Book Your In-Home Preview Today Learn More

Hand-Knotted vs Hand-Woven Rug: What's the difference?

The difference between a hand-knotted and hand-woven rug

Hand-knotted and hand-woven rugs are both made by hand, however, they each employ a unique weaving technique that affects their quality, texture, design complexity and price. (There are other rugs that claim to be “hand-made,” such as “hand-tufted,” but this is a marketing tactic and not an authentic hand-made technique.)

Hand-knotted rugs are almost always more expensive than hand-woven, as their production process is longer and more complex. They have finer details, are made of better wool (it's length must allow for pile and excess to clip off) and require more skilled artisans. Both are good rugs, but which one is ‘better’ depends on how it will be used and personal preference.

A rug weaver spends up to a year working on a hand-knotted rug

A weaver in Pakistan making a hand-knotted rug.

Hand-knotting results in finely-detailed design and plush finish that lasts for centuries 

Hand-knotted rugs are thousands or millions of knots individually tied to a foundation. The rugs are “raw” after the knotting is finished and must be shaved down to get this finished, detailed look. They have a distinct back and a front; the front is the plush and detailed side shown here.

Flatweaves are hand-woven in a faster technique that requires less production time and material, creating a more affordable handmade rug

Hand-woven rugs are often referred to as “flatweaves” because they’re, well, flat. They are woven more like a basket, which means the front and the back look the same, making the rug reversible. They have no pile or actual “knots.”




Erin Eisinger
Erin Eisinger


Floorplan CEO and Co-Founder. Designer. Storyteller. Entrepreneur.

1 Comment

PJ Reeder
PJ Reeder

April 24, 2016

Thanks for defining what is what. I bought two beautiful hand woven rugs from Overstock, but they shed like nuts. Each time I vacuum they fill the canister, and the wool fibers float all over the house causing respiratory issues and itching. Now, I know what to buy. Unfortunately I had to give these rugs away. Thanks for the input!

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.