Top positive review
180 people found this helpful
Great portable machine
on May 11, 2011
I purchased the Juki HZL-27Z as a gold box deal for $159.99 and am totally pleased with my purchase. I had been thinking about getting a compact machine that would be a nice backup machine as well as function as a portable while RVing. I currently use a Brother Quattro and Brother SE270D and primarily do crafts, machine embroidery, and quilting with them. When this deal came up, I couldn't pass it up!
Although I have never tried using other portable machines like a Singer featherweight or a Janome Jem, I thought I would give the Juki a try. Juki has a good reputation for its commercial and higher end machines. I also wanted something that was not computerized as my backup since I would be moving it quite a bit.
Lightweight - weighs 12 pounds reportedly; I weighed it at 12.8
Easy to use out of the box - it has similar bobbin winding, top loading bobbin, and threading as my other Brother machines; you do have to thread through the top hole of the bobbin prior to winding, however. I think that anyone who has any sewing experience would find it very easy to use. For beginners, it would also be easy to understand with its manual or perhaps even without, since it has nice diagrams right on the machine. The manual is easy to understand.
Manual automatic needle threader is easy to use
Adjustable length and width of stitches
Nice even straight stitching with ability to adjust tension
I think the thing that I am most impressed with is the feed dogs. It sewed through 3 layers of denim, no problem. With 5 layers, it needed help feeding it through. It also has a jig-type button on the presser foot for thicker fabrics. It seemed to work well.
The vertical spool pin is short. You cannot put a spool cap on it unless the spool is really short or you could just use the provided felt. You would have to use a thread stand if you want to use the vertical spool pin with larger spools.
The horizontal spool pin is angled toward the machine so if you are used to using larger spools it might be difficult. Standard size ones work fine.
The handle is located at the back of the machine. When you carry it, the front of the machine angles forward.
The flatbed has no handle at the bottom to remove it when you switch to free arm. I found that I would have to open the compartment door to get a grip to get it off the machine.
It has a 4 step buttonhole instead of 1 step. Since I rarely make buttonholes, this wasn't an issue for me. If you are in to garment sewing, it might.
It is noiser than I'm used to but I think it is similar to other Singers that I have used at a similar price point. It is by no means super noisy. You need a sturdy table too. I had it on my dining room table and it shook a bit but on a very sturdy surface, it was rock solid. You would also probably benefit from additional lighting. The LED light was a bit dim for me.
I think that for this price, as well as the typical list price of $250, it is a very worthwhile portable machine. I am very happy!
Edit 11/26/11: I am still really enjoying this machine but had another thought as I have been teaching my 6 year-old to sew on it. I love the fact that this machine is not computerized as a backup, but it lacks a speed control that you can find on computerized machines. If I were teaching a child to sew, I would consider this feature since it is really handy. This machine does not have the super slow speeds that can be achieved with a computerized one. My daughter is still able to use this machine with ease but I find it much easier to have her use my computerized one on the lowest speed and the start/stop button instead of the foot pedal. She finds it more fun to use the pedal though, so she loves using this machine!