Difference Between High and Low Shank Sewing Machine: UPDATED

It really pinned your head many times about what can be the difference between high and low shank sewing machines. Before I start, have you ever thought about what is a shank in your sewing machine? Maybe yes, but if not then, let me tell you first about the shank.

A shank is a metal rod that the presser foot holder attaches to.

Have you ever measured the shank size of your sewing machine?

If yes then that’s great if not then,

Let’s talk Straight about the difference between high and low shank sewing machines.

Some of the sewing machines have different shank sizes high or low. There is just a small difference between a low shank sewing machine and a high shank sewing machine.

Low Shank Sewing Machine:

• If the length from the bottom of the presser foot to the center of the thumbscrew is 1/2 an inch or less, then it is a low shank sewing machine.
• They are mostly manufactured for household work.
• They are not more expensive, they are cheaper than the high shank sewing machine.
• A low shank sewing machine will accept only a low shank presser.

High Shank Sewing Machine:

• If the length from the bottom of the presser foot to the center of the thumbscrew is 1 inch or more, then it is a high shank sewing machine.
• They are mostly manufactured for industrial purposes.
• They are more expensive than low-shank sewing machines.
• A high shank sewing machine will only accept a high shank presser foot.

How to measure the Shank size of your Sewing Machine?

You can measure the shank size of your sewing machine by following the instructions below:
• First put your presser foot in the down position.

• Take a small ruler and measure the length from the bottom of the presser foot to the center of the thumbscrew.

• If the length from the bottom of the presser foot to the center of the thumbscrew is 1/2 an inch or less, then the shank size of your sewing machine is low.
• If the length from the bottom of the presser foot to the center of the thumbscrew is 1 inch or more, then the shank size of your sewing machine is high.

What does a Low Shank adapter do?

• A low shank adapter is a small piece made of metal and used to change a high shank sewing machine into low shank sewing machine models.
• It allows different brands of sewing machines to be able to use different presser feet.

What does a presser foot do?

• A presser foot is an attachment with your sewing machine, commonly made up of steel or clear plastic, and holds your fabric or cloth flat which you fed in through the sewing machine for stitching.
• For sewing with leather and plastic, most of the presser feet are made of Teflon.

Is your Sewing Machine Low Shank or High shank?

I hope after reading the above, now you can make sense of the shank size of your sewing machine.
Usually, most of the sewing machines which are widely used for household purposes are low shank but some people unknowingly bought a sewing machine with high shank.

So, I suggest you know about the machine whether it is a low shank or high shank and I also suggest you buy a sewing machine with a low shank if you are buying your sewing machine for stitching purposes at home.

Maybe you are getting confused about which company produces low shank sewing machines and which one produces high shank sewing machines. So for your better understanding, I suggest you read the articles below.

Does Brother produce High shank or Low Shank Sewing Machines?

Basically, all sewing machines made for household purposes are low shank but also for industrial purposes high shank sewing machines are manufactured.

In the case of brothers’ sewing machines, you already know, they are one of the top brands of sewing machines. They manufacture sewing machines for both stitching and embroidery.

Brother made both low shank and high shank sewing machines because the majority of people have full trust in this brand and most people love to buy sewing machines belonging to this brand.
They made their sewing machines compatible with other brands so that they can keep their good market share.

Brother high shank models are PC8500, PC8500D, PQ1300, PQ1500, PQ1500SL VM5100D, VM6200D, VQ2400, VQ3000, XV8500D, XV8550D, etc.

Are Singer produces Low or High Shank Sewing Machines?

In the year the 1960s and 1970s, the singer tried to do something different or you can say something unique. They decided to make a slant shank sewing machine by putting 1 1/8 inch shank.

If they had not done so, they may be categorized as a high shank sewing machine.
Singer manufactures varieties of the low shank and high shank sewing machines so that they can also keep their market share like brothers.
Like others, they put their low shank in sewing machines which they made for stitching at home, and high shank in sewing machines which they made for embroidery in industries.

As the year passes, they started making low, high, and even slant shank sewing machines in their different models of sewing machines.
According to the demand and necessities of the majority of people, they made a lot of changes in their sewing machines so that like a brother, they also belong to one of the most trusted and branded sewing machine brands.

Are Bernina Low Shank Sewing Machines?

Bernina was founded in Steckborn, Switzerland in 1893 by Karl Friedrich Gegauf.
In the case of Bernina, they neither develop low shank nor high shank sewing machines.

They make specific shanks for their machines alone because they decided to go their own way.

If you are thinking that you can’t use an adapter and place a universal presser foot on a Bernina sewing machine then you are wrong. Obviously, you can use but you have to use the Bernina adapter to complete that task.

Are Pfaff Sewing Machines Low or High Shank?

Pfaff sewing machines was founded by a German instrument maker George Michael Pfaff (1823-1893).
The first sewing machine of pfaff was handmade and designed to sew leathers for the manufacture of shoes.
In the case of pfaff sewing machines, there seems something different rather than others. It looks somehow different from than brothers’ and singers’ sewing machines.

According to experts of sewing, pfaff seems like neither belongs to a low shank nor a high shank sewing machine. That’s why experts referred them to be medium shank sewing machines.
Generally, you can say they are medium shank sewing machines, neither high nor low.

Are Janome Low Shank Sewing Machines?

Janome was founded by Yosaku Ose in 1921 in Tokyo, Japan.
In the case of Janome, they make high shank sewing machines for embroidery, and also they can do a lot of difficult sewing work.
They also make low shank models for stitching purposes at home.

They make both types of sewing machines low shank and high shank so that they could also keep their good market share like Brothers and Singers.
They make some free-motion quilting machines that are low shank.

Are Husqvarna Low Shank Sewing Machines?

Husqvarna makes a lot of sewing machines model. They have lots of models optional.
They make lots of sewing machines that are low shank.

They also make high shank and slant shank sewing machines.
Their high and slant shank sewing machines have more than 10 models.

Is Juki manufacturing Low Shank Sewing Machines?

Absolutely yes, they manufacture a lot of low shank sewing models and you can use them for stitching your own clothes if you don’t want to pay high prices for new models and fashionable clothes.

They also manufacture high shank sewing machines for industrial purposes.


• I hope you may have collected lots of information based on the shank size of a sewing machine and now you can make sense also which machine to buy for your household purpose.
• Before buying a sewing machine, always check the specification of that model so that you may know is it a low shank or high shank.
• For household purposes, I suggest you buy low shank sewing machines because they are not as expensive as high shank sewing machines. High shank models are manufactured for embroidery machines in the industry.
• Always be careful while buying a sewing machine because sometimes you may unknowingly buy curveball or high shank or slanted shank models. Those machines’ parts may be hard enough to get for replacement.

Sharing Is Caring:

Hey there, I am Sam, I have used several sewing machines in my life, so now I decided to open a blog so that I can help other people finding the best sewing machine out there in the market according to my experience & research.

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