What is a Low Shank Sewing Machine? Your question answered

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Before understanding what a low shank sewing machine is, you have to know what a shank is. It is a small part of a sewing machine that plays a significant role and shouldn’t be overlooked. The other name for this part of a sewing machine is the presser foot.

It is responsible for holding down the fabric during stitching. It has to be a seamless match for your machine for it to function correctly. This part of the sewing machine cannot be left out during sewing, and any damages to it can stall a project until it is fixed.

There are various types of shanks that you will come across when shopping for one or when dealing with different sewing machine models. The image below shows the various kinds of shanks available in the market.

When the distinction is made using how the shank attaches to the machine. We have two types the foot screw type and the snap-on.

The screw-type requires tightening and twisting it in while the snap-on is an instant fix that does not require any form of screwing. These are the two types of shanks found on sewing machines.

Another discrepancy that you need to be aware of is sizes. Shanks can be placed into three broad categories. They are:

  1. High shank – the typical measurements for this size of presser foot ranges anywhere from one to one and a quarter inches from the screw point to the base of the shank.
  2. Low shank – the distance between the screw and bed of the shank usually is quarter an inch to half an inch.
  3. Slant shank – in a diagonal form, this type of presser foot measures between one and an eight- to one and a half inches.

You have to be privy to information regarding your machine shank to be in a position to make the right pick when need be. The decision on which shank to go with is highly dependent on the project you are working on. There are benefits of a low shank machine that make them ideal over the other two. They include;

  • Low shank machines allow multiple options regarding projects that can be handled. This is because the seamstress can use a variety of presser feet at a time. Tasks like sewing denim, blind hems, and consistent buttonholes can all be done by the same machine.
  • This type of shank is highly rated for beginners and hobbyists due to its extensive flexibility in handling multiple tasks.
  • Upgrades are not a must when using a sewing machine with this type of shank.

In recent times, there are many sewing machine manufacturers with low shank designs in the market, making it easy to land one.

More things to consider


The amount you wish to spend must be thought over beforehand. This aspect will then dictate the brand and type of machine that you will be able to acquire. Other than the initial cost of acquiring the device, shipping and or transport charges must be included in the budget.


Names that have been in the market for an extended period have withstood the test of time and are therefore ranked to be among the best. Important to note is that renowned brands are pricier than those that are making an entry into the market.


The reasons why you need a sewing machine go a long way in informing your decision on the brand, model, and cost that you will incur to get the best fit. If the purpose (s) for your acquisition is straight forward, then you will have an easy time picking a machine with specifications that meet your needs.

Check out embroidery machines, heavy duty machines, and leather sewing machines here.

Top Three Low Shank Sewing Machines Review – 2019

There are many low shank machines in the market, making it hard for you to decide which model to go with. Setting objectives before shopping for a machine will make it easier for you. Additionally, in this review, we highlight three low shank machines that may be what you need or could guide you into picking the correct fit for you.

1. SINGER Heavy Duty 4432 Sewing Machine 

Singer | Heavy Duty 4432 Sewing Machine with 32 Built-in Stitches, Automatic Needle Threader, Metal Frame and Stainless Steel Bedplate, Perfect for Sewing All Types of Fabrics with Ease

This model 4432 from the leading brand Singer is among the top choices that you might find appealing. The frame is made of heavy-duty metal, which offers stability and also assures longevity.

Its ability to sew through a host of heavy-duty fabric is a feature that has seen multiple reviews recommend this workhorse as a perfect fit for a wide range of sewers.

Other features that may spark your interest in this model are; a built-in needle threader, snap-on low shank, three needle positions, and top drop-in bobbin among others.

The stitching system has fifty-three inbuilt stitches that cover an array of functions, including utility, stretch, and decorative stitches.

This computerized Singer model 4432, has a twenty-five-year warranty. It is vital that you read through the print on the terms and conditions to be sure of what your limitations are regarding damages and servicing if need be.

Singer | Heavy Duty 4432 Sewing Machine with 32 Built-in Stitches, Automatic Needle Threader, Metal Frame and Stainless Steel Bedplate, Perfect for Sewing All Types of Fabrics with Ease
  • HEAVY DUTY METAL FRAME: Adds stability and provides long lasting durability
  • SEWING MACHINE ACCESSORIES: A variety of accessories are included: all-purpose foot, zipper foot, buttonhole foot, button sewing foot, seam ripper/lint brush, edge/quilting guide, needles, bobbins, screwdriver, auxiliary spool pin, and spool pin felt are all conveniently located and stored in the accessory tray. A soft-sided dust cover is also included in the packaging
  • REVERSE STITCH SEWING MACHINE: The SINGER 4432 heavy duty sewing machine has a built-in reverse lever so you can sew in reverse and reinforce stitches
  • Limited 90-DAY Warranty for Adjustments, Belts, Rings, Bulbs, Attachments; Limited 2-Year Warranty for Motors, Light assembly, Wiring, Switches,Speed control and Electronic Components; Limited 25-Year Warranty for Sewing Machine Head

2. Janome Skyline S3

Janome Skyline S3 Sewing Machine

Janome is a company that has been in the sewing business for close to a century. The Skyline S3 is a powerful sewing machine that enjoys the benefits of advancements in technology.

The dimensions of this machine make it an ideal fit for individuals working in limited workspaces. The sturdy base and wide throat allow for a comfortable work environment with minimal hassle.

One hundred and twenty built-in stitches and ten buttonholes make this Janome design resourceful for individuals working multiple projects. Precision can also be adjusted to fit the needs of the task.

The auto-tension system is a unique feature on this low shank sewing machine. It adjusts the tension of the system according to the bulk of the fabric being sewn.

The dial marked ‘A’ allows users to select the auto-tension system. It is essential since it enables the user to make consistent stitches on any fabric.

Bright LED lights are also an addition to this highly functional model. They illuminate the base of the sewing machine when needed making it easy to work in dim lit workspaces.

Janome Skyline S3 Sewing Machine
  • 120 built-in stitches including 10 buttonholes gives you the perfect range of stitches for any task. Special buttonhole settings allow fine adjustments for precise detail
  • The Skyline S3 offers multiple needle positions. This allows for more detail in decorative stitches, and incredible fine adjustments in all stitch creation. And with 7mm stitch width, this sort of bold detail can be easily appreciated
  • You can create 7mm wide stitches on your Skyline S3! The extra width makes all of your decorative stitches bolder, brighter, and more distinct. Wider, more distinct stitches allow you to fill more area with stitching, quicker - saving you valuable time while sewing
  • Ultra-birght LED lights in three locations illuminate the bed of the machine, providing a dazzling work area. Be able to vivdly see your projects and with the extra light, seeing smaller areas is easier
  • Auto Tension System - When "A" is selected on the tension dial, the machine adjusts the tension based on fabric thickness. Especially useful when switching between fabric layers and types. Allows user to create perfect stitch consistency on a wide range of materials. The user can set his/her own tension traditionally by selecting from the numbers on the tension dial

3. Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine, CS6000i

Brother Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine, CS6000i, 60 Built-in Stitches, 7 Styles of 1-Step Size Buttonholes, Wide Table, Hard Cover, LCD Display and Auto Needle Threader, Beige/Blue

Brother is a renowned brand that brings more to the table that you can image. Their Brother CS6000i is a model designed to perform both sewing and quilting tasks. The pricing is pocket-friendly, making this award-winning sewing machine worth a try.

The various dials on the frame of this sewing machine make it easier to select the functions that they are after.

A stitch selector, automatic needle threader, adjustable sewing speed, and a wide detachable table, among other features, make this Brother creation user-friendly.

A hard machine case is provided; therefore, this model can be used by individuals who need to engage in sewing while in transit.

Brother Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine, CS6000i, 60 Built-in Stitches, 7 Styles of 1-Step Size Buttonholes, Wide Table, Hard Cover, LCD Display and Auto Needle Threader, Beige/Blue
  • SIMPLE-TO-USE SEWING AND QUILTING MACHINE: The CS6000i sewing and quilting machine is user-friendly. The stitch selector switch allows you to easily see and choose your stitch
  • AUTOMATIC NEEDLE THREADER: This quilting machine includes an automatic needle threaded that perfectly pushes thread through the needle
  • ADJUSTABLE SEWING SPEED: The Brother CS6000i sewing and quilting machine features an adjustable stitch speed that gives you easy control
  • WIDE TABLE: Designed for quilts and other larger projects, the CS6000i includes a wide table that gives you extra space. Maximum Sewing Speed (Stitches Per Minute) : 850
  • BUILT-IN FREE ARM: Doing intricate sewing projects is simple thanks to the free arm that helps sew sleeves, pant legs, and other cylindrical items

Bottom line

If you are intent on purchasing a low shank sewing machine, it is paramount to ask the seller if the sewing machine you are interested in has the type of presser foot you are after. Also, ensure that the model you purchase can fulfill most if not all of your needs.

About the Author SMC

We're a husband and wife team of craft enthusiasts! Mostly we love working with different kinds of fabrics - in fact, you'll be hard pressed to find a store-bought piece of clothing in our home. Most of the stuff we enjoy making by hand!

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