Quilting is a wonderful craft. Do you know that there are more than 25 different types of quilting designs, patterns, and models? Quilters are coming up with new designs using old and new techniques all the time.
Over the years, quilting has managed to survive and come back into the limelight again. People search all over the internet to buy designer quilts. More and more people are learning the basics of quilting to make a quilt of their own. Professionals are, of course, already delivering their best.
So what’s the common point here? Take a guess. Easy, right? It’s the same reason you are reading through our article. Yep. We are talking about best quilting machines out there.
The traditional ones are huge and require you to stand and haunch over for hours. But thanks to changing technology, modern sewing machines can also be used for quilting.
Well, not every sewing machine can quilt. Obviously, a quilting machine has specific features. But the famous brands have designed combination sewing machines that can quilt and deliver high-quality results. Home quilters can happily use these machines to create lovely quilts for personal and commercial use.
But as always, you must be stuck with the most difficult decision. Which is the best sewing machine for quilting? Which model should you buy? What factors should you consider when you buy a sewing machine for quilting? What are the features of a good quilting machine?
Why stress about it when we are ready with all the details? Continue reading this article, and you’ll find answers to your questions about the best quilting machines.
Shall we start with the list of the top 5 best sewing machines for quilting?
Table of Contents
The Best Sewing Machines for Quilting For The Money
#1 Brother CS7000i Sewing and Quilting Machine - EDITOR'S CHOICE
So the first sewing machine for quilting belongs to Brother. This is a computerized model with various features that make it one of the famous quilting machines in the entry-level market. Beginners and home quilters who prefer sewing machines that are easy to use say that this model is convenient and affordable to invest in CS7000i. This is an advanced and improved version of CS6000i, and users have more reasons to love it. Shall we see what features it has?
Features & Benefits
Compared to other quilting machines, this one is considered a lightweight and portable unit. It weighs around 17 pounds. While it is sturdy enough to sew through thick quilts, anything too big or heavy might cause the machine to topple over. You need to place the machine on a larger table to quilt bigger projects.
The LED light is bright and helps you work even in the dark. The LCD touchscreen acts as a stitch selector. The buttons around it allow you to regulate the stitch length and width as per your requirements and also adjust the stitching speed.
The sewing machine has 70 built-in stitches and 7 automatic one-step buttonholes. The company provides 10 different presser feet with the model. You can quilt some beautiful blankets using CS7000i.
It has an automatic needle threader, though some users complained about it being inconsistent. The stitching speed is 850 SPM and suitable for home quilters. It has a free-arm motion, which is essential for quilting. The throat space is about 5.25 inches (the size of a short arm quilting machine).
Ease of Use
We already mentioned that the model is user-friendly and belongs to the entry-level market. The bobbin winder is super easy to use. You won’t have any trouble fixing the bobbin or winding the thread.
Read the user manual to understand how the machine works and then start using it. We still recommend you to go slow since this is a computerized model and has many automatic features. It does the work on its own, but you’ll feel better if you stay in control.
#2 JUKI TL-2000Qi Sewing and Quilting Machine - Best for Professionals
After seeing a beginner model, we move directly to the professional one. TL-2000Qi by Juki is a sturdy, heavy, powerful, and highly efficient quilting machine. It is expensive compared to other models and has only on straight stitch. However, professionals love the consistency in the output it delivers every time. The machine can sew through a quilt of almost any thickness. What else does it offer? Take a look below.
Features & Benefits
This is the heaviest model on our list. It weighs more than 37 pounds and is made of durable aluminum die-cast. That shouldn’t be surprising since Juki is known for designing some high-quality sewing machines.
Running at 1500 SPM, this one is called a workhorse for a reason. It might take a little time to change and control the stitching speed, though. Give it a test or two before you start quilting immediately after setting it up.
It has an automatic needle threader, bright and updated LED lights, a knee lift lever, perfect thread tension, a large extension table, and three quilting presser feet. This is an advanced model that stays true to the word of catering to the experts.
Since the entire machine is made of metal, it hardly vibrates, no matter which speed you use. You can control and adjust the stitch length from 1mm to 6mm based on the fabric you are sewing.
Ease of Use
A beginner is going to find it hard to use this model. The user manual doesn’t help either. The instructions are sparse and not clear. Professionals can use it as they are experienced in using different sewing machines. And even they take time to understand the features and operations.
The thread trimmer works when you rock the foot pedal. So you might accidentally end up snipping the thread if your foot slips of the pedal. That’s one thing to keep in mind. Don’t rush through the quilting process if you are using TL-2000Qi for the first time. Go slow and get familiar with the functions.
#3 Janome MC6650 Sewing and Quilting Machine
This is yet another sewing and quilting machine for professionals. It has a powerful motor, is built to last, and doesn’t make any noise. Not just that, the stitching speed, the built-in stitches, and the accessories add to the advantages. Of course, it is not without some faults, but then, which model isn’t? Take a look at the features of MC6650 and see why Janome is one of the best brands in the sewing machine market.
Features & Benefits
This is also a heavy sewing machine. It weighs more than 24 pounds and is sturdily built to take the load of sewing through thick quilts. The throat area is 10 inches and allows you to easily move the quilt on the bedplate.
When it comes to looks, MC6650 can give other models a run for their money. The white and maroon contrast each other, and the bits of black enhance the appearance. This one screams power and expertise.
Be it the big LCD screen, the 175 built-in stitches, or the 1000 SPM stitching speed, Janome packed a punch in this machine. You just need to take a look at the measurements engraved on the needle plate to understand what we mean.
A professional will fall in love with this model. A beginner might be overwhelmed, though. The machine has an automatic needle threader, a thread trimmer, jam-proof drop-in bobbin system, 10 presser feet, free arm quilting, and a 10-inch extension table.
Ease of Use
The company provides a DVD user manual with the unit. That should help you understand the various features and operations. However, it is still a quilting machine preferred by professionals than beginners.
Some users complained about issues with setting the thread tension. That needs practice, so it’s understandable. But we do wish that the ¼-inch quilting foot was included with the presser feet instead of having to buy it separately.
#4 SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Portable Sewing Machine - Best for Designs
Quantum Stylist 9960 by Singer is a sewing and quilting machine suitable for both beginners and professionals. It is a computerized model with lots of features. You can create beautiful quilts using the 600 built-in stitches, including basic stitches, decorative stitches, fonts, and quilting designs. A good number of features are automatic and make it easy for you to use the machine.
Features & Benefits
The unit weighs 20 pounds and is not easily portable, even though the brand calls it a portable sewing machine. We liked it better when we kept it in one place. The body frame is made of metal and is sturdy enough for you to work on thicker quilts.
Considering the features it offers, we can say that it is worthy of the price and more. Though home quilters might find it a little expensive, they cannot deny that investing in this machine is indeed a good choice.
The model offers an automatic needle threader, automatic thread cutter, speed regulator, stitch length and width controller, needle op/ down movement controller, 25 needle positions, twin needles, a drop-in bobbin system, automatic reverse, and an extension table, among other things.
The LCD screen allows you to edit the stitch designs and customize them. You can change the settings based on the quilt and let the machine sew on its own. The stitching speed is 850 SPM, which is neither too high nor too less. The throat space is 5.5 inches and convenient for medium-sized projects.
Ease of Use
Well, we did say that this model is for newbies and professionals. However, a newbie will need to spend some time to understand the machine. It’s better not to start right away and mess up the quilt.
If you are going to sew through some very thick quilts, we suggest you use a set of stronger needles. The ones that come with the machine may not be able to handle heavy quilting. That said, the company provides a 25-year warranty on the model. This is a durable and reliable sewing machine.
#5 Brother PQ1500SL Sewing and Quilting Machine - Best for Large Quilts
The last sewing machine for quilting on our list is another model by Brother. PQ1500SL is a mid-range model with attractive features for home quilters. Be it the stitching speed, or the extension table, or the large throat area, this model offers more for less, especially when compared to other brands like Bernina. Though it has only one straight stitch, we are willing to overlook this for other highly useful features.
Features & Benefits
The sewing machine weighs almost 30 pounds. It is not a portable unit. That said, it is a powerful machine and is great for larger projects. If you have loads of work to do, pick PQ1500SL to finish the job on time.
We are happy to see that the machine is silent despite being a powerful one. Working for long hours on this model shouldn’t give you a headache. The throat area is 8 ¾ inches * 6 ½ inches. The machine also comes with an extension table of 12 inches x 18 inches. This table, however, is not detachable.
The stitching speed of this model is 1500 SPM. Since it is an electromechanical model, you’ll have to adjust the speed through the pressure on the foot pedal. This will take some time to get used to.
The unit has an automatic needle threader, FAST bobbin winding system, automatic thread cutter, presser feet pressure adjustment, drop-in bobbin system, and 4 feed dog settings. There is no indicator to notify you about an empty bobbin, though.
Ease of Use
The machine comes with 7 presser feet, useful for sewing and quilting. It also has a knee lift lever so that you can control the machine without using your hands. There is a free arm feature (and a free arm presser foot) for easy quilting. It also has a reverse stitch lever right in the front.
The thread tension has to be controlled manually. The user manual should help you understand the various operations of this model. The LED light is bright enough to light up the entire work area. Despite a few drawbacks, this is a commercial-grade sewing machine suitable for large quilting projects.
Best Sewing Machine for Quilting Buying Guide
Reading about such powerful and efficient quilting machines must have filled you with renewed energy, isn’t it? Before we move on to learn about the factors to consider when buying a sewing machine for quilting, let us first see how to care for it. A quilting machine needs a little extra love to ensure that it’ll last for a long time and continue to help you in creating amazing quilts.
Maintaining the Sewing Machine for Quilting
- Oil the Sewing Machine: Unless the sewing machine is a self-lubrication model, you will have to oil it before use. If you use the machine every day, follow the instructions and oil the machine before you start sewing. You can also do it once every 3-4 days.
- Run the Machine at Low Speed: A quilting machine works the best when it is running at a lesser speed, especially if you are a beginner. However, professionals can go at the top speed if necessary.
- Choose the Right Presser Foot: There are different types of quilting feet for various purposes. Walking foot, darning foot, free arm foot, hopping foot, ¼ foot, etc., are some examples. Pick the right one for the job. Read through the manual or watch instruction videos on the internet.
- The Feed Dog Should be Down: When quilting, always keep the feed dog lowered. You can do that by the press of a button or a lever.
- Keep the Stitch Length Small: The length of the stitches should be smaller when quilting. This will give additional strength to the stitch and make the quilt durable.
- Do Not Use Thread Cutter: Well, you do need to use a thread cutter, but not always. Disable the automatic thread trimmer feature if you are a beginner.
- No Fix Stitch when Quilting: While fix stitches are great for sewing, they work the opposite for quilting. The quilt will end up with thread knots at random places.
- Keep the Needle Down: By keeping the needle down when turning the fabric, you’ll ensure that the layers of the quilt are not disturbed. It’s safer and easier.
Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Sewing Machine for Quilting
Types of Sewing Machine
We already know you’ll need a quilting machine. So what are we talking about here? It’s how you operate the sewing machine. You can choose between an electromechanical model and a computerized model. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. On the basis of your budget and your skills, you can choose either type of sewing machine. There is no right or wrong choice here.
(Extension) Quilting Table
Quilts are bigger than other projects. You will need a sewing machine with extra workspace so that you can place the quilt on it. Some models come with extension tables that serve as quilting tables. You can remove the table when you are not quilting. This way, the sewing machine will take less space in the cupboard.
Built-in Quilting Stitches
Not all sewing machines have built-in stitches. For example, some models in Juki have only the straight stitch, even for quilting machines. Though there is nothing wrong with buying these models, a sewing machine with at least a few built-in quilting stitches will allow you to create attractive quilts.
Presser Feet and Free Arm
A sewing machine without presser feet for quilting is not going to help you create a quilt. Also, a quilting machine should have a free arm. Choose a model with quilting presser feet as accessories. Why buy them when the company provides them as a part of the package?
Thread Tension Controller
The stitches will not be strong if the thread tension is not right for the fabric. Whether you choose a computerized model or an electromechanical one, it should have a thread tension controller (automated or manual). You should be able to adjust the thread tension so that the stitches are steady and the thread doesn’t snap off often.
The throat space is the area behind the needle that is enclosed by the sewing machine. A quilting machine should have more throat space for you to easily work on all kinds of quilts. This area is generally fixed based on whether the sewing machine is short arm, mid-arm, or long arm. Longarm sewing machines have the largest throat space of 18 inches or more and are expensive.
Stitching Speed and Speed Regulator
High stitching speed doesn’t necessarily mean that the sewing machine is perfect for quilting. More important is the ability to control the speed. Electromechanical models come with a foot pedal, used to operate the machine and adjust the stitching speed. A computerized model is likely to have a stitch speed regulator, though it is not a mandatory feature for all models. Choose the one which allows you to control the stitching speed. A sewing machine of 800 SPM is enough for home quilters.
Vibration and Sound
Vibration in a quilting machine is not a good sign. It will disturb the stitches and decrease the quality of the final product. You can use felts to reduce the vibrations. But it is better to choose a model that is sturdy enough to not vibrate or make noise.
Needle Threading and Bobbin System
Having an automatic needle threader is the best choice for a beginner and a professional. If you plan to choose a manual model, make sure that the process is not too complicated. You don’t want to spend more than a few minutes threading the needle. In fact, you shouldn’t have to spend more than a minute threading the needle.
It’s the same with the bobbin system. An automatic bobbin winding system can save you a lot of time and energy. Even otherwise, go with the easy-to-use sewing machines for quilting. A jam-proof bobbin system would be a bonus.
There are a few other features that will make a sewing machine more worthy compared to others. A few such features are-
- Easy feed system
- Adjustable stitch length and width
- Adjustable needle movements
- Longer warranty period
- Strong body frame
- Bright LED lights
Wrap Up: Our Choice
With many models to choose from, which one would you pick? From our side, we recommend Brother CS7000i Sewing and Quilting Machine, which has a bit of everything and is great for beginners.
It has attractive features and comes with various accessories (including 10 presser feet). And considering the cost of the model, we say this model is worth the price. Brother has always been a reliable and trustworthy brand in the market. Start your quilting journey with Brother CS7000i Sewing and Quilting Machine.