Easily handles heavy fabrics. The automatic needle threader and cutter work well and save time. It comes with an impressive number of stitches and presser feet.
Occasional bobbin jams can slow down progress.
An easy-to-operate mechanical dial makes this machine simple for beginners to use. Features like an automatic 4-step button hole and extra-high presser foot lift that help it appeal to advanced sewists.
Occasional problems with the bobbin and automatic threader.
With 6 built-in stitches and an automatic buttonhole, it works well for basic sewing. Simple to use and no frills design is perfect for beginners.
Threading can be a challenge even with the instruction booklet.
Sews 1,100 stitches per minute for hard to beat speed. With 23 built-in stitches, this durable machine can handle most home sewing needs.
Bobbin gets jammed occasionally.
Convenience features like needle position button, speed control dial, and 100 stitch choices help make garments look more professional. Add the automatic needle threader and you've got a workhorse with high-end features.
Could have problems sewing through the multiple layers necessary for quilting.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
As a trusted brand in the sewing world, Singer produces some of the most reliable machines on the market. Whether you're a beginner who's hoping to sew your first pillowcase or an advanced user who's ready to start a home-based business, chances are there's a Singer sewing machine waiting for you.
There are Singer machines with the latest in sewing technology like mirror imaging and stitch elongation, but don't worry if that sounds like too much for you. The company’s basic and advanced machines are reliable, which is far more important than any extra features.
We've put together a shopping guide to help you narrow down your choices until you find the machine that's perfect for you. Be sure to take a look at our top five picks for the models we think give you the best value for your dollar.
Computerized vs. mechanical
One of the biggest decisions you'll make is between computerized and mechanical sewing machines because it directly affects features and price. Take a good look at the type of sewing you do and how often you do it. That information should give you a good indication of which type of machine you want.
Mechanical sewing machines are by far the most economical option. These have manual dials and levers to make stitch changes and tension adjustments. Mechanical machines have fewer stitch options but are typically easier to maintain because of their simplicity. A heavy-duty mechanical sewing machine can handle both thick fabrics like denim and delicate fabrics like silk.
Computerized sewing machines have a higher price tag, but they also have a long list of features. Many models can automatically thread needles, cut thread, and adjust tension and stitch length at the touch of a button. These machines have many more stitch options, including more buttonhole styles. Some computerized machines offer better speed control, too.
The truth is that many computerized machines have far more stitches than most people will ever use. Beginners who won't be sewing very often may find a simple mechanical machine far more efficient than a computerized model. However, if you like having more stitch options (and you know you'll use them), and you don't want to mess with manually adjusting dials, a computerized machine might be the right choice.
Versatile machine with hundreds of stitches
With 600 stitches, extension table, and free-stitching feature, this machine has versatility that’s hard to beat at this price. It includes all the basic stitches, of course, but the decorative stitches go on for pages, which quilters will love. It can handle projects large and small and is powerful and durable enough for heavy fabrics. One of our favorite features is the easy threading system built directly onto the machine. It has 18 presser feet, so you’re ready to go as soon as you open the box.
All Singer sewing machines can do the basic five stitches: straight, zigzag, three-step zigzag, blind hem, and overlock. Any stitches other than these are considered decorative or specialty stitches that you may or may not use. It’s worth buying a machine with a few extra stitches if you know you’ll use them, but you don’t need to splurge on a machine with hundreds of stitches if simple hems are all you’ll ever sew.
If you’ll be sewing garments, you’re going to want at least one buttonhole option. More advanced machines may have multiple buttonhole options like square, round, or keyhole.
Do you want to monogram items or make quilts? Large projects benefit from the extra sewing space and stability offered by an extension table. Some models have an extension table while others can be fitted with one that’s sold separately.
The right presser foot makes sewing much easier. Basic Singer sewing machines include an all-purpose foot, zipper foot, and buttonhole foot. Advanced models may include over ten presser feet, such as a blind hem, open toe, satin stitch, or embroidery. While you can always buy extra presser feet separately, you’ll save money by purchasing a model that already includes the presser feet you use most.
Sewing speed and speed control
Sewing machines are so much more efficient than hand sewing that it’s hard to imagine that sewing speed could really make that much difference. However, if you’re trying to crank out a sewing project on a deadline, you know the value of a fast machine. Speeds of 850 stitches per minute or higher (some home models go well above 1,000 stitches per minute) get the job done more quickly. Keep in mind that you’ll only be able to use the top speed on straight stretches. You’ll have to slow down on intricate details and curves.
Singer sewing machines have either a metal or plastic interior frame. Metal frames are more durable and last longer, but they’re also heavier. You might have to find a balance between durability and portability.
You can access the free arm of a modern sewing machine by removing part of the base, which leaves a narrow portion of the machine underneath the needle and feed dog. With a narrower base, you can sew smaller, tubular pieces of fabric like sleeves and pant legs. Some Singer machines have a free arm while others don’t, so if you sew garments, you’ll definitely want to get a machine with a free arm.
Ease of use
All sewing machines have quirks, but some models are notorious for rethreading or tension issues. Many Singer models have threading diagrams on the machine, taking the headache out of this task. Models with drop-in bobbins are also generally easier to use. To get the best use out of your machine, we recommend reading through the owner’s manual to get an idea of what’s possible with your sewing machine.
Keep your sewing machine covered so it stays clean. Dust can clog and ruin any kind of machinery, and sewing machines are no different.
Lint finds its way into all a sewing machine’s nooks and crannies. Occasionally open the casing and blow out the lint and dust with compressed air. Keep the nozzle at least four inches from your machine to prevent any moisture from entering the mechanism.
Modern features like an automatic needle threader take some of the tedious work out of sewing. While the absence of these features isn’t a deal breaker, having them can cut down on frustration when you’re in the middle of a big project.
Singer produces some excellent machines at very reasonable prices. A lightweight, basic machine with up to 36 stitches starts at under $100. These aren’t heavy-duty machines, but for light general sewing, one of these inexpensive models performs well for the price.
These machines cost between $100 and $200 and are where Singer truly shines. These machines balance price with durability and reliability. There are heavy-duty, high-speed models with up to 60 built-in stitches. Jams and threading problems happen less often with these machines than with less expensive models.
At $200 and up, you’ll find professional-grade machines with hundreds of built-in stitches, embroidery capabilities, and multiple buttonhole styles. With some of these machines, you can create your own stitch patterns or manipulate existing ones to create one-of-a-kind designs.
Reliable simplicity for users of all levels
This mechanical sewing machine has the basic stitches plus 14 extras. Making adjustments is simple and fast, which both beginners and experienced users will appreciate. We love the presser foot because it lifts extra high for sewing thick fabrics or multiple layers. Though it might not have all the bells and whistles of pricier models, what it does do it does well.
Use high-quality thread and needles. Poor thread leaves behind more lint, which eventually clogs your machine. Bent and broken sewing needles can throw off the timing, which means a visit to the repairman.
Use the lint brush. The lint brush is included for a reason. Open the casing and clean your machine frequently to prevent lint buildup. Don’t forget to clean out the bobbin area, too.
Singer has a long list of sewing machine models that cater to everyone from beginner to advanced. We’ve picked machines that we feel best represent the different sewing levels – beginning, intermediate, and advanced. However, there are some great machines that didn't quite make the list. The Singer Simple 3232 Portable Sewing Machine is another great option for beginners or casual users. It has 32 built-in stitches and automatic needle threading, but accessing the bobbin can be an issue. Nostalgia buffs might want to take a look at the Singer Heritage Electronic Sewing Machine. The body style mimics classic Singer machines, but the performance is definitely modern.
Q. Do Singer sewing machines handle heavy fabrics like denim and canvas?
A. Heavy fabrics can be a challenge for an underpowered sewing machine. While not all Singer machines do well with these fabrics, there are some that sew through them without trouble. Machines with a metal interior frame and heavy-duty and/or professional grade models do best on heavy fabrics. You'll also need to have a denim needle and thread that’s intended for heavy fabric, too.
Q. Do Singer sewing machines come with hard covers/cases?
A. Some models have a hard cover and some have a soft dustcover. Hard covers obviously offer more protection, but if the model you want doesn’t have one, you can buy it separately. Soft covers may not protect your machine in a fall, but it will keep dust off, which is important for the long-term functionality of the sewing machine.
Q. Can a Singer sewing machine sew knit fabrics?
A. Any sewing machine can do knits, although some sew them better than others. However, you’ll need the right needle. Ballpoint needles, sometimes called jersey needles, have a rounded tip to prevent snags. You might also need a walking foot to prevent the fabric from stretching while you sew.
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