6 Best Long Arm Quilting Machines for 2022 – Consumer Reports
Quilting is a fascinating hobby that has been practiced since 3400 B.C. These beautiful and colorful bedding covers and blankets were highly sought after in early years and are now making a big comeback since handmade items and especially quilts are huge interior decorating at the moment.
Why does everyone love quilts so much? Well, for one thing, these types of linen are completely unique in their kind. Each and every quilt you make can be designed according to your heart’s desire and each and every quilt is work of art that will delight you and your family for years and that will decorate your home for a lifetime to come.
Any quilting guru will tell you that the only way to create a beautiful and high-quality quilt is by investing in good quilting machines. Making these blankets takes a long time and the last thing you need while you are trying to create something beautiful and creative is a machine that messes up your fabrics and that is a nightmare to operate.
If you are taking up quilting as a hobby or career choice then we highly recommend the following 6 long arm quilting machines.
What Is A Long Arm Quilting Machine?
A long arm quilting machine isn’t much different from a normal sewing machine. But as the name suggests; it is fashioned with a longer arm or bigger throat that makes it easier to sew decorative stitches and large fabric pieces. Industrial long arm quilting machines are fitted to a quilting frame that ranges from 3 up to 4.25 meters in length. The fabric is rolled and spread onto the frame and the quilting machine is then used to stitch on layers of fabric or decorative stitching onto the fabric. Long arm quilting machines are used to create all sorts of quilts because they can be wired with different colored threads, they are programmable with different stitch patterns and many have advanced functions that enable you to program the machine for automatic quilt stitching.
What to Look For In a Long Arm Quilting Machine?
If you haven’t worked with a long arm quilting machine before but desire to get started then it might be challenging to decide on the best machine. There are quite a few different brands, models and sizes available on the market that range from small domestic multifunctional sewing and quilting machines to large industrial quilting machines that are programmable for custom projects. Here are a few things to consider when you are buying your first long arm quilting machine;
The price – Quilting machines vary greatly in price. Smaller multifunctional machines can be acquired relatively affordable since they range from as little as $300 but don’t be surprised at all at the much more expensive industrial quilting machines that cost well over $20,000. The budget you have in mind will certainly impact the type and size of machine you are looking to buy.
Easy to learn – You need to be an experienced quilter to use industrial quilting machines. These machines are not the easiest to learn. If you are completely new to quilting then it is best to choose a more affordable quilting and sewing domestic machine.
Fun to operate – Your machine shouldn’t be a nightmare to operate. Quilting, like all other forms of art, should be fun. Look for machines that have time-saving functions such as auto threading and that are programmable if you want to have fun while creating beautiful quilts.
Consider maintenance and repair – All sewing machines require quite a bit of maintenance because you need to keep these machines lubricated and clean to keep them in good working order. It is also wise to choose a machine brand that can be fixed locally so you won’t have to travel long distances to get small repairs on your machine done.
Consider space – Quilting machines are not too big but for commercial projects, you will also need to use a quilting frame. These frames range from 3 – 4.5 meters which can take up quite a lot of space in your home.
What is your functionality – Are you creating quilts for yourself? Then a small sewing and quilting machine is probably best. If you are serious about quilting and want to pursue it as a hobby or to earn a living then it is best to invest in an industrial quilting machine and frame.
The frequency of use – If you are going to use a quilting machine occasionally then perhaps a smaller machine is best but for a machine that you will use every day or just about every day, a bigger machine that is programmable will be a much better pick.
The size of your quilts – Small quilts are simple to make on a small quilter or even an average sewing machine but for bigger quilts such as map sized or bed sized machines, you really should consider investing in a machine with a wide throat and a quilting frame on which you can mount your quilt.
Stitch regulation – This feature automatically regulates the length of your stitches no matter how fast your machine works and is advisable for those looking to make money from selling quilts.
Throat space – Machines with deeper throats gives them greater reach. This means that the area they reach are bigger which means you can create bigger quilt patterns or squares before having to move the machine.
Upgradable – As you progress in quilting you may feel the desire to perform different tasks. Upgradable machines are computerized and can be reprogrammed with different sewing and stitching patterns.
Accessories available – The type of accessories there are for the machine in question will have a huge impact on your function. Different machine accessories such as micro handles, hopping feet, bobbins, laser light, and other features enable you to perform a much greater variety of quilting tasks.
Machine weight – Heavy machines can cause back pain, neck and muscle strain and more after a couple of minutes of use. Serious quilters really should consider a machine that weighs less than 65 pounds.
Training – If you don’t know much about quilting or long arm quilting machines then it is important to get adequate training as soon as you buy your machine. Most people that fail at quilting fail because they just don’t know how to operate their machines correctly.
There are quite a few different types of quilting machines available on the market and these machines can vary quite a lot in terms of functionality and price. To find the best quilt for your unique needs you will need to consider your budget, the functionality of the machine, consider how often you will use it and the accessories that come with these machines.
Juki sewing machines are still relatively new on the market with domestic machines but are already impressing sewing and quilting lovers tremendously. Their machines are popular in about 170 countries but they have been distributing industrial quality industrial sewing machines well before 1988. These modern machines are astounding quilters because they are so easy to use, so functional and they enable thousands of people to create gorgeous quilts from the comforts of their home.
If you are looking for a modern, sturdy and functional quilting machine then we highly recommend the Juki TL-2200QVP sit down machine with its long arm. Overall the Juki TL2200QVP has a beautiful look. The machine is white with bold accents of blue. It comes with a table and stand, is foot controlled and is fitted with an auto thread trimmer. The LCD Screen enables you to choose from a wide range of stitches and that can be updated. The machine has an adjustable height that ranges between 30” – 34”. What really makes the Juki TL-2200QVP exceptional is the fact that it can be used for both sewing and quilting.
Features of the Juki TL-2200QVP
- Updatable LCD Screen
- Easy tension control knob
- Alternate Arrow Right Adjustable height 30” – 34”
- Alternate Arrow Right Large table for functional work surface
- Alternate Arrow Right Foot controlled
- Alternate Arrow Right Comes with auto thread trimmer
- Alternate Arrow Right 18” x 10” throat
- Sturdy machine
- Easy to use
- Functional for sewing and quilting
- Stitches beautifully
- Expensive price
Juki TL 2000Qi
The Juki TL-2000QI is much more streamlined and offers a more elegant look. The machine is all white and is manually adjustable by knob. This sewing and quilting machine can master up to 1500 stitches per minute with ease which is perfect for speeding up the quilt making process. The machine comes with an extension table for a wider work area and is surprisingly affordable for such a pristine machine. The TL-2000QL does not come with speed control but speed is easily controlled once you have a better feel for the pedal operation. This is the ultimate overall machine because you can use it for both sewing and quilting.
Features of the Juki TL-2000QI
- Perfect for sewing and quilting
- Adjustable by knob
- Comes with extension table
- Pedal operated
- 1500 stitches per minute
- Affordable price
- Quality machine
- Easy to use
- Good quality stitching once you have the tension right
- Good pressure foot setting
- No speed control
Brother industries Ltd is a trusted sewing machine manufacturer that have been creating quality machines since 1908 when it was known as Yasui Sewing Machine Co. These machines didn’t get their current name “Brother” until 1962 when they started distributing quality sewing machines internationally.
This is one of the best sewing and quilting machines available on the market and the Brother PQ1500SL certainly is priced fairly. This sewing machine offers a simple yet elegant overall look but is packed with slightly more features than your average entry-level machine. The Brother PQ1500SL has an auto thread trimmer and a built-in needle threader that eases sewing projects tremendously. The machine can sew up to 1500 stitches per minute and gives you multiple settings which you can access with ease by adjusting the knob. The machine is also fitted with an extra-long table and a knee lifter that makes it easier to sew large quilts.
Features of the Brother PQ1500SL Long Arm Quilting Machine
- Can be used for sewing and quilting
- Quality machine
- 1500 SPM
- Alternate Arrow Right 4 feed dog settings
- Alternate Arrow Right Knee lifter for maximum control
- Alternate Arrow Right Comes with bed extension
- Alternate Arrow Right Has a fabric separator
- Affordable price
- Easy to use
- Good quality machine
- Sewing and quilting
- Various sewing settings
- Bright LED light
- Can handle bulky fabrics
- Not a huge variety of sewing settings
The Grace Q’nique long arm quilting machine looks somewhat different from other quilting machines thanks to its two comfort grip handles attached to the machine. These grip handles are terrific for moving the machine where you need it and gives you a firm hold on your quilting machine as you work. The Grace Q’nique has a 14+ inch throat that allows you to sew larger patterns and big quilting blocks without feeling cluttered on your work area. It is easy to control the machine or to select different function thanks to the quick-access buttons placement. This machine is quite fast at 1800 stitches per minute which makes it a perfect investment for those who are serious about quilting and it even has stitch regulation that keeps your stitch lengths and speeds constant as you work. LED work lights offer plenty of illumination and the dual-cone thread towers enhance work comfort tremendously.
Features of the Grace Q’nique Long arm Quilting Machine
- 1800 stitches per minute
- OLED screen pattern display
- Comfort grip handles
- Two dual-cone thread towers
- LED work light
- 14+ inch throat space
- Stitch regulation
- Advanced control settings
- Class M bobbin
- Bigger throat space allows you to create bigger patterns
- OLED screen eases pattern selectin
- Stitch regulation and advanced control setting enables you to create fine detail work
- Larger class M bobbin allow s for longer work times
- Works very fast
- Easy to use
- Can be programmed with different patterns
- Challenging to get the tension right
- Patterns are challenging to load
If you are very serious about quilting, have a bit of experience or want to step into quilting for business then this is the best machine accessory you can consider. The Grace Majestic Quilting Frame is compatible with your quilting machine. This large frame holds the fabric firmly in place as you work with your sewing machine. The fabric is rolled and stretched around the frame and lots of comfort grip handles allow you to move your quilting machine up and down the frame in order to create different patterns. The frame comes with a machine bench that is fitted with wheels so you can move the quilting machine along the frame with ease. This frame is terrific for easing the quilting process of large pieces such as tapestries and large comforter quilts, blankets or throws.
- Dual-wheel system for enhanced stitch quality, accuracy and motion
- Thick steel construction for enhanced durability
- Standard height with adjustable legs
- Sets up in 120” king or 60” crib working surfaces
- Suitable for quilting machines with up to 18” throat.
- Leveling feet
- Includes bungee clamps
- Easy to use
- Large frame is perfect for taking up large projects
- Suitable for any quilting machine of 18” throat and smaller
- Leveling feet and adjustable legs gives you great flexibility
- Lots of handle bard that eases work progress
- Doesn’t come with a quilting machine
- Can be large and bulky for small working surfaces
Singer 7469Q Confidence Quilter
Singer has a long history of creating top quality sewing machines. Singer is an American brand and was first established as M. Singer & co. by Isaac Merritt Singer in 1851. People have loved the Singer brand sewing machine since the very first moment these sewing machines hit the market because they are so highly durable. In fact, many Singer sewing machinesdating back from the early 90’s are still just as functional today as they were over 100 years ago.
If you want a highly durable and functional machine then you can definitely consider the Singer 7469Q quilter. Over 150 years of experience went into developing their modern machines and the Singer brand certainly outdid themselves with this superb quilting machine. It is available surprisingly affordable and perfect for home quilting thanks to its compact design. This quilter isn’t just for quilting. It is perfectly functional for a variety of sewing tasks as well. The machine has 98 built-in stitches, 7 fully automatic one-step buttonholes, an auto needle threader and is fitted with a drop & sew bobbin system. It also comes with 4 bonus quilting feet and an extension table that enhance comfort while taking on big quilting projects,
Features of the Singer 7469Q Quilter
- 98 built-in stitches
- 7 fully automatic one-step button hole programs
- Auto needle threader
- Drop & sew bobbin system
- 4 bonus quilting feet
- Extension table
- 110 volts
- Programmable needle up and down
- Drop feed setting
- Adjustable stitch length and with
- Can be used for sewing and quilting
- Easy to use
- Built in stitches and button hole programs
- Auto needle threader and drop & sew bobbin system eases sewing
- Extendable table that can be removed
- Durable machine
- Compact design
- Not programmable
- Not as big as other quilting machines
These are all superb quality quilting machines and each of the machines on our list are rather affordable machines compared to other quilting machines in the same range. Here is a quick breakdown of the best quilting machine for your specific need:
Best industrial quilting machine – For industrial projects you can certainly consider the Juki TL-2200QVP-S Sit Down Long Arm Sewing and quilting machine. This quilting machine is programmable, upgradable and has handle grips that makes it easy to maneuver as you work. Alternatively you can also consider the Grace Q’nique long arm quilting machine with its easy grip handles and quick access buttons. This machine isn’t as easy to program but is pretty functional for quilting.
Best quilting frame – If you are investing in an industrial quilting machine or any quilting machine that will be used for commercial purposes then we highly recommend getting the Grace Majestic Quilting frame as well. This frame greatly eases the quilting process when you are taking on large quilting projects.
Best domestic quilting machines – There are quite a few good sewing and quilting machine on our list. The Juki TL-2000Qi is perfect for all of your home sewing and quilting projects because it is so sturdy and easy to use. The Brother Quilting and sewing machine is also a good pick thanks to its advanced features such as an auto thread timer and built in needle threaded. And if you are looking for a trusted machine with lots of built in stitches then you just won’t go wrong with the Singer Confidence Quilter with its automatic needle threaded and drop and sew bobbin system.
We hope that these reviews help guide you to the best long arm quilting machine so you can find great value for money and invest in a trusted machine that fulfills your every quilting need.