficient crocheting.
Each hook has a longer tip shaft than standard hook styles, making it easier to load multiple loops onto the hook. They also have soft cushion grip handles that are thicker in the middle, providing a large area for thumb placement, which is praised by customers with Rheumatoid arthritis and those recovering from a stroke.
Susan Bates Steel Hooks
Made from lightweight high-quality nickel-plated steel, this steel hook set by Susan Bates is super durable and a great, affordable starter hook for beginners to practice very precise thread crocheting.
The smooth steel finish ensures even the finest threads and lace-weight yarns glide easily over the hook and the thumb rest in the middle of the handle makes these hooks comfortable to grip (the lack of a cushioned handle will make these unsuitable for people with joint/wrist pain though).
3 Best Wooden Crochet Hooks
Rosewood Crochet Hooks
These stunning hand-carved hooks made from dark, hard-wearing rosewood come in 13 sizes ranging from 3.5mm to 12mm. They have a wonderfully chunky ergonomic design which makes them well contoured to your palm, thumb, and fingers, especially for those suffering from arthritis and similar joint conditions who may find small hooks uncomfortable to hold.
The smooth finish to the authentic rosewood also ensures a pleasant snag-free experience while working into even the tightest stitches.
Addi Olive Wood Hook
This pricey but beautiful wooden hook by Addi is well worth upgrading to as you progress in your crocheting journey as it provides the best of both worlds for those wanting the comfort, warmth, and beauty of a wooden handle with the smooth finish of a metal hook tip for more precise fuss-free stitching.
The sleek handle made from high-quality olive wood provides crocheters with a luxurious comfortable grip and the extra-long hook tip makes it a cinch when you’re doing projects that require multiple loops.
Brittany CJ Crochet Hook
Handcrafted from sustainably-harvested Birch hardwood, these beautiful and budget-friendly hooks by Brittany are elegant works of art that resemble magic wands! The hooks have a super long and slim hook tip with a slightly bulkier ergonomic handle, making it a delight to hold even after hours of crocheting.
The smooth, glossy finish makes it easy to hook up all different yarn fibers without fuss and those who normally experience hand cramping and discomfort may find this hook a lot easier to work with.