If you are in a hurry and want to quickly find out which the best upholstery sewing machine is, then I’d recommend Juki TL-2010Q as the best one.
Welcome to the club if you have decided to start sewing your own upholstery! You must have already realized that a regular home sewing machine won’t get the job done. Hence, you definitely need to buy an upholstery sewing machine.
To make your life easier, I have done in-depth research to compile a list of the best upholstery sewing machines you can buy. I’ll give you a detailed review of each one in this article.
These are the 5 best upholstery sewing machines available in the market at the moment:
What to Look for in an Upholstery Sewing Machine
Sewing upholstery involves working with thicker and tougher fabrics. Using a regular sewing machine for these projects is not a good idea. You will end up with either a broken needle, a jammed machine or damaged fabric.
Hence, it is totally worth investing in an upholstery sewing machine!
Before making a purchase, you want to carefully research your options. Make sure that they meet the following criteria.
Your upholstery sewing machine needs to have a powerful motor. It should be able to sew through multiple layers of heavy duty fabric without any issue.
A strong motor will help you in sewing fast and with accuracy. You should also not face any heating issues with it.
Stable Work Environment
You need a sturdy machine that can provide a stable work environment. I would advise against purchasing lightweight machines. They might rattle too much while sewing upholstery.
Ideally, you would want to invest in a machine that is constructed mostly out of metal. At the very least, it should have an internal metal skeleton.
Most upholstery work requires sewing through multiple layers of thick fabric. Hence, a walking foot will come in handy for evenly sewing several layers of fabric together. It is also easier to make rounded corners using a walking foot.
Additional Tips for Upholstery Sewing
Investing in a good sewing machine is the most critical first step for upholstery sewing. Once you have taken care of that, the following suggestions will help you take things to the next level.
Gather as Much Knowledge as Possible
If you are just starting out, then it might be a good idea to enroll in an upholstery class or workshop. This will equip you with a basic to advanced level of knowledge on the subject.
At the same time, invest in books, courses, and video guides. It is also a great idea to work for free at an upholstery shop.
If possible, become friends with an upholsterer. Ask them if you can come over and watch them work.
In case you manage to grab such an opportunity, be sure to ask a lot of questions. Make a note of all the major challenges involved in the job. Observe how the professional upholsterer overcomes them.
However, as with any skill practice is the key here. For every hour that you spend gathering more knowledge, you want to spend 2-3 hours putting it into practice.
Being a stickler for perfection is not a good idea. Aim for progress, excellence will come on its own.
Set up a Dedicated Work Area
Set up a dedicated workspace where you are only doing upholstery. Make sure that you are not sharing this space with anyone else for any other task.
This way you will have easy access to your tools and sewing machine whenever you are ready to start working.
Practice and More Practice
Your skillset is directly proportional to the amount of time you spend practicing. If you are just getting started, then it might be a good idea to do your first few projects on discarded furniture. You might just find some in your nearby dumpster.
Otherwise, look for them in thrift stores. You can also ask your friends and family if they have any unwanted piece of furniture lying around.
If you wish, then you can tell your friends and family that you are learning to sew upholstery. You are looking to practice and are open to upholstering their furniture for free.
The benefit of this approach is that the owner of the furniture will buy the supplies and fabric. Hence, this will cost you nothing except your own labor.
Use a High-Quality Camera
Before taking the furniture apart, be sure to photograph it from every possible angle. As you pull it apart, photograph each step along the way.
This will be immensely helpful when you are ready to reassemble the furniture.
I would advise this to both the beginner and the advanced upholsterers.
Tools You Might Need
You might need the following tools: screwdrivers, hammer, hand stapler/air stapler/electric stapler, staple removers, rulers, ripping chisels, electric drill, jigsaw, skill saw, etc.
Upholstery Sewing Machine Reviews
Now, let us check out the reviews for the best upholstery sewing machines. I have done my best to include an option at every price point.
Singer Heavy Duty 4452 features at the lower end of the price spectrum. Hence, it is a great option for anyone with a tight budget. You can expect this machine to do a fairly decent job with light upholstery.
However, I would not recommend it for heavy duty upholstery work. For starters, it is not compatible with commercial thickness threads.
If you are planning to do marine or outdoor upholstery, then you will need heavyweight thread. This machine will not be able to support that kind of fabric or thread.
It is also not an auto upholstery sewing machine by any means.
You’ll be fine with smaller projects like furniture upholstery, especially with thinner fabrics.
If your project calls for sewing any more than 3 layers together, then this isn’t the right machine for you. You will be better off with the other options listed in this article.
Be sure to use the right needle. It should always be proportionate to the weight of the fabric.
- Budget option
- Does a decent job with lightweight upholstery
- The motor is 60% more powerful than regular sewing machine motors
- Good stitching speed (1100 stitches per minute)
- Sturdy and durable with an internal metal skeleton
- Comes with a walking foot and a host of other accessories
- Stitch width and length adjustment dial
- Easy-to-use top drop-in bobbin system with a clear cover (great for monitoring thread supply)
- Not suitable for heavy duty upholstery work (like marine or auto upholstery)
- Might not support heavyweight or commercial thickness threads
This is a fairly good option available for DIY upholstery makers. It features at the mid-price range and does a decent job sewing multiple layers of upholstery.
Since this is a computerized sewing machine, you get a lot of features to play around with. You can choose from 600 built-in stitches using a one-touch stitch selection button.
Hence, there is room for you to get super creative with your sewing projects. This is especially beneficial if you want your upholstery sewing machine to double up as a regular sewing machine.
The internal metal frame provides ample stability for a skid-free sewing experience.
My main concern is that this might not be the most reliable sewing machine for upholstery. Since they are made out of electronic parts, you never know when something might go wrong.
Computerized sewing machines, in general, are expensive to repair. Thanks to those fancy touch screens and automatic features.
However, a lot of upholstery makers love this sewing machine. So there is also a fair chance that it might last you a long time.
- Great value-for-money
- Feature-rich computerized upholstery sewing machine
- Can sew through multiple layers – should be able to handle a wide variety of upholstery projects
- Doubles up as an excellent machine for regular sewing and quilting projects
- 600 built-in stitches to choose from using a one-touch stitch selection button
- Comes with 18 presser foot attachments including a walking foot
- Decent sewing speed – 850 stitches per minute
- Internal metal-frame provides stability
- Expensive to repair
- Might be complicated to use if you are not tech-savvy
Brother PQ1500SL is a good upholstery sewing machine. It can handle most heavy duty upholstery projects with ease. There shouldn’t be any issue sewing through multiple layers of fabric.
This is a straight stitch machine. I actually prefer this kind of machine. You don’t get a lot of different stitch styles to choose from. But this is a good thing as a machine like this is exceptionally good at the one thing it’s meant to do. Hence, you get extremely even and accurate straight stitches every time.
Brother PQ1500SL is a fast and powerful machine. You can sew up to 1500 stitches per minute. Speed can be controlled using the foot pedal.
This upholstery machine comes with several presser foot attachments including a walking foot. The presser foot pressure can be adjusted using a dial. You can coordinate it with the feed dog height. This feature can be a true lifesaver when you are dealing with tough fabrics.
- Can handle heavy duty upholstery projects
- Excellent for sewing multiple layers together
- High-speed sewing – can sew up to 1500 stitches per minute
- High-quality and consistently accurate stitching
- Comes with presser foot attachments including a walking foot
- Option to adjust presser foot pressure and feed dog height
- Extension table for expanded work area
- Tension control dial for monitoring thread tension
- The automatic needle threader is not user-friendly
- The instructions manual is poorly written
The Juki brand is pretty much a gold standard for high-quality sewing machines. It’s tough to beat the reliability, precision, and durability of these sewing machines. Hence, you just can’t go wrong with JUKI TL-2000Qi.
This sewing machine is definitely not cheap. But you get what you pay for. Once you have sewn on this machine, you won’t be able to go back to any of the cheaper alternatives. It’s the difference between driving a Ferrari and Nissan.
Besides, JUKI TL-2000Qi is highly durable and sturdy. It will stand by you for a long time. Hence, you are putting your money in the right place if you are looking for something long-lasting.
Most professional sewing machines usually come with only the classic straight stitch. The precision and quality of stitching are exceptional on all Juki sewing machines.
You should be able to complete all kinds of upholstery projects using JUKI TL-2000Qi.
- Exceptional quality – Juki is the gold standard for professional sewing machines
- Sturdy, durable and reliable
- High-speed sewing – up to 1500 stitches per minute
- Stitches with consistency, accuracy, and precision
- Can be used for all kinds of upholstery projects
- Stable work-environment with low-vibration operation
- Comes with several presser foot attachments including a walking foot
- Stitch length adjustment dial
- No speed control switch or slide
- One of the pricier options (although totally worth the investment)
If you want to buy the absolute best upholstery sewing machine, then choose Juki TL-2010Q! It is a more advanced version of JUKI TL-2000Qi. Juki TL-2010Q has all the features of JUKI TL-2000Qi, plus a few more.
Of course, this upholstery machine comes at a higher price point than its younger brother. In my opinion, the extra features are totally worth paying for.
One key difference between the two is that Juki TL-2010Q has a speed control slide. You can set the speed anywhere between 200 to 1500 stitches per minute. Whereas, in case, of JUKI TL-2000Qi, you are left relying on the foot pedal alone.
Juki TL-2010Q also has a tension scale and a sub tension lever. You can fine-tune tension settings to match the project you are working on. This will ensure that the thread is neither too loose nor too tight. I think this is an amazing feature if you are a perfectionist like me.
- Has all the features of JUKI TL-2000Qi + a few more
- Strong, reliable, and durable
- Comes with a speed control slide (speed can be set from 200 to 1500 stitches per minute)
- Exceptional stitch quality, and option to adjust stitch length
- Can be used for the simplest and the most complex upholstery projects
- Stable work environment
- Tension scale and sub tension lever for manually fine-tuning tension settings
- Comes with several presser foot attachments including a walking foot
- Price can be an issue
- The automatic needle threader is not user-friendly
Based on my research, I can tell you that Juki TL-2010Q is the best upholstery sewing machine, period. If you don’t mind the investment, then go for it without a second thought.
This machine will serve you for a very long time. You can use it for the most complex and demanding upholstery projects. It will cater to you without a grunt. It will also handle with ease simple upholstery projects involving thinner fabrics.
Juki TL-2010Q is highly durable and does not give in to wear and tear easily. It is also low on maintenance and does not require a lot of upkeep. Of course, you still need to oil it and clean it regularly. I just mean that you can trust that this machine will work without any issues for a significant amount of time.
Overall, I can’t recommend Juki TL-2010Q highly enough!