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Last Updated: January 6, 2020

Best Embroidery Needles

Embroidery projects can be a lot of fun. But you need to have the right tools for the job.

Finding good embroidery needles comes down to two things:

First, you’ve got to find the right size.

Second, you’ve got to find the design that works for you.

Good needlework requires a good needle. These needles are the best on the market for a variety of reasons and purposes. One of these five will certainly work for you.

If you’re just getting into embroidery, you have some decisions to make. You can let your needle and needle size determine which fabric you’re using. You can let your needle decide whether you do hand embroidery or not.

Whatever you choose, we can help you find what you need.

Product Quick Compare

A photo of Dritz 56RE Ribbon Embroidery Hand Needles against white background

Dritz 56RE Ribbon Embroidery Hand Needles

4/5

4 / 5

A photo of CLOVER 235 No. 3-9 Gold Eye Embroidery Needles against white background

CLOVER 235 No. 3-9 Gold Eye Embroidery Needles

 

4/5

4 / 5

A photo of DMC 1765-1-5 Embroidery Hand Needles against white background

DMC 1765-1/5 Embroidery Hand Needles

 

3/5

3 / 5

A photo of Sewline Tulip Embroidery Needle against white background

Sewline Tulip Embroidery Needles

 

5/5

5 / 5

A photo of Colonial Needle HW235-3-9 Richard Hemming Embroidery Crewel Needle against white background

Colonial Needle HW235-3-9 Richard Hemming Embroidery/Crewel Needle

 

4/5

4/ 5

A photo of Dritz 56RE Ribbon Embroidery Hand Needles against white background

Dritz 56RE Ribbon Embroidery Hand Needles

Best needles for beginners
Our Rating: 4 / 5
Size: 8

A good variety pack of needles, the Dritz 56RE Ribbon Embroidery Hand Needles are good for much more than just ribbon. This pack includes 2 size 10 beading needles, 3 size 20 chenille needles, 3 size 18 chenille needles, 3 size 24 tapestry needles, and 3 size 8 crewel needles. This means that if you choose this pack, you’ll immediately be able to handle most every project.

This needle pack is designed to provide easy needlework on fabric or canvas. The needles are very high quality, and of European make. Dritz needles are made of nickel, which provides a fairly strong shaft. These needles can pierce most things easily, but are designed with thinner fabric in mind. Of course, the variety of needles provided makes it easy to avoid any issues.

Unfortunately, what this pack has in variety of needle type it lacks in variety of size. The lack of variable sizing means that you will need to find floss for the needle, and not the other way around. This isn’t necessarily a huge issue, though, as size 8 needles are becoming the sort of standard. As the size becomes more common, so does floss that fits it.

For people who are just starting out, the variety of needles provided is a godsend. These needles are strongly recommended if you’re just learning how to embroider.

 

What I liked

  • Large variety of needle types.
  • Good, strong quality.

What I didn't like

  • Lack of variety of needle size.

Editor's Rating: 4.5

4/5
A photo of CLOVER 235 No. 3-9 Gold Eye Embroidery Needles against white background

CLOVER 235 No. 3-9 Gold Eye Embroidery Needles

Best needles for cotton
Our Rating: 4 / 5
Size: 3-9

The CLOVER 235 embroidery needles have a fine gold exterior which makes them look very pretty. But beyond their look, these needles are perfect for many common uses. Designed with cotton and ribbon in mind, you can easily put these to use for those projects. Their sharp tips pierce most fabric with ease.

These sewing needles come with a great range of sizes, as well. 3 to 9 covers most of the commonly used sizes, meaning you should always have the right tool on hand. This needle pack includes 16 needles, meaning you should have a back up in case an accident happens. Most sizes have 2 needles provided, with an extra 8 and 9 sized needle thrown in.

Unfortunately, accidents are prone to happening with these needles. The shaft of the needle is easily broken when too much pressure is applied, while the eye can be destroyed with too much abrasion. You can prevent some of this with careful use, though.

 

What I liked

  • Good size variety for keeping things on hand.
  • Very sharp tips.

What I didn't like

  • Easily breakable.

Editor's Rating: 4.5

4/5
A photo of DMC 1765-1-5 Embroidery Hand Needles against white background

DMC 1765-1/5 Embroidery Hand Needles

Best needles for large floss
Our Rating: 3 / 5
Size: 1-5

Slightly bigger than other needles on this list, the DMC 1765 needles are made out of nickel, much like the Dritz 56RE needles above. This leaves these needles with a strong base to build on. These needles are very easy for even the most inexperienced needle threader to handle, which is a huge plus. However, they are not great for fine needlework.

If you’re looking to use bigger thread or don’t need to worry about fine movement, these needles are great for you. The strong build makes them difficult to break, and the easier threading makes things simple. These are perfect for people who don’t embroider often, as well.

However, anything that requires precision is beyond these needles. Not only is the sizing a little big, but the points tend to blunt after some time. If you’re looking to do intricate design and lots of embroidery, look elsewhere.

 

What I liked

  • Good size variety.
  • Easy to thread.

What I didn't like

  • Sizing isn't right for every job.
  • Needle is prone to blunting.

Editor's Rating: 3 / 5

3/5
A photo of Sewline Tulip Embroidery Needle against white background

Sewline Tulip Embroidery Needles

Best needles for hand embroidery
Our Rating: 5 / 5
Size: 8

Of Japanese make, there’s little not to like about the Sewline Tulip embroidery needles. Built like a tapestry needle, the Sewline Tulip needles have a very strong tip. This allows for a greater level of control than any other needle on the market. These needles can handle any job from a pillow to a candle wick.

The only thing you might not like about these needles is the lack of size variety. As we said above, though, size 8 needles are becoming standard. You should be able to easily find floss that fits these needles, while the size is perfect for ribbon work.

The sharp quality of these needles persists in their sharpness. These needles are sharp enough to cut through almost any fabric, and remain that way over time. You won’t be looking to replace these any time soon, especially if you take some measure to prevent blunting.

 

What I liked

  • Great quality.
  • Handle easily.
  • Stay sharp with moderate use.

What I didn't like

  • Lack of size variety.

Editor's Rating: 5 / 5

5/5
A photo of Colonial Needle HW235-3-9 Richard Hemming Embroidery Crewel Needle against white background

Colonial Needle HW235-3-9 Richard Hemming Embroidery/Crewel Needle

Best needles for flourishes
Our Rating: 4 / 5
Size: 3-9

Made in the United Kingdom, Colonial Needles ship in a pack of sizes ranging from 3 – 9. These crewel needles easily handle most common jobs, with a size variety that offers you plenty of options. The large eye design makes them easier to thread than other needles of their size, although this can leave some extra space.

Despite the increased size, some people have found the eye too small. There seem to be some kinks that Colonial Needle needs to work out, as they find the trade off between easy threading and tight holding.

 

What I liked

  • Good build.
  • Easy to thread.

What I didn't like

  • Eye can feel a bit too snug.

Editor's Rating: 4 / 5

4/5

Buyer's Guide

There are two factors to consider when looking for embroidery needles. These are:

  • The type of the needle and
  • The size

There are several types of embroidery needles that you might consider. The most common type of needle embroidery or crewel needle, with sharp points and elongated eyes. These types of needles are used mostly for surface level embroidery, which is (of course) the most common of the embroidery projects. Tapestry needles have long eyes and blunt points, and are used for canvas work and other projects not meant for fabric piercing. Finally, chenille needles are sharper and longer eyed embroidery needles. Chenille needles are mostly used for projects where the extra sharpness and length are necessary because of harder or deeper fabric.

For most people, simple embroidery needles will work.

The needle size should be relative to the thread that you’re using. The larger the number of the size, the smaller the size of the eye. So, a 1 is fairly large while a 12 is very small. This is the common range for needle size. You should be looking for the ability to thread the needle without any friction or any left over space. If you aren’t certain of sizing, it’s better to lean on the bigger side. Sizing is difficult to get perfect, even for the most experienced embroiderers.

In some situations, you’ll want specialty needles. These can range from some of the types listed above which will take care of a few unique scenarios, or beyond. In some cases, you might want curved needles for my precise work on more difficult canvases. Beading needles are a common want, as well. Unsurprisingly, these help with bead embroidery.

FAQ:

You need whatever size fits your embroidery floss. If you’re not sure, look for a pack with a variety of sizes. Most packs come between 3 and 9 or 1 and 5.

Generally, cross stitching requires chenille or tapestry needles. You don’t want to pierce the fabric too much, so a blunter needle is better. Sewing needles can work, but might be difficult.

The verdict

Finding the best hand embroidery needles is all about your floss. The needle is the most important tool, but also the most pliable. Find the size you need and the needle type for the job, and you should be good to go. Some needles do stand out as being head and shoulders above the rest, though. For options like the Sewline Tulip, consider finding the floss to fit the needle.