The Best Sewing Machine For Quilting Of 2018: Top 10 Picks And A Guide
Having a regular sewing machine at home is always handy. But are you’re thinking of making your quilts? Or unleashing your creativity by stitching layer upon layer of fabric?
If so, you’ll need a good sewing machine for quilting.
With the right machine, you can set your artistic side loose. One that quilts through the fabric and stitches different designs. You don’t have to do it the old-fashioned, hand-stitched way. The best quilting sewing machine will do the work for you.
This guide helps find the best sewing machine for quilting in 2018. The focus is on the critical things you need to look for.
We have picked some of the best options for you – whether you’re a novice or an expert. There are the pros and cons of each machine. The reviews will help you pick what suits you best.
Let’s get started.
- 1 What is the best quilting machines for beginners?
- 1.1 1) SINGER 7469Q Confidence Quilter Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine
- 1.2 2) Brother Designio Series DZ2400 Sewing and Quilting Machine
- 1.3 3) Brother HC1850 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine
- 1.4 4) Brother XR3774 Full-Featured Sewing and Quilting Machine
- 1.5 5) Brother XR9500PRW Project Runway Sewing Machine
- 1.6 6) Laura Ashley Limited Edition Computerized Sewing & Quilting Machine CX155LA
- 2 Quilting Machines for Medium to Advanced Quilters
- 3 What is the quilting machine and why do you need one?
- 4 What is your purpose for buying a quilting machine?
- 5 Buyer’s guide to find the top rated sewing machines for quilting
- 5.1 • Quiltable workspace
- 5.2 • Stitch consistency: Does it come with a stitch regulator?
- 5.3 • User-friendliness
- 5.4 • Quality of motor
- 5.5 • Variable speed settings
- 5.6 • Lowered feed dogs for free motion quilting
- 5.7 • Stitches
- 5.8 • Pivot function
- 5.9 • Feet for quilting
- 5.10 • Lighting on sewing surface
- 5.11 • Bobbin size
- 5.12 • Thread cutter
- 5.13 • Table sliding feature
- 5.14 • LED
- 5.15 • Needle up/down
- 5.16 • Freehand system
- 5.17 • Warranty and after-sales support
- 5.18 • Noise
- 5.19 • Customization
- 5.20 • Thread adjustment
- 5.21 • Test drive
- 6 What are the advantages of a good quilting sewing machine?
- 7 Are there disadvantages with a long-arm quilting machine?
- 8 Specialized Machines:
- 9 How much do quilting machines cost?
What is the best quilting machines for beginners?
If you’re new to quilting, it’s best if the machine you get has all the essential features that you need.
Having the best sewing machine for quilting beginners will make it so much easier for you to learn the ropes. It will guide you as you master the quilting process.
There is no point getting something with an intermediate or high level of difficulty. You’ll only end up frustrated.
So, to start. Take a look at these quilting machine reviews for beginners:
|Models (Links Via Amazon)||Quilting foot||Stitches||Extension table||Needle up down||Drop Feed|
|Singer 7469Q||Yes, walking foot and 1/4 inch foot.||98||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Brother DZ2400||Yes, quilting, 1/4 and walking feet.||185||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Brother HC1850||Yes, it has spring action quilting foot but doesn't have 1/4 and walking foot.||130||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Brother XR3774||Yes, quilting and walking feet.||37||Yes||No||No|
|Laura Ashley CX155LA||Yes, walking foot and 1/4 foot.||155||Yes||Yes||Yes|
1) SINGER 7469Q Confidence Quilter Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine
The SINGER 7469Q is a great confidence builder for beginners. It has computerized sewing ability and many other features.
This sewing machine provides plenty of room for flexibility and creativity. It has 98 built-in stitches, seven automatic one-step buttonholes, and an automatic needle threader.
Also, there’s a drop & sew bobbin system and a programmable needle up/needle down operation.
The SINGER is one of the most trusted brands when it comes to sewing machines, and the 7469Q is no exception.
You get a heavy-duty metal frame, standard accessories, as well as the online support and tutorial videos that you need to get started.
It also comes with 1/4 Inch Foot, Open-Toe Foot, Darning & Embroidery Foot, and an Even Feed Foot.
The extension table, allows you to use it for sewing and as a quilting machine. And it’s also customizable, as you can adjust the stitch width and length.
- This machine doesn’t come with a case.
- And it’s 110-voltage power supply makes it usable only in the US and Canada.
Now on to the next pick.
2) Brother Designio Series DZ2400 Sewing and Quilting Machine
Another excellent option for beginners. You can use the computerized Brother Designio Series DZ2400 for both sewing and quilting.
You can enhance your creativity and flexibility. With 185 built-in stitches to choose from (130 sewing and 55 alphanumerics).
It also has 12 sewing and quilting feet and eight automatic one-step buttonholes. And a sewing speed up to 850 stitches per minute with easy threading.
There’s a full range of accessories. And a large workspace of 5.7” x 3.8” for quilting and sewing larger garments.
The sewing area is brightly lit. The LCD gives you all the information that you need. With only one touch required to change a stitch.
It is a feature-rich sewing and quilting machine. So, the users are happy when they buy.
- Lack of Automatic thread cutter.
- No presser foot pressure control.
3) Brother HC1850 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine
The HC1850 is another useful computerized sewing and quilting machine from Brother. It has 130 built-in stitches, 55 alphanumeric ones for monogramming and eight one-step buttonholes. And a large backlit LCD screen.
It comes with many different presser feet, including a quilting foot.
Quilting is more comfortable with the detachable full quilting table and 14 quilting functions. You can also do free-motion quilting.
You get an instructional DVD and a bilingual user’s manual. Call for free support, and there is a 25-year limited warranty. The quick-set bobbin and automatic needle threader also make everything so much easier.
- If you’re looking at quilting bigger pieces of fabric, you might find the workspace is not big enough.
- And the presser foot doesn’t raise enough to accommodate the larger projects.
- Also, if you’re into monogramming, you cannot change the letters to make them bigger.
4) Brother XR3774 Full-Featured Sewing and Quilting Machine
Like the other Brother options, the XR3774 is also a sewing and quilting machine. It’s easy to use and jam-packed with features. It has a broad table that’s suitable for quilts.
And what’s great? It’s the least expensive of all the sewing/quilting machine options from Brother.
It has lesser stitch functions compared to other Brother options. But, you can still do a lot even with 37 unique built-in stitches.
It also has eight sewing feet and an automatic one-step buttonholer. There is a built-in needle threader. And a top drop-in bobbin that’s resistant to jams.
It is an eminently affordable machine. So, it’s ideal for those who are just learning to sew or quilt. And has all the basic stitches. It’s lightweight and easy to carry around.
- Lack of thread cutter
- No carrying case either.
5) Brother XR9500PRW Project Runway Sewing Machine
Of Project Runway fame, XR9500PRW is another good option for beginner quilters. It’s a limited edition sewing machine so if you think this is the one for you, waste no time.
This one is ideal for quilting. It comes with an oversized table for larger fabrics and projects. Unlike the other Brother sewing machines, it comes with a protective hard cover.
You get great flexibility with this sewing machine. It has 100 built-in stitches (utility, decorative, and heirloom) and 140 stitch functions.
Essential accessories come standard with the XR3774. You also get a needle position button and an automatic needle threading system. Plus a super easy bobbin-winding system.
Some quilters might have concerns about durability. Because of its plastic body. And there is no walking foot.
Read our full review of the Brother XR9500PRW here.
6) Laura Ashley Limited Edition Computerized Sewing & Quilting Machine CX155LA
Another limited edition option from Brother. The computerized Laura Ashley CX155LA includes basic monogramming capabilities.
You can do so many wonders with this machine. It has a range of 155 built-in stitches. With eight one-step automatic buttonholes, and 55 alphanumeric stitches.
You also get an LCD that clearly shows your settings. And a brightly-lit workspace. As well as a complete set of designer accessories to make the process easier.
Other helpful features include an advanced needle threading system. And a jam-resistant quick-set drop-in top bobbin. But the best thing about the CX155LA is the extra wide table. You get to work on large quilting projects.
The color and design of the sewing machine make it unique.
It’s great if you’re into red color and floral. But if you want something neutral and professional-looking, you may not appreciate the look of it.
Not a beginner? Well, now we’ll review the machines for you.
Quilting Machines for Medium to Advanced Quilters
The following quilting sewing machine reviews are helpful for medium to advanced quilters. Quilters who are looking for the tool with the right level of difficulty and more functions:
|Models (Links Via Amazon)||Quilting foot||Stitches||Extension table||Needle up down||Drop Feed|
|Singer 9960||Yes, Even Feed / Walking Foot||600||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Brother PQ1500SL||Yes, 1/4 inch foot, walking foot and spring action quilting foot||One high-quality straight stitch||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|JUKI TL-2000Qi||Yes, 1/5" foot for free motion quilting and even feed foot||One high-quality straight stitch||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Juki HZL-F600||Yes, Free-motion quilting foot and walking foot||625 Stitches and 255 sewing patterns.||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Janome 1600P-QC||Yes, 1/4 inch Foot and Quilting Foot||One high-quality straight stitch||No||Yes||No, but has a darning plate|
1) SINGER 9960 Quantum Stylist
Singer 9960 gives you 600 built-in stitches and 19 presser feet to choose from.
You also get 13 automatic one-step buttonholes, an automatic thread cutter, and needle threader. A needle up/needle down button, an automatic stitch length and width regulator. As well as a top drop-in bobbin system.
It also has an extension table that makes it ideal for quilters, as well as coming with a hardcover.
The monogramming function has five different fonts. As an advanced quilter, you know what you want. This machine offers stitch editing capabilities that help you get your desired pattern.
The electronic autopilot and speed control give you greater capacity to achieve error-free stitches.
- The 9960 model can’t be mounted on a cabinet.
- Despite all its fancy features, it is still not as heavy duty as it should be.
All in all, you get a good quality machine that’s loaded with features but at a fraction of the price.
2) Brother PQ1500SL High-Speed Quilting and Sewing Machine
Another good option for intermediate level quilters is the PQ1500SL from Brother. This high-speed straight stitching machine can sew up to 1,500 stitches per minute. And you save time with the needle threader and thread cutter.
There are four different feed dog settings. As well as an adjustable pin feed mechanism, a knee lifter, and foot pressure adjustment.
The 12”x18” extension table is ideal for those who are quilting or working with larger fabrics. The table gives you more room. The workspace is more significant than most other sewing machines so you can work on larger quilts.
The easy-to-use quilting and walking foot are also great feet options for quilters.
The PQ1500SL has positive reviews and does the job well. But there are some issues that advanced quilters have pointed out.
When you’ve been sewing for years, you tend to get used to certain ways of doing things. And this can cause problems.
- For one, everything, including the needle threading, is oriented to the left. It makes it counter-intuitive.
3) JUKI TL-2000Qi Sewing and Quilting Machine
Another high-speed option with 1,500 stitches per minute is the JUKI TL-2000Qi sewing and quilting machine. Though it works at high-power and high-speed, there are low vibrations. That’s thanks to the aluminum die cast arm.
It is a semi-industrial machine that works with one pedal control. It has automatic thread cutting capabilities. And it’s also famous for its stitch quality.
For quilters, you can instantly lower the feed dogs for free motion quilting. It comes with the necessary feet you need – a free motion foot, a walking foot, and a straight stitch quilting foot.
You also get ample of working space and a wide extension table. It is ideal even when you’re working with more substantial and thicker fabrics.
- It is not a top loading bobbin machine, so if you’re used to that, then this may take some adjustment.
- While not computerized in any way, it’s suitable for quilting. But you’ll have to get used to working without a digital display.
Keep reading. Only two more machines.
4) Juki HZL-F600 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine
The JUKI does have a computerized option, and that’s the HZL-F600. 255 sewing patterns range from utility and decorative to alphanumeric. You can come up with so many stitches using this sewing and quilting machine.
It has a large LCD that measures 33mm x 66mm, so you can selecting your pattern and settings is no hassle. You also get access to 16 industrial style buttonholes.
The workspace is ideal for quilters. It measures 8” x 12 ¼”. It is far more extensive than your average workspace. You can tackle your large quilt projects with ease.
You also get different snap-on presser feet, including walking, patchwork, open toe and more. It also has a knee lift lever as well as a handy quilt guide to make quilting even more manageable.
Users are happy with the performance of this machine because of the extensive functionalities.
Some users find the machine a bit noisier than most others. So, if you’re sensitive to noise, this is something you should note.
5) Janome 1600P-QC Straight-Stitch High-speed Machine
An even faster option is the Janome 1600P-QC, which can sew up to 1,600 stitches per minute.
At this speed, it’s one of the quickest sewing and quilting machine available on the market. So, you’ll need this speed if you have projects that need to finish in a hurry.
There’s also a quick needle up/needle down feature to make things easier for you.
The 1600P-QC is an industrial-grade machine. It gives you the power and capacity of professional machines. Even better it’s engineered for quiet operation. And it’s not clunky looking but has a sleek and stylish look.
The bonus features make it ideal for quilting. These include a ditch quilting foot and a heavy-duty darning foot with a darning plate.
It doesn’t come with a walking foot, and the needle threader is not as automatic as you would like. Still, it is a good option for quilters and is more than worth considering.
That’s it about each of the machines.
Now let’s understand how to choose the machine that’s right for you.
What is the quilting machine and why do you need one?
It’s important to understand the difference between quilting and regular sewing machines.
Quilting involves sewing together many layers of fabric. But the throat of a regular sewing machine can handle only a few thinner layers.
Typical quilting machines are massive. Much bigger than your regular sewing machine. They have a throat that’s about 20 or more inches long. This opening means quilters don’t have a hard time maneuvering the bulk of the quilt.
The good news is that there are all-around sewing machines that also give you the quilt function.
That means you don’t have to work with a large quilting machine. You need to make sure your sewing machine:
- Has the capability to lower the feed dogs.
- Allows free-motion quilting.
- Has a darning foot.
- And has a walking foot.
But first of all, why do you want to buy a quilting machine?
What is your purpose for buying a quilting machine?
Can you answer the question? The answer is difficult. So many options are available. What you need to consider first is your reason for buying a quilting machine.
Is your reason one of the typical uses of a quilting machine?:
• Making quilted fabrics
Quilts are often found in the bedroom. And bedcovers, in particular, look fantastic when quilted.
The multi-layer nature of quilts gives you extra warmth during winter. For this purpose only, a machine with the straight line quilting function will suffice.
• Adding texture to your quilts
A quilting machine with a free-motion foot helps unleash your artistic side.
Simple straight lines add depth and texture to your quilt. And experimenting with the spacing adds further character.
For instance, with ‘matchstick quilting.’ Stitch a series of straight lines close together. The difference in texture is palpable.
• Appliqué projects
An appliquéd quilt is when you work with different shapes of fabrics and attach it to a background sheet.
But you don’t quilt various fabrics on top of one another. Instead, all you do is appliqué pre-made shapes and designs onto the base layer. To make it even more personal, you can make the shapes yourself.
• Quilt art
Most often you use quilts either as a bedcover or as a blanket. Wrap them around yourself while you’re relaxing on your sofa. Nice and warm.
But quilts are also created for display. Here is where quilt art comes to the fore. Here you’ll likely use free-motion quilting and even the appliqué method.
So, are you clear on why you’re buying a quilting machine?
Let’s move on to what you should be looking for to decide.
Buyer’s guide to find the top rated sewing machines for quilting
The best sewing machines for quilting are unlike regular sewing machines you’re used to. What, then, are the features to consider before you buy a quilting machine?:
• Quiltable workspace
Remember you’re working with larger fabrics. So, you’ll need extra horizontal and vertical space compared to regular sewing projects. You want the quilt to flow freely, so ideally, you need the following space:
- For small quilts – about 5” throat space.
- For medium quilts – 6”-8” throat space.
- For full-size quilts – about 9” throat space (and at least 12” tablespace).
• Stitch consistency: Does it come with a stitch regulator?
The accuracy of your stitches is also significant. You want a machine that gives consistent stitches each time. An excellent way to ensure this is to check if it comes with a stitch regulator.
Read reviews to gauge how easy it is to use the quilting machine. Ideally, you want your machine to be as user-friendly as possible. You don’t want to spend most of your time reading the manual and trying to figure out what goes where.
• Quality of motor
A reliable quilting machine requires a robust engine. And especially so if you want to use it for heavy-duty work. The quality of your engine will also dictate how much power your machine has. In turn, this has a say in how durable your machine will be.
• Variable speed settings
If you have a variable speed motor, you can set your speed. It means you go no faster than the speed set even when the foot pedal is entirely on the ground. It gives you total control over your speed as you do free motion quilting.
• Lowered feed dogs for free motion quilting
Free motion quilting requires lower feed dogs. So it’s best to check beforehand if it’s possible to do this with your machine.
You can either get a machine with a feed dog that’s already lowered or comes with a cover plate to cover the feed dogs.
You need a great single stitch or straight stitch throat plate. If you want to do appliqués, you need the zig-zag and blind hem stitches.
There are many other decorative stitches. These come in handy if you’re into crazy and artistic quilts. For traditional quilting, though, you don’t need these extra stitches.
• Pivot function
The pivot function allows you to raise the presser foot a little. But the needle stays down in the fabric when stitching stops. It is ideal when you’re chain piecing and saves you time.
• Feet for quilting
You need to make sure that your sewing machine has feet appropriate for quilting. From the walking foot and free motion foot to the edge stitching foot.
A walking foot is best if you’re a beginner. An open toe darning foot gives you good visibility, and it is useful for bigger quilts. You should also check if you have feet that snap on and off hassle-free.
• Lighting on sewing surface
Check if your sewing machine has a built-in light to illuminate the sewing surface. It is crucial because it allows you to view your work with precision and confidence.
• Bobbin size
The larger your bobbin, the better. You’ll want to quilt without a break and not waste time stopping to change the bobbin.
• Thread cutter
Make sure there’s an automatic thread cutter as it saves so much time and energy. You don’t want to mess with layers of fabric just to cut the thread.
• Table sliding feature
Do you want your quilting machine to be portable and storable? Then table sliding is a must.
When you remove the table from the machine, you can easily store it or carry it. Plus, you’ll be able to access the free arm.
However, not every portable machine, e.g., XM2701 is a good quilting machine.
Computerized machines come with a LED screen. So easy to select your stitch type, speed, and other settings.
The digital display is also handy if you don’t want to change settings by hand each time. It also alerts you when your thread runs out.
• Needle up/down
The automatic needle up/needle down feature is an absolute time-saver. You don’t need to use the foot pedal. Or manually position the needle in the down position with your hand wheel.
If you have this feature, all you do is press a button. A function so vital when it comes to putting together patchwork quilts.
• Freehand system
Higher-end quilting machines come with a freehand system. It allows you to raise or lower the presser foot with your knee. It frees your hand and saves you time and energy as you drop the feed dogs and release the upper thread tension.
• Warranty and after-sales support
You must check the warranty agreement. And see whether service and support are readily available. It’s also good to check if the company can give you extra installation support.
Sewing machines can be noisy, and this can be bothersome. Some machines, though, are made to be extra quiet (or at least quieter than most). Look out for this feature.
The ability to customize is important for quilting. It unleashes your creativity because there are no restrictions on what you can quilt.
Check if you can customize stitch length, width, space, and other settings. Higher end machines can even secure or save your customized stitches for you.
• Thread adjustment
Is it easy to adjust thread tension? If not you could be in for a hard time quilting.
• Test drive
It might be worth doing a test drive of the machine so that you get the feel of it. Looking at the features and reading reviews is helpful. But there’s nothing quite like trying it out for yourself at a trade show or the actual store.
What are the advantages of a good quilting sewing machine?
Do you have the best quilting sewing machine of 2018 in your hands? You do when you’re enjoying the following:
• Your quilting is hassle-free
The point of a good machine is that it should do all (or most of) the work for you.
Pick one that’s user-friendly and easy to operate, so that you can quilt with no hassle.
You can even consider a computerized machine so that you don’t have to figure out the stitches. Review of Janome 8077 computerized machine.
• You have everything you need
If your machine is complete, you don’t have to bother with buying additional feet or any other applications. Because your purpose is quilting, in particular, you will need to ensure that it has all the features you need to quilt.
• You have extensive flexibility
A good machine offers flexibility.
A quilting machine that allows you to do regular stitches and quilt at the same time provides more value than one-dimensional machines. But, sometimes quilting only machines are the way to go.
It varies from sewist to sewist.
• Your machine lasts a long time
Check the power of the motor and its overall durability. Does the brand or the seller have credibility?
You want a machine you can rely on no matter how many quilts you’re making. And no matter how thick the fabrics are.
A good quilting machine is in it for the long haul and gives you great value for money.
• You enjoy great support
Buying the machine is not enough. You should also get a good warranty agreement and excellent after-sales support.
Are there disadvantages with a long-arm quilting machine?
There are those who think it’s still best to get a long-arm traditional quilting machine. That is, instead of a mid-arm sewing machine with quilting capabilities.
If you’re making a king-sized quilt and you want it done in a day, a long-arm will do you right.
Going for a long-arm machine is a valid option. Particularly if you’re quilting regularly or for commercial purposes. But, there are drawbacks you need to consider:
• Takes space
You’ll need a lot of space (think 10 feet for a quilting frame!). And not everyone has that luxury. Are you hell-bent on getting a long-arm sewing machine? Make sure your workspace is big enough.
• Much more expensive
Compare the cost to a regular sewing and quilting machines. You’ll find a long-arm quilting machine usually costs more. The advantages are bountiful but know you’ll have to shell out extra dollars for it.
• Difficult to operate
There are newer models available that make it easier to use. But with a traditional long-arm quilting machine you have stand while you work.
And you’re pushing and pulling a 20-50 pound quilting machine head that is tiring. Sometimes, you’ll need added lighting.
It all depends on your sewing need and budget. You may still need one of the following types of quilting machines.
- Find out about the best long arm machines.
- Check the top mid-arm machines.
- More information on sit down machines.
How much do quilting machines cost?
The cost of quilting machines ranges from a few hundred dollars to almost a thousand dollars. And your choice depends on your budget and what features you’re looking for.
The lower end quilting machines are affordable at below $300. Medium range machines cost around $400-700.
For those who want the higher end quilting machines, prepare to spend more than $1k. Professional machines can cost you about $5k.
Planning to quilt anytime soon? It’s essential you get the quality quilting machine to help you out. With this comprehensive guide, you now know all the features to look for. And you even have a great list of options to pick from.
If you don’t want a quilting machine, then check the review of Brother ST371HD and ST531HD heavy duty machines.