Sunbeam SB-1800 Compact Sewing Machine Review

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The Sunbeam SB-1800 Compact sewing machine is the kind of machine that, on first impression, looks a tad too small and a tad too dainty to work.

But don’t be fooled!

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It’s a sturdy number with an unexpected lineup of tricks, ranging from buttonhole stitches to a build-in measurement tape. This feisty little one has the potential of helping you out after an unexpected pant-tear, or maybe brightening up a dull arts-and-crafts afternoon.

But even the little guys have their limits. Let’s have a look at what they might be…


Sunbeam SB-1800 Compact Sewing Machine: The Details

The Look

The Sunbeam SB-1800 is, as mentioned, very compact.

It’s light and it’s classic, and at first glance it seems quite intuitive in its set-up: there’s diagrams next to every button and lever, guiding along in threading, choosing a stitch, and getting the machine ready for use.

The handle on top is a clever touch, considering the machine doesn’t come with a cover—nor does it need one, really, as it can easily fit in a bag. It’s light enough to carry from room to room, and small enough to store without a struggle.

The arm has a nice wide and curved design, good for turning on tricky corners!

Specs

  • Weight: 6.5 lbs
  • Dimensions: 12 x 5.9 x 12 inches
  • Stitches: 12 built-in stitches: 3 straight, 7 zigzags, and 2 kinds of 4-step button-hole patterns.
  • Speed: Has two in-built speeds: ‘fast’ and ‘slow’.
  • Computerized/Mechanic: Mechanic
  • Bobbin: Top drop-in bobbin system
  • Warranty: 1-year limited warranty

Accessories

In keeping with its ‘compact’ attitude, the Sunbeam SB-1800’s accessories come either set up within the machine or cleverly incorporated into the design.

The thread cutter, for example, is embedded as a little groove on the side.

The ‘measuring tape’ is printed onto the base of the arm, and the machine comes readily threaded, bobbin and all already in place.

It also comes equipped with the following:

  • Foot control pedal
  • 2 thread spools
  • 2 bobbins
  • Needle threader
  • Needle

Sunbeam: The Company

Sunbeam has been around for quite a while, and if you haven’t heard of their sewing machines before, perhaps you’re more familiar with some of their other appliances: they make everything from mixers, to shavers, to coffee makers.

The company started in the 1890s, and in the good century-and-some since has had many different incarnations.

Since 2002 it’s been steadily growing, which partly resulted in the introduction of this new sewing machine line.

All in all, a fine company with a long history that knows a thing or two about producing good quality at an affordable price.

The Warranty

Sunbeam’s SB-1800 has a limited one year warranty. This entails a coverage of all repair of defects (including any necessary workmanship) for a year from the provable date of purchase.

The ‘limited’ element of the clause means that the warranty won’t apply if (for example) the product was already taken apart by someone who wasn’t authorized by the company to do so. For more information on this and other clauses, see here.

Features

Stitches

The Sunbeam SB-1800 comes with twelve built-in stitches: three straight, seven zigzags, and two four-step buttonhole stitches.

For the little thing that it is, this is quite an achievement: most machines its size (and in this price-range) measure up at half the stitches, and not many of them come with a buttonhole stitch, let alone two.

We also enjoy that it allows you to manually adjust the stitch length to your preferences — again, quite a coup for such a reasonably priced machine!

For anyone looking for a small machine to take with on the road or keep in the cupboard for quick mending, this one will not only do the job, but also surprise you with its unexpected capacity.

Reverse Sewing & Sleeve Arm

It is these two features, we believe, that elevate the SB-1800 beyond the common mid-range beginner’s machine.

The reverse option allows you to fortify the beginnings and endings of any stitch, while the little groove incorporated into the arm allows for sleeve sewing: both options that aim for more than just your off-the-cuff mending.

Automatic Needle Threader

The easy threading system on the Sunbeam SB-1800 compact sewing machine includes an automatic needle threader.

Not only will this mean that you can start sewing almost immediately without having to fiddle around with threads, but that you’ll have extra time and concentration to focus on your sewing project at hand.

Automatic Bobbin Winder

A handy addition that ensures that no matter how far into your project you get, you’ll never have to let the end of a bobbin mean manually spooling the thread yourself.

Just a few seconds of automatic spooling and you’re ready to get back on track!

Here’s a cracking little video on how to thread the bobbin:

Tension Adjuster

Just because it’s a small sewing machine, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t come with its own fine-tuners.

The tension adjuster allows you to keep in control of the thread tension, keeping the thread feed consistent and the stitch even.

We love that Sunbeam have included this feature on their beginner’s sewing machine: it’s a great feature for developing your skills and developing an intuitive feel for sewing.

Built-in Measuring Tape

Now if this one’s not clever, we don’t know what is.

The ease of this means you’ll never forget your measuring tape, never misplace it, and never lose your spot on the fabric because you had to flatten out the tape.

The only downside is that it only covers about nine inches — but then again, this hardy little machine wouldn’t be good for projects much bigger than that, anyway.

Pedal and Adapter

Again, a good machine for travel in that it provides you with the options you need.

You can choose button-handled over the foot pedal when in want for space, and battery over adapter when nowhere near a power outlet. 

Sunbeam SB-1800 Compact Sewing Machine Review

The Positives

Small But Plentiful

For a machine this small, the Sunbeam SB-1800 packs a surprising punch.

It stitches neatly, quickly, and it comes with a hidden array of unexpected features: an LED lamp, the thread cutter groove, the measuring-tape arm, the automatic spooling, all of it.

This keeps the machine a light wonder, which — after having moved enough monster-sized machines from desk to cupboard in our lives — most of us here certainly appreciate.

Great for Travel

Which harks back onto the above: the fact it’s so light makes it perfect for travel. There’s no needles and bobbins falling out of hidden pockets, the weight is more than manageable, and the handle makes it easy to transport.

A Good One for Beginners

And that’s just the thing: not only for beginners, but also for instructors who might be looking into an easy and accessible machine for teaching on.

It’s straight-forward, the set-up is self-explanatory and it’s ready to sew within minutes. Also to keep in mind for potential instructors (in case it got lost over the past four paragraphs!): so very easy to carry around.

Plus, it’s hard to argue with that low price tag.

Just Plain Clever

What can we say? It’s just a clever little machine.

The build-in measure-tape design, the size, the ease, everything that’s added to make sewing not overly complicated but still a task done well: just plain clever.

The Negatives

Not For Everything (or Everyone)

Now, before we get carried away, keep in mind: this machine won’t be for everyone, and especially not for more advanced sewers looking to take on bigger projects.

The Sunbeam SB-1800 cannot handle thicker fabrics, and if the tension is meddled with on an off moment it will jam. It needs to be handled with a certain amount of patience and realistic expectations, according to its price tag.

It’s certainly not a workhorse, and craft sewers should look elsewhere for a more sophisticated machine.

Basic? Definitely.

Not Very Sturdy

Now this we don’t get to say very often, but because the machine is so light — and small — if not held properly in place during sewing it will move around a little, which could run the risk of dislodging your fabric.

A solution would be to put a kitchen towel under it, or something like it, to ensure it doesn’t dance about too much!

As such, while we think this sewing machine is great for beginners, we’re not convinced that it’s suitable for kids — at least, not without a good deal of supervision.

Overall Verdict

The Sunbeam SB-1800 compact sewing machine is not a universal machine, but it’s good for what it is: a small, compact sewing machine that can surprise you when your expectations aren’t set too high, and disappoint if they are.

It sports a clever design that has quite a lot worked into it, but mind: it’s a lightweight machine that can’t handle heavy fabrics and won’t be suitable for bigger projects.

However, if you’re looking for a machine suitable for mending, arts-and-crafts, hemming or one to use for teaching purposes, then the SB-1800 Compact sewing machine could definitely be a smart option.

Where to Buy the Sunbeam SB-1800 Sewing Machine

The Sunbeam SB-1800 is a popular little runner, and as such can be found in stores and online all over the USA.

Check these out for starters:

And, of course, it’s available on Amazon.

sunbeam sb-1800 review


Have you tried the Sunbeam SB-1800 Compact Sewing Machine yet?


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