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Top Thread Tension Gauge

Superior Top Thread Tension Gauge for Longarm Machines

This gauge is intended to be used in conjunction with the Towa Bobbin Thread Tension Gauge. On longarm machines, it is often necessary to adjust both the top and bobbin thread tensions to achieve the ideal stitch. Tension settings differ for each type of thread. Unlike home machines, longarm machines do not have a number dial or computer screen showing top thread tension settings. This new gauge measures that. We also have videos on our website showing how to use this gauge.

We also created a Thread Tension Reference Guide for major brands of longarm machines. If your longarm brand is not listed, they did not participate in our research and we do not have a guide available.  This guide shows the recommended tension settings for both the top thread and bobbin thread.  We recommend you start at the settings listed on the guide and then make adjustments as necessary for your machine. Once you find the ideal thread tension settings, measure them using this gauge for the top thread and the Towa gauge for the bobbin thread and write them down for future reference. A blank form is also available.

Instructions for using the Superior Top Thread Tension Gauge

1. Print the Top Thread Reference Guide for your brand or model of longarm machine. 

 2. Open the back battery cover of the gauge. Remove the clear plastic piece from between the two batteries. Make sure the flat sides of both batteries (the side with words on it) are facing up. Replace battery cover.

3. Gauge controls:

  1. On/Off. Press button to turn gauge on or off.

  2. Unit. This button determines how the scale measures the tension. Press the unit button until “oz” appears at the bottom of the screen.

  3. Light. Press to turn light on and off.

  4. T/Z. Press to clear the measurement.

4. Release the hook from the catch on the back. This is where you will tie the top thread at the needle.

5. Thread the machine with your choice of thread (Superior only please). Set the bobbin tension according to our Thread Tension Reference Guide using the Towa Gauge.  Once the bobbin tension is set you are ready to measure the top tension. 

6. Thread your machine according to your machine’s instructions. Check to make sure you have the correct needle size in your machine.  See Thread Tension Reference Guide for needle recommendations. Thread the needle and slide the thread under the hopping foot.

7. Turn on the power on your gauge, making sure the measurement is set to oz. and the display is showing 0.

8. Tie a loop in your thread and slip it onto the hook on the gauge. With the thread attached, pull slowly and steadily toward the back of your machine. Once the number is steady it will lock and keep the tension measurement on the display. Write that number down for future use. Reset the gauge by pressing the T/Z button and test the tension again. Repeat until you get a consistent result.

9. Run your machine to make sure the stitch is where you want it. If not, adjust the tensions and then measure again.

How to reset gauge if it does not default to 0.0 oz.

These gauges work via a heavy duty tension spring and some need to be worked in. If your gauge does not default back to 0.0, please do the following:

Place the gauge on a solid surface. Pull on the hook and pull until the number locks between 10 and 20 . Press the T/Z button to clear. You might have to repeat 2-3 times, but the gauge should reset back to “0". If you are unable to advance the number when pulling, remove the batteries for a few hours. Then replace batteries back into gauge.

Related Links

Longarm Machines Tension Setting Guides

To Order

TOWA Bobbin Gauge

Tension Gauge Videos