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Best Long Arm Quilting Machines: Buying Guide

Quilting, as a form of sewing, dates from many centuries ago. Quilting is a way of joining a minimum of three fabrics together, either manually sewing with a needle and a thread or mechanically with a sewing machine or a longarm quilting machine.

Quilting is mostly used to create bed covers, wall hangings from quilt art, clothes, and a variety of other textile products. They have a very unique pattern of stitches, with a fluffy middle and colorful designs.

It is done by sandwiching a fluffy batting with a bottom layer and a top layer of fabric. Traditional quilting started with hand stitching, but over the years, people have invented easier and faster ways to quilt.

The longarm quilting machine was created to make the process a lot faster, so let us get into the longarm quilting machines a little bit deeper.

You are looking into starting a quilting business or hobby, but you can’t decide which one suits you the most. Follow along as we unravel the mysteries of the machines included in this list.

A Quick Look at My Favorite Long Arm Machines

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Most Versatile
BERNINA B 770 QE

BERNINA B 770 QE

9.7
Check Price
For Heavy-Duty Use
Janome 1600P-QC

Janome 1600P-QC

9.5
Check Price
Best Value
JUKI DDL8700H

JUKI DDL8700H

9.1
Check Price
Best All-Rounder
Brother PQ1500SL

Brother PQ1500SL

8.8
Check Price
Best High End
Juki HZL-NX7 N

Juki HZL-NX7 N

8.6
Check Price

Key Takeaways

  • Most long-arm quilting machines tend to be heavier and mostly intended for heavy-duty use
  • If you are inexperienced/beginner, an automatic machine would be the ideal choice
  • With a long-arm quilting machine, you’ll be able to do double the amount of work
  • There are two types of long-arm quilting machines: stationary and mounted

The Top 5 Best Long Arm Quilting Machines

Bernina 770 QE – Most Versatile

I have used many Bernina longarm machines, and Bernina 770 QE is by far one of my favorites. I didn’t have to worry about complicated machine features, and I could just be focused on the design. You can easily adjust stitch length, needle position as well as stitch width.

The best part I loved was the fact that I didn’t have to repeat the designs and the measurements every time I wanted to do the same stitch pattern. This long arm machine will remember all the details for you. You can change and retrieve them whenever you like.

And the sewing speed can sometimes be a problem if you are feeling a little bit tired and you want to work a little slower so you can focus more. Bernina 770 QE gives that option, and you can adjust the speed as high and as low as you need it to be.

You get a sewing assistant, which makes the process much easier for beginners if they are afraid of getting lost during the process of quilting.

I love a versatile machine; you could work with both heavy-duty fabrics and lightweight ones. And one of my favorite features of the Bernina 770 QE machine is the fact that it is a low-noise machine. I could use it while the baby is sleeping, and the baby won’t even notice that something is going on. Finally, I could manage to have a soundly sleeping baby and at the same time finish my quilting projects.

Summary

Why Should You Buy It?

If you are a beginner, you will have the opportunity to learn a lot without making mistakes. You will have the sewing assistant to guide you and your screen to remember your desired features. So there will be no room left for mistakes. It will allow you to work without the distracting noise that most of the other longarm machines produce.


Janome 1600 P-QC – For Heavy-Duty Use

Janome is a very sturdy, heavy-duty machine with many similarities to an industrial sewing machine. I like the fact that it can sew through thick materials very easily. With other machines, it was harder to sew through some heavy-duty materials, it would get all tangled up, or the needle will break.

It is too heavy to be portable so yeah you can put this in the sit down quilting machine category, which is a little bit off-putting if you need a machine that you want to position in different places often. It has a high speed, so for those who are looking to get the job done faster, it is a great option. It is more recommended for experienced quilters. Not everyone can handle this beast.

Summary

Why Should You Buy It?

If you are looking for a sturdy, heavy-duty machine, this is the one you need. It is a high-speed machine so you don’t have to worry about the time you will spend on finishing a project. It has a very solid unit, so it doesn’t move around when you are sewing. It has a smooth operation and makes a great stitch. It can sew through thick materials without a problem if you plan on using thick fabrics.


Juki DDL8700H – Best Value

Juki is a fast-sewing machine, and it has 5500 stitches per minute. This industrial sewing machine has an incredible pace, which makes it perfect for professionals or business owners whose career revolves around stitching or making garments.

For me, this machine is a little bit more heavy-duty than I need it to be, I am more of a personal quilter, so it doesn’t suit me as much. But even though it is a little bit too heavy for me, I still love the fact that it is a quiet machine. Even though it is an industrial machine, you can still work freely on it without the stressing noise.

Summary

Why Should You Buy It?

It is a high-speed industrial machine that gives you the option to work fast and precisely. it gives you plenty of arm space so you can work freely and not feel restricted while quilting. It is more affordable when it comes to industrial machines in the market.


Brother PQ1500SL – Best All-Rounder

This sewing machine is a straight stitch machine. It has an automatic thread cutter which makes everything more convenient. It might be a heavy industrial machine, but quilting is amazing. With other machines, I have had problems sewing through four or more layers of materials.

With this one, it can easily be done without any trouble. I hate not having enough space while I work on my quilting projects; that’s why I loved the Brother PQ1500SL longarm machine. It comes with a large throat and a wide table which gives you a lot of control over your fabric. It is a mechanical machine, so you don’t have to worry about the automatic part misbehaving. You are in total control of the stitches and the speed.

I can’t say that it is an easy machine to use as it’s not meant for beginners, but as soon as you get the hang of it you will be pleasantly surprised at the quality of the quilting. Some of the quicker features that you can find in other Brother models, like the automatic bobbing pin, you don’t have here. But the bells and whistles are not necessary for experienced quilters.

Summary

Why Should You Buy It?

If you are an experienced sewer, and you have your own business of sewing then this machine is perfect for you. It will provide you with the stitching speed you need to finish your projects on time. It gives you more control while sewing because it has a mechanical sewing foot.


Juki HZL-NX7 – Most Feature-Rich

It is computerized, with a screen to help you choose your stitching patterns, to combine them. You can stitch letters, do embroidery, quilting, and many other options. Plus it has 351 different kinds of stitches for you to choose from and play with.

It is a suitable machine for beginners since it is much easier to use than Brother PQ1500SL. It is convenient because it notifies you when you have 20 % thread left, so it doesn’t catch you by surprise.

The Juki HZL-NX7 is known for its automatic stitch tension, which automatically hones the settings of thread tension to craft stitches evenly.

 

Summary

Why Should You Buy It?

It is a beginner-friendly machine. It gives you a wide array of stitches to choose from. Good for thick and thin fabrics, it doesn’t get tangled up or ruin the fabric.


Buying Guide

When you are looking into buying a new longarm quilting machine, there are a few things you should take into consideration. It is not easy to find a machine that suits your needs truly because there many options with many advantages and disadvantages.

YOUR BUDGET

You should know from the get-go how much money you are willing to invest into a sewing/quilting machine. The prices of the machines can vary, so you must consider the pricing so it matches your budget. None of us are willing to get into debt or credit, so having the option to choose between a variety of prices is amazing.

THE SIZE

You should always plan everything. You should already have a spot in mind for putting your machine before starting to search for the right one for you because they differ a lot in size and weight. If you have a large space and are planning on opening your own business, then it is worth it to invest in a big heavy-duty longarm quilting machine. But if you plan on putting it in a room in your house where you don’t have a lot of space, then you should invest in a machine that is more for personal use, with smaller proportions.

DO YOU NEED A STATIONARY OR A MOUNTED MACHINE?

With the stationary longarm machine, you must move the fabric to create the stitching patterns. While with the mounted longarm quilting machine, you move the rig to make the stitches. The designs end up looking the same even if one is done with the stationary machine, and the other is done with the mounted longarm machine. Just the process of quilting is different for you. In the first choice, you move the fabric while you are sitting down, and in the other one, you move the machine while you are standing up

ARE YOU A BEGINNER OR AN EXPERIENCED SEWER?

If you are an experienced quilter/sewer, then you can manage to work with industrial heavy-duty sewing machines. But if you are a beginner, the best option for you would be an automatic machine, which is not very complicated and overwhelming to use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best-computerized longarm quilting machine?

The best longarm computerized quilting machine, according to our research and experience, is the Brother PQ1500SL sewing and quilting machine. It comes with various interesting features and offers great value for the price.

Is a longarm quilting machine worth it?

 YES. It is worth it because it will double the amount of work you will get done for the same amount of time it took you to do it previously. But if you think that it will magically increase your income, then you are wrong. It takes a lot more than just buying a long-arm quilting machine to be successful in the business of quilting.

Are quilts outdated?

Quilts are officially making a comeback. Old trends, vintage decorations, and grandma chick are very IN now. People are gravitating towards them more and more lately

Final Words

There are many good longarm quilting machine companies on the market. But not all of them are suitable for just anyone looking for a decent machine. The longarm machines I have reviewed in this article are one of the regarding their category and use, with excellent features that will accommodate your needs. It is up to you to decide which model matches your requirements. I hope this article helped you to get to know the longarm quilting machines a little bit better.

Further Reading

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So don’t miss those ones.

There’s also a list of the most fantastic sewing machines that cost under $1000, while another list covers amazing irons for bed sheets.

I also got a blog explaining how to tighten pants without a belt.

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