Beginners looking for a spinning wheel have tons of choices! It’s wonderful to have multiple good options but how do you know what wheel to pick?
Let’s get this sorted! We’ll have you on the path to picking a great wheel that suits you and your spinning in no time!
|Best beginner wheel||Ashford Traditional|
|Least expensive wheel||Louet S17|
Cost Of A Spinning Wheel gives you a range of wheels and some examples of features and what they cost. These won’t be beginner wheels, but it’s still interesting to see more options.
Beginner friendly spinning wheels
These 5 wheels are all going to have beginner friendly features that will help you get comfortable with spinning right from the start.
A few of these wheels are more in the mid range of capabilities, but overall, most of these wheels will be less versatile than wheels that are made for more advanced spinners.
That being said, I still, 20+ years later, use my “beginner wheel” just fine!
If you feel that you’ll need more versatility in your wheel, meaning you are looking for a lifetime wheel, there are a few wheels on the list that will suit you, too.
All these wheels are from well known brands, the differences between them are more about looks and versatility. The wheels are arranged in alphabetical order by brand.
Looking for some wool to use with your new wheel? Read Characteristics Of An Easy To Spin Wool to help you get started with some beginner friendly wool!
|Ashford Kiwi 3||$699 ($519 unfinished)|
|Drive||single, Scotch tension|
|Spinning ratios||5, 7, 9:1|
|Upgrades||high speed kit for 7.5, 10 and 15:1|
Ashford Kiwi 3
Best for: beginner wanting to spin medium to bulky yarns
Pro: easy to use upright wheel
Con: not many wheel ratios
Price: $669, unfinished $519
The Kiwi 3 is an upright or castle type wheel that has double treadles that fold up. The stretchy drive band makes changing ratios easy and there is a built in lazy kate.
This wheel has slower, more beginner type spinning ratios of 5, 7 and 9:1 making it great for spinning medium to bulky yarns.
The Kiwi 3 is somewhat limited in ease of spinning finer yarns, due to the lower wheel ratios.
If you want to spin finer yarns with the Kiwi 3 be sure to get the high speed kit which is $39 and gets you ratios of 7.5, 10 and 15:1.
|Ashford Traditional||Top Choice for beginners! $829 (659 unfinished)|
|Drive||double or single (Scotch)|
|Treadle||single, can upgrade to double|
|Spinning ratio||single drive 7, 9, 12 and 17:1; double drive 7, 9, 13 and 16:1|
|Upgrades||jumbo flyer with sliding hook and double treadle kit|
Ashford Traditional, the best beginner wheel
This is my top choice spinning wheel for beginners!
Best for: spinners seeking a traditional looking wheel that has a nice range of spinning ratios
Pro: traditional wheel that has good range of spinning ratios, a lifetime wheel
Con: horizontal shape takes up floor space
Price: $829, unfinished $659
The Ashford Traditional is a great choice for a lifetime wheel!
The Traditional is a classic spinning wheel that is easy to use and has a fairly wide range of spinning ratios, no wonder it is the most popular wheel in the world!
You do have a choice to make when you order this wheel, it has both a double and single drive option, both of which have good points and challenges.
Single drive will be easier for a beginner to set up and is ideal for use in spinning medium to bulky yarns.
Double drive is slightly more challenging to get set up and adjusted but normally gives you finer adjustments, a more gentle take up and leans more toward spinning medium to fine yarns.
The only potential downside of this wheel that I can see is that it takes up a fair amount of floor space and is not foldable. If you have the space, you are good to go!
If space is at a premium where you will be spinning or you require portability, choosing a more compact wheel may be a better option for you.
Of all the wheels in this list, the Ashford Traditional is the spinning wheel I would suggest as the top choice for a beginner looking to get started with handspinning.
|Kromski Prelude||$735 ($615 unfinished)|
|Drive||single, Scotch tension|
|Spinning ratios||standard whorl ratios 6, 10 and 13:1|
additional whorls 5.5, 7.9, 11, 14.5 and 16.5
|Upgrades||fast flyer adds 12, 16 and 18:1; jumbo|
Best for: spinners looking for beginner wheel that has upgradeability
Pro: compact and portable wheel with good range of spinning ratios, a lifetime wheel
Con: single treadle
Price: $735, unfinished $615
The Kromski Prelude is a great wheel that combines portability with classic looks and versatility! It is single drive, so it’s easy to set up and has a fast flyer option which adds speed.
The Prelude is a sweetheart of a spinning wheel that is good for beginners and can keep up with you as you improve in your spinning.
The most striking thing about the Prelude, to me, is that it looks so much like a traditional Saxony type wheel, but is more compact, so you get the more traditional look with portability.
The only potential downside I see with the Prelude is that it is single treadle, which you’ll get used to as you practice.
|Drive||single, Irish tension|
|Spinning ratios||5.5, 7.5 and 10.5:1|
|Upgrades||high speed kit for 6.5, 9.5 and 15:1|
Best for: beginners looking to get an inexpensive wheel
Pro: low cost and easy to use
Con: upgrade for more speed is pricey
The Louet S17 is the wheel for anyone looking to get started spinning with the least expensive wheel.
The S17 is a modern type of wheel that will be super easy to set up, has a stretchable drive band to easily change ratios and is best for spinning medium to bulky yarn.
The only potential downside with the S17 is that it is single treadle and that the modern look does not appeal to everyone.
Overall, this will be an easy to use, beginner friendly, inexpensive spinning wheel that will be good for anyone who wants to spin in the medium to bulky yarn range.
However, the Louet S17 will be pricey to upgrade for fine yarn spinning. If you need the higher ratios or plan to do a lot of finer spinning, consider a different wheel.
|Drive||double, Scotch or Irish|
|Spinning ratios||7, 9, 10 and 12:1|
|Upgrades||super high speed whorl 12 and 14.5:1|
high speed bobbin 17.5 and 19.5:1
Best for: beginner who wants a wheel with a bit of personality and values portability
Pro: fun, portable, easy to use and learn with
Con: higher price than peers for capabilities
The Schacht Ladybug is a fun wheel that is immediately recognizable, portable and fairly versatile when you also buy some of the options to increase ratios or bobbin capacity.
The Ladybug has charm, a double treadle and multiple drive options, so you could start out with a basic like Scotch or Irish then move to double drive when you are ready.
I have to admit, this wheel is a cutie and is one of the more popular wheels at spinning or fiber events, at least around here! And I can see why, it’s all about portability.
To me, the only potential downsides of the Ladybug are if you don’t care for the look or the higher price point compared to capabilities of the wheel.
Beginner spinning wheel characteristics
You may be wondering what made these wheels make the list of beginner friendly wheels when there are a ton of wonderful wheels that did not make the list!
There are scads of lovely wheels that I didn’t include, mainly because they are more complicated or you can get the same or nearly the same features from a less expensive wheel.
The pros of beginner friendly spinning wheels are:
- easy to set up
- easy to use, including adjusting tension and changing ratios or bobbins
- lower cost
However, since simplicity requires cutting out or limiting features, most beginner friendly wheels are not overly versatile.
The cons of beginner friendly spinning wheels are:
- tend to have limited ratios, usually leaning towards medium or bulky yarns
- limited optional accessories to increase speed or volume
- you may need to purchase a more versatile wheel as you improve your skills
Best or professional wheels are not listed here
All of the wheels listed will be easy to use for a beginner, but will also have limitations due to simplicity.
This means that wheels I would put under the category of “best” or professional didn’t get included for one of two reasons:
- They have capabilities or features that I think will be tough for a beginner to work with even though a more experienced spinner would love the versatility and optionality.
- They are more expensive than one of the options listed, yet I do not see a huge difference, (other than personal preference), as to why the wheel that I skipped over would be a better choice for a beginner than those listed here.
Of course, you may find that you like a different wheel, or you plan to buy one of these and go try out a few wheels and like something else better. Super!
I want you to be over the moon happy with your wheel, get what you love!
If you are looking for what I am calling “the best” or professional wheels, consider the Ashford Elizabeth, the Schacht Matchless and the Kromski Polonaise to give you an idea of where to start.
If you want a quick overview of the different types of wheels, read The Joy Of Handspinning’s Styles Of The Spinning Wheel.