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Old 29-07-2019, 19:54   #1
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Boat: Tayana 37, Farallon 25, Tahiti 16
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Sailrite, Janome or Singer Sewing Machine

I recently bought and used all of the above sewing machines as they are all three advertised as heavy duty machines. So let's compare and see how they did.

Sailrite Ultrafeed LSZ-1

Let's start with the Sailrite LSZ-1. I bought there Ultrafeed Premium LSZ-1 110V #300603 model, it is 110V. It also comes in a 220-240V #2200603 model. The sailrite came FedEx in two separate boxes. One large box with the machine, carrying case and accessories 67 LBS, and a small second box with the Monster II Balance Wheel 11 LBS. Setting up the Sailrite involves mounting the machine into the carrying case. This involves backing out two screws on the underside of the machine and sliding onto the two hinges of the case and tightening up. The two hinges have flat spots machined out so the mounting screws will land onto the flat spots and not be side loaded in the threaded holes on the machine. On my carrying case, the machined flat spots were not put in the proper spots and put more side load force on the cast metal mounting holes than if no flat spots were machined out. It would have been better to not put the flat spots on the hinge than to put them in the wrong angle. Sailrite offered to replace the bad hinges with new ones at no charge. Mounting the machine onto the case it sat about a 1/8 inch higher than the case mounting height. In the Sailrite videos, the machine sets flush with the case. Sailrite made this change to facilitate smoother fabric handling I was told. This makes sense, especially with long heavy sail cloth or canvas work.

How does the Sailrite sew.

I installed the Monster II wheel opposed to the light plastic one that comes stock. As such I make no comparison between the two wheels. The machine should run smoother and have more power to punch through heavy material easier with the added momentum of the seven pound wheel. The machine starts smooth and sews nicly. Even on the sheet ties of a sail, four layers of sail cloth and two layers of 1/8" webing, the LSZ-1 runs smoothly and dares you to give it more.

The Carrying Case.

I was disappointed with the caring case. For $200 U.S. I expected a better case. The hinges are of poor quality and overall, it did not meet my expectations. The top of the case would not go onto the machine with the spool pin installed. This problem is a result of the added 1/8 inch in height that was added to facilitate smoother fabrice handling. Sailrite does not offer a shorter spool pin and should not send out more cases unless a shorter spool pin is included.


The LSZ-1 sews smooth and lays down nice stitches even in heavy fabric. It is a basic machine made to do sail, upholstery and canvas work, and it does it nicely. No fancy stitches with this girl, the zig zag and the basting stitch is as fancy as it gets. But do you need more? It is heavy and bulky, if portability is important to you, it may be too heavy. The machine is not made in the U.S. It is made in Taiwan and assembled in the U.S. and even though it sews quit nicely, overall quality is not there to justify the $1395 price tag. You are over $1500 with tax and shipping. You can get just the LSZ-1 for $895 or for $1095, you get the LSZ-1 and case. Still a hefty price.

Janome HD-1000

The Janome is a heavy duty machine that sews nice, starts smooth and over all lays down a nice stitch. It does not have a true walking foot, but comes with a walking foot attachment. I found that I like using the standard presser foot instead. This machine comes in black or white. The black machine is harder to see your work as the light is not LED and the black does not reflect light as the white machine does. Most machines thread back to front, but this one takes you up to the middle, back, then up front again. Not a big deal after you get used to it. The machine lacks enough tension adjustment to match the work it is capable of doing. As such, it's hard to get a nice looking back side stitch. At $235 from Walmart, it's not a bad deal, but not up to the par of heavy sail work. It goes through the sail cloth fine, but the underside stitch is not near as nice as the top. If it was just the underside stitch quality, I may have worked with it longer and played with the bobbin tension but with the poor work visibility added on top, I cannot recommend this machine for marine work.

Singer 4452

Singer has been in the business of making sewing machines for a long time but I was sceptical that they could make one I would be happy with. I found one at Joann's Fabrics for $170 U.S. and I gave it a try. This machine has a lot of fancy stitches, most of witch I will never use, but after the zig zag and straight stitch it has a zig zig that lays down three rows of stitches in the same hole that makes for a very strong stitch. It lacks enough bobbin tension to handle heavy sail work, but is fairly easy to adjust. The bobbin is a top load that lets you see how much bobbin thread you have left. I thought the see through plastic bobbin cover looked a little cheap and was sure I would break it right a way, but after using this machine to make a sail pack I found the top loading bobbin is a nice idea. When your bobbin runs out you can pop in a new one fast. This one's a keeper and it has found a place on my boat for all of our future sewing projects and repairs.
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Old 29-07-2019, 21:59   #2
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Re: Sailrite, Janome or Singer Sewing Machine

Very interesting comparison. I used my Mom's, then my Pfaff 130 for all our sail covers and regular sewing. Fairly recently, I sold my Mom's Pfaff and bought a used LSZ-1.

Compared to my old Pfaff, I do like the walking foot. When we made our boom bag mainsail cover, I really liked the even straight stitches. However, I do not like the difficulty of oiling the LSZ-1, nor it's noisiness, nor its uncalibrated stitch length.

Thanks for sharing your comparison, it was an innovative approach of yours, and i hope your Singer gives you many years of good service.

Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
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