Best Sewing Machines: 2017 Guide

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Are you looking for a new home sewing machine? Wondering which products are the best sewing machines for quilting and embroidery? Or simply looking for the next big thing in sewing?

If so — this complete guide to the best sewing machines in 2017 is for you.

best sewing machines for beginners

Take a look at our buying guide if you’re pondering over exactly what it is you need, or jump straight to our best sewing machine reviews if you want to know what products are taking the sewing world by storm right now.

Here’s a sneak peek at 5 of our favorite machines in the meantime…

 
Computerized or Mechanic?ComputerizedComputerizedMechanic (Dial)ComputerizedComputerized
# of Stitch Styles600 (inc. 13 1-step buttonholes)294 (inc. 10 1-step buttonholes)1 Needle Lockstitch60 (inc. 7 1-step buttonholes)100 (inc. 7 1-step buttonholes)
Stitches per Minute8508501500850750
Automatic Needle Threader?YesYesYesYesYes
Automatic Thread Cutter?YesYesYesNoYes
Warranty25 Years 25 YearsUnknown25 Years25 Years
Good For?All-RounderAll-RounderQuiltingBeginner quiltersAll-Rounder

Best Sewing Machines 2017: Buying Guide

Unless you’ve been brought up in a world of sewing and embroidery, the sewing machine market can be more than a little overwhelming.

There’s a huge number of machines out there, and the list of specifications attached to them can be pretty extraordinary.

If you’re brand new to the sewing market, we suggest you head over to our Home Sewing Machines 101 post. That details everything you need to know about sewing machines and sewing in general before you buy.

If you’re wondering what on earth feed dogs are — this post is for you!

But in the meantime, if you know your lockstitch from your zigzag stitch, stick around here and we’ll clue you in on the best sewing machines of 2017.

Best Sewing Machines: Brands

While there are a huge number of individual sewing machines out there, there are only a relatively small number of brands that dominate this market.

The major players are:

Truthfully, if you’re looking for a really high quality sewing machine right now, you’re probably going to be buying a model from one of these brands.

best sewing machines brands

There are, of course, a number of quality, individual machines that don’t belong to these brands, which we’ll highlight as well.

If you’re tempted by a low-cost unbranded sewing machine, we’d advise you to steer clear. While they may in some cases be significantly cheaper than the branded alternatives, they will not be made as well nor will offer the same caliber of capabilities and specifications.

Plus, there are a handful of the best sewing machines under $200 anyway!

A Note on Pricing

Just while we’re on the subject of price, let’s just highlight a universal truth:

You get what you pay for.

With a few exceptions, the better the machine, the higher the price.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that cheaper machines are in anyway bad or low quality but usually that they simply don’t offer the same array of capabilities as their more expensive counterparts.

For some people, this will be fine. As long as the machine delivers high quality stitches and does what you want it to, that’s enough.

For the more adventurous and more diverse amongst us, you may need something a little more specialist, wide ranging or sturdy. That’s fine too — what’s important is that you know what you want and you buy something that meets your needs and expectations.

Things to Consider Before You Buy

Here’s a list of features and capabilities that you should consider whether you need in a sewing machine.

Once you know the answers, you’ll be that much closer to choosing the best sewing machine for you!

best sewing machines for beginners

  • The number of stitch patterns it offers: important for embroiderers and decorative sewers. The more the better.
  • The number of stitches per minute it offers. How fast can it work?
  • What’s the stitch quality like?
  • Is it computerized with an LCD display or mechanical with a dial? We find computerized easier to use, but it’s up to you.
  • What’s the maximum stitch length and width? Especially important for sewers working with thicker materials. Also check if the stitch sizing is adjustable.
  • The number of buttonhole styles it offers. Important for garment makers. The more the better.
  • The number of steps needed for buttonhole sewing. The fewer the better for maximum efficiency.
  • Is the speed adjustable? Especially important for beginners.
  • How big is the throat? The bigger the better — especially for quilters and those working on larger projects.
  • Does it come with automatic thread cutters, needle threaders and bobbin winders? 
  • Does it have twin needle capability? Important for garment makers and hemmers.
  • How big is it? Important for portability.
  • The number of included presser feet and whether it comes with a knee lifter (for removing the presser feet hands free).
  • Are the feed dogs adjustable? And can you easily disengage them?
  • Does it have a free arm? Important for garment makers for sewing sleeves.
  • Does it come with a drop-in bobbin?
  • Is there a warranty available and what’s the support like?

Phew! That’s quite a lot of things to consider — and it’s definitely not an exhaustive list.

If there’s one thing you should be taking away, it’s that you truly need to do your research to find out the best sewing machines for home use. But don’t worry too much — we’ve done the hard work for you…

The Best Sewing Machines 2017: Reviews

Here are our carefully curated top sewing machines of 2017.

These are all, bar none, excellent machines. Which one you decide to buy will depend entirely on your own personal preferences — so we’ve labelled them according to what type of sewing they’re best for.

That might be garment making, quilting, or even just general home use.

Let’s take it away…

Singer Quantum Stylist 9960

For many people, this Singer Quantum Stylist is the best sewing machine of 2017 — just check out the hordes of sterling reviews!

Those in the know describe it as ‘dealer quality’, but the price is low enough to fool you otherwise.

We think it’s a great all-round machine at a very reasonable price.

best sewing machines for beginners

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • 600 different stitch patterns available
  • 13 different buttonhole styles (in just 1 step!)
  • 850 stitches per minute
  • Computerized with an LCD screen
  • Quick and easy to use: comes with an automatic needle threader, thread cutter, tension, a top drop-in bobbin system and electronic twin needle control
  • Needle up/down button and free arm
  • Comes with 19 presser feet and an extension table, plus a host of other accessories
  • Slow sewing speed option
  • 1-25 year warranty (limited) according to component

Here’s a video of the machine in action:

While we really love the Singer 9960, here’s what could be better:

  • It’s a little noisy at high speed
  • Singer’s customer service leaves a little to be desired
the best sewing machines

Brother PC 420PRW

This sleek and chic machine from Brother is part of their Project Runway collection and is one of the best sewing machines of 2017, hands down.

Much like the Singer 9960, it’s an all-round machine that will likely appeal to intermediate sewers and above. Fashion designers and garment makers are likely to favor this machine too.

home sewing machine

Here’s what we love about the Brother PC420PRW:

  • Includes 294 pre-programmed stitches, including 10 1-step buttonholes and 3 font styles
  • Brother My Custom Stitch feature allows you to design custom stitches — great for crafters!
  • Automatic needle threader and thread trimming
  • Bobbin winding system powered by start button
  • Comes with 11 presser feet and a host of other accessories
  • 6-point feed dogs and built-in knee lifter
  • Works at 850 stitches per minute
  • Adjustable speed control
  • LCD display for easy stitch selection and size control
  • Twin needle function
  • Works quietly
  • 25 year limited warranty

Here’s what could be improved:

  • Very heavy at around 25 pounds
  • Weak lighting system
  • Some buyers noticed skipping on the zigzag stitch
the best sewing machines

Juki TL-2010Q

Fashion designers, tailors and quilters will love this Juki single needle lockstitch sewing machine, which comes with a high price tag but that unbeatable Japanese quality.

best sewing machines 2017

Here’s what we love about this Juki machine:

  • Single needle lockstitch
  • Automatic needle threader and thread trimmer
  • Easy bobbin replacement
  • Knee lifter lever for ease of use
  • Adjustment of presser foot pressure
  • Portable with carrying handle
  • Lots of included accessories
  • Large throat perfect for quilting
  • Free motion quilting capability
  • Can stitch through several layers

And where we think it could improve:

  • It’s really heavy, at over 37 pounds
  • It’s not computerized
the best sewing machines

Brother CS6000i

This low cost and versatile computerized sewing machine from Brother is particularly popular with quilters and other crafters.

It’s also small and pretty lightweight — ideal for crafting night!

best sewing machines 2017

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • 60 built-in stitches, including 7 1-step buttonholes
  • Computerized LCD display for easy stitch and size selection
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Variable speed control
  • Stop/start button and top drop-in bobbin
  • Comes with quilting table, hard cover, 9 presser feet and a host of other accessories
  • Free arm
  • 25 year limited warranty

And here’s a few areas for improvement:

  • Light is not strong enough
  • The operation manual is a little confusing
the best sewing machines

Singer 7528

This is another low-cost model from Singer, but this bad boy offers a lot more stitches as well as a programmable needle — ideal!

It’s another easy to use all-round machine — no wonder it’s one of the most popular sewing machines of 2017.

best sewing machines 2017

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • 100 pre-programmed stitches, including 7 1-step buttonholes
  • Automatic needle threader and top drop-in bobbin system
  • Computerized with an LCD display
  • Electronic auto pilot option where you can sew without the foot pedal
  • Comes with 10 presser feet and other accessories
  • Adjustable stitch length and width
  • Programmable up/down needle
  • Speed control with start/stop button
  • 25 year limited warranty

And here’s what could be improved:

  • Not as reliable on thicker materials
  • Machine vibrates on higher speed settings
the best sewing machines

Brother SE400

In our humble opinion, this is one of the best sewing machines for quilting and embroidery available right now. Crafters — you’re going to love it!

We especially love the fact that you can connect it up to your computer and import your embroidery designs straight to the machine.

best sewing machines for quilting and embroidery

Here’s what we love about it:

  • 67 built-in stitch styles, 70 built-in embroidery designs and 5 lettering fonts
  • 4″ x 4″ embroidery capabilities
  • Can connect to your computer to import in your own embroidery designs
  • 1 touch automatic thread cutter and needle threader
  • 7-point feed dogs — smooth fabric feeding
  • Free arm
  • Comes with plenty of accessories including presser feet, embroidery hoop and arm
  • LCD touch display
  • Brightly lit workspace
  • 25 year limited warranty

Here’s a couple of areas where it could be improved:

  • The pre-programmed embroidery designs aren’t particularly inspiring
  • Not so good at tackling thicker fabrics and multiple layers
the best sewing machines

Singer 4423

Singer claim that the 4423 can ‘sew through just about anything you throw at it’, which is exactly what we want in a heavy duty sewing machine.

This bad boy is certainly powerful — and it’s fast too, able to stitch 1,100 stitches per minute. It’s great to have industrial level sewing at a home use price!

the best sewing machines

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • 23 included stitches, including 1 1-step buttonhole
  • Automatic needle threader and top drop-in bobbin
  • Can stitch 1,100 stitches per minute thanks to a 60% stronger motor
  • Very heavy duty and durable: stainless steel bed plate and a strong metal frame
  • 4 included presser feet are snap-on
  • Doesn’t vibrate, even at high speed — and no skipping stitches either!
  • Clear view cover over bobbin thread supply
  • 25 year limited warranty
  • Low cost

Here’s where there’s room for improvement:

  • Can be tricky to set the thread tension successfully
  • Lighting could be better
the best sewing machines

Juki HZL-F600

This Juki product is truly one of the best sewing machines of 2017. In terms of stitch quality, reliability and creative potential, this machine is almost unparalleled.

Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s definitely high quality.

best sewing machines for beginners

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • Includes 255 sewing patterns, 4 fonts and 16 buttonholes
  • Box feed technology
  • Works with lightweight to thicker materials
  • Wide sewing space with an extended sewing table
  • Stitch charts
  • Accessories include snap-on presser feet
  • 900 stitches per minute
  • Computerized with an LCD display

And here’s where it could improve:

  • You can’t use it for embroidering
  • It’s pretty heavy (around 25 pounds)
the best sewing machines

Janome 8077

This is a great value, sewing machine for beginners from Janome that’s pretty much perfect for home use and some crafting.

Stitch quality is always high and there’s plenty of accessories included for you to customize your sewing experience.

home sewing machine

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • Comes with 30 built-in stitches, including 6 1-step buttonholes
  • Equipped with the exclusive Janome jam-proof magnetic rotary hook
  • Start/stop button as well as foot control
  • Extra high presser foot lift for maximum ease of use
  • Sliding speed override — great for beginners
  • Plenty of bonus accessories, including presser feet and a needle pack
  • Can handle lightweight through to heavy duty materials

And here’s a couple of areas for improvement:

  • You can only use the start/stop button when the foot pedal is unplugged
  • There aren’t many decorative stitches, which may deter crafters
the best sewing machines

Janome DC2014

This Janome product is one of the best sewing machines for home use and is highly popular with sewers who value reliable stitch quality and ease of use.

the best sewing machines

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • Comes with 50 pre-programmed stitches, including 3 1-step buttonholes
  • 7-point feed dogs for smooth feeding
  • Auto-lock button and easy reverse
  • Speed control via slider
  • Top loading drop-in bobbin, automatic de-clutch bobbin winder and built-in needle threader
  • Automatic tension control
  • Free arm and quilting guide bar
  • Extra high presser foot lift for ease of use
  • Memorized needle up/down
  • Start/stop button to sew without foot pedal
  • Works reasonably quietly

And here’s where it could be better:

  • Can be tricky to use the needle threader
  • Not so good on sewing through multiple layers of thick material
the best sewing machines

Brother HC1850

This low-cost Brother machine is good for quilters and other crafters who’ll appreciate the beautiful pre-programmed decorative stitches.

Quilters love the detachable large table, spring action quilting foot, free-motion quilting capabilities and the 14 quilting stitch functions.

best sewing machines 2017

Here’s what we love about this machine:

  • 130 built-in stitches, including 8 1-step buttonholes and a sewing font for monogramming
  • Special features for quilting, including wide table
  • Includes lots of accessories, like an attached stitch flip chart and 8 specialty feet
  • Computerized with LCD display
  • Super bright LED-lit work area
  • Adjustable sewing speed
  • Automatic needle threader and quick-set bobbin with start button
  • Drop feed for free motion quilting
  • Just over 10 pounds
  • Inexpensive

And where it could improve:

  • Experienced sewers may find the speed a little slow
  • Doesn’t feel as sturdy as some of the heavy duty machines
the best sewing machines

Janome 2212

A *cheap* Janome machine, you say? Believe the hype — reliable, quality stitching in a low priced machine is here!

This is an easy to use and basic machine that’s perfect for beginners and those dipping their toes into the sewing world.

the best sewing machines

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • Comes with 12 pre-programmed stitches, including 1 buttonhole
  • Drop feed and free arm for free motion sewing and quilting
  • Pattern selection is via the easy turn dial
  • Front loading bobbin
  • Speeds up to 1000 stitches per minute
  • Built-in thread cutter
  • Comes with multiple accessories, including snap-on presser feet
  • You can lock stitches with the reverse lever
  • Limited 25 year warranty

Areas for improvement:

  • Buttonhole requires 4 steps
  • Needle threading and tension control is manual, which could be tricky
the best sewing machines

Janome HD1000

This Janome is one of the best heavy duty sewing machines on the market at such a reasonable price.

You can expect that usual Janome quality stitching, plus the ability to tackle thicker and layered fabrics — great for garment makers!

home sewing machine

Things we love about the machine:

  • 14 built-in stitches, including 1 buttonhole
  • Very heavy duty, made of cast aluminum
  • Built-in automatic needle threader
  • Removable free arm and drop feed for free motion sewing
  • Comes with plenty of accessories, including 4 presser feet, and bobbins
  • Adjustable stitch length and width
  • Front loading bobbin and automatic de-clutch bobbin winder
  • Select stitches via the dial
  • Extra high presser foot lifter
  • 25 year limited warranty

And some things we don’t like so much:

  • Buttonhole requires 4 steps
  • Machine runs relatively loudly
  • Tension control is manual, which can be tricky
the best sewing machines

Singer 5400 Sew Mate

This popular sewing machine is low cost, lightweight and easy to use — perfect for beginners!

While you shouldn’t expect miracles from a product in this price range, it’s deservedly popular and ideal for basic use.

compact sewing machine

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • 60 built in stitch styles, including 4 1-step buttonholes
  • Push button stitch selection
  • Automatic needle threader, tension, stitch length and width
  • Front load bobbin
  • Comes with a number of accessories, including presser feet
  • 25 year limited warranty

And here’s what could be improved:

  • The bobbin has to be rethreaded quite a lot
  • Stitch quality is not always consistent (personal use only!)
the best sewing machines

Singer 8763

While the 8763 doesn’t have the same bells and whistles as the 9960 above, it’s a fabulous simple machine that gets the job done.

It’s one of our favorite sewing machines for beginners, is easy to use and comes at an attractively low price.

the best sewing machines

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • 30 stitch styles on offer, including 2 1-step buttonholes
  • Automatic needle threader and bobbin thread pick-up
  • Automatic stitch length and width
  • 3 LED lamps that stay cool
  • Computerized: choose stitch and settings at the touch of a button
  • Free arm
  • Very sturdy and powerful machine
  • Accessory pack included
  • 25 year limited warranty

Obviously, at its low price you can’t expect too much more than just a good sewing machine for beginners, but here’s a few things we would improve aside from that fact:

  • It’s heavy at 17 pounds so not exactly portable!
  • Doesn’t reliably produce totally straight and even stitches — it’s not suitable for anything other than personal and hobbyist use
  • No LCD screen
the best sewing machines

Singer 1234

If you want a cheap, basic sewing machine, it’s hard to go wrong with the Singer 1234. Check out that low, low price!

Sure, it may not have the bells and whistles of the more expensive models, but it’s certainly a good deal that would be well suited to beginners, sewers on a budget or even kids.

home sewing machine

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • Automatic bobbin winding system
  • Free arm and darning plate
  • Includes online machine owner’s class
  • 6 built-in stitches, including 1 button hole
  • Pre-set stitch length and width settings
  • Accessories including 3 presser feet
  • Comes with a tote bag and decorative vinyl decals
  • Dual spool pins for twin needles
  • 750 stitches per minute speed
  • 25 year limited warranty

And here’s what could be improved:

  • Programmed buttonhole stitch is a 4-step process
  • No good for thick materials
the best sewing machines

 

What are your picks for the best sewing machines of 2017?


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