Handmade vs Machine-made Rugs: How do they differ?

Handmade vs Machine-made Rugs: How do they differ?

Crafted by Berber artisans. Curated by decor enthusiasts

When you are purchasing a rug, you have to be aware of the differences between handmade and machine-made. Otherwise, you may think you have purchased a handmade rug when it could be a machine-made rug.

To help you understand the differences between handmade vs machine-made rugs, we are going to take a look at what differentiates them throughout this article.

Handmade vs Machine-made Rugs: What Are The Differences?

 The main difference between machine-made and handmade rugs is that as the names suggest, one type is made by a machine while the other is knotted by hands. This means a lot more effort and thought have gone into a rug that is handmade, than one that is made by machines.

Because of the different production, there are also significant differences in the:

  • Lifespan & quality
  • Feel
  • Origin

Lifespan, Materials & Quality

The first big difference in handmade vs machine-made rugs is the quality and lifespan.

Handmade rugs have a higher quality and the process of how they are made is ancient. The knots are tied by hand, whereas with machine-made rugs, the knots are tied by power looms in factories. Machines can't make rugs the same way that humans do, so there are some notable differences. 

For example, there is a difference in the fiber that is used which affects the quality of the rugs. Machine-made rugs are also made by man-made materials like nylon and polyester. For this reason, handmade rugs have a much bigger lifespan, which also often makes them better value for money. While handmade rugs can last longer than a lifetime, machine-made rugs only last up to 20 years.


Because there is so much effort, time, and energy that goes into a handmade rug, you can feel the difference. A handmade rug feels more human than a machine-made rug, and you'll notice how it has a lot more effort behind it.

Another difference in the feeling between handmade and machine-made rugs is that handmade rugs are a little softer and feel plusher.


Another big difference is the origin.

While handmade rugs often have traditional origins in the Middle East from places like Morocco, machine-made rugs don't have an origin, other than the factory they were made in. This makes them less special compared to the handmade rugs, which are truly fascinating.

As handmade rugs are also often made in the Middle East, they have traveled a lot more, which also adds to their beautiful story.

How To Tell The Difference When Purchasing a Rug

Of course, knowing what makes them different is not enough. When you are purchasing a rug, you'll want to know how to tell the difference. Otherwise, you may end up with the wrong type of rug, which means you could be overpaying or not getting what you wanted.

Generally speaking, handmade rugs will be a little softer. But, when you don't have a direct comparison, it might be hard to spot.

That's why, below, we have outlined 3 steps you can take to tell the difference between a handmade rug and a machine-made rug.

1. Back of the rug

The first step to figuring out whether the rug is handmade or machine-made is to take a look at the back of the rug.

If the rug is handmade, the weaving and the knots won't be perfectly straight and will also be slightly uneven. The knots will also often be different sizes, as they are made by hand, which means individually they may vary slightly.

On the flip side, machine-made rugs will have perfect knots that are even and straight. These knots aren't actually knots, they are just meant to look like knots.

2. Fringe of the rug

The fringe of a handmade rug is usually made from warp threads. However, on a machine-made rug, it is normally sewn onto the rug. This is what companies do to make their machine-made rugs, appear handmade.

If you look closely, you'll see that the fringe of a handmade rug is part of the rug. On machine-made rugs, it's sewn on top and when you look closely and feel the rug, you will notice this. 

3. Edges of the rug

The final place that you can use to tell the difference is the edges of a rug.

The edges of a handmade rug are stitched by hand, whereas machine-made rugs are stitched with a machine. For this reason, you can also tell the difference, as there may be slight differences in the size of the edges.

On a machine-made rug, they will also be a little less thick as a machine has just gone through and stitched it completely evenly, meaning there is less effort needed to make sure it sticks in the short term.

Looking to purchase a Handmade rug?

We hope you have enjoyed this article on the differences between handmade vs machine-made rugs.

If you're like us and prefer handmade rugs, then you'll love our shop.

Each piece is one-of-a-kind, so they are truly special. If you are looking to add something special to a particular room of yours, then feel free to browse our shop.