Choosing Between the Ultrafeed® LS-1 & LSZ-1

Item # X-HT-300350

Choosing the right sewing machine for your needs is a big decision. At Sailrite®, we’re happy to help answer any of your questions and concerns regarding our lineup of heavy-duty, dependable sewing machines. Most of our customers decide on an Ultrafeed® for its power and portability, and they want to know the differences between the red LS-1 and blue LSZ-1. We’ve made some handy comparison charts that list the similarities and differences between these two industry-leading machines and what projects you need a straight or zigzag stitch for to help you determine, at a glance, which one is right for your sewing needs.

The Ultrafeed LS-1 and LSZ-1.

Comparing the Similarities & Differences

The biggest difference between the two versions is that the red LS-1 machine only sews straight stitches, while the blue LSZ-1 sews both straight and zigzag stitches. That’s why we color-coded them, so that our customers could quickly and easily tell which is the straight stitch only machine and which machine is capable of zigzag stitching as well. Let’s take a look at this chart comparing the different physical and technical aspects of the two machines.

Comparing the technical aspects of the Ultrafeed LS-1 and LSZ-1

Another factor to consider is the difference in the presser foot width of the two machines and what that means for your sewing experience. The LSZ-1 has a wider foot width of 19mm. This can make it a bit difficult to sew into corners and other tight spaces, especially for smaller “shaped” assemblies. That’s why we recommend the LS-1 for upholsterers as it has a narrower foot. The narrower foot width of the LS-1 also allows you to get closer to hard objects, such as grommets, snaps and zippers. Having said that, our LSZ-1 is built with the needle positioning lever for this very reason. It allows you to position the needle to the right, left and center to compensate for the wider foot and enables you to get closer to a zipper or grommet without having to change the foot. The advantage of a wider foot is that it offers slightly better feeding than a narrower foot, due to its larger contact surface area — another reason we recommend the LSZ-1 to our marine market.

Now that we’ve covered the internal and external physical qualities of the LS-1 and LSZ-1, let’s delve into the final — and most important — consideration: What do you sew?

What Kind of Sewing Do You Do?

Let’s talk about the type of projects you work on. This is undoubtedly the biggest factor in deciding whether you need a machine capable of both zigzag and straight stitches or a straight stitch only sewing machine. The chart below lists some common sewing projects and stitch techniques, as well as the recommended stitch type for each project.

Comparing zigzag versus straight sewing applications.


All in all, both the LS-1 and LSZ-1 are phenomenal, well-engineered pieces of machinery. They’re both impressively powerful, well-equipped portable walking foot sewing machines. You won’t go wrong purchasing either one. But if you have a feeling that you may one day get into sailmaking or sail repair, or you simply like the look of zigzag stitches to add a decorative element to your sewing, we strongly recommend upgrading to the LSZ-1, that way you have the zigzag stitch should you ever need it. If you still have more questions or would like to talk to one of our highly trained customer service representatives, don’t hesitate to call, email or online chat with us. Choosing the right sewing machine is an important decision, and we want to help you in any way we can.