Rugs play an important role in the living room or any place they are used within the home. Not only do they make the floor comfortable for your feet but they also act as decor. Among the options for color, material, design, and style; many homeowners are faced with the challenge of finally choosing between a handmade and machine made rug.

To give you a better idea of which kind of rug will best suit your needs, We have outlined some of the key differences between handmade and machine made rugs below. Bear in mind that this is a general overview which outlines the most common differences between the two types of rugs, but it doesn’t account for every rug in existence; many deviations from the norm exist!

Real Handmade Carpets & Rugs:

Real Hand made rugs are made on a specially designed loom and are knotted by hand. The making of hand knotted rugs is a very ancient art that deserves a lot of admiration! The size of the loom depends on the size of the rug and the weaving is done from the bottom to the top. The rug weaver inserts the “knots” into the foundation of the rug and they are tied by hand, this makes up the “pile” of the rug. This is a very tedious and time consuming operation.

The length of time to produce a hand knotted rug depends on the size and intricacy of the pattern. It is not unheard of for a super fine quality 12’ x 15’ rug to take over a year to produce! Hopefully you can appreciate why the cost of these rugs is much greater.

Hand knotted rugs can be made of wool, cotton, silk, jute and other natural materials. Silk is sometimes used in wool rugs for the outlines or highlights of the pattern to enhance the design. Hand knotted and hand woven rugs can last many generations if they are of good quality and properly maintained. 

Also called Oriental rugs, hand knotted and hand woven rugs are often collectibles. The quality of these rugs depends on numerous factors, such as the knot count, dyes used and quality of the yarns. Hand knotted rugs are typically more costly, but the life span of these rugs is greater and therefore usually a better value for your money 

Machine made rugs & Carpets

Machine made rugs are made by large machines called power looms. A power loom is electrically automated and controlled by computers. Machine made rugs can be made quickly and are manufactured with materials including wool and synthetic fibers such as polypropylene, nylon, polyester, acrylic and art silk.

Machine made rugs can offer a lower price alternative to hand knotted rugs. Machine made rugs usually have a life span of about 20 years or less, depending on the quality and fiber used. For example a high quality machine made wool rug can last for decades if it is well maintained. Machine made rugs are generally not of any value to a collector.


Machine made rugs and carpets are not woven by hand but are loomed by a computer generated system or apparatus. There are no knots in a machine made rugs. Whereas in a hand made rug, each knot is hand knotted and tied. In machine made carpets, threads are glued or looped onto a hot latex (plastic) backing which cools and hardens. They show a complete and rigid uniformity in manufacture which transforms into a static design. Machine made rugs generally lack spontaneity and human touch.

Sides and Ends:

In a hand made or hand knotted rug, the fringe is "part" of the rug. The fringe is not sewn on as an extension, as is the case in machine made rugs. Machine made rugs always have "serged" sides or machine stitching on both sides of the rug, as opposed to a hand-knotted which will be irregular and imperfect. 


In power loomed or machine made rugs the stitching on the back is very consistent. They have extremely regular knots and even structure remains identical in all parts of the carpet. On the other hand in hand-knotted rugs the stitching vary slightly due to different tensions on the wool as people hand tie the knots. Most handmade rugs and carpets are covered with a cotton/canvas backing. Another point to differentiate is that the pattern or the design is clearly seen on the backside of handmade rugs.


Acrylics and other chemically processed materials are usually used to make machine made carpets. Hand-knotted rugs and carpets use pure organic wools.


You can also differentiate a machine made and hand made rug simply by touching. If you place one finger on the front of a machine made rug and your thumb on the back and pinch tightly, the rug will compress greatly and you will feel a sensation going right through one side to the other side. On the other hand while pinching handmade rugs you will feel much more body and substance.