When making the decision to buy a spinning wheel, expense is often a factor. Bare in mind that the most expensive wheel may not be the best wheel for your purposes. First decide what type of yarn you want to spin, bulky or thin. Therefore, it is important to understand the wheel-to-flyer ratio of a wheel in order to know what type of yarn it will spin. A wheel with a ratio for spinning medium to bulky yarns will not spin fast enough to make a thin yarn of fine fiber.
The wheel you select should be in good working order. All of the parts should move smoothly. If you are buying a used wheel make sure all of the essential parts are there. It could be costly if you need to replace a flyer, for instance. But replacing a drive band or flyer hooks will be easy to do.
Spinning wheels are made with one or two treadles. Double treadle wheels are easier for beginners to learn on, plus they put less stress on the body. The movement of treadling a double treadle wheel is similar to pedaling a bicycle.
If you live in a small environment, an upright wheel will take up less space than a Saxony style wheel. The upright or castle style wheels are also easier to transport in a car if you plan to do a lot of traveling with your wheel. You may also want to consider a fold-up wheel for traveling.
Most spinning wheel models have upgrade kits and different flyer sizes, so if, for instance, you buy a medium speed wheel and decide later you want to spin finer yarns, you can purchase and replace the flyer with a higher speed flyer, bobbins, and whorls. Or, if you want to later spin bulky yarns you can purchase a jumbo flyer with jumbo bobbins.
If you live near a shop or guild that will let you test a wheel before buying it, try out several models of wheels. Some shops will even let you rent a wheel for a week or two.
If possible get the advice of other experienced handspinners.
Recommended spinning wheels (brands) for beginners:
Good places to find used spinning wheels:
* Flea Markets
* Antique and used goods stores
* Estate sales/auctions