You're considering the purchase of an industrial walking foot machine...

You clicked a link to see which machine you should consider. Here's what you'll learn in this short article:

  • What is the best walking foot machine?
  • What walking foot machine is best for me?
  • What are the upsides and drawbacks to each?
  • What's the price on a good walking foot machine?
  • Why can't the Juki DDL-8700 just do the job?
And since you are here we know that you are looking for an industrial machine with a triple action feed that is capable of sewing applications such as:

  • Nylon Straps
  • Upholstery
  • Leather Goods
  • Industrial Applications
  • Automotive
  • Furniture
  • Canvas
  • Luggage

Quickly let's define walking foot. In terms of industrial sewing, a walking foot is a sewing machine that is designed with a triple feed system that has a moving feed dog, and advancing needle bar, and a foot that progresses up and over the material before pressing it and pushing it through the feed.

Let's now pause for a moment and address a huge common misconception held by newcomers to the industrial sewing arena.  So here's the deal - we have sold more 8700's than any other machine in our inventory. However, we have noticed that a fair amount of our customers have mentioned sewing leather or some other thick material with this model. Then they wonder why their brand new Juki doesn't seem to perform as they had heard. Well, what they heard is correct. Juki makes some of the best industrial sewing machines on the market, but they chose the wrong one for the intended outcome. This is worth saying again; THE JUKI DDL-8700 IS NOT A WALKING FOOT MACHINE. Furthermore, it cannot be outfitted to be, or magically transformed into a walking foot machine. That's why the manufacturer designs and produces multiple walking foot machines! We stock a handful of walking foot machines to choose from when customers need to overcome larger or denser materials. Below they are listed in descending price order.

Juki LU-1508 Walking Foot - The strongest

The most powerful of these is the Juki LU-1508 that ships complete for around $2,700.00. We mention an approximate figure as shipping costs vary depending on the delivery address type. This machine comes with a powerful servo motor that handles just about any heavy project you can throw at it. There are longer arm versions of this design, but the mechanics are nearly the same, as is the motor. Getting a bigger machine than this will jump the price up another $10K at least. So this is the huskiest of the stock versions. At a glance, it looks very much like the DNU-1541, but it is capable of the heaviest sewing for all machines reviewed here. This model, like most in this article, has its' origins dating back over 50 years.
  • Con - Expensive
  • Pro - Most impressive walking foot under $3K
  • Pro - Comes in 110V or 220V
  • Pro - Juki Brand Reliability
  • Pro - High Foot Lift
  • Pro - Heaviest Duty Construction Produced 

The Juki DNU-1541s Walking Foot - All-Around Best

The next most capable machine in the line up is the Juki DNU-1541s normally ships complete for around $2,100.00, but is on sale for a limited time now for only about $1,940.00 - or less depending on shipping options. The Juki DNU-1541s walking foot is designed for use with your projects or line of products that calls for sewing multiple layers of thick material or leather. It smoothly runs over multiple folds of material and thicker gauges with the triple action feed. The "s" stands for safety. There is a safety clutch. This mechanism will shut the machine down if it is placed under enough stress to break it. This can save your machine from certain doom. This is probably the most popular version of the walking foot machine by Juki. But, is it the best?
  • Con - Expensive
  • Pro - Heavy Duty Construction
  • Pro - High Foot Lift
  • Pro - Comes in 110V or 220V
  • Pro - Juki Brand Reliability

The Consew 206RB-5 Walking Foot - An Old School Favorite

Consew is another favorite brand among many that offers the Consew 206RB as a comparable version to the 1541 to this which ships complete for around $1,900.00. The company has been making sewing machines for nearly as long as Juki, however, they have a different type of quality control in their modern manufacturing. Presumably, this is to be more cost-effective. It has a high foot lift and comes with a servo motor that is capable of sewing multiple layers. Like the other walking foot machines mentioned here, it has the triple action feed that keeps the foot moving smoothly over your folds of material. However, unlike the other machines on this list, this machine is the spot oil type which can be pretty messy. End consumer product makers will not want this type of inconvenience. 

  • Cons - Spot Oil Type
  • Cons - manufactured in several Chinese plants
  • Pros - Affordable
  • Pros - Comes in 110V or 220V
  • Pros - High Foot Lift

The Juki DU-1181N Scrub Feed - An Unlikely Candidate

Finally, there is the Juki DU-1181. Technically, it is not a walking foot machine because it only has a double-action feed - a scrub feed - that processes the material through the sew area. The Feed dog pulls, and the Foot walks, but the needle position is what does not advance forward like on a regular triple-action feed. However, many customers will find this machine very capable for their needs with thick and folded materials. The DU-1181 ships for around $1,400.00. 

  • Cons - Double Action Feed Only
  • Pros - Very Affordable
  • Pros - Juki Brand Reliability
  • Pros - Comes in 110V or 220V
  • Pros - High Foot Lift

We're attempting to answer some tricky questions with these comparisons like: "What is the best walking foot machine?" Although it really depends on what you are producing as to which machine will suit you best, we will say that you will get the most performance and highest quality for the price with the Juki DNU-1541s. It is the best machine for the money. However, if you don't actually need a triple-action feed, you have a limited budget, and you just want to sew over some thick layers, then the DU-1181N will be your best bet. 

Over the last six months, United States industrial sewing has seen the biggest jump in reshoring since it left for overseas back in the 1990's. Much of this can be contributed directly to the need for PPE manufacturing. Beyond that though, there has been a bit of a domino effect where makers and buyers alike choose domestically produced goods. This has led to a rise in demand for different types of sewing other than the regular single needle lockstitch. Welcome to the need for a triple action feed! We only sell high quality industrial walking foot machines. You can find all of the machines in this article for sale on this website. If you have additional questions, feel free to email us or call.