Hand-Knotted Rugs Vs. Hand-Tufted Rugs

FH-02 from Farrah by Loloi

If you’re not a rug expert, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a handmade rug and one fashioned with a machine. Historically, rugs were meticulously crafted by hand with techniques passed down through generations. Today, rugs can be made efficiently and quickly with machines that mimic these techniques. Yet, an often-asked question remains. What is the difference between hand-knotted and hand-tufted rugs? Aren’t the rugs the same?

The answer to the second question is a simple, “no”. Hand-knotted and hand-tufted rugs are not the same. The difference between the two is a bit more complex though not without an answer. Let’s delve into the difference between these two types of rugs and get into the pros and cons of adding one to your living or work space.

Hand-Knotted Rugs

NZ-01 from Cadence by Loloi

The practice of fashioning a hand-knotted rug is an ancient art form. Since a hand-knotted rug is made by an individual using a specialized loom, a true hand-knotted rug is considered unique because there really can’t be two that are identical. Hand-knotted rugs are crafted by artisans and not in a factory, which is why the rugs often become family heirlooms and are passed down from generation to generation.

A hand-knotted rug is made by tying knots to the vertical yarn or warp that runs through the entire length of the rug. Each knot is tied individually and bond together to form the pile or the rug’s surface. This process also naturally forms the fringe. A hand-knotted rug does not have a backing, which is a sure way to tell if a rug is actually hand-knotted or made with some other technique. The more knots a hand-knotted rug has per-square-inch, the higher the price. A larger number of knots also add to the rug’s durability. The lure of a hand-knotted rug is its artistic design and originality along with the rug’s longevity.

Hand-Tufted Rugs

FH-02 from Farrah by Loloi

While hand-knotted rugs are beautiful and unique, the average person could not afford the price tag attached to it. Thus, the hand-tufted rug was born. Hand-tufted rugs often look like a hand-knotted rug, but there is a significant difference. A hand-tufted rug is made by a person using a mechanized tool that works like a hand-held drill.

Instead of a person tying knots by hand, the fabric is inserted into a pre-made background using a tool to form the pile. When the pile is complete, a latex covering is placed over the back to keep the tufts in place. Then, a canvas-type fabric is put on to finish the rug. Unlike a hand-knotted rug, a hand-tufted rug does have a backing. While both hand-knotted and hand-tufted rugs can be visually stunning, hand-tufted rugs are not made with the same painstaking craftsmanship as a hand-knotted rug. This makes hand-tufted rugs a much more affordable option.

Pros & Cons

Deetta Banded Tassel from Shannelle by NuLoom

Of course, both hand-knotted and hand-tufted rugs have their benefits and drawbacks like any other rug. When it comes to fitting a budget, hand-tufted rugs are certainly a better bargain. Since hand-knotted rugs are crafted by a person and can sometimes take months to create, the cost is reflected in the rug’s painstaking creation process. Hand-tufted rugs can be crafted in a day and are not one-of-a-kind, which means it is a much more budget-friendly option.

While hand-knotted rugs earn their heirloom status, the attractive rugs score big points in longevity as well. A well-crafted hand-knotted rug will most certainly stand the test of time. It is carefully fashioned and is built to last. A hand-tufted rug does not have the extensive price tag of a hand-knotted rug, but will not endure as long and probably won’t be passed down to the next generation. Hand-tufted rugs will outlive a mass produced, machine made rug though. Both hand-tufted and hand-knotted rugs can be stylish and make a wonderful addition to a home, but hand-knotted rugs are originals, which makes them a top pick if you’re interested in having one-of-a-kind flooring accents that can be enjoyed generation after generation.

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