7 Best Portable Sewing Machines For Quilters

Most of you treasure every chance you get to settle into your craft room and lovingly create new quilts.

Although we value that feeling of being in our happy place, sometimes you may want to take your sewing hobby on the road.

When you and your friends organize a quilting bee, a lightweight sewing machine you can move around easily is essential.

The good news here is that you don't have to worry about sacrificing function for portability.

JUKI TL-2000Qi Sewing and Quilting Machine
Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine, CS6000i
Heureux Sewing and Quilting Machine, Z6
Brother CS7000X Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine
Janome 2212 Sewing Machine
Portable Sewing Machine for Adult
Juki TL-2010Q 1-Needle, Lockstitch, Portable Sewing Machine

Why Quilters Need a Portable Sewing Machine

When you bought your first sewing machine, portability might not have been at the top of your mind. However, a sewing machine that you can pack in your car produces many benefits. 

With a portable machine, you can take it on vacation if you want some uninterrupted time to relax and sew at the lake house or cabin in the woods.

Some other possibilities are:

  • Use your quilting hobby to be more social.
  • Go to an older person’s house to do some mending projects.
  • Take it back and forth between your summer and winter homes.
  • Carry it to a sewing class.
  • Host a sewing class.
  • Bring it to school and sew costumes for a theater production.
  • Sew a quilt with relatives at a family reunion.

As an avid quilter, you also want to avoid downtime when you could be piecing together a brilliant new design. If you invest in a portable sewing machine, then it will serve as your backup machine should your old workhorse fail you without warning.

What to Look for in a Portable Sewing Machine

As a quilter, your checklist for picking out a portable sewing machine might not differ too much from what you want in any sewing machine.

Among portable models, sizes vary from very lightweight to heavy. Don't dismiss the heavier models.

They are likely worth the effort of moving them due to superior performance capabilities.

From a quilter's point of view, the best portable sewing machines must:

  • Handle multiple fabric layers
  • Have good thread tension controls
  • Provide enough workspace around the needle
  • Include a carrying handle

You may also want to stick with the top name brands in sewing machines. That way, you'll have access to new needles and specialty accessories necessary for projects.

7 Best Portable Sewing Machines for Quilters

This list of sewing machines represents the spectrum of what's available for quilters on the go. As you study each portable sewing machine review, think about the most important features to you. 

The answer to the question “What is the best travel sewing machine?” might boil down to how much weight you feel comfortable moving.

1. JUKI TL-2000Qi Sewing and Quilting Machine

With a weight of 37.8 pounds, this sewing machine requires some muscles to move around but provides exceptional performance and durability. The extension table creates an extra-wide work surface, which is ideal when sewing large quilts. 

This feature makes it one of the bigger models on this list with dimensions of 17.8 x 8.6 x 13.8 inches. Once you get the right thread tension and needle for your project, this sewing machine proves itself superior to lower-cost machines.

Pros:

  • 1,500 stitches per minute
  • Able to work on thick fabrics and multiple layers
  • Quiet operation
  • Minimal vibration
  • Automatic thread cutter

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Challenging for beginners to use

2. Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine, CS6000i

With a weight of 13 pounds, the Brother CS6000i easily qualifies as a portable sewing machine. This product balances an abundance of useful features with portability. 

It measures 16 x 6.7 x 11.4 inches and comes with a hard plastic carrying case. You can attach the wide work table when sewing bigger quilts. Use the LCD screen to view and select the 60 different stitch styles programmed into the machine.

Pros:

  • Drop-in top bobbin
  • Automatic needle threader
  • 25-year limited warranty
  • Brightly lit work area

Con:

  • High repair costs

3. Heureux Sewing and Quilting Machine, Z6

The Z6 has 200 stitches that you select with an LCD screen. With a weight of 11.6 pounds, it will be effortless to carry to your quilting group or class. The product includes an automatic needle threader and quick-set bobbin. 

The sewing machine comes with most of the standard accessories that you would expect, like three bobbins, different feet, and a screwdriver. A slide-out tray holds the accessories.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Includes many accessories
  • Handle

Con:

  • Noisy operation

4. Brother CS7000X Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine

For the price, this Brother sewing machine packs in a bunch of value. You get a computerized menu of 70 stitch styles. This variety makes it easy to add decorative touches to your projects. 

The machine includes a hard plastic cover that will protect it during transport and keep all of the small accessories inside. At 19.26 pounds, it's not particularly lightweight but not too much trouble to haul either. 

The machine's dimensions are 16.26 x 6.65 x 12.21 inches. The Brother CS7000X stands out as a portable sewing machine for quilting with its extendable work table.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use and responsive controls
  • Large work area meant for quilting
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Able to sew thick fabrics or multiple layers

Con:

  • Thread tension problems could develop

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5. Janome 2212 Sewing Machine

This is a beginner-friendly sewing machine from a reputable brand name in sewing machines. Don't let the fact that it only has 12 built-in stitches fool you into thinking that it's not good compared to models with 60 or 70 stitches. 

When you're starting with a sewing or quilting hobby, sometimes less is more. Most of the time, you'll only need to use a few basic stitches. This 15.6-pound machine measures 17 x 9 x 13.5 inches and allows you to adjust stitch width and length with the dials.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Small enough for portability
  • Great for beginning sewers

Con:

  • Bobbin jams easily

6. Portable Sewing Machine for Adult

This product can be plugged into an electrical outlet or powered by 4 AA batteries as a truly portable sewing machine. It has a handle and only weighs 5.5 pounds. You get your choice of 2 sewing speeds, so you can slow down the needle or speed it up. 

The machine offers a total of 12 built-in stitches, and you can adjust stitch length as needed. With a very compact size of 4.7 x 9.4 x 11 inches, you can pack it in luggage, keep it in an RV, or tote it to a friend's house on a moment's notice.

Pros:

  • Small and lightweight
  • Carrying handle
  • Easy-to-use controls
  • Low cost

Con:

  • Not particularly durable

7. Juki TL-2010Q 1-Needle, Lockstitch, Portable Sewing Machine

When performance matters, you won't mind that this Juki sewing machine weighs 37.8 pounds. With a body constructed of die-cast aluminum, the machine stays stable while delivering precision performance. 

Its designers gave it a variable speed control slider and an industrial sub-tension system to keep the thread moving smoothly. 

As a bigger machine measuring 25.7 x 14 x 18 inches, the Juki is ready to handle any quilting projects. You'll have plenty of room for maneuvering large pieces of fabric, especially when doing free-motion quilting.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Very smooth sewing
  • Hands-free, knee-operated presser foot control

Con:

  • High price

Decide What's Most Important to You

As you can see, portable sewing machines can be very affordable or quite pricey. As with all things, you get what you pay for. A low-cost portable model that is not about to win any awards for durability may be just fine for occasional use in social situations. 

On the other hand, the purchase of a portable machine may serve as an opportunity to upgrade your equipment. A more expensive model could deliver years of use and even replace the machine you're using now. 

Sometimes, you want to bring your quilting projects on your vacations and a sewing machine is a must! Check out our collection of portable sewing machines.

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