Acrylic Yarn Vs Wool – Full Comparison of Advantages and Disadvantages

Different varieties of yarns are available in the market nowadays for crocheting and knitting. Depending on your purpose, you should select the most suitable yarn. Acrylic and Wool yarn are popular types of yarn having wonderful and rich hues.

But what is the difference between the two? The main difference between them is their origin.

Origin of Acrylic Yarn and Wool

Acrylic is a petroleum-based synthetic artificial (human-made) material, whereas wool is natural and protein fiber obtained from the fleece of sheep and other animals. Wool is highly textured, warm, moisture-wicking, acrylic, durable, versatile, and easy to maintain. 

What Are Acrylic Yarn And Wool Good For?

Every material is helpful in different ways to result in practical products. Both wool and acrylic yarn is suitable for various purposes. Warm and robust acrylic fiber is primarily beneficial for the following:

  • Tracksuits
  • Sweaters
  • Linings like gloves and boots
  • Furnishing fabrics 
  • Carpets

This list goes could go on.

It is manufactured as a filament, cut into a short staple length similar to wool hairs, and spun into yarn. Whereas wool is a natural, high-performance fabric that is good for your body and skin naturally. It is helpful for the following: 

  • Duffel-coat
  • Sweaters
  • Scarves
  • Gloves
  • Skirts

And again – many more. Wool wears are relaxing and comfortable, which are also popular as water-resistant. Therefore with different purposes, they differ in their qualities and features too. Acrylic yarn and wool have pros as well as cons.

Read  Variegated Vs Self Striping Yarn - Full Comparison

Pros of Acrylic Yarn

Acrylic yarn is scratchy, stiff, and generally inferior to wool, yet it is high quality. Today, acrylic fibers are softer compared to earlier years.

Check out some of the features of acrylic yarn.

Easy To Maintain And Durable

As we all know, handmade items are hard to survive when you have kids and pets at home. Thus, acrylic yarn is preferable due to its durability, machine-washability, and varied colors availability. These reasons make it the best alternative for busy moms or others.

Keep You Away From Allergies

Some people face allergies to wool crochets, but today you probably have an acrylic yarn as an alternative. If you are sure about wool allergy, it is good to ignore wool and adapt acrylic. In such cases, acrylic is a good go option, particularly for crocheting, along with its high durability.


Crocheting seems like an expensive hobby, and there are times when you look for low cost, especially when you are learning or teaching a new skill. When cost is your priority, Acrylic yarn is affordable and prevents you from getting at risk of damage by kids or pets. 

Cons Of Acrylic Yarn

Acrylic yarn is the perfect option in many talks, but it also has some cons you need to know. 

Plastic Burnt Smell

The first disadvantage is that acrylic fabric melts when you hold it over a flame resulting in a smell of plastic burning.

Quality Decreases With Cost

Cost is the priority, but you will find the more you invest, the higher the quality when it comes to the acrylic yarn. 

Read  Why Is It So Hard To Find A Book About Knitting For A True Beginner?

Pros of Wool Yarn

Wool is natural as well renewable material where the process of animal shearing gives us this sustainable fabric.

Wool welcomes many benefits other than being genuine and renewable.


Wool wear is reusable that results in a brand new item in place of an already existing product. You can make a new design of coat in place of old ones.

Wool Is Warm

Wool helps manufacture blankets, carpets, and knitwear. It is a remarkable and suitable material that keeps you warm in cool climates. Natural wool provides warmth which other natural fabrics do not offer.


As earlier discussed, wool is a renewable and natural resource where its manufacturing process does not harm the environment. Different dye colors are available in wool, keeping the environment in mind, so it is an eco-friendly option.

Cons of Wool Yarn

The main disadvantage is animal rights. Animal shearing seems upsetting that people do not care about animals, and much of the time, they invest in buying animal products. 

Hence these are some of the pros and cons of wool and acrylic. There are some differences between both – 

Overview of Advantages and Disadvantages of Acrylic Yarn and Wool

  • Wool has the origin from animals, and Acrylic yarn comes from the chemical blend. 
  • Wool is natural fibers, whereas Acrylic yarn is artificial fibers.
  • Both are useful for sweaters, gloves and so on. 
  • Both acrylic yarn and wool yarn keeps you warm.
  • Wool seems challenging to blend with other fabrics, while Acrylic yarn is easy to combine with other materials.
  • Acrylic fiber is easy to maintain, whereas wool needs additional care.
  • Woolen fabric can shrink a lot when you wash it, while Acrylic fabric shrinks when the heat is on.
  • People usually are allergic to wool, but it is rarely seen people having an allergy to acrylic.
  • Wool is heat and flame resistant, and acrylic catches flame quickly and burn.
  • Wool is soft but appears itchy and not smooth, and acrylic is rough and scratchy with smoothness and soft touch.
  • Acrylic is affordable, and on the other hand, wool can be expensive.
Read  The Best Glue For Yarn Projects (Our Top 3 Choices!)

So it is hard to say which one is better because both come with benefits and limitations. It depends on you and your purpose which one to prefer.

How To Tell If The Yarn Is Acrylic Or Wool?

Both wool yarn and acrylic yarn look similar to each other. The perfect method for identifying all fabrics is to take off a little string and go for a burn test.

Burning test is always an accurate way to tell if the yarn is acrylic or wool because acrylic yarn will melt smelling like burnt plastic while wool smells like burning hair.

Another sure shot way to tell the difference is their price. Acrylic is cheaper than wool, and when you wash the yarn, you will see wool shrink easily, whereas acrylic needs heat to shrink.

If you want to know how to tell if the yarn is acrylic or wool, the best way is by using a burn test. Acrylic will melt and smell like burnt plastic while wool smells like burning hair. If you are looking for affordable material that’s easy to maintain, consider acrylic.

However, if you’re seeking natural fibers with more benefits than just warmth-wool may be your better option! Both materials have their pros and cons so it all depends on which one suits your needs best.

We hope this article has helped clarify any questions about these two products as well as shed some light on what makes each of them different from the other in terms of price, use cases, advantages/disadvantages etc., allowing you to make an informed decision next time you are shopping for yarn.