Juki HZL-LB 5100
Juki describes its HZL-LB5100 sewing machine as one that is "easy to use and offers all the basic functions in a simple and compact design, suitable for everyone". We half-agree with that view. Although it is true that this model has everything a computerized machine can offer (excluding high-end features) at an affordable price, Juki forgot to invest in the motor's power. Therefore some will love this machine for what it has, but not everyone will be fine with what it hasn't.
A computerized sewing machine that is rich in features but poor in power.
Performance? Only 35 watts but 7 feed dogs
If this isn't the first article you've read on HobbyCouture, you'll know that we give a lot of importance to each machine's performance which is defined by the quality of its motor and feed components.
The machine's motor, and specifically the motor's power, determines not just the sewing speed (up to 700 stitches per minute in this case) but also how well the machine can prick through thick layers of fabric. If you want to sew jeans, leather, curtains, a bag's stiff fabric, many layers of anything, etc. you need punch! With just 35 watts, the Juki HZL-LB5100 hardly delivers.
Many sources list this machine as having 70 watts. They're wrong: it only has 35 watts.
Computerized sewing machines are typically less powerful than electronic ones, which means we almost always have to sacrifice watts to get electronic features (within the same price range of course). That being said, even computerized models usually have at least 40 watts or 50-60 watts in the mid-range. This machine's 35 watts is very little. So is its speed, an indicator of the motor's (in)efficiency, below the 750-800 stitches/minute range that we can expect from a mid-range computerized machine.
Fortunately, the Juki HZL-LB5100 has 7 feed dogs that ensure a good grip on any type of fabric and a neat, smooth seam.
Plain and decorative stitches? 100+
On the JUKI HZL-LB5100, you'll find 30 stitches on the hood and... 70 more hidden in a slide-out panel. These include all the essential stitches such as the lockstitch, zigzag, automatic one-step buttonhole, etc. but also loads of specialty stitches (e.g. for quilting and patchwork) and decorative ones in all shapes and styles.
Modifying the stitch length/width settings and/or the needle's lateral position further multiplies the available configurations, making it possible to adjust to all types of fabric/thread/needles or simply have fun customizing the seam.
Equipped? Nearly fully!
What a pleasure it is when sewing machines take care of the little things for us. The makers of the Juki HZL-LB5100 get that and they went all out to please us!
- Thanks to the semi-automatic threader, threading the needle is quick and easy with just one push of a lever.
- Three types of buttonholes can be made to size for a given button automatically in one step.
- Backstitching is triggered automatically at the start and end of each seam simply by switching on this function.
- The screen displays the current stitch settings and make applying changes really obvious and easy. It also shows a warning if a specific presser foot is required for the current configuration.
- When paused between stitches, the needle's stop position can be set to highest (this is ideal to (re)move the fabric without catching the needle) or lowest i.e. dead in the fabric (to hold that fabric in place or rotate it around the last stitch). Just switch between the two option at the touch of a button.
- For high-precision seams, the Juki HZL-LB5100 can go into "ultra slow" mode using a speed slider that overrides the pedal to avoid any unfortunate slips of the foot.
- Coupled with the start/stop feature, this speed slider also provides smooth, continuous speed for sewing long stretches of fabric without having to deal with the pedal.
- The bobbin is always visible in its drop-in compartment: no more sewing with the wrong colour, unexpectedly running out of thread, or having to remove the accessories' compartment and bobbin case every time the bobbin has to be refilled or swapped out.
Only the automatic thread cutter which activates after an auto-backstitch to neatly cut the excess thread without wasting lengths of it, or getting your fingers all tangled up, is not available on the Juki HZL-LB5100.
Obviously this machine also includes all the usual functions: retractable feed dogs, manual thread cutter attached near the needle, free arm for sewing sleeves and trouser legs, lighting of the needle plate and the screen, double height of the presser foot to easily move layers beneath the needle, two spool pins to sew with a double needle, etc. These items are ALWAYS available.
In short? Good, if the electronic features are your priority
The Juki HZL-LB5100 perfectly showcases the strengths and weaknesses of computerized sewing machines: they lack power but in return offer plenty of features that make sewing more pleasant. So this model is potentially a good choice for you if electronic features are your top priority at the expense of power.
- Nearly all the mechanical and electronic assistance you could ask for a nice and easy sewing experience.
- Wide selection of utility, specialty and decorative stitches.
- Generous number of feed dogs.
- Advertised power (70 watts) is twice what it really is (35 watts) which is quite low and disappointing.
The Juki HZL-LB5100 sewing machine is meant to be a complete, easy to use and compact model that appeals to everyone. In fact it's more of a mid-range machine suitable to those who love computerized machines' electronic features, at the expense of motor power. Pros on the other hand will be frustrated with this compromise and beginners may be a bit overwhelmed with all the options.
The Juki HZL-LB5100 really lacks in power (35 watts is nothing) and it's also a tiny bit slow. However it has plenty of feed dogs (7) which is good.
|Presser foot settings
It's all there except for the automatic thread cutter. If you're looking for an affordable computerized sewing machine with heavy electronic assistance, here you are.
|Automatic lock/back stitch
|Automatic thread cutter
|Up/down needle stop position
The drop-in bobbin compartment is great: it's so much more practical and pleasant than the basic front-load compartment. The other elements are all standard.
|Yes (monochrome LCD)
|Spool thread tension setting
|Manual (mechanical wheel)
|1 horizontal (equipped) + 1 vertical (included accessory)
Great selection of stitches (though no alphabet). This is also pretty standard for a mid-range computerized sewing machine and more than enough to enjoy all kinds of utility, specialty and decorative stitches.
|Utility and decorative stitches
|... including straight stitches
|... including zigzag stitches
|... including buttonholes
|... including button sewing program
|... including eyelets
All stitch settings are available (with a generous width range) but none of the creation features. Again, it's what you can expect from this type of machine and it's enough to sew comfortably and precisely.
|Yes (up to 5 mm)
|Yes (up to 7 mm)
|Left/right needle position
|Yes (gradual from left to right)
|Creation through combination
|Creation through mirror effect
Instructions manual / User guideThe instruction manual is available for download here on Juki's website.