Single Drive vs. Double Drive Wheels

Spinning Wheels – Understanding How Single Drive and Double Drive Systems Work

You have seen the phrases: “single drive with Scotch tension set-up” or “double drive set-up”. What do these terms mean? How does it affect your spinning? Which is the better system? Below we will talk about both and give you our opinions of each.

Which is best, or which is best for you? You will forgive us if we do not provide a strong endorsement one way or the other. There are advantages for both systems and trade-offs for each. You will find strong advocates for both systems, with some adamant that one is far superior than the other. Take all of this with a smile on your face, because it is not a case of black and white.

Here are a few of the strong characteristics of each:


Single Drive

  • Easier to understand
  • Two separate adjustments: one for drive band tension, one for take-up
  • Some will say that changing bobbins is easier
  • Fewer parts
  • Single loop of drive band is easier to deal with

View In-Depth Description of the Single Drive Process >>



Double Drive

  •  Single adjustment for tensioning set-upflyerdouble
  • Normally wider, higher ratio ranges
  • Take-up generally more gentle
  • Ability to fine tune the settings
  • Generally spins the finest yarns
  • “Perhaps” better suited to more consistent yarn
  • Most modern double drive wheels allow for use in a single drive set-up, so one wheel can be both a single drive or a double drive wheel

View In-Depth Description of the Double Drive Process >>

Can you make the wrong selection? We don’t think so. A spinner with developed skills should find it easy to use either type of wheel and produce yarn of similar specifications. Further, most wheels are made one way or the other. So if you like a particular wheel for reasons other than the drive set-up, you must accept the wheel as it comes. Even double drive wheels that offer the ability to set-up in a single drive mode are always a double drive wheel by design, meaning the parts for a double drive will always be there.

Most people will have a bias one way or the other. If you are new to spinning, we suggest you not fall victim of a teacher or friend who has strong views on the topic. If you are taking lessons, attempt to use a variety of wheels. Realize though that to get a true test of different wheels they both need to be set-up and adjusted correctly. When you find one that is suited to you, that is a good indicator that you will be happy owning such a wheel.





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