Hand-knotted carpets are not just decorative pieces for your space, they are like precious heirlooms which can be passed down through generations. Therefore, it is crucial that a carpet you intend to purchase and believe to be hand-knotted actually proves to be so. The market is filled with carpets, some knotted, some tufted, and more.

You need to be the one to recognise if the carpet that you are buying is hand-knotted because it is easy to be fooled by machine-made carpets. So, here are some ways you can tell if a carpet is hand-knotted.


hand-knotted carpet by feeling its texture

You can easily recognise a hand-knotted carpet by feeling its texture. Since they are hand-knotted, they have a luxurious feel that cannot be replicated by a machine-made carpet. When you touch a hand-knotted carpet, you instantly feel its softness. It has an uneven pile which gives a softness that a machine-made carpet with its uniformity and even pile does not have.


Since a hand-knotted carpet is a human creation, there is always a margin for human errors. One form error is that its design is not consistent everywhere. This inconsistency is, however, not something that ruins the carpet. It actually makes it beautifully unique. The irregularities are a symbol of the hard work that went into making the carpet. It showcases the craftsmanship of the artisan perfectly. So, you will notice that even the best hand-knotted carpets have irregularities in their designs, and that is why they are special.

Loose Threads

Often, when the craftsmen are knotting the threads to create the carpet, a loose thread gets left in some or the other place. Since the knotting is done by hand, it cannot possibly be perfect, though it can come near it. This means that even though the carpet looks flawless, you can find a loose thread or two if you look closely.

There is nothing wrong with one or two loose threads because they help you pick out a hand-knotted carpet in a sea of machine-made ones. Also, it doesn’t harm the carpet in any way, in fact, it showcases the fact that it is made by hand.

Density of Knots

You will find that a hand-knotted carpet, more often than not, has a higher density of knots than a carpet manufactured by machines. This means that a carpet created by actual human beings has more knots per square inch than a machine-made carpet. A higher knot density makes for a sturdy and durable carpet. It also allows the craftsman to show their skill by creating elaborate designs using those knots.

It is obvious that you will not go around me a sing knots per square inch in the market while searching for a hand-knotted carpet. So here is a simple way for you. You can measure the density of the knots by flipping the carpet over and looking at the little bumps at the back of it. The closer they are, the higher the density.

Pattern on Each Side

Hand-knotting sometimes results in the pattern being visible on both sides of the carpet. It is a specific technique of hand-knotting, which when employed, can give brilliant results. You won’t find such a thing in machine-made carpets because it comes with the craft of knotting the carpet by hand.

So, you can say that double-sided carpets are a product of the art of hand-knotting. The pattern and colours are completely replicated on the back, so they can be flipped over without a problem if the situation demands it.


The threads that come out both ends of the carpet are called fringe. These threads are not some extra decoration added to the carpet, they are actually a part of it. They are the threads that form part of the knots tied to create the carpet. They extend from the rug warps. These threads are tied to create tassels that grant a certain charm to the carpet.

These tasselled fringes mark a carpet as hand-knotted because they are a result of knotting the threads manually. If fringes are your style, you can easily find fringed carpets in any hand knotted carpet showroom.

Wear and Tear

One of the most amazing things about a hand-knotted carpet is its ability to withstand wear and tear. A carpet that has been knotted by hand will age much more gracefully than any other because it does not get damaged easily. A carpet that easily shows wear and tear cannot be hand-knotted because they are extremely durable. The density of their knots provides them with such sturdiness, so the higher the knot density, the better the durability.

Region of Origin

This is a factor that can help you in the identification of hand-knotted rugs only if you have knowledge of the regions where this traditional art is practised. If you have knowledge about such regions, you can not only identify the hand-knotted nature of the carpet but also find out the exact technique by which the knotting was done. Different techniques of hand-knotting have emerged from different regions, so if the carpet belongs to any of those regions, you can know for sure that it is hand-knotted.

Price of Carpet

Since hand-knotting is a time-consuming process that requires quite a lot of hard work, these carpets are often costlier than machine-made carpets. It is necessary to adequately compensate the artisans for the work done, so the cost needs to be high. Machine-made carpets are mass-produced and can be sold at a lower cost. The high price of the hand-knotted carpets is also justified because they have a unique touch to them that can only be achieved manually.

The Bottom Line

These are some of the factors you can use to identify the Hand-knotted carpets India has to offer. You can use any one factor or a combination of multiple of them to find out if the carpet before you is hand-knotted. The knots distinguish the carpet from a tufted one but the factors mentioned here distinguish it from other knotted carpets, namely machine-made. If you use these methods of identification, you can easily distinguish between the one hand-knotted and the one that is machine-made.

Siddharth Kalra

Founder of The Rugs Cafe-'We Brew Rugs' company, e-tailing the traditional carpet experience to global platforms. Founder of Kalra Consultancy Services, providing end-to-end digitization solutions and disrupting business models across multi-channel industries. Working as a Program Manager at Alphaa AI-AI Data Platform startup - 'Alexa for Data Warehouse', raised $1.6 million dollars. 🚀🚀 CMO at Kalra's Cottage Industry- Promoting the local community of highly skilled artisans by producing luxurious rugs from the Mughal Era. CMO at The International School Agra- enabling future visionaries of India. Bachelor of Business Administration specialized in Finance from Christ University, Bangalore.

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