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  1. #1
    Designer Diva

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    Default Innova vs Handiquilter?

    Hi all,

    I've started doing some research into Longarms. After checking out a bunch of different brands at a local quilt show, I've narrowed it down to two brands: Handiquilter and Innova. Both have local dealers and local support, and each has its plusses and minuses. So I figured I'd ask the crowd...

    For those of you who have either an Innova or a Handiquilter machine, how well do you like it? What are its good points and what are its issues? Aside from a stitch regulator (which both brands come with), what other features would you consider must-have? For those of you with HQ machines, would you consider the Simply Sixteen to be good enough, or is the Amara a must-have?

    The machine I get is going to be for home use for my own quilts (and my mom's), not for business use, so I don't need a top of the line model, but framewise I definitely want a frame with the rollers that you advance, rather than the entry-level clip-frame. What other features would you consider to be essential in a frame?

  2. #2
    The Guild President

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    Default Re: Innova vs Handiquilter?

    Will be interested in the replies will be watching this thread.

  3. #3
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Innova vs Handiquilter?

    Get the largest frame that you can fit in the room where the machine is. Eventually you will want to do bed size quilts. On that note, get the largest throat space you can afford. If you get the 16", you might not be able to quilt a 12" block without rolling the quilt. As you quilt and roll it, that space gets smaller especially near the end of the quilt.
    Vonnie

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  5. #4
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Innova vs Handiquilter?

    I have rented the HQ Amara and I love it. I think this would be suitable for home use. At one point, we considered getting one, but since it's only for our use, we decided to continue using the Sweet 16 as needed, and send out the larger quilts. I think the Simply Sixteen might be more limiting, but it is workable.

    I have not tried the Innova, as there isn't a local dealer. I have tried the Gamill Vision 2.0 (think that's what it's named), and oh the smoothness of the handling far outweighed the Amara. If I was willing to part with space in our home for a LA, this is what I would purchase. Although the dealer is 3hrs away, they set it up and are available for issues (customer service confirmed by friends who own Gammills).

    Good luck in your decision.

    Enjoy life and do what makes you happy. Everything else will follow.

    Every day I try to do one thing that challenges my comfort zone.

  6. #5
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Innova vs Handiquilter?

    I have an Innova. The dealer is within an hour of my home. I like the idea that any Innova can be updated with all new technologies that they come out with later, so it can be constantly updated and like the latest if you wish. I have the full, largest frame. My husband like the stability of the frame. It is build like a bridge is constructed and very strong. He added some extra shelves for storage underneath and it quite easy to alter. I like the fact that you can call the dealer or the company 24/7 for any questions or problems and they help you solve issues right then. When you ourchase the Innova, they teach you how to fix them and the maintenance is so easy......or you can take them in for repairs. You can get an electronic roller system to use a remote control to advance your quilt. I don’t have it, but I have used one and it is nice. Innovas are engineered to last. The rails are very strong and really don’t require the cleaning other systems do. It is a smooth machine and freely moves. I only have an 18” do to space issues, but I think the 22 might be a little better size, if you have room. A bigger machine is a little more weight to move, but it requires less advancing of the quilt.

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  8. #6
    Block Queen

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    Default Re: Innova vs Handiquilter?

    I have a HQ Fusion on a 12ft gallery frame, I purchased just the basics and once I became comfortable with doing pantos decided to upgrade and buy Pro Stitcher. It’s so nice to get a quilt loaded and let it begin stitching out the pattern while I work on other things, it saves leg, arm and back fatigue from standing at the machine and manually quilting and the end results are much better IMHO. I learned quickly that I am not a thread artist and have zero talent in freehand FMQ, thus the upgrade to the Robotics.
    I have been very satisfied with the support form HQ when needed, and the machine is really very intuitive to use. With the high cost of sending out quilts to be completed I had no issues with my investment.

  9. #7
    Quilting Guru

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    Default Re: Innova vs Handiquilter?

    I have an Innova. No matter which machine we comment on, we’re going to love it because it’s the one we tried and were most comfortable with. And you must do the same. If you can, try them out at the same time at a show. It will give you a feeling of which is smoother and quieter for you. It may sound silly, but noise is definitely a consideration I made. Some machines are noisier than others. I don’t want to hear a lot of clackety-clack when I quilt. The other was maintenance. Innovas are made to be easily self-maintined, and the only maintenance I have to do is only one or two areas that need oiled. Otherwise, my Innova is ready to go. Anything that needs to be done can be done easily yourself, including changing out parts, and there is a 24/7 helpline if it is after your dealer’s store hours. And my machine never needs taken into the dealer (or a dealer never needs to come out) for any type of “yearly maintenance”.

    As far as “must-haves”, that’s also a personal choice. For instance, Auto-lift (raising and lowering the bed) is a must for some, but not for me. Same for micro-quilter handles. I love them, others don’t need them. You’ll have to think of the type of quilting you do, and whether you will be sitting/standing at your stand-up LA, or both.

    In other words, this is a VERY personal choice, a big investment, and your decision must be your own. If you’ve narrowed it down to two machines, my advice is to try them out on the same day, think about how YOU quilt and what YOU need, and which machine provides both. Enjoy the process, and good luck in your choice. You’re going to love it!

  10. #8
    9 Patch Princess

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    Default Re: Innova vs Handiquilter?

    I own a Handi Quilter, but have used Innovas in classes at large quilt shows. I found that the Innovas controls and control display were not intuitive or easy to read. As far as your after purchase customer experience is concerned, I suspect that it would vary from dealer to dealer regardless of the brand you choose.

  11. #9
    Quilting Guru

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    Default Re: Innova vs Handiquilter?

    Quote Originally Posted by hh677 View Post
    I own a Handi Quilter, but have used Innovas in classes at large quilt shows. I found that the Innovas controls and control display were not intuitive or easy to read. As far as your after purchase customer experience is concerned, I suspect that it would vary from dealer to dealer regardless of the brand you choose.
    Glad you like your Handiquilter, HH677! Midnightline, this is what I mean by every person’s experience is different. While hh677 felt the controls and displays were not as intuitive or easy to read on the Innova, I felt the same way about the Handiquilter. We were exactly opposite, but we were both right in our feelings. It’s truly an personal preference. hh677 purchased what was most comfortable for her (the Handiquilter), and I purchased what was most comfortable for me (the Innova). And, trust me, I almost bought the Handiquilter, so it was between the two for me, too!
    Last edited by cindirae; March 27th, 2019 at 11:12 AM.

  12. #10
    Designer Diva

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    Default Re: Innova vs Handiquilter?

    While I don't disagree that each person will find different machines to be more to their liking, I do still want feedback from people who have said machines because knowing what people like/don't like and why is just as important as how much I like handling the machines themselves. (For the record, I did briefly try both the Innova and Amara at a recent quilt show, and both seem like they might work for me.)

    I want to know what downsides might be there (like if your machine is hard to maintenance, or if it quilts easier in one direction than another) as well as what upsides might be there (such as a machine being upgradable as new tech comes out).

    I want to know what features people consider must-haves so that I know what features are out there that people find useful. Yes, my must-haves may be different in the end, but it will help me to figure out which features I should look at more closely to decide if they're right for me.

    I also want to know what add-ons people find useful and why. Do you find it super handy to have a second bobbin case, so that you can switch more easily between two brands of thread? Do you find auto-lifts or electronic rollers to be super handy? If so, why? Is the 'sure foot' a waste of money if the machine already comes with a ruler foot? Things like this are important because they add to the total cost, even if the machine itself is the bulk of the price.

    There's more to the decision-making process than just 'which one you like driving the best'. I want to hear from other people, even knowing that most people are going to be positive about whichever model they personally have.

    So please... if you have a Handiquilter machine or an Innova (or if you have another brand that you think I should give a second look), please keep posting!

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