Handloom VS Powerloom – Artless

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Handloom VS Powerloom

Clothes are one of the basic necessities in human life. We need clothes not only to keep up socially, but also to protect us from the extreme weather conditions. But have you ever wonder what goes behind in the process of making clothes? How come a raw material turns into a fabric and then into a clothing piece? It is where two of the prominent types of loom i.e. Handloom and Powerloom come handy. As it is because of them that any cloth piece is weaved into a beautiful Saree, Salwar-Kameez, Dresses, etc. If compared, both of the looms have their own pros and cons. But which one excels in creating quality clothing? Let’s discuss.

What is Handloom?

Handloom is a wooden weaving frame that is operated manually, without the use of electricity, to weave fabric. This tool is used by the handicraftsmen to furnish different types of fabrics. Handlooms come in different types like the traditional ones used by the tribal people and a modernized version which is used to weave different styles of weaving. There is a huge demand of the handloom weavers since 19th century since a few forms of weaving can only be done by these special craftsmen. Every fibre has a different kind of handloom, using which the fabric is further transformed into the final product. There are also handlooms with jacquards that are used to do stylish weaving.


                                         Credits: Textile Learner

What is Powerloom?

A power loom is driven by electricity and is also used to weave clothes. It is mechanical and nature and need not any manual labour. It’s in 1850’s that power loom industry became popular since there was a rise in the demand of cotton but no other means to produce it. Since power looms are mechanically powered, they were preferred over handloom since they work 10 times quickly and efficiently which leads to bulk production. But one of the drawbacks of the power loom is that is can only weave one of a kind of designs and patterns.


                                         Credits: Fibre2Fashion

Difference between Handloom and Powerloom

There is a huge difference between hand loom and power loom since even though both of the tools are used for weaving patterns, yet they function in separate manner. Here are a few distinctions:-

1. Operations

The handloom operates manually and needs a trained craftsman to operate it. It doesn’t run on electricity but on the power of manual labour. It uses mechanical energy in order for a fabric to get woven and come into its final form. Two peddle sets are present for the weaver to operate.

On the other hand, power loom uses electric energy to weave and requires one time operation. Once a power loom is started, it works on its own and you get the results.

2. Efficiency

 It is obvious that there is a huge difference between the efficiency of a hand loom and a power loom. While the hand loom are manual driven, the power looms are driven by steam engine and are more effective and faster.

On the other hand, hand loom are made of wooden frame and needs special attention in order to weave different patterns. The materials and skills of the weaver decides the output so it is less effective and a bit of slow process.

3. Variety

One of the huge differences between a hand loom and power loom is that, since the work in hand loom is done manually so you can easily alter the designs and patterns as per your choice. This helps in creating magical and new weaving patterns that helps the craftsmen explore new styles and designs.

This is one of the major drawbacks that you face in power loom. In power loom, you can only create the replica of one particular design and cannot change it. Once the weaving design is set, it will take out the same pattern out and you cannot alter the design.

4. Features

The features of both hand loom and power loom are different but also similar at the same time. Both of them use a small device called shuttle to insert yarn for weaving. As for warp threads it differs since you need to raise and lower the threads by manual shedding and that requires warp shed.

Power looms are modern looms and are expensive in nature in comparison to handloom. But one time investment leads to generation of the production at higher speed and in bulk.

Summary of Handloom Verses Powerloom

Though both the hand loom and power loom are used for weaving, fundamentally they are poles apart in terms of operation and production. Both have their own pros and cons. While hand looms need skilled human hands, on the other hand power looms require electric power and liquidity since they are expensive to afford. But with the introduction of power looms, hand loom industry is dying out day by day.