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Bates vs. Boye Hooks...Which Is Better And Which Should You Use?

Posted by Carrie Rundhaug on

There has been an on-going debate since the beginning of crochet history...

I don’t know anyone who uses both. You choose one and are loyal to your brand for life. So what is the difference? If you are just starting out, which should you choose? 

What’s The Difference? 

Boye Hooks

Boye hooks have a tapered hook and throat. This is the part of the hook that pushes through your yarn. The head and shaft are not a perfect cylinder and gently taper down the shaft of the hook. 

Boye hooks have a long shaft so the thumb rest is slightly further down on the handle. They, in turn, have a shorter handle. This is important, in that, when choosing Bates or Boye, for a clay handled hook, you will want to know where you place your thumb on the handle and how high you prefer your clay handle to be.

Bates Hooks

Bates hooks have an inline throat. This means that the head and shaft are basically like a cylinder with the small notch for the yarn. Some crochet instructors recommend in-line hooks because the stitches remain constant and it can help a beginner to maintain tension.

Bates hooks have a short shaft and the thumb rest is closer to the head of the hook. They, in turn, have a longer handle. This is significant, in that, when choosing Bates or Boye, for a clay handled hook, you will want to know where you place your thumb on the handle and how high you prefer your clay handle to be. 

Bates hooks have an inline throat with a notch. Sometimes this can be helpful for those who might snag or split yarn.

Bates hooks have a rounded point. 

So how do you choose?

The answer really boils down to personal preference.

When I wanted to learn to crochet, I went with my sister to the craft store and she recommended Boye hooks. So that’s what I learned to crochet with. From that point on anytime I used a Bates hook I was left completely helpless.

If no one is there to recommend a brand for you, here’s what you should do:

Step One: Buy a hook size in both brands and testing for yourself, which feels best in your hand and with your grip. 

Step Two: Try crocheting a small swatch with a few different types of yarn with both hooks. Test out some cotton, some wool, and some acrylic and you will see right away which hook is best for you.

Step Three: Go back and purchase your complete set. 

Don't Forget!

Regardless of which brand you choose, both have very small handles. Gripping a small handle for any extended amount of time will start to cause wrist pain.

Once you choose a favorite brand, I highly recommend getting a set of hooks with clay handles. You'll notice the relief in your hands immediately.

And it will increase your enjoyment of the crochet experience immensely!

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  • The Boye hooks work best for me with the arthritis I have.

    Anna on
  • In case of emergency (like forgetting your crochet hook), could the key chain hook be used? What size hooks are they? I currently use the Susan Bates hooks mostly. Need get a new complete set!

    Sandra on
  • As soon as I make a couple of sells on Etsy, I’m going to purchase one or more of these hooks!! I have read several reviews on them and am convinced I need a few.

    Brenda on
  • I use both Bates and Boye hooks. It depends on the look and feel I want to achieve that determines the hook. I also have other brands and shapes.

    Saturngirl 24 on
  • I started with Bates hooks but when I needed padded hooks for hand pain, I was unable to find any Bates hooks. Therefore, I switched to “Crochet Dude” padded hooks & taught myself how to use a Boye type hook. It was not easy for me to teach myself how to use a different hook because Bates hooks hold the thread so much tighter that you don’t lose it as you crochet with it. Since I’ve relearned to use Boye type hooks I feel that I can go much faster than before with the Bates hooks.

    Sandy Kmett on

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