Needle Buying Guide

Needle Buying Guide

Industrial sewing machine needles can vary in size, length, type, needle point and more. In this guide we’ll go over the basics of industrial sewing machine needles and help you determine which needle is best for your machine.


Every sewing machine is compatible with a specific type of needle which is called the needle system. The needle system is typically determined by the needle’s physical attributes such as length, thickness etc. It is of utmost importance to only use the correct needle system for your machine. The needle system is often listed in your machine’s instruction manual, technical sheet, product listing and on the package of needles.

The needle system often consists of 2 groups of numbers or letters with an X separating them. For example, 135 X 17 or DP X 17. Sometimes the needle system consists of a group of numbers with a letter at the end (134R) and sometimes just a series of numbers (134-35).

Sewing Machine Needle System


A needle’s size refers to the thickness/gauge of the needle. The larger the needle size, the thicker/stronger the needle. You should use the right needle size corresponding to the thickness of the material you’re sewing and the size of the thread you’re using.

For example, if you’re using size #69 thread, you should use size #18 needle. If you’re using size #138 thread, you should use size #23 needle.

The metric sizing system is numbered from size 35 to 250, which corresponds to the diameter of the needle in the hundredths of a millimeter. Size 100 is one millimeter thick.

The Singer or US sizing system is a more common standard and is numbered from 6 to 28.

You will often see both the metric and Singer / US size on your package of needles. For example, size 90/14 (metric/Singer size).

You can refer to the following conversion chart to see the needle size conversions, as well as the compatibility with thread sizes.


33, 46
33, 46
33, 46, 69
33, 46, 69
69, 92
69, 92
69, 92
69, 92
92, 138
138, 207
180 24 138, 207
200 25 207, 277
230 26 277, 346
250 27 277, 346, 415
280 28 346, 415
300 29 346, 415


A larger needle size will make a larger hole in the material being sewn and allow for use of a larger thread size.

All sewing machines have a range of needle sizes that they are compatible with. Some sewing machines can use from size #11 to size #18 needles. Some sewing machines can use from size #18 to size #24 needles. Some sewing machines can use from size #18 to size #28 needles.


The needle point is the “point” or tip of the needle. There are different needle points available, which will determine both the appearance of the hole in your materail and the appearance of the stitch.

R Point Needles

R Point Sewing Machine Needles

R point needles are known as universal or Round point needles, used for any general-purpose sewing. R point needles are the standard for lockstitch machines and are commonly used for woven fabrics and soft leather. R point needles will product a slightly angled or irregular stitch. The thread will be slightly elevated.

DI or DIA Point Needles

D or DIA Point Sewing Machine Needles

DI or DIA point needles feature a diamond shaped point which cuts a quadruple edge hole in the leather and produces very straight stitches. The sewn thread is slightly elevated and stitch holes are visible. Diamond point needles are commonly used for leather products such as belts, bags, footwear, upholstery, suitcases and more.

S or NCR Point Needles

S or NCR Point Sewing Machine Needles

S or NCR point needles, known as Narrow Cross Point, feature a cutting point with a lens-shaped cross-section. The incision follows the direction of the seam resulting in very straight stitches. The sewn thread is set deeper into the material. S or NCR point needles are commonly used for footwear, leather bags, belts, garments and upholstery.

LR Point Needles

LR Point Sewing Machine Needles

LR point needles cut the leather to the right at a 45-degree angle in the direction of the sewing, producing a slight to medium slanted stitch formation. The sewn thread is slightly elevated and stich holes are visible. LR point needles are commonly used for decorative seams on footwear, leather bags, leather garments and anything from soft to medium/hard leather.

While many other needle systems, sizes and points exist, we’ve narrowed down our selection to the most common ones and to those compatible with Techsew machines. Feel free to contact us if you need any assistance selecting the right needle for your machine!

3 years ago