Here at TUFT CITY we only sell tools we have tried and tested.
While there are countless user videos and forums available 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 a list of our top 10 favourite tufting tools.
*We take into consideration performance, availability, after-care service, repairability, reputation and price.
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 but 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-I certainly gives your arms a rest.
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 it's a no brainer that we put it on the top of our TOP 10 list.
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
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-II is the tool for the job and a perfect accompaniment to the AK-I.
We do lean quite heavily on this family of AK tufting machines but we find they are engineered especially well for the price, have spare parts that are easy to access, are all lightweight and tuft pretty 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; another reason they are so popular overall.
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 options.
These tools have been in use for generations in rug making factories in India and predate the electric models however they work on the same principle and are a great way to get an understanding of the tufting process. Today they can be used solely or even as an addition to add colour or dimension. They come with set lengths in cut or loop pile.
Older models have handles made from the coconut trees and you can identify parts made up from bottle caps. more typically today the newer models are compose entirely of metal that has been painted to prevent rust.
The 45mm cut-pile tool is quite easy to get the hang of. You can pack quite a few strands in the eye of the needle so it provides really nice tufts that can be left as is or carved and trimmed.
They are not unlike many vintage rug making tools or Danella tools but are a little heartier and less refined however are quite economical.