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How to Choose the Right Industrial Sewing Machine for Your Needs

The Difference Between an Industrial and Hobbyist Sewing Machine

Industrial sewing machine parts are made of more durable materials such as metal compared to hobbyist machines. They are designed to last longer and withstand greater load capacity and operational times. They are also built to sew with much higher stitch rates meaning faster and increased productivity. Furthermore, they can generally stitch thicker and tougher materials such as leather. To briefly summarise the differences, industrial machines are bigger, heavier, more durable, are usually kept in one place and used daily.

If you are a small business start-up, you may be wondering whether you can continue on a domestic sewing machine or whether you need an industrial machine. We detail industrial vs domestic sewing machine differences in our other post on the Stocks blog.

For those interested in an industrial sewing machine, our buyers' guide below will help find the right one for you.


Which Machine is Right for You?

You may see an industrial sewing machine referred to as a professional or commercial machine; these are interchangeable names but mean the same thing. Unlike domestic machines, commercial machines often have only one stitch type available, which can be limiting, so make sure you select the best one for your needs. You will also find that compared with domestic machines which are assembled into one solid unit, a commercial machine is mainly comprised of a head, table and a motor. Therefore, ensure that all three components are included when you purchase your new machine.

Now, let's get into the details. Below are several factors you should consider before making your purchase:

Less Haste, More Speed

The speed of industrial sewing machines ranges from 1,000 stitches per minute to 5,000. When choosing your model, you may be tempted to go for the fastest possible, but if you have never used an industrial device, you may find it easier to opt for a slower speed. It's also important to remember that, in the fastest machines, needle force is often sacrificed for speed of motion, meaning thicker fabrics could pose problems.

Style of Feed

If you know from the outset that you will be mainly sewing materials such as leather, then a walking foot device is suitable for you. These feet, which are very popular for straight line quilting, assist the feed and reduce the pressure and the chance of materials slipping as they are stitched together. Alternatively, if you aren't going to use thick materials, you probably won't need a walking foot feed, so choose a machine with a puller feed.

Free Arm Length

Having a long free arm length is a significant advantage when stitching bulkier materials such as thick curtains or car seat covers. This feature allows more material to pass to the right of the needle as it passes through.


Heavy Versus Portable

Older industrial devices often have heavy metal frames and can be hard to move around. If portability is important, look out for models built from lighter metals or hard plastics. Some industrial sewing machines also have carry cases and built-in handles. However, most professional machines are bulky, designed to be built into a table, and usually intended to be kept in one place.

Check the Drive

If you need to sew materials like leather, you should opt for a model with a clutch motor. These robust machines are generally reliable, although they can be noisy and use a lot of energy, so if you don't need to sew tougher materials, you could choose a model with a servo motor, which will be quieter and less energy-intensive.


Contemporary industrial devices offer more technologically advanced control methods, such as keypad buttons. Although such machines tend to be more expensive, this can be a convenient alternative to the traditional manually-operated levers and switches.


Whilst you don't necessarily need to purchase a machine from a well-known brand, some perks come from buying the big hitters. For example, machine repairs are often much easier on well-known machines. In addition, they are often well known for a reason, be that quality, reliability or good reputation, and generally speaking, they will offer warranties. Here at Stocks, we supply well known professional sewing machine brands such as Complett, Dukopp-Adler and Strobel.


Noise Levels

Some machines can be very loud when being operated. This can impact operator hearing over years of long term use but may also be a factor if you are a start-up working from home. Therefore, we provide decibel information on our products, allowing you to make an informed decision regarding the most appropriate machine for your circumstances.

Other Factors

You will also have to consider less technical aspects, such as cost, space required, warranty, the complexity of operation, delivery and other similar factors. Remember, if this is your first machine, don't be tempted to go for the most expensive and feature-rich product. The best machines are often the simplest.

Make your Choice!

We have a wide range of industrial sewing machines for you to choose from, so browse through our selection today or contact us and let us help you find the right model for you. We categorise all our sewing machine products into the type of materials they are intended for; for example, we sell a range of Dukopp-Adler machines for shoe manufacturing.