Distinguishing Between Hand-Knotted Rugs and Machine-Made Rugs

Distinguishing Between Hand-Knotted Rugs and Machine-Made Rugs - Arrant Luxury

Have you ever wondered whether the rug you've bought is a hand-knotted, hand-woven, or machine-made piece? It's important to be able to tell the difference. For those not well-versed in rugs, discerning between hand-knotted, hand-woven, and machine-made varieties can be quite challenging. This comprehensive guide is designed to provide clarity on these distinctions, aiding you in making informed choices when in the market for rugs. 

Hand Knotted Rugs 

Hand-knotted rugs, a true testament to ancient craftsmanship, are created on specially designed looms. Each one is crafted by hand, and the size of the loom is tailored to the rug's dimensions. Weavers work from the bottom to the top, inserting individual knots into the rug's foundation, forming the pile. This meticulous process is time-consuming, with the time required for completion varying based on the rug's size and intricacy. For instance, a super-fine 12' x 15' rug can take well over a year to produce. This dedication to craftsmanship is reflected in the pricing of these rugs. 

Hand-knotted rugs can be crafted from a variety of natural materials, including wool, cotton, silk, and jute. In some cases, silk is incorporated into wool rugs to accentuate patterns or add highlights. Hand-knotted and hand-woven rugs, if of high quality and properly maintained, can last for generations. Often referred to as Oriental rugs, these pieces are not only functional but also collectors' items. The quality of these rugs is influenced by factors such as knot count, dye quality, and yarn excellence. While hand-knotted rugs may be more expensive, their durability and longevity make them a wise investment in the long run. 

Flat Weave or Hand-Woven Rugs

Flatweave rugs, also known as hand-woven rugs, constitute a distinct category of handcrafted rugs. These rugs are meticulously woven in a flatweave pattern, characterized by their low pile height. Types of flatweave rugs include Soumak, Dhurrie, Kilim, and braided rugs. To enhance stability and add a touch of cushioning, it's advisable to use a rug pad beneath your flatweave rug. Handmade rugs like these offer both style and functionality for your space.

Machine Made Rugs

When it comes to Machine made rugs, these are crafted using automated power looms, controlled by computer systems. These rugs are produced swiftly, utilizing various materials like wool, polypropylene, nylon, polyester, acrylic, and art silk.

Machine made rugs provide a cost-effective alternative to hand knotted rugs. Their longevity typically ranges around 20 years, influenced by the quality and fibers employed. For instance, a well-maintained, high-quality machine-made wool rug can endure for decades. In general, machine-made rugs do not hold significant collector's value, with the exception of certain revered brands. 

Hand Tufted Vs. Hand Knotted Rugs

Ever wondered how to differentiate between hand-knotted and hand-tufted rugs? Let's explore the unique qualities that set these two rug types apart. 

Hand-knotted rugs are crafted by skilled artisans who tie each individual knot by hand. The time and effort invested in creating a hand-knotted rug is immense, with a typical 8' x 10' rug taking anywhere from 7 to 14 months to complete, depending on the quality.

The process involves tying each strand of yarn around the warp threads, resulting in a durable and intricate design. This handiwork ensures that hand-knotted rugs not only exhibit exceptional beauty but also hold their value over time, making them an attractive choice for collectors and those seeking Oriental rugs as investments. 

Hand-tufted rugs, on the other hand, offer a different approach to craftsmanship. They are created using a modified hand-held drill gun, which inserts the pile into a cloth foundation, forming a loop pile. If this loop pile is sheared, it transforms into a cut pile. In cases where both loop and cut pile are combined, a dimensional pattern effect is achieved.

A latex coating is applied to the back of the rug to secure the "tufts" in place, followed by the addition of a canvas-like fabric to complete the rug's backing. This process is notably faster than hand-knotting, with a similar-sized rug being produced in just one day. 

While hand-tufted rugs can be visually stunning, they are generally not considered valuable for collectors or investors due to their quicker production process. It's essential to understand the distinction between hand-knotted and hand-tufted rugs to make an informed choice when selecting the perfect rug for your space. 

Handmade VS Machine-Made Rugs 

If you're wondering whether the rug you've acquired is a hand-knotted or machine-made piece, there are some key indicators to consider. 

Examining the Rug's Back:

When it comes to distinguishing between hand-knotted and machine-made rugs, inspecting the back is a great starting point. Hand-knotted rugs will exhibit a slightly uneven and non-uniform pattern in the weaving and knots. On the other hand, machine-made rugs will appear highly uniform and perfectly even. The more intricate and detailed the design on the back, the higher the quality of the rug. 

Analyzing the Fringes: 

Another method identifying the difference between hand-knotted and machine-made rugs is to examine the fringes. In the case of machine-made rugs, the fringes are typically sewn on as a finishing touch, as shown in the image above. 

Conversely, the fringe of a hand-knotted rug extends from the rug's foundation, as depicted in the image below. This integral connection is a hallmark of handcrafted quality. 

We trust that this information proves beneficial to you. If you'd like a more hands-on experience, we invite you to explore our exquisite collection of rugs. Our experts will gladly demonstrate the distinctions between hand-knotted rugs, hand-woven rugs, flatweave rugs, and machine-made rugs in real-time. Your understanding of these exquisite rug varieties will undoubtedly grow during your visit. 


How can I protect my rug? 

Using a rug pad like the RugPadUSA Superior-Lock rug pad is the best way to protect your rug.  

Can I wash my handmade rug? 

A handmade rug should only be washed professionally as the vegetable dyes will not sustain regular chemicals and may bleed. 

Can water damage a handmade rug? 

Using a damp sponge or cloth is a lot more feasible for a handmade rug in case of spills. Soaking a handmade rug completely in water may damage its fibers.