Types of Long-Arm Quilting Machines


Investing in a long-arm quilting machine might solve your problems perfectly. No matter what level of experience you have in quilting, these powerful and versatile types of long-arm quilting machines are designed to simplify quilting big projects. This machine allows you to create complex designs and give you professional-quality results, which every quilter dreams of. But with so many options available on the market, it can take time to choose the right one for your needs, especially if you are a beginner, because experienced quilters may have some knowledge about quilting machines and their type. 

That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you navigate the types of long-arm quilting machines. From short-arm quilting machines with basic features to computerized quilting machines that offer comfort and control, we’ll explore the different types of long-arm quilting machines in detail, so you can decide which one is best suited for your quilting journey. 

This article will provide all the information you need to understand these remarkable machines, and in the end, you will be able to choose the best one based on your preferences and unique needs. We cover some of them in the other article but not in-depth, but in this article, we try to discuss every machine in detail so you get a better understanding of these machines and have no doubt left in your mind. 

Here is the link to that article if you would like to read it. Read on to learn about the different types of long-arm quilting machines!

Types of Long-Arm Quilting Machines

There are four types of long-arm quilting machines which are listed below:

  • Short Arm Quilting Machine 
  • Mid-Arm Quilting Machine
  • Sit-Down Quilting Machine
  • Computerized Quilting Machine

Short Arm Quilting Machine

As a beginner, you may have heard about short-arm quilting machines, but if you still need to, you must read on to learn more. These types of long-arm quilting machines offer a smaller throat space than their long-arm counterparts, typically 7 to 9 inches. But don’t let that smaller size discourage you! Short-arm quilting machines can still work wonders and provide excellent results. This smaller throat space machine allows you greater control and mobility while working on your quilt. With less space between the needle and the machine’s body, you can easily navigate detailed shapes or tight margins, giving you more freedom and precision when quilting.

Though some may argue that a bigger throat space is necessary for larger quilts, it’s important to remember that most beginner quilters start with smaller projects. Short-arm quilting machines are an ideal choice for beginners because of their compact size. Plus, as your skills grow and you take on larger projects, you can transfer to more advanced types of long-arm quilting machines, which we will discuss further. But techniques like rolling or folding your quilt top can help achieve smooth quilting even with limited throat space.

If you are new to quilting and looking for a machine that offers both versatility and control during your stitching process, take notice of short-arm quilt machines with smaller throat spaces. They may have a different large area than long-arm machines, but their small size offers advantages such as increased flexibility and ease of use for beginners working on smaller projects.

Mid-Arm Quilting Machine

The next machine we have is a mid-arm quilting machine. Short-arm quilting and mid-arm quilting machines offer great features and benefits, but the mid-arm quilting machine goes even further. Yes, it may be a bit more expensive than its shorter counterpart, but let me tell you why it’s worth the investment.

First, the mid-arm machine provides quilters more space to work on their projects. It offers a larger throat area than the short-arm machine, allowing more effortless movement and handling of bulkier quilts. That can benefit those who enjoy creating unique designs or using free-motion techniques.

Also, the mid-arm machine often has advanced features that provide greater control and accuracy. From adjustable stitch length and speed settings to programmable stitch patterns, these machines offer a level of customization that can make any quilt unique. 

With a throat space ranging from 12 to 18 inches, mid-arm machines offer a perfect balance between size and functionality. The added freedom allows you to explore different styles and experiment with various techniques to bring your visions to life.

If you’re a beginner or on a tighter budget, a short-arm quilting machine is a great option, but investing in a mid-arm machine opens up a whole new world of creativity. It is suitable for those who have some experience in the quilting field.

With its larger throat space, enhanced features, and increased control options, this quilting machine will surely take your projects to new heights. Take advantage of this opportunity to create breathtaking quilts!

Sit-Down Quilting Machine

This quilting machine is similar to the two types of long-arm quilting machines which we covered previously, but it has a fixed place that distinguishes it from the other two. At first glance, this may seem like a minor difference, but it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for quilters.

Quilters can quickly move their fabric in any direction with no wheels to restrict movement. Almost everyone wants a machine that doesn’t need to be constantly adjusted while quilting since I work without distractions when I am quilting. Additionally, the table eliminates any wobbling or shaking that can occur with portable machines, which allows for cleaner and more consistent stitches. It is also recommended for DIY projects due to its stability.

The best benefit of sit-down quilting machines is their space-saving design. These compact units take up significantly less space than their long-arm counterparts, making them ideal for quilters with limited studios or storage areas. Since there are no wheels to block movement, these machines can be easily stored away under a table or in a cabinet when not in use. That frees up valuable floor space and helps protect the machine from dust and dirt.

Even though traditional long-arm quilting machines were a necessary tool for many quilters, sit-down quilting machines have unique advantages that should be considered.

Computerized Quilting Machine

The computerized models stand out from the crowd regarding quilting machines. With their upgraded features and customization options, these machines offer convenience and precision that the short-arm, mid-arm, or sit-down quilting machines cannot match. The ability to program the machine according to specific user preferences sets computerized models apart and makes them the best choice for any avid quilter.

This model stands out from the other types of long-arm quilting machines on the list because of several features, such as pattern storage, broken wire detection, thickness adjustment, stitching setting, hook function, land occupation rate, reinforcement seam, and display functionality.

Not only do computerized quilting machines allow users to control every aspect of their stitching easily, but they also provide an unmatched level of accuracy. Whether you are a beginner or an expert quilter, having the ability to program your machine will give you consistent results every time. From perfectly spaced stitches to multilayered styles, the possibilities are endless with a computerized model.

Unlike short-arm and mid-arm machines that require moving your quilt around as you stitch, these models have an extended throat space that allows for more effortless movement, even with larger projects. Also, sit-down quilting machines sometimes do not offer some of the advanced features found in computerized models, such as automatic thread cutting or complex pattern options.

Nothing beats the convenience and efficiency of computerized models regarding quilting machines. Their upgraded features and customization options distinguish them from other types, such as short-arm or mid-arm machines.

You Can Check Also – King Quilter II Longarm Quilting Machine Review And Comparison

Difference Between A Normal Quilting Machine and Sit-Down Long Arm Machine

If you are a passionate quilter, you may need clarification on investing in a regular quilting machine or a sit-down long-arm machine. While both machines have their merits, it is important to understand the differences before deciding. One key difference lies in the throat space. Regular sewing machines typically offer an 8-9 inch throat, limiting the amount of fabric that can be manoeuvred during quilting. On the other hand, sit-down long-arm machines provide an average of 20 inches of throat space, allowing for larger and more decorative quilting patterns.

The other important difference between these two types of long-arm quilting machines is how they operate. Normal quilting machines require you to move the fabric under the needle by guiding it with your hands. Working on larger projects involving heavy repositioning can be challenging. Sit-down long-arm machines help you resolve this issue by allowing you to move the machine over the stationary fabric using handles or controls at your fingertips.

Normal quilting machines usually have a fixed stitch rate, meaning sewers have little control over the speed at which stitches are created. However, sit-down long-arm machines offer adjustable stitch rates, allowing greater accuracy and customization. This flexibility guarantees that complex patterns or detailed designs can be quilted perfectly.

Moreover, seam accumulation also changes between short-arm quilting machines and sit-down long-arm machines. Short-arm machines often experience seam accumulation due to their limited throat space, making it challenging to handle larger projects smoothly. Alternatively, sit-down long-arm machines boast ample throat space, which reduces seam accumulation issues. All sizes of quilts can be stitched smoothly and precisely without any quality or precision compromises.

Choosing between a normal quilting machine and a sit-down long arm machine ultimately depends on your needs and budget requirements. If you primarily work on smaller projects or are willing to put in extra effort when quilting, a regular sewing machine might work for you. However, if you enjoy creating complex designs and larger pieces that require precise control and increased freedom of movement, investing in a sit-down long-arm machine can greatly enhance your quilting experience and creativity levels.

Difference Between the Short Arm Quilting Machine and Mid Arm Quilting Machine

When it comes to quilting, the types of long-arm quilting machines you choose play a crucial role in bringing your creative vision to life. Two popular options in the quilting world are the short-arm quilting machine and the mid-arm quilting machine. Although they may seem similar at first glance, there are distinct differences between these two machines that can greatly impact your quilts.

First and foremost, let’s talk about size. As the name suggests, a short-arm quilting machine has a shorter throat space than its mid-arm counterpart. You need more room to move larger projects under the needle. If you primarily work on smaller or medium-sized pieces, a short-arm machine might be perfect for you as it offers ease of use and portability.

If you want to know more about the throat spaces of this machine, you can check What Should be the Throat Space of A Quilting Machine?

While both types of long-arm quilting machines can produce beautiful stitches, the difference lies in their functionality. The mid-arm quilting machine provides an extended throat space, allowing for more creative ideas on larger projects such as bedspreads or full-size quilt tops without needing to adjust the fabric frequently. This added length gives quilters greater flexibility and freedom when working with complex patterns or multiple layers of fabric.

It ultimately depends on your quilting needs, whether you need the short-arm or the mid-arm quilting machine. Determine whether you prefer working on larger or smaller projects, consider how much space you have available in your workspace, and weigh factors such as budget and desired features.

Difference Between the Mid Arm Quilting Machine and Standard Longarm Quilting Machine

These two types of long-arm quilting machines have some differences, but the major difference we observe when testing them in our lab is their throat spaces or arm lengths. A mid-arm quilting machine typically has a throat space ranging from 12 to 17 inches, while a standard longarm can have a throat space of 18 to 24 inches. This difference in size gives the standard longarm an advantage when handling larger quilts and allows for more detailed quilting.

In addition to the throat space, another key difference is the frame size. Mid-arm quilting machines usually come with smaller frames, which makes them more compact and easier to use in smaller spaces. However, standard longarms typically have larger frames that provide stability and support for bigger projects.

It’s also worth noting that there can be some differences in features between different mid-arm and longarm machines on the market. Some midarms may offer features comparable to standard longarms, such as stitch regulation or computerized options. However, these extra functionalities often come at a higher cost.

Is It Worth Buying A Computerized Quilting Machine?

Is It Worth Buying A Computerized Quilting Machine? That is the question that arises in every quilter’s mind. In a word, yes! While computerized quilting machines may be the most expensive option on the market, trust me, they are worth every penny. These types of long-arm quilting machines come loaded with advanced features that make the quilting process faster, easier, and more accurate than ever before.

One of the biggest advantages of a computerized quilting machine is its ability to create complicated quilt patterns with precision and accuracy. With just a few clicks of a button, you can choose from hundreds of pre-loaded patterns or even create your own. It saves much time compared to manual quilting techniques and allows you to focus on the other aspects of your craft.

Computerized quilting machines often include automatic stitch regulators that maintain consistent stitch lengths throughout your quilt. That eliminates the frustration of uneven stitches and creates professional-looking results every time. Furthermore, these machines usually have programmable settings for speed control and thread tension adjustment features previously only available manually.

While computerized quilting machines may have a higher price tag than their manual models, their advanced features and precision make them well worth the investment for any serious quilter. From creating complex designs effortlessly to achieving consistent stitches throughout your projects, these machines offer unparalleled convenience and professional results. 

So if you’re looking for the best quilting machine that will elevate your craft to new heights, don’t hesitate to go digital because these machines are the future of the quilting industry. And the best example of these machines is Handi Quilter Amara. Make sure to check it out!

FAQ About Types of Long Arm Quilting Machines

Are long-arm quilting machines easy to use?

Long-arm quilting machines can be confusing and complicated, mainly if you’re used to traditional sewing machines. However, they are easy to use with practice and patience. Long-arm quilting machines have a larger working area, allowing you to move and quilt large projects without constantly reading the fabric. That can save you time and frustration in the long run.

Many types of long-arm quilting machines come with built-in stitch regulators that help maintain consistent stitch length as you quilt. It removes the need for precise foot control and lets you focus more on your design rather than worrying about speed or tension. Some machines even offer computerized features that allow you to program customized patterns or layouts, simplifying the quilting process even more.

While there may be a learning period when first using a long-arm quilting machine, once you get used to it, you’ll find that they offer a level of control and precision that traditional sewing machines cannot match.

Who can benefit from using a long-arm quilting machine?

Anyone who enjoys quilting and wants to take their skills to the next level can use a long-arm quilting machine. These machines are designed to make the quilting process faster and more efficient, allowing quilters to complete larger projects in less time.

Long-arm quilting machines benefit professional quilters or those looking to start a quilting business. Quilters can take on more projects with these machines and increase their productivity, leading to higher profits. The ability to offer custom quilting services with unique designs is also a great selling point for clients.

Investing in a long-arm quilting machine can be highly effective whether you’re just starting and looking to enhance your quilting experience or a professional seeking to improve your business.

Do I need any additional equipment or accessories for my long-arm quilting machine?

Although a long-arm quilting machine typically comes with all the necessary equipment and accessories to get started, there are a few additional items that you may find helpful. Quilting frames are one such item that gives your quilt support and stability as you work. These frames come in various sizes and styles, so choose one that fits your machine and quilting needs.

Another useful accessory is a set of quilting rulers or templates. These tools help you create precise and beautiful stitches on your quilt by guiding your stitching lines. They come in various shapes and sizes, allowing you to experiment with different patterns and styles.

Lastly, consider investing in a good-quality thread designed for long-arm quilting machines. This type of thread is strong enough to withstand the tension and speed of the machine without breaking or ripping. In addition, it comes in a variety of colours, so you can personalize the size of your quilt based on your preference.

While not essential, this additional equipment and accessories can enhance your long-arm quilting experience by providing more control, creativity, and durability to your projects.

What is a quilting frame?

A quilting frame is a tool used in quilting, which is the art of sewing together layers of fabric to create a quilt. It consists of a sturdy frame or stand that holds the layers of fabric tightly and in place while stitched together. Quilting frames come in various sizes and designs but generally have adjustable features that allow for different quilt sizes and patterns.

The main purpose of a quilting frame is to provide stability and support to the quilt while it is being quilted. Keeping the fabric layers stretched tightly helps avoid stretching or distortion during the stitching process. That allows you to create even and precise stitches, which results in beautifully finished quilts.

Quilting frames can be hand-held or free-standing, depending on personal preference and the project size. Hand-held frames are smaller and more portable, making them suitable for small-scale quilting projects or quilters who prefer working with their hands. Free-standing frames are more stable, providing a larger workspace for bigger quilts or those who prefer a stationary setup.

These frames play an essential role in assisting the creation of high-quality quilts by providing stability and control during the stitching process.

What are some of the best long-arm quilting machines on the market?

Regarding long-arm quilting machines, Handi Quilter Amara and King Quilter II are both highly regarded options on the market. The Handi Quilter Amara is known for its advanced features, such as a precision stitch regulator, adjustable handlebars, and a large throat space, making it ideal for tackling larger quilting projects. It also offers various quilting modes and has a user-friendly interface.

In contrast, the King Quilter II is widely admired for its durability and versatility. It has multiple built-in stitch patterns and a large work area, allowing quilters to easily manage their projects. Furthermore, it offers an adjustable frame that can work with different sizes of quilts.

Ultimately, choosing these two machines will depend on personal preferences and needs. Both Handi Quilter Amara and King Quilter II have received positive reviews from quilters, so it’s worth considering their features and capabilities before making a decision.

Can beginners use long-arm quilting machines?

Yes, beginners can use long-arm quilting machines. While long-arm quilting machines may seem confusing at first, they are designed to be user-friendly and can be mastered with practice. Many manufacturers offer beginner-friendly models with helpful features like stitch regulators and easy-to-use controls.

To get started, beginners can take advantage of online tutorials, classes, or workshops that teach the basics of long-arm quilting. These resources provide step-by-step instructions on how to set up the machine, thread it properly, and control the stitching speed. With time and practice, beginners can improve their skills and create beautiful quilt designs using a long-arm quilting machine.

As a beginner, you must start with smaller projects and gradually work on larger ones. It lets you gain confidence in handling the machine and develop your quilting style. By starting small and practicing regularly, you can become proficient in using long-arm quilting machines and enjoy creating a unique quilt.

Can I quilt all types of fabrics with a long-arm quilting machine?

All kinds of fabrics can be quilted with a long-arm quilting machine. From delicate silk to heavy denim, long-arm quilting machines can handle a variety of fabrics. They have adjustable tension settings that allow you to customize the machine’s stitching to match the fabric you are working with.

However, it is important to note that different fabrics may require different techniques and considerations when using a different types of long-arm quilting machines. For example, lightweight and slippery fabrics may need extra stabilizers or basting before quilting to prevent shifting or puckering. Meanwhile, thicker and heavier fabrics may require needle size or thread tension adjustments.

How much space do I need for a long-arm quilting machine?

The size of a long-arm quilting machine depends on its model, features, and space requirements. However, in general, you will need a dedicated area that is large enough to hold the machine itself, as well as additional space for moving around it. 

A typical long-arm quilting machine can be quite large, with dimensions ranging from 10 to 14 feet long and 4 to 6 feet wide. Therefore, it is important to have enough room to comfortably fit the machine and still have space for you to move around it while working on your quilts. Additionally, consider the height of the machine and make sure there is enough space above it.

It is also worth noting that long-arm quilting machines often come with optional accessories or frames that may require additional space. These accessories can include extension tables or frames for supporting larger quilts. When planning your workspace, consider any other equipment you may want to use with your long-arm quilting machine.

How do I maintain a long-arm quilting machine?

Maintaining a long-arm quilting machine is essential to maintain its optimal performance and longevity. Here are some step-by-step tips to help you keep your machine in top shape:

1. Regular Cleaning: Start by cleaning the machine after each use. Remove lint, dust, or fabric threads from the bobbin case, needle area, and throat plate. Use a small brush or compressed air to reach tight spots.

2. Lubrication: Apply sewing machine oil or lubricant as the manufacturer recommends to keep the moving parts well-lubricated. It will prevent excessive friction and wear.

3. Check Tension: Regularly check the tension of both the top and bottom threads. Adjust if necessary to achieve even stitches and avoid thread breakage.

4. Needle Replacement: Replace the needle regularly, especially if it becomes dull or bent. A sharp needle will produce clean stitches and minimize fabric damage.

5. Belt Inspection: Inspect the belts for signs of wear or stretching. If they appear worn out, replace them immediately to maintain proper tension during stitching.

6. Professional Servicing: Consider getting your long arm quilting machine professionally serviced at least once a year, especially if you use it frequently or notice any unusual sounds or issues.

By following these maintenance steps diligently, you can enjoy smooth and trouble-free quilting sessions with your long-arm quilting machine for years to come!

Why should I invest in a long-arm quilting machine?

Investing in a long-arm quilting machine can be life-changing for any passionate quilter. The efficiency and speed of these types of long-arm quilting machines are major advantages. With a long-arm machine, you can quilt larger pieces of fabric more quickly and easily, saving you valuable time and effort. That is especially beneficial if you plan on taking quilting as a serious hobby or even turning it into a small business.

Another good reason to invest in a long-arm quilting machine is the superior quality of the finished product. These types of long-arm quilting machines provide precise stitching and detailed designs that are difficult to achieve with traditional sewing machines. The extended throat space allows for greater flexibility and control, which results in professional-looking quilts that are sure to impress.

Moreover, investing in a long-arm quilting machine opens up opportunities for creativity and experimentation. You can explore various quilting techniques, patterns, and designs without limitations. If you want to create complex free-motion designs or experiment with ruler work, a long-arm machine is for you.

Investing in a long-arm quilting machine offers numerous benefits, such as increased efficiency, superior quality results, and unlimited creative possibilities. Investing in a long-arm machine is worth considering if you’re passionate about quilting and want to take your skills to the next level.


Choosing the right longarm quilting machine is important for any quilting enthusiast. It is essential to understand the differences between stationary, sit-down, and computerized models before choosing one that suits your specific needs and preferences. The size, features, and price should all be taken into consideration before making a purchase.

Whether you are a professional quilter or a newbie, this complete guide on the types of long-arm quilting machines has provided all the valuable information to assist you in selecting the best long-arm quilting machine for your projects.

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