Looking for the best heavy duty sewing machines? We’ve got you covered.
Snagging, snapping thread, broken needles, skipped stitches, smoke and burning smells coming from your sewing machine… Sound familiar?
If you’ve ever struggled when sewing thicker fabrics — or even just multiple layers — it could be that your sewing machine just isn’t up to the job.
It might be time to consider upgrading your regular machine to a heavy duty sewing machine.
We’ve got the lowdown on everything you need to know about these machines, as well as a list of the top heavy duties on the market today.
Let’s get right into it…
- What is a Heavy Duty Sewing Machine?
- Features To Look For
- Tips for Using a Heavy Duty Machine
- Cost Guide
- The Best Heavy Duty Sewing Machines
What is a Heavy Duty Sewing Machine?
Heavy duty sewing machines are specially designed using top quality parts and construction methods to be able to handle sewing tough fabrics such as denim, upholstery fabrics, and leather, and multiple layers with ease
Heavy duty sewing machines take the hassle out of projects such as quilting, to stay stable when sewing at high speeds, and to be durable enough to last even when used intensively for long periods of time.
In a nutshell, heavy duty sewing machines can handle the jobs that your ordinary sewing machine can’t.
Features To Look For
- Able to sew very thick fabrics and multiple layers
- Must sew smoothly without skipping stitches and produce a high quality stitch
- Built from metal components rather than plastic parts for strength and durability
- Easy to use
- Powerful motor to drive though tough fabrics easily without breaking needles
- Heavy enough to be stable and robust even when sewing at high speeds
- Effort and time saving features such as automatic tension, drop in bobbin, needle threader etc.
Tips for Using a Heavy Duty Machine
When using a heavy duty sewing machine there are some simple tips that can make your life easier.
Be aware that heavy duty sew machines are much more powerful and much faster than regular sewing machines, so go easy on the foot pedal until you get used to the feel of the machine to avoid machine costly mistakes.
Always use the right needle for the job. Heavy duty sewing machine are powerful, and using a needle that isn’t strong enough will cause it to break. Likewise, use a thicker thread when sewing very thick fabrics.
Be kind. Maintain your sewing machine. Keep it oiled and well looked after and it will last you for many, many years.
How much you will pay for your heavy duty sewing machine depends on what kind of features and specifications it has, but as a general rule you can pick up a decent machine for between around $300 to $1,000.
It’s worth investing in a good quality machine as it will last you for decades, although be aware that high end heavy duty machines can be extremely expensive indeed!
Generally speaking, you get what you pay for with sewing machines — but that doesn’t mean that you can’t pick up some good bargains.
The Best Heavy Duty Sewing Machines
One of the most amazing quilting machines around, the Juki TL2000QI Long-Arm Sewing & Quilting Machine is also capable of handling multiple layers and thicker fabrics.
It features a brawny motor capable of an outstanding 1500 stitches per minute with a computer controlled speed mechanism which allows you to easily sew at slower speeds when necessary.
In addition to this it has an easily adjustable pressure foot feature with knee lifter, automatic needle control for pivoting fabric, thread trimmer and automatic needle threader, and dial for easy thread tension adjustment.
The work table benefits from bright LED lighting, is extendable, and can also be used as a free arm.
A sturdy aluminum frame ensures that the Juki TL2000QI stays stable without vibration even when sewing at high speeds.
Bottom line: this is one of the best machines on the market, and definitely a contender for the best heavy duty sewing machine.
- Very durable
- Sews at high speeds
- Great time and labor saving features
- Ideal for quilting
- Can be easily extended for additional space
- Hands free operation
- Well lit work space
- Runs smoothly
- Straightforward to use
- Only one straight stitch available – no zigzag
- Requires regular oiling to continue performing optimally
Equipped to tackle all kinds of tasks thanks to the wide range of pressure feet supplied, the Janome HD3000 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine can handle thick fabrics with ease.
It comes with a good range of 18 built in stitches including a 1 step automatic buttonhole, and is able to sew at speeds of up to 860 stitches per minute.
It’s packed with great effort saving features including an automatic needle threader, thread tension adjuster, jam resistant bobbin and automatic bobbin winding, and adjustable pressure foot with extra high lift to fit in multiple layers of fabric or quilts.
This is an easy to use heavy duty sewing machine which is a good choice for both beginners and experienced sewists, and its strong metal body construction means it should last for years.
- Excellent when working with multiple layers of fabric
- Sturdy construction
- Runs quietly with little vibration
- Ideal for sewing leather
- Great stitch quality
- Simple to use
- Be especially careful when moving between different fabrics to ensure no snagging
- LED light could be brighter
This heavy duty long arm sewing and quilting machine by Juki has a robust aluminum frame, and one needle for high quality lockstitch for all kinds of fabrics, and quilting.
The large extension table offers ample workspace, and there are a ton of other great features including automatic thread trimmer and needle threader, and extra high presser foot lift plus adjustable pressure foot control with knee lift lever.
Thread tension and stitch length can be easily adjusted manually using the dial, and the range of speed settings mean that you can stitch from as slowly as 200 stitches per minute all the way up to a speedy 1500 stitches per minute.
It comes with a high price tag — but be aware that this is a high quality, commercial level, heavy duty machine.
- Industrial level heavy duty stitching
- Fairly quiet when in use
- Fast top stitching speed
- Excellent stitch quality
- Solidly built
- Practical, large work space and handling area
- Remains fairly lightweight and portable
- Foot operated automatic thread cutter is very convenient
- Automatic needle threader could be more intuitive to use
- Not very versatile only having one style of stitch
Brother is one of the most well known sewing machine brands, and the heavyweight ST371HD has a lot to recommend it for a budget machine.
With 37 different styles of stitch to choose from using the simple stitch selector dial, this heavyweight sewing machine is very versatile and tough enough to sew leather thanks to its metal chassis construction and decent motor which gives a top stitch speed of 800 stitches per minute.
It has a free arm for sleeve and pant leg stitching, and comes with a great range of accessories including 6 different pressure feet and 3 piece needle set.
- Low price
- Impressively heavy duty considering the price
- Wide range of stitches
- Easy to use
- Convenient automatic needle threader
- Capable of stitching a wide range of fabrics
- No speed control or start/stop feature
- No option to adjust thread tension
With one of the most solid reputations in the business, Singer are a reliable brand.
The affordably priced Singer Heavy Duty 4452 Sewing Machine offers good value for money and is designed to last with a solid metal frame and a motor much more powerful than those found in regular sewing machines which enables a time saving top stitching speed of 1100 stitches per minute.
Not only that, but there are 32 stitches in all — all with adjustable stitch width- – including an automatic one step buttonhole, making this Singer heavy duty sewing machine versatile enough for a huge variety of projects.
Other features include a practical and easy to use top loading bobbin, a built in needle threader, a pressure foot lifter with super high lift, and a free arm for areas that are harder to reach.
- Very sturdily built
- Easy to use
- Strong motor
- Fast stitch speed
- Good range of stitches
- Nice selection of accessories
- Can sometimes jam when sewing thicker fabrics
- Pedal is very sensitive and there is no manual speed control
The brooding black design of the Janome Industrial Grade HD1000 sewing machine is elegant enough to grace any sewing space.
But with an excellent motor and a tough as nails metal construction — it doesn’t just look good, it’s also a real workhorse too.
There are 14 different stitches on the Janome HD1000, all of which have adjustable stitch length or width, plus a 4 step buttonhole.
There are plenty of other great features too, like the automatic bobbin winder, in-built needle threader, easy to use stitch selection dial, free arm, and smooth fabric feed thanks to the top notch feed dog set up.
- Excellent on thick fabrics and multiple layers
- Strong and durable
- Runs quietly
- Pretty good range of features and accessories
- Gives good quality stitches
- Suitable for a wide range of fabrics
- Fairly simple to use for beginners
- Good for quilting
- No decorative stitches
- Can occasionally jam — don’t overload it
This high speed straight stitch heavy duty sewing machine by Brother smoothly churns out quality stitches at a top rate of 1500 per minute so you’ll have your projects finished in no time!
There are 4 different feed dog settings to allow for perfect control over fabric at all times. For added convenience just push a button and the Brother PQ1500SL will automatically trim your thread or thread your needle for you, and when you stop sewing the needle will automatically stop in the down position.
There’s also a convenient pressure foot knee lifter, vertical bobbin, adjustable thread tension dial, free motion possibility, and extension table — which is ideal for quilting projects — and a range of 7 different feet.
- Super fast sewing speeds
- Good price considering its quality
- Relatively noise free
- Straightforward and easy to use
- Robust and designed to last
- Comes with a good selection of accessories including 7 different feet
- Convenient and time saving automatic features
- 25 year warranty
- Thread tension can sometimes be difficult to get right
- Can take beginners a little while to get to grips with working the machine
Which do you think is the best heavy duty sewing machine for larger projects?