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Ideal for smaller beadwork projects, beading looms are used to make jewelry, keychains, small purses, and more.
We researched the top bead looms, evaluating factors like durability, portability, adjustability, and price. Our top choice was the Wandering Bull Ojibwa Bead Loom, for its lightweight quality and adjustable frame.
Here are the best bead looms of 2022:
Best Overall: Wandering Bull Ojibwa Bead Loom
Named for the Ojibwa people (who are known for their elaborate beadwork), this adjustable wooden loom works well for all types of projects. The loom is five inches wide and comes with 18-inch dowels. You can adjust the dowels by loosening the screw eyes, sliding the block in, and moving your beaded strip down and around the loom, giving you enough space for a 40-inch piece. If you want to create a longer piece, you can swap out the dowels for bigger ones; some beaders also cut them to make a shorter bracelet-sized loom.
While you'll need to assemble this wooden loom, the process doesn't involve anything harder than screwing in S-hooks. Wandering Bull is a Native-American-owned family business based in New Hampshire that started in 1969.
Dimensions: 5 x 40 inches | Material: Wood | Expert level: All levels
Best Metal Bead Loom: Beazu Native American Bead Loom Kit
Even sled ends
Not enough beads supplied
Available in two sizes, this metal bead loom kit comes with everything you’ll need to create eye-catching projects of various types. Its design makes it easy to assemble, and all the hardware needed is supplied in the package. Instructions are included to show not only assembly directions but also how to create gorgeous, colorful designs.
There are thread guides on both ends to help your weaving along, and you’ll have a sufficient supply of thread, seed beads, beading needles, and even a needle threader to get you started. Fun for both adults and younger loomers, this kit is durably made for making anything from belts to bracelets.
Dimensions: 3 x 12 inches | Material: Metal | Expert level: All levels
Best Budget: The Beadsmith Metal Bead Loom Kit
Super easy assembly
Available in 2 sizes
Younger users might need assistance
Arriving as a complete kit, this affordable loom lets beginner bead loomers test out their skills with the best of materials. In the package are sample grids for beginners to practice, as well as clear ones for dreaming up original patterns when ready. You’ll also find a complete set of illustrated instructions to help guide early learners.
Everything needed to adorn both types of grids is also enclosed, including threads, needles, beads, and more. The patterns are geared toward making authentic Native American headbands, necklaces, bracelets and other fun projects.
Dimensions: 12.5 x 2.5 x 3 inches | Material: Metal | Expert level: Beginners
Best for Beginners: The Beadsmith Little Ricky Beading Loom
Sturdy when set up on a flat surface
Easy to warp and adjust tension
Finish projects much more quickly
Some report no notches to help hold thread
The perfect kit for beginners, this bead loom kit includes a beautifully crafted wooden loom as well as all the components needed for creating numerous projects. Your weaving will be simplified with only two warps, and the enclosed illustrated, step-by-step instructions provide excellent direction. The kit also allows the use of any size bead, making it highly versatile.
The loom is assembled with ease, and the tension is easily adjusted. Great for first projects, newbies will find it’s easy to use. And for those who like to weave on the move, it’s also portable.
Dimensions: 9.25 x 2.5 x 2.875 inches | Material: Wood | Expert level: Beginners
Best for Monogramming: The Beadsmith LOOMEEZ Japanese Bead Loom Kit
Adjustable to 3 different lengths
Lightweight and easily transported
Comes with a complete kit
Easy to learn and use
Some felt the kit was overpriced
If monogramming is your thing, this kit can help put initials, names, and more on your work. With attractive glass beads plus plenty of beading thread, a needle, and colorfully illustrated instructions, you’ll easily be weaving any letters you'd like into your projects. You can also adjust the loom ends to three different lengths for creating various types of beadwork.
You’ll be able to use the enclosed patterns to make your first letters and proceed without them once you're ready. The instructions are very thorough, and the product design is easy to understand. Only light assembly is required.
Dimensions: 11.57 x 4.06 x 0.94 inches (adjustable to 3 different lengths) | Material: Plastic | Expert level: All levels
Best Portable: Mirrix Saffron Pocket Loom
Tiny enough to easily transport
Can make tapestries and bead projects (if basic rules are followed)
The Saffron Pocket Loom should suit the needs of most any traveling bead loomer. Crafted of high quality wood and steel, this loom is sure to last a long while. It’s also adjustable in height, and small enough to stash in a tote bag or large pocket.
The bead loom's tensioning device is novel for a pocket-sized loom. It’s also simple to assemble with written instructions included. Additionally, there are several accessories available that you can purchase to enhance your work in helpful ways.
Dimensions: 5 x 8 x 5.5 inches | Material: Cherry wood, aluminum and steel | Expert level: Intermediate and advanced
Best Adjustable: Missouri River Deluxe Adjustable Bead Loom
Durably made, should last a lifetime if used with care
Made in Missouri River’s own shop
Easy to adjust
Some disliked the raw wood finish
With its remarkable adjustability, this three-piece bead loom is ideal for several types of bead projects. Not only can it handle a wide range of project sizes, but it’s also compatible with a variety of bead sizes. And with the enclosed directions for assembly as well as use, this loom can work for any level of bead loomer enthusiast.
The bead loom comes with three handy bead dividers to make your work easier. Additionally, it has innovative ways of tightening your warp threads at the end of your project. When you’re finished, the unit breaks down easily for simple storage.
Dimensions: 24.29 x 6.65 x 6.46 inches (adjustable) | Material: Pine wood | Expert level: All levels
Best Wooden: The Beadsmith Rick's Beading Loom
Comes fully assembled
Length is adjustable to suit any project
Compatible with any size bead
Some reported needing clearer instructions
Make anything from tapestries to small purses to headbands with this innovative bead loom. Crafted of high quality wood, this loom is compatible with nearly any bead size. With its patented design, loomers will enjoy having only two warp threads on each end.
Arriving fully assembled, this loom is very easy to use. The included comprehensive set of instructions helps you set up to 40 warps in five minutes or less. The loom also has warp threads arranged on an angle to spare the weaver a sore neck from straining.
Dimensions: 13.5 x 3.75 x 4.5 inches | Material: Wood | Expert level: All levels, beginners with guidance
We deemed the Precision Bead Loom as the best overall pick because it’s durable, has superior portability, assembles easily, and has complete instructions included. But if you’re just trying out beading for the first time, or don’t have much to spend, try the Beadsmith Metal Bead Loom Kit. A complete kit with illustrated instructions, threads, beads, and needles plus practice and blank grids for making authentic Native American projects.
What to Look for in a Beading Loom
A good bead loom should provide even tension, which ideally could be adjusted when needed. According to expert bead loomer Erin Simonetti of Beads Beading Beaded, a loom with a warp tension controller with sled ends at the same height would be optimal.
A steady foundation is crucial for a good experience with your bead loom. Look for construction materials like sturdy plastic, metal, or wood. You'll also need a bead loom with a sufficient weaving surface and adjustability for different size beadwork.
For those who like to craft on the go, look for lightweight options with smaller dimensions. These mini bead looms are perfect for jewelry-making parties or for creating small-scale projects like bracelets, ring toppers, pouches, and pendants.
What is the best size bead for a beading loom?
Our expert indicates that there are many possibilities for the best bead size, depending upon the design. Simonetti suggests that a painterly design, (or one that resembles a painting, or fine art), can be created using just about any bead size, whether it’s woven, free form, or otherwise, just by how the loom is warped. “For painterly designs with shading and depth, it's best to use a 11/0 Miyuki Delicas," she says. "They offer the largest color palette, color and finish, than any other bead size or shape, on the market.” She also suggests using skip dents to accommodate different bead sizes.
What thread is best for bead looms?
“The warp thread carries the finished body of the piece, so it’s best to consider a non-stretch thread for the warps,” says Simonetti. As far as color is concerned, she advises that the color of the thread will make bead colors react differently, especially transparent or silver-lined beads, and that a moss green thread is almost unseen in any color weave, even white.
What can be made with a bead loom?
There is a vast range of creations one can make with a bead loom. “So much can be woven to wear or display, including both two-dimensional and three-dimensional beadwork, as well as free form or uniform," says Simonetti. Examples include various types of earrings, bracelets, purses, headbands, bookmarks, napkin rings, three-dimensional figurines, and beaded animals.
Why Trust The Spruce
KJ Callihan writes for The Spruce, and has created gift, shopping, and activity guides for AAA Northeast magazine, CNET, Best of the Web, and Finfrock Marketing. Erin Simonetti of Beads Beading Beaded gives classes on bead loom weaving regularly at Loom Technician.