Have you been putting off some upholstery projects at home for long? Well, this lockdown period is the best time to start restoring and refreshing some old furniture or any heavy-duty jobs.
However, a regular sewing machine is not going to give you the desired result, hence, you need the best sewing machine for upholstery. These machines do a way better job than the standard machines because they can handle thicker fabrics and provide more versatility, not to mention, better performance for such projects.
So we have put together some of the best sewing machines for upholstery after carefully considering its speed, warranty, built-in stitches, size, weight, price, and more.
Let’s dive right in and help you choose the best sewing machine for upholstery.
Best Sewing Machine for Upholstery Comparison Table
|1. SINGER 4423 Sewing Machine
|2. SINGER Heavy Duty 4411 Sewing Machine
|3. Juki TL-2010Q
|4. SINGER Heavy Duty 4452 Sewing Machine
|5. Brother ST371HD Sewing Machine
|6. Brother PQ1500SL Sewing and Quilting Machine
|7. SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Portable Sewing Machine
Our Best Sewing Machine for Upholstery Reviews and Comparisons
1. SINGER 4423 Sewing Machine
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If you are acquainted with the sewing world, you must have surely heard of SINGER and by now are aware that it is the best heavy duty sewing machines in the market.
The SINGER 4423 is a mechanical model that comes with immense features and extra accessories that are greatly useful, making it one of the most versatile sewing machines to opt for.
With SINGER being the most opted-for brand worldwide, its 4423 sewing machine is no different when it comes to its efficiency and versatility. Its 23 built-in stitches prove this point right as it includes basic, decorative, buttonhole, and stretch stitches, making it useful for home décor, crafts, quilts, and a variety of projects.
Besides, the SINGER 4423 comes with an automatic needle threader. This built-in feature ensures effortless threading of the needle, which in turn eliminates any kind of strain to the eye.
Moreover, with a maximum sewing speed of 1,100 stitches per minute, this high-speed sewing machine is best for advanced sewers. With a dimension of 15.5 x 6.25 x 12 inches and a weight of 14.5 pounds, 4423’s heavy-duty metal interior frame makes sewing consistent for its users. Also, its stainless steel bedframe allows the fabric to glide seamlessly past the needle.
In addition to all these excellent features, the SINGER 4423 comes packed with numerous accessories. These include an all-purpose foot, buttonhole foot, zipper foot button sewing foot, a quilting guide, a seam ripper/lint brush, auxiliary spool pin, needles, bobbins, screwdriver, and soft-sided dust cover.
What We Like About SINGER 4423 Sewing Machine
This sewing machine can stitch through numerous fabrics, jute, leather, denim, layers of cotton without too much of an effort and fuss. Not to mention, the 60% stronger motor enables greater piercing power for thick seams, thereby, also ensuring stability. Moreover, SINGER 4423’s 25-year limited warranty calls for a smart grab.
What We Don’t Like About SINGER 4423 Sewing Machine
Though advanced sewers adore this workhorses’ powerful motor, beginners or newbies may struggle with it. Also, this sewing machine is not very portable.
- 23 Built-in stitches
- Simple and easy to use
- Automatic needle threader
- Suitable for both heavy and light fabrics
- Not the best option for beginners
- Not very portable
- Speed cannot be adjusted
2. SINGER Heavy Duty 4411 Sewing Machine
Designed with a heavy-duty metal interior frame and stainless steel bedplate, the SINGER 4411 is a true workhorse. Besides, with its 60% powerful motor and extra-high sewing speed, this machine can sew through a wide range of fabrics.
A true workhorse, the SINGER 4411 heavy-duty sewing machine has 11 built-in stitches, 4 decorative stitches, 6 basic stitches, 1 built-in buttonhole, which makes it apt for DIYs, crafts, home décor, and more.
With a dimension of 15.5 x 6.25 x 12 inches and weight of an exact 14.5 pounds, this sewing machine provides great piercing power and speed of up-to 1100 stitches per minute. Not to mention, the top drop-in bobbin, built-in 4-step buttonhole, drop feed for button sewing and an adjustable presser foot pressure add a sort of ease to the heavy-duty sewing.
Besides, the free arm design of the sewing machine gives you great results in difficult-to-reach areas such as the hems, collars, and cuffs.
Also, you can select the type of stitch, length, and width with the help of the dial on the machine. The small dial located under the balance wheel helps you adjust the size of the buttonhole stitches. Moreover, you can even change the needle position to the three available positions depending on whether you are adding zippers, or are just cording and topstitching.
However, the SINGER 4411 sewing machine is warranted for use in Canada and the US at 110 volts only.
What We Like About SINGER Heavy Duty 4411 Sewing Machine
The top-load bobbin is an added advantage. A lot of effort and undoubtedly time is saved because the bobbin loads efficiently without much time consumption. Moreover, the sturdiness of the machine will have you blindly rely on its productiveness.
What We Don’t Like About SINGER Heavy Duty 4411 Sewing Machine
Unfortunately, the SINGER 4411 heavy-duty sewing machine is not portable. Once you fix it on a sewing table, it’s difficult to move.
- Simple and effective machine to have at your disposal
- Top load bobbin is a boon
- Free arm design
- Enables reverse stitch
- Sturdiness adds to productiveness
- Difficult to operate in the beginning without the user manual
- Not portable
3. Juki TL-2010Q
The Juki TL-2010Q is aptly made for real heavy-duty upholstery sewing as it can stitch thick materials and numerous layers at once. Besides, it’s one of the best sewing machines for car upholstery. Materials like leather can be easily tackled with this machine.
This high-performance and quilting machine comes with a speed of 1500 SPM, dimensions of 25.7 x 14 x 18 inches, and a weight of 38 pounds. Not to mention, its aluminum die-casting ensures enhanced quality sewing. Besides this single needle, the lock-stitch portable machine also comes with a large work area of up to 23 inches, the auxiliary table included.
Also, the Juki TL-2010Q’s exclusive foot controlled trimming system allows you to trim top and bobbin threads. All you need to do is rock your heel back on the foot control and the thread is cut off quickly.
Moreover, with an automatic thread trimmer and spacious sewing bed, the Juki TL-2010Q is one of the best options for tailoring, home décor, quilting, and more. And both the foot controller and trim button keep the thread from quivering when fabrics are sewed at high speed. Plus, they provide explicit fine-tuned thread tension.
What We Like About Juki TL-2010Q
Adding to these features is its industrial sub-tension system, a variable speed control slider, and built-in LED light. These advanced features are quite an advantage when it comes to working on precise projects, plus, it makes seeing things easier.
What We Don’t Like About Juki TL-2010Q
It’s very expensive but if the price is not a factor for you then it’s worth buying because of its powerful performance.
- Strong build quality
- Fast and powerful
- Very Durable
- Built-in LED light
- Adjustable stitch size
- Not Portable
4. SINGER Heavy Duty 4452 Sewing Machine
The SINGER heavy-duty 4452 is one of the most budget-friendly upholstery sewing machines. It has amazing features and functionality considering the price. Besides, its solid metal frame and powerful motor ensure that it lasts you long to fulfill all your creative projects.
With a dimension of 15.5 x 6.25 x 12 inches, the SINGER Heavy Duty comes in with 32 built-in stitches. These include 6 basic stitches, 7 stretch, and a fully automatic 1-step buttonhole. This also includes 18 decorative stitches, apt for sewers who like to go all fancy with their home décor, clothing, and crafts projects.
Besides, this sewing machine comes with a maximum sewing speed of 1100 stitches-per-minute, which helps in faster completion of projects. Not to mention, the 60% stronger motor ensures precise sewing through heavy and thick fabrics smoothly.
A true workhorse, the 4452 ensures a skip-free sewing and smooth fabric flow. Moreover, this sewing machine is lightweight, compact, portable, and adding all these qualities is the 25-year warranty it comes along with.
Moreover, its automatic needle threader helps in effortless threading, in turn sparing the eye from any kind of strain or frustration. Not to mention, the top bobbin is quite easy to insert, as well as remove and monitor the thread supply.
What We Like About SINGER Heavy Duty 4452 Sewing Machine
The selection of accessories that come with this sewing machine. From a 5 pack of size 16 needles to an even feed/walking foot for layers of fabric, from a clearance plate for thick seams to a non-stick foot for leather and vinyl. In addition to all these, the 4452 also includes an all-purpose foot, buttonhole foot, zipper foot, button sewing foot, quilting guide, lint brush/seam ripper, screwdriver, auxiliary spool pin, and a soft-sided dust cover.
The heavy-duty machine, along with these various accessories for a budget-friendly price is worth undoubtedly worth it.
What We Don’t Like About SINGER Heavy Duty 4452 Sewing Machine
The major flaw that most of you may find with the SINGER heavy-duty 4452 sewing machine is that at first, it’s very tricky to handle. So you may require quite some time to get used to it.
- Easy on the pocket
- Compact and portable
- Durable frame
- Plenty of stitch types
- 25-year warranty
- Great accessories provided along with machine
- Jams when working with few thick fabrics
- Sensitive pedal and no manual speed control
5. Brother ST371HD Sewing Machine
Coming from one of the most renowned in the sewing world, Brother ST371HD is loaded with 37 unique built-in stitches, and also includes an auto-size buttonhole. This feature calls for innovative and creative stitches for blind hems, zipper insertion, stretch stitches, and buttonholes, making the machine exceptional and even more valuable.
This heavy-duty machine is designed to be strong and durable and is just apt for sewing and mending all kinds of fabrics. Lightweight materials, silks, or thick outdoor fabrics, name any, and this machine can work its magic around any and last for years despite all the sewing and mending.
Besides, it comes with an automatic needle threader and a jam-resistant drop-in top bobbin that ensures the needle is pushed through perfectly and conveniently. Moreover, this free arm sewing machine boasts of a 25-year warranty and is one of the best upholstery machines for beginners who are still discovering their love for upholstery sewing.
Equally beneficial for advanced sewers as well, the ST371HD Sewing Machine comes bundled with useful accessories too. From the 6 sewing feet to a blind stitch, a zipper, to a spring action zigzag foot and nonstick, a buttonhole, and button sewing feet, this machine offers it all.
In addition, its drop feed feature ensures complete free-motion sewing effortlessly. Also, the machine comes with an instructional DVD, an English and Spanish user manual to help you get started.
With a speed of 800 stitches per minute, Brother ST371HD can help you complete your sewing projects efficiently and with great quality too. The fact that this sewing machine has won the Women’s Choice Award for quality says a lot about it too.
What We Like About Brother ST371HD Sewing Machine
The ST371HD Sewing Machine comes with a metal needle plate that not only protects the threading mechanism but also ensures smoother fabric feeding.
What We Don’t Like About Brother ST371HD Sewing Machine
Though this machine comes with excellent features, the fact that it is a bit slower than other heavy-duty machines and struggles with thicker fabrics can be disappointing.
- 37 built-in stitches
- Great value for the money
- Strong and durable
- One of the slowest models
- Struggles with thicker fabrics
6. Brother PQ1500SL Sewing and Quilting Machine
The Brother PQ1500SL sewing and quilting machine come with a precision feeding system that makes sewing all kinds of thick fabric easy and smooth.
Strong and durable, the PQ1500SL is one of the best sewing machines for upholstery in the market today. With dimensions of 7.9 x 12.6 x 19.3 inches and a weight of 29.8 pounds, this sewing machine features a large sewing area and allows you to sew and quilt more in less time with its 1500 stitches per minute max sewing speed.
Besides its lightning speed, this sewing machine is fantastic for a serious quilter and seamstress. All kinds of projects can be taken up and completed with precision and quality work on time.
Moreover, the PQ1500SL comes with an automatic needle threader that conveniently pushes the thread through the needle. This makes threading simpler, and therefore, saves a lot of time.
Also, an LED light included in it calls for better visibility while stitching any fabric. Plus, you can adjust the stitches up to 7mm in length. In addition, the PQ1500SL longarm sewing machine comes clad with a variety of accessories – 7 sewing feet, knee-lifter, instruction manual, at your side support via online, chat and phone, and more.
Besides, the 25-year warranty is an added advantage. In case something happens to your machine while using it, you will be at peace when you have to fix it.
What We Like About Brother PQ1500SL Sewing and Quilting Machine
This sewing machine comes with an adjustable pin feed mechanism that ensures precision. The feed mechanism of the machine allows you to exchange the use of feed dogs for a pin that extends beneath the machine. This helps all your layers of quilt to move together, not to mention if you are using really delicate fabrics, it leaves no feed dog mark. Moreover, four additional feed dog settings call for maximum fabric control.
What We Don’t Like About Brother PQ1500SL Sewing and Quilting Machine
While the PQ1500SL sewing and quilting machine is great in all aspects, the only thing that most of you may have trouble with is that it can feel too big for some of you.
- Large sewing area
- 25-year warranty
- Large sewing bed
- Great for quilting
- Can be too big for some
7. SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Portable Sewing Machine
The SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 is a portable computerized machine that comes with enhanced features. Though most prefer mechanical machines when it comes to upholstery, this computerized machine offers numerous advantages. It includes a digital backlit LCD screen where you can change the settings and stitch type on the fly. It also ensures easy viewing of any stitch function – length, width, tension settings, and more.
If you are highly creative, then the 9960’s 600 built-in stitches will surely help you explore that creative side of yours.
From basic to decorative and stretch, there are numerous stitches to choose from for your home décor, fashion sewing, or quilting projects. These include 5 alphanumeric fonts, 13 fully automatic 1-step buttonholes with an exclusive buttonhole underplate, stitch elongation for more creativity, and mirror imaging. Also, a built-in threader, built-in thread cutter, start/stop button, direct button stitch selection, stitch editing functions, all add to making this sewing machine very useful.
With dimensions of 17.25 x 8.25 x 12 inches and a weight of 20 pounds, the SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 comes with a speed of 850 stitches per minute. This means that any project undertaken by you can be completed in a shorter span of time.
Besides, this sewing machine is made of high-quality materials which make it strong and durable.
What We Like About SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Portable Sewing Machine
A budget-friendly sewing machine with a long warranty. Plus, its computerized technology gives it a strong edge over many of the machines in the market today. Moreover, it also comes packed with other accessories for the budget. It includes an extension table with a large working space, an all-purpose foot, buttonhole foot, zipper foot, blind hem foot, satin stitch foot, quilting foot, and more.
What We Don’t Like About SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Portable Sewing Machine
If you decide to push it too far, we recommend you stop. Though you may find it packed with numerous features for a great budget, it does lack some of the features that you would look out for in a sewing machine for upholstery. This machine doesn’t have the motor strength to handle heavier or thicker fabrics such as leather, vinyl, and a few other materials. Plus, it’s one of the slower machines out there.
- Lightweight and portable
- Computerized technology
- Strong and durable frame
- Digital screen
- Many stitch types
- Long warranty
- Not suitable for all materials
- Relatively slow sewing
If we had to suggest one, we would recommend the SINGER 4423 sewing machine. Firstly, it’s from one of the most renowned names of the sewing world. Secondly, it’s a versatile sewing machine loaded with excellent features to help you carry out any project you take upon – home décor, crafts, quilts, and more. Thirdly, for all the features that it comes along, it does not burn a hole in your pocket.
However, having said that, there are others on this list that can cater to your needs and budget. So, you can always make a choice and get the best one for yourself.
There are several factors to consider when you decide to buy the best sewing machine for upholstery if you are looking for the best results. This buying guide will help you figure out what are the things you should look into before you decide to spend on an upholstery machine.
Many of the convenient features include an automatic needle threader, top drop-in bobbin systems, and more for your DIY, home projects, or any other upholstery project to be successful.
Depending on if you are a beginner or an advanced sewer, before you decide on one, ask yourself a few very basic and important questions about the brand, the price, what kind of upholstery projects you are into, how frequently will you be using it and more.
Let’s look into these elements in much more detail.
Since this is going to be an investment, you should always check out the pros and cons of all the brands and settle for the best one always. SINGER is quite a household name in the sewing world and is quite widely recommended by many.
Though SINGER is the most sought after brand, other brands have also come into the market to compete. Today you have Brother, Janome, Juki, Kenmore, Bernina, and more that also offer a lot of features.
If you are someone who is stepping into the sewing world, then SINGER, Brother, and Janome are machines that are equipped with features enough for you to start out.
Price is also an important factor when picking the best sewing machine for yourself. The price can vary from a few to several thousand dollars and you need to make a wise decision. On the upper side, you would find great machines with impeccable features suited for extreme commercial tailoring.
Question yourself as to who are you buying this machine for, why are you buying it, what you would be using it for, and more. Make note of all your financial constraints and see which price is going to best suit you. If you’re a beginner and on a tight budget, select something that provides you the best of the best features at the most reasonable price, however, try not to compromise on quality. The reason being, if you are going to look for a good quality sewing machine, it won’t be very cheap. Plus, remember you will be using this for as long as you can, so make a smart purchase.
In case you choose a cheaper one, be realistic about the expectation because you will be spending that amount for that kind of quality. However, if you’re an advanced sewer, and regularly sew upholstery, then it’s better to choose one that gives you everything that you expect, even if it’s a bit on the higher end. After all, you have to use it for long.
In other words, the more you pay, the better product you will get. Having said that, there are sewing machines from the above-mentioned brands that ensure quality with excellent features at affordable prices.
Making a decision based on your use is equally important. As a beginner, you need to prioritize ease of use along with the range of stitches, so that you get your basics right. As for experienced sewers, more advanced features are required, which mostly come in higher variants.
Plus, it also depends on how much you are going to use the sewing machine over the years. If you only intend to do basic repairs then your needs will differ from someone who uses it regularly for intricate projects. At some point, if you think you are going to be involved in much more ambitious projects, then you should opt for something that is suited for all levels. In this way, you will not need to buy another sewing machine once you outgrow the one you start on.
Your buying decision can also depend on the projects you decide to undertake. For instance, if you are looking to make very basic repairs or simple alterations, then a very straightforward machine with decent features and few stitches should do it for you.
If you want to buy something with the aim of dressmaking then buttonhole features are critical. Besides, you will also be working on the sleeves, hems, or more, in such cases, you should have the free arm feature.
If quilting or embroidery is where you will be venturing into then you require diverse stitches. For this, you will need a machine that comes equipped with all the features. If heavier fabrics are going to be your everyday deal, then the machine should be stronger and capable of stitching them with ease.
So before you spend your money on one, think of the projects you will mostly be involved in.
Another important factor to consider is the mobility and portability of the machine. Are you going to pack it away often or is it going to be permanently fixed on a sewing table? If the machine is going to stay in one place then you need not be very concerned about its portability and weight. In case you’re going to carry it all the time and pack it up constantly after work, then you need to make a wise choice when picking up one. Check its weight and see if it is easy to carry around or constantly pack away. This factor can really influence your choice.
Don’t miss out on the speed of the machine when buying one. If you are an advanced level sewer and have numerous projects to complete in a shorter span of time, then the faster the machine the better for you. But if you are a beginner and have just started out then opt for the one that has decent speed. However, there are many that come with a speed adjustment slot, so always make the smart choice here for the amount you will be spending.
One of the most important things to look into is whether the machine is for upholstery projects and that the machine is heavy-duty enough to handle all sorts of fabrics. Many machines in this review have metal interior frames. This is essential because such frames ensure stability and in turn give out very professional results.
Automatic Needle Threader
Though most come with an automatic needle threader, ensure that this is something you will look into. Threading a needle can be such a task, setting up your machine with an auto version simplifies your work, plus doesn’t take up much of your time. Besides, if you are someone with poor vision, then manually getting the needle in can be quite frustrating.
Built-in or pre-programmed stitches are a savior in disguise. Based on the type and kind of machine you’re looking for, a certain number of stitches are offered with other additional features. These stitches are marketed at specific groups of sewers.
Most do come with a utility for seams. They include the straight, blind, or the zigzag stitch. However, if you are someone who requires more than that, for instance, something more decorative, then ensure the sewing machine you spend on comes with those stitches.
Drop Feed Dog Lever
The movement of the fabric is controlled by feed dogs and the smoother the flow, the faster and efficient will be your work. This is something to be really considered, especially if you’re looking out to try free-motion quilting or embroidery. If you need to exercise control while moving the fabric, then you must be able to drop the feed dog so that the material is not touched upon.
Make sure the machine that you buy has a top-load bobbin. Unlike older machines, this feature ensures that you just slide open a panel and drop the bobbin in. You no longer have to thread the bobbin in a recessed compartment. And, a clear cover enables you to see when the thread is running low.
Check for a warranty. Don’t ever purchase one that comes without a warranty. While some of the above-mentioned ones come with a warranty of 25 years, ensure that whichever upholstery sewing machine you pick that it comes with at least a 1-2 year warranty. In this way in case something happens to your machine, it breaks down or doesn’t work well for you, you will not need to worry much about it. Make sure you also check what your warranty covers before making the purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions:
We have provided you a list of some of the best sewing machines for upholstery for 2020 as well as a buying guide to help you make a choice accordingly. We also have below some frequently asked questions for you. Dive right in to know more:
Can a regular sewing machine be used for upholstery?
Unfortunately, a regular or ordinary sewing machine cannot be used to sew upholstery. These ordinary machines are not apt because the needle is too small as well as the thread used is small and thin. Hence, if you plan on using your ordinary sewing machine for upholstery then it’s not going to work. You will need an industrial or heavy-duty sewing machine to stitch materials like upholstery.
What kind of thread is used for upholstery?
For any upholstery project, an all-purpose thread works fine. However, when you want something with more strength and something that can hold on to your heavy fabrics, it’s best to use bonded nylon thread. You can opt for Coats & Clark extra strong upholstery thread. It is thicker and much more lasting than an all-purpose polyester thread.
What tension should be used for a thick fabric?
When using a thicker fabric, the tension should be higher to lift the lower thread up to the center of the layers of the fabric. For medium to medium-heavy fabrics like linen or denim, a 4 or 5 should be good enough.
Hand sewing or machine sewing – which is stronger?
Machine sewing is way faster, time-saving, and not to mention, way more convenient. And, since machine stitches use two strands of thread and also secures the stitches with a knot, it is way stronger than hand stitches. The scare of stitches opening any time soon is completely done away with.
Which is a stronger stitch – straight or zigzag?
The straight stitch is used for almost all projects. It can also be used over the zigzag stitch or vice-versa, however, that doesn’t mean that it is a much stronger or better stitch method. If we have to choose between a straight stitch and a zigzag stitch, we would definitely opt for the zigzag one. The sole reason being, the zigzag stitch ensures more strength and durability to sewing projects than the straight stitch.
Can quilting fabric be used for upholstery?
Yes, of course, quilting fabric can be used for upholstery. However, you need to ensure that you use good quality materials, mostly made of cotton. The reason is that the upholstery needs to be durable and strong for everyday use.
How tight should the bobbin tension be?
When your bobbin doesn’t budge that’s when you will know that your bobbin tension is too tight. If you want to loosen the bobbin tension, turn the screw on the bobbin case counter-clockwise, and if you want to tighten it, turn the screw in the bobbin case clockwise. A good start would be a quarter or less.
Can a zigzag stitch be done with a walking foot?
Yes, definitely! A walking foot can be used for more than just straight stitching. You can do a zigzag stitch with a walking foot because all the movements in the stitching pattern are forward. In fact, you can do many of the decorative stitches even with the feed foot installed.
What is the most durable fabric for upholstery?
Besides leather, microfiber is one of the most durable fabrics. However, before you get the fabric do check whether it’s 100 percent polyester so that it does not fade, stain, or leave any watermarks if water splashes on it. Plus, it is way easy to clean and stand up well too.
How often should your sewing machine be serviced?
If you are someone who uses your sewing machine once a month, then it’s okay to lubricate the machine every three months. However, you should get it professionally serviced yearly.
We have tried our best to bring to you the best sewing machine for upholstery after thorough research. We hope that our suggestions will help you make a great decision for yourself. Do remember to go through the buying guide and make a smart decision before you settle on one. Also, there are some very basic FAQs answered for you in case there are questions in your mind regarding these sewing machines.
So, do weigh the pros and cons of the products and pick the best one based on your requirements and budget.