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Do you need a Bobbin Winder?

Updated: Apr 2

If you’ve ever come across an electric bobbin winder and wondered if they are worth the money, you’re in the right place. Bobbin winders are nifty tools designed to help you wind bobbins quickly while your sewing or embroidery machine is doing other things. In this blog post, we’ll look at:

  1. Why you might want or need a bobbin winder

  2. How to use one

  3. How to buy one that suits your needs

  4. Different price points

You can watch the video below, or keep reading to get the gist of bobbin winders.

Do you NEED a bobbin Winder?

Some links in this post may be affiliate links. I will earn a small commission if you purchase after clicking an affiliate link. I will only lead you to products and sellers that I have used and liked. 🙂

Most sewing and embroidery machines have a bobbin winder built into them. Those will serve most people just fine. But there are some situations where having a separate winder may be useful or even necessary:

  1. The winder on your sewing machine is broken (bummer!)

  2. You have a multi-needle embroidery machine (these dont’ have the built-in winders!) and you want your bobbin to match your top thread (especially for towel, free standing lace, or other projects where the bobbin thread matters)

  3. You want to wind bobbins while your embroidery machine is stitching something else.

  4. You just like buying ALL THE THINGS

Tips for using a bobbin winder

Using a bobbin winder is pretty straight forward and the video linked above shows a demonstration with an inexpensive Simplicity bobbin winder I found at Walmart.

Here are some tips that apply to any bobbin winder you might be using.

  1. Be sure you pass the thread through all the points on the winder. Don’t skip anything.

  2. Be sure the thread is firmly seated between the tension disks. ← biggest mistake most people make

  3. Use the right kind of bobbin for the winder

  4. The thread should come off the side on stack wound spools but needs to come off the top for cross-wound spools. Check out my video on threads if you don’t know the difference.

  5. A good bobbin will be firm, not soft and spongy, and the threads should be neatly lined up with no loopies or rat’s nest looking tangles.

Choosing the Right Bobbin Winder for Your Needs and Budget

With various bobbin winders available in the market, choosing the right one for your requirements can be a daunting task. Factors such as price, compatibility with your machine, and the type of bobbins it accepts all play a role in selecting the perfect bobbin winder.

If you know the features of different bobbin winders and understand how they jive with your sewing needs, you can make an informed decision when it comes to purchasing a bobbin winder.

There is a large range, from $20 to $300 so it’s good to know what you get at the different price points.

Before you buy ANY bobbin winder – you MUST know what type or class of bobbin your machine uses. Here’s a link to the FilTec website where they provide an excellent list of bobbins for your machine model

Once you know which bobbins your machine uses, be sure you buy a winder that says it can support your bobbin type/class.

Another big consideration is what types of thread are you going to make bobbins from? Small spools, or large cones? The inexpensive winders can not handle the large thread cones that we often use in machine embroidery or long arm quilting. You’ll want to look for a bobbin winder that has enough room for large cones as well as a telescoping thread guide.

I’m seeing THREE main types of bobbin winders in the marketplace these days:

1. The TOY

I call it a toy because it’s a pretty cheap build quality but it can certainly wind a good bobbin from a small spool of thread. You can find these in the $20 to $35 price range. I wouldn’t expect this to last forever but it certainly can wind a decent bobbin in a short amount of time and these are best for plastic bobbins and regular small spools of thread, although you can put metal bobbin on them or use them with a separate thread stand for large cones. (I’ve done it, it works.)

Simplicity Bobbin Winder <- Amazon Affiliate Link

2. The step-UP

You can find these in the $40 to $50 range and although I don’t have one, they appear to be a better build quality. They also have a telescoping thread guide to make it easier to wind bobbins from a large cone of thread. It’s worth noting that the one on Amazon below says they don’t recommend using plastic bobbins with these.

Hima Pro Bobbin Winder <- Amazon Affiliate Link

3. The High-End

These can be purchased from sewing machine dealers where multi-needle embroidery machines are sold and they have a better build quality, plus the thread is loaded a bit differently than the cheaper models.

These run $200 to $300 depending on where you buy them. Check with the dealer before buying this to see if it’s covered by a warranty – that might be a good reason to pay the higher price. I’ll share an example from Babylock below.

Bobbin winders are nifty gadgets that can save you time or let you multitask. Whether you opt for a basic model or invest in a more advanced bobbin winder, the key is to choose one that meets your needs and your budget.


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