Mid-Arm Quilting Machine vs. Long-Arm Quilting Machines Comparison (What are They and Which One is The Best?)

What is the best sewing machine for quilting projects? When buying such a product, there are many important factors you should take into account. Some of these you know. But there might be a few that are unfamiliar to you. So here’s an article that discusses every crucial detail. About the Mid-arm quilting machine vs. Long-arm quilting machines comparison.

Janome 1600P-QC Straight-Stitch Machine and Kit

Janome 1600P-QC Straight-Stitch Machine and Kit

Brother Quilting and Sewing Machine, PQ1500SL, High-Speed Quilting and Sewing, 1500 Stitches Per Minute, Automatic Needle Threader, Retractable Drop Feed Dog Control

Brother Quilting and Sewing Machine, PQ1500SL


Photo credit: craftsy.com

Let’s begin with the question, what is a mid-arm quilting machine? To be completely honest with you, it’s just the smaller and more affordable version. Of a long-arm quilting machine!

I mean do you wish to upgrade your quilting projects? At the same time, you don’t have enough space to accommodate or extra dollars to spend on a long-arm quilting machine? If yes and yes, then the Mid-Arm option is the best way to go.

Now let me tell you all about this machine.

Mid-arm quilting machines are specifically created for quilting

You might already know this. That a sewing machine offers multiple functions. This includes specialty stitches, buttonholes, straight stitches, zigzag stitches, etc. But that’s not the case with Mid-arm quilting machines. And the Long-Arm kind, as a matter of fact.

These types of models are crafted intrinsically for undertaking quilting work. In that case, you’ll appreciate the table that every Mid-arm quilting machine comes with. This table serves a single purpose. And that is to allow free-motion action.

Mid-arm quilting machines have ample throat space

 Janome 1600P-QC Straight-Stitch Machine and Kit

The throat space of any Mid-arm quilting machine is always above 15 to 16 inches. It can even reach 22 inches. Isn’t that three times more than the throat space of regular sewing machines?

Another generous feature is the vertical space for quilting. This additional room makes it easier for you to maneuver different quilt sizes.

Mid-arm quilting machines offer a fixed needle

Here’s something very important you might want to know.

In Mid-arm quilting machines, the needle is stationary. Not like the movable needle of a Long-arm quilting machine!

In the case of the former, you do take a while to get used to moving the quilt below the needle. But if you have even a little bit of experience with home sewing machines, you’re all set.

Mid-arm quilting machines have a sideways or front-on orientation

Is the body of the machine perpendicular to you? Then that means you’re looking straight on at the needle. Such an orientation is similar to that of the Long-arm quilting machine. And it’s more suitable for large quilting projects. Cause the whole workspace lies right there in the front.

The other way is similar to that of any regular sewing machine. Where you do the quilting sitting sideways!

Mid-arm quilting machines feature two sizes of the bobbin

 Janome 1600P-QC Straight-Stitch Machine and Kit

When it comes to bobbin sizes, you get two options. This includes L-size and M-size. The former is the same used in standard sewing machines. As for the latter, it can hold much more thread. At least three times more! Your chances of finding this bobbin size on Long-arm quilting machines are very likely.

So what’s better in this case? A larger bobbin means you have to change it less often. But a smaller bobbin is a better choice for detailed work.

More often than not, Mid-arm quilting machine bobbins are placed below the table. So there’s no need for you to remove your quilt for changing the bobbin.

Mid-arm quilting machines provide stitch regulation

What does stitch regulation do? It opens the door to accurate stitching and speed control.

But are you okay with allowing your own rhythm to determine the effect of your stitches? If so, then you can do without this particular feature. That is also present in Long-arm quilting machines. And even a few sewing machines for home use.

It’s an expensive component to want to have, by the way. Stitch regulation hikes up the price to a great extent. So aMid-arm quilting machine with stitch regulator is way costlier than one without it!

What is the Best Mid-arm quilting machine?

  1   Janome 1600P-QC Straight-Stitch Machine  Best Mid-arm quilting machine

	 Janome 1600P-QC Straight-Stitch Machine and Kit

What you’re looking at here is the Mid-arm quilting machine comparison, right? So it’s only natural to expect the best product recommendation. That is the Janome 1600P-QC Straight-Stitch Machine.

It’s a very powerful Mid-arm quilting machine. That works at a speed of as many as 1,600 stitches each minute. The heavy-duty model is a part of most Mid-arm quilting machine reviews. And let me tell you why that is.

This Janome Mid-arm quilting machine is equipped with the much-needed presser foot. The majority of units have this feature. But not all of them offer the controlling sensor mechanism with it. The Janome 1600P-QC presser foot has an exceptional sensor. That doesn’t allow you to work the machine when the foot is in the UP position. This feature reeks of safety, doesn’t it?

What’s more? The model is also outfitted with knee lift adjustability. You can shift it from your left to your right. Depending on whatever way you wish to operate!

As for the needle setting, the Janome Mid-arm quilting machine memorizes it. That means you’re free to set it UP. At the time of stopping the machine that is. Or set the needle down when sewing hems or corners.

To your much relief, the manufacturer also decided to separate the bobbin winder from the motor. Such a design paves the way for multi-tasking, doesn’t it?

Another praiseworthy feature is the speed selection. All you have to do to access speed settings is use the machine’s front slider. The 1600P-QC applies as much as 11 pounds of force. For making it possible for you to work through multiple fabric layers. Without much difficulty!

In all, the unit is the highlight of this Mid-arm quilting machine comparison section.

Long-arm quilting machines Comparison & Review


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How does a Long-arm quilting machine compare to a regular sewing machine? The answer lies below.

Long-arm quilting machines have a larger throat space

Any traditional model gives you 8 to 9 inches of the throat area. And this tends to make the task of quilting very challenging.

In that case, the 20-inch throat space of Long-arm quilting machines is superb. So there’s no need to reposition your quilt or sew uncomfortably.

Long-arm quilting machines are industrial-grade

 Brother Quilting and Sewing Machine

When I say industrial-grade, I mean more speed and power. In comparison to conventional sewing machines! The latter delivers 800 to 1,400 stitches each minute. As for a powerful enough Long-arm quilting machine, it offers as many as 2,000 SPM.

But you might not require this kind of speed for quilting. However, the extra power does come in handy though. Particularly when sewing through several fabric layers!

What is the Best Long-arm quilting machine?

  2   Brother PQ1500SL High-Speed Quilting and Sewing Machine Best Long-arm quilting machine

Brother Quilting and Sewing Machine, PQ1500SL, High-Speed Quilting and Sewing, 1500 Stitches Per Minute, Automatic Needle Threader, Retractable Drop Feed Dog Control

It’s none other than the Brother PQ1500SL High-Speed Quilting and Sewing Machine. It ranks the highest in the Long-arm quilting machines comparison.

This particular model is perfect for completing heavy-duty and large-scale projects. With a 1,500-SPM stitch speed, the Brother PQ1500SL is incredibly reliable and prompt. For all your sewing and quilting work pieces!

The adjustable feed mechanism and four feed dog supplies are nothing short of fantastic. As they enable you to control the fabric according to your liking. Even the automatic thread cutter is a huge convenience feature. As for the threader, it works remarkably fast. So you don’t end up wasting time and energy.

Then there’s the very useful extension table (12 inches by 18 inches). Along with the automatic needle positioning and knee lever! So there’s a lot more to like about this Brother quilting and sewing machine. Apart from the large throat space ideal for big quilts.

Now it’s time for the most important Long-arm quilting machines comparison. Since, in the case of long-arm, there are many options to choose from!


Our Rating


Throat Space

Needle Threader



Editor’s Choice

1,500 SPM

9 inches


33 lbs


1,500 SPM

9 inches


38 lbs


600-700 SPM

5.5 inches


22 lbs


2,200 SPM

18 inches




1,800 SPM

14 inches



Mid-Arm vs. Long-arm quilting machines Comparison


How does one compare with the other? Here’s the truth of the matter.

There’s no denying that Long-arm quilting machines take up more space. Due to their bulky design! So you should buy such a model only if you have enough workstation space. And if you’re not restrained by a tight budget! Cause they’re relatively more expensive too.

My advice to you would be to choose a Mid-arm quilting machine. If you’re not a highly skilled quilter! Then you don’t need to waste your money on a substantial machine like the long arm.

Home quilting applications also include other projects that aren’t connected with quilting. In that case, a Mid-arm quilting machine is perfect for you. Cause it offers many diverse features too.

Plus, you can attach the extension table and frames when required. Unlike the already attached table of Long-arm quilting machines! And this specialization makes it impossible for you to take up any other projects. Apart from quilting!

But when it comes to speed and power, the Long-arm quilting machine wins the battle. For quilting, you might not require the high speed as much as the power. When extra power is a part of the picture, you get to work through multiple layers. And that too with maximum ease!

So allow me to help you reach a decision by asking some questions.

Here’s another expert point of view you might want to know:

Which Should You Buy - A Longarm or Midarm Sewing Machine?


The End

I have presented the Mid-arm quilting machine comparison. And the Long-arm quilting machines comparison. In the end, I would only like to state the most important points.

The Mid-Arm models are perfect because:

  • They have two bobbin sizes.
  • They feature stitch regulation. For accurate stitching and speed control.
  • They have a specially engineered body.
  • They have ample throat space. Without being too bulky that too!
  • They don’t take up too much space.

As for the Long-Arm unit, it’s an excellent choice if:

  • You’re a professional quilter.
  • You want access to increased power and speed.
  • You have enough room to accommodate the space-demanding machine.

The decision now rests entirely on your shoulders. So please pick a machine based on these factors and your personal requirements.

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