If you’re hunting for the best sewing machine for quilting you’re in the right spot! To follow up my post on what is the best sewing machine for beginner sewers, I’ve put together this list of the best sewing machines for quilters – beginner through pro. Disclosure: this post contains commissioned links.
To help you find the best sewing machine for quilters, I’ve done extensive research and came up with a few top picks, depending on your budgetary needs as well as your final purpose.
You’ll find options that will work in the under $200, under $500 as well as more serious options in the beginner to semi-pro and professional categories.
When reading reviews for the best sewing machine for quilting, especially in the budget-friendly category, it was important to sift through reviews that specifically mentioned using it for quilting, as what might be perfect for sewing may not have worked as well for quilting.
So while some models had five star reviews for sewing, the quilters weren’t as impressed.
I created comparison tables based on reviews, features, and more to help whittle down the list drastically. Ultimately, I couldn’t write an entire review on each of the best sewing machine for quilting, but I did outline the features enough to point you in the right direction for your needs.
You can then visit the product listing for a complete rundown of all the features.
More of a leather crafter? See my breakdown of the best sewing machine for leather.
What to look for in the best sewing machine for quilting:
Everyone has different needs, but of course, here are a few discerning qualities that you’ll want in the best sewing machine for quilting, as opposed to typical sewing machines.
- Table size/strength – the quilting table is one of the discerning features that turn a sewing machine into a quilting machine. Some cheaper options lack in strength and table size, while the best of them are powerhouses in this department.
- Automatic tension – Since quilting involves multiple layers of sewing, a machine that makes tension adjustment easier on you will make the quilting process go smoother.
- Throat and arm length – Since quilts tend to be large projects, the best sewing machine for quilting will have a longer arm to allow you more space to work on both sides of your machine.
- Free Motion – if you like to stitch your own designs, make sure that the feed dogs (the pieces under the foot that move your fabric as you sew) can be lowered. Bonus: get a machine with a stitch regulator to complete this experience.
- Computerized vs. manual – This is a big debate with any sewing machine purchase. A computerized sewing machine can be easier to use, and they tend to have more advanced and automated features. On the flip side, they can be very costly and difficult to repair.
The next question: Where to buy it? I highly recommend Sewing Machines Plus for most machines, however I’ve linked both there and Amazon (where applicable) so that you can compare prices (and read reviews).
The reasons I recommend Sewing Machines Plus:
- Their website is designed to sell sewing machines which means that it’s easier to see features at a glance, compare with similar options, and in general to find the features you need on the best sewing machine for quilting.
- They have the biggest assortment of sewing machines I’ve seen.
- They have interest-free payment plans – a must for more expensive machines.
- No sales-tax outside of California (for now…)
- They have a price match guarantee AND a 60 day satisfaction-guaranteed policy.
- They have expert sewers available for consultation and to help you troubleshoot.
Check out Sewing Machines Plus for a huge assortment of the best sewing machine for quilting and for anything!
The best sewing machine for quilting – for each purpose:
Here’s a summary of each machine I reviewed in this post. Click on “Skip to the review” to read my feedback on the machine or click on the model number to see a full list of features, user reviews, and to purchase.
1. Best for Beginners & Semi-pro: Juki HZL-F600 – This machine will both sew and quilt, but ti’s designed specifically to be quilting friendly. It’s got a long arm, and generous throat, an extra large sewing table, and more quilting-friendly features. Skip to the review.
2. 2nd Option for Beginners & Semi-pro: Juki TL-2010Q – If you prefer a more streamlined machine, this manual option from Juki is very similar in form, however has much fewer features. It’s a straight-stitch machine and a true workhorse. Skip to the review.
3. Best for Professionals: Handi Quilter Infinity – This is a truly professional machine with a quilting frame, rich in features, and will allow you to professionally produce quilts in the most efficient manner. Skip to the review.
4. 2nd Option for Professionals: Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen Sit-Down Package – If you want a professional machine without a frame, and without the price tag of the Handi Quilter Infinity, try the Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen Sit-down Package. Skip to the review.
5. Best Machine under $500: EverSewn Sparrow 30 – While you won’t find a true quilting machine in this price range (at least not with decent reviews), you can get a sewing machine with quilting features, a premium machine at an affordable price – the EverSewn Sparrow 30. Skip to the review.
6. Best Machine under $200: Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine CS6000i – You’ll find even fewer quilting features in this price range, but you can get a terrific general sewing machine with quilting features. Skip to the review.
THE BEST SEWING MACHINE FOR QUILTING FOR BEGINNER TO SEMI-PROFESSIONAL:
If you are a beginner who wants to be serious about quilting, or a semi-professional, go for a more basic long arm quilting machine that won’t cost you the price of a new car.
My favorite option is two models that are very similar but one is computerized and one isn’t (see my run-down in the intro). Since this is a mid-priced machine, you can really go either way. Both of these have consistently satisfied customers and top reviews.
Computerized: Juki HZL-F600
This computerized long-arm sewing and quilting machine is a feature-rich option that’ll be the only machine you need for both sewing and quilting!
You can use this for your home decor, fashion, as well as quilt sewing. It includes free motion sewing features. It comes with a generous throat (8 inches 4.5 inches tall) as well as an extra large sewing table – 8″ wide x 12-1/4″ long.
The most prominent feature of the Juki HZL-F600 is the box feed technology that operates in a box-shape instead of the typical oval shape to provide better stitch quality and accuracy for both lightweight and heavyweight fabrics.
With 16 1-step buttonholes, sensor-method buttonholes, 255 sewing patterns and 4 fonts, loads of accessories, dual LCD lights, easy bobbin winding, powerful feeding for heavy materials, an automatic threader, pressure adjustment for presser feet, a knee-operated lifting lever, and more features, the Juki HZL-F600 is the only machine you’ll need for both sewing and quilting.
It has consistently positive reviews from experienced quilters as well as beginner sewers.
Manual: Juki TL-2010Q
This manual long arm sewing and quilting machine is similar in style and quality to the previous one, being that it’s in the same class, from the same brand.
But it’s very different in features:
1. It’s manual. That means that you won’t be getting all those zillions of stitches, automatic buttonholes and the automatic threading is poor. But it also means that you have easier repairs and most likely a longer life. And if you’re not computer savvy, you might be better off with this.
2. It has a larger throat area – this one is 8.5 inches and 5.9 inches tall – because less space is taken up by the computer.
3. It’s a straight stitch machine, with options for stitch length.
On the Juki TL-2010Q you’ll get up to 1500 stitches per minute (the Juki HZL-F600 features 900 SPM) and a stitch length of 6 mm (the Juki HZL-F600 goes up to 5mm long, 7mm wide.)
The sewing table is also larger: 12 x 23 inches.
Reviewers report super smooth sewing for a variety of fabric weights which means that ultimately, while you’re not paying for loads of features, you’ll be getting a quilting powerhouse!
Ultimately, get this machine if you want a streamlined, solid free motion quilting machine. It probably won’t cover all your sewing needs – the Juki HZL-F600 will do a better job with versatility.
THE BEST SEWING MACHINE FOR QUILTING FOR PROFESSIONALS:
Here’s where you’ll want to decide if the best sewing machine for quilting for your needs comes with a frame. Just a reminder: the frame allows you to fix your quilt in place, while the machine moves with the stitches, helping your accuracy.
These machines come with all the space you really need to consistently and comfortably create quilts. With more throat space and included frames or tables, you’ll be able to work accurately on large-scale quilts.
The main machine I recommended here has a frame, because I believe that’s a key feature in a professional quilting machine.
With these machines being true professional quality, there will be a learning curve when transitioning from using a typical sewing/quilting machine.
If you’re willing to pay the price for the longest arm (26 inches), the fastest speed (3100 stitches per minute), a 12 foot frame (with optional 14 foot expansion pack), advanced computer technology and more professional features, the Handi Quilter Infinity is for you.
You have a ten-inch LCD screen where you can view and manipulate, and drag and drop your designs, and basically operate the entire system. This machine will help you avoid having to outsource your quilts – it’ll even allow you to take on extra heavy-duty quilting work.
It integrates with Art & Stitch digital design software so that you can design your own quilts. You can easily switch between computer-guided and free-motion quilting, making this perfect for all your professional quilting needs.
To be honest, there’s no way I can highlight all the features of this machine, other than sharing with you that it’s the most feature rich, smooth, fast, high capacity, sturdiest machine I found after days of extensive research. I created comparison tables to compare the different high-end machines, and this one played out the best.
It comes with a ten year warranty: 5 year mechanical, 5 years electronic/electrical and 10 years casting.
Some more favorite features:
- Pinpoint needle laser
- Easy-Touch Tension with stored presets (Patent Pending)
- Two modes of stitch regulation: Precision and Cruise
- Synergy Stitch regulation with both modes
- Quilting alarm and project timer
- Programmable handlebar buttons to help you streamline your workflow
- Thread-break sensor with alarm
- Large front and rear touchscreens with simple icon-based interface and on-screen reference
- And so much more!
If you prefer a sit-down machine, this one won for me on my comparison tables. One huge feature I looked for specifically (besides for the running features I look for in all machines) was an adjustable table height. When doing heavy-duty quilting, you want to know that you’ll be able to sit comfortably, which varies from person to person.
The Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen Sit-down Package features an easily adjustable table height (on a 30×26 inch table with optional 18″ extensions available). It also features a built-in ring light which provides better, more even lighting.
From the sewing perspective you get up to 1800 stitches per minute, a 16 inch throat with 8 inch height, a high-speed rotary hook with a large capacity M-class bobbin, touch-screen or foot-operated, save your favorite speeds as presets, and more!
You can get a stitch-regulator add-on as well to make free-motion quilting easier.
It’s also more compact than most professional quilting machines, making it a great option for small spaces!
Tip: read this article on hand quilting vs. machine quilting to see which is for you!
THE BEST SEWING MACHINE FOR QUILTING UNDER $500
When looking for more budget-friendly options, you’ll find sewing machines that are classic but with quilting-friendly features. This is great for hobbyists on a budget, who mostly sew but need something that’ll quilt too.
While researching this, I was surprised to see a brand that isn’t among the most familiar in the industry at the top of the list, yet the consistently positive feedback, the affordable price tag, and the comparison to much pricier alternatives by multiple people got me.
Reviewers compared the EverSewn Sparrow to a Bernina with similar features, but without the price tag.
With 32 utility stitches, 82 decorative stitches and two alphabets, it’s got everything you need stitch-wise.
Other easy-to-use automation features such as an automatic needle threader and drop-in bobbin take the brainwork out of using it. It’s really intuitive and easy to use with a combination of LCD screen and button functions, and an ergonomic design.
As far as quilting-friendly features go, you have a generous slide on table – 13×9.5 inches. The 7 inch throat isn’t the best, but it’s about what you get on a non-long-arm machine.
I did notice a few Amazon reviews with complaints pertaining to sellers of this machine – I’d recommend getting it from Sewing Machines Plus directly (at the time of writing this, the prices are the same.)
It’s a wonderful all-in-one machine with hobby quilting-friendly features. If you want to do quilting professionally, I recommend you go with one of the above options.
THE BEST SEWING MACHINE FOR QUILTING UNDER $200
While there are some in the 1-200 range, I would recommend investing in one of the better ones. None of these would really make it into the “best of” list save for the price. I figured I’d throw an under $200 option here for those for whom $200 is the only realistic cap, so I sifted through to find the best option for this price range.
People complained about the tension as well as the strength of the table legs on cheaper models such as this, however I’ve chosen the top-rated option in this price range for quilting.
With over 7000 reviews and an average rating of 4.5/5 stars, this machine has one of the best ratings overall for sewing machines, and it’s quilting-friendly as well.
It comes with a few quilting-friendly feet, an oversized detachable table and an arched throat. The arched throat helps compensate for the small 5.25 inch throat size, allowing you more space to roll up your project.
Ultimately, the Brother CS6000i is a great machine for when you want a sewing machine that can make a quilt without too much trouble.
In summary: the best sewing machine for quilting is…
I’d like to link to the Handi Quilter Infinity here and say “hey, get this, it’s the best!” Because it really is. It far surpasses other options linked in this post in features, in user-friendliness, in professional results. But I’m going to be more conservative considering that some of you may not be looking for something in that price range and say the following:
If you’re investing in starting what you expect to be a full-time quilting business and want professional equipment, the Handi Quilter Infinity is the best sewing machine for quilting.
If you want something that will serve you very well for regular quilting, that’s comfortable to quilt on because it has the right features, and will also sew, get the Juki HZL-F600.
What do you think is the best sewing machine for quilting? Comment below!
If you loved my guide to the best sewing machine for quilting, check out my article on the best place to buy fabrics online for every need!