Best Loom For Beginners: Types Of Weaving Looms To Buy

Want to discover the “lost” art of weaving?

You are not alone.

Everyday new people are discovering how fun and rewarding weaving can be as a hobby.

Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to start weaving besides a sturdy loom, colorful yarn, and a learner’s mindset.

In this article, you will discover everything you need to know to choose the best loom for beginners.

weaving with a loom

Best Weaving Loom

Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom

Great loom for any beginning weaver. Comes in two different sizes (32″ and 24″) and all the necessary weaving tools.

Honorable mention

Schacht Cricket Loom

Another reliable rigid heddle loom. Slightly less flexible because of the smaller size (10″ or 15″) but also more affordable.

Loom For Absolute Beginners

Beka Frame Loom

Very simple loom for people with no previous experience. Good for learning the basics before upgrading to a rigid heddle loom.

Weaving for beginners

You recognize a woven shirt, scarf or blanket when you see it, right?

But do you actually know how to weave?

It’s only fair to talk a little about the basics of weaving before we dive deeper into which looms to use.

Fortunately, the weaving process hasn’t changed much over the past few centuries. So if people in the middle ages could do it, so can you!

loom weaving for beginners
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The basic process involves interlacing one set of yarn at a right angle with the second set of yarn.

When using a loom, long vertical lines of thread are attached to both sides and spaced appropriately. This is called the warp and will function as the skeleton for your weaving project.

Next the second piece of yarn, called the weft, is used to interweave it with the warp and make patterns.

By using different patterns and yarn you can make beautiful designs.

But that takes ages!

If you weave everything by hand it is indeed quite a slow process.

Can you imagine weaving an entire blanket by hand? That would take days if not weeks.

That’s no problem if weaving is a form of relaxation for you. But I personally would like to finish my scarf before winter is over.

That’s why modern looms make things a lot easier and faster by using the following 3 step weaving process:

  1. Shedding: the loom will separate/open the warp such that half the warp threads are lowered while the other half are raised.
  2. Picking: you then pass your yarn through the entire row in one swoop.
  3. Beating-up/ battering: finally you push the new row of yarn back into the fell such that it forms a tight row.

Are you starting to see how this would speed up your weaving projects?

You no longer have to weave the yarn up and over a thousand times. Instead, you shed the warp and finish an entire row with one simple motion.

Types of weaving looms

This simple 3 step weaving process sound pretty amazing right?

But keep in mind that not every weaving loom works like that.

If you get a lap loom, tapestry loom, or an inkle loom you will have to do everything by hand. No easy shedding and picking for you!

For that you will have to get a heddle loom, floor loom, or table loom.

Here is a quick overview of the most each looms:

Lap looms & frame looms

  • Lap looms are also known as frame looms
  • They are very easy to learn
  • Everything is done by hand
  • They are pretty lightweight and small

Rigid heddle looms

  • Pretty easy to learn
  • Speeds up your weaving due to shedding, picking, beating process
  • Not too expensive
  • Great for both beginners and intermediate weavers

Tapestry looms

  • Similar to a frame loom but much bigger
  • Often comes with a stand to hold it in place due to its size
  • Will take a long time to finish a single project

Inkle looms

  • Looks very different but uses similar principles as the other looms.
  • Used to make narrow projects such as bands and straps.
  • Can be a good addition to a rigid heddle loom, but not the best if it’s your first loom.

Floor looms

  • Biggest loom you can get as a hobbyist
  • Takes a lot of time and effort to learn
  • Not beginner friendly
  • Costs a small fortune

Table looms

  • Somewhere between a rigid heddle loom and floor loom in terms of size and price
  • Pretty steep learning curve

There are so many looms! How do I choose?

Choosing from 6 different looms isn’t easy.

I would recommend a rigid heddle loom to most people. It’s pretty easy to learn how to use one and you will get the full weaving experience.

Advanced weavers often use a table or floor loom. And you might be thinking about getting one. But I would warn any aspiring weaver:

Stay away from these looms!

They are big and require a lot of knowledge to work with. Definitely not suitable for beginners.

If you are an absolute beginner and just want to do every single step by hand, you can go for a frame loom. Anyone can start weaving on one of these with minimal help. But doing everything by hand can become tedious.

Inkle loom weaving is also pretty easy to learn for newcomers. The only downside is that you will only be able to make bands and straps. So a rigid heddle loom would give you much more flexibility.

Best weaving looms for beginners

Now that you know all the weaving basics, you are ready to buy yourself a good weaving loom.

Below you can find my favorite looms that I would recommend any beginners.

Best rigid heddle loom for beginners

When it comes to rigid heddle looms there are two great brands to choose from: Ashford and Schacht.

You will love this rigid heddle loom. It is such a joy to work with that you will be tempted to weave every day.

If this is your first time, you can read the instruction booklet or follow the Youtube videos form the manufacturer.

Once the warping is done, the actual weaving is very simple.

Just like other looms, you will have to assemble it yourself. But putting it together is a very straightforward process.

Features

  • Size: 32″ or 24″
  • Weight: 10 pounds
  • Portable
  • Easy to use

Also comes with:

  • Reed nylon 7.5dpi
  • 22 inch shuttle
  • 30 inch shuttle
  • Threading hook
  • Warping peg
  • Clamp
  • Instruction booklet

Close second best

This small loom by Schacht makes learning how to weave easy and fun.

With a little bit of help even a child will be able to use it.

The loom is easy to put together. And there are plenty of instructions on the Schacht’s website for beginners.

Due to its small size (15″ or 10″) it’s very light-weight and portable. However, you won’t be able to make any large projects, so it might feel a little limiting once you become more advanced.

Features

  • Size: 15″ or 10″
  • Weight: 6 pounds
  • Portable
  • Easy to use

Also comes with:

  • 8 dent reed
  • Threading hook
  • Warping peg
  • Table clamp
  • 2 shuttles
  • 2 balls of yarn

Loom for absolute beginners

If you are looking for a very simple loom, this Beka loom is ideal.

It’s very simple to put together. And the assembly from box to loom takes less than 5 minutes. So you will be weaving in not time.

It has 100 pegs at the top and bottom. So you can make a very tight warp by using each peg. Or you can make a loose weave by using every other peg.

Beka as a great reputation as a company. So if anything arrives damaged or is missing, they will normally send you a replacement within a day.

Although lap looms are great for learning how to weave. I would recommend buying a rigid heddle loom for more ambitious and serious weavers.

Features

  • Size: 20″
  • 5 teeth per inch
  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Light-weight
  • Easy to use

Also comes with:

  • Instructions
  • Weaving needle
  • 2 maple beams
  • 2 maple cross pieces
  • 2 kick-stand pieces
  • Stick shuttle
  • Pickup stick