Marilyn knows how to present the dullest topic in an interesting and easy-to-read way. When she’s not teaching English Literature at a local school or writing for our site, Marylin loves to knit and bake for her two grandchildren.
Julie owns a shop specializing in sewing equipment and accessories. No wonder she knows everything when it comes to technical specifications of practically anything we review. In her free time, Julie loves quilting and scrapbooking.
Last updated: November 17, 2021
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In this guide, we’re looking into the best industrial sewing machine options, if you work in fashion and you need your sewing machine to be running all the time or to go through huge amounts of clothes then you will need the best commercial grade sewing machine rather than just a simple hobby machine. Not all sewing machines are made equal and it is a big investment, so it is really important to understand the terms and what you need from a sewing machine before you purchase one, otherwise, you might end up disappointed.
In our reviews we’ve looked at some of the most vital features to help you to choose an industrial sewing machine that is suitable. Features include the application and how it can be used on different materials, the SPM or speed, and both stitch length and needle bar stroke, so how deep and long the stitches can be made. We’ve also looked at the quality of the needle, the size of the machine and whether there is any warranty offered.
This is an exceptional model with a heavy-weight design so that you can stitch pretty much anything you want at speed! It can cope with up to 4000 stitches per minute.
The Juki brand is a very good manufacturer and this model, the Juki DDL-8700-H is one of the very best industrial models. It can allow you to sew up to 5mm per stitch or even go down to six stitches every inch for tighter detailing and very high-quality garments.
It’s really easy to maintain, too. You don’t have to worry about lubrication as it as an automatic lubricating system, this makes it a very low-effort product!
This ships with a number of accessories so you don’t need to worry about whether you have enough to get started. It comes with bobbins, needles, rubber mounts, a table rest and a safety belt guard.
On top of all this, you get a five-year warranty so that you know you are buying quality and don’t have to worry about it breaking on you after a couple of months of use.
This is a very good sewing machine but it is aimed at people who know what they are doing and does require some assembly when you get it. You should probably avoid buying if you don’t know how to do this, even though instructions are included.
What makes it special?
Loads of stitching options and high-speed stitching.
The JUKI DDL-8700 boasts the fantastic Servo Motor, this means that you can do the same job with up to 90% less energy consumption. This is incredibly useful for anyone, but you should think about an economical model like this if you are working within a commercial environment and you need the best juki industrial sewing machine for keeping energy use to a minimum. This can even help a business stay profitable!
This model also happens to be one of the best, most comfortable industrial sewing machines to operate. The low vibration feature combined with a low noise option means that the machine head doesn’t cause too much strain for the operator and can avoid long-term issues that can arise from using a sewing machine all day.
The presser foot has a high lift which means that it is easier to use for people of all shapes and sizes and gives more control of the stitching.
This model also has the fantastic auto lubrication system so that you don’t have to worry about this, and comes with a table. You get your very own workstation when you buy this sewing machine.
A Juki 5 year warranty also protects your purchase, so you can rest assured of its value.
Why are we impressed?
High lift presser foot for easy operation.
Very energy efficient.
Lots of stitching options including short stitch lengths.
What negatives must you be aware of?
It can be a little tough to work out all of the settings for a newbie.
The Juki DDL-8100 is a similar option to some of the other Juki models mentioned on the list, however it has a few slight limitations that means that it is in as the budget pick. For one thing, the warranty is nowhere near as generous as some of the other models on the list so it is important to keep this in mind when you are purchasing.
That said, loads of the great features and functions are still in places, and it can provide six stitches per inch, with 4500 stitches per minute possible. The presser foot is easy to use, and the whole machine offers a brilliant auto-lubricating design we’ve come to expect from the Juki brand.
This does require some assembly so keep this in mind. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this then you might want to get someone else involved. It comes with a lot of accessories including drawer, belt, tools, led lamp and instruction manual. The lamp is a big bonus and it helps you to see exact detail. Some of the competing options do not have a lamp, and though you can add one later it is a nice touch to get it included.
The needle bar stroke is pretty good, but not 100% capable of dealing with super heavyweight materials such as leather.
If you are looking for a good budget option then the DDL-8100 saves some money when compared to other industrial sewing machines, but it is also a little bit restrictive in some ways if you compare to the best industrial sewing machine for leather which will have a bit more penetration for heavy materials.
If you are looking for the best sewing machine for professional use then the Juki brand does dominate the market, but the Consew CN2073R-DSM proves that there are some other great options out there. It is suitable for light to medium heavy-weight materials so while it might not be the best for leather upholstery, it can do a good job on clothing and even some items like thinner denim.
One of the best thing about the Consew is how many options for stitching it gives you. If you are a fan of decorative stitches then you might want to opt for a product like this. The Microprocessor Control gives you access to 200 Stitch Patterns so that you can choose which is most suitable for your item. There is also a choice between Zig-Zag and Straight Stitcher. If you are stitching very basic items these might not be needed, but for decoration then it can be a very good option.
The needle is high-quality, and the machine even has a reverse feed option.
No industrial sewing machine is 100% perfect, and there are some limitations. This is not as fast as some of the other options and can do 1800 stitches per minute, this is fine for most peoples’ needs. Especially if you are doing decorative stitching you probably don’t expect it to be lightning fast.
A bit of a disappointment is the fact that you only get a 60 day warranty which is far less than a lot of the other options on the market.
This model is great for those who want to get the best access to a load of different stitch types.
What stands out?
Great for decorative stitching with hundreds of different patterns.
Adjustable reverse feed.
What cons did we manage to find?
Warranty is not as long as some of the competing options.
Not everyone looking to buy from one of the best industrial sewing machine brands wants the latest in fancy sewing technology. Instead, a lot of people are just in the market for something that is really easy to operate and covers all of the basics. If this is the case for you, you might be in luck with the Highlead GC1088-M. This is something of a “no frills” model but it still does a fantastic job of sewing quickly and reliably.
The GC1088 series offers a single needle lockstitch method which does a great job of automatically lubricating so you don’t have to keep worrying about this. It has a link feed mechanism and runs with relatively low vibration.
You can use this sewing machine with a lot of different items with light to heavy weight fabrics, things like bags and shirts are fine, and you will find that the machine works very reliably with these sorts of materials, even if it can struggle with heavier denim or leather.
It comes with the motor assembled which is a fantastic plus point for those who are looking for simplicity and easy use. A lot of people find the idea of making alterations and putting the machine together quite daunting.
A 1-year warranty is fairly respectable though not amazing. This machine also ships with a table for you to use, so it is a good addition to your upholstery setup, dry cleaners or fashion outlet as it can allow you to make repairs and come up with new designs easily.
What stands out?
Simple to set up and start using.
Comes with a table.
What cons did we manage to find?
Not as many stitch patterns as some of the competing models.
Only a one-year warranty, some models have five years protection.
Those looking for a high foot lift from their sewing machine might be in luck with this model. As well as offering the 16mm foot lift it has a lot of brilliant features that make it easy to use, and even ships with some accessories. It can sew at speeds of up to 2,500 SPM which is respectable even if not quite as high as some of the competing models which can go over 5,000!
It has a large hand wheel and a large capacity hook so it is really easy to use. Unfortunately, it needs to be manually lubricated after use whereas a lot of the options now offer automatic lubrication.
There are clear instructions included as well as all the parts needed to put this together. There are also a lot of accessories included such as a small sewing tool kit, a drawer, and a thread stand.
In spite of this not being the most high-tech sewing machine on the market in terms of its stitch patterns, it is very easy to use and is good for those shifting from a more old-fashioned model to a newer industrial sewing machine. The manufacturers pay close attention to detail and even assemble, test and sew off of the machine before they send it out to customers.
If you are looking for a higher foot lift to get larger fabrics in, this can be a good option.
Techsew might not be as big a brand as some of the others on this list, but we had to include the 20U53 model, which is absolutely brilliant, and offers a limited lifetime warranty, something that none of the other best industrial sewing machines on this list can offer their buyers. This extra peace of mind doesn’t even cost you extra money as it is a relatively affordable model, too, coming in well under $1,000.
“Limited” lifetime warranty does mean that in some circumstances you aren’t 100% protected, but in the majority of situations you can rest assured that this is going to last.
It has some other benefits too, as it comes pre assembled, you don’t have to worry about the hassle of putting it together once it arrives, something that not everyone is completely comfortable doing.
The SPM is respectable, but this is not the absolute quickest sewing machine on the market, with a 2500 rating.
There are some cool stitching features for people to take advantage of, including the zigzag and straight stitches. There is also a reverse function for those who need this feature.
The Techsew also comes with a number of accessories. It has a complete table, adjustable speed motor, stand, lamp, bobbin winder, and a few other tools and helpful accessories. For the money, and considering the warranty, this model of commercial sewing machine could be a great choice.
What makes it special?
Comes with loads of accessories and tools.
Limited lifetime warranty.
Good value for money.
What cons did we find?
Not one of the quicker industrial sewing machines.
Things to Consider
If you are switching from a simple hobby sewing machine to something more sophisticated then it can feel like you have a million choices to make on the type of machine you are looking for. There might even be different terms that you come across that you hadn’t heard of, but need to think about when making your decision. Our buying guide is here to help those who are on the market looking for the best industrial sewing machine for clothing, canvas, denim or any other material they might need to stitch and sew.
Luckily, we live in an age where there are more options than ever before so you don’t need to worry about not having much choice. The main problem you might come across is whether you fully understand all the models and what they can do before you make your purchase. Our buying guide can help you to understand the difference between a bobbin and a needle bar stroke, and not get bogged down in the jargon of sewing. Don’t worry, you don’t have to understand it all in order to make the right choice from the outset.
Features to consider when choosing an industrial sewing machine
What features do you need to think about before you make your final buying decision? Different people will prioritize different things when the time comes to buy a sewing machine. Some people want something that is very fast, some want the best industrial sewing machine for home use whereas others want the best industrial sewing machine for industrial use.
It might help you to think about how you are going to be using your sewing machine in the majority of situations. For example, if you are just going to be making some simple products at home like face masks or small, lightweight makeup bags then you won’t need to get a heavy weight capable machine. However, if the machine needs to cope with heavier application then you need to get something that is fit for purpose.
When we talk about heavy weight application we are talking about the weight and density of the materials being used, the machine needs to be able to penetrate this material and feed it through to ensure that it is sewing correctly. If you are an upholsterer or a tailor and you need something that you know can cope with very heavy suits and materials then you should definitely be in the market for a more heavyweight machine when it comes to application.
Our list is focusing on sewing machines for commercial use. Most of the products within can do far more than a home sewing machine and operate quickly, with fabric such as denim and even some leather not being a problem at all.
This is one of the simpler things to understand when it comes to a sewing machine, it is simply a measure of how quick it is.
In a factory, for instance, the SPM could be a vital metric as it shows how quickly a sewing machine can operate.
The Juki DDL-8700 can do an incredible 5500 stitches per minute. This obviously depends on some of the other factors and the design of the machine, how it feeds fabric in etc. However, this is immensely quick.
Some of the other products have lower SPMs, but you should really think about the scenarios in which you are going to be using your sewing machine. Do you need it to be super quick if you are just doing a bit of hobby quilting? Alternatively, if your sewing is to be done in a commercial manner and you hope to make a lot of garments very quickly then SPM can quickly become an important metric to judge your sewing machine on.
Stitch length and width
This is one of the more self-explanatory features, it gives a lot more flexibility to sewing and allows you to create bigger or smaller stitches if you have more options for the length and the width. Wider stitching might be required for strength in some scenarios, also, some zig zag stitches with a wide design can be used as a decorative feature.
Most sewing machines allow you to alter the stitch width from 0 to 5mm. This means how far from side to side the needle goes when it is actually creating the stitch. The Consew CN2073R-DSM, for example, has a 5mm stitch to go with an incredible number of patterns.
Needle bar stroke
The needle bar is what makes the needle itself go up and down and creates the loops under or within the fabric. It is what causes the penetration as the needle is plunged down into the fabric by the needle bar.
The needle bar stroke length is what is important and this has an impact on the sorts of materials that the sewing machine can be used with. For example, a longer needle bar stroke will provide more force and penetration.
Long needle bar strokes aren’t always ideal though and they can also cause more vibration and noise, plus the needle might get hotter this way. Around 30-35mm is normal for the needle bar stroke, and the editor’s choice, the Juki DDL-8700-H is at the upper end of this. Many industrial sewing machines are quite similar in terms of the needle bar stroke. More sophisticated designs in terms of the newer motors being used means they are often less prone to overheating and overly vibrating in this scenario.
Number of threads
The number of threads within the serger can make a big difference to the stitching. 2-4 threads are able to create safety stitches and also overlocked edges. You can put two threads within each operation and the machine is able to create the stitches away from each other if needed.
3-4 thread sergers provide a seam with stretch capabilities so this is good for attaching things, for instance. Some people call the four-thread seem a mock safety stitch as it gives a bit more strength and a separate seam, though it’s not as good as a safety stitch overall.
5 thread options are pretty expensive but this means that every different type of seam can be achieved, so you can give a different look to your seam line. If you are doing large amounts, too, the machine means you don’t have to switch machines to get a stronger finish.
Lift of the presser
The presser foot is the part of the sewing machine that holds your fabric or material fat while it is fed through. It looks a bit like a foot, so it is called this, but you might just hear it referred to as a presser.
The lift, and how adjustable this attachment is, can play a very big part when it comes to different materials. As you can imagine, a bigger material will need a larger lift of the presser so that you can fit more through at a time. A tiny lift would not work for thick denim and leather.
The good news when it comes to needles is that they are standardized in terms of their sizes. Though there are a number of decisions that you can make regarding your needles, the fact that industrial machines all work with the same standard set of sizings makes life simpler.
For example, if you see the “DPx5” needle on the Consew CN2073R-DSM, you can look this needle up to see what it offers in terms of size and durability. Also, it makes it easy to buy a replacement needle in the future if needed.
Needles aren’t that expensive, and you might want to get different sizes. For example, a thicker thread might need a needle with a 100-120 sizing rather than the 60-80 sizing some sewing machines use. A lot of the industrial sewing machine options can handle pretty large threads.
The feed dog is another integral part of a sewing machine. They are teeth-like metal ridges and they come out of a hole in the sewing machine’s “throat plate”. You can see that there is a lot of terminology to get your head around.
Basically, they move along with the fabric to help it go through your machine. They grip and help it to move steadily, ensuring there’s quality, even stitching all the way along the item.
Every sewing machine, industrial or home requires a hook. The hook is the part of the sewing machine that creates the stitch itself by hooking the thread that comes from the needle. You can find a couple of designs of hook, both of which are capable of making lockstitch style stitching. You can get rotary or oscillating models.
A rotary machine means that the hook itself orbits around a bobbin, which stays in place throughout. The hook catches the thread as the needle goes back upward, and takes the thread all the way around, this forms the stitch as we know it.
Oscillating hook machines don’t form a full rotation, instead, they oscillate back and forth (think of a swinging pendulum). The hook grabs the upper thread as it comes out of the needle and then brings it to the bottom of the bobbin, as it reverses direction it goes back to the original spot, with a lockstitch stitch now in place.
The motor in your sewing machine does a job much like the motor in your car! It is what drives the whole machine and causes the needle to continue to move, along with the other aspects of the machine. The motor in some historic sewing machines, especially in big industrial sewing machine models, has been very powerful, but also caused a lot of vibrations and this can even cause joint and muscle issues if you are using the sewing machine all the time. On top of a machine that isn’t too loud and doesn’t vibrate too much, you probably also want something that is energy efficient and the motor plays a huge part in this, too. The JUKI DDL-8700 has a new-improved motor that the brand claims is 90% more efficient than some previous models.
This is another area where it is easy to make a comparison with cars. Your sewing machine needs to be lubricated just like an engine might, or like your brakes might. So, it makes sense to go for a model that can self-lubricate, which takes a lot of the hassle away from you as the user.
Lubrication is done by using specific oil (sold as sewing machine oil). For this reason, you might hear people refer to the process as “oiling” their sewing machine. The JUKI DDL-8700 is one example of a sewing machine with automatic lubrication. It is not always essential that you have this, but it does make life easier for beginners. If you are looking for this automatic lubrication feature then Juki is probably the brand to go for as they offer it in a huge number of their sewing machines.
Dimensions and weight
How big and heavy do you want your sewing machine to be? You might need something that is small and nimble so that you can use it in any room in your home and move it around, but with some of the bigger industrial sewing machines this is not easy to find. The dimensions are listed on all of the products on our list of the best industrial machines.
Dimensions and weight also play a part if you are looking to buy these for commercial production of clothes, for example. You might need to make sure there is room within a warehouse for a number of these machines for your staff to work at creating apparel and other items.
If you are used to a home model of sewing machine that can be picked up and carried around with a handle, you might be in for a surprise with some of the bigger industrial and commercial models. Many come as a full workstation with table included and can take up a lot of space. If you want one within your home then you should make sure you will have room for it before you make a purchase, so always check the exact dimensions first.
The warranty of an industrial sewing machine is an area that we found varied hugely when looking at the top options. It makes sense to get a good warranty and this protects your purchase so if anything goes wrong with your machine and it is not your fault you will know that you can claim against this warranty and get a replacement or at least repairs. There is so much variation within the warranties companies offer. If your sewing machine is going to see a lot of use, you want to find something that the manufacturers are confident enough in to give a long warranty.
The shortest we’ve seen on our list is a 60 day warranty. You might never need the warranty but this is still not particularly generous. The longest warranty on the list is the limited lifetime! The Techsew 20U53 offers a limited lifetime warranty meaning that under certain conditions you will be able to claim even if something goes wrong a long time in the future. So, the warranty is not the only thing you will want to make your choice based upon, but it is a very big plus point.
Our editor’s choice, the Juki DDL-8700-H, has a five year warranty which many of the current range within the Juki brand offer.
All of these brands are trying to compete with one another, and to do this, some add extras into the product to make it more appealing. What sort of added extras can make the difference?
Firstly, a lot of industrial sewing machines come with some sort of table to sew on. This means that you don’t have to find a specific model of table that fits with your sewing machine, instead, you will know that it fits right from the start.
A lamp is another excellent addition. This means that you can always see exactly what you are doing regardless of whether or not it is dark in the room. Lamps can help you to see far more detail.
Other accessories that are regularly included are table, extra motor, stand, lamp, bobbin winder and table accessories such as rubber feet to stop it from marking the table. You don’t necessarily need all of these added extras, but they are nice to have and add a bit of extra value. When you are spending a lot of money on an industrial sewing machine it is good to know that you have something extra in the box.
This leads us nicely on to the price of industrial sewing machines. It can vary a huge amount, but they tend to be more expensive than a lot of the other models on the market. For example, if you are looking for a home sewing machine that can help with repairing or altering things as a hobby, you might pick up a model for $200 or so. This isn’t expensive when compared to some of the best industrial sewing machines.
Many of the sewing machines on this list cost between $1,000 and $2,000. There are exceptions and we have provided some affordable sewing machines under $1,000. You should know that they are not cheap products. For many people, this is not a problem. For example, if you own a dry cleaning business and want to offer alterations as well then buying an industrial or commercial sewing machine can be seen as an investment. It allows you to offer a new service and you may even make money.
Similarly if you are running a business producing clothes, upholstery or other garments then it makes a lot more sense to spend the extra money on an industrial model of sewing machine that you know is going to be able to keep up with your demand. If you start with a hobby-style machine, you will probably outgrow it quickly.
On the other hand, you might just need a product to help you with occasional projects. Spending thousands might not be justified or required for this. If you don’t need to worry about the speed of your machine then you won’t have to worry about getting something with a high SPM, for example. This can save you some money.
There is no reason not to use a commercial grade sewing machine at home. Many people running businesses from home, for example, have a commercial sewing machine put in so that they can keep up with demands. The only real consideration regarding this is whether or not you have space for the sewing machine. Always check the dimensions, they are a lot bigger than normal home models so you will want to ensure that you have room, rather than ordering a sewing machine and when it arrives, not being able to fit it anywhere in your house.
No, the vast majority of sewing machines don’t need professional installation. This is true for the industrial models on the list. That said, they might require some assembly and this will be far easier if you know a bit about sewing anyway. For instance, you might want to change the needle or install certain new parts within your sewing machine. The sewing machine you buy should come with instructions so that you can put it together yourself, and it shouldn’t be too difficult. If you are fairly handy then there should be no issues, and you normally don’t require any sort of additional tools in order to do so.
Though some aspects of your machine might last forever, others will definitely need some maintenance. We’ve already talked about oiling the machine, and this helps a great deal when it comes to the results of your sewing. It also helps to keep the machine free of lint and other residue that can build up within. Regular cleaning is a good idea. Use a lint brush around the bobbin in order to get rid of unwanted buildups.
If you do need to replace parts then most of these, such as th needles, are standardized so you can just buy the right size from Amazon or another retailer, knowing that it should fit perfectly in your machine even if it is not the same brand.
Our editor’s choice is the Juki DDL-8700-H, which is a fast model but also has many of the benefits of being part of the Juki brand such as a five year warranty. We’ve rated this industrial sewing machine 9.9/10.
Next on the list is the JUKI DDL-8700 which offers an incredible level of value. As well as having the immense speed of 5500 SPM, perfect for industrial use, it also has a great motor that can save you 90% of power usage and keeps noise and vibrations low. We’ve rated it 9.8/10.
The Juki DDL-8100 is our budget pick on the list of the best industrial sewing machine models. It is amazing to be able to get the Juki brand but not have to pay a fortune for it, and this comes with lots of accessories. We’ve given this a rating of 9.6/10.