Tired of laboring to squeeze your quilt through the throat space of your domestic sewing device? Maybe you don’t have the space nor want to splurge on a large machine?
If the answer to any of these is yes, it might be time to invest in the best midarm quilting machine.
A mid arm quilting machine makes quilting bulkier projects simpler due to the larger throat space, helping you create the design of your choice.
I’ve reviewed 5 of the best mid arm quilting machines available for you to check out.
When it comes to the best midarm quilting machines, you only want the cream of the crop! Read on to find out which one is the right machine for you.
A high performance quilting machine, perfect for home use and for professionals who need industrial standard quilting machines.
The Juki TL – 2010Q is a high performance quilting machine, perfect for home use and for professionals who need industrial standard quilting machines.
Like industrial sewing machines, the Juki TL -2010Q is almost made of all metal.
It offers one basic straight stitch, easily adjusted in length with the manually operated dials.
The speed control slider will slow the speed down to 200 stitches per minute, which helps the user concentrate on slower free motion quilting with the drop feed system.
The features include a knee lift for the presser foot, adjustable presser foot sensor control, automatic thread cutter, and needle up down button.
The built in bobbin winder for safety makes it so that you cannot sew while you are winding the bobbin.
The large throat space and extension table add weight to this machine, so it stands strong during high-speed sewing.
The generous accessory bundle includes a walking foot, two free motion feet 1/4/ inch and 1/5 inch seam foot, adjustable zipper foot (also good for piping), narrow hammer foot, presser foot, and a compensating foot for top stitching – wowza!
If that wasn’t enough, you can add a frame to the machine if you prefer to use it standing.
It’s fuss free, smooth, and easy to use.
Minimum maintenance is required, so even for a novice there’s nothing major that could really go wrong.
- Unit dimensions: 25.7 x 14 x 18 inches
- Throat space: 8.5 x 6” (W x H)
- Stitches per minute: 1500
- Easy to operate
- Industrial strength for home quilter.
- Generous accessory bundle.
- Manual thread tension control can be tricky.
- No numbered thread guide for threading the machine.
It’s constructed from aluminium die-casting to ensure premium industrial quality sewing.
It is a one stitch workhorse that moves both forward and in reverse.
There is no speed slider with the Juki 2010QI, unlike its brother Juki 2010QI.
So, the speed has to be controlled with the pedal. But despite that minor flaw, this machine is considered one of the best in our free motion quilting machine review.
It comes with a 13 inch extension table that can be attached, providing extra work space for bulkier quilts.
My favourite feature is the knee lifter, but the device also includes bright LED lights, needle up / down control, presser foot sensor, an automatic needle threader, and an automatic thread cutter which can be employed from the foot pedal.
Tension control is automatically controlled and it has easy access oil ports.
The different presser feet included are a free motion foot, presser foot, straight stitch foot, quilting foot (yay), and a walking foot.
Customers say it’s relatively straightforward to troubleshoot any issues guided by the included manual and online quilting workshops.
- Unit dimensions: 17.8 x 8.6 x 13.8 inches
- Throat space: 9”
- Stitches per minute: 1500
- The Juki TL 2000QI is a lightweight and moveable mid arm quilting machine.
- Standard bobbin size
- Raise and lower feed dogs.
- Low vibrational operation.
- Only straight stitch
- Requires frequent oiling (if used on a regular basis).
Best Computerized Mid-arm Quilting Machine
Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200 QCP
A great mid arm quilting machine for quilting and other sewing projects. It has the 170 Built-in stitches on display on its fold away panel.
Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200 QCP
The Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200 QCP comes with a large 11” throat space, key to be able to bring king sized quilts to life comfortably.
It’s a computerized mid arm quilting machine with an LED screen, control buttons, and 5 bright LED lights.
Its easy-to-change stitch plates point to its overall intuitive build.
A table extension boasts extra room for those larger projects.
This is a great mid arm quilting machine for quilting and other sewing projects, with the 170 built in stitches displayed on a fold away panel for your guide.
Features include a 7 piece feed dog system, memorized needle up/down switch, sewing needle guard, extra high presser foot, and a detachable accessory case for free arm sewing. The automatic thread cutter saves you the scramble for the scissors.
Customers love the attention to the top-load in, full rotary hook bobbin system, and auto declutch bobbin winder.
The clear case makes it easy to see when the thread is running low.
Another bonus is this Janome comes with an abundance of storage for the accessories included. You can even open the side cover of this mid arm quilting machine for easy cleaning!
- Unit dimensions: 20.4" x 12.4" x 9.1"
- Throat space: 11”
- Stitches per minute: 1000
- Good attention to detail with the bobbin.
- Reliable quality stitching.
- Dual feed attachment.
- Computerized system.
- Needle threaders can be challenging.
Grace Qnique 15R Midarm quilting machine
A computerized quilting machine, with 15” throat space for you to make the biggest projects come alive.
Grace Qnique 15R Midarm quilting machine
The Qnique Quilter 15R is a computerized quilting machine, with 15” throat space for you to make the biggest projects come alive.
I’m a fan of this dual purpose machine, either for stand up or sit down use.
It can be attached to a frame, giving the feel of a long arm quilting machine.
The motor has been improved from previous models, as it can now sew up to 2000 stitches per minute—great for intricate detailing.
It’s compatible with Quilter’s Creative Touch, a quilt design software, so it brings the computer-automated quilting system to your home.
It boasts LED lights, LCD colour touch screen, and quick-access control buttons that sit on the handlebars.
The comfort grip handles put the control and power in your hands. Built in stitch regulators keep the stitch length beautiful and consistent, matching the speed movement of the quilting machine.
Cone Holders & Bobbin Winders
The dual thread cone holders and automatic bobbin winder are two of the best characteristics of this machine.
It’s one of the best mid arm quilting machines at the moment.
Customers comment on how smooth it is during free motion quilting, gliding over the material with its smooth motion wheels and tracks.
The bonus pack includes extra bobbins, needles and needle guards. It is compatible with many other mid arm quilting frames for stand up use.
- Unit dimensions: 23 x 15.5 x 19
- Throat space: 15”
- Stitches per minute: 2000
- Powerful motor for a quilter
- Stitch regulation
- Stand up mid arm quilting machine
- Higher end of price range for mid arm machines
- Need a large quilting space for the frame
A straight stitch only industrial style sewing machine. It doesn’t sew as fast as an industrial machine, however, it’s a workhorse compared to regular machines.
The Janome 1600P – QC is a straight stitch only industrial style, one of the best mid arm machines.
1600 spm means it doesn’t sew as fast as an industrial machine, however, it’s a workhorse compared to a regular sewing machine.
The all metal aluminum casting means the quilting machine is sturdy, lightweight, and easily transportable.
An ample throat space of 10” is accompanied with an additional 4” to the left of the needle. You’d be able to squeeze king size quilts through, awesome for quilters of all levels.
While it’s not one of the newest mid arm products on the market, it comes with high tech features, such as an automatic needle threader and thread cutter.
The up/down memory prevents needles snapping by accidentally being left in the wrong position.
An independent bobbin winder means you don’t have to unthread your mid arm to wind the bobbin.
Mechanical dials control the thread tension, stitch length, and presser foot pressure.
Customers report how this mid arm is good for piecing and free motion quilting that will sew through even the thickest of fabrics.
Though there’s no stitch regulator, this is a great machine for all your quilting needs and would be easy to teach with.
For your professional sewing needs, this brings heavy duty, mid arm quilting home (without the long arm quilting price tag).
- Unit dimensions: 16 x 26 x 18
- Throat space: 10”
- Stitches per minute: 1600
What is a mid arm quilting machine?
The best mid arm quilting machine is made for quilters and lies in between your home domestic machine and a long arm quilting machine.
They have a larger throat size, which is the space between the needle and the back of the arm head.
They offer more opportunity for the user to complete projects that are beyond a home sewing machine’s capabilities.
Used for making whole quilts, mid arm quilting machines are similar to long arm machines, but without the giant frame or price tag.
A mid arm quilting machine’s throat space will typically vary from 10”–17” long, proving they have the ability to handle even the largest king size quilts.
Why should I buy a mid arm quilting machine?
Are you an experienced quilter, but fed up with the struggle of squeezing your project through a tiny space?
Or, even a beginner quilter who wants to learn before making the plunge into a long arm machine?
If so, investing in the best mid arm quilting machine could serve you well. But if you’re interested in investing or learning more about long arm machines, check out my long arm quilting machine reviews.
They have a larger work area, offering around 2–3 times more space than a regular home sewing machine.
The options for extension tables and quilting frames mean that the vertical space below the arm is increased.
You choose the control with a mid arm quilting machine.
Many of them offer a stitch regulator so you can be assured you will have accurate stitches with more speed control.
Due to their high powered motors, they also work much faster than a domestic machine and come with many features, including an array of feet to help you see more of the project you are working on.
They’re perfect for people with intermediate quilting skills.
What’s the difference between a long arm and mid arm quilting machine?
There are a few differences between long arms and mid arms, starting with the space.
Mid arm quilting machines for home use are similar, as they’re smaller models than the long arm quilting machine, but bigger than a domestic sewing machine.
Here’s what a mid-arm sewing machine looks like…
Throat space for a mid arm can go from 9”–17” and long arm machines can typically be 18”–24”.
When using mid arm machines, the material will still need to be basted first, whereas on a long arm machine, the fabric is tightly reloaded onto rollers that hold the fabric taut whilst sewing.
Mid arm machines are usually sit down models, but with a long arm, standing is required.
On mid arm machines the user will have to create the design while pushing the material through manually.
With long arm machines, there are usually computer guided systems that allow the user to load a pattern into the system and be sewn by itself.
Price also varies.
A mid arm machine can be anywhere from $1000 – $5000, whereas a long arm machine is considerably more.
If you’re not planning to start a serious homemade quilting business at home, a mid arm machine could be more suitable for you.
Quilters might be able to find a good deal on a mid arm machine if they can find a high quality second-hand machine.
Do you need the best mid arm quilting machine to quilt?
No, you don’t need the best mid arm quilting machine to quilt. You can be a quilter using your home sewing machine, provided you have the right tools (walking foot, ditch quilting foot, free motion quilting foot) and you are ready to learn.
Even once you have the right feet, thread, and needles, it could still be a struggle trying to fit the quilt through the workspace as the throat size is usually much smaller on home machines than mid arm quilting machines.
Knotting is also a good alternative to using a machine where you will knot the fabric together using pearl cotton or yarn ties.
If you don’t have a quilting machine, knotting is great as it can add beautiful design elements.
Things to consider:
Buying any type of machinery is not for the faint-hearted, and there are lots of things to consider before making the purchase.
Here, I’ve rounded up my list of things to consider.
The purpose of mid arm sewing machines is to make quilts from scratch.
You should think about what you want to do with your machine, for example whether you will use it for home business, or home décor personal use.
Why do you want a mid arm sewing machine?
They can be ideal if you want more room to maneuver around during crafting. Mid arm quilting machines are the perfect hybrid between domestic and long arm sewing machines, and a good investment if you can’t make up your mind on a long arm quite yet.
The cost of the best mid arm quilting machines can be between $1000 – $5000, maybe even more.
If you’re seriously considering making the investment, it could be worth visiting quilting expos, where retailers could be more likely to drop the price to make sales.
Additional accessories can be costly so see what’s included in the package, or try to find a bundle deal.
Don’t forget insurance for the machine you’ve invested thousands in.
Be honest if you’re using it for business or for personal use to ensure it’s covered.
The best mid arm quilting machines come from companies that offer an extensive warranty cover.
Be sure to ask if every part of the machine is covered or if the warranty is limited.
Would you be covered if you had to visit a local repair shop, or would you have to post your machine away if anything happens?
I’d hate to have to rely on a courier service for repair parts when I’ve got projects to work on!
Mid arm quilting machines come in different builds and sizes, and the material can play a huge factor in the machine’s lifespan.
Typically, machines that are made from plastic live shorter lives than those made of lightweight aluminium, like heavy-duty machines.
They can also be easier to repair than plastic models.
Talk to people at quilting workshops or classes if you’re learning, as everyone has an opinion and a favorite build.
The machine sizes are roughly the same as a machine you might have at home; it’s the extension table that requires a larger workspace.
Carefully consider if you are planning to move your machine around or if it will remain stationary.
Most mid arm machines are pretty heavy, so a handle can be useful.
If your machine weighs 40lbs, it’s unlikely you’ll want to cart it back and forth from your cupboard everyday.
The heavier the machine, the less likely it is to vibrate when in use on high power.
Quilters, you cannot deny the labor it takes to try and squeeze a large bundle of material through the tiny throat space of your quilt!
Mid arm sewing machines offer you a larger throat space than a domestic machine, making it easier to craft thicker and larger projects.
They’ve been designed to help you make quilts efficiently, especially with free motion quilting.
Try to imagine the biggest quilt you will ever make, maybe king size? Will that fit through the throat of your potential purchase?
Mid arm quilting machines can be used for regular sewing too.
You’ll have to be careful of the tension and the speed if you’re doing delicate work.
Built In Stitches
Computerized quilting machines typically come with an array of built in stitches that can be used for any other type of sewing project you have on the go.
Others offer one straight stitch, a feature typically found on industrial style sewing machines. This can be beneficial for higher production.
A long arm quilting machine typically offers high quality stitching.
Stitches per minute
For some, the stitch per minute isn’t an important factor when purchasing a mid arm sewing machine.
A truly fast machine will sew very quickly, but higher stitches per minute also means it can make mistakes very quickly.
The thought of sewing through scraps of material at 4000 spm sounds fun, but ruining the intricate design on a beautiful piece you’ve spent hours on?
Not so much. Most mid arm quilting machines offer a variety of speed for you to play around with and find your comfort zone.
The features of mid arm quilting machines are endless.
Depending on whether you have a computerized mid arm quilting machine, some of the features might be different. My favourite features include:
A mid arm quilting machine may offer a stitch regulator.
The special feature of a stitch regulator helps ensure even stitching during free motion quilting.
It is essentially a tiny computer attached to a long arm quilting machine that constantly adjusts the stitch speed to accommodate the fabric speed during sewing.
A stitch regulator will sew at the speed you are moving the machine when free motion sewing.
If you’re going too fast, it’ll let you know! You can preset the type of speed on the stitch regulator you want so you can baste fabrics before making the final sew.
Most quilting machines come with LED lights to illuminate your workspace so you can see what you are doing crystal-clearly.
It’s no fun trying to sew with shadows blocking your view.
These are especially important when long arm quilting.
Automatic Needle Threader
This feature does what it says on the tin.
Quilters can guide the thread through the machine and into a contraption that will thread the needle for you—a life saver!
A bobbin can be problematic when quilting.
At some point, you will run out and have to reload.
An automatic bobbin winder stops when the bobbin is full.
Some models come with a separate motor for the bobbins so you don’t have to run your machine to refill.
Just to recap, my top pick and best midarm quilting machine, is the Grace Q’Nique 15” quilting machine.
The company has been in the sewing and quilting business for years, and really understands their consumers’s needs. The machine will sit on a table, or stand using one of their Grace frames.
Best value has to be the Juki 2010Q.
This really is a workhorse of a quilting machine, perfect for simple straight motion stitching.
Juki is a brand known for their reliable and durable products and this has high end machine quilting features.
The best computerized quilting machine is the Janome 8200.
It’s absolutely packed with computerized features to make your sewing experience.
It’s a yes from me!
You want the best of both sewing worlds? Or, want to be able to make larger quilting products without taking up half of your home?
If yes, mid arm quilting machines could be for you. Good luck with your choice, and happy quilting!
As always, don’t forget to check the site for more machine-related topics, such as this review of the best wide format laminator which can definitely increase your commissions.