The highest quality quilting sewing machines for every budget.

Best Quilting Sewing MachineBest Quilting Machines Comparison Chart

Machine Features Other Features Accesories Price
BEST OVERALL



Janome 3160QDC
Read Review
SEWING
- 820 spm*
- 60Stitches
- 6 One-Step Buttonholes
- 7mm Width
- 5mm Length
- Free Arm
- Built-In Needle Threader
- Memorized Needle Up and Down
- Drop Feed
- Hard Cover Included

- 12.6 lbs
- 15" x 8.4" x 6.9"
- Work Space 6.8" x 4.5"
- Included Feet:
Open-Toe Even Feed,
Open-Toe Darning,
Zig-Zag, Overedge,
Zipper “E” Sewing,
Satin Stitch, Blind Hem,
1/4” Seam, Zig-Zag,
Automatic Buttonhole.
$$$


BEST BUDGET


Brother CS6000i
Read Review
- 850 spm*
- 60 Stitches
- 7 One-Step Buttonholes
- 7 mm Stitch Width
- 5 mm Stitch Length
- Free Arm
- Automatic Needle Threader
- Drop-in Top Bobbin
- Twin Needle Function
- Speed Control System
- Start/Stop Button

- 13lbs
- 16" x 6.7" x 11.4"
- Included Feet:
buttonhole, overcasting,
monogramming, zipper,
zigzag, blindstich,
button fitting, walking,
spring action quilting.

- Hard Case
- Extension Table
$$


BEST PORTABLE


Brother HC1850
Read Review
- 850 spm*
- 185 Stitches
- 8 One-Step Buttonholes
- 7mm Width
- 5mm Length
- Free Arm
- Drop-in Top Bobbin
- Needle Threading Function
- Adjustable Sewing Speed

- 14lbs
- 19.2" x 12.5" x 15.2"
- Included Feet:
General Purpose, Zig zag,
Blind Stitch, Zipper,
Quilting, Buttonhole,
Button, Overcasting,
Monogramming.


- Extension table
$$

BEST for CLOTHING


Brother CS5055PRW
Read Review
- 750 spm*
- 50 Stitches
- 5 One-Step Buttonholes
- 5 mm Stitch Width
- 7 mm Stitch Length
- Free Arm
- Drop-in Top Bobbin
- Automatic Needle Threader
- Twin Needle Function
- Free Motion Sewing

- 10.14lbs
- 19.48" x 10.75" x 15.96"
- Included Feet:
General Purpose, zig-zag,
zipper, buttonhole, button,
blind stitch, overcasting,
monogramming.
$


BEST for EMBROIDERY


Janome 9850
Read Review
SEWING
- 1000 spm*
- 200 Stitches
- 6 One-Step Buttonholes
- 9 mm Width
- 5 mm Length

EMBROIDERY
- 800 spm*
- 175 Designs
- 2 Fonts
- 6.7" x 7.9" Area**
- Free Arm
- On-Screen Editing
- Top Loading Full Rotary Hook Bobbin
- Automatic Thread Tension Control
- Memorize Needle Up and Down
- Drop Feed
- Locking Stitch Position
- Twin Needle Guard
- Up to 100 Stitches Memorize Combination
- Last Stitch Recall Capability
- Foot Pressure Adjustment

- Adjustable Speed While Embroidering
- Flexible Stitch Travelling
- Auto Return Post Thread Break
- Adjustable Hook Positioning

- 22.9 lbs
- 18.7" x 12.4" x 8.8"
- Work Space W 8.1" x H 4.7"
- Included Feet:
1/4 Inch Seam, Blind Hem,
Button, Darning, Embroidery,
Overedge, Rolled Hem,
Satin Stitch, Zig-Zag,
Zipper.

- Included Hoops:
170 x 200mm,
140mm x 140mm.
$$$$$$


BEST for MONOGRAMMING


Juki F300
Read Review
- 900 spm*
- 106 Stitches
- 16 Buttonholes
- 7 mm Width
- 5 mm Length
- Free Arm
- Automatic Threader
- Advanced Thread Cutter
- Direct Pattern Selection
- Automatic Tension Settings
- Adjustable Foot Pressure
- Manual Presser Foot Lift
- Low Shank

- 21.6 lbs
- 17.5" x 11.5" x" 8.25
- Included Feet:
Standard Purpose,
Zipper, Overcasting,
Blind Stitch,
Buttonhole,
Manual Buttonhole.

- Hard Case
$$


BEST LARGE THROAT


Juki TL-2010Qi
Read Review
- 1500 spm*
- Straight stitch only
- No Buttonholes
- 6mm Length
- Mid-long Arm
- Adjustable Foot Pressure
- Speed Control Slider
- Auto Thread Trimmer
- Needle Up/Down Control
- Knee Lever Lifter
- Needle Stop Position
- Automatic Needle Threader
- Drop Feed Dogs

- 25.4 lbs
- 17.75" x 9" x 8.5"
- Work Space: Up to 23”
(with extension table)
- Power: 2Amps
- Included Feet:
Standard, Zipper,
Even Feed, ¼ Quilting.

- Hard Case
- Extension Table
$$$$


BEST UNDER $200


Brother CS7000X
Read Review
- 850 spm*
- 70 Stitches
- 7 One-Step Buttonholes
- 7 mm Stitch
Width
- 5 mm Stitch
Length
- Free Arm
- Automatic Needle Threader
- Drop-in Top Bobbin
- Twin Needle Function
- Speed Control System
- Start/Stop button
- Fixed Needle Bar

- 18lbs
- 16" x 6.7" x 11.4"
- Included Feet:
¼” piecing,
spring action quilting,
walking, buttonhole,
overcasting,
monogramming,
zipper, zigzag,
blind stitch, button.

- Hard Case
- Extension Table
$$

BEST UNDER $500


Juki HZL-LB5100
Read Review
- 700 spm*
- 100 Stitches
- 1 One-Step Buttonholes
- 5 mm Stitch Width
- 7 mm Stitch Length
- Free Arm
- Automatic Needle Threader
- Needle Stop position
- Precise Stop

- 12.3lbs
- 16” x 11.75” x 7”
- Included Feet:
Standard Zig-Zag,
Applique / Satin Stitch,
Blind Stitch Presser,
Zipper,
Buttonhole Presser,
Overcasting.
- Hard Case
$$


BEST SINGER


Singer 9960
- 850 spm*
- 600 Stitches
- 13 One-Step Buttonholes
- 7 mm Stitch Width
- Free Arm
- Drop-In Bobbin
- Needle Threader
- Thread Trimmer Button
- Needle Up and Down
- Drop Feed

- 20 lbs
- 17.25" x8.25" x12"
- Included feet:
General Purpose,
Zipper, Buttonhole,
Satin, Blind Hem,
Open Toe, Cording,
Darning/Embroidery,
Even Feed/Walking,
Overcasting,
Button Sewing,
Narrow Hem,
Quarter Inch.

- Extension Table
- Hard Dust Cover
$$

BEST BROTHER


Brother PQ1500SL
- 1500 spm*
- 7mm Stitch Width
- 5mm Stitch Length
- Automatic Needle Threader
- Automatic Thread Cutter
- Built-in Knee Lifter
- Drop-in Top Bobbin
- Longarm Quilting Machine
- Precision pin feeding system
- Automatic Thread Trimmer

- 29.76 lbs
- 7.9" x 12.6" x 19.3"
- Included Feet:
General Purpose, 1/4 inch,
Concealed Fastener,
Flex Reaction, Walking Foot,
Quilting, Zipper.

- Wide Table Extension
- Hard Protective Case
$$$


BEST BABY LOCK


Baby Lock Jazz II
- 1000 spm*
- 28 Stitches
- 1 One-Step Buttonholes
- 7 mm Stitch Width
- 4 mm Stitch Length
- Free arm
- Knee Lift
- 12" Creative Space
- Reverse Lever
- Twin needle capabilities
- Programmable Needle
Up/Down Button
- Needle Stop Position
Button
- Built-in Needle Threader
- Manual Thread tension
- Hands-free Presser Foot
- Drop feed for free-motion
- Heavy-duty metal casting

- 27.5 lbs
- 12.2" x 25.2" x 9.45"
- Included Feet:
Buttonhole,
Overcasting, Open Toe
Zipper, Straight Stitch,
Darning/Free-Motion,
1/4" Quilting,
General Purpose/Zig Zag,
Blind Hem

- Dust Cover
$$$

BEST JANOME


Janome 8200QCP
- 1000 spm*
- 170 Stitches + 3 Fonts
- 10 One-Step Buttonholes
- 9 mm Stitch Width
- 5 mm Stitch Length
- Auto tension system
- Built-in needle threader
- Memorized needle up/down
- Start/Stop button
- Speed control slider
- Locking stitch button
- Automatic thread cutter
- Twin needle guard
- Extra high presser foot lift
- Full rotary hook bobbin
- Adjustable knee lift
- Up to 50 Stitch Combination

- 26.5 lbs
- 20.4" x 12.4" x 9.1"
Work Space 11" x 4.7"
- Included Feet:
1/4" Seam, Darning,
Feed Holder with AD,
Blind Hem, Button,
Free Motion Closed Toe,
Free Motion Open Toe,
Free Motion Zig-Zag,
Open Toe Satin Stitch,
Overedge, Rolled Hem,
Satin Stitch, Zipper.

- Dust Cover
$$$$$


BEST JUKI


Juki HZL-F600
- 900 spm*
- 225 Stitches
- 16 Buttonholes
- 7mm Width
- 5mm Length
- Free Arm
- On-Screen Editing
- Manual Presser Foot Lift
- Knee Lift Lever

- 21.6 lbs
- 17.5" x 11.5" x 8.25"
- Included Feet:
Standard Purpose,
Walking Foot, Quilt,
Open Toe, Patchwork,
Edge Sewing, Smooth,
Buttonhole, Zipper,
Manual Buttonhole,
Overcasting, Blind Stitch.

- Hard Case
- Extension Wide Table
$$$$$


*Speed Per Minute: referring to the number of stitches a machine can perform in a minute.

Quilting Sewing Machines: A Buyer’s Guide

There are many types of sewing machines out in the world suitable for a wide range of projects.

Each type of machine has benefits and drawbacks depending on what you need it for, and sewing machines for quilting are no exception since quilting requires a few additional features in a sewing machine that aren’t always needed for regular sewing projects.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a sewing machine specifically for quilting. With a little thought and research, the right machine can make your quilting projects go more smoothly.

1. Basic Features to Look For in a Quilting Machine

Flat Sewing Surface and Extended Table Space

If you’ve ever done any machine quilting, you know that it’s nice to have a big space to keep your work flat under your needle.

Some domestic sewing machines have a narrow free arm base that is great if you need to sew sleeve hems, but not as useful for quilting something that you need to lie as flat as possible while you stitch. For this reason, it’s almost imperative to look for a sewing machine that has a nice wide flat sewing surface.

If you also need your machine to do double-duty and be a free arm sometimes, there are some models that can convert back and forth easily with a wider space that slides in and out around the narrower free arm. An even more helpful feature to achieve this large flat surface are sewing machines that have extended table space.

A table extension can add even more width to the sewing surface of your machine to really provide a nice workspace to keep your project flat. This is especially useful for larger projects or free motion quilting.

Throat Space

It’s an odd-sounding name, but throat space – or throat length – refers to the space between the needle and the side of the sewing machine to the right of the needle.

When quilting, your project can usually just hang out freely to the left side of the needle, as much as your workspace allows, but on the right side, the rest of the machine is there creating a bit of a narrow tunnel that your project has to squeeze through. It’s helpful to have a larger throat length to accommodate the right side of your project with as little rolling up or scrunching as possible while you’re working on it.

There is a wide range of different lengths to choose from, and often sewing machines that are sold specifically as quilting machines will have longer ones.

Long Arm Machines

Speaking of throat space, if you want to get really serious with a quilting machine that may not do a lot else, a long arm machine is something to look into. These sewing machines have oodles of throat space – up to 26″ on some models! For this reason, they do take up quite a bit of space in your work area.

Some models even have handles to grasp and wheels on the bottom so that you can mount your project in a quilting frame and move the machine around to do the quilting, rather than moving your project around as you would on a static machine. These machine heads can weigh anywhere from 20-50 pounds to move around, however, which can require a bit of strength if you’re working on a big project.

In addition, if you need to use your sewing machine for things other than quilting, a long arm machine is probably not your best option. They are meant for quilting and don’t have a lot of the bells and whistles of a regular sewing machine. However, if you have a sewing machine for your other needs and need to make the leap to something just for serious quilting, long arm sewing machines are definitely worth looking into.

Needle or Presser Foot Clearance

When you’re sewing something thick with a lot of layers, something to consider is the clearance space available when you lift the presser foot. The space you might need to slide two layers of cotton under your needle for piecing is going to be a lot less than the amount of space you will require for your quilt top, batting, and backing fabrics all sandwiched together.

Different machines have different clearance heights, and some of them are adjustable. Make sure that there is enough space when you lift up your presser foot to easily slide your quilting projects underneath.

Lots of Light

Quilting takes a lot of precision. While you may be able to stitch a regular straight seam on a sewing machine with inadequate light, trying to quilt an intricate pattern without proper light is going to be much more frustrating.

While there are supplemental lights that you can buy to add to your workspace – or even attach onto a machine with magnets -, a good light source, to begin with, is always a plus, especially for fine work like quilting.

Machine’s Weight

While sometimes it’s nice to have a lightweight sewing machine that can be moved around easily, this is not always the case for a quilting machine. Think of the weight of a larger quilting project hanging off the left side of a sewing machine while you’re quilting it. A lightweight machine with all of that weight to one side could very well tip over to the side entirely!

To make sure you have a safe and secure sewing surface, getting a heavier machine for quilting is a good thing to do.

Some machines can suction to a work table with little suction cups on their feet, and ones with table extensions have extra little feet to help hold that extension up for extra support as well. However, if you start out with a nice sturdy and heavy machine, the chances of a tipping mishap are much less.

Vibration Control

Another comfort and safety issue to consider is vibration in your quilting machine. If you have a sewing machine that tends to rattle around a bit when it’s run quickly or for a long period of time, not only is it jarring to your body and ears, but it can also affect the quality of your work.

In addition, excess vibration can cause pieces to loosen abruptly, which can harm the life of your machine or even your safety – a loose needle falling down while the machine is running quickly can break in the blink of an eye and fly out towards the person operating the machine, for example -.

There are sewing machines on the market that combat these issues with built-in vibration control, or that come with a bed to cut down on vibration. These are not always a necessity – there are other means of doing this yourself with a good sturdy machine. Some people put their sewing machines on pieces of thick felt to help cushion against excessive vibration.

Also, having a very sturdy table can help- if you are trying to sew on a flimsy plastic folding table, your machine is going to jump around every time you wind a bobbin, but a nice strong table will help absorb some of that extra movement and help your quilting to go more smoothly.

It’s worth checking online reviews to see if there are complaints about vibration from owners of a sewing machine you’re thinking about purchasing.

Jump straight to:

1. Basic Features
2. Bells and Whistles
3. Tips before Buying one

2. Some Bells and Whistles your Quilting Machine may have

Automatic Threading

A lot of sewing machines nowadays have an automatic threading feature, which saves you the trouble and potential eyestrain of getting your thread through that tiny tiny needle hole.

If you have eyesight or dexterity issues at all, an automatic threading feature on your sewing machine can be a real timesaver – or just a frustration saver! -.

Automatic Thread Cutters

Some sewing machines have a unique feature that cuts the thread ends for you as you work. This can be useful to keep working through a lot of small seams, such as when you’re piecing, but it also leaves a thread tail behind that you have to trim down later.

Using it for quilting has the same issue, and some people have problems with thread tangles when they use it for quilting, which is also not ideal. And if you choose to tie off your thread ends to lock in your quilting stitches, the tails from the automatic cutter may not be long enough to tie.

Machines that have this feature also have a manual mode, so if you choose a sewing machine with an automatic thread cutter, it might be worthwhile to do a little bit of experimentation and see what works best for your personal work style and the specific quirks of your machine.

Fix Stitch

Another feature on some newer sewing machines is an automatic tiny reverse stitch at the beginning of each seam. This can be super helpful if, like a lot of us, you often forget to lock your stitches in with that backstitch when you start sewing.

However, for quilting in particular, this may not be a great feature to use, depending on the look of the back stitched area. Some quilters feel that the fix stitch feature on their machine ends up looking like an unsightly knot on the bottom of their quilt and like to disable it when quilting.

Again, if your machine has this feature, do a little testing and see if you like the convenience of using it more or the look of not using it.

Adjustable Speed

Depending on what it is that you’re stitching, you may want the extra control of a machine with adjustable speed. If you’re speeding through some very simple piecing, you may want to floor that pedal and channel your inner factory worker. However, if you are trying to quilt an intricate pattern neatly, you may want the extra control of a slower speed.

Having a speed adjustment feature can be more helpful than just trying to go slow on your own with a machine that likes to run away with you. A lot of sewing machines will advertise their “stitches per minute”, but an adjustable one is more important for quilting than a fast one.

Knee Lever

Picture the scene: you’re trying to keep your large quilting project exactly where you need it to be, supporting it with both hands at the end of a run of quilting, and you suddenly realize you need to raise the presser foot to continue, with loads and loads of quilts in both of your hands.

What’s a quilter to do?

A machine with a knee lever – or knee “pedal” – is the perfect answer to your situation! With a knee pedal on your machine, you don’t have to reach back to raise the presser foot – simply move your knee to the side against the lever under your machine table and the presser foot lifts automatically.

A lot of industrial sewing machines have this feature because it saves a lot of time for factory sewers, but it is certainly a very handy feature for a home quilter as well, and quite a few domestic machine models have them now.

Needle Stop Position

Some machines have a feature that will allow you to set the needle to always stop in the Up position or the Down position which can be super helpful when quilting. If you set it in the Down position, you can pivot to change direction much more easily and leave your hands a bit freer to keep them on your work instead of going back and forth to the flywheel to move the needle down after each run of stitching.

Alternatively, if you are doing a lot of piecing quickly, you may want to set it to Up so that you can slide the next bit into place efficiently without having to fiddle with the flywheel.

Free Motion

Unless you are only quilting in straight lines or large curves, you will want the option to convert your machine to accommodate free motion quilting. This basically uses the needle to draw your own design but is virtually impossible to do efficiently if the feed dogs are engaged and grabbing the bottom layer of fabric.

Many sewing machines have retractable feed dogs that can lower down to get them completely out of the way, leaving a smooth surface for the bottom layer of your project to slide around relatively freely.

Some machines even have more fine adjustment options so that you can control the upward pressure of the feed dogs just as you would the downward pressure of the presser foot, for when you want a little pressure from the feed dogs but not a lot.

Stitch Plates

On many standard domestic machines that feature a zig-zag stitch, the stitch plate – or “throat plate” – that comes with them has a little slot for the needle to go into, accommodating the width of a zig-zag stitch should you wish to use it.

However, having that extra width in the hole isn’t always the best thing for a straight stitched quilting project. Instead, a stitch plate with a single hole can keep any extra fabric from trying to sink down below the plate and can give you a little more control.

Obviously, if you want to use a zig-zag or other decorative stitches, you will want to put the wider slotted throat plate back on!

Special Stitches

If you plan on doing any decorative stitches or embroidery on your projects, there are many to choose from out in the world. Some machines have hundreds of different decorative stitches or can be programmed to spell out text in different alphabets.

Some machines also have specific quilting stitches that you may want to have in your arsenal, such as a tie-off stitch or a stay stitch. If you do any appliqué work, you will want a sewing machine that offers a few simple stitches that lend themselves to attaching the appliqué in a decorative way – maybe something a tiny bit fancier than a standard zig zag -.

The choices of specialty stitches can be a bit overwhelming, so unless there’s a particular pattern that you absolutely have to have – or a feature like the text programming if you like to add writing to your pieces -, choice of embroidery stitches may not be the first thing to look at when choosing a machine for quilting.

Embroidery Frames

If you do add a lot of machine embroidery to your quilting, you may want to look for a sewing machine that can accommodate an embroidery frame. This will help stabilize the area you’re embroidering just like an embroidery hoop does for hand embroidery, keeping the fabric taut and preventing bunching from the construction of the design.

It may even come in handy for smaller and more intricate quilting as well.

Fancy Feet for Quilting

No matter what kind of sewing or quilting you would like to accomplish with your sewing machine, there is probably a specialty presser foot out there that can help you achieve your goal.

Always check the downward pressure of any foot you are using and adjust it, as different thicknesses of the projects underneath may need more or less pressure than others.

Walking Foot

One of the feet specifically helpful for a quilting project is a walking foot.

On a regular sewing machine, the presser foot generally stays in one place, holding the top fabric in place just enough to keep it stable, and the feed dogs feet the fabric sandwich through from below. But if you have thick fabrics or a larger “sandwich” with batting in the middle, sometimes this setup can make the layers get pulled through the machine unevenly, causing tiny tucks or even shifting the whole top of the project slightly away from the bottom.

One solution for this is a walking foot. This special presser foot “walks” along with the feed dogs to feed the whole sandwich of your project evenly.

Darning Foot

Also known as a free-motion foot or a hopping foot, a darning foot is a great tool for quilting, particularly if you want to do some free motion quilting.

It looks almost like a teeny tiny embroidery hoop and provides a stable area for moving your needle around wherever you choose, or wherever your embroidery programming wants it to go.

This foot comes in either plastic or metal. Plastic is nice to be able to see through but can be less sturdy than metal. It also comes either with a spring or without.

The spring keeps the pressure of the foot down on a project, but also allows for the movement of the foot up to clear thicker materials if needed. Some people prefer to control this without the spring – it really comes down to personal preference and the type of projects you need it for.

Straight Stitch Foot

Most of us end up doing a lot of straight stitching with a foot intended to accommodate the width of a zig-zag stitch, because that tends to be the standard foot that comes with most sewing machines. However, if you are doing very fine straight stitch piecing or quilting, you may want to use a foot that has a single hole instead of the wider slot.

This foot, especially when paired with a straight stitch throat plate, can really add a bit of control and quality to delicate straight stitching.

Jump straight to:

1. Basic Features
2. Bells and Whistles
3. Tips before Buying one

3. A few Tips before Buying a Quilting Sewing Machine

While there are certainly many things to consider when choosing a sewing machine for quilting, don’t get too overwhelmed.

  1. It might be helpful to try a practice quilting project out on your regular sewing machine and see what issues you run into while piecing and quilting.
  2. Think about the priorities of your projects and which qualities you really need to have.

There are so many sewing machines that are great for quilting in a variety of price ranges, and with a little bit of research, you can find the one that is perfect for you.

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 1 Average: 5]

Some other articles you may want to read: