There are many factors to consider when you dream about purchasing one of the mid arm quilting machines for home use.
The cost of a mid arm is usually between $4,000 and $9,000, so you might consider buying a demo from a local quilt shop or at a quilt show where the retailers or manufacturers are anxious to make sales. A long arm machine can range from $5,000 to $35,000, usually needs its own room, and could cause a quilter to have to start a home business to help pay for the machine. Quilters may be able to get a good deal if they can find a second hand machine in good shape.
Mid arm quilting machines for home use are smaller machines than the long arm but are larger than a sewing machine. Throat space for a mid arm goes from 12 to 17 inches whereas the long arm is usually mounted on a frame and runs from 8 feet to 14 feet in length with a width of 4 feet to 8 feet. A machine that can do a king-size quilt will require a room approximately 20 feet long by 10 feet wide, and that may not be possible inside a home and could require a separate shop.
How mid arm compares to long arm
With a mid arm, quilts still need to be basted, the operator can sit down while quilting where standing is required with a long arm, the quilter is creating a design while having to push the quilt around manually and there is no computer guided system which enables patterns to be purchased and loaded into the system.
Think about the amount of time you have to dedicate to learning the quirks of the system. No quilter will be able to quilt like a professional right when the machine comes out of the box. The new owner will need to patiently practice and get comfortable with the machine and learn which thread works best and how to adjust the tension and so much more. Stitch regulators also take some getting used to.
Choose one of the best mid arm quilting machines for home use that satisfies your budget and your personal needs of whether it will be used quite often or just occasionally and whether you prefer to do larger or smaller projects. It will help to finish those gorgeous quilt tops that you have lovingly created.