The Juki HZL-LB5100 is a great sewing machine for anyone just getting started. If you’ve never touched a sewing machine before, this Juki is easy to understand after a cursory glance at the instruction manual. An instruction DVD is also included with videos to walk you through anything you might find confusing.
Some of our testers really loved this sewing machine and didn’t run into any snags literally or figuratively. Others noted some issues while sewing around a curve and on satin, but overall the HZL-LB5100 got rave reviews, earning an A+ for ease of use. The 100 stitch patterns are listed right on the front of the machine and on a pull-out card affixed to it, so you never have to search for a misplaced stitch key. The stitches all have automatic settings as well, so newbies won’t have to fiddle with stitch width, length and thread tension right away. There are only three styles of buttonhole, but we figure that won’t be a big concern for most beginners.
This is a computerized sewing machine, so changing stitches is merely a matter of adjusting the number on the LCD screen to the corresponding stitch. This is far easier than using the Juki HZL-355ZW-A, which requires you to manually change some stitch settings when you change the type of stitch you’re using. The stitches include some of the basic ones like a straight stitch and stretch alongside some for more complicated projects like darning, applique and tacking for when you get more confident in your sewing.
This Juki has a drop-in bobbin, and the process of winding it and installing it is easy if you follow either the written or video instructions. We did notice, however, that bobbin winding is super slow. While most of the sewing machines we tested took about one minute to completely wind a bobbin, this one took two minutes. This might not be a make or break feature for everyone, but it was very noticeable during our tests given we were using several machines one after the other. Aside from its slow speed, setting up the bobbin and spool of thread was easy.
When it comes to speed, this Juki maxes out at 700 stitches per minute making it the slowest of any of the machines we tested. The upside to this is it’s also the quietest sewing machine we tested. Even running at full speed, it only reached 62.3 decibels. For reference, a refrigerator usually runs at about 50 decibels and a ringing telephone is about 80 decibels.
During testing, our reviewers had a lot of positive things to say about this sewing machine, though one noted the stitches didn’t work as well on satin and sewing along a curve was a bit of a battle. The straight stitch was very straight though, the fun decorative stitches worked well and the zig-zag stitch didn’t stretch any of the fabrics we used in a weird way, so it earned a B for sewing accuracy.
This sewing machine comes with five extra feet, including one for sewing satin and one for blind hems. This is mid-range among the machines we tested as some like the Singer Stylist 7258 come with nine extra feet while others like the Janome 8050 only come with three. Other accessories included with the HZL-LB5100 are a lint brush, a hard cover for the entire machine, needles and a spool cap, among other things. An automatic light over the foot and sewing plate means you won’t have to squint and strain while you sew. The automatic needle threader works well and, like all the sewing machines we reviewed, a thread cutter is accessible on the side of the machine. If you’re new to sewing and run into any issues with this Juki, there is even a helpful chart of FAQs and common problems in the instruction manual along with solutions.