Top 10 Rug making tools
While there are countless user videos and forums online that are great tufting reference points, many offer conflicting advice and, from what we have encountered, some of it can really get you off on the wrong foot and lead to time-consuming and often costly choices.
We understand how daunting it can be starting out so let’s CUT TO THE CHASE with an updated list of 2023’s:
top 10 tufting tools
**We take into consideration performance, availability, after-care service, repairability, reputation and price.
1: AK-Duo (AKPro)
This is the newest addition to the AK line of rug making machines.
The rise of tufting in the wake of the pandemic has significantly increased its user base and as a result tools are no longer supplied directly for use by the rug making industry.
There has grown an expectation that machines be easy to use and cheaply produced.
Through consultation with users, engineers have worked tirelessly to re-engineer the mechanics and make them more user friendly however there have been a few sticking points that they have struggled to perfect.
The release of the KRD series of guns in 2021 saw these dilemmas play out in real time as guns were adjusted and improved upon with new iterations released continuously. By the time the final design was perfected, it was difficult for users to determine which release they had purchased. This made aftercare challenging with conflicting servicing videos baffling users. This experience, while frustrating, helped pave the way for the AK-Duo (formerly AK-Pro).
All the issues with the KRD tufting gun were trialed and resolved with this model.
The AK-Duo is an amazing improvement overall.
- Tufts are incredibly even and unlike other 2-in-1 guns, these machines are quite light and easy to hold.
- There is a new system for changing pile height which is fast, simple and accurate.
- Converting from cut to loop pile is now a fast turnaround.
These factors were the stumbling blocks that have been problematic for all previous dual models but have been embraced and the challenges have been overcome. You can’t help but give credit to the engineers.
Original CUT PILE tufting tool
While there are other industrial models in use today, few can offer the kind of reliability and user simplicity that the original AK-I offers at such a competitive price-point.
The AK-I is a professional grade CUT PILE machine and is commonly used today in both rug factories and online via social media.
This is the model that has spawned generations of copies so beware of fakes.
If you get your hands on a real deal, you’ll be equiped with a tool set to last.
Not much can actually go wrong with these little workhorses and repairs are generally quite simple and easy to do. A reputable seller should be able to repair it for you or at the very least walk you through the process.
This gun is an easy thing to hold. Many rug guns are quite heavy units to start with and it can get quite tiring tufting for prolonged periods while pushing and guiding into your backing cloth.
The AK-1 certainly gives your arms a rest while you tuft.
This gun makes tufting an enjoyable process and you'll find yourself reaching for it more often than not if you have it amongst your toolset. It's not too noisy either so having it in this list is a no brainer.
*There is a significant difference in the sound of an authentic AK-1. Copies are often noisy and clunky so make sure you know what you’re buying and buy from an Authorised dealer such as Tuft City.
Cut Pile Height Range (adjustable): 7 - 20mm
Speed Range: 5-45 stitches/sec. This is adjusted via a convenient speed dial located at the base of the hand grip.
Weight: 1.4kg aluminium construction
Original LOOP PILE tufting tool
If your choice of rug pile is loop then you could really benefit from high quality from the very outset. While cut-piles are easily trimmed to conform to a chosen length, irregular loops can't be reshaped as easily so loop integrity is better handled by a decent machine.
The AK-2 is the tool for the job and a perfect accompaniment to the AK-1.
- High-quality aluminium construction
- Adjustable loop-pile height range: 4-13 mm
- Adjustable tufting speed: 5-45 stitches per second
- Weight: 1.4 kgs
- Universal voltage 100-240 V. 50-60 HZ
4: AK-3 The Pneumatic tufting machine.
We do lean quite heavily on this family of AK tufting machines.
- They are engineered especially well for the price
- They have spare parts that are easy to access
- They’re lightweight
- They tuft darn well
- With a good cleaning schedule to ensure the tool is clear of excess fluff and an oiling routine with machine oil or sewing machine oil, these guns will last considerably well
The AK-III is a more powerful tool and does require an air compressor to run but it isn't as noisy an option as you'd expect. While it does make a bit of noise, the sound concerns are really down to your choice of air compressor so make sure you investigate silent oil-free options.
5: Manual rug maker speed tufting tool
These tools have been in use for generations throughout rug making factories and predate the electric models. They work the same way so are a great way to get a clear understanding of the tufting process. Today they can be used solely or even in addition to add some extra tufts of colour or dimension to your work. They come in set lengths in cut or loop pile.
Earlier models have handles made from coconut trees and you can identify parts made up from objects such as bottle caps. More typically today newer models are developed in polished or painted steel and wood.
The 45mm cut-pile tool is quite easy to get the hang of and is a fantastic option for those seeking long shag-pile on a budget. You can pack quite a few strands in the eye of the needle at once so it can pack a punch with really nice tufts that can be left as is or carved and trimmed. They are not unlike many vintage rug making or Danella tools but are a little heartier and less refined. I find the older models don’t tend to last due to the stress on the handles but the newer steel versions have handles that last considerably longer.
Let us know if you’d like some and we will send you in the right direction.
6: Electric rug carving scissors
These tools are ridiculous!
They come with their own speed regulator so you can speed-up and slow-down but as far as simplicity of use… it ends there!
They are for very confident users. As rad as they are, they are electric carving scissors.
They are heavy duty and industrial so not for the faint hearted.
But if you get to a point where you want to up your rug game, nothing beats them. They clean up your lines like nothing else but one slip and you've cut a whopping hole so carve with caution.
*Please contact us directly if you would like to order a pair.
7: CP-1 The Shearer
These rug making tools operate just like a wood planer. You essentially shave the rug down to an even set level that is easily adjustable. Great for tidying up your work and giving it a uniform finish. It is a serious purchase for those who are prepared to take their rug-making to the next level with a final commercial finish.
8: 250W portable carpet carver
Powered by lithium batteries, these carvers are rechargeable and powerful enough to handle a hefty tufting session. The real beauty for me is that there are no longer chords in the way.
9: Traditional rug scissors
Hand forged and finished by rug companies in India, these scissors are just beautiful objects. They have been used for generations and we are lucky to have discovered them.
10: Traditional rug hair removal comb
Another intense looking tool that could be dangerous in the wrong hands, this comb is quite a hefty object. It is hand made and designed for use in the final stages of rugmaking. Have you noticed that rugs can continue to lose hair for some time after you have made them? This shedding can continue for quite some time which is messy upkeep for your valued customers.