Founded over 100 years ago in Japan, Brother is one of the most respected sewing machine manufacturers globally. They sell everything from basic and affordable beginner-friendly models to highly advanced industrial machines.
In this guide, we cover everything you need to know to make an informed buying decision, whether it is your first foray into the hobby or you’re an experienced sewer.
If you just came here to find out which is the best model, take a look at the Brother XR9550. It can produce nearly any kind of stitch you could ask for, yet it is surprisingly affordable for the number of features it has.
When choosing a sewing machine, you’ll first need to know if you want a mechanical or computerized model. Mechanical machines are the most affordable, but they are also the most basic in terms of features. They can be easier to use than computerized models because they have fewer buttons and options. However, they also require the user to manually make all the tension, width and length adjustments themselves, presenting a bit of a learning curve.
Computerized models are more expensive but capable of a broader range of stitches. Some can produce well over a hundred types of stitches at the press of a button. Computerized models allow you to set a needle stop point, which is very helpful when sewing around corners and for quilt and patch workers. Also, many double as embroidery machines. Unfortunately, the sheer number of stitches and functions to choose from on computerized models can be daunting for beginners.
Unless you have a dedicated area for sewing in your home, you’ll probably wind up storing your machine in a closet or another out-of-the-way space. Therefore, you’ll be picking it up and moving it every time you want to use it, so both its size and weight should be a consideration.
While many customers look for a wide variety of stitches when making a sewing machine purchase, most people only wind up using the basic five stitches. For the average person who just wants to fix their clothing, the number of stitches really shouldn’t be a deciding factor. However, for those who enjoy sewing as a hobby, choosing a model capable of a range of different stitches allows them to get more decorative with their work.
The presser foot is responsible for holding the fabric flat as it is fed through the machine. Some models may come with a single all-purpose presser foot, while others come with several, each of which is suited to a particular type of task. For example, there are pintuck feet, rolled-hem feet, zipper feet, buttonhole feet and more. You can always purchase each of these separately, but if you expect to need them, there is no reason not to buy a machine that already comes with them if possible.
Having a machine that allows you to adjust both the positioning and stop point of the needle is very helpful. Adjusting the needle positioning enables you to place the stitch exactly where you want it. Some people find it easier to stitch a straight line when their needle is at the center of the presser foot, while others prefer it to be at the left or right side of the foot. Being able to set the needle to stop in the down position is helpful for not losing your place when turning the fabric.
Automating specific tasks makes any sewing machine more convenient to use. One of the biggest hassles of starting work on any new fabric is getting the tension properly adjusted. Choosing a model with automatic tension adjustment eliminates that headache. You may also want to opt for a machine with an automatic needle threader or automatic buttonhole feature to make your life a bit easier.
Those looking for a basic, budget model can find a Brother sewing machine from $100-$150. As the capabilities and number of features increase, so does the price, with their higher-end consumer models costing $300-$700.
A. While there is no hard and fast rule about how often you need to clean your machine, it is a good idea to clean out the lint and dust in the needle areas, bobbin and holes after every 10-12 hours of use.
A. It depends on what kind of denim you will be sewing and how often. If sewing lightweight summer denim, most Brother machines should be able to handle it easily. However, if you will be sewing thick denim often, it is best to opt for a heavy-duty machine.
What you need to know: A computerized machine capable of 165 stitches, the XR9550 is a highly capable option perfect for advanced sewers who will take advantage of its many settings.
What you’ll love: The machine can handle heavy fabrics, and its intuitive LCD screen allows you to find the right stitch for your needs easily.
What you should consider: It’s not the most beginner-friendly option.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Best Buy and Home Depot
What you need to know: A smart choice for working with oversized garments and quilts, the CS6000i has an extended table and comes with nine presser feet. You can adjust the sewing speed to match your skills too.
What you’ll love: It offers 60 stitch options, an automatic needle threader and is backed by a 25-year warranty.
What you should consider: A small number of users have reported some tension issues.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: The XM2701 is a perfect model for beginners thanks to its reasonable price and relatively simple operation.
What you’ll love: The compact size and lightweight build makes it easy to move, plus it includes an instructional DVD to get you started.
What you should consider: It may not offer enough features for very experienced sewers.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Brett Dvoretz is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.