I just did a gauge swatch for my husband's sweater yesterday (Yes. A gauge swatch. Huh.) I noticed when I was knitting it, that the beautiful ebony needles that I had planned to use with it were really not working. I switched to metal needles, pretty metal needles from Signature Needle Arts, and it really took off. Something about this Bartlett wool just doesn't like wooden needles. My brain went "click" and I remembered that that was why I got my Signature Needle Arts needles in the first place, when I was struggling with my Penobcot Bay Pullover in Bartlettyarn. When I switched to metal needles, it was fine; it was fast, in fact.
But I really like wooden and bamboo and glass needles, too. I think every time you start a project, especially one which requires a gauge swatch, you should have a selection of needles at hand. You need to know if the project will knit better on metal or wood or some other matter before you start your project. Your gauge can be very different on the different needles. You might be surprised!
It's a strange thing, this pointed stick we use. One wood is not like another wood; different kinds of metal feel different in your hands, yarn glides differently on it. Points and tapers are not the same. End caps and needles that can glow in the dark can make you really happy for no (knitting) reason at all.
We knit partly because we are individuals. We choose patterns, colors, textures to suit our very personal taste. I think needles are a kind of variable too. So don't be afraid to get another set of needles in the same size you have -- even if they are expensive, because the tools we use should reflect the artists we are, right? What could be better to invest in than needles, which you'll use over and over!
(Image from NeedleGauge)