Who Makes The Best Cross Stitch Needles?

We love cross stitch needles here at Lord Libidan. In the past we’ve covered the suprising history of the cross stitch needle and how cross stitch needles are made in length, but a recent post about time to ditch your cross stitch needle led us into interesting territory; some cross stitch needles last longer than others. And that got us thinking, whats the best cross stitch needle manufacturer out there?
 
Thankfully, over the last 6 months, we’ve tested over 130 needles from the 6 biggest brands to rate needles. We chose to include durability, plating, quality, range and price as factors, but chose not to include availability (although we do make comment on this in the reviews). We chose to ignore stuff like self threading needles, so we’re looking at purely common cross stitch needles.
 

DMC Needles

Most of the time, when we hear of issues with needles, it turns out to be a DMC needle. This is probably due to many picking them up in kits, however our testers rated DMC needles the worst in durability and how fast the plating comes off across all the brands we’ve tested, normally with the eye breaking. However, DMC needles do have something going for them. Firstly, they are easy to pick up, they come in a massive (but not exhaustive) range, and they are really cheap. As a way of testing out needles like petites and gold plated, they are a great place to start, but I wouldn’t use them as a standard needle.
 

Durability – 2/5
Plating – 2/5
Quality – 2/5
Range – 4/5
Price – 5/5
Total – 3/5

 

John James Needles

For most, John James needles seem to be the standard in the cross stitch world. And this is due to the fact that they’re a great all round needle. Yes, they do break, but they last a good amount of time, and with a strong eye, the main issue is loosing its plating. Yes, the plating does come off, in gold needles particularly fast, however you can easily use a single needle for 2 or 3 projects before needing to replace it. They do have a whole range, including golds and petites, however finding anything other than the standard count needles can be very hard, and the price jumps as a result.

Durability – 3/5
Plating – 4/5
Quality – 3/5
Range – 4/5
Price – 4/5
Total – 3.5/5

 

Hemline Needles

Hemline produces some OK needles. They last a long time, the plating tends to stay on for a long period of time, they don’t go blunt often either. However, there are two big issues with Hemline. The first is the range; they have standards, but no petites, and if you want gold plated, the price jumps a very long way, making them some of the most expensive needles on the list. This makes them a little too much effort for their price, and we’d suggest others on the list that can be quite cost effective.

Durability – 3/5
Plating – 3/5
Quality – 3/5
Range – 1/5
Price – 2/5
Total – 2.5/5

 

Milward Needles

A lot of people know of Milward needles thanks to sewing, and honestly, they make great sharps, however their tapestry needles seem to suffer from a few manufacturing issues. They tend to have a weak eye (at least in our tests) and the plating doesn’t last as long as the likes of John James needles. However, the price and overall quality of the needles are OK. For a single project needle, Milward do a good job. Once again though, range is an issue. No gold needles, no petite needles, and you usually have to buy in packs of multiple sizes. Milward get a big thumbs down from us.

Durability – 2/5
Plating – 2/5
Quality – 3/5
Range – 1/5
Price – 3/5
Total – 2/5

 

Clover Needles

Our tests with Clover needles came back very positive. They had a fantastic life span, they kept their plating longer than any other needle on the test (including gold needles, which is shocking), and the range is rather large. The issues we had were two fold, firstly, finding these needles (outside of Japan) can be hard, meaning you often have to get packs with other needles you don’t need/want, and price. They are very expensive needles. This might just be down to the import costs, however our testers all over the world reported high costs.

Durability – 5/5
Plating – 5/5
Quality – 4/5
Range – 3/5
Price – 2/5
Total – 4/5

 

Bohin Needles

Bohin needles rock. They’re very well made, the plating doesn’t come off for anything, and they just don’t break. They also have a good price point considering how well they’re made. However, Bohin needles are a problem in two ways. Firstly, getting your hands on them, anywhere in the world, is always tough. For some reason Bohin aren’t in many retailers, even online, making picking up a pack hard. This usually comes with a large postage cost from a different continent and so the price rockets up quickly. The second issue is the range. Whilst they have a full set of sizes, they only have one size of petites, and no gold plated needles. But they do have a double eye needle, and a self threading needle too.
 

Durability – 5/5
Plating – 5/5
Quality – 5/5
Range – 3/5
Price – 3/5
Total – 4/5

 

Tulip Needles

Let me start by saying just how much I love Tulip needles. They were so nice to use it was shocking, they never seem to break, tey keep their point well, and whilst the gold does come off, it isn’t quick. The range is full, with packs of a variety and single sizes. Not only that, but getting hold of them wasn’t that hard either. But let’s talk about the big issue here; cost. Tulip needles are VERY expensive, and whilst you do get a quality needle for the price, we’re just not sure we can devote that kind of price to a needle. There are perks that make up for this, like little glass vials they come in, but once you have a few of these you want to change to plastic ones, and packs without the vial are just as expensive.

Durability – 5/5
Plating – 4/5
Quality – 5/5
Range – 5/5
Price – 1/5
Total – 4/5

 
There you have it, our round up of the best known cross stitch needle brands out there. Hopefully this test will help you pick out your next needle supplier, however we should say that storing your cross stitch needles well and using a needle minder will increase the lifespan of your needles.
 
So, what’s our choice? Whilst they are expensive, Tuplip needles were the nicest to use, and if you can afford them, go nuts, however the cheaper and just as good needles from Clover Needles are the best for us.

Tulip Sashiko Needles come in a glass vial (source: sewandquilt.co.uk)
Tulip Sashiko Needles come in a glass vial (source: sewandquilt.co.uk)

4 thoughts on “Who Makes The Best Cross Stitch Needles?

  1. What about Bohin? So far I really like them best. What do you know about John James no longer being manufactured in England?

    1. Actually, we’re almost completely through our Bohin review. It should be up in the next few days ๐Ÿ˜€
      In regards to John James, I can confirm they are no longer made in England. They stopped in mid 2012, taking manufacture to China instead. Its still a John James owned factory, so I’m glad to say the quality hasn’t dropped since then, and the price has stayed the same. Sadly the company was purchased and the new owners prefered cost effective measures to historical lineage.

  2. This got me curious so I started searching amazon. Clover seems to make many of their needles with bent tips. I have never seen this before. What are they for? What is the advantage?

    1. Hey,
      Its called a darning needle. Its used for sewing knitted sections together.
      They’re round tipped, so if you can find the correct size, you could cross stitch with it if you really wanted, but I’d avoid them if I were you.

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