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, making it the best sewing machine we reviewed for beginners. An instruction DVD is also included with videos to walk you through anything you might find confusing.
Juki HZL-LB5100: How it performed
When resting the HZL-LB5100 we found it immensely easy to 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 some other sewing machines, 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 we found a lot to like about this sewing machine, but 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.
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 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.
Should you buy the Juki HZL-LB5100?
The Juki HZL-LB5100 is one of the best sewing machines we tested, and we think it's great for beginners. It does offer 100 stitch options though, which will work well for those who want to grow into a machine and learn as they go. Our one complaint is that the Juki HZL-LB5100 is a little on the slow side, so if you want to power through large projects, another may be more suitable.