Blog Traditional By John Thatch / January 22, 2020 Share Tweet Pin Best sewing machine for quiltingUnlike regular sewing, quilting requires some advanced skill. Therefore, quilters who want to elevate their skills might need something more than a regular sewing machine. The best sewing machines for quilters have certain additional features for the craft’s unique demands.How is Quilting Different?Basic quilting doesn’t differ much from regular sewing, and the art form has been around long before the invention of the sewing machine. Sewing machines are useful for sewing faster and forming straight, uniform stitches, so they can make sewing a basic quilt extremely easy. However, when quilt patterns become very elaborate, require many pieces, or call for stitches that aren’t straight and uniform, some advanced machinery becomes necessary. Different sewing machines have different accessories and features, but all of the best sewing machines for quilters have a few things in common.Things to Look for in a Quilting MachineBest sewing machine for quiltingMultiple Stitching FunctionsThe best sewing machines for quilting have the ability to make different types of stitches. Luckily, most sewing machines on the market have the ability to form different types of stitches. In general, inexpensive sewing machines will have a few basic stitches, while expensive sewing machines have a wider variety of decorative stitches.Feed Dog LeverThe feed dogs of a sewing machine are the rows of “teeth” under the needle, which help feed the fabric through the machine to form straight, even stitches. While useful for sewing in a straight line, they can hinder free-motion quilting, a popular quilting method especially among beginners. All of the best sewing machines for free motion quilting have a feed dog lever or switch, which lowers the feed dogs when the switch is activated.Programmable Needle Up/DownSome machines can be programmed so that the needle will stop in the up or down position every time. When stopped in the down position, the needle holds the fabric secure so the quilter can turn their work without losing their place. In the up position, the fabric remains free for easy removal.Wide Machine ThroatThe throat of a sewing machine is the space found to the right of the needle and left of the upright arm. A larger machine throat provides more room for maneuvering fabric, so it’s a desired feature in all the top rated sewing machines for quilting.Are Expensive Machines Better?Expensive machines aren’t objectively better or worse. However, extra features can come in handy for beginners learning their craft or for experienced quilters working at an advanced level. For the most part, a “good” sewing machine for quilting will range from $500-$900 . It’s still possible to sew quilts on machines under $500. Just remember that it may take more time or effort without those extra quilting features. For some tips on how to sew quilts on any machine, refer to this video.How to Buy Your First Sewing Machine1. Set Your BudgetQuilting machines vary widely in cost. The very best rated sewing machine for quilters will be expensive, but it likely comes with additional functions and shortcuts to make quilting easier. Deciding what features you can live without versus the features you will actually use can help refine your search.2. Evaluate Your Personal Needs and SkillThere is no universal best sewing machine for quilting. There is only the best machine for each individual. The right sewing machine for you will be determined by your sewing needs at home and your personal skill level. Consider these aspects as you continue to narrow down your list.3. Try a Few Different ModelsDifferent sewing machines may have louder motors, heavier frames, weak lighting, etc. It would be unfortunate to pay for a brand new machine only to discover that the motor is so loud it drives you crazy. You may also discover that some machines “feel” better than others or are better at producing stitches you like. This is why test-driving different sewing machines before buying one is a good idea. You can do this by visiting a dealer’s showroom or trying out several friends’ sewing machines.4. Think Long-TermIf you’re an absolute beginner or the type of person who starts a lot of projects without finishing them, consider buying a basic sewing machine until you’re ready for an upgrade. Experienced sewers and quilters are better off purchasing a durable, high-quality machine that will last them a lifetime.So, what is best sewing machine for quilting? Here are five top rated sewing machines for quilters, ordered from least to most expensive. All of the models listed here are computerized sewing machines and have the necessary basic features for quilting.Best Quilting Machines1. Singer Quantum Stylist 9960The Quantum Stylist 9960 is priced below $500, but it stands up against machines twice the cost thanks to its many features. Along with the must-have features, this machine has an automatic needle threader and an automatic thread trimmer, which are usually seen in higher-end machines above the $500 price point. Overall, the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 provides a decent quilting stitch, making this the best sewing machine for quilting under 500.Pros:Most affordable on the list600 stitches5 lettering fontsAutomatic needle threader/cutterEasy load bobbinLCD screenCons:Can’t use quilting bar and walking presser foot at the same timeBobbin tends to get tangled with low-quality thread 2. Janome Memory Craft 6300The Janome MC-6300 doesn’t come with as many extras as its competitors, but that’s only because it’s designed to be a heavy-duty machine devoted solely to high-quality sewing. This machine’s advanced feed mechanism makes it easier to work with different fabric thicknesses, and its sewing speed tops out at 1,000 stitches per minute. Considering the fact that a standard sewing machine can sew 850 stitches per minute at most, that makes this machine one of the fastest available.Pros:66 stitchesAutomatic needle threader/cutterKnee-lifterAdjustable needle positionSeparate motor for bobbin winderSews 1,000 stitches per minuteCons:Fewer stitch optionsWeak sewing lightNo monogramming capabilities 3. Janome 3160QDCClocking it at around 12 pounds, the Janome 3160QDC is the best lightweight sewing machine for quilting. A 7-inch throat provides enough room to comfortably sew a queen-size quilt or smaller. The ability to adjust the pressure of the presser foot allows you to work with different fabric textures. Compact and lightweight, this is the perfect portable machine for your quilting class as well as the best sewing machine for home quilting.Pros:60 stitchesAutomatic needle threader/cutterJam-proof, top-load bobbinLightweightCons:Fewer stitch optionsPresser feet for quilting sold separatelyLoud motor 4. Juki HZL-F600All-metal components, a box feed system, and an 8-inch throat work together in the Juki HZL-F600 to ensure that quilters can work with all types of fabrics, from delicate silks and satins to heavy-duty denim and leather. Unfortunately, this level of versatility often results in thread tension issues, but they can be easily resolved by adjusting the tension knobs.Pros:225 stitches4 alphanumeric fontsAutomatic needle threaderFoot-powered thread cutterKnee-lifterQuiet motorTwo sewing lightsLCD screenConsTension issuesExpensive—over $1000 at most places 5. Bernina B530Bernina has consistently produced the best rated sewing machines for quilting. The Bernina B530 is the beginners best sewing machine for quilting for beginners, thanks to its intuitive design. The stitch length and width are modifiable, guaranteeing the most precise stitches possible. Although it's expensive, this machine is priced for its quality, and it's the best sewing machine for quilting and embroidery on the list.Pros:395 stitchesCustom stitch designsSews 900 stitches per minuteAdjustable needle positionSemi-automatic needle threaderHands-free presser foot lifterUser-friendlyLCD screenCons:Expensive—price ranges from $2000-$3000 Final VerdictSewing machines aren't cheap, but they also don't have to break the bank. The Singer QS-9960 might be the best sewing machine for quilting under 500, but it's also the best sewing machine for quilting, period.Not only does it come with the basic quilting functions, it has many premium features that are rarely seen in machines within the same price category. An astonishing 600 stitches, automatic needle threader and cutter, and monogramming capabilities makes this interesting enough for advanced sewing, but it's still affordable enough for people just learning their craft.Additionally, Singer is one of the most ubiquitous sewing machine brands, so you can take it to any repair shop when it’s time to get your machine serviced.