Quilting is a great way to show off your creative side and make something beautiful out of scraps of fabric. However, a regular sewing machine can be limiting when you’re trying to quilt a large project. That’s why you need a large throat sewing machine.
A large throat quilting machine is designed for larger projects and has a larger workspace between the needle and the arm of the machine. This gives you more room to maneuver your fabric and makes it easier to quilt larger projects.

If you’re looking for a large throat sewing machine for quilting, you’ve come to the right place. While I am a beginner quilter myself, I have very good friends that have been quilting for years, and they helped me put together this list. In this article, I’ll take a look at some of the best large throat sewing machines on the market that are specifically designed for quilting.

What is a large throat sewing machine?

Throat size of quilting machine

The throat of the sewing machine is the area between the needle and the arm of the machine. Quilting projects without a quilting frame will often require the material to be folded or rolled. A larger throat area makes it easier to handle the material before having to reroll, fold or reposition the quilt. It also enables quilters to use thicker batting and larger patterns. The space is usually measured in inches.

What are large throat quilting machines used for?

Size of the machine is very important feature for quilting. If you do a lot of machine quilting, you have to have enough size in the machine to allow the quilt to flow freely through. A large throat quilting machine can accommodate a larger quilt, making it easier to handle the quilt. You want a machine that has enough space horizontally, as well as vertically, to accommodate the size of the quilt.

Kazz’s Top Three

Best Overall

janome mc6650 sewing and quilting machine

Janome MC6650

Most Versatile

baby lock brilliant

Baby Lock Brilliant

Best Budget

juki hzl f300 sewing machine

Juki HZL-F300

What to look for in a large throat quilting machine

Yes, you can quilt practically on any sewing machines that does straight stiches, but if you want do do it easier and quicker, you need to look for certain features that make machine quilting more enjoyable. Some of the features a large throat sewing machine might include that makes it good for quilting are:

  • A wide throat opening: This is the most important feature of a large throat sewing machine. The wider the throat opening, the easier it will be to quilt a large quilt, because sometimes you will need to fit the whole roll of the quilt through. It allows you to sew a larger quilt without having to stop and reposition the fabric. Second, it gives you more leverage when you’re sewing through multiple layers of fabric.
  • Powerful motor: A powerful motor is important for quilting because you’ll often be sewing through multiple layers of fabric and batting, which is really a challenge. The more powerful the motor, the easier it will be to sew through all of those layers.
  • An extension table: An extension table is helpful for two reasons. First, it gives you more space to work with when you’re sewing a large quilt. Second, it helps to keep the fabric from bunching up as you sew.
  • An extra-high presser foot lift: This is helpful when you’re quilting multiple layers of fabric, and thicker quilts, because it allows you to raise the presser foot high enough to clear all the layers.
  • Free motion foot: A free motion foot is important because it allows you to move the fabric in any direction while you sew. This is helpful when you’re trying to sew intricate patterns.
  • Needle Up/Down feature: This is a helpful feature because it allows you to stop with the needle in the down position, while it’s still in the fabric. This is helpful when you need to reposition the fabric or when you’re finished sewing a section of the quilt.
  • Knee lift: A knee lift is helpful because it allows you to raise the presser foot without using your hands, so you can keep your hands on your quilt and maneuver it.

Large Throat Quilting Machines – Top 5

Which are best large throat sewing machines for quilting? As you would imagine, there is no singular answer to this question. It depends on your individual needs and preferences. This list, based on expert opinions, sewing community feedback, as well as personal experiences of mine and my close friends, will give you a good starting point as you compare different machines.

#1 Janome Memory Craft 6650 Quilting Machine

One of the best quilting machines that I have come across lately, and my personal top pick is the Janome Memory Craft 6650. It is powerful, has a wide throat opening, and it is overall a very high quality sewing and quilting machine.

The Memory Craft 6650 is very fast, it can do up to 1000 stitches per minute, but you will hardly feel the vibrations, thanks to the all-metal construction on the base.

janome mc6650 sewing and quilting machine

The distance from the needle to the end side of the sewing arm is 10″, which is enough for most of the quilts. The machine has an extra high presser foot lifter, which goes up to 12mm, so you can easily sew through multiple layers of fabric.

It also has a needle down function, which is very helpful when you’re quilting, because it allows you to stop with the needle in the fabric, so you can pivot the fabric easily. The seven-point feed dog system is very helpful with thicker materials. The feed dogs are longer than on regular sewing machines, so you won’t need accessories like AccuFeed foot to help the thick quilt go through.

The machine comes with a hard case, which is great for storage and transport. It also has an LCD screen, which makes it easy to see your settings at a glance. There are many features that make this machine one of the best for quilting, but more on that you will be able to read in the full Janome MC6650 review.

Features:

  • The 10″ All-Metal Seamless Flatbed
  • Built-in needle threader
  • Knee lift
  • Around 170 built-in sewing and embroidery stitches, plus alphabets.
  • LCD screen and dials for selecting the settings.
  • Hard case included
  • Needle down function
  • Extra high presser foot lifter
  • Speed control slider
  • Automatic thread cutter
  • 7-point feed dog system

PROS:

  • Metal base construction dampens down the vibrations.
  • The lighting is amazing, it has 6 LEDs in 3 locations, so you will be able to see the tiniest of threads.
  • Comes with 12 feet and tons of accessories, including a double needle, plus a free motion quilting foot set.
  • Tensions adjustments are easy and foolproof.

CONS:

  • The automatic needle threader is very delicate and tends to break down easily.
  • The fabric feeding is not very smooth. It takes some experience to get everything just right so it doesn’t eat the fabric.

#2 Juki TL-2010Q Sewing and Quilting Machine

Juki TL-2010Q is one of the most popular sewing/quilting machines. It is one of those classics that stay loved and well-used even with all the latest technology and computerized sewing machines that come up year after year.

The TL-2010Q is a well-built, powerful, workhorse of a sewing machine. It is a single needle, household sewing machine, with a lot of features and accessories for quilting, tailoring, apparel, and home décor. It is often described as a “quilter’s dream”. It has a large throat space, 9″ from the needle to the right and 6 3/4″ top to bottom, which is helpful for quilting and larger projects, as well as two types of quilting feet also supplied with the machine – a 1/5 quilting foot and a 1/4 quilting foot.

What all Juki sewing machines are known for, and this one also brings it, is the quality of the stitches. The TL-2010Q can do the impeccable straight stitch, and it can sew through multiple layers of fabric with ease. It has a maximum sewing speed of 1,500 stitches per minute, so it can definitely keep up with your quilting projects. It is also very quiet, due to the special oils used in its construction.

The Juki TL-2010Q is made mostly of aluminum die-cast, which makes it very sturdy, plus it has an extra large table for quilting and other larger projects. It is not particularly lightweight and despite being called “portable” and having a carry handle, it is a real drag to move around.  It weighs in at a hefty 25.4 lbs.

Features:

  • Straight stitch only
  • Max stitch length = 6mm
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Automatic thread trimmer (via foot controller or button)
  • Extra high presser foot lift (max = 12mm)
  • Adjustable presser foot pressure
  • Feed dog can be raised or lowered via a switch
  • Needle up/down control
  • Sewing speed control slider
  • Max sewing speed = 1500 stitches per minute
  • Min sewing speed = 200 stitches per minute
  • Extended flatbed
  • Knee lifter lever
  • Easy bobbin replacement
  • LED light
  • Throat area = 8.5 x 5.9 inches
  • Sub tension unit
  • Thread tension scale
  • Preset needle stop position

PROS:

  • Beautiful stitch quality
  • Great machine for free motion quilting
  • Able to easily sew through thick, heavy materials
  • Easy to set up and operate
  • Feels very sturdy with a high-quality fit and finish
  • Has variable sewing speed control

CONS:

  • The automatic needle threader can be a source of frustration
  • The foot-controlled thread cutter is sometimes activated inadvertently
  • Some quilters might not like that it only produces straight stitches

#3 Brother PQ1500SL

Another quilters’ favorite is the Brother PQ1500SL, a durable, heavy-duty sewing machine that can handle a wide range of fabrics, and has a maximum speed of 1500 stitches per minute. The extra-large throat space of 9.5″ is great for quilts, and the machine comes with a special quilting foot, which is very helpful when you’re working with multiple layers of fabric.

brother pq1500sl

The Brother PQ1500SL is not a versatile sewing machine, it only does the straight stitch, but comes with tons of accessories for quilting. The accessory list includes 7 pressure feet, a knee lifter, machine cover, seam guide, fabric separator, 5 bobbins, needles, a cleaning brush, 2 screwdrivers, a lining plate screw, and an instruction manual. The feature that perhaps most quilters will be excited about is the large extension table, which gives you a lot of space to work on larger projects.

There are plenty of sewing machines with bells and whistles and pre-programmed presets, but this one stands out for its simplicity and its ability to take on anything you throw at it. This includes a needle down function, which is great for quilting, and also a built-in thread cutter, which is a very convenient feature.

Features:

  • Maximum speed of 1500 stitches per minute
  • 9.5″ throat space
  • 7 pressure feet included
  • Knee lifter
  • Extension table included
  • Built-in thread cutter
  • Needle down function

PROS:

  • Simple and easy to use
  • Sturdy and durable, can handle a lot of fabric
  • Comes with an impressive list of accessories

CONS:

  • Not a versatile machine, only does the straight stitch
  • Can be a bit noisy
  • Getting the thread tension right is a matter of trial and error.
  • It is a bit heavy and can be hard to lug around places.

#4 Baby Lock Brilliant

Baby Lock Brilliant is a great overall sewing machine that can be used for a variety of tasks, including quilting. It is perfect for beginner and intermediate sewists who want to try their hand at quilting, as well as more experienced quilters who are looking for a machine that can do it all.

The Brilliant has a lot of features that are great for beginners, such as the needle threader and the top drop-in bobbin, which makes it very easy to change the thread. It also has a lot of features that are great for quilting, such as free motion foot, and programmable stitch functions.

baby lock brilliant

Baby Lock Brilliant is known for its amazing fabric control, and the ability to sew through multiple layers of fabrics. It comes with the walking foot, which is a game-changer for quilting, along with the 7-point feeding system, as it allows you to easily maneuver even difficult materials.

This sewing and quilting machine comes with 190 different sewing, decorative, quilting, applique, and utility stiches. These stitches are easily accessed by the built-in LCD screen that shows you all the information, from the type of foot to use, to the width and length adjustments. It even has the ability to do lettering in five different fonts, which is a very nice feature to have when quilting.

The most appealing feature of the Baby Lock Brilliant is that is super easy to use, even for beginners. The machine does all the work for you, from threading the needle to cutting the thread, which is a huge time saver.

Features:

  • 190 Built-in stitch patterns + 5 built-in upper case alphabets
  • LCD Screen Control Panel
  • Variable stitch width up to 7mm
  • Adjustable stitch length 0-5mm
  • Sewing speed up to 850 spm
  • Advanced needle threader
  • Quick-Set, Top-Loading bobbin
  • Quick-Set bobbin winder
  • Start/stop button
  • Automatic thread cutter
  • Ergonomic hands-free presser foot lift
  • Programmable needle up/down
  • 8.3″ workspace to the right of the needle
  • Free motion foot
  • Easy to read stitch chart underneath the cover
  • Two accessory storage compartments

PROS:

  • Super easy to use, even for beginners
  • Comes with a lot of features that are great for quilting
  • Has amazing fabric control

CONS:

  • It is a bit on the expensive side, but there are often great deals and discounts you can use.
  • The automatic needle threader can be finicky

#5 Juki Exceed HZL-F300

The HZL-F300 is the most affordable of the computerized sewing and quilting machines from the Juki Exceed series (F300, F400, F600), and it is a great choice for beginner quilters. It is packed with features that make quilting a breeze, and even has some embroidery stitches and designs built-in, in case you ever feel like adding a little something extra to your projects.

juki hzl f300 sewing machine

It produces a quality stitch, sews smoothly, is powerful yet quiet, and feels sturdy. It also comes with a host of great features. The main feature that makes this machine great for quilting is the wide throat space of 9.1″, which gives you plenty of room to maneuver your fabric around.

The drop-in bobbin and automatic needle threader are great features, and adjusting the tension is very easy. There is also a thread cutter feature that can be activated via a button on the machine or by pushing down the heel portion of the foot pedal. It lacks a knee-lift, which might be a deal-breaker for some quilters, but overall it is a great machine that is definitely worth checking out.

Features:

  • 9.1″ throat space
  • Drop-in bobbin
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Thread cutter feature
  • Easy tension adjustment

PROS:

  • Fairly easy setup and use
  • Handy thread cutter feature
  • Great looking stitches
  • Feeds material well and sews smoothly
  • Quiet operation
  • Feels like a sturdy machine

CONS:

  • The automatic needle threader sometimes gets stuck
  • In some instances, the bobbin winder is not working
  • No knee lift included

What quilting machine has the largest throat?

Free motion quilting machines are the largest quilting machines on the market. These machines are perfect for quilting large projects such as king-sized quilts. Some commercial machines can have a throat size of 18 inches. However, these machines take up a lot of space, and are not the best choice for a home quilter.

The largest throat among the domestic machines is the Baby Lock Jazz II, with a 12 inch throat. This machine is perfect for home quilters who want to be able to quilt large projects, but don’t have the space for a commercial machine.

Is the longarm sewing machine the same as the large throat?

Well, yes and no. The arm of the sewing machine is the part of the machine that holds the needle. The throat is the area between the needle and the base of the machine. A longer arm usually means a large throat space. A longarm sewing machine has a longer arm than a standard domestic machine, which gives you more space to work with large projects. Technically, longarm machines have throat sizes of 18″ or more. However, some manufacturers call their machines “longarm” if they have a 12″ throat.

The true longarm quilting machines are very large and expensive. They are not a practical choice for most home quilters. This is why I have made this list of domestic sewing and quilting machines with larger throats, though they are basically short to mid-arm sewing machines. These machines are much more affordable and will fit in most homes.

How much throat space do you need for quilting?

The size of the throat space you need depends on the size of the projects you want to quilt. For example, if you only want to make small quilts or baby blankets, then a machine with a 6″ throat would be sufficient. However, if you are really passionate about your quilting, sooner or later you are going to want to quilt large projects such as king-sized quilts, then you will need a machine with a throat space of at least 9″.

Here is a quick rundown of the different throat sizes and what they are best suited for:

  • 6″ – Small quilts and baby blankets
  • 9″ – Large quilts and other large projects
  • 12″ – King-sized quilts and other very large projects
  • 18″ – Commercial projects, such as those done by professional quilters

The size of the throat opening you would need also depends on your style of quilting. If you are peacing, you don’t really need an extra wide opening. However, if you free motion it, it is a whole lotta easier with a larger throat machine.

Which large throat quilting machine should you buy?

The best large throat quilting machine for you depends on your needs and budget. If you are looking for a machine with a large throat that is also affordable, the Brother PQ1500SL is a great option. If you need a machine with a large throat that can also do free-motion quilting, the Juki TL-2000Qi is a good choice. If you are looking for a top-of-the-line machine with a large throat, the Janome Memory Craft 6650 is a great option. Whichever of the five machines on this list you choose, you won’t go wrong. If you have any questions or a suggestion regarding the best large throat machines for quilting, don’t hesitate to write me up.