Skip to Content

How Do I Know if My Sewing Machine is High or Low Shank Full Guide of 2024

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

Sewing machines differently. Some machines have a high shank, while others have a low shank. Knowing if your machine has a high or low shank will help you use your sewing machine correctly and as needed.

A sewing machine can have a high, low, or beveled shank. The higher the shaft, the more extensive the tasks your sewing machine can perform.

The shank is a metal bar on a sewing machine to which the presser foot .

How do I Know if my sewing machine has a high or low shank?

To determine if your sewing machine has a low or high shank, make sure your presser foot . Measure from the sewing machine needle bed to the center of the thumbscrew.

If the measured length is ½ inch, your sewing machine has a low shank. ½ inch and 1 inch you have an angled shank. Above 1 inch, your sewing machine has a high shank.

Method 1. Using a ruler

Step 1. You need a small ruler that can mensurate the small distance you want to measure. You can make your own from cardboard and a ruler. You only need the ruler to measure just under 2 inches.

Step 2. Make sure your presser foot and lowered. This helps you determine the influence of your measurement. Different shank machines use different sizes and types of presser feet. When the presser foot , you increase your chances of an accurate measurement.

Step 3. Place your ruler and measure from the needle bed to the center of the thumbscrew. This is the screw that holds the presser foot in place. If your size is ½ inch, your sewing machine will have a low shank. If your size is over 1 inch, you have a high shank.

In rare cases, you will get a bevel-shank sewing machine. This is a machine that measures more than ½ inch but less than 1 inch.

Step 4. We usually use a low shank machine at home. While a high shank machine will be a commercial sewing machine. The higher the shaft of your sewing machine, the greater the tasks it can handle. If your sewing machine has a low shank, you only have room for thin and light fabrics. High-shank sewing machines can sew heavy projects and fabrics with ease.

Method 2. Check for foot for dual transport

Step 1. You need to know what sewing machine presser feet look like. Typically, high and low shank sewing machines have or use similar feet. Although a high shank presser foot is not suitable for a sewing machine with a low shank, the feet look the same.

Step 2. Now that you know that presser feet look similar, it is best to use sewing machine presser feet to determine the shank by checking if your sewing machine has a dual feed foot.

If so, your sewing machine has a high shank.

Method 3 Using a low shank adapter

Step 1. Another way to determine if your sewing machine has a low or high shank is to use a low shank adapter. A low shank adapter is a piece of metal that is inserted into a sewing machine. It allows you to convert your sewing machine into a low shank sewing machine.

Step 2[O]. If your sewing machine uses a low shank adapter, it is a high shank sewing machine. He needs the adapter to do low shank jobs and also get the right presser feet for low shank sewing machines.

Method 4. What your sewing machine sews

Step 1. You can know if your machine has a low or high shank depending on what you can sew with it. A high shank machine is a commercial sewing machine. You can use it for easy embroidery and sewing bulky items. You can use it for tasks that are difficult with household sewing machines, such as sewing leather.

A high shank sewing machine is also more expensive than a low shank sewing machine.

Step 2. A low shank sewing machine is a household sewing machine. Most jobs are sewing lightweight fabrics. The distance between the needle and the presser foot is small. This means it can only work on thin fabrics, unlike a sewing machine with a high shank.

Household sewing machines are also affordable and readily available at stores near you. Most sewing machines have a low shank, and different brands have different sewing machines with a low shank.

Method 5. Types of presser feed your sewing machine uses

Step 1. Sewing machine presser feet are an integral part of the sewing machine. They hold the fabric in place while sewing. So, because of the different fabrics and sewing tasks they perform, low and high shank sewing machines will use different presser feet.

Low shank sewing machine feet. measures up to ½ inch. While high shaft pressure feet measure at least 1 inch or more. This will help you differentiate between the two for the type of sewing machine you are using.

Step 2. There are different presser feet. Snap-on presser feet, as the name suggests, onto or removed from the sewing machine presser foot holder. Both the low and high shank sewing machines can use the click-on presser foot. Most sewing machines use a similar clip-on presser foot.

The screw-on presser foot is the other type of presser foot you can use to determine whether your sewing machine is a low or high shank. Screw-on low shank presser foot cannot in high shank sewing machines.

Step 3. If you are using the correct presser foot for the shank of your sewing machine, you do not need a presser foot adapter. Sewing machines with a high shank need an adapter to convert it to a sewing machine with a low shank. An adapter makes your sewing machine versatile enough to work on commercial and household sewing tasks when changing a part.

Are all sewing machines a low or high shank?

No, they are not.

From the above information, it’s easy to think that any sewing machine you find has a low or high shank. This is not the case.

There are different categories of sewing machines. There is the slant cabin sewing machine. This used to be a regular sewing machine. Over the years, manufacturers have perfected the art of making their sewing machines.

The bevel shank sewing machine is now a rare sewing machine you can find. Buy an old sewing machine to get a bevel shank.

Other sewing machine manufacturers have their products outside of this categorization. They use their unique systems to determine the shank of their sewing machines.

Their sewing machines do not have a low or high shank. They have devised their system to categorize their sewing machine out of the ordinary.

Why is a low shank sewing machine suitable for beginners?

As with everything else, beginners do not need advanced equipment or rules to learn how to use an item. If you’re a novice seamstress, you don’t want to learn with a commercial sewing machine. It is very advanced and can handle tasks of higher level than most people ever will.

If your goal is to use an advanced sewing machine as a beginner, you will. should start with the beginner-friendly sewing machine. The beginner-friendly sewing machine is a sewing machine with a low shank.

A sewing machine you can easily load and use with. A sewing machine that is easy to use and work with. A low shank sewing machine performs simple tasks you can quickly learn and feel comfortable using a sewing machine.

A low shank sewing machine allows you to make and correct various mistakes in your sewing world. Make these mistakes so that you can easily overcome them when you work with a commercial sewing machine.

A sewing machine with a high shank can appear to be a sewing machine with a low shank.. However, these two sewing machines are very different. They differ in the tasks they can handle.

Sewing machines with a high shank can easily handle bulk fabrics for bulk projects thanks to their shank. You can easily put a thick fabric on the sewing machine to sew with no problems. IF you put a bulky project on a low shank sewing machine, your needle and thread will break after you make a few stitches.

Low shank machines are good with beginners because they provide them with the confidence they need to become professional or advanced level seamstresses.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.