Crochet hooks are not created equally and different features appeal to different folks for different reasons. What works beautifully for one crocheter may end up being a nightmare for another, so this guide is not meant to prescribe what the best hook according to me is, but rather give some information and observations I have noted, that can help make the selection process a bit less mysterious. An unsuitable hook can be detrimental to the crocheting experience, so read up, shop around and don’t be afraid to try a few out before purchasing. Please note this was written quite a while ago and some brands may have changed their products or may no longer be available.
Anatomy of a Crochet Hook A crochet hook is comprised of different parts that each have a role in making crochet stitches happen. Understanding the components and options is the first step to identifying the best hook for you and making a choice that will help make for optimal crocheting.
Inline vs. Not Inline The difference between an inline hook and not inline can seem subtle visually but have a huge impact on a crocheter’s stitching technique. Inline hooks are basically like a perfect cylinder, think along the lines of an unsharpened pencil with a notch removed to hold the loop. No portion of the shaft tapers in and out or bulges. The notch that holds the loop is passive in that the yarn sits in there but can slide in and out because there is no hook shaped overhang. Not inline hooks are any crochet hooks that don’t fit the definition of inline, though I refer to hooks that have the best of both worlds as “middle of the road”.
Handle – the portion of the hook held by the crocheter. Standard hooks offer a thin handle the same dimension as the shaft of the hook however crocheters with arthritis or stiffness and pain after crocheting should consider hooks with larger or ergonomic handles.
Thumb Rest – not identified in the picture because it is fairly self explanatory. Some hooks have the size of the hook or the brand name stamped on the thumb rest. It is not however, necessarily where you must put your thumb.
Shaft – the shaft is essentially the long, elegant neck of the crochet hook. Shafts are usually shaped in one of two ways, in inline hooks, the shaft is like a perfectly symmetrical cylinder that does not taper at all, and in not inline hooks, the shaft is tapered. Cylindrical shafts that do not taper can be helpful for crocheters that have problems with uneven application of tension and overly tight stitches.
Throat – the throat is a gap the loop of yarn is held in. In not inline hooks, the throat can have a significant taper and a rounded out cavity to hold the loop securely which can be helpful for crocheters that routinely pop their hook out of their work and drop loops. In inline hooks, the throat can often be more like a notch or slit in the perfectly rounded and symmetrical cylinder which can sometimes be helpful for crocheters that often snag or split yarn.
Point – the very tip of the hook that is pushed into loops of yarn.