I’m extremely grateful that I don’t have to buy a new sewing machine. The market is overflowing with brands, types, series, so much so that a single glance at it makes my head spin. Even if I had thousands of bucks to splurge on a new workhorse, it wouldn’t make it any less easier. Should I buy a commercial grade sewing machine that would take up an entire room and sit there till the end of time? Or go with a cheaper model that will start glitching not even a month into use? Thankfully, you don’t have to go to such extremes. There is plenty of choice in between, and I found Juki HZL F600 one of the best options for those who want to solve the problem for good.
Smaller (and way lighter, with just over 21 pounds!) than your average industrial machine, but so much more powerful than entry- or even mid-level portable choices, this Juki HZL-F600 could easily be one of the best machines that I’ve had a chance to work with. Let’s see what it offers, pros and cons, and who it’s best for.
Before I dig in, let me just tell you that it’s a top of the line model. The Exceed line also includes F400 and F300 models, which are similar computerized machines with somewhat reduced functionality and price.
Features & Specs
When you look at what you’ll get, the “Exceed” tag seems to be absolutely justified. This machine will blaze through any material (or multiple layers) with maximum speed of 900 stitches per minute. In this respect, it even matches some models of industrial sewing machines. Since it’s also a computerized machine, you can count on a generous number of built-in stitches. With 225 of them, you should never run short of inspiration. The foot pressure is adjustable, and there is a knee presser foot lifter.
However, one of the most amazing aspects is the fact that this Juki HZL-F600 machine has 16 buttonholes. Most mid-level machines don’t have more than ten of these, just in case you wonder if that would be enough. Whichever fabric you work with, your buttonholes will be spotless. You can even adjust their cutting widths without having to tweak the stitch width or length.
Don’t worry about the light, as Juki HZL F600 machine has dual LED lights over the needle and the bed. And there’s a generous LCD screen that lets you select your stitches and manipulate their size. Note that you can select piecing stitch that will adjust the needle and give you quarter-inch seams without you having to replace the presser foot. And that’s just one of many neat features for quilters! More on that later.
Understandably, this Juki HZL-F600 machine doesn’t lack in automation. You will be able to wind your bobbins independently by pushing a lever while sewing – no need to interrupt your project. The needle threading also works automatically with a push of a lever. Automatic thread tension will ensure that your stitches always come out smooth and even. Or, if you are an advanced user who likes to put her hand on everything, you can also adjust the tension manually.
As for thread trimming, there are three ways it works. You can use a button to trim your top and bobbin threads, or control it by foot, or even program your trimming so that it happens automatically. This is a really expensive feature that totally befits this top-notch model.
While we’re at programming, you can do it with almost anything. Apart from thread trimming, there is also a programmable needle up/down position, as well as up to 70 patterns or pattern sequences. Whichever patterns are your favorite or most frequently used, just have the Juki HZL F600 machine memorize them.
The machine will also work wonders on quilts. There are many decorative stitches that will look amazing on your quilts, as well as the so-called random stitches, which are exclusive in Juki models. When you select these stitches, their width will be random, making the final product 100% unique. Even the stitch patterns can be random, which allows for even more creative freedom. Plus, if you’re an experienced quilter, you can drop the feed dogs for free-motion sewing. The sewing and throat areas are generous, and you will even get an extension table to accommodate the bulkiest quilts.
You will especially enjoy the box feed technology that allows for exceptional fabric feeding, both with thick and thin materials.
Accessories & Extras
I would expect a costly sewing machine to come with loads of accessories and add-ons, and it doesn’t disappoint in this regard either. Check out just part of all the small but useful stuff you will get:
- Hard protective case
- Ten presser feet with snap-on technology (walking, quilt, open toe, patchwork, edge sewing, smooth, buttonhole, manual buttonhole, overcasting, blind stitch, zipper, and standard presser foot)
- Four Bobbins
- Spool caps (small, medium and large)
- Quilt guide
- Eyelet punch
- Wide extension table for quilting
- A screwdriver
- A seam ripper
- Twin needles
Things I Like About This Machine
- It’s an extremely versatile, powerful and feature-rich machine. Whether you sew, hem, mend, or quilt with it, the results will be fantastic. The sheer number of stitches will allow you for much freedom. And it will tackle literally any kind of material – from canvas, leather and corduroy to silk and other thin and stretchy fabrics. It’s powerful enough to stitch through thick, and the box feed system delivers great results with thin, without shrinkage or puckering.
- Quilters, rejoice! Juki is probably the most favorite machine manufacturers with quilters, and they absolutely live up to their reputation with this model. Apart from awesome random stitches and patterns, you will be thrilled with the wide table, adjustable foot pressure with the knee lifter,
- Many automatic features that really work. I’m sick and tired of many models I’ve seen that are advertised for automatic needle threader that’s a true nightmare. This one is really automatic. As soon as you guide the thread along the designated area, trim the thread and push the lever. Even if it’s your first time, it won’t take over half a minute. Further down the road, you will thread your machine in less than 10 seconds. Not to mention that you can program the machine to do pretty much anything, at your convenience. The auto thread cutter and needle up/down position also add to seamlessness and comfort.
- Exceptional speed control. Your basic tool here is the foot pedal, naturally. But there’s also a speed control slider with five positions, so that you can find the real balance for any project. Plus, even if you floor the pedal immediately, it will never start blazing straight away. It starts slowly and then accelerates. That means your needle shouldn’t unthread all of a sudden, interrupting your workflow.
- The needle placement is awesome. Just press number 2 below the screen and you will get a perfect quarter-inch seam, without measuring your blocks for quilts.
- It’s a quiet machine considering the power. There’s no need to stop stitching when you’re expecting the doorbell to ring. I’ve seen many quieter models than this one, but not with this amount of power.
- It feels very durable and sturdy. I don’t really understand how they managed to do this with a relatively lightweight machine. It doesn’t shake while sewing, and it won’t break easily or slow down after hours of sewing. Plus, the hard case that comes with it should protect it more than enough, even if you plan on bringing it to sewing classes.
Things I Don’t Like About This Machine
- There is a learning curve. I’m not really sure whether I like or dislike this fact. But I decided to include it in my list of cons just because beginners will have a hard time figuring out every single feature. Even though both the DVD and the instructions manual are very helpful, it still takes time to get the hang of all the bells and whistles, unless you’re a pro.
- Juki HZL F600 definitely isn’t cheap. Even if you get it on sale or discount, it’s still a great investment. Over the years, it will pay its price many times over. Still, if you aren’t at least a semi-professional, the price tag might just be unreachable.
Final Verdict – Who Will Get the Most Out of It?
There are two reasons why I definitely wouldn’t recommend this Juki HZL-F600 machine to sewing rookies, unless you are addicted to challenges and adrenaline. Firstly, it’s definitely too expensive for someone who isn’t even sure if they will seriously commit to sewing. Secondly, it has to be a little bit intimidating. Just what would you do with ten presser feet or 16 buttonholes? And who needs 900 stitches per minute when they’re only just starting to get the hang of sewing?
However, if you are anywhere between intermediate and advanced levels, this Juki HZL F600 could easily be a perfect thing for you. Models that cost just a couple hundred bucks won’t do much and won’t last long. This one, on the other hand, should be an investment that will last you a lifetime (and definitely make you fall in love with Juki). It’s a perfect case of a bunch of heavy-duty features packed in a portable, computerized gadget. No matter if you are a regular sewist or quilter, it’s time to stop looking for a new machine every couple of years.