Hand-Knotted vs. Hand-Tufted Rugs

Quality, Cost and Value Differences

Close up of Moroccan rugs in Fez, Morocco.
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Even though both hand-knotted and hand-tufted rugs are made by hand, that is where the similarity ends. The process of creating both types of rugs is different not just in complexity, but also the time it takes to create one and the skill level required in manufacturing it. 

As a result of an entirely different process, the products end up having a different look and feel. For these reasons, these different types of rugs can also differ in longevity and cost.

Hand-Knotted Rugs

Weaving a hand-knotted rug requires a great deal of skill and often a lot of time to produce. The quality and very often the cost of a hand-knotted rug is determined by the number of knots per square inch. In this case, a higher density means better quality.

A complex pattern can require very dense knotting and thus it can take a long time to produce. An average weaver can tie about 10,000 knots per day. So you can imagine how long it can take to complete one rug, especially if it happens to be a large one. The time involved in making it also accounts for hand-knotted rugs costing more on average than hand-tufted rugs.

How hand-woven rugs are made

Hand-Tufted Rugs 

The process for creating a hand tufted rug differs greatly. It is made by punching strands of wool into a canvas that is stretched on a frame with the help of a hand-operated tool. This process is not very time-intensive and does not require the same level of skill that hand-knotting does.

After piling with wool, the rug is removed from the frame and a scrim fabric is glued to the back. To complete the rug, a fringe is added by either sewing or gluing it on.

How hand-tufted rugs are made

Difference in Cost 

A hand-tufted rug generally costs less than a hand-knotted rug because it usually takes less time and skill to make and is thus less costly to produce.

This lets the manufacturer pass those savings on to you.

Life Span Differences 

A hand-knotted rug generally outlasts a hand-tufted one. It can become a family heirloom and last for generations if it is used with care. A hand-tufted rug will not last as long in the same level of condition.

The Question of Value

Value is determined not by how little or how much a rug costs. A good-quality hand-knotted rug can become a collector's item, but this doesn't hold true for just any hand-knotted rug. There is a whole range of hand-knotted ones, from poorly made examples to exquisite ones. Hand-knotted rugs also have superior value because they are original, not mass-produced. Hand-tufted rugs never quite achieve heirloom status because they are not one of a kind. But they can still be beautiful to look at and make an appealing and interesting addition to your interior decor.

If you want to buy a rug that has value beyond its use in your home decor today, look to well-made rug hand-knotted by expert artisans.