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Hand-Knotted vs. Hand-Tufted Rugs: What’s the Difference?

Hand-Knotted vs. Hand-Tufted Rugs: What’s the Difference?

Rugs are without question one of the essential design pieces of our homes. If you want to add extra class and beauty to your home with a handmade rug but don’t know where to start, this is the right place. Handmade rugs can be classified as pieces of art made by artisans who, for generations, have practiced and perfected their craft. These beautiful rugs add character to your rooms and can be a focal point that draws the eye. Both hand-knotted and hand-tufted rugs are made by hand, but that is as far as the similarities go. The techniques used to make them widely differ from each other. Let’s take a deeper look into hand-knotted rugs and hand-tufted rugs.

Hand-Knotted Rugs

What is a hand-knotted rug? Hand-knotted rugs are genuine masterpieces of intricate designs. They are made entirely by hand with a vertical look. They are also known as Oriental rugs, and most of them are Persian rugs. Remarkable amounts of precision, patience, and craftsmanship go into every hand-knotted rug. The weavers insert knots into the rug and tie them tightly one by one.

As you can see, these rugs require a great deal of skill and a lot of time to produce even one. Materials such as silk, wool, or cotton are commonly used. The quality of a hand-knotted rug is determined by the number of rugs per square inch, which means a higher density means better quality.

An average weaver can weave up to 10000 knots each day, so it can take a long time to produce a rug and even longer if it is a large one. Flipping over a hand-knotted rug is an excellent way to differentiate them from others. The design will look almost similar on both sides. The knotting technique will show its precise beauty even on the backside. Most of the time, hand-knotted rugs have fringes because there is no binding on the ends of the rug.


Hand-Knotted Rugs


Hand-Tufted Rugs

What is a hand-tufted rug? Hand-tufted rugs are made by a combination of hand work and a mechanized tool. It is like a modern take on a traditional technique where the wool strands are pulled through a canvas with a tufting gun. The canvas backing has the design drawn on its back so the weavers can fill in the design using yarn. These yarn strands are brought in and out of the canvas building up the rug pile over time. This process is less intensive and much faster than hand-knotting. It is a great way to use where precision, scale, and time are of the essence.

You can identify a hand-tufted rug again by looking at the back of it. If you can see the scrim backing on the reverse or the canvas itself, then that is a hand-tufted rug. They have fringes added as well, added mainly by bluing or sewing.

Differences Between Hand-Knotted and Hand-Tufted Rugs

It is crucial to pick the right carpet or rug for your rooms. After all, they are the most important pieces that tie each room together. To make this critical decision, one has to make an informed one. There are some significant differences between hand-knotted and hand-tufted rugs, which can help you pick the perfect carpet for your spaces. Let’s take a deeper look into the differences between hand-knotted and hand-tufted rugs.


Hand-Knotted Area Rugs


  • The Back of the Rug: As we’ve mentioned earlier, you can quickly be able to differentiate these two by checking the back of the rug. You should see the high quality of craftsmanship on the back of a hand-knotted rug. You can also be able to count the knots per square inch. Hand-tufted rugs, in contrast, have a canvas backing to hold the fibers together. 
  • The Fringe: Hand-knotted rugs have fringes to prevent the wool from unraveling. It is an essential element that looks natural since the wool is also knotted into the fringe. Hand-tufted rugs can have fringes, but unlike hand-knotted rugs, they have no purpose other than making them look like authentic rugs.
  • Materials: Traditional hand-knotted rugs are made with materials like silk, wool, cotton, or jute. Wool is the most traditional and popular material used in hand-knotted rugs. A traditional area rug will definitely be a great addition to your rooms. Hand-tufted rugs can make use of natural materials as well. Since they are less labor-intensive and more modern, they can use other materials like synthetic fibers and fabrics.
  • Knots: When you look at the back of a hand-knotted rug, you can easily notice that the knots are not uniform. Since they are entirely handmade, it is impossible to have completely uniform knotting. On the other hand, hand-tufted rugs have much more even uniformity since they are part-mechanized. They can be made with any style, such as Bohemian, Geometric or Abstract.
  • Durability: There is a massive difference between hand-knotted and hand-tufted rugs regarding durability. You should get a rug with at least 90 – 100 knots per square inch if you want a durable rug. Regardless of the material used, hand-knotted rugs made by a master craftsman can last for centuries. However, hand-tufted rugs are less durable. This doesn’t mean that they are flimsy. An adequately maintained hand-tufted rug can hold up to 10+ years. 
  • Cost: While the prices can vary with other variables, such as the materials used, size, or design, the price difference between hand-knotted rugs and hand-tufted rugs can be huge. Since hand-knotted rugs are handmade and incredibly durable, the price goes up a lot. They can be considered custom artwork for your homes since no two hand-knotted rugs are the same. Hand-tufted rug prices can vary based on size, design, and materials. They can be described as mid-range priced, making them ideal for daily use. You can still add a touch of elegance and beauty to a room with these rugs. 


We know it can be challenging to pick the perfect rug for your home when choosing a hand-knotted rug and a hand-tufted rug. We hope our blog post made some things clearer in your mind. If you are interested in learning more about rugs in general, check our other blog posts such as; “High-Pile vs. Low-Pile Rugs”“5 Common Area Rug Mistakes and How to Avoid Them” and if you have a pet at home, you should definitely check; “The Ultimate Pet-Friendly Rugs Guide For Pet-Owners”

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