Traditional rug weaving

Difference between Hand Knotted VS Machine Made Rugs

In Rug Qualityby kerris

Rugs are our specialty and it is easy for us to tell the difference between a high-end rug and a-run-of-the-mill rug. But we have been at it for decades.

These days, some machine made rugs are of fairly high quality. But hand knotted rugs are still the best quality rugs you can get, they are truly a work of art.

But what are the differences between the two? We are glad you asked. Let’s take a look so you can know exactly what to look for when shopping for a rug.

Hand knotted rugs

Hand knotted rugs are made by hand on a loom. It is an art form that is often passed down through generations or from master craftspeople to apprentices. The method requires the weaver to hand tie every individual knot on the rug, while creating and intricate patterns as they go along.

These rugs are truly a work of art and each rug can take the weaver several months or longer to complete. High end materials are often used and they are sometimes so beautiful that they are used as wall hangings to be admired rather than placed on the floor.

Hand knotted rugs are made to last and the natural fibers (often wool or a silk and wool blend), techniques and high quality craftsmanship can last many decades with the proper care.

Machine made rugs

Machine made rugs are mass produced and sold in your average home decor or general big box store. They are made of synthetic fibers and often reach the consumer straight from the factory.

They can come in a wide array of designs, sizes and colours, as well as being made of a variety of materials. Some machine made rugs today can be high end and beautiful, but they are usually one of many thousands that are distributed to store. Because they are produced for quantity and not quality, they are not made to last the test of time.

How can you tell the difference?

One of the fastest ways to tell the difference between a hand knotted rug and a machine made rug is to check the back. Machine made rugs will usually be coated with a layer of latex and a layer of canvas to hold the fibers in place.

Hand knotted rugs will often be the same back to front and do not require a backing since the knots are sturdy. You will also be able to see that the ends of the knots are not 100% consistent, they will be slightly uneven and not completely uniform. That is part of the beauty knowing that an individual spent their time tying the knots on the rug.

Another difference is the feel and durability of the rugs. Machine made rugs will smell of chemicals (called off-gassing) when you first bring them home and the synthetic fibers will begin to break down, especially in a high traffic area. Hand knotted rugs are made to last and have a soft, luxurious feel to them.

Of course, one last difference is in the price, with hand knotted rugs costing much more than machine made rugs. To us, hand knotted rugs are an investment in a traditional art form and a high quality piece of furniture for your home.