Just as in a boxing match, the best way to win at crochet is to use a good hook. But choosing the right crochet hook from among the gazillions on the market isn't always easy. For one reason, what's right for one person may not be great for another. What's more, different projects and types of yarn call for different shapes and styles of hooks.
Don't let that stop you. We've got all the deets on what makes one hook different from another, plus how to find the perfect hook for your next project.
Anatomy of a Crochet Hook
When choosing the best hook for your needs, it helps to understand its different parts. Here's a top-down look.
Head and Throat
The head is the hook that catches the yarn; the throat is the shaped section just below it that guides the yarn up the hook. A "tapered" hook has a rounded head that is not in line with the rest of the hook; an "inline" hook has a flatter throat and a deeper, more pointed hook that is in line with the rest of the hook. Neither is better or worse than the other, but crocheters typically find that they have a preference. Try out both kinds and see which kind you like.
The shaft or shank is the section just below the throat that determines hook size, and how large the finished stitch will be. H8/5.00mm, for example, means the shaft is 5 mm in diameter.
Grip and Handle
The grip is where you rest your thumb; the handle is the end where you hold the hook. Both are critical. If the grip is too bumpy and/or too short, the hook won't feel comfortable. You might find you prefer the feel of a rubber grip. If you suffer from pain or stiffness in your hand from crocheting, you'll likely do best with a longer (or "ergonomic" handle).
A Word on Materials
While aluminum and plastic are the most common, you can find hooks made of rubber, steel, plastic, bamboo, wood and even glass. Different materials will work better with different kinds of yarn. A really slippery yarn, for example, might slide off a plastic or glass crochet hook too quickly; a slightly rougher wooden or bamboo hook would be a better choice.
The All-Around Best Crochet Hooks
One overall fave in the online crochet community is the Clover Soft Touch Crochet Hooks line, which has an aluminum hook and a soft, rubber handle that is easy and comfy to hold for prolonged crochet jags. These hooks also tend to be less spendy than other ergonomic models.
The Best Crochet Hook for the Job
In addition to picking up a set of general-use crochet hooks you love, you will likely still need to pick up a more specialized hook or two. Below are projects that require unique hooks.
For Tunisian crochet, you need a Tunisian crochet hook — they're longer than a standard crochet hook.
This style of crochet requires small steel crochet hooks.
Because broomstick lace entails drawing loops up onto a larger hook, you'll need to pick up a big plastic hook (like Lion Brand's Speek Hook Size 35).
This may require a smoother hook and/or a specific hook head for easier crocheting.
Wire Crochet Work
This can be hard on hooks, especially bamboo hooks, so keep a separate set of hooks for this niche.
Okay, time to gather your essentials and do some crocheting — and get totally hooked!