Rigid Heddle Loom Comparison

Rigid Heddle Loom Comparison-Ashford and Schacht

The rigid heddle loom is compact and gives you the satisfaction of weaving beautiful scarves, mats, belts, dish towels, tapestries, and more. They are a great way to work up your yarn stash.

Selecting a rigid heddle loom is a personal preference–just like buying a car. Some looms allow for more comfortable weaving and warping.

There is a wide price range in rigid heddle looms. They come in sizes from 10” wide to 48” wide. Narrower looms are great for transporting. The widest loom I currently use is 26”. The wider the loom, the harder I can reach the edges and throw the shuttle comfortably. So, keep in mind your reach.

A Schacht or Ashford rigid heddle loom is my preference for a rigid heddle loom. And the main difference (besides price) in those two brands is that Schacht rigid heddle looms have a back beam like floor looms.

A back beam keeps the warp level from the back of the loom to the loom’s front. With the Ashford looms, the warp runs directly from the warp beam to the cloth beam resulting in the warp traveling at an angle. The warp is higher at the back at the start of your weaving. As you weave, it levels off as the weaving builds upon the cloth beam. Then, as the cloth beam fills, your angle is reversed, and your warp is angled higher in the front than the back. I have always felt that this messed with my weaving.

The following pictures have the parts labeled. Notice that the Ashford Loom only has the roller beams for the warp and the woven fabric or cloth. The image of the Schacht Cricket loom shows the heddle in the up position.

Ashford RH Parts Labeled


Cricket rigid heddle loom parts labeled


The looms have a price difference, with the Schacht looms being pricier. Schacht looms (except for the Cricket looms) are nicely finished and foldable. The Ashford looms (except for the Knitter’s Looms) are unfinished. The Knitters Loom is foldable, lacquered, and assembled. Both companies have a wide range of looms and an assortment of reeds and stands for each style.

Ashford Rigid Heddle Looms

  • SampleIt Looms in two widths:  10” & 16”. ($146-$180). The 16” SampleIt has double heddle holders.
Sampleit Rigid Heddle Loom 16
  • Knitters Loom in three widths:  12”, 20”, & 28”. ($280-$333)
Knitters Loom
  • Rigid Heddle Tabby Looms in four widths:  16”, 24”, 32”, & 48”. ($196-$399)
Ashford Rigid Heddle 24

Schacht Rigid Heddle Looms

  • Cricket looms in two widths:  10” & 15” unfinished and very portable ($180-$199)
Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom 15
  • Flip the finished foldable looms in four widths:  15”, 20”, 25”, and 30″ ($290-$389) — double heddle capability.
flip rigid heddle 20

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a rigid heddle loom work?

Weaving is weaving a strand (weft) of yarn, thread, or fiber over and under strands (warp) of similar yarn, thread, or fiber. A rigid heddle helps speed up this process. The rigid heddle is a series of bars set vertically into a frame. Each bar has a hole. The spaces between the bars are called slots. The warp yarns are threaded alternately through the holes and slots. The weaver lifts the heddle, thereby raising the warp threads in the holes, and throws the shuttle through the opening called a shed. Then, the weaver pushes the heddle down, causing the warps in the holes to sink below the warps in the slots. The weaver uses the rigid heddle to beat the weft into alignment after each pass of the weft.

What does Dent mean?

Sett refers to the number of warp yarns or threads per inch in the heddle. Dent tells you how many slots and holes per inch are in a rigid heddle to achieve the sett your project needs. Most reference books contain charts that help you decide what dent you need. A worsted-weight yarn used for plain weave is sett at eight ends per inch, so you need an 8-dent heddle. It is nice to have a variety of different dent rigid heddles.

What size loom should I get?

What do you think you are going to be weaving? If all you plan to create are scarves and narrow-width items, then a 16″ wide or smaller is adequate. Remember, you can always weave narrow items on a larger loom. If your budget permits, I recommend a 25″ width.

You might want to read my Buyer’s Guide to Rigid Heddle Looms.

What are the best reference books for rigid heddle weaving?

Read my post  7 Rigid Heddle Weaving Books You Need in Your Reference Library for a list of my favorites.

Where can I shop for a loom?

The Woolery has both online and brick-and-mortar shopping. Located in Frankfurt, Kentucky, they are a family-owned business.

Gist Yarn offers a vast collection of rigid heddle looms, instructional resources, patterns, and yarn.

If you are an Amazon shopper, Amazon has many rigid heddle looms.

If you still aren’t sure you want a rigid heddle loom, you should read “Which Type of  Loom is Right for You?“. There are many loom options.

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10 thoughts on “Rigid Heddle Loom Comparison-Ashford and Schacht”

  1. Thank you so much for the clear and helpful information! I just purchased an Ashford SampleIt – have done 1 test project and I’m completely hooked. And now, I’m already looking for what’s next 🙂 Thanks again for the comparison and labels for each part and especially sharing your knowledge. Kind regards!

    1. May I jump in with a question here? I have just put together my floor stand and have screwed in my Flip rigid heddle loom onto it. My first project using the stand is to do a sample to learn the herringbone pattern and hemstitching the warp ends. My question is with shedding. It’s clear where to place the heddle for the up shed (in the shallow notch in the heddle block), but where is the lower shed placed? My instruction leaflet that came with the loom says to place the heddle under the heddle block. That works fine when my loom is unattached to the stand, fastened to a table top and the heddle in the lower position is supported by the table surface. However in the stand, the heddle just dangles in mid-air. Am I missing something? Help please!

      1. You cannot have your loom at an extreme angle on the stand. You should be able to push down and back under the heddle block. There is nothing there to hold the heddle. It is held by tension. Your warp has to be sufficiently tensioned to hold the heddle in place. You want your warp snug but not tight.

        Hope this helps.

        1. Thank you! As I was weaving more this morning I found that having more tension and a snug warp helps. Your response to my question provides confirmation.

  2. I have taken my first class in weaving and loved it. I am looking to purchase a loom. I learned on an Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom 24 inch. My question is can you buy a floor stand for the Schacht Rigid Heddle Loom?

  3. I don’t know much about weaving and looms but I am a crafter and have total respect for those that sew, knit, weave, embroider, etc. You did a fabulous job sharing about this particular loom and why you like it, the pictures are very helpful. Thanks for sharing!

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