Main Differences Between The DDL-8700 & A Walking Foot Machine

In the coming weeks we plan to release some new videos about the Juki brand Walking foot machines we recommend. However, until then we’d like to answer some of the questions we’ve had around this topic over the last several days. Most folks who are searching for a Juki want the best, but many don’t know which machine to purchase. Saying you want a Juki is like saying you want a Mercedes Benz. Do you want a sedan or a bus? – Yes, they make both. Same goes for Juki industrial sewing machines. What are you going to sew mostly? This is the question to ask yourself.

First, to put this into perspective, let’s talk about domestic sewing machines quickly. These, often times, small, plastic machines are very versatile and can accomplish a lot. You can get so many different feet and other notions to transform your home machine into a walking foot, or use it for top stitching and even binding. With this little machine, you have so many options! 

On the other hand, we have industrial sewing machines which are rigid in operation for the most part. For instance, the Juki DDL-8700 (even the H model), is NOT a walking foot machine. It is a straight stitch machine intended for light to medium weight materials – lightweight leather included. You do have the option of attaching different folders and an array of feet to make it function best for your application. However, this machine does NOT have the ability to sew heavy materials like medium and thick leathers, or even multiple stacks of material. The DDL-8700 is an incredibly capable and reliable straight stitch machine. If you want to make big bags, leather products and sew slick materials, you want to research the walking foot machines. They have a triple action feed where the feed dog and presser foot pull material through as the center foot raises up and into the next stitch. They have a higher foot lift for thicker material. Geared up correctly, these machines can even stitch through plastics.

Consideration of your desired product applications is essential. You don’t buy a sports car expecting to run around town picking up lumber for a deck project. And you don’t buy a minivan to impress your friends. Consider the DDL-8700 when you plan to sew both garments and non-apparel such as:
If your projects fall into the more heavy duty, then you will probably want to look into a good walking foot machine. Starting around $1,550 bucks delivered to your home, a DU1181, a DNU1541, or the LU1508 can change your sewing game completely for heavy gauge work. Again, we’re working on a video series to showcase the differences in capabilities in these machines. The DU1181 is the entry level of Juki walking foot models. You may have already heard about the 1541 and are curious about what it can do. Here’s a link to a video on our YouTube channel where one of our sewing technicians tried his hand at leather construction on this machine. Of the walking feet models, it is the most versatile.  Folders, feet and other attachments for it are very affordable. Then there is the 1508 and it is a beast. This machine is the most powerful Juki walking foot before getting into specialized classes. You can also get folders and attachments for it, but they will cost more. 

We have supplied thousands of machines to factories this year alone. Very seldom do they try to force a machine to work outside its capabilities when it designed for a certain operation. Professional industrial sewing operations always consider the product being made first. If you plan on any of the following products, then a walking foot machine is your best option:

To be clear, most of our home sewing customers eventually buy at least two types of industrial machines over time. They get tired of trying to push square pegs into round holes. What we hear from customers is that they will have a couple of domestics, usually one no longer functional. Then they’ll buy an 8700. Eventually they get a walking foot and maybe a serger. These industrial machines will last a lifetime in most cases for people working from home. However the machines can only do what they are designed to do. Do your research! Buy from a reputable dealer, and have fun!