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Updated March 2017

Best Sewing Machines

Updated March 2017
Brother
Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine
Singer
Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Machine
Michley
Lil' Sew Multi-Purpose Sewing Machine
Janome
Sewing Machine
Easy Stitcher
Table Top Sewing Machine
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Bottom Line

A easy-to-use, quality machine for beginning and mid-level sewers who want multiple options.

The best of its kind on the market today. More sturdy and reliable than its competitors. Perfect for both beginners and experts.

A low-priced option for beginners. This machine has a few known flaws.

Straightforward, easy-to-use machine that is suitable for quilting as well as sewing.

This model is a great teaching and practice tool for beginners.

Good

Versatile with 130 stitch choices. Quilting and monogramming capabilities. Computerized features render great results.

Off the charts in terms of ease of use and performance. Can produce 23 different stitches at an impressive 1,100 stitches per minute.

A good starter machine for beginners and basic sewing tasks.

A pricier machine. Lots of features for the money.

Simple to use and doesn't come with confusing or unnecessary features.

Bad

Its light weight can be disconcerting for some users.

A higher priced model, but owners find it to be well worth the price.

Stitch lengthis not adjustable; only two lengths to choose from. No threading or bobbin assistance.

Some of this machine's 12 built-in stitches are not adjustable.

Can only do straight and reverse stitches. Stitches aren't as precise as some pricier models.

Best of the Best
Brother
Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine
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Bottom Line
A easy-to-use, quality machine for beginning and mid-level sewers who want multiple options.

Bad
Its light weight can be disconcerting for some users.

Good
Versatile with 130 stitch choices. Quilting and monogramming capabilities. Computerized features render great results.
Best Bang for the Buck
Singer
Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Machine
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Bottom Line
The best of its kind on the market today. More sturdy and reliable than its competitors. Perfect for both beginners and experts.

Bad
A higher priced model, but owners find it to be well worth the price.

Good
Off the charts in terms of ease of use and performance. Can produce 23 different stitches at an impressive 1,100 stitches per minute.
Michley
Lil' Sew Multi-Purpose Sewing Machine
Check Price

Bottom Line
A low-priced option for beginners. This machine has a few known flaws.

Bad
Stitch lengthis not adjustable; only two lengths to choose from. No threading or bobbin assistance.

Good
A good starter machine for beginners and basic sewing tasks.
Janome
Sewing Machine
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Bottom Line
Straightforward, easy-to-use machine that is suitable for quilting as well as sewing.

Bad
Some of this machine's 12 built-in stitches are not adjustable.

Good
A pricier machine. Lots of features for the money.
Easy Stitcher
Table Top Sewing Machine
Check Price

Bottom Line
This model is a great teaching and practice tool for beginners.

Bad
Can only do straight and reverse stitches. Stitches aren't as precise as some pricier models.

Good
Simple to use and doesn't come with confusing or unnecessary features.
How We Decided
  • 106 Models Considered
  • 44 Hours Spent
  • 2 Experts Interviewed
  • 224 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Shopping Guide for Best Sewing Machines

    Sewing machines are a handy and far easier means than the hand for darning, stitching, sewing, patterning, and a plethora of such tasks. They are more energy efficient and time conserving.

    Modern machines come with technologies such automatic pattern making, easy threading, capacity to stitch all types of materials, and more. Beginners can use these sewing machines as easily as experienced tailors. The best sewing machines on the market are quality appliances that produce enough power to complete the task at hand.

    At BestReviews, we never accept “free” samples from manufacturers to prevent bias. We buy products and test them in our company labs. When we’re finished testing, we donate these products to charity.

    Through extensive research, we've identified five of the best, most popular sewing machines on the market for your consideration.

    Considerations

    Considerations

    Stitching

    Successful sewing requires only two basic stitches: straight and zigzag. In fact, you can do almost anything with these two stitches alone. However, many modern sewing machines offer a multitude of creative stitching choices. We tell you the number of stitches each machine offers so you can make an educated purchasing decision.

    Considerations

    Ease of Use

    Machines that are easy to use help you sew more efficiently. How long does it take to change the needle and pressure foot? Does the machine come with an automatic needle threader? How large is the motor? Is it easy to thread/wind the bobbin? We provide ease-of-use details for each machine on our shortlist to help you make the right choice.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Most sewing machines come with an automatic needle threader. This time-saving tool isn't something to go without.

    Considerations

    Features

    Knowing what you plan to sew, and how frequently you will sew, can help you determine what sewing machine features are most important to you. Machines with buttonhole, zipper, and blind hem feet simplify most clothing projects. A choice of feet widths is especially useful for beginners. We tell you what features you can expect from each product on our shortlist.

    Considerations

    Price

    The cost of a sewing machine is influenced by its type (mechanical vs. computerized). Computerized sewing machines tend to cost more; mechanical machines, because they require less maintenance and servicing over time, tend to cost less. The number of features and attachments a machine offers can also drive its price up or down.

    Products we Considered

    • Brother
      Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine
    • Singer
      Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Machine
    • Michley
      Lil' Sew Multi-Purpose Sewing Machine
    • Janome
      Sewing Machine
    • Easy Stitcher
      Table Top Sewing Machine

    Stitching

    Stitching

    Brother Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine

    The Brother Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine offers an impressive 130 unique stitches that are built into its computerized system, plus 55 alphanumeric stitch styles for embroidery and monogramming. Button holes can be notoriously difficult to create, but this machine offers eight different gradations of button hole size. Quilters will appreciate the ability to create free-motion quilting stitches, and crafters will enjoy the flexibility of having so many decorative stitches available at the touch of a button. Nine specialized presser feet make all sorts of advanced stitching techniques possible.

    Staff

    Multiple stitch functions make the Brother a suitable choice for novices as well as those who plan to take on creative sewing projects.

    Stitching

    Singer Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Machine

    The Singer Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Machine provides 23 stitch choices and adjustable stitch lengths. We predict that the majority of users will stick to the most basic stitches offered by this machine, including "essential," "stretch," and "decorative." If you're a beginner, you may appreciate the convenient stitch guide that educates newbies on when and how to use Singer's stitches. Most of the users we surveyed appreciate the larger stitch selection, but a few told us they were disappointed with the quality and performance of some of the Singer's decorative stitches.

    Stitching

    Michley Lil' Sew & Sew Multi-Purpose Sewing Machine

    The Michley Lil' Sew & Sew offers a eight built-in stitch patterns — a significantly smaller number than both the Brother and the Singer. While this smaller selection of stitches suits beginners and covers most basic sewing tasks, some owners told us they wish the machine provided a more generous selection of choices. Another drawback: the Michley does not offer an adjustable stitch length; owners must choose from the two available stitch lengths on the machine.

    The straight stitch and zigzag stitch are best for most projects, but if you enjoy quilting or embroidery then getting a machine with more options is a better choice.
    Stitching

    Janome Sewing Machine

    The Janome Sewing Machine comes with 12 built-in stitches, including a handy "reverse" option. Like most sewing machines on the market today, it offers easy stitch width and length adjustments as well. That being said, it's important for potential buyers to note that not every stitch on this machine is adjustable. For example, you can't adjust the straight stretch, rickrack, decorative, smocking, and blanket stitches because of their preset length and width.

    Stitching

    Easy Stitcher Table Top Sewing Machine

    The Easy Stitcher Table Top Sewing Machine caters to beginners. Most users opt for the straight stitch setting, which moves forward but can also reverse with the push of a button. Two distinct length options make it easy to go from big to small stitches. Several owners told us that the stitch settings aren't too precise, but they work well for basic tasks.

    Ease of Use

    Ease of use

    Brother Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine

    The Brother Computerized Sewing and Quitling Machine surpasses all others on our shortlist in terms of ease of use. A bright LCD lighting system provides strong illumination in the workspace, making it much easier to perform intricate stitching patterns. An automatic threader takes the guesswork and frustration out of the needle-threading process. If a wider table is needed for quilt-making and other large projects, one is provided with the original package. The large LCD menu screen is backlit for improved readability. A variable-speed control allows users to work at the right pace for a particular project, and an onboard flip chart makes stitch selection much easier.

    EXPERT TIP

    Some users prefer heavier machines because they equate them with durability. But we found that even though the Brother is light, it's also sturdy.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    Ease of use

    Singer Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Machine

    If you're searching for an easy-to-use sewing machine of the highest quality, consider the Singer Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Machine. This machine boasts an automatic needle threader — touted as sewing's biggest time-saver — and an easy-load bobbin system with a clear cover for faster threading. The process for threading and loading the Singer's bobbin may be a bit confusing at first, but customers love it once they get the hang of it. If you're taking on a more complicated project and need to make buttonholes, you'll also appreciate this machine's automatic, four-step buttonhole function.

    Staff

    The Singer 4423 boasts an automatic needle threader – a major time-saver when you're in a hurry to finish a project.

    Ease of use

    Michley Lil' Sew & Sew Multi-Purpose Sewing Machine

    Unlike most of the other machines on our list, the Michley Lil' Sew & Sew does not provide threading or bobbin assistance (although the instructional pamphlet does explain how to use the bobbin winder). It's a very basic model, and its simplicity requires users to start a project with the hand switch or foot pedal. The extra effort this requires will most certainly be a deal-breaker for some consumers.

    Ease of use

    Janome Sewing Machine

    The Janome Sewing Machine is relatively easy to use, thanks in large part to its dial pattern selection, manual tension control, and drop feed which enables free motion (great for both sewing AND quilting). Users reduce their setup and sewing time considerably when they take advantage of the Janome's push-pull bobbin winder. This machine is particularly appealing to beginners who want a straightforward, no-frills machine.

    Ease of use

    Easy Stitcher Table Top Sewing Machine

    The Easy Stitcher caters to beginners and even comes pre-threaded — it can't get much easier than that! This model's horizontal drop-in bobbin is purported to reduce setup time, but a few owners note that the bobbin does not always stay in place. Based on our extensive research of this product, we recommend that you hold the threads when you start stitching to avoid pulling them out of the needle.

    Features

    EXPERT TIP

    While it can be nice to have a sewing machine with over 300 stitches, keep in mind what you'll be using them for. You might be paying a premium price for features you don't need.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    Features

    Brother Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine

    The Brother Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine has all of the standard features home sewers have come to expect, plus a few surprises. Instead of spending precious time re-threading a standard bobbin, users only need a few seconds to install a quick-set bobbin. A built-in monogramming font makes it a breeze to create standard letters, numbers, and symbols on clothing and craft projects. The original package also includes an English/Spanish DVD and print instructional manual.

    Features

    Singer Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Machine

    The Singer's extra-fast sewing speed of 1,100 stitches per minute is one of the features that makes this machine shine. The free arm storage tray includes numerous practical accessories, including an all-purpose foot, zipper foot, and buttonhole foot. Sewing projects move smoothly thanks to this machine's stainless steel bed plate/fabric feed and heavy-duty, interior metal frame. The metal frame, which helps encourage skip-free motion, is conducive to creative top-stitching as well.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Many seamstresses prefer to use a sewing machine with a free arm, like the one on the Singer Heavy Duty.

    Features

    Michley Lil' Sew & Sew Multi-Purpose Sewing Machine

    Unlike its pricier counterparts, the Michley Lil' Sew & Sew doesn't boast a long list of features. However, it does a fine job of satisfying consumers who require basic features for everyday sewing projects. Delighted customers tell us it's it easy to sew sleeves with this product, and the double-thread and double-speed stitch patterns come in handy for beginners and experienced seamstresses/tailors alike.

    Features

    Janome Sewing Machine

    Most entry-level units don't have as many features as the Janome. This machine includes a front-loading bobbin, free arm and drop feed, and folding handle for easy transportation. Other notable features include manual tension control, snap-on presser feet, and a convenient dial pattern selector. The Janome's incandescent lamp brightens up your work space. Customers tell us they really like this machine's basic and useful features, especially the adjustable thread tension and length.

    Features

    Easy Stitcher Table Top Sewing Machine

    The Easy Stitcher Table Top Sewing Machine doesn't have many features, making it appealing to beginners who want a simple, effective teaching machine to help them master the basics. Step- by-step instructions guide beginners through the sewing process, from setting up the machine to using it for the first time. A foot pedal gives users more control over their projects. The standout feature is the horizontal drop-in bobbin, although a few users told us that the bobbin doesn't stay in place.

    Price

    Price

    Brother Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine

    The Brother's retail price of $190 may seem high compared to the other machines on our shortlist, but as they say in the movie industry, every penny is up on the screen. Finding this many additional features in a consumer-grade sewing machine is not easy, but Brother has managed to do it. Instead of one or two button hole settings, this model packs eight. Instead of a few dozen built-in stitch patterns, the Brother has 130, plus monogramming fonts and free-motion quilting ability. For many consumers, investing a little more upfront in a quality sewing machine like the Brother Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine makes good economic sense in the long run.

    At this price, the Brother is a steal. In fact, you get MORE than what you pay for when you purchase this product.

    Price

    Singer Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Machine

    At a cost of $164, the Singer Sewing Machine brings a well-rounded mix of quality features and performance to your sewing table. While this machine is one of the costlier appliances on our shortlist, its durable construction, ease of use, and beginner-friendly styling compensate for the higher price tag. Heavy-duty raw materials make this product a solid, stable choice for your sewing room and allow the Singer to stand out among the sea of plastic machines on the market today. A total of 23 built-in stitches are available to satisfy your creativity, although most users find they won't ever use the full range.

    The Singer Heavy Duty has all the necessary features at an attractive price.
    Price

    Michley Lil' Sew & Sew Multi-Purpose Sewing Machine

    A price of $44 makes the Michley Lil' Sew & Sew one of our most affordable options. It's a great choice for beginners who just need the basics for everyday sewing projects. The Michley's eight built-in stitch patterns pale in comparison to the number of stitch offerings on pricier machines. However, most users indicate that they feel this is an adequate range to choose from. One drawback, though it may be an infrequent occurrence: quality and dependability issues have plagued a few owners who experienced product breakage shortly after purchasing.

    Price

    Easy Stitcher Table Top Sewing Machine

    A price tag of $29 makes the Easy Stitcher Table Top Sewing Machine quite an affordable option. Its beginner-oriented design and lack of features is typical for machines in this price range. As expected, customers tell us that the Easy Stitcher is a great value for the money, emphasizing its solid performance on simple items. We did uncover a few quality issues during our research, including the fact that some consumers experienced product breakage shortly after making their purchase. The Easy Stitcher is an inexpensive machine that some view as "flimsy" and not worth the few dollars it costs. However, it's a reasonable solution for people who want to learn to sew on a budget.

    Price

    Janome Sewing Machine

    The Janome Sewing Machine has a price tag of $189, making it one of the most expensive options on our shortlist. Does it live up to its higher price tag? We think so. Customers particularly like this model's twelve built-in stitches and four-step buttonhole function. Beginners are helped through their learning process by the Janome's easy-turn dial pattern selection and stitch width/length adjustments. The biggest complaint we encountered when researching this product is that it's quite noisy, even when compared to less expensive products. If you can live with the noise and don't mind paying the higher price, the Janome is quite a nice package for seamstresses and tailors of all abilities.

    Brother Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine

    BEST OF THE BEST

    Many sewing machine owners start out with straightforward needs, such as clothing repairs or basic craft projects. However, it is not unusual for casual users to become dedicated hobbyists. In this case, they will need a sewing machine that can grow with them as they explore techniques such as doll-making, quilting, and monogramming. We believe the sewing machine contender with this type of versatility and craftsmanship is the Brother Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine, and we gladly declare it to be the Best of the Best!

    This is definitely the model to consider if your creative sewing ambitions have surpassed basic repairs and occasional craft projects. The Brother's stunning selection of 130+ stitching patterns means there will be a stitch to meet every sewing or quilting need. Instead of defaulting to a few standard button hole sizes, users can choose from eight different sizes and also perform the overstitching necessary for reinforcement. Other machines make it difficult for quilters to stitch freeform patterns, but the Brother provides a wide table and a freehand stitching option.

    With strong illumination on the work area, users can easily see where the stitches are created. Add in a convenient automatic threader and quick set bobbin, and you have all of the ingredients for the ideal home sewing machine.

    With options for quilting, monogramming, denim stitching and more, the Brother has it all for a great price.
    Singer Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Machine

    BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK

    The Singer Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Machine strikes the perfect balance between practical features and excellent performance. It's the perfect sewing machine for both beginners and advanced seamstresses/tailors. For these reasons — and many more — we give the Singer our rating of "Best Bang for your Buck."

    At extra-fast sewing speed of 1,100 stitches per minute and 23 built-in stitches provide just a foretaste of all this machine has to offer. For a cost of $164 (not too low, but not exceedingly high, either), the Singer provides a smooth, "seamless" sewing experience thanks to its heavy-duty infrastructure and stainless steel bed plate/fabric feed. You can count on this machine to be "skip-free," which makes for better sewing results and more creative license when it comes to top-stitching. The free-arm storage tray comes loaded with helpful features, including an all-purpose foot, zipper foot, and buttonhole foot. In short, you can depend on this machine to provide everything you need for a fun, productive, stress-free sewing experience.

    Some of the more basic models on our shortlist are cheaper, but for a few dollars more, the Singer provides a satisfying, well-rounded sewing experience that owners feel is worth the extra money. And, if you intend on sewing thicker materials like denim or corduroy, you definitely want a sturdy machine like the Singer that can power through these denser fabrics. Comments like "Great value for the money!" and "Sews like a champ" are common among satisfied customers. For all of these reasons, we are certain that you will not find a better sewing machine than the Singer on the market today.

    • Michael
      Michael
      Creative Lead
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Editor
    • Jimi
      Jimi
      Product Analyst
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Heather
      Heather
      VP of Content

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