When you are shopping around for a spinning wheel, you’ll surely come across Louet wheels. Not sure if you’ve seen them? You’d remember, Louet spinning wheels have an interesting look!
The real question is how do they perform? Will a Louet wheel work for you or is another brand of spinning wheel a better choice?
Louet wheels are upright or castle style and use a self adjusting single drive band with Irish or Scotch tension, making them easy to set up and use. Louet has spinning wheel options made for the absolute beginner to the more advanced spinner.
Cost Of A Spinning Wheel (with examples) goes over the cost of a range of wheels based on options, features and capabilities.
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A Louet is a wonderful first spinning wheel
If this is your first wheel, a Louet is a wonderful spinning wheel! It is so easy to use and adjust, you’ll understand all of the workings of your wheel right away.
My Louet is my first (and only) wheel and it has served me well for nearly 20 years! It’s a double treadle D15 and it was easy for me to understand and use, even as a completely new spinner.
The only thing that has needed to be replaced was the tension band that a rouge pair of scissors got a hold of. Aside from the scissor incident, this wheel has been trouble free from day one.
Here is a nice selection of Louet wheels available at the Woolery. You can look to this page as you read to see which Louet would suit you the best.
How To Spin Wool Roving Into Yarn gives you beginner level tips on getting started with your wheel!
Pros of a Louet Spinning Wheel
The best thing about a Louet spinning wheel is the simplicity of the design. It is easy to get started using, easy to adjust as you are spinning and easy to change bobbins.
Louet wheels have single drive, Irish or Scotch tension, meaning that to change the spinning ratio all I have to do is to move the single loop tension band to a different whorl (groove).
As far as take up, my wheel has a strap over the front of the bobbin that has a screw for tightening. It’s easy and fast to adjust.
Louet wheels, in addition to having a modern look, are also an upright or castle type wheel, with the bobbin directly above the wheel.
This upright wheel configuration takes up little floor space and is easy to move, even though if it is not, strictly speaking, foldable or portable.
Cons of a Louet Spinning Wheel
Louet wheels have a different look to them than you are probably expecting, especially if you are thinking of the classic looking wheels that you would see in pioneer villages or reenactments.
I have to admit, when I saw my wheel I was surprised at how it looked. I was expecting more of a classic look to the wheel, but I was also a rank beginner, so I needed easy more than looks!
Of course, you may love the clean and simple look of the Louet wheels, if so, their modern design is actually a pro for you.
Louet wheels are Irish or Scotch tension, not double drive.
This is only a negative if you feel you need or want another drive option or the ability to switch the drive on your wheel. If so, Louet is not the brand for you.
Louet has a range of spinning wheels
Louet has a range of spinning wheels, from a basic get you going with spinning type of wheel to a quite nice and do most anything you would want wheel.
Experienced spinner looking for another wheel
I have to admit, if I were shopping for another Louet now, I would be seriously considering the Julia, I really love the double treadle (like mine) and the Julia has a nice range of spinning ratios.
If you are looking for a portable wheel, the Victoria is very similar to the Julia, in addition to being portable, as well.
The Louet S10 has several versions: a single treadle, a double treadle and an Art Yarn wheel, depending upon which would suit your needs.
The S10 also has a build your own option! The neat part about build your own is that you can start with what you need and upgrade as you get better or decide to spend more on optionality.
To go through the build your own process, you’ll need to select double or single treadle to start, then it will give you the next set of options. Give it a shot, it’s a neat idea!
Basic beginner style inexpensive wheel
If you are interested in getting started with a lower cost wheel, there is the S17, which is a single treadle beginner friendly wheel made for spinning medium to bulky yarns.
Check out the Louet S17 for yourself!
Does a Louet spinning wheel meet your needs?
Now, you need to determine if a Louet wheel will meet your needs as a handspinner.
To know this, you’ll need to have spent some time thinking about your needs versus your wants and what you will be mainly doing with your spinning.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you buy a spinning wheel of any brand:
- What is the main wool type (fine, medium, long) that you plan to spin?
- What is the main technique that you plan to use when spinning?
- Are you going to be making bulky or art yarns?
- Do you need a portable wheel?
- Do you need the maximum versatility in spinning options?
- Is this going to be a second wheel or your first?
Type of wool and spinning technique determine ratio needed
The short version here is that a finer wool and yarn requires a higher spinning ratio than a bulkier wool and yarn.
This means that if you plan to spin fine, you’ll want a wheel that can easily work on a higher ratio, more like a 15:1 or 18:1.
If you want to spin worsted weight or bulky, you’ll need a wheel that works well with a lower ratio, something more like a 3:1 or 5:1.
You can spin a fine yarn on a wheel that is made for bulkier yarns, you’ll just be treadling up a storm and it will take you noticeably longer than if you were using a wheel with higher ratios.
My Louet has 5.5, 7.5 and 10.5:1 ratios, so my wheel is more suited to bulkier spinning.
This is perfect for a beginner, but has me considering buying another wheel now that I am getting better and have more time to dedicate to my spinning.
Some wheels are very versatile
If you have a bit of an idea of what you are looking for in a wheel, you may want to go with a wheel that has the most options for your spinning.
I know that I go through “phases” of what I like to spin, so having a wheel that will work in the largest range of ratios is something that I am looking into now.
When I first started a wheel with all of the bells and whistles would have been more confusing than helpful.
One of the main features of my Louet, at least for me, is the simplicity of the design and the ease of working with it. No tricks needed to use or adjust the wheel, easy peasy!
Using my Louet DT S15
Once I got it home and started using my Louet, I was very appreciative of the simple design and function. A complicated wheel when the kids were young would have sat unused.
My Louet is built with spinning ratios that are fairly low, which looks to be the downside of the simplicity of my model of spinning wheel.
To be clear: low ratios are not a Louet feature, they are just a feature of my specific wheel. Low ratios seem to be common to all brands that have beginner or inexpensive wheels.
There is a high speed bobbin set kit that I could buy to get my wheel up to 27:1! I have not used this kit (or I’d fill you in on how it works) and I have not come across any reviews of it either.
My wheel has hooks on the bobbin, which are fine for most spinning, but are prone to catching when I work with any art type yarn. The dangly bits get caught on the hooks.
My wheel is, strictly speaking, not portable. However, it is easily carried around when I need to move it. Since I don’t tend to take it anywhere, I don’t need a truly portable wheel.