Quilts, clothing, upholstery, oh my! Sewing projects are fun and rewarding, but it can be intimidating to take the leap and invest in an industrial sewing machine. There is a lot to consider: the machine’s size, power, threading, stitch capability, motor type, and what kind of projects you want to complete.
Finding the best industrial sewing machine can quickly become overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. To make life easier, this guide breaks down the decision, section by section, to highlight a sewing machine’s essential features. The ideal machine for you might show up in these top picks.
- BEST OVERALL: Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: SINGER M1500 Machine with 57 Stitch Applications
- UPGRADE PICK: SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Portable
- BEST FOR EXPERIENCED: SINGER Professional 14T968DC Serger Overlock
- BEST HEAVY-DUTY: SINGER Heavy Duty 4452 Sewing Machine
- BEST FOR QUILTING: Brother PQ1500SL Sewing and Quilting Machine
What to Look for When Buying the Best Industrial Sewing Machine
Shopping for the best industrial sewing machine can be exciting, but don’t get sidetracked by all the extra features and lose sight of what you most need the machine to do. Consider critical components like the space available in your craft room or home as well as the machine’s power, noise, threading mechanism, stitch capabilities, motor type, size, and weight.
Type of Projects
Though some hobbyists use fabric glue to help secure projects together, it might be best to invest in a high-powered sewing machine. Before starting your search for the best industrial sewing machine, take a moment to list the types of projects you’ll want to complete with your new machine. Determining the types of your planned sewing and craft projects will heavily influence the machine you purchase and should make identifying key functions easier. Keep an eye on several features while shopping, such as a machine’s ability to quilt, serge, and handle heavy-duty fabrics; identifying the features important to you should make the search much more manageable.
Industrial sewing machines tend to be on the larger side and can take up plenty of space. Before perusing the internet for a sewing machine, take note of the available space you have. It would be ideal to measure the work space with a tape measure and use those numbers while shopping. Be sure to consider the need for some space around the machine to set handy tools like pin cushions and fabric scissors.
The last thing you want is to have your new machine arrive and not fit it into the space you’ve set aside. Alternatively, you might be disappointed if you purchase a smaller machine “to be on the safe side” and realize you had much more room to spare and could have bought the machine you wanted most.
Power and Noise
The amount of power a sewing machine uses is measured in watts and relates directly to the type of work it is designed to do. For example, domestic machines are made for hobbyist sewers who use their machines often, but not for eight hours a day. These types of machines use about 90 to 110 watts. Industrial machines can sometimes need 160 to 180 watts, but there are still a few that use about 110 watts of power.
Both domestic and industrial sewing machines can get loud. Though makers of some machines claim theirs are quieter, noise while working on a sewing machine is unavoidable. The best way to deal with noise is to ensure the machine attaches securely to a table or sewing desk.
Threading and Type of Stitches
The threading and stitching capabilities are a vital part of a sewing machine. Many sewing machines have built-in stitch options that users simply need to select, and the machine will do all the work. This repertoire can range from 50 types of stitches all the way up to 600; however, some machines might not offer much choice at all. This is especially important for beginners.
Having a machine that’s versatile and knows what it’s doing will help you complete projects sooner and more accurately. Some machines specialize in particular stitches such as lockstitch, chain stitch, and so on.
Threading a sewing machine, especially an industrial one, can be tedious and confusing. However, many industrial sewing machines have automatic threading options. This makes changing thread colors quick and easy, especially for novice sewers.
Like many crafting tools, sewing machines come in various shapes, sizes, and task specialties. Domestic sewing machines generally are all-purpose models. Some industrial sewing machines are designed to complete specific types of sewing projects. Among these are quilting machines and units with the ability to sew denim or leather. There are also machines featuring specific stitches such as button stitches, flat seam, safety stitch, blind stitch, cover stitch, chain stitch, and lockstitch. Overlock machines differ from typical sewing machines; they can join together edges of the material with an overlock stitch that gives the edges a professional look.
These choices can get overwhelming fast, and the best way to narrow down the options is to identify the types of projects you’ll be doing. If you want to sew quilted blankets, then a machine made for quilting will work best, and you won’t need to weed through all the other types.
The weight of the machine will affect where you can place it and if you’ll be able to move it around. Sewing machines, especially industrial ones, are sometimes quite large and can be very heavy, some weighing nearly 30 pounds. Many hobbyists and pros, with a designated sewing space, leave their machines out and do not need to put them away when not in use.
However, not everyone has a dedicated craft or sewing room, so they will need to pack up the machine for storage. This can become a problem with heavier machines. Check the weight of the item and ensure you will be able to lift and move it. Also, be sure the sewing table planned to hold the machine will be sturdy enough to support it without too much wobble. If the machine falls to the floor, all that weight can damage the machine, the floor, or the user.
Our Top Picks
Whether sewing a quilt for a new baby in the family or starting a home business making clothes or accessories, sewing is a rewarding skill. For success in DIY or retail projects, it’s essential to find the best industrial sewing machine to suit your needs. This list of top picks includes machines that were chosen with the above considerations in mind.
This Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine features many of the important elements that contribute to having an all-around tool for almost any sewing enthusiast. It has 70 built-in stitches, including decorative ones, as well as seven auto-size buttonholes. It also threads the needle automatically and has a drop-in bobbin for fast and easy transitions between threads. An LCD screen makes stitch selection easy.
This machine measures 16 by 6.7 by 12.10 inches and weighs about 18 pounds. While not the largest machine on this list, the Brother is big enough to complete most jobs while still fitting comfortably onto an average table or bench. Purchase includes a hard protective case, a wide table for larger projects, 10 sewing feet, a Quick Start guide, and complete instructions. With its size and features, this Brother machine can help beginners get started and allow experienced crafters or quilters to up their game.
Affordable and versatile, the Singer M1500 sewing machine is a good choice for beginners looking to dip their toe into the world of sewing. It offers 57 stitch applications and an easy way to select stitches. Other machines might have LED screens and hundreds of stitch options, but this one keeps things simple, so it’s easy to start sewing without a huge learning curve. The machine has a front-loading bobbin for easy access for threading. This SINGER also features LED lights over the needle to more easily see seams and progress.
Measuring 14.57 by 7.12 by 11.34 inches and weighing 12.4 pounds, this sewing machine is sized modestly to handle the job but remain portable. A pack of needles, a zipper foot, buttonhole foot, all-purpose foot, darning foot, needle plate screwdriver, spool pin felt, seam ripper, and a lint brush all come with the machine purchase.
Singer’s Quantum Stylist 9960 computerized sewing machine is an upgrade pick for hobbyists wanting an industrial machine plus plenty of accessories. This machine has 600-plus stitch applications, which even include letters. With automatic settings, it is easy to sew a variety of projects for quilting, fashion sewing, home decor, and crafting. It has 13 one-step buttonhole styles, an easy-to-read stitch selector, and autopilot mode. There is also an automatic threader that eliminates the eye-straining task of threading the needle by hand. At a speed of up to 850 stitches per minute, this SINGER helps finish craft and DIY projects quickly.
The machine weighs 18.2 pounds and measures 17 by 8.25 by 12 inches. The purchase includes 13 pressure feet, an extension table, a pack of needles, bobbins, seam ripper, lint brush, auxiliary spool pin, spool pin felt, screwdrivers, spool caps, a seam guide, a quilting bar, a clearance plate, and a shank for pressure feet.
When the beginner sewing machines can’t keep up, this SINGER 14T968DC Professional Serger machine can make DIY projects look professional. It features self-adjusting tension and a maximum speed of 1,300 stitches per minute. With that sort of speed, DIYers or pros get projects done quickly. Features include four built-in rolled hems, 2-3-4-5 thread capability, 14 stitch options, a color-coded threading diagram, and automatic seam finish, so this machine can give most any project a professional look. Plus, the overlock function on this machine makes for clean and finished seams.
With measurements of 13.5 inches by 10.3 inches by 11 inches and weighing 23.55 pounds, this machine will take up ample space within a craft or sewing room. Note, this machine is designed for experienced sewers and might be difficult for a sewing novice to operate.
Clothing and materials like jeans, leather, and canvas can be a challenge for lesser machines, but this heavy-duty 4452 sewing machine from SINGER can handle those exact fabrics with ease. It can sew 1,100 stitches per minute and runs on a motor that is 60 percent stronger than that of the average sewing machine. This heavy-duty model features 32 built-in stitches: six basic, seven stretch, 18 decorative stitches, plus a one-step buttonhole option. An easy-to-load top drop bobbin system with a transparent cover saves loading time and easily shows the amount of thread remaining. It also features an automatic needle threader.
The heavy-duty metal frame gives it a sturdy structure. This machine weighs 15.71 pounds and measures 15.5 by 6.25 by 12 inches in size. The purchase includes three pressure feet, a seam ripper, a lint brush, a quilting guide, needles, bobbins, a screwdriver, an auxiliary spool pin, a spool pin felt, and a soft-sided dust cover.
Weighing nearly 30 pounds, this Brother PQ1500SL sewing machine is substantial enough to take on massive quilting projects. Brother has crafted a sewing machine that can sew 1,500 stitches per minute, so even king-size bed quilts take next to no time at all. It also features four built-in feed dog positions and a knee lifter, enabling users to lift the needle with a knee push while leaving their hands free to move the fabric around. With a jam-resistant, drop-in top bobbin and an automatic needle threader, starting up a new project or switching threads takes little time.
The purchase includes seven pressure feet, an extra-large extension table, a knee lifter, a machine cover, a seam guide, a fabric separator, five bobbins, needles, a cleaning brush, two screwdrivers, and a lining plate screw. This machine measures 7.9 by 12.6 by 19.3 inches.
FAQs About Industrial Sewing Machines
From stitch type to threading to weight and size, there’s a lot to learn when it comes to purchasing the best industrial sewing machine. Plenty of questions come up, and here are the most frequently asked with their corresponding answers.
Q. What sewing machines do professionals use?
Depending on the type of sewing they are doing, professionals might use a wide range of sewing machines. However, this SINGER machine is ideal for those looking for more than what the average domestic sewing machine can provide.
Q. What is the difference between industrial and domestic sewing machines?
While there are a number of differences between machine types, the biggest is how they are designed to be used. Domestic sewing machines are made with versatility in mind, as hobby sewers typically use their machines for a variety of sewing projects. Industrial (or professional) sewing machines are made with a specific type of sewing in mind based on factors such as fabric type, stitch type, or durability. They also tend to be designed to hold up for longer hours of use each day.
Q. Does an industrial sewing machine come threaded?
No, you will have to thread the machine yourself, but there are many videos and how-to guides on how to thread an industrial sewing machine.
Q. How much space do I need for my industrial sewing machine?
This will depend on each individual machine; however, keep in mind that industrial sewing machines are made for warehouses where space isn’t an issue. These machines tend to be larger than the average domestic machine.
Q. How do I change the needle in my industrial sewing machine?
For each machine, changing a needle will be a little different. With domestic sewing machines, the process is made easier by the obvious flat edge the needle has to identify its sides. Industrial needles do not have that, but instead have a tiny identifying line; you might need a magnifying glass to see it. Once you’ve determined the needle’s sides, the process is very similar to a domestic needle change and will be explained in the machine’s user manual or guide.