Best sewing machines for quilting: 5 picks for making the most thoughtful gift for loved ones

Take your pick from our favourite quilting machines, there’s one to suit every budget

quilt sewing tools
(Image credit: Getty)

Avid stitchers will know that a long arm quilting machine is a must-have for quilting pros. But, unless you have the budget and space to invest in one of these huge machines, a regular sewing machine for quilting is the next best thing. 

With so many sewers exploring the world of patchwork and quilting, it’s no wonder that there’s now a whole range of options for quilting amongst the best sewing machines on the market. 

In this round-up, we’ve picked out our favourites from a mix of price points. So, whatever your skill level and your budget, we’ve got you covered.

How to choose the best quilting sewing machine for you

There are tons of sewing machines with quilting capabilities, but not all of them will suit your needs. When considering which of the best sewing machines for quilting to buy, it’s important to think about what you’re going to use your machine for. If you sew one quilt a year, it’s probably worth looking at the slightly cheaper models that have more general features for sewing other projects. For keen quilters who only want to patchwork, quilt and embroider their projects, think about investing in a model that will grow with your skillset.

It’s worth mentioning that sewing machines for quilting are more expensive than regular sewing machines, simply because they have more features, more accessories and are physically bigger. Our favourite quilting models start from £799, which is a good entry to mid-range price point. Looking for an option that’s both beginner and budget-friendly? Take a look at our round up of the best sewing machines for beginners.

The best quilting sewing machines you can buy right now

quilting sewing machine

(Image credit: Pfaff)

Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630

The best quilting sewing machine for most people

Specifications
Arm space size: 200mm
Weight: 9kg
Amount of stitches: 201 built-in stitches (including seven buttonholes)
Sewing machine type: Computerised sewing machine
Warranty: Five years
Reasons to buy
+Affordable price point+Good selection of stitches
Reasons to avoid
-We can’t find any reason to avoid this model

Chic and simple, it’s the professionals go-to for quilting

Our top sewing machine for quilting is the Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630. It has all the features a quilter could need, with 201 built-in stitches, including a one-step buttonhole, two alphabets, and a range of 42 specific quilt stitches. 

If the stitches don’t wow you, then perhaps the tech will. A colour touchscreen operates the whole machine, allowing for memory sequencing (to combine and save 60 stitches or letters to be sewn as many times as desired, perfect for those big repeat patterns on large quilts), mirror imaging of stitches (so you can flip your designs to fit your project), along with the regular stitch selections and sewing setting recommendations.

For ease, there’s a number of things the Pfaff Quilt Ambition can do to make your sewing life a little easier. There’s automatic thread tension, free-motion sewing with easy-access feed teeth drop, thread snips to trim your top and bobbin threads and pull them to the reverse of the fabric at the same time, the Original IDT system to precisely feed through fabric from top and bottom, and a possible 29 needle positions so you can sew your straight stitch exactly where you want it. 

The Pfaff Quilt Ambition gives the sewer total control, without compromising on its impressive list of features to do so. 

quilting sewing machine

(Image credit: Brother)

Brother Innov-is VQ2

The best premium quilting sewing machine

Specifications
Arm space size: 285mm
Weight: 11.5kg
Amount of stitches: 473 built-in stitches (including fourteen buttonholes)
Sewing machine type: Computerised sewing machine
Warranty: Three years
Reasons to buy
+Create custom stitches+Great selection of stitches
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive model-Wide table attachment not included

If you can afford it, buy it

This machine really did wow us. It’s a stand-out model with such a long list of useful quilting features. So if you have the money to invest in a model like this, go for the Brother Innov-is VQ2.

It’s a larger option with a longer arm space and the add-on purchase of a wide table make it ideal for tackling larger projects. An in-built pivot function simultaneously lifts the presser foot while keeping the needle lowered, leaving your hands free to rotate the fabric and perfect your corner stitching. But the real selling point for quilters has to be the Innov-is Continuous Automatic Pressure Sensor. It detects varying fabric thicknesses as you sew, adjusting the pressure to give you smooth and even stitches, great for intersecting seams and appliqués. 

If that’s not impressive enough, the stitching capabilities of this model are sure to win you over. The My Custom Stitch feature gives the sewer free rein over stitches, allowing them to design their own stitches using the LCD touch screen control panel. Plus, it sews at a speedy 1050 stitches per minute, so you can sew up your quilts faster than ever. 

quilting sewing machine

(Image credit: Singer)

Singer Modern Quilter 8500Q

The best budget quilting sewing machine

Specifications
Arm space size: 210mm
Weight: 12kg
Amount of stitches: 215 built-in stitches (including six buttonholes)
Sewing machine type: Computerised sewing machine
Warranty: Two years
Reasons to buy
+Extra large extension table+Extra large circle stitching+Affordable price point
Reasons to avoid
-Only two year warranty

Budget doesn’t mean basic 

If you’re just starting out on your quilting journey, the Singer Modern Quilter 8500Q is a great beginner machine. It’s not too technically advanced but has all the features a quilter could want without going over budget.

Along with the regular gadgets like a programmable needle up/down, drop feeds, auto-pilot (no need for a foot pedal), and speed control lever, this machine also has an included knee lifter for raising and lowering the needle for hands-free turning, an extra large extension table, 13 needle positions for accurate stitch placement, an automatic thread trimmer (no need for scissors), SwiftSmart system for easy threading, and an independent bobbin winding system. I could go on, the list of features is long and first-rate. 

But it’s worth mentioning that this option boasts a heavy duty metal frame too, making for a very durable sewing machine that will last longer than most models. It means that when tackling tougher projects, it will hold the stitches in perfect alignment. 

Basically put, the Singer Modern Quilter 8500Q offers almost all the features as some of the top-end models but for a fraction of the price. 

sewing machine

(Image credit: The Sewing Studio)

Bernina 435

The best value for money quilting sewing machine

Specifications
Arm space size: 177mm
Weight: 9.5kg
Amount of stitches: 650 stitch patterns (including nine buttonholes and three alphabets)
Sewing machine type: Computerised sewing machine
Warranty: Seven years
Reasons to buy
+Wide range of stitch patterns to choose from+Sews at a speedy 900 stitches per minute
Reasons to avoid
-Touch screen display is quite technical

It’s all in the details with this tech-savvy sewing machine 

The Bernina 435 is an all-rounder like no other. If quilting is a passion but not your only sewing outlet, then invest in a machine that delivers across multiple disciplines. With this machine every single detail has been thought about, every function adapted to help the sewer stitch easily and quickly. 

The main quilting selling point to this model is the jumbo bobbin, which means fewer bobbin changes and interruptions throughout your stitching. Add to that the slide-on extension table and you have ample space for stitching up bigger projects like quilts. 

In terms of value for money, all you have to do is look at the unrivalled amount of stitches. This model has the most out of our favourite five best sewing machines for quilting. True, some might find this an overwhelming selection to choose from, but with an in-built memory function to save and store your stitch settings, you can return to your favourites time and again at the click of a button.

Read full review here

quilting sewing machine

(Image credit: Janome)

Janome Horizon Quilt Maker Memory Craft 15000

The dream sewing machine for quilting

Specifications
Arm space size: 280mm
Weight: 12kg
Amount of stitches: 500 built-in stitches (including 13 buttonholes)
Sewing machine type: Computerised sewing machine
Warranty: Two years (an additional three years can be purchased)
Reasons to buy
+Connects to PC and iPad wirelessly+Built-in memory banks of up to 4MB+Stitch Composer software
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive model

The ultimate quilting dream machine

The Janome Horizon Quilt Maker Memory Craft 15000 is everything you could want in a quilting sewing machine and more. There are several embroidery elements to this machine that make it all the better for quilters, like the embroidered designs created to fit within a quilting square, from big blocks to charm square sizes. There's an AcuFil quilting system that allows stitches to stipple across an entire quilt top without a long arm. And not forgetting the AcuFeed Flex that sews through thick layers of fabrics and batting easily by utilising two widths of sewing feet. 

Then, of course, there’s the total personalisation of embroidery designs using your PC or iPad devices with the provided software, giving sewers the chance to create anything from unique monograms to designing stitches from scratch.

The only thing that puts this machine at a disadvantage is the price. But if you’re a keen quilter that’s considering long-arm quilting machines too, then this might be a more affordable option that won’t take up quite so much room.