Sewing is something most of us are familiar with. Some of you might be professionals as well. Whether you are a tailor, fashion designer, embroider, or quilter, you know the importance of using a capable, efficient, and reliable sewing machine. Of course, even for domestic purposes, you will need a dependable machine.
You can find many types of sewing machines in the market that cater to different needs. You would have heard of sewing and quilting machines. These are very much in demand for domestic and commercial needs.
A quilt is a thick blanket with multiple layers of fabric. This is the simplest definition of a quilt. There is a lot more to quilting than sewing together layers of cloth. But we don’t need to go into the details. Our aim here is to talk about (yes, you guessed it right) sewing machines.
A quilting machine has an extra workspace, a free arm, and other features that differentiate it from a sewing machine. There are also types of quilting machines where you have to stand and work rather than sit.
But, many of us prefer to use a sewing cum quilting machine that comes with a long arm and extra workspace. A computerized long arm quilting machine is a preferred choice for home quilters and small-time professionals.
The main reasons to use these machines are- ease of making large quilts at home, it saves time, can finish projects faster, the feasibility of work, ability to complete the quilting job at home. Without a long arm quilting machine, you will have to hand over the final task to others (especially the finishing touches to the quilt by stitching together the layers).
There are quite a few brands that offer such sewing machines. So, the question is how to choose the best one? What factors should we consider when deciding on the best long arm quilting machine? This post is the answer to these questions. We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 best computerized long arm quilting machines and also a detailed buying guide. You will gather all the information you need by the end of the post.
Let’s get started without further delay.
Table of Contents
Quick Comparison Table!
The Best Best Computerized Long Arm Quilting Machines For The Money
#1 Juki Kirei HZL-NX7 Long Arm Quilting Machine - EDITOR'S CHOICE
Kirei HZL-NX7 is a next-gen computerized long arm quilting machine with some wonderful features. This is a perfect machine for professionals. Beginners are going to find it hard to understand and operate this quilting machine. That said, many of the computerized quilting machines are not meant for beginners.
This is strong, sturdy, and has a lovely touch panel that works like a dream. It is quite an expensive model, but hey, when you want a quality product, you’ll have to pay, right? What else does this quilting machine offer? Let’s see below.
Features & Benefits
This is the heaviest model on our list. It weighs 43.3 pounds and has been built to sustain heavy quilting, and lasts for a long time. The workspace is 12 inches long and suitable for quilting large projects without too much effort.
The machine comes with four LED lights, with two of those right over the needle for extra brightness. You can happily work even during the nights with as many lights as to keep the entire workspace bright. The presser foot pivot function works to keep the needle down and automatically lifts the presser foot when you stop sewing. This will allow you to easily move the fabric.
The color touch panel is used for most operations ranging from adjusting thread tension to selecting and combing stitch designs and patterns. The quilting machine comes with a wifi connection. You can connect it to the internet to check stitch designs, edit them, and use them on the quilts. The editing feature is a highlight of this model.
The machine has a buttonhole sensor system. It also makes it extremely easy to switch from one stitch to another through the interchangeable feed system. You can save the thread tensions of different settings in the machine’s memory. With a touch of the screen, you’ll have the setting ready when you need to use it again.
Ease of Use
As we mentioned above, this quilting machine is not for beginners. The functions may not be complicated, but people without prior experience will find it hard to use this model. The needle threader is also complex. It’s different from other models, and you’ll need to spend a while to understand how it works.
The free motion arm is, of course, one of the best features along with the knee lift. The stitching speed of this model is 1050 SPM, which is neither too high nor too less. Not once did we face issues with the fabric being puckered or pulled or bunched on this machine. It delivers smooth and even stitches every single time.
#2 Janome MC 8200QCP Sewing Machine - Best for Features
We have another famous computerized long arm quilting machine, this one by Janome. The 8200QCP is also an expensive machine but worth every penny you pay for it. This model is also meant for professional use and comes with a multitude of features. You can use this machine for not just quilting but also for furniture covers and bridal gowns. The brand offers a 25-year limited warranty on the unit. Be it the knee lift or the last stitch recall features, this model scores points on various fronts. What else does this model offer?
Features & Benefits
Weighing 30 pounds, this quilting machine is not exactly portable. But most models are designed the same way, so it’s not really a disadvantage. The workspace is 11 inches long and suitable for large projects. The unit has 5 bright LED lights. Yep. Isn’t that great? The touchscreen is great for selecting the stitches, presser feet, and other settings.
This is a special edition model, and we can see that in the 170 built-in stitches it offers. It also has 10 one-step buttonholes and 3 monogramming alphabets. It also has an automatic needle threader and a thread trimmer. The maximum stitch width is 9 mm, which can be adjusted as per your requirements.
The quilting machine is not too hard to use once you understand how the features work. It has a lot of buttons, which can be confusing initially. More so when some of the buttons are located in the wrong places. You will need to study the manual thoroughly and practice a little. That said, this model is termed as an easy-to-use computerized quilting machine by professionals.
The knee lifter allows you to control the presser foot without having to use your hands. You can hold the fabric with both hands and still adjusting the presser foot. The knee lifter is also adjustable so that it’ll be at a convenient angle when you are seated (depending on your height).
Ease of Use
The machine runs at a speed of 1000 stitches per minute. There is a speed control slider to adjust the speed and bring it down. The machine will memorize the preferred needle positions and will automatically set it when you start using it.
The model has an AcuFeed Flex system where the dual foot holders make it easy to feed the fabric evenly from top to bottom. When you need to stitch a zipper, this feature will be useful in getting the stitches closer to each other.
#3 Brother PQ1500SL Quilting Machine - Best for High Speed Quilting
Brother is one of those brands that pride in designing machines for all kinds of users. True to their word, PQ1500SL is a computerized long arm quilting machine that can be used by both beginners and professionals. It is the fastest quilting machine on our list, with a speed of 1500 SPM. And that it fits into the mid-range in terms of price is another advantage. It’s like getter more for less when it comes to this model. It’s not perfect by any means, but for people with a limited budget, this one should do the job rather well.
Features & Benefits
The unit weighs almost 30 pounds (29.8 to be exact) and is sturdy and durable. The bobbins are made of metal to last for a long time. It is one of the heavy-duty computerized sewing and quilting machines with an extra-wide extension table.
The powerful engine makes it an easy job of stitching through layers of fabric to create beautiful quilts. It also has a foot pedal in case you want to control the speed manually. With 4 types of dog feeds, you can happily use the machine to work on different types of materials. All your large scale quilting projects can be completed on time.
The functions are fully automatic, which makes a machine efficient and reliable. Not just that, this machine hardly makes any noise. It is silent enough for you to have a conversation or listen to music without having a constant thrumming sound in the background.
The automatic needle threader is a gem. It is easy and simple to use. The automatic thread trimmer is also the same. The machine has a quick bobbin threading system that allows you to thread the bobbins faster and without a mess. The automatic needle positioning system is another advantage.
Ease of Use
It’s rare to find a computerized quilting machine as easy as this one. The knee lifter lets you adjust the presser foot without using your hands. You can use the precision pin feeding system to sew all kinds of fabrics and create mesmerizing quilts. The machine comes with a bunch of useful accessories.
That said, you will have to spend some time learning how to use the machine. Read the manual and watch videos to get a better idea. It’s okay if you make a few mistakes initially.
#4 Brother Sewing Laura Ashley CX155LA Limited Edition Sewing & Quilting Machine - Best for Beginners
We have another model by Brother. This one is CX155LA limited edition sewing and quilting machine has been designed for beginners. From speed control to jam-resistant bobbin and bright LED lights, this model has many attractive features. The brand offers a 25-year limited warranty on the unit. It even has a monogramming foot if you want to add initials to the quilts. The built-in stitches are another plus point. We’ve got more features to discuss. See below.
Features & Benefits
This model weighs around 11 pounds and is the only lightweight machine on our list. It is easily portable and can be carried to quilting classes with ease. Since it’s a beginner’s model, you can be sure to learn quilting and enjoy it. The frame has a red flower pattern on it. While some of the users love it, others weren’t too impressed.
Along with numerous accessories, the machines comes with 11 different presser feet- ¼, walking, zipper, zigzag, monogramming, overcasting, stitch guide, quilt guide, button sewing, buttonhole, and blind stitch.
The model has 155 built-in stitches, which include 55 alphanumeric fonts and 8 one-step buttonholes. The buttonholes are classified for lighter and thicker fabrics so that it’ll be easy for you to know which one to pick.
The stitches are all displayed on the body of the machine. You can choose through the buttons located at the top of the machine accompanying the LCD display screen. The machine has an advanced needle threader, along with a drop-in bobbin system and adjustable speed control. You can go slower than the 850 SPM, the highest speed of this model.
Ease of Use
It is an easy quilting machine that can be mastered with a little practice. The brand provides an instruction DVD, which is very helpful. The extension table is strong and can hold a pile of thicker fabric as you stitch the quilt. There’s no need to worry about the table breaking down due to excess weight (considering the weight of this model). It is not as delicate as it appears. Just make sure you use a thicker needle when working on heavy quilts.
Still, if you seem to have any issues with using the machine, you can directly call customer care. The team is helpful and efficient.
#5 Janome MC6650 Sewing and Quilting Machine - Best for Home Professionals
The last best computerized long arm quilting machine on our list is MC6650 by Janome. This model has been designed for home quilters who are neither beginners nor full-time professionals. It is expensive compared to the models by Brother but also has features to support the price. The company offers a 25-year limited warranty on the product. Let’s take a look at the features in detail.
Features & Benefits
This model sure has good looks that match its performance. It has a white body frame with reddish maroon at the top to highlight the LCD screen and the numerous buttons near it. There is a dialer to the side to complete the look. Overall, this is one sleek and compact quilting machine.
It comes with a flatbed surface that makes it easy to work on large quilting projects. The 6 LED lights are located in three places. Turning them on will fill the space with enough bright light to work during the nights. The lights have been positioned perfectly to maximize their brightness.
The machine comes with 12 presser feet and a free motion arm. That said, you’ll have to buy the walking foot separately. It is not included with the accessories. One thing we love about this model is the ease of adjusting the thread tension. It also has an automatic bobbin winder to save you time and energy.
The model has 170 built-in stitches, not counting the alphabets for embroidery and monogramming. You can customize the designs and create your own. Just follow the instructions in the manual and go slowly.
Ease of Use
This isn’t a model you want to handover to a newbie. Experienced home quilters will be comfortable using this one. What with the needle threader being fragile, it’s better for you to manually thread it when using thicker threads. The model has a lockout key that allows you to freeze every other operation so that you can thread the needle without hurting yourself.
Also, the machine doesn’t run if the presser foot is not down. It will release a beep (buzzer) to indicate the position. That’s cool, isn’t it? Don’t forget the push button that releases the needle plate for cleaning. You don’t have to stress about it.
Best Computerized Long Arm Quilting Machine Buying Guide
We’ve read about some of the best computerized long arm quilting machines in the market, right? It’s time to take a look at the buying guide and assess the individual factors. There is no standard rule to follow when it comes to buying factors. It depends on what you prefer and what kind of quilting projects you generally take up.
Quilting Table/ Work Space
Quilts are not tiny by any means. That means you’ll need extra workspace when compared to regular sewing machines. The larger the quilting table, the easier it’ll be to handle bigger quilts. While some machines come with attachable tables, other models have extra-wide workspaces. Both options are suitable. A workspace of 10 inches or more is a preferred choice for many home quilters.
A quilting machine needs to have a faster stitching speed than regular sewing machines. If the average stitching speed is 600 SPM for a sewing machine, a quilting machine should have a minimum of 800 SPM. There are machines with 2200 SPM and more, but these are high-end machines and not suitable for everyone.
Every sewing machine comes with accessories like extra bobbins, needles, screwdrivers, hard case, soft case, different presser feet, etc. A quilting machine usually has a presser foot with more height so that you can easily place the thick quilt under the foot. That said, for some quilting machines, you will have to buy additional presser feet for your specific requirements.
Even though computerized quilting machines are not for beginners, you will still need to control and adjust the speed of the machine. You wouldn’t always want to run at the top speed. While this is not mandatory, it sure makes quilting easier and more relaxing.
Typically, long arm quilting machines do not have a lot of built-in stitches. But some models have built-in decorative stitches, monogramming letters, and buttonholes. These designer stitches can be used to make the quilts more creative and good-looking. It depends on your skill, imagination, and clients’ requirements.
Dimensions and Weight
Quilting machines cannot be termed as lightweight models. They need to be sturdy to stitch through layers of fabric again and again. And considering the extended workspace, they will also be bigger than regular sewing machines. The best way forward would be to decide where to place the quilting machine, measure the dimensions, and then choose a model. We do have one lightweight model on our list for beginners to try.
Automatic Needle Threader
A computerized quilting machine will generally have an automatic needle threader. In fact, most of the models also have automated thread trimmers (cutters) so that you don’t have to pick up the scissors to cut the thread at the end of the stitch. A knee lever is used to operate and use the thread trimmer. The automatic needle threader is certainly a useful feature though some models have it easier than others.
No company offers an unlimited warranty, but some do offer a 25-year limited warranty on the machine. The full warranty might be for 6 months or a year. That said, some brands offer only 5 or 10 years of warranty. It is up to you to decide which brand you want to trust. We’ve got the topmost and famous brands on our list, and they are all known for manufacturing quality, durable and trustworthy sewing and quilting machines. Remember that most quilting machines need proper maintenance to work for a long time.
The customer support team should be easily accessible via phone or email and should help you with your queries and complaints. A computerized model might be a bit tough to handle for beginners. Having someone from the company to guide you would be assuring, isn’t it?
Wrap Up: Our Choice
That was quite a list, wasn’t it? Are you still hesitant about which model to choose? We would recommend picking Juki Kirei HZL-NX7 Long Arm Quilting Machine. It is perfect for professionals and has a comfortable stitching speed.
And we have already detailed other features and benefits in the post. With bright LED lights and a bunch of accessories thrown into the mix, Juki Kirei HZL-NX7 Long Arm Quilting Machine s worth the price we pay for it.