Do you need something that can handle thick or multiple layers of fabric? Then you’ve come to the right place.
The best heavy duty sewing machines are built to handle projects that require more layers of fabric or thicker, weighty material – like jeans or upholstery. These kinds of projects can’t or are difficult to do on a regular sewing machine. If you’ve had your machine stall or tip over then it’s time to find something a little more robust.
If you are looking for something that can sew through denim, leather or upholstery then you really a model that will stay in place when working with the drag of thick and heavy fabrics.
One of the most important characteristics when looking for a machine is it’s weight.
You want to make sure that the model you choose weighs at least 14 pounds. Ideally, if you want to be really satisfied with your choice, you want something heavier that 20 pounds. This of course means they aren’t as portable, but they will be able to handle the your projects without tipping, stalling or bouncing around on the table (my cat hates that).
The next thing to consider are usability, features and durability of the machine. Features are important for a lot of people who always like to try out new projects. However, if you own a business you might know exactly what features you need your machine to include and what is just extras.
If you plan on using your machine a lot of projects that involve leather, upholstery or many layers of fabrics then you should buy a machine that is close to or above 20 pounds. The heavier it is, the more sturdy and stable it is on your work table and the easier it will be to work with. This is also important if you plan on doing any machine quilting.
Heavy Duty Sewing Machines I Recommend in 2018
1. Janome HD3000 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
Weight: 24.4 pounds
The Janome HD3000 is a step above the Janome HD1000 (found below) in weight and in performance. For an extra $50 you will be getting the ultimate product for use in your most ambitious projects. Some of the features included are:
- 18 built-in stitches
- 1 automatic 1-step buttonhole
- Auto-needle threader
- Reverse stitch lever
- Foot presser adjustment
- Hard storage case
- Solid metal body
If you don’t need a computerized machine or hundreds of stitches this is a great choice even for a beginner. You will be able to accomplish any project (including upholstery or leather) no matter how thick the layers of fabric are. I have used this to sew through 7 layers of upholstery fabric and it flew through it like it was 1 layer. The durability and quality of performance of this product is outstanding.
If you end up purchasing the HD3000, it could very well be the last one you ever have to purchase. It is a perfect all-round home sewing machine that performs all tasks flawlessly and doesn’t break the bank.
2. Singer Heavy Duty 4423 Extra-High Sewing Speed Machine
Inexpensive day-to-day machine
Weight: 17.5 pounds
A less expensive option (around $150) you can buy this terrific Singer heavy duty sewing machine. Like other Singer models, the Singer 4423 has been one of the top selling models on Amazon for years. This is because it is inexpensive, does a great job of every day sewing tasks and has the perfect amount of features for the at-home seamstress.
- an interior solid metal frame
- 1,100 stitches per minute sewing speed
- 1 automatic 4 step buttonhole
- 23 built-in stitches
- Easy-load drop-in bobbin system
- Easy to use auto needle threader
- Plus many accessories
One thing that I liked about this product was the design and usage of it is very clear and straightforward. The stitch selection is really good and it does a really nice job with all of the basic stitches. I have seen machines perform better with decorative ones, but the Singer 4423 still did a decent job with them. This isn’t really a big deal as most people don’t use decorative stitches very often anyways.
When testing with multiple layers of cotton it performed really well for the price. The layers and needle fed through nicely and the results were nice. However, when moving to heavier fabrics, like denim, this product didn’t perform as well. It had more trouble feeding the fabric through and it wasn’t strong enough for my liking to do the job properly.
If you want one to use in your home for day-to-day sewing projects and aren’t going to be working with many thick, weighty fabrics, then the Singer 4423 is a perfect choice. Singer sewing machines are really good for the hobbyist who aren’t going to be putting their’s through a lot of hours of wear and tear. However, if you plan on using a it for a small business or more demanding projects, then you should seriously consider one of the Janome heavy duty models reviewed on this page.
The Singer 4411 – Great for Leather
The Singer 4411 is another Singer model that that is around the same price and performs exactly the same as the one above. One of the distinguising qualities it has is that it’s great for sewing leather. I had an easy time fixing my husband’s leather work boots with this product. It looks slightly different and has less built-in stitches (11). If you were choosing between the 4423 and 4411 I would pick the 4423 because it has more features.
3. Janome HD1000 – Great for Upholstery
Best Value/Performance choice
Weight: 22.5 pounds
Weighing at over 20 pounds the Janome HD1000 is built to handle big sewing upholstery projects with ease. If you are going to use it a lot, but don’t want to break the bank then this machine is an excellent choice. It includes:
- 14 built-in stitches
- 1 automatic 1-step buttonhole
- Free arm for sewing collars, pants, etc.
- Auto-needle threader
- Durable aluminum body
- plus more!
This thing will handle anything that you throw at it. I have tried leather, layers of denim, you name it, it can do it. It is a true work-horse and the results are outstanding. For under $300 this is an outstanding buy in this category. I was very impressed with the sewing speed, stitch quality and even the quiet way it went about its work. This product is built to last with a rare aluminum frame that has that classic sewing machine look and feel.
4. Brother ST371HD Strong and Tough Sewing Machine
Impressive new kid on the block
Brother offers the ST371HD sewing machine that is the company’s Strong and Tough model. This sewing machine is designed to work through thick, heavy materials and offers a truly lightweight design, making this the go-to choice in portability.
Versatile and durable, the ST371HD offers:
- 37 built-in stitches
- 6 sewing feet
- Heavy-duty needles
- One-step buttonhole sizing
- Built-in needle threading
- Drop-in bobbin
- LED work area
- Easy stitch selector
Tackle heavy-duty fabric with the ST371HD, from jean to canvas and burlap. Suede and leather can also be quickly sewn through thanks to the power and versatility of this sewing machine.
A free arm design allows you to make quick and easy sewing adjustments to sew sleeves, hems and even cuffs. When it comes time to thread your needle, you can rest assured that you’ll thread in record time thanks to the automatic needle threading system.
The jam-resistant bobbin is in the drop-in style, and makes it quick and easy to get your next project started and finished.
There are six versatile presser feet provided along with a non-stick foot, which is ideal for thicker fabrics. Never worry about the foot getting snagged and causing the fabric to move slowly through your hands during operation.
You’ll be ready to begin your next sewing project immediately after unpacking thanks to the array of included accessories, including:
- 3-piece needle set
- 4 bobbins
- Extra spool pin
- 2 spool caps
- Instructional DVD
Brother left nothing to chance with this sewing machine and even includes an instructional DVD that allows users to quickly get started with their new sewing machine. Easy stitching and power are what separates this sewing machine from the competition. Users also boast about the ease of sewing through suede and other thick materials.
A dust cover is also included to protect the unit’s internal components from dust, which can cause faster breakdown and lower the longevity of the sewing machine.
Automatically-sized buttonholes allow you to make everything, from jean pants to shirts and even jackets using the same, reliable Brother ST371HD sewing machine. You don’t even need to oil this machine, according to the manual.
5. Toyota Super Jeans Sewing Machine
You can’t have a list of heavy-duty sewing machines and not include the Toyota Super Jeans sewing machine.
Yes, this sewing machine is made by the same Toyota that’s famous for making reliable vehicles. The company has actually been making sewing machines since 1946, but they are just now available in the United States.
- Can sew up to 12 layers of denim
- Automatic needle threader
- Free arm included for sewing pants, cuffs and legs
- 17 built-in stitches
- Includes several accessories
The Super Jeans sewing machine can sew up to 12 layers of denim at a time – and without missing a stitch.
This sewing machine comes equipped with an automatic needle threader to make threading a breeze. The machine’s front face plate also acts as a storage spot for the Quick Guide Advisor. The advisor acts as a reference guide to make threading the bobbin or needle easier.
The machine also comes with a free arm for easy sewing of pant legs, sleeves and cuffs.
In total, the machine has 17 stitches. Choosing stitches is easy, too. Just turn the dial to your desired stitch, and you’re ready to go. There’s a stitch selection guide on the front of the machine for your convenience.
The Toyota Super Jeans machine also comes with a slew of accessories, including:
- Overcasting foot
- Gliding foot
- Zigzag foot
- Zipper foot
- Buttonhole foot
- Blind hem foot
- Quilt guide
- 3 packs of needles
- Foot control
- Seam ripper
- Soft cover
- Spool cap
The drop-in bobbin system makes it so easy to change the bobbin whenever you run out. The clear cover makes it easy to see when you are running out of bobbin thread.
The machine comes with just about everything you could possibly need to start sewing right away. It’s lightweight, too at just 10.8lbs.
- Can sew through thick layers of denim
- Lightweight at just 10 pounds
- Comes with multiple accessories
- Has 17 stitches
- Reliable and durable
- Extension table only available with some models
There really aren’t many complaints with this machine. It’s durable, it’s reliable and it’s so easy to use. It can sew through the thickest layers of denim with ease. But there’s only one small gripe that we had. We found some retailers selling this machine with a nice extension table, and others did not include this accessory. While not a deal breaker, this is something to keep in mind.
Overall, the Toyota Super Jeans sewing machine is hard to beat in the heavy-duty department, and it will give you many years of use with proper care.
6. Sailrite Heavy-Duty Ultrafeed LSZ-1
For serious heavy duty sewing
Sailrite’s LSZ-1 Basic is a walking foot sewing machine that’s packed with high-end features and can sew through heavy material, such as sailcloth and denim, with ease. The model has been tested to sew through 10 layers of canvas and 8 layers of Dacron.
The power behind the LSZ-1 is in the Power Plus Balance Wheel, which provides double the power that a traditional flywheel model offers.
When using this sewer,you’ll gain access to world-class features, including:
- Posi-Pin clutching system
- 100% power transfer from the balance wheel
- Extra-wide presser foot
- 3/8″ foot lift
- Variable stitch length
- Straight stitch length up to 6 mm
- Zigzag stitch length up to 5 mm
- Wooden base included
- Built-in handholds for easy transport
Sailrite offers one of the most heavy-duty, durable machines on the market, with the capability of sewing through the thickest material on the market. This model is powerful enough to make quick work of layered denim, and it provides you with a wooden base that makes it heavier but also sturdier when in use.
The model has a variable stitch length as well as a 3/8″ foot lift, with the power transfer from the balance wheel producing 100% power – most models lose power during the transfer.
On top of the machine are built-in handholds that make transport easy, but this unit does weigh nearly 50 pounds, so it’s not as easy to transport as the Janome HD3000 or other items on our list.
While not for everyone, this is one of the best sewing machines in the world in terms of power, so it’s a smart buy if you tend to sew through canvas, denim, sailcloth, upholstery, vinyl or even soft leather.
An EZ Set Stitch Length Plate also reinforces your sewing with consistent, even stitches all throughout your project. The spring-loaded stitch length lever also helps you make quick turns for accurate, precise sewing when you need it most.
While more expensive than other models on our list, this is the go-to choice for anyone that finds themselves working on multi-layer projects or with thick fabric regularly.
Final Verdict – Which One is Right For You?
Here are a few things to consider before choosing one of these on this list. The following should help you to narrow down your choice:
- If you are a beginner, are looking for an inexpensive heavy product and don’t plan on doing too much layering, then look no further than the Brother ST371HD or Singer 4423. They have excellent reviews, is inexpensive and does the job well on all kinds of fabric.
- If you want it for more demanding projects and you are going to use it often or need to tackle upholstery jobs, then the Janome HD1000 may fit your needs better.
- However, if you are planning on working with very thick and dense material then you should definitely consider choosing the Sailrite or Janome HD3000 model. Even if you are unsure if you will be working on those types of projects the HD3000 isn’t much more expensive than the HD1000. If you don’t have to save the extra few dollars, then this one is really an easy choice to make.
All these models that we have reviewed on this page were all personally tested by us. The things that we have accounted for the review are; price, usability, features, specifications, durability and comfortability when using the model. So, having said all that, these models are our favorite ones out of the bunch (which was A LOT). If you are looking to do heavy duty jobs then these are your go-to models, they are reliable and will get the job done perfectly regardless of your needs.