Top 5 Affordable Long Arm Quilting Machines [2020 UPDATE]
If you’ve ever looked into buying a long arm quilting machine, some of the prices may well have given you a nose bleed.
Many of the options available seem to be aimed at fledgling business owners that are looking to build a company around their long arm. With price points between $8,000 and $15,000, the everyday home user cannot hope to give it a go.
Or so you may think!
There are in fact some affordable long arm quilting machines available. There are also advanced sewing machines on sale that feature long arm style capability.
In this article, we will explore all those options, bringing you 5 of the best affordable long arm quilting machines currently on the market. For our findings at a glance, just head to the table below. For in-depth reviews of each of our selected budget-friendly picks, keep on reading.
Top 5 Affordable Long Arm Quilting Machines
|MOST AFFORDABLE:Juki TL-2000Qi 9"Long-Arm Quilter|| 9" Throat1,500 spmEven Feed Foot
|BEST COMMERCIAL:Encore 18x8"Long Arm Quilterw/ Stitch Reg||18" ThroatTouch ScreenAuto Stitch$2,999.00|
|Juki Kirei HZL-NX7ComputerizedLong ArmQuilting Machine||12" ThroatTouch Screen351 Preset Stitches$2,999.00|
|Janome MemoryCraft 6600 Pro Sewing/Quilting Machine||9" Throat163 Preset Stitches71 Needle Drops$2,199.00|
|EversewnSparrow QEQuilter's EditionMachine||8" Throat72 Preset Stitches6 Presser Feet$799.00|
Long Arm Quilter Reviews
I have selected the following 5 quilting machines to cater for a range of demands, (home hobbyist right up to starter machines for commercial use) and ensured that each option was below $3,000.
While that may sound expensive, it is actually very affordable in the world of the long arm quilter.
And when you see that my number one pick below retails for less than $800. You’ll understand that it is possible to buy a long arm only a moderate budget. So if you’re ready to investigate, let’s jump to it.
1. MOST AFFORDABLE: Juki TL-2000Qi 9″ Long-Arm Quilting Machine
My number one affordable long arm quilter for 2020 is the Juki TL-2000Qi. This machine is currently retailing at the amazing price of only $799.00 on Sewing Machines Plus.
It features everything you need to start longarm quilting. And when you think most machines start at around $4000, this is a no brainer for those of us that want to give long arm quilting a go, without re-mortgaging the house.
So how have Juki managed to release such a discounted long arm machine? How much have they had to compromise on quality and functionality?
I am pleased to say, not much at all.
Okay, you will not be starting a large quilting business using this machine any time soon, however, as a way of getting involved with the craft, it is borderline perfect.
First off, this is an updated version of the earlier TL2000. It offers a more powerful 1500 Stitches Per Minutes over a much larger work area, thus being suitable for quilting.
Build quality is great with the aluminum die-cast frame exuding quality while minimizing vibrations.
Versatility is top-notch here; the Juki TL2000QI is configured as a single needle, lock stitch machine meaning that beyond quilting you can also use it for tailoring, dressmaking, and home decor items.
What’s not to love!
Drop Feed Operation
Add the above functionality to the long arm sewing and quilting features (made possible due to the true drop feed operation), you have a unit that completely belies the $799.00 price tag.
LED Lights & Pedal Control
Additional benefits include LED lights for highlighting the main work area. There is also an easy to use, single pedal control that allows you to operate both speed and trimming with the one foot.
Automatic Thread Trimmer
Juki has fitted this versatile machine with an automatic thread trimmer device.
This trims the needle and bobbin threads at the sewing end all at the same time. The system is operated via a simple button control.
Predetermined needle stop position
Whatever stage of stitching you may be at, the needle will finish a cycle and stop at it’s lowest vertical point.
You can then move the needle up or down in small increments using the needle nudge button.
Even Feed Foot
A reliable feed is maintained throughout your work because of the inbuilt even feed foot.
This will help take your projects to the next level due to the consistency of your seams, and the ability to work with much thicker materials.
Speed Control Mechanism
The speed control mechanism is another feature that will help in the quilting process as it allows the machine to penetrate materials at low speeds.
You’ll see a vast improvement in stitch accuracy when working with multiple layers as a result.
Via a simple switch, you can raise and lower the feed dog. This is especially useful when quilting as the drop feed allows you to sew curved stitches with ease.
It is hard to fault the Juki TL-2000Qi 9″ Long-Arm Quilting Machine. At this price point, it is an excellent way of beginning your long arm journey.
It has everything you need to start quilting on a budget, and when you compare the features to more expensive machines it really does hold up.
Let the quilting begin!
- Related Content: Long Arm Quilter Reviews -- Our top picks for 2020
2. BEST BUDGET COMMERCIAL: Encore 18x8 Inch Long Arm Quilting Machine w/ Stitch Regulation
For an affordable long arm quilter that provides the throat size and functionality to actually start a quilting business, the Encore 18x8 is your cost effective choice.
This budget-friendly semi-industrial long arm quilter is currently available for just under $3,000.
There’s a very generous 18” space between the needle and arm here, meaning large quilting projects can be carried out with ease.
And as you would expect for a long arm that could easily be used for commercial purposes, the advanced features allow for some very sophisticated designs.
Let’s take a closer look at what the Encore 18x8 brings to the table at such an affordable price tag, (when compared to the rest of the market).
Automatic stitch regulator
As with our top pick Juki, this comes with an automatic stitch regulator. This helps regulate the stitching so that consistency is maintained throughout no matter the angle of the stitch or the thickness of the material.
The great thing here is the LCD screen allowing you to select the different stitch modes as you work.
Extra Large Bobbin & Winder
To assist quilting further there is an extra-large bobbin allowing for less disruption in your workflow.
There’s also a built-in bobbin winder to keep everything taught and ready for action.
Adjustable Quilting Foot
A reliable quilting foot holds your work fabric in position, ensuring that the needle penetrates the material with optimum accuracy.
You can also adjust the vertical position of the foot when thicker, multi-layer materials are being used.
Auto Needle Positioning
The machine provides greater control over the needle position by ensuring that it stops with exact precision. Broken needles or damaged fabric are a thing of the past with this quilting workhorse.
Ergonomic Build quality
For long stints at the machine, the curve style handlebars provide greater comfort and make it easier to adjust the arm as you work. The end result is much less strain on your muscles as you quilt.
If you are planning on using your Encore 18x8 for business purposes, (where time is money) it is reassuring to know that it needs very little maintenance.
The inbuilt oil lubrication system is self-contained. This keeps all relevant mechanisms functioning as they should.
There’s also no danger of oil leaks potentially ruining your latest project.
The Encore 18x8 is a top-quality semi-industrial long arm quilter that has the throat size and features you need to take your quilting seriously.
And when compared to other long arms available at this level, the price point is extremely affordable.
3. Juki Kirei HZL-NX7 Computerized Long Arm Sewing and Quilting Machine
And here we have another Juki to make our top 5 list of affordable long arm quilting machines. It seems these guys know how to provide long arm functionality at a price mere mortals can actually afford.
The Kirei HZL-NX7 is aimed at a similar potential user to the Encore 18x8. The machine has enough features to help you quilt large projects and could even be used for commercial purposes should you decide.
Furthermore, the versatility of the HZL-NX7 means you have the functionality of a professional sewing machine all within the configuration of a tabletop long arm quilting machine.
In other words, the best of both worlds.
The name “Kirei” actually translates as ‘beautiful’, and there’s no denying that this is a pretty machine capable of producing some very beautiful quilts.
Let’s take a look at some of its features in detail
Computerized Functionality (Touch Screen Display)
Juki has packed in some impressive perks with the computer-aided function of the HZL-NX7.
An incredible 351 decorative and utility stitches are available for any type of project. There’s also 20 buttonholes, and 4 alphanumeric monogramming fonts.
The easy to use touch screen display provides access to all of these options, along with the ability to adjust stitch length and width.
Customized configurations are also fully storable using the machine’s memory.
The color touchscreen also gives the user the ability to adjust and program variables such as needle position, thread tension, presser foot pressure, foot control and drop feed functions and a whole lot more besides.
Extra-wide sewing and quilting area
All good long arm quilters require a large workspace and here the HZL-NX7 delivers.
When dealing with quilting materials there is a full 12” throat space to the right of the needle with which to work with.
Furthermore, the large 22.4” x 13.76” provides ample space for manipulating your fabrics. A bright LED lighting system ensures that you can see everything clearly.
A handy, slide-on worktable covers a storage compartment for all your much-needed accessories.
Essentially, the generous specifications of this long arm make it possible to work on large-sized fabrics, while still being able to function as a sophisticated tabletop sewing machine should you need.
And all for less than $3,000.
BOX smart feed system
The BOX smart feed system is designed to make sewing easier. This alongside the pivot function presser foot controller allows for increased accuracy of stitching when moving around corners with the needle down.
Multi-functional foot control
This multi-functional foot control system actually has a programmable switch on one side of the unit.
Here you can pre-program the unit in order to activate additional components such as the presser foot lift, thread cutting, and stitching.
The Juki HZL-NX7 long arm sewing and quilting machine come with the following warranty terms as standard:
- 5-year warranty on mechanical parts,
- 2 years on electronic parts,
- 90-day warranty on labor and adjustments.
The Juki HZL-NX7 long arm sewing and quilting machine is an excellent option for those looking for the best of both worlds; a sophisticated tabletop sewing machine alongside a capable long arm quilter.
However, this split does mean that the Encore is the better option for those looking for a stand-alone quilter.
That being said, the computerized functionality on the HZL-NX7 is wonderful to work with. A worthy addition to our top 5 most affordable long arm quilting machines for good reason.
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4. Janome Memory Craft 6600 Professional Sewing & Quilting Machine
The Janome Memory Craft 6600 Professional is another machine that aims to provide a cross between a quality sewing machine and a functioning quilter.
Only here, the price point is significantly lower than the Juki HZL-NX7, coming in at over $800 cheaper.
However, it should be noted that although quilting can be done using the Memory Craft 6600, it does not feature a particularly wide throat space, meaning larger quilting projects could prove difficult.
However, at its current available sale price, it just hard to form part of our top 5 in terms of affordability.
Layered Fabric Feeding System
An excellent component to aid quilting, the inbuilt AcuFeed system is designed to guide each side of the fabric as you work.
This AcuFeed foot is combined with a seven-point feed dog system. Essentially, even the thickest materials will move smoothly as you quilt.
A further benefit for quilters is the knee lift. Here the user can raise the presser foot without taking their hands away from the material.
When creating long, repetitive and/or difficult stitches and seams, (such as you do with quilting) this is a real bonus.
On-screen selection of 163 stitches
While that number doesn’t come close to the 351 available stitches offered by the Juki HZL-NX7, that is still ample enough to for most users. (You’re also paying close to $800 less remember).
Decorative and quilting stitches are available, and choosing them is made easy via the on-screen display.
Generous work area
We’re looking for an affordable long arm here and clearly the arm and workspace size needs to be extended in order for the machine to make our top 5.
While dimensions do not match some of the other options reviewed above, the 9-inches x 5 inches (225mm x 120mm), does provide enough room for quality quilting projects.
Automatic Thread Cutter
Touch button operation to manually snip the thread is always a handy feature and is present on most of the machines reviewed here today.
That being said, with the Janome 6600 you can even program the cutter to engage at the end of a stitch.
Easy to use start/stop
A handy Start/Stop Button means you can relax your foot on those large quilting style stitch returns. Free motion quilting over a large area is made easy with well-considered features such as this.
Janome provides a very generous warranty on the 6600. Buy this machine and you can enjoy a 25-year mechanical warranty, 5 year’s electronic coverage and labor assistance for 1 year.
Overall the Janome Memory Craft 6600 Professional Sewing & Quilting Machine is a good way to experience limited long arm action at an affordable price.
However, I still have to recommend the top pick Juki in terms of value for money when compared to this.
5. Eversewn Sparrow QE -- Quilter’s Edition Sewing and Quilting Machine
The final entry in our list of affordable long arm quilting machines is the Eversewn Sparrow QE – Quilter’s Edition
This is another excellent machine that manages to break the sub $1000 mark, coming in at the same price as my top pick from Juki, just $799.00.
Rarely are quality quilting machines priced so generously.
And don’t let the reduced cost make you think you can’t create excellent quilts with this Sparrow QU. On the contrary, with over 70 stitch patterns available, (all accessed from an easy to use control panel); and adequate 8-inch throat space, your quilting ideas will become reality in no time.
Let’s take a closer look.
First of all, that all-important throat space gives you plenty of room between the needle and the machine work area when quilting.
The machine also has an advanced knee lift system. As mentioned in previous reviews above, the system enables the user to have their hands free to manipulate the project material when required.
The QE also has a straight stitch plate; the inclusion of this provides the ability for straight stitching during more heavy-duty piecing associated with quilting.
There’s also an inbuilt thread cutter as well as superior speed control; all of which give you the accuracy you need for more advanced looking projects.
Another added benefit of this machine is the accessories.
Included with your Eversewn Sparrow QE is an 8-piece deluxe quilting foot kit. This includes items such as an open toe walking foot, ruler foot, two quarter-inch feet and a lot more besides.
- It doesn’t have the same quality features as the top pick from Juki at the same price.
For sheer affordability, the Eversewn QE had to make this top 5 round-up. However, when pitched directly against the top pick from Juki, this doesn’t quite hold up. They are exactly the same price too.
That being said, this is still a highly recommended sewing machine come quilter that has everything you need to start quilting at home.
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