Necessary for etching, trimming, cutting, incising, scoring, and piercing clay, a needle tool is a must-have for any ceramicist—professional or recreational, beginner or advanced. Needle tools come in many forms. If you want to reduce hand strain, look for a product with a rubber grip, or if you want a more traditional model, go with an all-steel option or a tool with a wooden handle. Let us help you make a good choice: Browse our roundup of the best needle tools below.
1. Kemper Pro Needle
Featuring a satisfyingly pointy needle firmly set in an aluminum handle, this tool is durable to withstand many years of piercing, cutting and lifting clay, including heavier strips. The handle is textured to provide a slip-free grip—especially important when your hands are wet—and the needle point, measuring about 1.5mm in diameter, is burr-free so you can make fine and precise holes. The tool measures 6⅛ inches from tip to base, a length that feels good in the hand and makes the needle easy to maneuver.
2. Art Advantage Heavy-Duty Needle
This high-quality tool has a 2-inch-long needle set into a smooth wooden handle. Some artists might prefer the feel of wood over metal: Aside from looking more rustic and traditional, wood is also warmer and sits more softly in the hand. This handle is quite thick, which provides a steady grip for demanding tasks, and the needle is firmly anchored to the dark wood core. The sharp tip is ideal for fine-point detail work.
3. Xiem Retractable Scoring Tool
A common duty of needle tools: scoring clay pieces to prepare them for being joined together. While a single-point needle can do the job perfectly well, a scoring tool can save some time while creating more consistent marks. This one features six retractable needles set in a straight line. The tines are uniformly manufactured, very sharp, and securely embedded in the plastic case, which doubles as a holder.
4. Evwoge Stainless Steel Needles
Made of stainless steel, this needle is lightweight, durable, and comfortable to hold. Unlike traditional needles for ceramics, it has no distinct handle but rather is a single piece of metal with one rounded, blunt end and one fine point. It’s a particularly good option for beginners or young artists, as the structure can tolerate a lot of pressure. Notably, clay also doesn’t stick to its smooth surface. The needle comes with a plastic cover to prevent accidental pricks and is sold in a pair, making it economical as well as functional.
5. Xiem Studio Needle Tool
This tool features a rubber-covered shaft that provides a slightly cushioned, extremely comfortable hold. Its needle is smoothly tapered along nearly its entire length, which allows you to poke holes of different sizes. And it’s very sharp, so you can cut clay with surgical precision. Because the tool is made from a solid piece of surgical steel, the point won’t become loose over time or snap off under pressure. Also nice: the faceted handle, which ensures that the tool won’t roll off your workbench.