Starting your journey into the world of longarm quilting is an exciting time. There are many longarm quilting machines for sale. Doing proper research and giving thought behind where you see yourself going with your longarm quilting journey is an important first step to ensure you have an idea what to look for when shopping around. 

Here are our top 10 tips to start your journey into buying a longarm quilting machine: 

1. What is your budget?

This is often the first consideration when looking for a longarm quilting machine. Looking at your budget should not mean that you go out and buy the least expensive machine at the cheapest cost. Remember, you get what you pay for.

Doing the right research and using a longarm comparison chart is an important step to your research and will ensure you get a machine you can grow into and not grow out of! Many times one machine may look like less money until you add all the options that another machine comes standard with. Always compare features and ‘up-sells’ to be sure your good deal does not end up costing you extra for the same features.

Making the right choice to fit your budget ensures you will end up with the most affordable longarm quilting machine for YOU.

Print your comparison chart now. CLICK HERE

2.  How to choose a quilting machine? Computerized or Hand Guided Machine

Everyone is going to answer this question slightly differently.

Hand guided longarm machines mean that you are in complete creative control. You are moving the machine around by hand and every stitch is guided by you. Make sure you are getting the best longarm quilting machine for YOU. Research all the options: stitch modes, channel locks and programable buttons. Try the machine out and maybe even quilt a small project when in the showroom. See how easy it is to move the machine around and change your quilting options for your project. Remember you want a machine your awesome quilting can grow into!

Computerized longarm machines have come a long way and offer many benefits for those tech savvy and non-tech savvy alike.  Computerized machines are 'The Best of Both Worlds"  When considering a computerized longarm quilting machine, ask what type of training and support is available. Are you thinking of starting a longarm quilting business? Your output with computerized quilting will be greater because your body will not be working as hard as when you are hand guiding. Do you have an injury that may prevent you from quilting for long periods of time standing up? Do you want to do other things while the machine is quilting away doing its job?

Use this longarm comparison chart to help with your research.

3. Consider what size machine you should get 

Machine size matters!

The larger the throat space the more quilting area you have, and the fewer times you need to roll the quilt. Your time is valuable so use it wisely.

Size of your machine head matters, and so does your size!
Think about the size of the head, your quilting style and how large a quilting area your arms can comfortably reach.

If you are only doing computerized quilting with very little hand guided, a larger quilting area makes sense for efficiency.

4. Quilting Machine Table

Have a really good look at the table that comes with the machine!

Is it sturdy?
Can it hold the weight of a quilt without the bars bending?

A flimsy table can affect your quilting result and will make your longarm quilting journey very frustrating. You need a sturdy table that is quick and easy to use and won’t fall apart! Is the table stable when quilting? Can you roll your quilt quickly and easily when it comes time to advance to your next spot on the quilt?

Do you have an odd size space in your home where you want to put your machine? Ask your dealer if a custom table option is for you.

The dimensions of a longarm quilting machine are important as well.
What space do you have in your home? What size quilts will you be quilting? If you only make king size quilts, that will affect the size table you need and the space in your home where the footprint is required.

5. Consider buying a used longarm quilting machine

Buying a used machine of a top name brand is often a great way to score a good deal. 

If you are buying a used machine through a private sale, be sure to contact your local dealer for that longarm quilting machine brand. Be sure you can get support and maintenance from them if needed. The local dealer may even be familiar with the machine that is for sale and give you information on the condition.

Find out if the used machines can be upgraded and updated in the future. This will affect the value and the price you pay for any given machine.

Support from your local dealer is important. In a worst case scenario, you may need to have your machine serviced or repaired; but in a minimum all longarm owners will need to purchase extra bobbins, machine oil or simple wear and tear parts. You want a good relationship with your dealer.

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6. Maintenance

Longarm quilting machine maintenance is important.

How often does the machine you are looking at need to be serviced?
Can you do regular maintenance on your machine yourself?
Does your dealer offer servicing and what is the recommendation for regular service and use of the machine?

These are all things to consider depending on your own needs and skills.  

7. Support

What aftermarket support is available?
Support from your dealer and manufacturer is important for your on going enjoyment of your longarm quilting machine. 

Is there a local dealer who can come to service your machine or do you need to disassemble it and drive it to a dealer in another town or province? Your relationship with your dealer is important in this regard but so is what the manufacturer offers.

Are classes available online or in person? Is there support if you are planning on starting a business? Are retreats and other options available to you? Ongoing education is imperative to your success as a longarm quilter.

8. Setting up your machine after purchase

Ask questions about this!
Setting up a longarm quilting machine is not for the faint of heart.

Are you comfortable putting together an entire quilting system? Is this something you will do with ease or will that be a struggle? (Think IKEA and if you really love spending money to do most of the work this is for you. ) Setting it up on your own may take away some of the joy you feel when your machine arrives.

Ask if set up is an available option if you are not comfortable doing it on your own. There are benefits to having your dealer set the machine up and making sure that it is level and in proper working condition. Find out if there is any on site training available during set up. You want to make sure you have the basics before the dealer leaves!

9. Resale of your machine

What if you want to buy a larger head size later? Is your machine sellable and will it hold its value? Is there a market for the brand you are buying? If you are purchasing a used machine - is the company/manufacturer still in operation to offer support?

10. Budget (again)

We start and end with budget!

Buyers regret is a terrible feeling and will end up costing you more money in the long run. Loss on your initial investment that didn’t meet your expectations can be very frustrating and heart-wrenching. We are not encouraging folks to overspend or go over what they are comfortable with; instead we are encouraging them to only buy one machine that will last a lifetime.

Gammill Longarm Quiltiong Machines

Have questions? 
Contact us today:
Email: mapleleafquiltingcompany@shaw.ca
Phone: 403-981-3500
Address: Unit 9105 - 101 Sunset Drive, Cochrane, Alberta T4C 0W7

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