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Why Don't We Color-Code Our Home Machine Needles?

Posted: 8 May 2014 at 6 a.m.

We have received the suggestion of color coding our Home Machine needles for easy size identification recently. While we agree that this would be easier on the eyes to see, we have a significant reason why we do not color code our needle sizes.

Needles that have color coding are nickel plated. Nickel is a type of metal which is porous enough to allow paint to adhere to the surface.  We like to reference the Mohs scale for hardness, (the scale where Diamond is the hardest substance at 10) Nickel is about a 5 on this scale. While this is strong enough for stitching, we wanted to provide a Superior Needle! The longest-lasting needles are chromium-plated and then plated with a thin layer of Titanium nitride. Titanium nitride is about a 9 on the same Mohs scale. The fact that it is much harder means that it resists abrasion many times better than standard Nickel. Due to the high-resilience of Titanium-nitride, paint doesn’t stick to it. Therefore, we aren’t able to color code our needles at this time.  We realize that having a needle last 6 times longer would have a greater impact to you than having a color-coded section.

Superior's Topstitch Needles, titanium-coated

Titanium-nitride plated needles stay sharper 5-8 times longer than Nickel-plated needles.  Think of the time savings from needle changes!  The cost difference is minimal, only about 20 cents per needle for the higher quality Titanium-nitride plated needle.

If you are looking at a longarm needle and trying to decipher which size it is, our needle packaging is color coded per size. (Our Home Machine needles’ packaging is also color coded.)

Green = 14/3.0

Grey = 16/3.5

Black = 18/4.0

Blue= 19/4.5

Yellow = 20/5.0

Red = 21/5.0

Choosing the right needle size is key to avoiding shredding, breaking, and frustrations.  Wondering what needle size to use?  View our longarm and home machine reference guides.

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  • 3. Cindy Needham (26 May 2014 at 6:06 p.m.)

    I have an easy solution for this! I have Sharpie pens in three different, red and green. When I open my package of 70/10's I color the tops of the needles green with the Sharpie pen to match the package...color the 80/12's with blue and the 90/14's with red (haven't found a pink one yet). When I remove the needle from my machine I know exactly what size it is!
  • 2. Winn (08 May 2014 at 4:40 p.m.)

    My friends have Bernina's - they will not use pre-wound bobbins because their machine' s instructions state not to use them. Is this true?
  • 1. Cindy Pedder (08 May 2014 at 10:28 a.m.)

    Have you considered making a needle that is nickel plated at the top, where the paint would go, and titanium plated at the other end, which is getting all the wear? You could then color code them.

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