If you’re in the market for a new sewing machine, you’re probably already scratching your head trying to determine which brand and model to go with. After all, more than 20 new sewing machines hit the market every year. Some with new bells and whistles while others are just dressed differently with the same body underneath. With so many sewing machines to choose from, finding the one that would meet all of your sewing needs may be like threading big, fat yarn through the tiny eye of a needle. Doable but extremely hard. To make things easy for you, we’re sharing our list of the best sewing machines that suit a variety of needs.
Top 10 Sewing Machines of 2018 Reviewed
- Top 10 Sewing Machines of 2018 Reviewed
- Sewing Machine Buying Guide
1․ Brother CS6000iSewing Machine for Beginners
The Brother CS6000i is a computerized sewing machine that is suitable for beginners and intermediate crafters. You can use it for a wide variety of sewing and quilting projects. There are 60 built-in stitches, a stop/start button, stitch settings (length, width, and speed), and 7 auto-buttonhole styles. The top drop-in bobbin is jam-resistant and easy to set. There’s a built-in free arm for sewing sleeves, pant legs, and cuffs.
The oversized table gives you enough room for your quilting projects. And we haven’t even got to mentioning all the accessories that come with it including accessory feet, pouch, needle set, cleaning brush, screwdriver, eyelet punch, power cord, and 3 spool caps. Plus, you get a 25-year warranty to go along with it. However, as feature-rich, as this machine is, it doesn’t have an embroidery function. Also, the workplace light isn’t the brightest. The LCD screen doesn’t have a backlight so if there’s a shadow casting over your machine, you’ll have a hard time reading what’s on the display.
- Lots of features
- Can be used for quilting
- 25-year warranty
- No embroidery function
- No backlight on the LCD display
- Workplace light isn’t bright
2. Singer 4423Sewing Machine for Leather
This is a heavy duty machine for the basic sewer who has a variety of projects in mind. It features an automatic needle-threader, 23 built-in stitches including an automatic 1-step buttonhole stitch, 4 snap-on presser feet, a top drop-in bobbin, a drop feed, adjustable pressure foot control, a free arm, three needle positions, and a heavy duty metal frame. We love the fact that this is a workhorse of a machine, enabling you to sew denim and upholstery vinyl as if they were cotton.
The top speed is 1100 stitches per minute which means you get more done with a lot less time. Take note that the foot pedal is a lot sensitive so there’s a bit of a learning curve to get used to it. The stitch length and width is controlled by the dials. There’s really not a lot of negative things to say about the Singer 4423. Maybe it could use a wide work table to enable you to work with large pieces of fabric. Also, the parts are only covered for 90 days.
- Automatic needle-threader
- Can work with heavy fabrics
- Top speed is 1100 stitches per minute
- Sensitive foot pedal
- Difficult to work on large pieces of fabric
- Parts are only covered for 90 days
3. Singer 7258
The Singer 7258 is a feature-rich computerized sewing machine that is perfect for beginners and intermediate stitchers. First off, the machine has a start/stop button, a speed control lever, and a foot pedal for controlling speed. Using these features will enable anyone to learn how to master the machine at their own pace. Plus, the machine automatically chooses the optimum length, width, and tension of your desired stitch so beginners are never left guessing.
There’s also an automatic needle threader, 6 one-step buttonholes, and a large variety of built-in stitches (100) ranging from basic to decorative. Intermediate sewers will love that they can still customize stitch length and width, program the needle stop position (you can choose between up and down!), and easily see how much thread is left through the clear bobbin case. This sewing machine comes with lots of accessories including a screwdriver, 10 presser feet, a set of needles, 2 spool pin felt discs, a seam ripper, a lint brush, an auxiliary spool pin, and guides. There aren’t many drawbacks to the Singer 7258. One would be that the maximum stitch width is 6mm when the typical maximum width is 7mm. The built-in light isn’t anything to write home about; you’d definitely need additional light to see what you’re doing. And there’s no automatic thread cutter
- Programmable needle stop position
- Easy-to-use speed control
- Wide range of accessories included
- Maximum width is 6mm only
- Dim lighting
- No automatic thread cutter
4. Brother SE400Sewing Machine with Embroidery
The Brother SE400 is a combo sewing and embroidery computerized sewing machine that is perfect for any serious sewer who wishes to produce amazing creations. You can use this machine to sew and embroider to your heart’s content. The machine is definitely feature-rich. For sewing, it comes with 67 built-in stitches and 98 stitch functions. You will enjoy using the Quick-Set drop-in bobbin, automatic needle threader, automatic thread cutter, and 7-point feed dogs. The LCD is easy to use and features a backlight to make it easy for you to read. For embroidery, you get a spacious 4″ x 4″ embroidery area, 70 decorative designs, 120 frame pattern combinations, and 5 lettering fonts.
If that’s not enough, you can connect the machine to your computer to import more designs. Aside from all these features, you also get a full assortment of accessories including an embroidery hoop, an embroidery arm, a soft cover, 7 accessory feet, an embroidery bobbin thread, USB cable, a cleaning brush, a needle set, and screwdrivers. So many good things but there are also some poorly designed features. With this machine, you need to scroll through pages (12 of them) when choosing a stitch which can be very tedious. Also, lots of users report breaking needles when using this machine. Moreover, the machine is only good for light duty projects as it can’t sew through thick fabrics or layers.
- Sewing and embroidery machine
- Loaded with accessories
- Can be connected to the computer
- Light duty projects only
- Can’t sew through thick fabrics or layers
- Breaks needles from time to time.
5. Singer Quantum Stylist 9960Sewing Machine for Quilting
The Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 is definitely a high-end sewing machine but it’s suitable for sewers of all skill levels. The design is intuitive which, along with its automatic features such as the automatic needle threader and electronic auto pilot, makes this an ideal machine for tech savvy beginners who want to slowly grow their skills. Unlike other machines we’ve reviewed before, this one has a lot (and we do mean a lot) of built-in stitches that includes 13 1-step buttonholes.
Some unique features one-touch stitch selection, electronic twin needle settings, built-in reverse, mirror imaging and stitch elongation options, and center zigzag taper. The extra wide extension table allows you to work on large pieces of fabric. With this machine, you also get a wide assortment of accessories including 19 different presser feet, a needle set, a seam ripper, spool caps, screwdrivers, bobbins (Class 15), and a cleaning brush. One thing to note about this machine is that it’s really not portable as some descriptions state. It’s more than 20 pounds so it’s not something you’ll be happy to lug around everywhere. Also, it costs a lot of money. It’s definitely an investment that not everyone can make.
- 600 built-in stitches
- Intuitive design
- Electronic autopilot
- Heavy; not portable
6. Janome 2212Sewing Machine to Learn On
If you want a mechanical sewing machine that’s been built to last, the Janome 2212 may just be the one for you. It comes with 12 built-in stitches, a 4-step buttonhole, a 3-piece feed dog, snap-on presser feet, a push/pull bobbin winder, a thread cutter, a front-loading bobbin, and a foot controller. There are dials on the front of the machine for adjusting stitch length and width. You can easily lock stitches using the reverse lever. And you can enjoy some free motion sewing and basic quilting because of the drop feed dog function.
Compared to some of our other picks, the number of stitch types available seem relatively small. However, it can handle a variety of fabrics, it’s easy to use, and you can be sure that all your stitches will come out beautiful. Did we mention how fast this thing goes? It can do 860 stitches per minute! Any drawbacks, then? A few. The price is equal to some good computerized machines with a lot more features and it doesn’t have an automatic needle threader. But considering the solid build and the brand’s reputation, you definitely can’t go wrong with this choice.
- Built to last
- Easy to use
- 860 stitches per minute
- A bit pricey
- No automatic needle threader
- Limited features
7. Brother Project Runway CE7070PRWSewing Machine for Dressmaking
If you’re planning on sewing couture-level clothes, then you might want a Project Runway sewing machine like the Brother CE7070PRW. This computerized sewing machine produces high quality stitches and professional quality buttonholes. It features 70 built-in stitches including heirloom and quilting stitches, an extra wide table for large projects, a bright LED to help you see what you’re doing, an automatic needle threader, a drop feed system for free motion quilting, an automatic thread cutter, and a maximum sewing speed of 1100 stitches per minute. We love that it has a lot of features that would be great for beginners and hobby sewers. It’s lightweight and silent. And it’s pretty affordable. However, there’s no automatic tension control, no speed controller, and no automatic needle position.
- High quality stitches
- 1100 stitches per minute
- Extra wide table
- No automatic tension control
- No speed controller
- No automatic needle position
8. Janome Magnolia 7318Sewing Machine for Home Decor Projects
The Janome Magnolia 7318 is another machine that will suit beginner stitchers as well as those who are heading towards the intermediate level. If you want to be able to take on a wide range of projects including free motion embroidery, garment construction, and quilting, then you won’t go wrong choosing this machine. It features 18 types of stitches, a 4-step buttonhole, a jam-resistant top loading bobbin, a 5-piece feed dog, a thread cutter, and snap-on press feet.
You have multiple thread tension options including the ability to manually adjust it. You can also adjust the stitch width and length using the dials on the front of the machine. For its price, it’s not that feature-rich. However, it’s very easy to use; the controls are intuitive. It’s also very stable and handles heavy fabric quite well. This is definitely good for novices but some do feel that it is easy to outgrow the machine.
- Multiple thread tension options
- Easy to use
- Free motion embroidery
- Not feature-rich
- User may outgrow the machine
9. Brother ES2000
If you want a truly portable computerized sewing machine, the Brother ES2000 is just the thing. Weighing only 11 pounds, this machine is your ideal companion to sewing class and clubs. You can easily mend clothes, construct clothing, and produce quilts with its 40 built-in stitches and 77 stitch functions. Beginners will love that bobbin winding and loading is as easy as pie. They can easily do free-arm sewing when the need arises. And threading the needle is a worry they never have to have. The feed dogs are solidly constructed and work well. Thread tension is easily adjusted using the dial.
There are top and bottom sensors that let you know when you’re nearly out of thread. Plus, the machine can handle a variety of fabrics including heavy weight denim. However, there are some drawbacks. The snap-on presser feet, all 7 of them, are plastic. They’re transparent which helps you see the fabric and stitches underneath but it’s still plastic and can easily be broken. There is no speed control and a stop/start button.
- Works with a variety of fabrics including denim
- Top and bottom thread sensors
- Lightweight and portable
- No speed control
- Plastic snap-on pressure feet
10. Juki HZL-F600Sewing Machine for Advanced Sewers
Yes, this is the most expensive sewing machine on our list; it’s more than double the cost of our other high-end machine. But this one is not meant to be used by beginners or hobby crafters. It is specifically designed to cater to the needs of the intermediate sewer to the professional. It features 225 stitch options that includes 16 industrial-style buttonhole stitches, overlocking, and invisible hemming; a drop-in bobbin system; a wide expansion table; a knee-lift lever; four font options; a foot controller with a thread trimming function; a pressure foot pressure control; an automatic needle threader, and dual LED lights. And that’s not all. You also get a load of accessories.
Whether it’s light chiffon or heavy denim, this machine can handle it all. If you think all those features are overwhelming, don’t worry. The machine allows you to create your favorite settings on the LCD screen so you never have to look for them. Just press the button. And if you need technical help, the company’s customer service is there for you. So, any negatives? Well, this is definitely above some people’s pay grade. It’s not for the beginner or the hobbyist. It’s also not for the not-so-tech savvy. And it takes a patient person to learn all the bells and whistles, what goes where, and which does what. But in realizing the full potential of this device, you’ll have the sewing machine that few dare dream of.
- Excellent customer service
- Professional results
- Customize favorite settings
- Very, very expensive
- Not for beginners and hobbyists
- Steep learning curve
Sewing Machine Buying Guide
If you like to sew, then buying a sewing machine is a no-brainer unless sewing by hand is your idea of a good time. Deciding to buy a sewing machine means you’re ready to take your sewing to the next level. You’ve gone beyond darning socks and mending shirts. The obvious next step is determining which sewing machine to buy. Now, that is going a difficult task for anyone. While it’s great that we are so spoiled for choice when it comes to sewing machines, it can be quite hard to determine which one suits your skillset, budget, and projects best. The information we’ve gathered below is meant to make navigating the world of sewing machines a whole lot easier. We’ll tackle the basics, the extra features, the price, and whatever else you’ll need to make the perfect choice.
Types of Sewing Machines
Basically, there are 5 types of sewing machines. The most basic and the oldest type is the manual sewing machines. You rarely see this type of machine anymore unless you’re at your grandmother’s house, a museum, or an antique store. Manual sewing machines are operated entirely by hand; you turn a wheel located on the side of the machine with one hand to power it while guiding the fabric with the other. Made entirely of metal, manual sewing machines are built to last a lifetime and look good as well. However, if they do break down, there’s a dearth of replacement parts.
Mechanical Sewing Machine
The most popular type of sewing machine is the mechanical one. Unlike the manual one, this makes use of a motor to power the machine and features a feeding mechanism. This means that you don’t need to expend much physical effort. You can control the speed of your machine using an electronic foot pedal while the length and type of stitch is controlled using a dial on the side of the machine. Compared to vintage sewing machines, mechanical machines are easier to use and more accurate. A lot of experts recommend that beginners start with a basic mechanical sewing machine as this doesn’t have as many bells and whistles that they’ll have to learn about.
Electronic Sewing Machine
An electronic or computerized machine is obviously one that is run by a computer. There are multiple motors that run different parts of the sewing machine. It features an LCD screen or display plus buttons that allow you to choose between the different settings, types of stitches, and other functions. A computerized machine is often a lot more convenient to use as the machine can memorize the stitches you use frequently, correctly set thread tension, and even allow you to program embroidery patterns. Pricier machines often allow you to connect them to your computer so you can easily program designs into the machine.And there are some that allow you to download designs directly from the internet into the machine.
If you’re tech savvy, this could be a machine that makes sewing incredibly convenient, efficient, and accurate. However, for some stitchers, the control that the computer has over many of the sewing functions takes the fun out of sewing. Plus, software issues can frustrate any sewer.
Overlockers or sergers are specialized sewing machines. This one, in particular, is used to produce professionally finished seams and hems at a faster rate. Some machines do include decorative features but their functions are still limited in comparison to other types of sewing machines. Sewing zippers or creating buttonholes isn’t something you can do with a serger/overlocker. If you’re planning on creating clothes or curtains, you’ll definitely want to add this to your arsenal of sewing equipment.
Embroidery Sewing Machine
If you love doing embroidery projects, this is the machine for you. Like the overlocker, an embroidery machine is a specialized machine. Just like a human needleworker, this machine holds a hoop and moves it around while the needle does its stitching. You can preprogram a design or download one from your computer that you connected it to via USB. Unlike overlockers, some embroidery machines are made to perform like a regular sewing machine and an embroidery machine rolled into one.
Before anything else, you gotta take a good look at your skill set. Are you a beginner who doesn’t have any experience with sewing machines? Are you someone who’s experienced with sewing machines and plan to up your skill level by starting intermediate sewing projects? Or are you already a sewing machine expert? In choosing a sewing machine, it’s imperative that the features of the machine matches what you can do and what you plan to do. If you’re a beginner, don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’ll eventually level up so you might as well get something advanced. Sewing is a skill that is not to be taken lightly. It may be years before you actually get to fully utilize your top-of-the-line machine. It will be a total waste of money.
Here’s what experts recommend: your pick should be something that is slightly above your skill level to allow you some growth but not too large a gap between levels that you never learn to use a lot of the features on the machine.
What will you be sewing?
Contrary to what some people think, a dressmaker will require a different sewing machine from a quilter. Do you plan on creating home decor or upholstery with some embroidery? That’s gonna require something different too. Think over your projects, the stuff you want to create. Once you have a list of things you want to do with the machine, you’ll have a better idea of what features will be useful to you and what won’t. Do you really need a machine that has 200 different stitches for your projects? Doing this enables you to more easily filter out ones you won’t need.
How frequently will you be sewing?
If you only plan on using the machine whenever a need arises – torn blouse, holes in socks, etc. – then you don’t need a feature-rich machine. If you plan on doing a lot of sewing, then you need to look for machines that are designed for heavy duty use and with time-saving functions such as an automatic needle threader, a top loading bobbin, and automated buttonhole option.
What’s your budget?
Now that you know what to look for, you can filter the choices even more by setting your budget. How much are you willing to spend for your sewing machine? Low prices do not always mean low quality. In the same way, a high price does not mean that you’ll enjoy using the machine. Buy what you can afford but make sure all the features you need are there.
If your budget is very limited, you can check second hand machines available at auctions and specialized retailers. Just make sure that there’s a warranty attached. Some dealers offer trade-ins so that means they’ll have quality used machines that have been thoroughly inspected plus a warranty.
Let’s talk stitches
When you look at the number of stitches offered by some machines, it’s easy to get seduced. 70 different stitches? Wow! But will you really use all 70? In truth, there are only a handful of stitches you’ll ever need in most projects – a straight stitch, zig zag stitch, buttonhole stitch, a backstitch, a stretch or knit stitch, and blind hem stitch. Everything else is nice to have but unnecessary.
Now, aside from types of stitches, there’s one more thing to consider – stitch size. Being able to adjust the width and the length of a stitch will give you more versatility than 200 different stitches will do.
Sewing machines come in different sizes. Think of where you plan to do your sewing. Is your table big enough to handle a big machine? Will you be working on tougher fabric? Some small machines may not be able to handle all sorts of fabric. They might also not be up to doing intricate design work. On the upside, small machines are easier to store and use in a cramped space. If you have a dedicated sewing room with a large table, you can opt to go big. If you plan on taking your machine to class or a sewing club, you’ll want something easily carried.
Are you going to be making quilts?
Some sewing machines have quilting capabilities. They may feature a “walking foot” that allows you to feed several layers of fabric evenly through the machine.
What’s the warranty and repair policy?
Remember, these are machines with lots of different moving parts that can and probably will break over time. So you need to make sure that you’ve got things covered when you need to send it in for a repair or a return. What does your warranty cover? Will you need to ship it off for repair or can you get in-house repair from the dealer? If you do need to ship it, will you be the one paying the cost of shipping or will the store/manufacturer cover that? Ask for the turnaround time and if the repair guy is factory-authorized. If he/she isn’t, then you may void your warranty.
Keep in mind that online stores and big box retailers often do not offer a repair service. Local, specialized stores, on the other hand, usually have their own repair center where you can bring your sewing machine, instead of having to ship it off to the manufacturer.
Once you’ve made your choice
There’s only one thing left to do. Try before you finalize your buy. Whether you’re a beginner or a stitching expert, you always need to make sure that you test the different features of a machine before you hand over your hard-earned money. You need to see how well it handles the fabrics you plan on using. Check how smoothly the machine runs when it does stitches and buttonholes. How noisy is the machine? How’s the thread tension? What’s the stitch quality like? What are the stitch options? Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to take your time doing your tests. You don’t want to end up with a machine that’ll end up as a paperweight inside your home.