Best Janome Sewing Machines

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

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

19 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
135 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best Janome sewing machines

Last Updated August 2019

Janome builds sewing machines that inspire the beginner’s dream and make the pros drool. Their most advanced machines can do almost everything but make your Thanksgiving dinner, while their entry-level models are reliable, sturdy, and durable.

Before you buy, you’ll need to consider the type of sewing you want to do, how often you’ll be doing it, and what extra features are worth a few more of your hard-earned dollars. Your first big decision is deciding between a mechanical and computerized machine. From there, the possibilities will spark ideas for endless sewing projects.

You’re going to find basic conveniences on Janome machines like automatic threading and tension adjustment and advanced options like a knee lift, extra-wide tables, and advanced feed systems. As you sift through the options, look for features that will make your sewing life easier and more efficient while staying within your budget. Be sure to check out our top recommended machines, too.

Some Janome machines have maximum stitch speeds of up to 1,600 stitches per minute. Even if you only save those top speeds for the straightaways, you’ll make quick work of most projects.

Key considerations

Mechanical vs. computerized

  • Mechanical: Mechanical sewing machines keep things simple, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create advanced projects with them. They have many of the same capabilities and features of computerized machines except you control the thread tension, stitch length and width, and stitch choices by manually adjusting dials. These machines are easier to maintain, and they keep the sewing process as uncomplicated as possible. One is a great option for the beginner or casual hobbyist because you’ll save money and still get a great machine that will last for years.

  • Computerized: Like everything else, technology has revolutionized the sewing world. And Janome is using sewing technology to the fullest. While you get a longer list of features with a computerized machine, things can get complicated, which can make the sewing process more difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s easy to get caught up in all the fancy features and pay for an expensive machine with more stitches and needle positions than you’ll ever use. Have a good idea of what features you’ll use before you shop.

    • Stitches: Where you’ll see the biggest difference between mechanical and computerized machines is in the number of stitches available. Mechanical machines might have anywhere from 15 to 80, but computerized machines are capable of an impressive 300 or more, depending on the model.

    • Speed: Computerized machines are also faster when it comes to adjusting stitch length and width.

    • Embroidery: Sewing machines that also have embroidery capabilities can store several alphabets for monogramming.

    • Quilting: Quilting combo machines are capable of free-motion sewing as well as a wide range of quilting stitches.

Size and weight

Sewing machine frames are made of either metal, plastic, or a combination of both. Janome makes both plastic and metal frames, although some of their metal frames are aluminum, cutting down on weight. Size and weight really come into play if you travel with your machine to retreats, classes, or sewing groups. It’ll be much easier if your machine is smaller and lighter. Plus, with a smaller machine, you’ll have more room in your storage closet for fabric.

Technological simplicity

The technology itself isn’t simple, but this computerized machine makes the basics a cinch to master. Everything this machine does it does well, including managing the speed without the pedal. We especially love the double-lift presser foot that gives you extra space to clear those thick fabrics.

Janome sewing machine features

Stitches

Beginners might be tempted by a machine with hundreds of stitches, but most people rarely venture away from the basic five: straight, zigzag, triple-step zigzag, blind hem, and overlock. Take a good look at the number of extra stitches and what those stitches are for. Generally, they’re decorative in nature. If you like adding machine lace or interesting textures to your garments, then extra stitches are a good investment for you. You can also find machines with preloaded alphabets for embroidery and stitches for quilting if these are your specialty. However, if you’re just starting out or you’ve never used a decorative stitch on the machine you already have, opt for a solid machine with fewer stitches.

Automatic features

  • Thread tension: Thread tension is the bane of many a tailor’s existence. Machines with an automatic thread tension feature can take some of the headache out of sewing. However, more often than not, you’ll still need to make additional tension adjustments, but the auto adjustment at least gives you a head start.

  • Buttonholer: An automatic buttonholer takes the work out of this difficult, sometimes frustrating sewing skill. Janome machines can have up to 11 different buttonhole stitches. Some Janome machines come with either a one-step or four-step automatic buttonholer. The one-step process requires setting the machine only once, while the four-step process requires you to set the machine at the beginning of each of the four steps.

Feed system

Janome has some impressive feed systems that provide increased control over the fabric as it moves through the sewing machine.

  • Feed dogs: Janome has machines with three-, four-, five-, and seven-piece feed dogs. More feed dog pieces mean more fabric gets gripped for better control under the needle.

  • Acufeed: Janome also has an Acufeed system that has feed dogs on the bottom and top of the fabric. This system allows you to sew thicker, heavier fabrics and materials without slowing down your sewing speed, but it also smoothes the way for delicate fabrics, too.

  • Drop feed: You can lower the feed dogs so they don’t pull the fabric through the machine. Once the feed dogs are dropped, you can do free-motion quilting.

  • Speed control: A speed-control slider lets you limit the top speed of the sewing machine even when the foot pedal is to the floor. This feature allows for better control, especially for beginners who haven’t yet mastered the art of speed control.

Knee lift

A knee lift allows you to lift the presser foot with your knee so both hands can stay on the fabric. This premium feature can be difficult to master even for the experienced, but it does add to the precision of your work, especially when quilting.

Free arm

A free arm allows you to sew cylindrical pieces and circular shapes like those found on garment arms and legs. Models with this feature have a storage compartment that can be removed from the table of the sewing machine to reveal the free arm.

Quilting and embroidery

Janome makes some impressive sewing machines that also quilt or embroider. However, some of these machines cost well over $5,000, so they represent a serious investment. Some of their features include preloaded alphabets, free-motion quilting, USB ports for loading additional or custom patterns, and a touchscreen to control it all.

Extras

Different Janome sewing machines come with a long list of extra features. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Extra-high (double-lift) presser foot lift: Whether you’re quilting or sewing denim, extra lift on the presser foot can help you clear those thick, heavy projects with no problem.

  • Extra-wide stitch widths: Extra width (up to 9 mm) for those specialty projects can make all the difference in getting professional-looking results.

  • Extra-wide work area: Some of the larger Janome machines have an extra-wide work area that reduces tugging when doing big projects, especially handy if you quilt, craft, or embroider.

  • Extension table: This is another extra for the quilters out there. An extension table lets you keep your stitches straight by reducing the pull of heavy fabric.
EXPERT TIP

Quality materials matter. An advanced sewing machine can still give you poor results if you use low-quality materials. Splurge on high-quality threads and fabrics and change the sewing needle after 6 to 12 sewing hours.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Dirt, dust, lint, and even pet hair can clog your machine. Be sure to cover the machine when it’s not in use.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

To get rid of your (sewing) tension headaches, be sure the top and bobbin threads match in type and weight. It will make adjusting the tension that much easier.


Staff  | BestReviews

Janome sewing machine prices

Inexpensive: Entry-level Janome sewing machines start at $50 to $125. These mechanical machines have up to 15 stitches and a free arm and come with several extra presser feet. Some are compact and lightweight, while others have a metal internal frame.

Mid-range: The Janome machines with the best balance of features for the price fall in the $125 to $500 range. These include both mechanical and computerized machines, some with industrial strength internal frames meant to tackle heavy, thick fabrics. Computerized models may have over 100 stitches, an extension table, and a one- or four-step buttonhole feature.

Expensive: In the $500 to $1,500 range are the sewing machines with embroidery and quilting capabilities with preloaded alphabets and hundreds of decorative stitches. A few at the top of this price range also have the ability to download new patterns or custom designs. You’ll also find some with the Acufeed system.

Premium: Machines that cost over $1,500 and some that are well over $5,000 have pretty much everything: extra-wide sewing table, touchscreen, 300 stitches, free-motion sewing, and tons of preloaded embroidery patterns.

Basic beauty

This machine might be a simple mechanical model, but it can do some impressive sewing. The 12 built-in stitches cover the basics, but with a drop feed you can also tackle free-motion quilting. If you’re going to quilt, you’ll also love the extra-high presser foot lift to clear the thickest of fabrics and batting.

Tips

  • Only pay extra for features you know you’ll use. Bells and whistles can be exciting, but they add dollars to the price tag. Two hundred stitches might sound fun, but most people don’t use more than five, so don’t splurge on more stitches, needle positions, or advanced feed systems unless you know they’ll make a difference in your sewing projects.

  • Learn how to sew a straight line. Sewing in a straight line is akin to driving in a straight line – you can’t stare at the point right in front of the car and expect to drive straight. To keep your stitches straight, pick a guide point on the foot or sewing machine and keep your eyes on it while you sew rather than staring at the needle. Your seams will be truer and straighter by sticking with the guide.

  • Clean out the lint. Regularly clean the lint out of the bobbin area as well as the area inside the machine around the needle. Depending on how much you use your machine, you should schedule a professional tune-up and cleaning every year or two.

Other products we considered

Janome’s commitment to top-quality machines makes it tough to narrow our choices to five. Here are a couple that didn’t quite make our list but can make your next sewing project a breeze. The Janome Arcitc Crystal Sewing Machine does more than just look delicious. It’s a great machine for beginners because it performs the basics with style, all at an affordable price. If you want to up your creativity to the next level, the Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200 QCP Computerized Sewing Machine might be the one for you. It comes with dozens of extras and accessories, and you can upload new patterns or use those of your own making. It’s pricey, but it sews like a dream.

The Janome Memory Craft line allows you to transfer your own designs to the sewing machine, giving you the ultimate in creativity.

FAQ

Q. Are there Janome machines that come with more than three needle positions?
A.
Left, right, and middle – do you really need more than that? Yes, you do if you’re quilting or taking your garment sewing seriously. There are Janome machines with nearly 100 needle positions. You can’t help but get the needle in the perfect place with that many options.

Q. Can I download Janome instruction manuals online?
A.
The sewing machine should come with an instruction manual, and we recommend reading through it completely so you know what your machine can do. However, Janome also provides downloadable versions of all of their manuals on its website.

Q. Do Janome sewing machines come with a cover?
A.
Some machines include a cover. It can be hard, semi-hard, or soft. However, you can always buy a separate case or cover if the one that comes with the machine doesn’t meet your needs.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Stacey
    Stacey
    Writer
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