Just from the size of the case and contents, ChiaoGoo Twist’s compactness makes it much more portable, easier to organize and get to the needles, and just generally feels higher in quality.
Both sets come with needle stoppers and cable keys but ChiaoGoo’s comes with fun stitch markers, a needle gauge and tiny connectors to string multiple cables together for larger projects (KnitPicks sells these separately). I guess for more than double the price of the KnitPicks, these ChiaoGoo extras shouldn’t be considered extras though they also provide 2 extra cables and 3 extra needle sizes (sizes 4, 13 and 15 aren’t included with the KnitPicks needles).
But the main reasons I’m ready to designate the KnitPicks as my backup needles are:
1) needle finish (the slightly matte-r finish on the ChiaoGoo needles (on the right) provides just a bit more grip so yarns don’t slip as easily off the needles). I also love the way the subtle texture on the needles feel while I knit—like the rub of two well-worn sea stones against each other.
And 2) the cable joins are of much better quality. The KnitPicks cables (on the left) have come apart on me, if not all the way then enough to bother me, on almost all my cables (you can see the slight gap at the base of the metal where the plastic cable has come out slightly—this causes the yarn to catch causing undue aggravation). KnitPicks has been great about sending replacement cables but after the third or fourth time, I stopped bothering.
At more than double the price, is the ChiaoGoo Twist set worth it? That depends—I knew I’d be knitting for the rest of my life and if these needles had been available when I bought KnitPicks, I totally would’ve bought up. But if I was a beginner just getting my feet wet and was unsure if I’d be sticking with it, I’d still buy the KnitPicks, especially if cost is an issue. Maybe they’ve fixed their weak cable join problem but at the very least their customer service would provide replacement cables (if you bothered to ask). In either case, you’re getting a good solid set of needles that would conveniently cover a range of projects.