hand tufted vs hand knotted rugs

15 Key Differences: Hand-Tufted Vs Hand-Knotted Rugs Explained!

Hand Tufted Vs Hand Knotted Rugs
What is the difference between hand-knotted rugs and hand-tufted rugs? The main difference between the two lies in the technique used to make them. You need to know this so you pay only for what you buy.

Before diving deep into the differences between the two, know what these rugs are.

What Are Hand Knotted Rugs?

Hand knotted wool rugs are those that are hand woven by human hands. Each wool loop is hand-tied to the rug’s foundation; they are known as “hand-knotted” rugs. Hand knotted Persian rugs and Indo-Tibetan rugs are good examples of authentic hand knotted carpets

What Are Hand Tufted Rugs?

Hand tufted rugs are handmade using a “Tufting gun”: a hand-operated tool that punches strands of wool into a cotton canvas stretched on a frame onto the design of the rug that has been drawn before.

The weavers then fill the pattern with the appropriate wool color, which can take as little as 15-20 days for a 9’x12′ wool rug. The rug is removed from the frame, and a roll of jute or cotton fabric is glued to the back of the rug.

Similarities Between Hand Knotted & Tufted Area Rugs

Before going into the difference between the two types of rugs, let’s see their similarities in short so that it is clear when choosing one over the other.

  1. Pile – Hand tufted and knotted rugs both have a plush pile. This means they have a suitable thickness, and you can feel the density by a touch.
  2. Look – Until closely inspected, both rug types mimic a similar appearance. Both have a plush pile, neat edges bound, and a soft feel to the touch.
  3. Handmade – Both rugs are handmade using different weaving techniques. However, they are different from each other as they use various tools and techniques in making them.

Now, let’s deep dive into the integral differences between hand-knotted and hand-tufted rugs.

Hand Tufted Vs Hand Woven Vs Machine-made

Hand Knotted Hand TuftedMachine made
Weaving TechniqueThey are completely hand woven. The human hands tie each knot on a vertical loom on a cotton string foundation.They are partially handmade. Uses a tufting tool called a tufting gun. Tufted on a cotton canvas suspended on a metal frame.Runs on power-loom. Designs develop automatically as pre-defined.
Lead TimeTakes 2-3 months to knot a regular size rug and is labor intensive.The hand tufts take far less time in weaving. It may take 20 days to finish tufting a regular rug size.The machine takes the least time to complete its rug weaving.
Materials usedWool, silk, bamboo silk, viscose, wool and silk combo.Wool, silk, bamboo silk, viscose, wool and silk combo, and synthetic fibers.Synthetic fibers (polypropylene, polyester, nylon).
DurabilityHighly durable. Hand knotted rugs are the most durable rugs, hence the most expensive too.Durable up till generations.Comparably less durable. Unlike knotted, the fiber is not tied to the foundation of the rug.Durable up till 4-7 years.Less durable. The plastic nature tends to break after a few bends.Durable up till 10-20 years.
FringesEvery knotted rug has fringes. Sometimes unseen as are bound behind.Do not have natural fringes. Some come glued separately.Fringes are machine sewn at the end, but it doesn’t help to hold the rug together.
SheddingShedding is next to nothing. Do not pull loose threads, trim with a scissor.More during the early days but lessen and stop with time.No shedding but a cut can begin to fasten out the web fiber gradually.
BacksideThe back mirrors the design on the front side of the rug.There is a sheet of cloth backing clued to hold the wool to the rug.Has a plastic look and feel from the back.
TrafficSuitable for high traffic areas.Suitable for medium foot traffic areas.Suitable for high traffic areas.
CostExpensive as labor cost and the raw materials used are costly.Inexpensive compared to knotted carpets as it takes less time in weaving.Cheaper, as machines eliminate the labor cost, and synthetic fibers are cheaper.
WashKnotted rugs need professional washing at least once a year.Avoid wet-wash due to its latex backing. Spot cleaning is highly recommended.Easily washable at home and may not require professional cleaning.
QualityHeirloom quality. The quality can be determined by counting no. of knots at the back of the rug.Not of an heirloom quality. Only the density of the fiber can determine quality.They may/may not have a pile height. Quality cannot be determined.
Labor/SkillRequires a large amount of labor and skill in making knotted area rugs.It is less labor intensive compared to hand making knotted rugs.The machine does all the weaving work.
AppearanceThe face design of the rug reflects on its backside as well.Unlike knotted, a cotton backing covers the backside of a tufted rug. Unless felt by touch, machine made rugs can appear like any normal handmade rug.
Resale ValueKnotted rugs often have resale value depending on their age, quality, and condition. Does not have a good resale value.Does not have a resale value.
HSN CodesHand knotted wool carpets HSN code is 5701, and 5702 for silk.Hand tufted carpet HSN code is 57031010. 

Comparison – Hand knotted Rugs Vs Hand Tufted Rugs

The weaving technique best determines the difference between hand knotted and tufted rugs. A knotted area rug is not just knotted; human hands do the knotting.

Developing a hand tufted rug is easier and quicker. Tufted area rugs are made using a ‘tufting gun’ by shooting wool through a tufting canvas.


The time it takes to complete weaving a rug is one big factor determining its price.

Hand knotted Persian oriental rugs can take 3 to 6 months to weave an average size rug. A high-quality carpet with more knots per square inch takes longer to weave than a low-quality rug.

As for the hand tufted area rugs, it takes very little time to get them ready. A plain design rug can be tufted in less than 25 days. A complex designed piece may take less than two weeks.


An authentic hand knotted rug uses natural fibers like wool, silk, or both.

You can tell the quality of a hand-knotted rug by simply flipping the rug. At the rug’s back, you can easily count the number of knots the rug has. If there are no signs of knots at the backside, it’s not a hand knotted piece.

Tufted rugs do not have knot counts. Instead, they have canvas backing with latex glue at the back.

Life Span

A hand knotted oriental rug is more durable and lasts longer than a tufted one.

Both types of carpets are beautiful and have their importance. If you want your rug to last for generations, you are good to go with hand knotted rugs.

If you want to change your rug’s look every 4-5 years, a hand tufted rug should be your choice.


The rugs hand knotted are the real area rugs, the original rugs. They are highly labor intensive and take lots of time to produce them. The material used cost more than tufted floor coverings. Moreover, the scarcity of knotted rug weavers globally reflects the rug price.

Hand-tufted carpets are more affordable than hand-knotted carpets. Rug tufting takes little time to complete. Also, it is less labor intensive as it involves an inexpensive tufting gun for the weaving. Overall, this largely cuts down the cost of its production.

Shape & Size

Both rug types come in a variety of colors and designs. They are available in different shapes and standard rug sizes as well. While hand-knotted rugs are mostly rectangular and round, tufted area rugs have more variety.

A tufted rug is more design-experimental oriented. Other than modern and contemporary design, tufted rugs have figures of birds, animals & flowers.

Cleaning & Washing

How to clean hand-tufted rug and hand knotted carpet?
Both knotted and hand-tufted wool rugs need vacuuming at least once every few weeks to dust out the accumulated dust and dirt.

The cleaning methods of both rugs are different as much as the difference in the making of both the rugs.

Knotted rug cleaning is complex and expensive and may require professional cleaning.

Hand-tufted rugs are easier to clean and can be done by any individual at home. They have latex glue backing, so prevent them from watering. The glue is a water solvent; hence, it can damage the rug permanently.


Fringes are the warp thread formed when a rug is cut and removed from the loom.

Hand knotted area rugs have fringes on either side, whereas tufted rugs do not. In some hand knotted rugs like Indo-Gabbeh, the fringes are cut and hidden by binding them. 

A Tufted carpet does not have fringes at all. Sometimes, fake fringes are fixed separately to make it look like a knotted carpet.


So, which rug to buy? Both rug types have good sides; a hand-knotted one is best if you want a durable rug. If you’re on a budget or want something more beautiful than functional, a custom hand tufted rug may work.

FAQ – Hand Tufted Vs Hand Knotted Rugs

Which is better hand tufted or hand knotted?

Hand-knotted rugs usually outperform hand-tufted ones. Hand knotted area rugs are all knotted by hand with a particular tool, and they are stronger and last longer. Hence, the making technique gives the rug a sturdy, long-lasting foundation that can withstand heavy foot traffic.