Differences between Hand Knotted and Hand Tufted Rugs

Having a handmade piece in your home to brag about is the epitome of elegance. But when you buy online it can be so difficult to tell what's real and what's not. Here we are going to help you distinguish the difference between and hand knotted rug and a hand tufted rug. For over 30 years, RugKnots has crafted, imported and delivered the very highest quality rugs from the heart of Pakistan, where skilled artisans have passed down ancient oriental rug hand knotting secrets for generations.


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Hand Tufted vs Hand Knotted 

Choosing between the two can be tough and in this blog, I'll explain the differences. It all comes down to your purpose and lifestyle. All the rugs we sell are made to the best standard; all of them are high quality and beautiful rugs.  Do you enjoy buying a new rug every year or two? If you really like buying new rugs, then a hand tufted rug will be for you. They are reasonably priced to allow for changing rugs whenever the mood strikes. Also, hand tufted rugs show their wear and tear sooner, so you'll want to replace them sooner than hand knotted. Love quality that lasts? Hand knotted rugs are for you. You can buy a rug once and it won't show it's wear and tear nearly as early or easily. Read on to learn more about hand-knotted rugs in detail. They last so long you can pass them down as family heirlooms! 


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So, let's learn about the differences! 

A hand knotted rug is an ancient art form of hand knotting individual pieces of wool or silk yarn onto a loom to create a wool rug. A rug should necessarily meet two conditions in order to acquire the title of hand knotted. It should be knotted, and the knotting should be done by hand. A hand tufted rug is a practice using a small tufting gun to punch a design into a canvas.The tufting gun is held by the hand of a technician who loads yarn into a magazine and traces a pattern onto a canvas backing. This is done by an unskilled laborer very quickly in a factory. So, that's how hand knotted and hand tufted rugs are made. Now, let's see if you know how to tell them apart!

Warning: people usually confuse the term hand-made with hand-knotted. They both are different. The first one is rather a wide term that covers ALL handmade rugs including hooked and needlepoint. Even, the tufted rugs can either be made by a hand or a machine.


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How to Tell The difference?

1.The Fringe

How the fringe looks on a rug is a telltale sign of how the rug was constructed. The fringe of a hand-knotted rug is key to the construction of the rug.  The wool yarn is hand-knotted onto the fringe and the pieces at the end are left for decoration. But, the fringe is key to holding the rug together. If the fringe is not there, the rug will unravel and you will have nothing but a pile of yarn. On a tufted rug, the fringe will be sewn or glued on the the back. Because the fringe is and essential part to a hand knotted rug, makers of hand tufted rugs are glued or sewn on a fringe to make the rug appear authentic. This makes it very easy to tell the difference between knotted rugs and tufted rugs.


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2.The Back of the Rug

The back of hand knotted wool rugs will be an exact mirror image of the top pile of the rug. You should be able to see each individual knot on hand knotted rugs and be able to count the knots per square inch.

The back of a hand tufted wool rug will have have a canvas back the is glued to hold the rug together. Since the rug is not knotted, you will not see or be able to calculate a knot count on hand tufted rugs. If keen to know the procedure, the designs of these pieces are first made on cotton cloth. Later, a gun just traces the pattern by filling the fabric. No actual knitting process is carried out – the backing support cloth says it all.

In a hand knotted rug, the main determinant of price is Knots Per Square Inch (KPSI). The higher the knot count, the tighter the knots, the softer the rug, or the longer the rug takes to make the higher said rug will be in price. Besides, kind of fabric, the intricacy of designs, size, and shape of the rug also play their role while deciding the cost. When you pay for hand knotted, it isn’t just for the rug itself. Rather, it is also for artisan’s devotion, proficiency, and rigorous hard work that they put to deliver a unique masterpiece. On average, single craftspersons can tie around 10,000 knots per day. It takes months to weave a single hand knotted rug. Or, if the design is complicated, it involves dense knotting that may take even years to finish. So, they may cost anywhere from $1,000 to $25,000, and even more. So, if you find an inexpensive hand knotted rug, be sure; either quality or fabric used is of poor quality.


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FYI: Back in 2013, an ancient hand-knotted Persian rug was sold for $33.7 million. It is by far the most expensive rug purchase made ever. On the other hand, hand tufted rugs cost less, because they take much less time to make, and tufted rugs do not require a specialized skill set. They may cost you anywhere between the range $100- $3,500. However, sometimes you will find hand tufted rugs be be about the same price or even more expensive than a hand knotted rug.

Designer names, of course! Just like that Italian Leather hand bag, you pay top dollar for designer names, no matter what type of rug.

3. Value

Hand knotted rugs are pricey, there is no denying that fact. However, they tend to hold their value. If well taken care of, classic styles of hand knotted rugs will hold their value through the ages.  

Tufted rugs, however, will not hold any value. Tufted rugs are fantastic if you are on a tight budget and can't invest in a hand knotted rug, or if you want to buy multiple rugs to keep up with trends.   The cost of a rug isn’t the only deciding factor for the value. You may see a wide range of hand knotted rugs varying in their making and quality. They have a superior position because they are unique – and don’t involve mass-production. Same, a superior quality wool tufted rug can even worth a ton and available at affordable prices. These rugs perform great for heavy traffic areas like a living room or a foyer.


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4. Knots

If you see the knots on the back of a hand knotted piece, they will be uneven to some extent. This lack of uniformity shows the working of a human hand. They might be somehow irregular; they are super durable to last for centuries.

5. Texture

The feel of a rug depends mainly on the material used rather than a technique. Generally, both hand-knotted and hand-tufted rugs are thicker and have a slightly coarse feel. If you compress them, they would show remarkable resistance. However, as hand-knotted usually involves wool or silk material, they have soft texture; again it all depends on the material.

6. Lifetime

Hand knotted area rugs can last forever. Wool is one of earth's most durable fibers, and hand knotted is one the most durable ways to make a carpet. With proper cleaning and care a hand knotted rug has an endless lifetime. This is the oldest hand knotted rug in the world. It belonged to a Persian emperor who was buried with the rug. Hand tufted rugs safe with non-toxic fiber. Grave robbers ransacked his grave of jewels and gold but did not bother to drag the rug with them.With the robbery happening in the winter, the rug froze within a thick layer of ice and preserved it for centuries!

Hand tufted area rugs, on the other hand, do not have such a lifetime. A tufted rug is made to suit trends and can be changed in and out every few years.  It's not that wear and tear will degrade the rug, it just was not made to last more than three years.


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Environmental Impact

We all know that anything machine made causes detriment to the environment.  However, this is not where hand tufted rugs cause alarm.

Like Chris points out in his video, hand tufted rugs clog land fills.

You will never see someone throw a hand knotted rug away. They last lifetimes and even when they faded or become damaged, they still have purpose. When a hand knotted rug fades, the rug can be sent to be overdyed. This is the process in which a rug is desaturated of all of its color and is then re-dyed with a new hue. If the rug is damaged in any way, the rug is then sent to be used for a patchwork rug.


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The results are typically similar to this pink patchwork rug: In this process, the rug is cut into smaller sections, overdyed, then stitched back together to form a new rug. A lot of patchwork rugs can be multicolored as well. Or even a patchwork pillow or pillow case! Another way to reuse a hand knotted rug is to turn it into furniture!

Hand knotted rugs don't shed as easily. In the first few months, you may witness a bit of shedding, but after a while this eventually ceases. Cleaning is also incredibly easy. Just take it for a professional clean every year or so and that's it!

We hope you have now a better idea of exactly what is difference between Hand knotted rugs and hand tufted rug after taking a look at our list. You can buy your favorite rugs from RugKnots and feel free to share your opinions with us!


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