Heavy Duty Sewing Machine Buyer’s Guide

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The most basic consideration when choosing a heavy-duty sewing machine model is whether it can complete your sewing projects.

Basically, the overriding concern is whether the machine can meet your sewing needs. Even so, there are other factors that you should consider when choosing the right sewing machine for your job.

Sewing Needs

This is the principal consideration as you need a machine that will meet your current sewing needs. You should also consider future needs so that you acquire a model that can work for you in the long-term.

Type of Sewing Machine

There are 5 types of sewing machines;

  • the mechanical machine (also called manual tailoring machine),
  • the electronic sewing machine (which is powered by electricity),
  • the computerized sewing machine (which is basically an automated electronic machine that features an inbuilt computing device),
  • the embroidery machine,
  • and the overlock machine (also called serger).

Sewing machines are also classified into mechanical or computerized sewing machines. Here, the mechanical sewing machine is an automated electronic sewing machine that uses dials for adjusting machine settings, while in computerized machines, pushbuttons do the same task.

The heavy-duty sewing machine is usually a high throughput sewing machine able to achieve exceptionally high SPM and can be used to sew heavy fabrics such as quilts or high-density materials. High-end models are usually computerized machines.

The computerized model is also described as a computer-controlled sewing machine (CCSM). This sewing machine normally has one sewing head that can hold only one needle, though some high-end models can hold multiple needles in the same sewing head.

The heavy-duty sewing machine that you choose should be able to fit in your worktable. Moreover, your power socket must be able to supply the right voltage (usually 110-240 volts [v] of alternating current [AC] power) and current to the machine.

Normally, a mechanical heavy-duty sewing machine suffices for small- and medium-scale businesses, as well as for hobbyists. The mechanical machine is also less prone to damage as compared to its costlier CCSM alternative.

Types of Needles

You should look for a machine that can use needles that are recommended for making stitches that you want to use. Also, these needles should be able to work with the fabrics that you are likely going to sew. Using the right needle in the right sewing machine allows for optimization of sewing efficiency.

Also, you should check if the machine comes with a needle threader that can automatically thread the sewing needle.

Most sewing needles are made of steel or nickel, and some nickel needles are gold-plated for use by sewists who have allergy against nickel.

Usually, heavy-duty models come with a set of sewing needles, and you can choose a model that comes with your desired types of needles as this shows that the model can work with these needles.

Sewing Bed

This is the machine bed of your sewing machine. There are 2 main types of sewing bed – the flat bed and raised bed.

Another type of sewing bed is the cylindrical bed, and this is used for sewing cylindrical apparels such as sleeves and pant legs.

Most heavy-duty models come with a flat-bed as it can be used to stitch most fabrics and clothes. Even so, if you are looking for a machine for sewing sleeves and the legs of pants, then you should go for a model with a cylindrical bed.

Size of Sewing Bed

This size determines the work area available on the machine. You should choose a model that provides enough space to stitch your clothes and apparel.

Types of Stitches and Stitch Patterns

This is the types of stitches that the sewing machine can make. As expected, you should choose a model that can sew your desired stitches. Also, most heavy-duty models come with hard-coded stitch patterns that you can choose from, and you should check the stitch chart to see if your desired stitch patterns are available.

It is prudent to check how many stitch patterns are hard-coded in the machine, as well as if the machine allows you to import stitch patterns using a removable storage device such as a memory card or flash disk.

Working Speed

One of the ways of classifying a heavy-duty model is its working speed as rated in terms of SPM. You should choose a model that can deliver the desired SPM for your sewing projects.

Moreover, some models come with adjustable working speeds which allows you to use them for complex sewing work that requires stitches to be sewn at different speeds.

The efficiency of this working speed can be determined by the SPI rate as a high-SPM machine with a high SPI rate is more efficient than a machine with an equivalent SPM but a lower SPI rate.

It is advisable to choose a heavy-duty model that has a high SPI and a high SPM.


You can only purchase a model that fits in your budget. Even so, you should factor in the aforementioned considerations when doing a cost-benefit analysis of each of your chosen models so that you can select the model that suits your needs and fits your budget.


Heavy-duty sewing machines are pricey models, and you need the peace of mind of knowing that the machine will work as advertised and if an issue arises, the manufacturer will have your back and repair the machine free of charge.

As expected, you should choose a sewing machine that is backed by a warranty.

You should also read the warranty agreement so as to understand what is covered in the warranty policy for your specific model.

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The editorial team here at Vault50.com is made up of a number of writers based all over the world. Our interests and experience cover the full range of what we talk about here. Clare Turner is one of our key contributers writing about the home. David Lachance is our resident e-commerce and business guru, if it's anything to do with that, he's your man. Kevin Simpson takes care of the website layout and publishing and also heads up our education section, with in-depth reviews and articles on courses and training. Find out more about all of us here.

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