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Best Sewing Machine

Best Sewing Machines of 2020

Need the best sewing machine for beginners, thick fabrics, embroidery, quilting or hemlines? We’ve reviewed 10 types and 30 of the best sewing machines for you below.

All 30 Sewing Machines We Recommend

1

Best Sewing Machines for Beginners

Beginner sewing machines are perfect for aspiring seamstresses and general home use. They are usually light, compact, and have few functions. Operation is intuitive and straightforward, although the number of stitching patterns you can make with this machine is limited. Affordable, it’s also a great choice for people on a budget.

Best sewing machine for: Learning, general home use

2

Best Sewing Machines for Advanced Sewers

The best sewing machines for advanced sewers are at the opposite end compared to the beginner model. Most manufacturers cram loads of features into their machines, including built-in stitches, easy threading, and free arm sewing options. Some of the best sewing machines for advanced users also include embroidery or quilting capabilities, for more versatile use.

Best sewing machine for: Tailors, experienced hobbyists, complex DIY projects

3

Best Heavy Duty Sewing Machines

Contrary to popular belief, heavy-duty sewing machines don’t necessarily come with countless stitching patterns. Their simplicity reminds of the beginner sewing machines, but their greatest strength is the capability to stitch through thick materials. These machines are compatible with thicker needles and use thicker thread to ensure solid stitches on fabrics such as canvas or denim. They can also be used for making shoes.

Best sewing machine for: Thick fabrics, leather, denim, canvas, shoemaking

4

Best Embroidery Machines

Designers, as well as crafters with an artistic soul, will undeniably appreciate an embroidery machine. These machines are often computerized and come with built-in designs, while the most advanced models even give you the possibility to upload your own designs via USB. A thing to keep in mind is that not all have regular stitching functions, so if you want to use the machine for both sewing and embroidery, you should go for a two-in-one embroidery and sewing machine for advanced users.

Best sewing machine for: Designers, needleworkers

5

Best Quilting Sewing Machines

As their name implies, quilting sewing machines are designed for making quilts. They have larger throats compared to the heavy-duty or beginner sewing machines, and most models also feature extension tables that provide major support to your bulky items. These machines usually work with longer, thicker needles capable of penetrating through thick layers of materials.

Best sewing machine for: Quilting, making gowns

6

Best Serger Machines

Serger machines, also known as overlock machines, are designed for tailors and fashion designers. What makes them special is the combination of three functions in one. Indeed, the machine can stitch garment seams, trim excess fabric, and overcast the fabric edge in one easy step. A great choice for professionals who want to save precious time.

Best sewing machine for: seam stitching and trimming

7

Best Industrial Sewing Machines

Specifically built for long-term, heavy-duty sewing tasks, these machines suit clothing factories and boutique owners. They are expensive, cumbersome, and more complicated to use than the regular sewing machines for advanced sewers, but can perform a wider variety of stitches on all kinds of fabrics. Furthermore, these machines are built to last, coming with powerful motors and durable parts.

Best sewing machine for: Clothing workshops and factories

8

Best Sewing Machines for Kids

Similar to the sewing machines for beginners, kids’ sewing machines are minimal and easy to use, yet they perform all basic sewing tasks. Typically, they are smaller in size than a standard sewing machine, but a beginner on a tighter budget could opt for such a model. Generally, these machines are suitable for 6-year-olds and up.

Best sewing machine for: Simple sewing tasks, learning

9

Best Portable Sewing Machines

If you only need a sewing machine for quick fixes that require straight line stitching, a mini sewing machine could be your best bet. These models are more simplistic than beginner options but come with a few advantages. They are compact, easy to transport and store, and very easy to use by anyone.

Best sewing machine for: Quick fixes, simple straight line stitching

10

Best Handheld Sewing Machines

Like the mini sewing machines, a handheld sewing machine performs simple, straight line stitching. Its main advantage is the ultra-compact size that allows you to take it anywhere. This handy tool can be used to fix a stitch in an awkward position and is often used by craftspeople and shop owners for quick fixes on the go.

Best sewing machine for: Travel, quick fixes

All Sewing Machine Reviews

1

Best Beginner Sewing Machine

key considerations
Sewing Machines for Beginners Reviews

Sewing machines for beginners are built with simplicity in mind. Most models don’t have any complicated functions nor dozens of stitching patterns, but they are still versatile enough to help you learn how to make straight-line or fancy stitches, create buttonholes, and even try free-arm stitching. The most important feature of these machines is their adaptability to different skill levels.

  • Easy needle change: Opt for a machine with a simple needle changing system, especially if you’ve never used a sewing machine before.
  • Threading ease: Some of the best sewing machines for beginners feature automatic threading.
  • Buttonhole stitching: One of the most complicated things for new sewers is to create buttonholes. Some machines allow for quick, one-step buttonhole sewing.
  • Adaptability: Beginner sewing machines are meant to help you improve your level, so they should come with sufficient stitching patterns and functions to match your new skillsets as you learn.

Best Beginner Sewing Machine Reviews of 2020

Best-in-class
Brother CS7000i

Brother CS7000i Sewing and Quilting Machine

Best 2-in-1 sewing machine for beginners

Included quilting feet and a wider table make it perfect for learning both quilting and sewing.

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1 Brother CS7000i Review

The Brother CS7000i is undeniably the best sewing machine for beginners who want to learn how to sew and also how to quilt. Loads of accessories and 70 built-in stitch options bring unrivaled versatility.

We particularly like the variety of stitches that include utility, heirloom, and decorative choices. Seven auto-size buttonhole patterns add further value, and we also like the free arm design and extension table.

It includes a quilting foot, too, while an LCD screen makes it easy to select the stitching mode you use.

This sewing machine also features automatic needle threader and jam-resistant drop-in bobbin – two features that simplify operation and make it perfect for most users.

Best value
Brother GX37

Brother GX37 Sewing Machine with 37 Built-in Stitches

Best mechanic sewing machine

Built-in stitches and auto-size buttonhole feature enhance versatility.

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2 Brother GX37 Review

Aspiring sewers looking for a sewing machine at a less eye-watery price tag might like the Brother GX37.

It doesn’t have a specific quilting option nor as many built-in stitches as our best-in-class, but it’s an excellent choice for starters. Its mechanic operation allows you to learn how to control all functions.

Thirty-seven built-in stitches vary from utility to decorative to heirloom. We also like the auto-size buttonhole feature as well as the versatile free arm that allows you to also use it for basic quilting projects.

The sewing machine is dependable and affordable – true value for money for most avid amateurs.

Best budget
IRIS GEMMA

IRIS GEMMA Portable Sewing Machine for Adult Beginners

Ideal for occasional use

Easy threading and operation make it perfect for beginners and occasional home use alike.

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3 IRIS GEMMA Review

The IRIS GEMMA is proof that a basic sewing machine is sometimes all you need for occasional use.

A great option for both inexperienced adults and kids, it boasts a very simple operation and a more than attractive price tag. Twelve built-in stitches include two buttonholes and various zigzag modes. Ideal for DIYers and beginners, it also comes with built-in work light, metal threader, and foot pedal.

It can be powered by both batteries and a wall adapter and is one of your best bets to use at home or on the go.

2

Best Advanced Sewing Machine

key considerations
Sewing Machines for Advanced Sewers Reviews

While they may look similar to the sewing machines for beginners, these sewing machines are crammed with stitch options and technologies meant to make sewing easy for experienced users. Most models are computerized, boasting a range of electronic and automatic features designed to reduce work time and improve stitching quality.

  • Built-in stitches: Allow the needle to move correctly to form various stitching patterns. Advanced machines usually include over 100 built-in stitches, including options for symbols, letters, and numbers.
  • Automatic buttonholer: Assists in buttonhole placement, for faster and more accurate creation of buttonholes.
  • Foot pedal: Is useful when you have to use both hands to hold the fabric while operating the machine. Most beginner models don’t have this feature.
  • Free arm: This extended area under the needle makes it easier to maneuver the fabrics and is particularly useful when working on cuffs, collars, and other curved pieces of material.

Best Advanced Sewing Machine Reviews of 2020

Best-in-class
Brother SE1900

Brother SE1900 Computerized Sewing and Embroidery Machine with 240 Built-in Stitches

Best sewing and embroidery machine

Loads of stitching and embroidery designs make it perfect for advanced sewers and needleworkers alike.

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1 Brother SE1900 Review

Are you an enthusiast DIYer looking for the best sewing machine for advanced sewers around? Then the Brother SE1900 could be the right one for you. Designed with both sewers and needleworkers in mind, it’s a great choice for avid hobbyists as well as professionals.

Two modes allow you to switch between sewing and embroidery. Talking about sewing, you can expect 240 built-in stitch models as well as ten auto-size buttonholes.

Furthermore, we like the 138 built-in embroidery designs and 11 fonts for monogramming. A large LCD screen allows you to preview or edit the designs, while the 5 by 7-inch work field makes it perfect for most projects.

The machine also features a generous extension table and relatively large throat. Sure, you’ll have to pay for all these features, but it’s well worth the investment.

Best value
SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960

SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Sewing Machine with 600-Stitches

Best computerized sewing only machine

Auto-pilot mode makes it perfect for dealing with high-volume work.

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2 SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 Review

The SINGER 9960 Quantum Stylist might not have an embroidery mode, but it’s crammed with features and is way cheaper than our best-in-class.

Perfect for fashion designers and busy tailors, it comes with 600 built-in stitches as well as 13 auto-size buttonhole options. Alphanumeric fonts allow for monogramming as well as sewing phrases.
Designed with high-volume sewing in mind, it also impresses with a top speed of 850 stitches per minute and an auto-pilot mode that reduces manual work.

We also like the extension table with an edge ruler for quick measuring of fabrics. This computerized machine is dependable and affordable. No doubt, great value for money.

Best budget
Brother XR9550PRW

Brother XR9550PRW Project Runway Sewing and Quilting Machine

Best for lower budgets

F.A.S.T. needle threading system pushes the thread through the eye of the needle, for no-frills threading.

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3 Brother XR9550PRW Review

Designers on a budget will definitely love the Brother XR9550PRW sewing machine. Up to an extent, it’s similar to our best value.

This advanced sewing machine is computerized, easy to use, and comes with eight, quick-change presser feet. It doesn’t have as many built-in stitches as the SINGER, but it impresses with 55 alphanumeric stitches.

Like our best value, it also features a wide extension table with a ruler on its side. The throat is not as wide, so perhaps this sewing machine is not your best bet for bulky fabrics. But for everything else, it might satisfy you.

3

Best Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

key considerations
Heavy Duty Sewing Machines Reviews

The main difference between a heavy-duty sewing machine and a regular model is the construction. Designed for heavy-duty workshop use, these machines have heavier frames and more durable parts. They are also larger than domestic use machines, presenting a wider throat. Some of the best models even come with extension tables, and they usually operate at higher speeds.

  • Adjustable thread tension: Heavy-duty sewing machines are designed for stitching thicker fabrics, such as canvas, denim, or leather. If you can’t adjust the thread tension, the machine might not be suitable to use for light fabrics.
  • Sewing speed: Accurate sewing of thicker fabrics usually requires higher sewing speeds; for this reason, a heavy-duty sewing machine should have a speed of at least 1,000 stitches per minute.
  • Presser foot lift: Works with the feeding mechanism to hold down the fabric, and is particularly useful when you’re stitching several layers together.
  • Needle compatibility: Thicker fabrics require big needles, but if you want to sew thinner fabrics too, make sure your machine is compatible with all types of needles.

Best Heavy Duty Sewing Machine Reviews of 2020

Best-in-class
SINGER 4452

SINGER 4452 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

Best high-speed sewing machine

A strong motor and all-metal frame deliver performance and resistance for all projects.

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1 SINGER 4452 Review

Whether you’re looking for a leather sewing machine or one for canvas and denim, the SINGER 4452 will surely deliver all the performance you need. Boasting a durable construction and heavy-duty motor, it’s capable of dealing with anything you’re throwing at it.

Like all heavy-duty sewing machines, it won’t wow you with hundreds of built-in stitches. You’ll still get to enjoy 32 patterns, though, including seven stretch stitch models.

But its greatest advantage is the high sewing speed that can reach 1,100 stitches per minute. It also comes with loads of useful accessories, including a pack of size 16 needles as well as a clearance plate for thicker seams. All that you need for ultimate heavy-duty sewing.

Best value
SINGER 4423

SINGER 4423 Heavy-Duty Thick Fabric Sewing Machine

Best for most sewers

Extra-high presser foot allows you to accommodate even the thickest fabrics.

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2 SINGER 4423 Review

The SINGER 4423 is the smaller brother of the 4452 model. Both machines share best-in-class features, but you’ll get fewer stitch patterns if you opt for this one.

Fewer stitch patterns also mean a lower price tag, so that’s something you should consider, especially if you’re mostly carrying out repetitive work.

That said, you’ll still get a speed up to 1,100 stitches per minute as well as unrivaled durability ensured by the full metal frame. This sewing machine for thick fabric also comes with an extra-high presser foot and is very easy to use. An excellent choice for most workshops.

Best budget
Brother ST371HD

Brother ST371HD Strong & Tough Sewing Machine

A budget alternative

This free arm sewing machine gives you all the versatility you need for heavy-duty projects.

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3 Brother ST371HD Review

This Brother sewing machine is a great choice for professionals on a budget or more creative heavy-duty projects. What makes it special is the free arm feature that makes it perfect for sewing trouser legs, cuffs, and sleeves.

It also has more built-in stitches than other heavy-duty machines. The presser foot clearance is not as high as the SINGER’s, but it’s still high enough to accommodate leather, canvas, and denim.

Perhaps its main downside is the plastic construction. It will still last, but perhaps not as long as an all-metal machine. That said, it comes at a price that won’t break the bank, and it’s definitely worth your attention.

4

Best Embroidery Machine

key considerations
Embroidery Machines Reviews

A specialty type of sewing machine, embroidery machines assist needleworkers. Models vary from simpler machines for beginners to heavy-duty ones designed for industrial use. Similar to the sewing machines for advanced users, higher-end models are computerized and come with built-in embroidery patterns. Here are a few things to check before buying.

  • Design customization: The possibility to alter the built-in embroidery designs allows you to customize your projects.
  • Upload options: Allows you to use compatible software to create new designs and upload them onto the machine.
  • Free-motion control: While computerized machines require no intervention from your side, free motion control gives you full control over the needle direction. Make sure you could switch from computerized to free motion control if you want to go for a higher-end model.
  • Sewing mode: Embroidery machines are not designed for standard stitching, but some models allow you to switch from embroidery to stitching.

Best Embroidery Machine Reviews of 2020

Best-in-class
Brother SE1900

Brother SE1900 Computerized Sewing and Embroidery Machine

Best 2-in-1 embroidery machine

Quick switching between embroidery and sewing modes makes it perfect for creative designers.

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1 Brother SE1900 Review

If you’re a fashion designer with a passion for embroidery – or a needleworker who also likes to sew – you should check out the Brother SE1900. This two-in-one embroidery and sewing machine boasts loads of built-in stitches and embroidery designs.

It’s computerized and needs little to no supervision once you’ve set it up, while a large LCD screen lets you visualize or edit the designs.

An embroidery field of 5 by 7 inches makes it perfect for small and large projects alike. We also like the large extension table and the fact that it comes with eight sewing feet.
Suitable for whatever you’re throwing at it, this is the best embroidery machine on the market.

Best value
Brother PE800

Brother PE800 Embroidery Machine with 138 Built-in Designs

Best commercial embroidery machine

Built-in memory and USB port allow you to upload new designs quickly and easily.

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2 Brother PE800 Review

The Brother PE800 might not boast sewing features, but it could be your best bet if you need a commercial embroidery machine.

Indeed, it shares many features with our best-in-class. For instance, you’ll get 138 built-in designs and a hoop area of the same size. The machine also features a convenient LCD screen that allows you to make quick edits, as well as built-in memory and USB outlet.

Needless to say, you can create and upload your own designs or edit the existing ones to create original needlework. It even comes with various alphanumeric symbols, including three Japanese and one Cyrillic font styles.

This embroidery machine is easy to set up and even easier to use. No doubt, your best choice if you don’t care about sewing and only need an embroidery machine.

Best budget
Brother SE600

Brother SE600 Computerized Sewing and Embroidery Machine

Best budget embroidery machine

An affordable choice for needleworkers on a budget or avid hobbyists.

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3 Brother SE600 Review

The Brother SE600 is our best-in-class’ smaller brother, an embroidery and sewing machine designed for lower budgets. It’s not as versatile as the SE1900, but you’ll still get 80 embroidery designs and over 100 stitch patterns.

Operation is intuitive, but you’ll get a smaller hoop area. That said, the 4 by 4 inches field is still big enough for most people.

This computerized machine also features a color LCD screen you can use to choose, resize, and recolor the design before stitching. All in all, a capable model at a more affordable price tag.

5

Best Sewing Machine for Quilting

key considerations
Quilting Sewing Machines Reviews

It goes without saying, these sewing machines are designed for making quilts, but not only. They come in handy for any bulky projects. If you want to make quilted jackets, sleeping bags, or duvets, a quilting sewing machine is your best bet. Check out the following before buying.

  • Automatic feeding system: Moves all fabric layers simultaneously, so you won’t have to bother about misalignments.
  • Throat size: The distance between the needle and the body of the machine must be at least 12 inches, so you can move and turn the workpiece easily.
  • Extension table: Provides additional support for bulky workpieces or heavy fabrics, guaranteeing maneuvering room while you’re quilting.
  • Adjustable stitch length: Quilting requires a stitch length between 2.5 and 3, depending on the type of thread used. Make sure the machine you want allows you to adjust the length to match the application.

Best Sewing Machine for Quilting Reviews of 2020

Best-in-class
Brother PQ1500SL

Brother PQ1500SL Sewing and Quilting Machine

Best commercial quilting machine

Built-in knee lifter and super-high stitching speed make it perfect for high-volume quilting projects.

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1 Brother PQ1500SL Review

Whether you’re making quilts or quilted garments, the Brother PQ1500SL is the best quilting machine for your workshop. Boasting an oversized table, it’s perfect for large projects, not to mention that it features an 8.6-inch needle to arm space.

Suitable to use with all kinds of bulky fabrics, it comes with a convenient thread tension adjustment dial. Furthermore, seven sewing feet also make it perfect for standard sewing projects.

This quilting machine also boasts an impressive sewing speed of up to 1,500 stitches per minute. Perfect for quilting and heavy-duty sewing alike, it’s a great choice for advanced users and professionals.

Best value
SINGER 9960

SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Portable Sewing Machine

Best quilting and sewing machine

One-touch stitch selection and hundreds of built-in patterns make it perfect for decorative quilting.

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2 SINGER 9960 Review

Those looking for a more affordable quilting machine might like the SINGER 9960. Basically a sewing machine for advanced users, it features 600 built-in stitches, alphanumeric symbols, as well as various buttonhole options.

It might not have the largest extension table or needle to arm clearance, but all the above features make it perfect for decorative quilting projects.

We also like the built-in LCD screen and one-touch stitching selection. With speeds up to 850 stitches per minute, it can also deal with most kinds of materials – all in all, a versatile option for sewing and quilting alike.

Best budget
Brother CS7000i

Brother CS7000i Sewing and Quilting Machine

Best quilting machine for hobbyists

Variable speed control allows you to work on simpler on more complex projects.

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3 Brother CS7000i Review

The Brother CS7000i is the best sewing machine for quilting for amateurs or beginners. It’s smaller than our other picks, and also comes with fewer stitching options, but it’s still a great choice if you want to make quilts without breaking the bank.

Like our two other options, it’s a computerized machine that’s very easy to use. It doesn’t have a large LCD screen, but it’s still intuitive.

We also like the built-in LED light that brightens up your work area; furthermore, a drop feed mechanism allows for free motion quilting. Affordable for what it is, this quilting sewing machine is a great budget alternative to our other picks.

6

Best Serger

key considerations
Serger Machines Reviews

This type of fast-paced sewing machine is ideal for tailors, allowing you to stitch, trim, and overlock seams, all in one go. Like heavy-duty and industrial sewing machines, serger machines reach speeds of at least 1,000 stitches per minute and work beautifully for sewing challenging fabrics, such as stretchy or thick materials.

  • Thread count: Unlike standard sewing machines, serger machines use between 2 and 5 threads. If you want to create decorative edges and seams, opt for a serger with at least three threads.
  • Variable feed differential: Allows you to adjust the feed rate to the fabric, to guarantee threading quality.
  • Thread shifter: Lets you switch between the various thread settings without re-threading the machine.
  • Thread guides: Make threading easy by guiding the route for each thread you plan to use.

Best Serger Reviews of 2020

Best-in-class
SINGER ProFinish 14CG754

SINGER ProFinish 14CG754 2-3-4 Thread Serger with Adjustable Stitch Length

Best serger machine

Free arm design allows you to sew sleeves and cuffs without effort.

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1 SINGER ProFinish 14CG754 Review

Whether you’re a designer or a tailor, the SINGER 14CG754 could be the best serger machine for you. It can hold up to four threads for sewing simple or decorative hems. Besides the wide selection of stitch options, there are many other features that make it special.

We particularly like the adjustable stitch length and width, as well as the fact that it can run at speeds up to 1,300 stitches per minute.

Coming with a wealth of accessories, it also allows for free arm sewing. Color-coded threading system makes set up easy, while the operation is also intuitive. Compact and portable, it also features a carry handle – an excellent choice for professionals and amateurs alike.

Best value
Brother 1034D

Brother 1034D Serger Heavy-Duty Metal Frame Overlock Machine

Outstanding value for money

Metal frame and interior components deliver the durability you'd expect from a heavy-duty serger machine.

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2 Brother 1034D Review

Similar to our best-in-class, the Brother 1034D is another 4-thread serger machine that impressed us.

It only has five threading options instead of six, but that’s still enough for both simple and decorative hemlines. Furthermore, we like that it comes with 22 built-in stitch options. Color-coded setup is another highlight, making it easy to use even by beginners.

Like our best-in-class, it can reach 1,300 stitches per minute, and comes with a removable free arm.

Suitable for all kinds of fabrics, powerful and durable, this serger sewing machine brings unrivaled value for money.

Best budget
Juki MO-50E

Juki MO-50E 3 or 4 Thread Serger

Best budget serger machine

Calibrated knife adjustment and differential feed make it a top budget choice.

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3 Juki MO-50E Review

The Juki MO-50E might not have as many bells and whistles as our best-in-class or best value, but it’s still worth your investment.

Perhaps the best serger for beginners, it impresses with quick, color-coded threading as well as the option to use up to four threads. Switching between overlock and rolled hem functions is easy, and we also like that it’s relatively quiet for a serger.

On the downside, it doesn’t come with the strongest loopers on the market, and it’s not as fast as our other options.

Ideal for newbies or occasional use, this machine may have its limits, but it will serve you well and comes at a price that won’t break the bank.

7

Best Commercial Sewing Machine

key considerations
Industrial Sewing Machines Reviews

Designed for heavy-duty, industrial use, they are perfect for workshops, designer boutiques, as well as industries. Unlike the smaller sewing machines for home or amateur use, industrial machines don’t have dozens of features or countless stitching patterns. On the contrary, they are a great choice if you have to repeat the same type of stitch over and over again.

  • Easy set up: Industrial sewing machines are designed to perform one task only, but manufacturers still allow for some stitching customization. Make sure the model you want is easy to set up to prevent unnecessary headaches.
  • Types of fabrics: Consider the types of fabrics you mostly work with and match them with the specs of the machine you want to buy. Some industrial sewing machines are ideal for light fabrics, while others are designed to handle upholstery and other thick materials.
  • Energy-saving mode: Industrial sewing machines require a lot of electricity, and an eco-mode can save you loads of electricity bill money.
  • Type of bed: A flatbed machine is perfect for general manufacturing, while a post-bed is desired for bags, gloves, shoes, and other challenging projects.

Best Commercial Sewing Machine Reviews of 2020

Best-in-class
Consew 206RB-5

Consew 206RB-5 Walking Foot Industrial Sewing Machine with Table & Servo Motor

Best industrial sewing machine

The triple feed fast foot compound delivers high sewing speed and top range performance.

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1 Consew 206RB-5 Review

If you have a workshop or boutique, the best sewing machine for you is undeniably the Consew 206RB-5. This industrial-grade unit comes with a table and servo motor, so you can simply install it and start using it straight out of the box.

Speed and performance are guaranteed by the triple feed foot and large bobbin. Suitable for sewing anything, from casual clothes to gowns, bedding, or quilts, it also comes with a high foot lift and adjustable stitch length up to 10mm.

Relatively easy to use despite its complexity, durable and dependable, this is one of the best sewing machines for commercial use on today’s market.

Best value
Juki DDL-8700-H

Juki DDL-8700-H Industrial Straight Stitch Sewing Machine

Best for the money

Large, 11-inch needle to arm space gives you enough clearance for even the bulkier projects.

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2 Juki DDL-8700-H Review

From jeans to quilts and everything in-between, the Juki DDL-8700-H is the best industrial sewing machine for the money. It’s not a walking foot model, but feeding fabric evenly is very easy, while the 5,500 stitches per minute speed make it perfect for heavy-duty projects.

Like most industrial sewing machines, it needs expert installation. Once you’ve set it up, though, it’s very easy to use.

Delivering straight stitch sewing for medium to heavy materials, it is a great choice for leather workers, shoemakers, as well as quilters.

Best budget
JUKI TL-2000Qi

JUKI TL-2000Qi Commercial Sewing and Quilting Machine

A portable alternative

Relatively compact size and low vibration operation are just some of this unit's highlights.

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3 JUKI TL-2000Qi Review

The JUKI TL-2000Qi is a smaller and portable alternative to our best value. Looking like a regular quilting machine rather than an industrial model, it delivers convenience and ease of use.

Sure, it’s not as powerful as a full-size commercial sewing machine, reaching speeds of only 1,500 stitches per minute. Nevertheless, this speed is perfect for making quilts as well as stitching denim or leather items.

The unit comes with an aluminum die-cast arm and bed that reduce vibration, enhancing straight line stitching accuracy. The fabric is easy to feed, and overall, the machine is a breeze to use. No doubt, a great choice for this price point.

8

Best Sewing Machine for Children

key considerations
Sewing Machines for Kids Reviews

Similar to the sewing machines for beginners, the sewing machines for kids are easy to use, lightweight, and simplistic. Their greatest strength is the more affordable price point, compared to the other types. These sewing machines are not toys, and usually can only be used by youngsters under adult supervision. Before buying, consider the following.

  • Age suitability: Sewing machines for kids can be mechanical or electric. Mechanical models can be used from the age of 6, while electric models are recommended for kids 8-year-old or over.
  • Feed type: Push-button feed is great for younger children who still have trouble coordinating their limbs. A pedal feed is excellent for older kids, teaching them how to control stitching speed.
  • Easy threading: Make sure the sewing machine has a basic threading system that is easy to figure out and execute by a child.
  • Accessible bobbin loading: The bobbin slot must be placed within easy reach and come with a user-friendly winding mechanism.

Best Sewing Machine for Children Reviews of 2020

Best-in-class
Brother XM2701

Brother XM2701 Lightweight Full Featured Sewing Machine

Best for older kids

A variety of built-in stitches and full-size like operation make it perfect for intermediate users.

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1 Brother XM2701 Review

Does your child love tailoring or quilting? Then the Brother XM2701 could be the perfect birthday present. Similar to a sewing machine for adults in both functionality and design, it is a great choice for bigger kids who already have some sewing knowledge.

It impresses with 27 built-in stitches, including decorative, blind hem, as well as buttonhole choices.

Design-wise, it looks like a full-size sewing machine, delivering both confidence and satisfaction to the child. Mechanic controls make it easy to use, while the automatic needle treader and jam-resistant drop-in bobbin bring further value. Ideal for kids but also for adult users looking for an affordable, no-frill sewing machine.

Best value
Magicfly Mini

Magicfly Mini Sewing Machine with Extension Table for Beginners

Best sewing machine for most kids

An expansion table and a range of accessories make it perfect for first-time users.

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2 Magicfly Mini Review

The Magicfly Mini is undeniably one of the best sewing machines for first-time users. What makes it special is its very simple design. You won’t have to explain a complex operation to your child, while the compact size also makes it easy to store and transport.

Dual power operation lets you choose from batteries or wall adapter. Furthermore, we also like that it comes with accessories, including a sewing thread kit, various needle types, and an extension table.

Other highlights include anti-slip rubber pads for enhanced stability and built-in work light. No doubt, the best value sewing machine for kids.

Best budget
Shop LC Mini

Shop LC Delivering Joy Mini Portable Sewing Machine

A budget pick

Two speeds and built-in bobbin winding boost versatility.

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3 Shop LC Mini Review

Designed with DIY crafts in mind, the Shop LC Mini is a very affordable alternative for children and beginners alike.

Surprisingly enough for a sewing machine this size, it comes with two speeds and a built-in bobbin winding facility – two features designed to enhance the operation and boost versatility. Setting it up and threading, it is very easy while using it is as intuitive as you could get.

The foot pedal is not the best, and the machine might struggle with thicker or difficult fabrics. For its price, though, it’s undeniably an excellent choice.

9

Best Mini Sewing Machine

key considerations
Portable Sewing Machines Reviews

Mini sewing machines could be seen as an alternative to the sewing machines for children, except they aren’t. Despite their small size, they can be as rich in features as a top-range sewing machine for advanced users. Besides casual home use, they are a great addition to a workshop for smaller projects or a perfect travel sewing machine for designers.

  • Drop-in bobbin system: Ensures quicker bobbin loading and is less cumbersome than a front bobbin loading system.
  • Weight and size: The whole purpose of a mini sewing machine is portability, so make sure it’s light and compact enough to fit in a suitcase.
  • Illuminated work area: Mini sewing machines are meant to be a back-up solution when you’re away from your workshop, and an illuminated work area gives you the possibility to work or make quick fixes even in poor light conditions.
  • Variable speeds: This feature allows you to work with various kinds of fabrics, enhancing versatility.

Best Mini Sewing Machine Reviews of 2020

Best-in-class
Magicfly Mini

Magicfly Mini Sewing Machine for Beginners

Best mini sewing machine

Beginner’s sewing machine kit brings more value for money, making it perfect for quick fixes on the go.

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1 Magicfly Mini Review

The Magicfly Mini might not be the main tailor or designer choice, but it can serve professionals who need a small unit to take around. It is compact enough to fit in a carry-on and comes with a kit of threads and other accessories for quick fixes on the go.

Beginners and kids can also benefit from it; if you want a small sewing machine for occasional use or one for your child, this one brings simplicity of use and dependability.

A removable extension table also makes it suitable to use for larger projects. All in all, whether it’s for crafts, occasional professional use or for beginners, this is the best mini sewing machine you can find.

Best value
Varmax Mini

Varmax Mini Sewing Machine with Extension Table

Best for hobbyists

Compact and space-saving, but capable of tackling all sorts of amateur projects.

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2 Varmax Mini Review

The Varmax Mini is an excellent mini sewing machine for hobbyists living in small spaces. It is truly compact, easy to set up, and even easier to use. Its intuitive operation makes it perfect for both kids and adults.

Suitable for smaller and larger projects alike, it comes with a convenient extension table; furthermore, a slot near the base makes it easy to sew cuff and leg hems.

The machine features double thread stitching and boasts two speeds. It doesn’t come with batteries, but otherwise, it’s undeniably one of the most user-friendly designs.

Best budget
APlus+ Mini

Mini Portable Multi-Function Sewing Machine

Simple but affordable

An extension table gives you plenty of fabric support for larger projects.

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3 APlus+ Mini Review

The APlus+ Mini is very similar to our best value. It features simple operation, is easy to set up, and comes with a bunch of features for its price tag.

One of the things it misses is the bottom slot designed to accommodate the cuffs. That said, you can still use this machine to make all sorts of garments effortlessly.

Like our best value, it boasts two speeds. It also impresses with dual power feature, allowing you to choose from power cord or batteries. Furthermore, it comes with an extension table as well as other accessories.

10

Best Handheld Sewing Machine

key considerations
Handheld Sewing Machines Reviews

Also called stapler sewing machine, the handheld sewing machine is built with portability in mind. It’s super-small and ultra-light, designed for use on the go. It stitches straight lines on a variety of fabrics, including cotton, polyester, silk, and even stretchy fabrics, so it’s a great choice for quick fixes.

  • Power: If you’re looking specifically for a travel sewing machine, get one powered by batteries. Not all models run on batteries, so check before buying.
  • Accessories: Does it come with needles, needle threader, bobbins, and everything else you need to use it?
  • Variable stitching speeds: Handheld sewing machines may be simplistic, but some have at least two stitching speeds.
  • Design: Would you like to use the machine only for quick fixes, or would for larger projects occasionally? Some models feature a 2-in-1 design that also allows for desktop operation.

Best Handheld Sewing Machine Reviews of 2020

Best-in-class
CHARMINER 2260

CHARMINER Travel Hand Sewing Machine

Best travel sewing machine

This cordless sewing machine delivers big machine power despite its handheld design.

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1 CHARMINER 2260 Review

The CHARMINER 2260 is one of the best handheld sewing machines around, powerful enough to quick-fix all materials. It has what it takes to sew light and heavy fabrics alike, from silk to denim and anything in-between.

It’s powered by batteries, and it can also be paired with an AC adapter – which isn’t included in the pack.

Nevertheless, it comes with a bunch of other accessories, including threads, replacement needle, and a convenient needle threader, among others. Clear instructions and intuitive use are other highlights. Durable and versatile, it truly deserves to be our best in class.

Best value
YOUXIN Handheld

YOUXIN Portable Handheld Sewing Machine

Dual power sewing machine

A USB cable comes as an alternative to the batteries while still bringing on-the-go versatility.

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2 YOUXIN Handheld Review

The YOUXIN Handheld Sewing Machine is similar to our best-in-class, but we like that it comes with a USB cable, too. You can even pair it with a wall adapter if you want – no matter your choice, this stapler sewing machine is a handy tool to have for any quick fixes.

This model also comes with clear instructions and even has a tension control screw for easier use on various fabrics.

It comes with fewer accessories, but it’s more affordable – all in all, an excellent choice if you don’t really need too many threads and would rather save a buck.

Best budget
APlus+ Handheld

APlus+ Mini Cordless Handheld Electric Sewing Machine

A cheap alternative

Double speed setting and easy thread tension control make it a reliable tool.

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3 APlus+ Handheld Review

If you couldn’t care less about accessories, the APlus+ Handheld Sewing Machine is the best travel sewing machine for you.

Design-wise, it has the same stapler design as our best value and best-in-class. It features two speeds, a thread tension screw, and is intuitive to use.

It doesn’t come with any accessories – it doesn’t even come with batteries or a wall adapter. Nevertheless, it’s very affordable, reliable, and durable. A great budget option.

Sewing Machine Buying Guide

all your sewing machine questions answered

Mechanical vs. computerized sewing machines

It wasn’t so long ago that manual sewing machines (and manual everything, for that matter) were the only option. Like most appliances, however, sewing machines have gone digital in the last decade. Both mechanical and computerized machines are available, and each category has its pros and cons.

Elephant t-shirtElephant sweatshirt made by Elizabeth Hudy. Photo by ElizabethHudy

Best manual sewing machines

As the name suggests, manual sewing machines require the user to operate every control by hand. That means that you’ll guide the fabric under the needle, turn dials to adjust speed and stitches, and be entirely in control over the quality of work that you produce.

If you’re a back-to-basics craftsperson or use your sewing machine for simple projects, manual machines will save you money and allow you to enjoy the hands-on experience of sewing. Manual machines are beneficial when:

  1. You’re on a budget—they’re typically cheaper than computerized machines.
  2. You’re a hobby or as-needed sewer—they have all the basic functions you need to make quick repairs, construct clothing, and work on personal projects.
  3. You’re a beginner—having more functions than you need or understand (even if they’re computerized) can be overwhelming when you first dive in to sewing.
  4. You want a long life expectancy—As with cars and cameras, totally mechanical machines simply have less that can go wrong with them and are easier to repair. The more electronics you have, the more customization options and automation modes you have—but you also have complicated (and expensive) parts that could break at any moment.

Keep in mind that, when you choose a manual machine, you’ll need to know what you’re doing when it comes to simple tasks like changing the needle’s position or creating a buttonhole. You’ll also need to invest more time and focus into completing each task than you would with a computerized machine.

Best computerized sewing machines

Computerized sewing and embroidery machineA computerized sewing and embroidery machine with a digital display. Photo by Nayuki

When you sew regularly, want to experiment with more complex projects, or even work with fabric for a living, you’ll almost definitely want a computerized machine. Like most digitized machines, “automatic” sewing machines:

  1. Are generally more expensive and, thus, should be considered an investment for the dedicated sewer.
  2. Do much of the work for you, making your work go more quickly and efficiently and lowering the chance of mistakes. This includes automatically adjusting thread tension, threading the needle for you, and suggesting the ideal settings for the type of stitch or type of project you’re working on.
  3. Offer a greater variety of pre-sets, including stitch types and lengths.
  4. Often remember designs or allow you to import interesting designs from the internet.

Like a digital camera, a computerized sewing machine will be equipped with touchpads, labeled buttons, and LED screens instead of a large variety of knobs and levers.

Use your preferred working style, how often you sew, and your level of sewing knowledge to determine whether a manual or computerized sewing machine or serger is right for your needs.

Number of stitches offered

Pillows designPhoto by Suzette

Once you’ve settled on the type of machine you need, which narrows you down to about half of the market, it’s time to start looking at features. The first and most important of those is the number of stitch patterns offered by the machine. Stitches are, in essence, the pattern that your thread makes on your fabric (like straight, looped, and zigzagged).

Zigzag stitch controlsZigzag control button on a sewing machine. Photo by timlewisnm

If you’re looking for a machine to hem pants, make button holes, and enable basic crafty projects, it’s likely that a beginner machine with a straight stitch, reverse, and zigzag function will be all you need.

If, however, you like to immerse yourself in intricate projects, you sew for a living, or you’re an experienced sewer, you’ll probably want something with a little more variety. Look for more intricate or decorative stitch options if you want (or need) to get more creative.

Sewing machines offer anywhere from 3-1,000 stitches. While it’s common to think that “more is better”, those sewing machines with hundreds of intricate stitches will absolutely come with a higher price tag. For an enthusiastic hobby sewer, a machine with 20-30 stitch options is a fantastic place to start.

Best sewing machine stitch lengths

Patchwork pincushionPatchwork pincushion sewn together by machine. Photo by Audrey B.

Choosing a machine with the right variety of stitch lengths is just as essential as choosing the right amount of stitch patterns. Like other functions, picking the right variety requires thinking about how you plan to use your sewing machine.

  • Securing seams requires only a short stitch length (1.0 mm or less).
  • Creating seams requires a medium stitch length (about 2.5 mm).
  • Basting and gathering fabric requires a long stitch length (about 5.0 mm).
  • For zigzag patterns, the stitch length determines how far apart your “zigs” and “zags” will be.

Keep in mind that the longer the stitch length, the looser the seam will be. Most basic machines won’t ask you to set the precise seam length in millimeters; instead, they’ll offer you three or more “sizes” to choose from using a knob or LED screen.

For most projects, you won’t need more than 3-4 stitch settings, and the machine’s recommended setting will work for the majority of anything that you could ever need to do. However, if you have designs on extremely intricate projects or working with difficult fabrics, you’ll want a machine with the most stitch length options possible.

Most important sewing machine features

Features on sewing machines range from the essential to the downright luxurious. We’ve compiled some of the basic necessities and niceties below.

Placing thread across hooksPhoto by Lenore Edman
  1. Buttonholer: This feature allows you to sew a buttonhole in one step instead of stopping to turn your fabric.
  2. A responsive foot pedal: The foot pedal should be responsive to pressure. If it takes too much pressure for your sewing machine to respond, it’s easier for it to move too fast or too slow without warning. This can lead to mistakes.
  3. Needle threader: Machines with this option move the thread into the eye of the needle for you and save you from one of the biggest frustrations of sewing.
  4. Auto tie-off: Tying off your seams and stitches is one of the most important steps in making sure your hard work lasts, but it’s also time consuming. The auto tie-off function creates a sewn “tie” for you and often has a more professional look.
  5. Multiple speeds: This option lets you control the speed at which fabric moves under the needle and helps you maintain a constant speed beyond the use of the foot pedal.
  6. Tension options: It’s crucial that you be able to control how tight your thread is pulled to avoid sloppy stitching. Generally, beginners will want three options and the more advanced may need up to five settings.
  7. Bobbin winding: Choosing a sewing machine that winds bobbins automatically and refills thread when it runs out saves a lot of time and frustration.
  8. Clear bobbin covers: These let you see when a bobbin is running out of thread.
  9. USB connection: This allows you to import designs and patterns from your computer using a memory stick.
  10. Thread tension control: This feature controls the tension—or amount of pull—in your thread to avoid botched stitching.
  11. Internet connection: Keep in mind that a computerized sewing machine is a computer of sorts. As such, it may need updates, and an internet connection will allow the machine to download updates as necessary. And, of course, this also means that you can download patterns directly onto your machine.

Know that, typically, the number of computerized functions you have will directly correlate to the number of dollars you spend. A few basic computerized functions like tension control or auto-winding might still fall into the budget-friendly category, but a fully computerized and automated top-of-the-line machine may run you well into the thousand-dollar range.

Sewing machine accessories & add-on items

Accessories for sewingPhoto by photographerpandora

Many sewing machine models come with a storefront’s worth of accessories, but the vast majority of these won’t be necessary for beginner and intermediate users.

Many machines come with:

  • Basic bobbins and needles
  • Cleaning tools
  • Screwdrivers and other maintenance tools
Sewing toolsPhoto by Lenore Edman

Extra presser feet

Extra presser feet for your needle will save you shopping time when you’re ready to expand to more complex projects, and there are feet out there that improve precision for nearly every need.

Presser footExtra presser feet come in handy with more complex sewing projects. Photo by Ryo FUKAsawa

If you plan to use your sewing machine for more than one type of project, be on the lookout for models that include these common feet:

  1. Zipper feet are designed to allow for smooth zipper functioning and to prevent sewing machines from jamming on the zipper.
  2. Walking feet allow you to move thick thread (for thicker fabrics) through the machine without bunching the fabric up.
  3. Buttonhole feet allow users to create more even buttonholes.
  4. Blind hem feet create a less visible hem and produce more professional results.

Sewing machine noise level

Sewing machine diyYou will spend a lot of hours behind your machine, so be sure it has an acceptable noise level. Photo by Katherine

Sewing machines are notoriously loud, so before sewing your next dress consider the noise level. The amount of noise produced by your machine determines how comfortable it is to use and how much it disrupts others in your home. The average sewing machine produces at least 60 decibels of noise.

  • 60-80 decibels is considered loud but is the typical range for sewing machines. At 80 decibels, you’ve reached the average amount of noise emitted by an alarm clock.
  • 80 decibels and higher will drown out all other noise.
  • Beware of devices over 85 decibels if you plan to use them for extended periods of time, as long-term exposure to this level of noise can lead to hearing loss.

Some level of “noise pollution” is inevitable for sewing machine users, but those with children or very close neighbors will want to stay as close to 60 decibels as possible for minimum disruption.

Sewing machine buying tips

Different needle speedsA Singer sewing machine getting an upgrade. Photo by Micah Elizabeth Scott

Sewing machines are endlessly useful creative and professional tools, but their various forms, functions, and terminologies can be overwhelming. We’ve compiled a list of the must-have features that make a sewing machine worthwhile, the good-to-have features that make them easier and less stressful to use, and the great-to-have features that make a sewing machine a best-in-class machine.

Must have features:

  • You’ll need at least three stitch options: straight, reverse, and zigzag.
  • Choose a machine with at least three stitch lengths (or the ability to adjust your stitch length from 0 to 5 millimeters) to accommodate a variety of projects.
  • A responsive foot pedal is a must for control of sewing speed. Otherwise, you risk running into issues like jams and bunching.
  • Look for at least three tension options to avoid bunching, jams, or too-loose stitching.

Good to have features:

  • If you dread the frustration of poking a tiny thread into an equally tiny needle eye, an automatic needle threader will be just the solution you’re after.
  • For the sake of safety and comfort, look for machines with a noise rating under 80 decibels.
  • An auto tie-off feature saves you time by tying off your seams and stitches for you.
  • Pre-set needle speeds take some of the pressure off of the user to maintain perfectly uniform speeds.
  • 20 or more stitch options will give you the flexibility to get creative and find the stitch that perfectly suits each individual project.

Great to have features:

  • Bobbin winding and threading is a strong contender for the most frustrating sewing experience, but machines that automatically wind and thread bobbins for you can save both time and frustration.
  • Machines with noise levels at or under 60 decibels will cause the least disruption in your home.
  • Large sewing tables will allow you to tackle larger and more complex projects.
  • Extra presser feet with your machine will allow to you work on a variety of products from the get-go with more precision and ease.Presser feetExtra presser feet expand the capabilities of your sewing machine. Photo by regan76
  • Computerized sewing machines offer everything from LED screens to touch screens and fully automated stitch-making. The more digital controls you choose, the more expensive the machine, but the highest-end models just require you to press a few buttons and let the machine do its work.

Sewing machines are complex and come in nearly endless varieties. Use your needs regarding noise level, stitching options, level of digitization, and number of automatic functions to make an educated choice that fits your budget and lifestyle.

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