World’s #1 Catholic Store
Catholic Company
Free Shipping on 75
terms and conditions

The Technical Side of Choosing the Right Rosary

Oct 01, 2017 By Gretchen Filz

Give me a rosary, any rosary will do!

Is this how you feel when you're faced with many different rosary styles? Or are you a bit more particular about choosing just the right one?

If you've ever been perplexed about choosing a rosary, you may have noticed that finding the right rosary will increase the likelihood of it actually being used for prayer, however silly that may sound. Being conscientious about choosing the look and feel that will be attractive to the user (whether for yourself, or as a gift for someone else) is a great way to ensure that the rosary will serve as a call to prayer instead of getting lost in a drawer.

1) Long rosary or short rosary?

The length of a rosary may matter to you. Typically, rosaries that have larger beads have a longer length, and smaller beads have a shorter length. Also, rosaries with chain links tend to be longer than corded rosaries. The shorter rosaries may be a little more difficult to count the prayers (that is, your fingers may have a harder time moving over the beads), however the shorter length makes them much easier to tuck into pockets and other small spaces. With longer rosaries you can pray without having to look down to make sure you don't skip a bead; however, the longer ones (especially those with links between the beads) also tend to tangle more easily. If choosing a longer rosary, you may want to keep it in a rosary pouch or box to keep it from getting tangled.


2) Smooth rosary beads or faceted beads?

Smooth rosary beads run through the fingers easily and feel nice, while faceted jewelry-like beads are much more beautiful. The multifaceted cut reflects the light in sparkly shades of color, especially when each bead resembles a precious stone, such as with birthstone rosaries. Although these jewelry-like beads are stunning, they don't glide through the fingers as easily as beads with a smooth surface. So, do you choose a rosary that your hands like, or that your eyes like? That's up to you!

3) Basic or fancy rosary?

Some rosaries are very plain and basic, and these are always safe bets for giving to new Catholics (the more elaborate or decorative rosaries may be a little too much for them), for children, or for giving out in multiples (to bible study groups, etc). Plain rosaries typically have round beads strung on a thin cord rope, and are usually very inexpensive.  Plastic rosaries also fall into this category and are good for giving to groups or to children.  However, will the plain, inexpensive rosaries be an encouragement to pray the rosary daily? Or, is a nicely-crafted rosary more likely to do the trick? If you admit that having a beautiful rosary that you absolutely love will encourage you to use it more, then you have your answer!


4) Regular or special devotion rosary?

If you have a particular saint or devotion that is special to you, you may want to consider special devotion rosaries that usually have a centerpiece and/or bead color associated with that devotion.  For example, the Divine Mercy rosary has a centerpiece of the Divine Mercy image of Jesus, and the beads have red and white swirls that are symbolic of the red and white rays that shine from Jesus’ Sacred Heart in the famous Divine Mercy image.  Other examples of special devotion rosaries feature Our Lady of Guadalupe or the St. Benedict medal.  If you have a special devotion, you may want to consider a rosary associated with it to help you remember that particular intention each time you pray the rosary.


5) Child or adult rosary? Man or woman?

When you're choosing a rosary as a gift, be sure to choose one that takes into account who you're giving it to. If you're giving a rosary to a man, don't choose a fancy one with jewelry-like beads. Choose a men's rosary, usually with larger-sized brown or black beads. The larger beads are better for a man's large hands to manage, and the earth-tone colors are more masculine. If you're giving a rosary to a child, choose a children's rosary that is fun and colorful with smaller beads. Baby rosaries have bright, oversized beads ideal for a baby's hands to grasp easily.  If you're choosing a rosary for a mature woman, you might want to choose a beautiful, classic rosary with an ornate crucifix and centerpiece and elaborate beads. These kinds of feminine rosaries are simply stunning and become treasured heirlooms for the family.  Also, many gift rosaries can be engraved with a personalized name to make it a special keepsake.


As a rosary connoisseur (I have way too many) I've noticed that I prefer the look and style of some rosaries over others. These not only remind me to pray, but they also make me want  to pick them up and pray the rosary each time I see them—whether they're in my car or on my bedside table. So, be sure to choose a rosary that you love (for whatever reason) in order to give yourself the best chance of praying the rosary daily, as Our Lady asked us to. The same goes for those to whom you may be gifting a rosary. If you put some thought into your choice, you may increase the likelihood of it being used regularly. When in doubt, ask your Guardian Angel for help in choosing the right one!

This article has been updated and was originally published in October 2012. © The Catholic Company


Melody Wilson
Melody Wilson says
Dec 29 2018 7:44AM
I am not babtized but I go to church every Sunday and Saturday read my rosary everyday how long does it take to be baptised
Hi Melody, it is very important to receive baptism to become a member of the Body of Christ (the Church)! We encourage you to talk to your local Catholic priest and inquire about receiving baptism through joining the RCIA process. This is a program where you learn the teachings of the Catholic Church as a preparation for receiving the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion.
Henry says
Aug 14 2018 3:39PM
I don’t really have a comment as much of question. I’m in the process of making my own rosary and possibly more for family members. When looking for the Crucifix and Center pieces, there is always a recommended Crucifix or Center to make the pair, but I might have my eyeing another. Is there a right way or wrong to pair the Crucifix and the Center?

Thanks Henry
Hello Henry - That's one cool part about making your own rosary; you can really pair whichever crucifix and centerpiece inspire and encourage your prayer! :) For example, a monk made me a rosary as a thank you and asked what my favorite devotions are. He he ended up pairing a St. Benedict crucifix with a Sacred Heart centerpiece and even added an extra tiny charm with the Eucharist! I absolutely love it and it motivates me to pray the rosary often. Good luck and God bless!
Elise says
Aug 2 2018 12:09AM
I am in the process of becoming a catholic easter next year. Am I allowed to buy myself a rosary to use to prey with or is it looked upon as I’m not a catholic as of yet?
Hello Elise! Welcome! We're so happy to have you :) You may certainly pray the rosary now! In fact, it is a wonderful preparation, to ask Mary to lead you to Her Son by reflecting on the events of His life. God bless.
Benedict Odigo
Benedict Odigo says
Jul 19 2018 4:19AM
I have a Rosary that has "medal" with inscriptions in Latin. I need interpretation.

Kindly help.

Will scanned copy if I have your email id.

Warmest regards.
Hello! You can contact us at
Vicky says
Apr 7 2018 1:31PM
-giving a very nice rosary is a great gesture because people don't generally feel comfortable spending on themselves

-if you feel the urge to gift a rosary, do it! I wish someone had given me one sooner.
Lori says
Apr 7 2018 11:14AM
I have a question you may be able to answer . My boyfriend is very religious . Not Catholic but he is Christain ( he is originally from Iraq) I am not overally religious. He lost A few of his rosaries( 3- in a car fire) . I was thinking of getting him one ( he has a birthday coming up) anyway I'm unsure about getting one. ( type? / is it too personal ?)
Hi Lori! If you know he had rosaries before and have any inkling that he's missing those beautiful prayer pieces, then a rosary would definitely be something special to get him! Here are a few ideas for types:
Sarah Anderson
Sarah Anderson says
Feb 28 2018 4:42AM
I think what you are doing is amazing
Sarah Anderson
Sarah Anderson says
Feb 28 2018 4:41AM
I love this!
May God bless.
P. Kitchen
P. Kitchen says
Oct 3 2017 7:22PM
My fingers like the feel of a smooth bead and my favorite Rosary is an inexpensive one with smooth heart shapes. It is light weight and easy to hold. I sleep with it in my hand.
Stacie Lynn
Stacie Lynn says
Aug 11 2017 3:17PM
I need advice. I bought a beautiful rosary on ebay. However, the pearl-like beads are so large and it's so heavy in my hand that I'm actually disappointed. I'm likely to return to my grandmothers tarnished chain with the peeling faux pearls. The new rosary is incredibly beautiful, but I'm so disappointed because it's not comfortable to hold. Is this odd?
Hi Stacie, rosaries come in a very wide variety of styles, and it is important that you have one that helps you to move through the prayers without being distracted by the beads or how it is assembled. You might need to shop around for the right one that is comfortable for you to use.
Am I going to be made fun for wearing a smaller gold rosary as a male?
Hello! If you would like to wear Catholic jewelry, you can choose a crucifix or a patron saint medal; rosaries are a prayer tool, and not meant to be worn. However, in some cultures it is common to wear rosaries (such as Latino and Filipino cultures).
John says
Feb 14 2016 4:07PM
Thank you for this simple, yet detailed, description of various rosary sets. I'm not Catholic, but I have a family with Catholic backgrounds and some are still Catholic.

I make jewelry using chainmail weaves and precious metals/stones as the backbone of my craft... Several of my Catholic family members have asked me to make rosaries for them and to sell.

Your explanation of the various rosaries is what I needed - I was confused about "men's" vs " woman's " as well as the size and medal to use.

Now you have answered my questions. Thanks again!
Gloria Brady Hoffner
Gloria Brady Hoffner says
Dec 3 2014 10:51PM
A wonderful rosary for converts to the Catholic Faith is the R.C.I.A ROSARY, (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). It is a 5 decade rosary. The Our Father beads are shells to represent Baptism, the centerpiece is a chalice, representing First Holy Communion, and the cross has a dove (symbol for the Holy Spirit) representing Confirmation. This rosary is pictured and described in "The Rosary Collector's Guide" book. Gloria Brady Hoffner
Helen Hoffner
Helen Hoffner says
Nov 1 2014 8:55PM
When my mother and I were researching our book, The Rosary Collector's Guide, we were fascinated to learn about and photograph the many variations of the rosary that are approved by the Catholic Church. We were able to include 240 color photographs of rosaries in our book.
michelle says
Dec 10 2013 6:27PM
I'm going through adult catitism and with be baptized Saturday before easter in my husband church, I'm jewish and alway hhahad the faith in the lord , and we been married for eleven years and we had a church blessing Sunday on anversery and in may we planed to renew our vows with a full catholic mass in may. I'm looking for a special rosary for me that represents my faith as being a jewidh faith and also being baptized and becoming catholic to , so. My rosary which of all symbols of catholic church is very important to me in my journey and my strengthing of my faith. And I'm looking for help in the creation. I want to use cultural pearls but the other symbols the cross and the other symbol that completes the rosary is is also very important tobe with with me 24 7 days with me, mathew that is now read in church, was told that the reading is very close to torah and I'm wondering if that saint should be included in the rosary , because I come fromjewish faith. Lovehelp from all,

Thank you

Hello Michelle, yes you can use any saint in your rosary as the centerpieces. You just have to make sure that the number of beads you are using is correct. Good Luck!
Monica Benninghoff
Monica Benninghoff says
Jun 20 2013 2:10PM
My favorite rosary was given to me by my grandmother when I was 17. It's an inexpensive green plastic rosary, and the beads are starting to chip around the edges. She prayed a rosary faithfully every night before she went to sleep. I learned a few years ago that she gave a rosary to her grandchildren when we showed an interest.
Good article. I come from a family that routinely says "you can never have too many rosaries"! I do have to say, though, that while glass beads are beautiful, I wouldn't say they are MORE beautiful than smooth beads! Stone beads are usually smooth and quite lovely. I make my rosaries with stone beads. You can find a picture or two of them on my website.
I love rosaries, too. I have a beautiful silver and gold rosary that I bought several years ago. I've prayed the rosary at the funerals of several loved ones since that purchase, including funeral services for both of my parents. Although I also have one from Rome, I prefer "my" rosary because it's been such a comfort. I keep one in my vehicle, one near the bed, one in the living room...pretty much everywhere as reminders to pray and to live my life as a prayer.
Carol says
Jun 19 2013 5:12PM
Many years ago, when I had just started working as the parish secretary at my church, I wanted a new rosary. The wise woman at the Catholic store I went to, when I was debating whether to buy the Swarovski crystal rosary that I loved but was very pricey, asked me if my faith/prayer life was worth that much money. Needless to say, I bought that beautiful rosary!
Fran niles
Fran niles says
Jun 19 2013 4:11PM
Beautiful, crystal rosaries; have a vintage that is my favorite so far. I love to pray particular Chaplets. Havent been praying the Rosary lately as where I currently live often seems to be a reaction (you know, paper thin walls). But in my new place, I will again. GOD BLESS you.
Gregory Gonzales
Gregory Gonzales says
Jun 19 2013 2:34PM
I love rosaries , all kinds, I have many... I do have my favorites though.... I especially love the sparkly ones, and while I would like one with smooth beads, all mine have faceted beads, and so I have become used to them, and my fingers glide through the beads easily!!
Lucy Tagle
Lucy Tagle says
Jun 19 2013 2:10PM
I have a special rosary from Rome brought by my friend that went there.

I love rosaries.
Jasmine says
Oct 30 2012 10:53AM
Yes, I love beautiful, sparkling Rosaries. I must say I am a collector of Rosaries. And I am indeed encouraged to pray more using beautiful ones. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Commentary by

Gretchen Filz Gretchen Filz

Gretchen is a Lay Dominican with a passion for fostering an increase in Catholic faith and devotion through content writing and journalism. She works as a digital content writer, creator, and marketer for The Catholic Company. In addition to blogging at, she is also editor of the daily devotional email and author at She holds an M.A. in Christian Apologetics and converted to the Catholic Church in 2011. She is also active in R.C.I.A., pro-life work, and various faith-based web projects.

Read More from Gretchen Filz