Erin Medley

Bates vs Boye Hooks…Which Should You Use?

This has been an on-going debate since the beginning of crochet history…Susan Bates or Boye?

I don’t know many people who use both brands. You generally choose one and are loyal to the brand for life. So what is the difference? If you are just starting out, which should you choose?



Boye hooks have a tapered hook and throat. This is the part of the hook that pushes through your yarn. The head and shaft are not a perfect cylinder and gently taper down the shaft of the hook.

Boye hooks have a long shaft so the thumb rest is slightly further down on the handle. They, in turn, have a shorter handle. This is important, in that, when choosing Bates or Boye, for a clay handled hook, you will want to know where you place your thumb on the handle and how high you prefer your clay handle to be.



Susan Bates hooks have an inline throat. This means that the head and shaft are basically like a cylinder with the small notch for the yarn. Some crochet instructors recommend in-line hooks because the stitches remain constant and it can help a beginner to maintain tension.

Bates hooks have a short shaft and the thumb rest is closer to the head of the hook. They, in turn, have a longer handle. This is significant, in that, when choosing Bates or Boye, for a clay or wooden handled hook, you will want to know where you place your thumb on the handle and how high you prefer your clay handle to be.

Bates hooks have an inline throat with a notch. 

Bates hooks also have a rounded point.


The answer really boils down to personal preference.

When I wanted to learn to crochet, I used hand-me-down hooks. I bought a set at the craft store and they were Boye hooks.  From that point on anytime I used a Bates hook I was left completely helpless. I have many crafty friends who are Susan Bates users to their core too!

If no one is there to recommend a brand for you, here’s what you should do:

Step One: Buy a hook size in both brands and testing for yourself, which feels best in your hand and with your grip.

Step Two: Try crocheting a small swatch with a few different types of yarn with both hooks. Test out some cotton, wool, and some acrylic. You’ll see right away which hook is best for you. You may also find that your hook brand preference depends on what fiber you are working with.

Step Three: Purchase yourself a complete set of hooks.


Regardless of which brand you choose, both have very small handles. Gripping a small handle for any extended amount of time will start to cause tired hands.

Once you choose a favorite brand, I highly recommend getting a set of Happy Crochet Hooks.

And it will increase your enjoyment of the crochet experience immensely!

Here is a handy hook conversion chart for you too!

Erin Medley

Erin is the owner of Crochet Medley, and the Publishing Assistant at Happily Hooked Magazine. A born and raised Michigander, she’s a military wife, and mother of two. Some of her favorite things to crochet are hats, cowls, and amigurumi. Crochet was introduced to her as a pre-teen, but became an obsession in 2008 when her son was born, so she opened a little shop to bring others joy! When she isn’t working with yarn, Erin enjoys her two fur babies, hockey, scrapbooking, coloring with the kids, baking, Star Wars, beading, reading, and watching true crime books or shows.

See next post 5 Crochet Hacks That Will Give You More Crochet Time Erin Medley See previos post These Wooden Crochet Hooks are Straight Up Magical! Lee-Anne Sartori

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