The Best Heavy Duty Sewing Machines of Nov 2020

A thick, heavy, or multiple layers of fabric requires a heavy-duty sewing machine to sew properly. Regular machines will struggle to handle such fabrics, making your job an extremely frustrating one.

You need a machine with plenty of power to work through heavy fabrics and commercial sewing projects. Your regular sewing machine is not strong enough and may not be capable of handling the extended sewing of commercial projects.

Living by their namesake, a heavy duty sewing machine has loads of power, making it the perfect machine for sewing tough fabrics and large commercial-grade projects. Their strong and sturdy construction, coupled with their powerful motors, make them the ideal tool for sewing through thick, heavy, and multiple layers of fabric.

Your regular machine may stall, make irregular stitches, and even tip over if you use it to sew heavy materials. You may even break your machine in the process. But the machines on our list can easily handle tough fabrics like denim, leather, canvas, and multiple layers of fabric without breaking a sweat.

List of the Best Heavy Duty Sewing Machines

Let’s quickly run through our list of the best heavy-duty sewing machines you can buy today. The table below is followed by our thoughts on each machine and a section that gives a few tips about buying a suitable sewing machine for your heavy and demanding projects.

  • Automatic needle threader
  • Adjustable foot pressure
  • Strong metal frame
  • Reverse stitch | 18 built-in stitches
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446 User Reviews
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Warranty: Up to 25 Years
9.8
  • Strong metal frame
  • 4 additional presser feet | Extra heavy duty needles
  • Reverse sewing
  • 38 built-in stitches
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3,260 User Reviews
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Warranty: Up to 25 years
9.7
  • Strong mechanical machine
  • All metal body
  • Can sew any heavy material
  • Industrial quality without the industrial price tag
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68 User Reviews
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Warranty: Not available
9.5
  • Powerful sewing motor
  • Strong and sturdy metal frame
  • High speed sewing
  • Can sew the toughest of materials
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41 User Reviews
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Warranty: Up to 25 years
9.6
  • Come with a full-size table
  • Presser foot knee lifter
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  • Industrial machine can sew for hours at a time
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22 User Reviews
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  • Makes quick work of the thickest materials
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Warranty: 2 years limited
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1. Janome HD3000

Janome HD3000

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We start with the Janome HD3000, which is ideal for all your heavy-duty sewing projects. The HD3000 is not a computerized machine nor does it come with hundreds of built-in stitches (you still get 18 built-in stitches), but it offers everything you’ll need for all your sewing projects.

We rate this machine higher than the Sailrite Ultrafeed LSZ-1 because it offers a greater functionality despite not being on par with the LSZ-1 on the heavy duty scale.

However, most users reported how easily and smoothly it sew through almost any fabric. It also handled multiple layers of fabric, but not on the same level as the LSZ-1. However, most people find the HD3000 adequate for most of their most power-hungry sewing projects.

The HD3000 is a much faster machine and it operates more smoothly, giving you better performance than the other machines on this list. We also love that it is a much quieter machine, which is important to a lot of users. This gives it a bit of an urge over the more popular Singer heavy duty machines.

The powerful feed dogs move you heavy fabric along smoothly, ensuring that you achieve strong and even stitches. The overlock foot is a bonus for those who do not have a separate overlocker machine.

We tested this machine on eight layers of upholstery fabric and it sews through it like a knife through butter. The stitching was even and strong.

We give the HD3000 an A++ performance rating. It is also a highly durable machine, which makes it ideal for projects that require extended sewing times. This workhorse will keep going and going without ever stopping because of a breakdown.

And, did we mention it comes with an automatic needle threader despite not being a computerized sewing machine? Get the Janome HD3000 and you won’t ever regret it.

2. Singer HD 4432 Sewing Machine

Singer HD 4432

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The Singer 4422 is the best of the Singer 4400 series of heavy duty sewing machines, which also includes the 4411, 4423, and the 4452. The only difference between them is the number of built-in stitches. All the models, except the 4411, come with an automatic needle threader. They also feature a one-step automatic buttonhole.

The singer machines are all mechanical with no computerization. The 4432 has 32 built-in stitches including decorative and basic stitches.

The motor in this model is 60% more powerful than those found in their standard machines. It is also very fast, offering sewing speeds of up to 1,100 stitches per minute.

And you don’t have to break the bank to get one of these machines either, which is one of the reasons they are so popular.  It is an excellent choice for anyone looking to but a budget heavy duty sewing machine that can do the work of a much more expensive one.

The low price of this machine should not be conflated with cheap. The machine is strong, durable, sturdy, and comes with loads of useful features. These are all attributes you’d want to have in a machine for sewing heavy fabrics.

The 4432 comes with plenty of useful accessories including accessories optimized for heavy duty usage. These include a walking foot, non-stick foot, needles, and a clearance plate.  Other features include adjustable stitch length and width, three needle positions, extra-high presser foot lifter, free arm, easy-to-change presser feet, a heavy-duty frame, and a stainless-steel bedplate.

This machine is quiet, easy to use, functional, and comes with plenty of features for a classic heavy duty sewing machine. We can’t recommend it highly enough.

3. Rex 607 Portable Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

Rex 607 heavy duty sewing machine

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This portable machine is deceptively small but packs a lot of punch. It is ideal for sewing heavy materials like leather, canvas, and multiple layers of fabric. Get this machine if you want an industrial-grade workhorse without an industrial-grade price tag.

It does the work of an industrial sewing machine without requiring the space an industrial machine will occupy. This is a well-built and durable machine, with every part made of metal. It makes easy work of sewing through heavy-weight materials like leather and upholstery, canvas, vinyl, denim, synthetic fabrics, and laminated or coated products.

The Rex Portable is a tough machine in a small body but designed to at industrial pace and power. It is very fast and only sews at one speed so you need to be comfortable with sewing at high speed to handle this machine.

It is a mechanical sewing machine and does not come with any advanced features because it is designed to sew straight stitches very well on the toughest materials. You don’t need all the fancy features of a modern machine to work on projects like furniture upholstery for cars and boats, tarpaulins, tents, sails, awnings, bags, etc.

You’ll get an excellent workhorse machine that comes with extra heavy duty needles, a hard case, and few tools. This is the machine you should get for some of the toughest sewing projects.

4. Singer CG-550 Commercial Grade Sewing Machine

Singer CG-550 Sewing Machine

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This commercial-grade sewing machine at a non-commercial-grade price tag is perfect for sewing projects that require a heavy duty machine.

If you need a machine that will sew for hours on end and handle very thick materials, this is what you should get. One user reported how they easily sew through 12 layers of canvas with the Singer CG-550. They only stopped at 12 layers because they couldn’t fit more under the presser foot. It sewed through the layers as it would sew through one layer.

Get the CG-550 for all your projects that use the toughest materials like leather, canvas, vinyl, plastic, cardboard, denim, and pretty much any other heavy-duty material.

It features 10 built-in stitches including zigzag, an electronic foot control, an automatic 4-step buttonhole, needle threader, and a free arm. You can control the thread tension, adjust the stitch width, and select the needle position. This is an excellent sewing machine for heavy-duty projects and we highly recommend it.

5. Consew Industrial Sewing Machine with Table

Consew Industrial Sewing Machine

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This is a perfect model for sewing industrial projects like upholstery, canvas work, leatherwork, vinyl, and tough synthetic materials.

It comes with a sewing table and a powerful Servo motor. You may have to watch a setup video on YouTube to set it up if you’re not familiar with using this type of setup, but once you’ve got it going, it is a joy to work with.

It is durable and strong and sews through the material very easily. Your work will come out with strong and even stitches that will please your clients.

This is the ideal setup is your projects involve sewing large items over long periods. The industrial nature of the machine allows you to work for hours with no issues. It is a serious workhorse for the most demanding projects you can think of.

 

6. Sailrite Heavy-Duty Ultrafeed LS-1

Sailrite-Ultrafeed-LS-1

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If you want to sew heavy duty materials with a machine comfortably, this is the perfect sewing machine for you. It is a semi-industrial sewing machine that can comfortably handle thick materials such as leather, heavy canvas, denim, and upholstery fabrics. This machine managed to sew quickly through 10 layers of heavy canvas comfortably.

The LS-1 is a straight-stitch-only machine with a walking foot which is perfect for tough materials. The walking foot means the material will not stick to the presser foot during sewing. For stronger and more secure seams, the machine offers stitch lengths of up to 6 mm.

You can pretty much feed any material under the 3.5-inch foot lift, and this machine will sew through it like bread through butter. It handles the toughest materials (you can even sew toys out of old fire hoses) with ease and control. You won’t experience any jerking or uneven stitches.

The large wooden base provides a stable base for sewing heavy duty materials. The carrying weight of the machine is 47 lbs which make a gentle and sturdy machine during sewing.

It comes with the right needles for sewing tough materials, 4 bobbins, a thread stand, electronic foot control, and even samples of the materials they’ve tested the machine on.

It is built with the toughest, most durable parts which ensure the machine will last for many years to come. The included guidebook and DVD will tell you everything you need to know about the machine and how to use it.

The Ultrafeed LS-1 is the perfect machine for beginners or experienced sewers looking for a good sewing machine for heavy materials such as leather. If you want to make beautiful professional-grade projects, this is the machine to get.

 

Factors to Consider When Buying a Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

There are a few features you need to have on a machine used to sew heavy materials and large projects. The following are a few tips to help you find a good machine that meets all the requirements.

  • Weight: You need a heavy sewing machine to handle thick and tough materials. You want one that weighs at least 10lbs and the heavier the better. You want something heavy because lightweight machines may tip over, skip around, and produce uneven stitches when you feed a thick or heavy material through it. Be aware of the difference between shipping weight and the actual weight of the machine.
  • Long arm or table: You can get fatigued when you sew heavy materials without a table or a long arm. This happens as a result of you having to hold up the heavy material you’re working on with your hands. However, it’s not all about you getting tired. A heavy material will fall away from the machine when you feed it into the machine, which will create crooked and uneven stitches. Having a machine with a table or long arm gives you a place to rest the material while you sew. Get a heavy duty machine with an extension table if you can’t buy one that comes with a full table. This especially true if your projects feature large items like upholstery and curtains.
  • Presser foot: Ideally, you want a machine that comes with an adjustable presser foot, so you can raise it to accommodate thick fabrics and multiple layers of fabric. You should be able to adjust the height of the presser foot to work with the thickness of the material you’re working on.
  • Stich Options: You also want to get a machine with the necessary stitches and adjustable stitch length. The length of the stitch is very important when working on thick and heavy fabrics. Longer length stitches are ideal for sewing heavy fabrics such as leather and upholstery. The stitch length options on a standard home machine will not be enough to handle these kinds of fabrics. It should have at least 3 stitch length options.

Some Helpful Features

Not all of a machine’s extensive list of features is necessary, but there are a few that are helpful when sewing heavy duty fabrics. Some of these features include:

  • Adjustable feed dogs: machines with this type of feed dog allows thick fabrics to move through easily.
  • Automatic thread cutter: After spending hours working on a project, it will be nice not to have to bring the fabric out and cut the thread with a pair of scissors each time you reach the end of a stitch.
  • Stitch styles: You need the right types of stitches to complete the project if you will be working on specialized projects.
  • Presser foot knee-lift: A knee lift provides a way for you to lift and lower the presser foot with your knees. You won’t have to let go of the material to do this.
  • Automatic threader: To be honest, most of us do not like having to thread the machine manually. A machine with an automatic needle threader accomplishes this task with the touch of a button.

Types of Machines

Heavy duty sewing machines come in three broad types, which are mechanical, mid-range electric, and computerized.

Mechanical: This type of machine is ideal for someone just starting to learn the basics of sewing. However, many experienced and professional sewers prefer this type of machine because they don’t need all the bells and whistles that come with a modern computerized sewing machine. We prefer the classic-style mechanical machines for sewing heavy fabrics because they are strong and sturdy. Most modern mechanical machines are flimsy and not ideal for tough sewing projects.

Mid-Range Electric: This type of machine is more user-friendly than a mechanical machine. It does not have most of the features of a computerized machine, which makes it the ideal machine for those who do not want those features. This type of machine is ideal for beginners and comes with many features that prevent you from doing some manual tasks. This type of machine also gives you better feed dog pressure control and comes with several stitches and tension settings.

Computerized: This type of machine comes with a whole bunch of features. It comes pre-loaded with hundreds of stitches and allows you to download stitches from the internet and load them onto your machine. Some come with a touchscreen display that allows you to manipulate designs right on the screen. The touchscreen can also have tutorials that guide you through various tasks. This type of machine is very easy to use once you get used to it. Computerized machines generally have the most powerful feed mechanisms of all three types. Most computerized sewing machines are very powerful and make sewing heavy-duty fabrics easy. However, they are usually more expensive than the other two types.

Conclusion

Heavy fabric projects require a heavy duty sewing machine. We’ve done our best to list the best models capable of handling any project.