The Best Long Arm Quilting Machine For Home Use in 2023 goes to the Bernina Q16 Longarm Quilting Machine which was a clear winner due to its ease of use, comfort when sewing, reliability, smoothness and excellent stitching options.
There are some very good budget models as well.
As a seasoned sewing instructor with clients ranging from their 40s to 70s, I’m frequently asked, “What is the best long arm quilting machine for home use?”
When it comes to quilting, many enthusiasts need long arm machines for their larger throat size and advanced features. But with so many options on the market today, how do you choose the best long arm quilting machine for your needs?
What features should I look for on a long arm quilting machine
When shopping for a long arm sewing machine, it’s important to consider the features you need.
Throat space: The throat space, which is the distance between the machine’s needle and the back of the arm, is crucial for long arm quilting machines. A larger throat space allows you to work on larger quilts more easily. The Bernina Q16 offers 16 inches of throat space, which is a good size for most home quilters.
Stitch quality and speed: A high-quality long arm quilting machine should produce consistent stitches at varying speeds. The Bernina Q16 offers precise stitching with adjustable speeds of up to 2,000 stitches per minute.
Stitch regulation: Look for a machine with built-in stitch regulator, which ensures consistent stitch length even when you change the quilting speed. The Bernina Q16 features the Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR), which helps maintain consistent stitch length during free-motion quilting.
User-friendly interface: A user-friendly interface with a touchscreen makes it easy to control the machine’s settings, adjust stitch length and speed, and access helpful tutorials. The Bernina Q16 offers a color touch screen for easy navigation. This is one of the many benefits of having computerized sewing machines.
Frame options: Consider the available frame options for your long arm quilting machine. The Bernina Q16 can be paired with different frame options, such as the Bernina Q Series frame, which comes in various sizes and offers easy adjustments for height and angle. This makes it a truely versatile machine. The frames are built very well and are robust.
Lighting: Good lighting is essential for precise quilting work. The Bernina Q16 features built-in LED lighting that illuminates the work area, ensuring optimal visibility. The LED lights are not too strong and make working in low light a joy.
Extension table: An extension table provides extra workspace for your quilting projects. The Bernina Q16 can be equipped with an optional foldable table for additional support.
Accessory compatibility: Look for a machine that is compatible with various accessories and add-ons, such as rulers, optional feet, and other quilting aids. The Bernina Q16 is compatible with a wide range of Bernina accessories.
Warranty and support: A good warranty and reliable customer support are essential when investing in a long arm quilting machine. Ensure the machine comes with a comprehensive warranty and that the manufacturer provides responsive customer service. Bernina work through local agents in every country and the distributors are choosen for their service and quality.
Best Long Arm Quilting Machine for King Sized Quilts.
Long arm sewing machines offer ample sewing space and advanced features, however some of them take up a large space and are not suitable.
Another consideration is the quilts you make.
If you are working with large projects regularly like king size quilts, then a large machine is a must however these start to get very expensive such as the Bernina Classic Frame Long Arm Machine Q24.
The BERNINA S, C, or L PRO Frame, comes in 16″, 20″, and 24″ throat space options.
This machine offers a unique digital thread tension adjustment and ergonomic operation from the front, making it comfortable and easy to use.
Plus, the stitch regulation feature ensures perfect stitches every time.
If you need a larger workspace, the BERNINA Studio Frame is also available
I am also asked, do I need an industrial sewing machine.
The short answer is no.
Industrial machines need regular servicing and can be very dated if you decide to buy something cheaper.
Although they are well constructed and the parts are strong they also require regular service from sewing machine repair experts.
The machine head of a more modern machine is much more reliable and more suited to work on your quilt top.
The best sewing machines are the ones designed by quilters and the Bernina Q16 fits this category nicely.
It will do a King size quilt and is a good choice for someone with a reasonable budget.
What to look for in a long arm quilting machine
When deciding on the best quilting machine for home use, it’s crucial to consider the machine’s features and ease of use. A machine with adjustable stitch length, needle position, and built-in bobbin winder can make a big difference in the quality of your work. Additionally, an extension table for working on large projects and the option to work in a seated position can be beneficial.
One of the most critical factors in choosing the best quilting machine is the machine’s throat size.
A large throat space is essential for working with large quilts and control buttons need to be placed within easy access, a metal frame for stability, and an adjustable stitching speed also contribute to a machine’s ease of use.
When selecting the best quilting machine for your needs, it’s essential to consider customer service and the available support for your chosen machine.
Bernina have fabulous support through passionate local dealers globally.
I have only had good experience with them.
What if I am on a budget?
For those on a budget, it’s essential to weigh the benefits of a new machine against the cost. It may be a good idea to start with a bed-size quilt to test out the machine before committing to a more significant investment. The best choice for you will depend on your personal preferences, quilting style, and budget.
The best quilting machine for home use will vary depending on your specific needs, budget, and available space. By considering factors such as throat size, stitch length, control panel accessibility, and customer service, you can make an informed decision about the right machine for your quilting projects. Whether you choose a long-arm machine like the Grace Company Qnique, a sit-down model like the Little Foot Frame, or a traditional sewing machine with free motion quilting capabilities, you’ll be one step closer to becoming a serious quilter.
A long-arm quilting machine is a specialized sewing machine designed specifically for the quilting process. It allows quilters to work on larger projects with ease and precision, thanks to its unique design and advanced features. In this article, we will discuss the characteristics and benefits of a long-arm quilting machine and how it differs from standard and mid-arm sewing machines.
Long-arm quilting machines are designed to handle larger projects, such as king-size quilts or intricate quilt patterns. They have a more extended workspace than regular sewing machines, giving quilters the flexibility to work on their projects without constantly repositioning the fabric. The long arm of the machine is responsible for its name, and it provides the necessary space to maneuver the quilt effortlessly.
One of the reasons why long-arm quilting machines are considered the best for quilting is their advanced features. These machines often come with computerized sewing options, allowing quilters to create intricate designs with ease. The computerized system can store patterns and guide the machine to sew precise, even stitches. This level of precision is difficult to achieve with a standard sewing machine, making long-arm machines highly sought after by experienced quilters.
In addition to computerized sewing options, long-arm quilting machines also offer various advanced features that set them apart from regular sewing machines. These may include a built-in stitch regulator, adjustable stitch length, needle position control, and a customizable workspace. The combination of these features allows quilters to produce professional-quality quilts with less effort than using a standard sewing machine.
While long-arm quilting machines are ideal for larger projects, they may not be suitable for everyone due to their size and cost. For those who want the benefits of a long-arm machine but have limited space or budget, mid-arm quilting machines can be a viable alternative. Mid-arm machines offer a compromise between the capabilities of long-arm machines and the smaller size of standard sewing machines. They still provide a larger workspace than a regular sewing machine but are more compact and affordable than long-arm machines.
When comparing long-arm, mid-arm, and standard sewing machines, it’s essential to consider your specific quilting needs and the available space in your home. Long-arm quilting machines are undoubtedly the best choice for those who work on large projects and require advanced features. However, they may not be the most practical option for home use if space or budget is a concern. In such cases, a mid-arm quilting machine or even a versatile computerized sewing machine may be more suitable.
A long-arm quilting machine is a specialized sewing machine designed to handle larger projects and offer advanced features for precise, professional-quality quilting. These machines are the best choice for experienced quilters who work on large projects and require advanced sewing capabilities. However, for those with limited space or budget, mid-arm quilting machines or computerized sewing machines may be more appropriate options. By understanding the differences between these machines and considering your specific needs, you can choose the right machine for your quilting projects.
This article is not a complete buying guide as there are alot of products. For our money the Bernina Q16 is the best long arm machine and will give you the best results plus you can use your own designs.
If, like many modern-day quilt artists, you use an electronic quilting machine, you may wish to consider the advantages of a long arm quilting machine. This machine enables you to work on various areas of the quilt without shifting positions or playing “musical chairs” with yourself to cover each part of the quilt.
In centuries past, it was common for many women to gather at a quilter’s home to work on the project simultaneously. Imagine the scene: a bed-sized quilt stretched tightly on a quilting frame with women seated on the top, bottom, and each side. As they sew, the women talk, laugh, exchange recipes, instruct the young women on household arts, and share secrets. Making the quilt was pleasant, and the company even more so.
Today women don’t often have the luxury of sewing a quilt alone, or with several equally-busy friends. Working mothers, single mothers, and “corporate” women have little time to do basic chores, much less hand-sew a quilt. Long arm quilting machines can help a busy seamstress not only create a lovely quilt, but can also act as those surrogate friends who work on the sides of the quilt. To the dismay of hard-core hand quilters, many beginners’ books on quilting cite as one of the required tools “a quilting machine, preferable a long arm quilting machine.”
“Regular” quilting machines have an arm about seven inches; this allows the artist to concentrate on one particular area at a time. You will need to shift your own position often, and also shift the position of the quilt within the machine. A long arm quilting machine covers a lot more space, holding the quilt tightly in place while you work. You can see much more of your work to make sure everything matches and is evenly spaced. You’ll need to change your position and the quilt’s position much less often with a long arm quilting machine. This is not only more comfortable, it’s also a lot more efficient; all that time moving yourself and the quilt becomes quality work-time, enabling you to finish your quilt much faster.
Can I Afford a Long Arm Quilting Machine?
Naturally, this depends on how much money you have, and what you plan to do with your quilts. If you plan to sell your quilts, it might be worth your while to invest in a machine that helps you work more swiftly and accurately.
A long arm quilting machine can cost from $10,000 and up, depending on the extras that you choose. Consider buying the long arm quilting machine that you trust, and that you can reasonably afford, because upgrades are always possible in the future.