industrial sewing machine reviews: the best and the rest!

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Businesses live or die by the quality of the items they produce, so it’s little wonder you’re trawling the Internet looking for the very best industrial sewing machine on the market today. Commercial sewing machines can vary greatly, which makes selecting the right one for your business all the more difficult.

The aim of this post is to cut through the sales pitches and marketing gumph. I’ll be looking at a number of the best professional sewing machines currently available, and giving you an honest opinion on each. 

How do the best industrial sewing machines differ from home appliances?

sewing machine industrial

The uninitiated could be forgiven for thinking that all sewing machines are created equal, but that simply isn’t the case. Industrial sewing machines, as one would expect, are a step up from those found in the home, with the following being key differentiators: 

Speed

Output is naturally going to be important to most businesses. The quicker you can produce items, the faster you can get your goods into the marketplace and start stacking the cash. Time is money, after all, and the best professional sewing machines will be far faster than any regular home device.

Intricate work that requires careful attention can still benefit from a commercial grade sewing machine, especially those that are built for the task at hand. If your workers can increase their stitch per minute count, even marginally, it will pay dividends over the course of the device’s lifetime.

Durability

The best commercial sewing machines are built to last. With the correct maintenance, most of the industrial sewing machines reviewed below will outlast the operator (cheery thought…sorry about that), thus giving your business a lifetime of service.

While domestic appliances are often plasticky and have an air of planned obsolescence about them, professional grade sewing machines are solidly constructed with heavy-duty materials. [1]

Cost

Unfortunately, all of the good stuff above comes at a premium – the best industrial sewing machines will set you back a pretty penny. A lot will depend upon which model you choose and the tasks you need it to handle, but any good commercial sewing machine is going to require a considerable chunk of change.

It’s important, however, to consider their higher price tag as an investment rather than a cost. The initial outlay may be greater but, thanks to the increased lifespan and output, the overall cost will be less. 

Size

Size most definitely does matter when it comes to buying an industrial sewing machine. While the majority of domestic appliances will be portable to a greater or lesser degree, commercial grade sewing machines are generally mounted onto a purpose-built table, making them considerably larger items.

The reason for this increase in proportions is due to a number of factors. Obviously, having a bigger working area allows seamstresses to maneuver large swathes of fabric easily and efficiently, but it also increases stability and provides the user with an ergonomic workspace. Poor posture during long spells of sewing can actually result in musculoskeletal disorders. [2]

Weight

As with the dimensions, commercial sewing machines tend to weigh far more than their domestic counterparts. As we’ve already spoken about above, professional sewing machines are both bigger in size and constructed of sturdier materials, so their heaviness should come as no surprise.

There are, however, other contributing factors to an industrial sewing machines weight, namely the motor. Professional sewing machines require a lot more oomph than a home appliance, and that means they need to be driven by a bigger power supply. 

That power also needs to be harnessed efficiently and safely, so servo motors are often found on commercial grade sewing machines. These afford the operator greater control over the increased power, allowing them to slow down or speed up as required.

Purpose

Domestic appliances will often be marketed as multiple purpose machines, capable of handling a number of tasks. While they may well be able to cope with an array of different sewing jobs, they may not excel at any of them.

The best commercial sewing machines are different.

Business owners know the importance of doing one thing and doing it well, and the machinery they purchase for their enterprise should reflect that. Many of the best industrial sewing machines will have no stitch library whatsoever, preferring to concentrate on doing one straight stitch perfectly.

Every. Single. Time.

Can hobbyists benefit from a commercial sewing machine?

factory sewing machine

In short, yes. However, there are a number of caveats. 

Buying an industrial sewing machine is, as we’ve discussed above, an entirely different proposition to purchasing a regular sewing appliance. All of the differences above need to be taken into account and considered…does your hobby really require such a dramatic leap?

Those who are really serious about their passion will undoubtedly get more from a professional sewing machine, providing they choose wisely. It’s not uncommon for commited home sewists to have an industrial sewing machine for a specific task, as well as a good quality domestic appliance for all the other jobs their craft requires.

Many hobbyists also walk the thin line of professionalism by selling some of their creations online. Sites such as Etsy have provided artisans with a platform to sell their wares, and they can make a considerable amount of money doing so. 

Therefore, while it may remain a pastime in their eyes and not be their primary source of income (yet), their hobby may justify the extra expense as it’s really being used for commercial purposes.

Is buying an industrial sewing machine really necessary?

tailors working in a factory

For businesses producing goods that require frequent stitch work, yes. An industrial sewing machine will be worth the extra outlay for the reasons stated above.

A good commercial sewing machine will produce more, do the task better, and last longer…all of which make it a solid investment for any business owner.

For the vast majority of home sewists, however, shelling out for a professional sewing machine will be a waste of money and could even restrict their craft. 

Most people who sew at home like to jump from task to task rather than concentrate on repetitively doing the same thing over and over again, which is what the best industrial sewing machines are built to do. 

If your sewing life sees you doing garment repairs one day, making soft furnishings the next, and then knocking up a quilt for someone the following week, stick to the best sewing machine you can afford in the domestic arena rather than forking out more for a professional sewing machine.

You’ll get more use and enjoyment out of it, I promise.

Best industrial sewing machine buyer’s guide

seamstress working

So, now that you’ve determined whether or not an industrial sewing machine is right for you, it’s time to take a look at some of the features that turn a good professional sewing machine into a great one.

Many of these will be right for one business or individual, but not for another, so it’s important to factor in the type of work you’re doing, too. 

For example, a long arm machine that churns out thousands of stitches per minute would be ideal for someone sewing straight stitches repeatedly on tarpaulins, but wouldn’t be the best choice for someone doing intricate patchwork. 

Here are a few key things I’d look out for and consider before you explore your commercial sewing machine options:

Type of motor

The type of motor you go for will affect a few different parts of the sewing operator’s experience, not least of which is control. 

Up until relatively recently, all industrial sewing machines shipped with a standard belt driven clutch motor. These are great for commercial workhorses, as they run and run…quite literally! Clutch motors are always on once you press the start button and will only stop when the operator hits stop.

Control with a clutch motor is solely dependent on the operator’s skill with the foot pedal. For those employing professional seamstresses, no problem, but for everyone else clutch motors can take a bit of getting used to. 

Check out this great video below for more info on how a sewing machine clutch motor works:

Modern industrial sewing machines, on the other hand, are increasingly being equipped with a servo motor. These offer greater control thanks to having the ability to vary the speed at which the motor runs. 

No matter how hard the user presses down on the pedal, the machine will not exceed the speed that has been set. This is something that isn’t available to those using clutch motor machines.

Servo motors have other benefits, too. Not only are they widely regarded as more user-friendly, they’re also far better in terms of energy consumption, too, with savings of up to 90%! 

This is largely due to the fact that the operator starts the motor with the foot pedal, rather than leaving the machine constantly running. They are thought to be more efficient whilst in operation, too. [3, 4]

Clutch motors are still favored by many pros who work with thick fabrics, as they are generally considered to produce more torque than their servo counterparts. Technology is catching up, though, and many of the best leather sewing machines now come complete with servo motors built in.

Noise

industrial sewing machine

In a factory setting, noise may not be a huge problem. High ceilings and huge open plan rooms will allow a lot of the din to dissipate, but for those working from home or in a confined workshop, the amount of racket produced by their device will definitely be an issue worth addressing.

Choice of motor, see above, will make a difference here. Servo motors generally run quieter and have the obvious advantage of not being “on” all the time, whereas clutch motors are running, and making noise, constantly. 

Many manufacturers are working on reducing the commotion caused by their machines, so keep an eye out for those who specifically use terms like “quiet” or “noise reduction” in their marketing spiel. 

Reviews will also be your friend here, as noisy machines will often elicit complaints from users. I’ll be mentioning noise levels in mine below. This is especially important for business owners, as they have a duty of care to employees over occupational noise exposure. [5]

Power usage and sources

Obviously, energy bills are an inevitable cost of business, but we’d all be happy to pay less…and, by cutting our power consumption, we’d be doing our bit for the environment, too.

Industrial sewing machines are built for frequent, heavy use, and their power consumption rate reflects this. Place a run-of-the-mill commercial sewing machine in the home and you’ll see your energy bills skyrocket, no question, but there are ways to lessen the impact.

Look out for companies who make a point of working on their energy consumption. Sewing machine brands such as JUKI, now sell appliances with specific energy saving features built into their products. 

Super efficient motors are the obvious thing to look out for, but many brands are now introducing improved control boxes and other wizardry to bring energy consumption down further.

Another consideration when buying your next commercial grade sewing machine is the power source you’ll be using to run your machinery. While many industrial sewing appliances will be able to skip between 110, 220, and 440 inputs, others won’t, so you’ll need to buy a standalone convertor to safely run them. 

Naturally, this incurs an additional cost to you and your business.

Stitches per minute

Speed will be an important element to most commercial sewing businesses, and stitches per minute are the number one way to determine just how fast your new tool will get the job done.

However, it’s important to remember that higher SPM won’t always equal higher efficiency. Some types of stitching require a greater level of precision where speed can actually be the enemy. Again, it’s all about knowing what your primary task will be and then finding the best industrial sewing machine to meet your requirements.

Naturally, even those built with precision and intricacy in mind will still belt along at breakneck speed when compared to domestic appliances. Expect to see numbers range from 1,000 to 5,500 stitches per minute on most industrial sewing machines.

However, some outliers, like the brilliant TechSew 2900L, will run even slower than the machine you have at home thanks to the tasks they are designed to handle. Pair your new device with the job you want it to do and you won’t go far wrong.

Bed type

Yet another decision for you to make will be the type of bed your machine has. Generally speaking, there are four different types of industrial sewing machine beds to choose from:

  • Flat bed: These are by far the most common option as they cover the greatest range of tasks. If you conjure up an image of a sewing machine in your mind, the likelihood is that it’ll be a flat bed machine.
  • Cylinder bed: Cylinder bed sewing machines have a rounded base as opposed to the more commonly found flat bed described above. Naturally, their design lends them perfectly to work with circular objects, such as cuffs and shoes, for example.
  • Post bed: Largely restricted to the shoe and boot making industry, post bed sewing machines can also be used for ornamental work and attaching emblems or motifs. 
  • Feed-off-the-arm: These are probably the least popular of the four as their task is very specific. Feed-off-the-arm machines are generally used for lap seaming jobs such as joining shirt arms or pant legs.

Arm length

long arm industrial sewing machine

You’ll notice when searching for the best commercial sewing machine that some devices are labelled as “long arm” machines, and the distinction is vital for certain types of sewing work.

Professional quilting machines are often long arm (or longarm, depending on the manufacturer and who is writing their copy), but other applications such as parachute making, marine upholstery, and awning work, for example, will all benefit from having a long arm machine and the relevant frame.

Longarm sewing machines are generally considered to be those with a throat depth of 18” (45.7cm) or more.

Maintenance

The best industrial sewing machines are built to last, but that doesn’t mean you can simply unbox them and they’ll last for decades. Unfortunately, every commercial sewing machine (and even domestic ones) require some level of TLC to prolong their lifespan.

Regular oiling of the appliance is the key way to keep everything shipshape and working as it should be. There are, however, two different ways to do this: manually or automatically. In my opinion, automatic is the way to go, as failing to maintain a regular oiling schedule could result in expensive repairs…or worse.

Assembly 

It’s obvious when looking through commercial sewing machine listings online that retailers have been complained at numerous times by customers who receive their new device in pieces rather than fully assembled. Almost all will now prominently state whether you need to put the appliance together yourself or if it comes ready-to-sew. 

Almost all…but not all.

Check and double check whether or not your new professional sewing machine will need to be assembled before you buy. 

If you’re comfortable putting machinery together, great! You’ll save a few bucks. If you’re not, however, you could end up with a headache and a costly bill from an expert who’ll have to assemble it for you.

Dimensions

Following on from the point above about industrial machines shipping fully assembled, it’s vital that buyers take heed of the dimensions before checkout. The obvious reason for this is workspace. Will your new machine sit comfortably where you want it to and give the operator enough room to maneuver, too?

The second, lesser thought about, reason is will the damn thing fit through the doors necessary to get it to the workspace itself? A fully assembled industrial sewing machine complete with table and pedal can be a beast, so make sure you know for certain that you’ll be able to get it in place before you order.

Best industrial sewing machine reviews

Now that we’ve explored all of the ins and outs concerning commercial sewing machines, it’s time to find out which brands and models top the charts. 

Most of those I’ve chosen will be able to handle a broad range of professional applications, but a couple are quite specialized. Again, it’s all about knowing what you’re going to be using the tool for prior to purchase.

Anyway, enough chatter, let’s finally get down to the best industrial sewing machine reviews, shall we?

Consew 206RB-5 Walking Foot Sewing Machine

Consew 206RB-5

First up we have the fabulous Consew 206RB-5, which is a favorite with those who need a little more punch from their industrial sewing machine.

Widely regarded as one of the best tools to get the job done when working with heavyweight fabrics, the Consew 206RB-5 is a classic example of a serious commercial sewing machine. This beauty will eat its way through thick, layered leather, marine canvas, upholstery material, and much more. It’s a true beast of a machine.

Not only will it make light work of heavy fabrics, it’ll also compete in the speed stakes as well when the task allows. The Consew 206RB-5 will rocket up to 3,000 stitches per minute without any issues when at full pelt, but that power can be controlled and harnessed beautifully thanks to the ¾ hp servo motor that ships with the device.

Surprisingly, for a machine that is so clearly built for professional sewing work, the Consew 206RB-5 is pretty easy to get to grips with. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not exactly a device for novices, but if you already know your way around a home appliance, picking this up isn’t going to cause you too many issues. Beware of the user manual, though, as it’s liable to make things look more complex than they really are! 

In terms of stitch quality, the Consew excels throughout the entire speed range. Stitches are incredibly balanced and look wonderful when inspected after the task is complete. The walking foot compound feed allows even the most awkward materials to glide smoothly through the business end of the 205RB-5 and the high presser foot lift (9/16” / 14mm) is another indicator of the type of job this tool is built for.

The servo motor runs reasonably quiet, although quiet does not mean silent by any stretch of the imagination – it still makes a fair ol’ din, but that’s to be expected. When compared to similarly powered devices, the Consew doesn’t fair too badly in the noise stakes at all.

Perhaps the only negative would be the amount of vibration fed through the machine’s table as you sew. This is being extremely picky, however, as the built-in locking stitch regulator does its job exceptionally well, ensuring that there’s no variation in the stitch length whatsoever. The tremors are there, though, so don’t be alarmed when you first run the machine at full tilt.

Price-wise, the Consew 206RB-5 is pretty competitive for the market it serves. It’s not the cheapest on this list by a long shot, but then many of these machines will not handle the tasks the Consew can. It’s a case of horses-for-courses, and if you’re looking for a tool that’ll handle heavy, awkward material, this model offers superb value for money.

In terms of the accessories you get with the Consew 206RB-5, you’ll receive the basics and little else. Extra needles and bobbins, a knee lifter, spool pin, tools such as screwdrivers, hex keys, and wrenches, an oil dispenser, extra screws, and, the ubiquitous user manuals (parts and operation) will all be there when you unbox the appliance. 

This model, unlike its little cousin, the portable 206R, is a proper factory machine complete with table. Unfortunately, it doesn’t ship assembled from most retailers, and putting it together is a bit of a chore when compared to other pro sewing machines. 

It’ll require two people, so make sure you have an extra pair of hands ready when it arrives, but the extra effort is well worth it. This is a truly brilliant bit of kit if you are looking to work with heavy, thick fabrics.

LIKES
  • Remarkably easy to use
  • Will cope with pretty much any fabric you throw at it
  • Extremely well priced
  • Stitch quality is incredible
  • Speedy (3,000+ SPM)
  • Superb locking stitch regulator
  • Reasonably quiet
  • Very high attention to detail
  • Reliable, solid, and well built
DISLIKES
  • Slight vibration at full pelt
  • Assembly can be hard work

Yamata FY-8700 Lockstitch Sewing Machine

yamata FY8700

To the highly-rated Yamata FY-8700 next, a more familiar flat bed lockstitch sewing machine that is perfect for high speed work.

When I say high speed, I’m not kidding…this thing is fast! At top speed you can knock out an astonishing 5,500 stitches per minute, allow rocking along at that lick is not for the faint of heart, I can assure you.

Thankfully, Yamata have taken steps to limit the amount of noise produced at such mind blowing speeds and its stability doesn’t falter either…providing you stick to what it’s best at, which is light to light/medium fabrics. 

Anything even remotely heavy will cause issues, so steer clear of this model if you’re going to be working with denim, canvas, leather, or anything even approaching “thick”. This may be surprising to some, given the ½ hp motor, but it’s the lack of a proper compound feed walking foot that lets it down in this regard.

However, when sewing lightweight clothing items, such as shirts and blouses, you really can get through a heap of work in very little time. The Yamata FY-8700 uses a DB x 1 needle system to great effect.

The biggest gripe, other than its inability to work with thicker materials, is the assembly process…it’s a nightmare from start to finish. The instruction manual is about as useful as a chocolate teapot; it is awful. 

That being said, if you have someone who can intuitively put together machinery like this without resorting to swearing and throwing things (these people exist, apparently), the Yamata FY-8700 is a fine choice.

LIKES
  • Very, very fast (5,000 SPM)
  • Decent noise reduction
  • Stable
DISLIKES
  • Assembly is a headache
  • Not built for heavier fabrics

TechSew 810 Post Bed Industrial Sewing Machine Review

TechSew 810 Post Bed

Next up is the TechSew 810, the brand’s entry level post bed roller foot commercial sewing machine.

This might seem like an odd choice to start with, but I wanted to cover as many bases as possible with this roundup of the best industrial sewing machines, so why not include a post bed? Shoe manufacturers will thank me if no one else does!

The TechSew 810, like everything else that comes out of the Canadian supplier’s Montreal based store, has an incredibly sturdy, solid frame that just screams industrial. As a post bed sewing machine, this particular model is especially suited to footwear, but can also other tasks too, such as belt work, purses, handbags, wallets and other similar projects.

Its needle system is a 135 x 5 that can handle #11 to #25 needles and thread sizes that range from #23 all the way up to #70, which makes it ideal for light to medium weight work with fabrics ranging from vinyl to canvas. It’ll also handle laminated products nicely as well, providing they’re not too thick. TechSew advertize that the 810 can handle up to 5/16”.

The post bed height itself is a fairly standard 7” (17.8cm), which will work for most tasks. The variable speed servo motor not only offers the sewer greater control, it also allows for simple reverse stitching, too.

Edging and curved stitches are made exceptionally simple thanks to the roller foot and its clearance (⅜”) means that multi-layered fabrics are also easily fed through without issue. Stitch quality is very good indeed, as one would expect from TechSew, and remains so throughout the length range, which can be adjusted from 5 to 25 stitches per inch (roughly 1mm to 5mm spacing).

The TechSew 810 comes fully assembled mounted on its own table along with a thread stand, lamp, bobbin winder, and other accessories. 

If you’re in the market for an industrial post bed sewing machine, you could do a lot worse than opt for the TechSew 810.

LIKES
  • Very well constructed
  • Variable speed servo motor is excellent
  • Great for working on edging and curves
  • Ships fully assembled
DISLIKES
  • Nothing much!

Yamata FY20U43

Yamata FY20U43

From what could be considered a one-trick pony to a more versatile machine now, namely the Yamata FY20U43.

If you’re looking for reliability from a tried and tested machine, then the Yamata FY20U43 is a great option, as it has been in production for almost 40 years. It’s basically the same as the SINGER 20U83, but you can usually pick the Yamata up for less as you’re not stumping up for the popular brand name.

The beauty of the Yamata FY20U43 is the aforementioned versatility. Where most other industrial sewing machines concentrate on doing one thing to an exceptional standard, this model has the ability to sew both zig zag and straight stitches without missing a beat. Decorative stitch work and embroidery are also handled well when required.

This adaptability makes the Yamata FY20U43 a firm favorite with garment manufacturers across the globe and the relatively low price point further cements this model’s place in the commercial sewing machine “most popular” list.

Capable of hitting 2,000 stitches per minute at full speed, it’ll keep the factory floor ticking along nicely without particularly setting the world alight. The supplied electronic DC servo motor has a ½ hp output and can handle anything up to lightweight leather.

The Yamata FY20U43 is a solid choice for any business on the lookout for a medium speed workhorse that will run and run.

LIKES
  • Well-respected, longstanding model
  • Reliable
  • Great for a number of projects
DISLIKES
  • Not the fastest (2,000 SPM)
  • Will only handle up to medium weight fabrics at best

TechSew 5100-SE

TechSew 5100-SE

Time for another heavyweight, this time it’s the turn of the TechSew 5100-SE.

This model from the Canadian supplier is a magnificent sewing machine, but you will have to pay over double for it when compared with the Consew 206RB-5 reviewed above. Why the massive hike in price? 

Well, the TechSew 5100-SE is able to sew ridiculous thicknesses of very awkward fabrics, yet it’ll also work wonderfully with lighter leathers and canvases, too, making it a true all-rounder. This will be welcomed by those who operate in factory with varied tasks, as opposed to those who concentrate solely on one product line.

Like the Consew, the TechSew 5100-SE is a compound feed walking foot sewing machine that keeps fabrics flowing effortlessly through the stitching area without any movement or slippage whatsoever. TechSew really have got theirs right with the 5100SE; it works great and the addition of the TechSew TLG Laser Guide and the Swing Down Roller Guide makes the operator’s job all the more simple and pleasurable. This is a very user-friendly machine indeed.

The TechSew 5100SE has a powerful 1hp SmartServo-NP motor, which can be reined in thanks to the 16 speed settings, and it makes light work of tasks that would reduce other commercial sewing machines to a crumpled mess. Even horse harnesses and saddles are no problem for this model; it’s a monster.

The NP in the motor’s name stands for Needle Positioning, so you get even more control that way, too. While many operators prefer a more hands-on approach, for those who make use of this feature the time saved can be considerable; it’s well worth persevering with until it becomes second nature.

Another plus point of the 5100SE is its versatility. As we’ve already mentioned, this appliance will easily work with light, medium, and heavyweight fabrics, but it also serves a dual purpose in terms of bed types, too, as the cylinder arm can be converted into a flatbed machine quickly and easily thanks to the table attachment that ships with the 5100-SE.

In short, the TechSew 5100SE lives up to the company’s billing as the “ultimate sewing machine”, but the cost will undoubtedly put it out of the range of many businesses, unfortunately. 

If, however, you are able to add this model to your factory floor, you won’t be disappointed. It could even be argued that you can’t afford not to have a TechSew 5100SE if your business involves a wide and varied range heavy duty stitching tasks to keep profits rolling in.

LIKES
  • Excellent compound feed
  • Very well built
  • Needle positioning feature is fantastic
  • 16 speed settings
  • Superb control throughout the speed ranges
DISLIKES
  • Very expensive

JUKI TL-2010Q

JUKI TL-2010Q

Something a little bit different for you now, the JUKI TL-2010Q (UK readers, it’s the same as the Juki TL-2200QVP Mini).

Now, before we go any further, to all you purists spluttering your favorite hot beverage all over your screen, I know that the JUKI TL-2010Q is not a true industrial device. The reason for its inclusion in this list of the best commercial sewing machine reviews is warranted, though, as more and more amateur sewists are taking their craft and making a living from it.

Those who choose to go down this route will usually be running home businesses, especially at the start, and a hefty industrial machine with an equally hefty price tag is often not the most viable option. So, this review is for those artisans and semi-pro crafters out there. 

With that mini-disclaimer out of the way, we can get on to the JUKI TL-2010Q review, and even those industrial sewing machine purists won’t be able to deny that this is a very capable appliance indeed…providing it’s used for the correct tasks.

The JUKI TL-2010Q is really built with quilters in mind, both professional and semi-professional, so this is where it really comes into its own. That said, home dressmakers and tailors will be pleasantly surprised, too, but don’t expect the versatility of, say, a Janome Memory Craft 6500P. This is a no-nonsense, straightforward single needle lockstitch machine that does one thing, and does it brilliantly.

If you’re upgrading an old domestic device you will be delighted with the improved control and accuracy this sewing machine brings; it really does sew exceptionally well. This particular model, as opposed to the less expensive JUKI TL-2010Qi, has a sliding speed control built in, which will please those who like to slow things down on occasion, rather than rattling along at full pelt the whole time.

Talking of which, the JUKI TL-2010Q is no slouch. Top speed will produce a perfectly respectable 1,500 stitches per minute, so you’ll be able to get through tasks far faster than the vast majority of standard home appliances will allow. 

The aforementioned speed control comes in handy for the JUKI TL-2010Q’s speciality: free motion sewing. You can take the speed down to as low as 200 spm when precision is paramount and the Juki responds magnificently. 

This is one smooth machine and the ease with which you can sew freehand is phenomenal. Feed dogs are controlled by a simple switch and the included ¼” and ⅕” quilting feet make free motioning a joy. Quilters will love this aspect of the JUKI TL-2010Q.

The presser foot lift can be operated by knee, which keeps your hands where they should be, but the clearance is a little less than what those accustomed to industrial devices will be used to. At just under ½” (12mm), there’s still ample room for most quilting tasks, but if you’re coming from a machine with greater lift you may notice the difference.

Throat space is okay (8 ½” from needle to casing), falling just within the mid-range of arm lengths, but for really big jobs things may get a little cramped in there. For everything else, though, the JUKI TL-2010Q is spacious enough to cope.

Other features include a very good bobbin winder, needle positioning, and a handy thread trimmer that’s controlled with the foot pedal. Click back on your heel and your thread will be cut. Simple, but effective…unlike the automatic threader, which will have you scratching your head before you master it.

This is a very minor complaint, however, as I love the JUKI TL-2010Q. If you’re looking for a semi-industrial sewing machine, either for home use or in your workshop, you won’t be disappointed by this awesome piece of kit.

LIKES
  • Well built
  • Nice and stable in operation
  • Very good speed control
  • Large sewing area for a tabletop machine
  • Vibration-free
  • Stitch quality is superb
DISLIKES
  • Needle threader takes some getting used to

TechSew 2900L Leather Patcher

TechSew 2900

Another TechSew machine for you now, and another speciality tool, this time it’s the turn of the 2900L Leather Patcher.

Built specifically for patchwork, the TechSew 2900L has all the features one would expect to see on such a machine. The 360° rotating presser foot combined with an 18” cylinder arm gives the operator plenty of room to maneuver and the ability to be precise with intricate stitch work.

This machine takes more skill to handle than a normal flatbed sewing machine would, but the results are impressive when you persevere. Somewhat surprisingly, given the 1hp, 800W, 110v variable Techsew SmartServo motor, the 2900L can only handle ¼” leather. That’s fine for its primary job of patch work, but if you’re thinking of buying this machine for footwear, which it’s perfectly capable of, be aware that it won’t like dealing with thick boot leather or similar.

As the TechSew 2900L is built more for precision than speed, the stitch per minute count is low. Lower than many machines designed for domestic use, in fact. At just 500 spm, it could, on paper at least, seem to be a little too leisurely, but it is perfectly suited to the work it’s aimed at.

Its servo motor can be further reined in thanks to the 18 different speed settings, which will take the RPMs from 100 through to 1,800. For those really tricky jobs, the TechSew 2900L can also be operated by hand as well, giving the user an option to sew manually if they so wish.

The 2900L uses a 135 x 17 needle system, with needle sizes ranging from #16 to #20. The accompanying threads run from #46 up to #90, so there’s decent scope for more creative work, should this be required. 

This is a very good quality industrial sewing machine, but it is also a very specific machine too. If it’s what you need, you’ll love it, but don’t buy one of these if you’re looking for a more versatile piece of commercial sewing equipment. 

LIKES
  • Ideal for intricate movement
  • Manual operation option
  • Cylinder arm is perfect for awkward items
  • Exceptional control
  • Superb for directional work
DISLIKES
  • Will only work on thicknesses up to 1/4″ leather
  • Slow, albeit intentionally so (500 SPM)
  • Somewhat of a one-trick pony, although, again, this is intentional

Juki DDL-8700 Industrial Lockstitch Sewing Machine

JUKI DDL-8700

The final entrant in this best commercial sewing machines review roundup is the ever-popular Juki DDL-8700.

This machine is well-known for its ability to work forever. Factories operating 24/7 will appreciate the workhorse nature of the Juki DDL-8700, as well as the very affordable price tag. In fact, the DDL8700 is so inexpensive (when compared to other industrial sewing machines, at least), many have been put off. 

Don’t be one of those people. 

This is a highly dependable machine if you’re looking for something capable of working with light to medium weight fabrics. For the clothing industry, especially those who are looking to buy several machines at once, the Juki DDL-8700 offers excellent value for money.

So, why the low price tag? Well, the main reason is the aforementioned class that the Juki DDL-8700 falls into. It truly is a professional sewing machine built for the lighter materials, although it will punch through light vinyl and leather without too many issues, the absence of a walking foot makes this a little more hit and miss than one would like. Keep the fabrics light, however, and it’ll last a lifetime with a bit of TLC.

The servo motor supplied with the Juki DDL-8700 is superb and will rocket up to an astonishing 5,500 stitches per minute. Thankfully, this can be tamed, with an easily adjustable RPM dial, so precision work is not something you need to forsake if you buy one of these appliances.

Needle-wise, the Juki DDL-8700 runs the DB x 1 system and the single stitch output is consistently neat and balanced. It runs pretty quiet, too, and the four dog feed system does a great job of gently pulling through even the flimsiest of fabrics…something that many other industrial sewing machines struggle with.

All in all, this is a very worthy contender for the title of best industrial sewing machine, but only if you work solely with light to medium weight materials.

LIKES
  • A true workhorse
  • Affordable
  • Perfect for garment work
  • Fantastic servo motor
  • Ridiculously fast (5,500 SPM)
  • Stitches are of the highest quality
  • Great feed system, despite the lack of walking foot
DISLIKES
  • For light to medium fabrics only

Which sewing machine is best for commercial use?

As ever, coming up with a definitive answer to the question of “which industrial sewing machine is best?” is tricky to say the least.

So, many variables come into play here: the type of business, budget, what materials you’ll be sewing, space, etc. The list goes on!

That, however, isn’t going to cut it. You came here looking for the best commercial sewing machine, so I’m going to nail my colors to the mast and give you an answer…sort of.

All of the professional sewing machines reviewed here are worthy of your consideration. None will disappoint, providing you buy the correct model for the task at hand. That being said, I do have a favorite (or two).

Consew 206RB-5

For those looking to work with heavyweight materials, but don’t want to break the bank, the Consew 206RB-5 is unbeatable. It’ll go through pretty much anything and won’t let you down in any way, shape, or form. 

TechSew 5100-SE

If you’re in the market for a super-heavyweight, though, the TechSew 5100-SE is the only way to go. It’ll cost you a frightening amount of money, but if you’re working regularly on stuff like heavy webbing, parachute harnesses, horse saddles, etc. then it’s worth its weight in gold.

JUKI DDL-8700
Yamata FY20U43

The Juki DDL8700 is a great choice for those working with light to medium weight fabrics, hence its popularity in the rag trade, but the Yamata FY20U43 gives it a decent run for its money.

JUKI TL-2010Q

Finally, for those looking to up their game at home, whether for business or pleasure, the Juki TL2010Q (AKA Juki TL-2200QVP Mini in the United Kingdom) is a joy to use. If you quilt regularly, you really need to look into getting one of these into your sewing room ASAP.

Hopefully this post has helped with your search for the best industrial sewing machine out there. Here’s to a long lasting and fruitful working relationship between business owner and sewing machine!

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REFERENCES:

  1. Consumers International | Built to fail: is planned obsolescence really happening? | https://www.consumersinternational.org/news-resources/blog/posts/built-to-fail-is-planned-obsolescence-really-happening/
  2. Melo AS Jr | The risk of developing repetitive stress injury in seamstresses, in the clothing industry, under the perspective of ergonomic work analysis: a case study | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22316954
  3. Hurley Gill, Senior Applications/Systems Engineer | Energy Management Through Direct Drive Servo Technology | https://www.techbriefs.com/component/content/article/tb/supplements/md/features/articles/27268
  4. John Mazurkiewicz | Make The Most Of Servo Motor Efficiency | https://www.designworldonline.com/make-the-most-of-servo-motor-efficiency/
  5. United States Department of Labor | Occupational Noise Exposure | https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/noisehearingconservation/

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