If you want a sewing machine that is affordable, durable and perfect for a simple hem or a complex quilting pattern, look no further. We’ve come up a list of 5 amazing models that have all passed our test of being a reliable, effective machine.
Which model is best for you?
Let’s take a quick glance at all of the models below (in our comparison table) before reviewing each sewing machine thoroughly.
Sewing Machine Reviews 2016
|Price-List:||$$ = $100 to $200||$$$ = $200 to $300|
|Brother CS6000i||Electronic||$$||4.5||Read Review|
|SINGER 7258 Stylist Award-Winning||Computerized||$$||4||Read Review|
|SINGER 9960 Quantum Stylist||Computerized||$$$||4.5||Read Review|
|Brother SE400||Computerized||$$$||5||Read Review|
|Singer Special Edition||Computerized||$$$||4.5||Read Review|
Sewing Machine for Kids 2016
|Price-List:||$$ = $100 to $200||$$$ = $200 to $300|
|Janome 13512||Mechanical||$||4||Read Review|
|Brother XL2600I||Mechanical||$||4.5||Read Review|
|Brother LS2125i||Mechanical||$||4.5||Read Review|
|Janome Fast Lane Fuchsia Portable||Mechanical||$||4||Read Review|
Best Sewing Machines for Beginners under $200
Several of the models on our list are under $200, but there is one model that is simply better than the rest: Brother CS6000i. This isn’t just our personal opinion. This model is the best seller in Amazon’s sewing machine category. It even has 4,800 customer reviews.
While not ideal for beginners, the CS6000i is perfect for intermediate and advanced seamstresses.
The CS6000i is a computerized model that comes with some of the industry’s best features, including:
- 60 Built-in Stitches: Selected from an LCD display that shows the stitch length and width; all of which can be adjusted right on the screen.
- Easy Threading: The automatic needle threader allows for an easy time threading with no finger pricks in the process. There is a numbered diagram to help make the threading process a breeze.
- Oversized Table: The exaggerated table allows for the extra space needed when tackling advanced projects, such as large quilts.
- Free Arm: A built-in free arm is perfect for sewing cuffs and sleeves quickly and efficiently.
- Storage: A front storage compartment on the arm of the machine can hold all of your accessories with ease.
- Warranty: A 25-year warranty safeguards your investment.
There are 7 styles of buttonholes, which make making buttonholes a snap. The stitches include:
- 20 decorative stitches
- 20 stitches
- 7 quilting stitches
- 6 heirloom stitches
- 7 buttonhole styles
There are a lot of features we couldn’t cover in this review. In fact, there are so many extra attachments included that this model has virtually every attachment you would expect from a $1,000 machine, but is priced under $400 even under $200.
We really like how lightweight this model is and for the price, you’ll be surprised at what this model can do. It truly provides incredible value for the money. Not only are the basic feet and accessories included, but Brother also included all advanced feet, so you don’t need to buy another accessory to enjoy this machine.
What didn’t we like?
There is not much we didn’t like. But looking for some negatives you may say that the machine isn’t ideal for heavy, thick fabrics, and it can wobble at times.
Best Computerized Sewing Machine
Computerized sewing machines make sewing quick and easy. They take out all the hard work of sewing. Many of these types of sewing machines can even hook up to the Internet and download updates, or my personal favorite, save patterns.
I couldn’t pick just one model that I liked because it was so close between Brother SE400 and the SINGER 9960.
A dual machine that doubles as a computerized sewing machine and a 4×4 embroidery machine. This model is Amazon’s best seller in the Embroidery Machines category, offering a variety of features you won’t find on lower-end machines.
The SE400 comes with:
- 67 Built-In Stitches: From jeans to quilts, there are 67 built-in stitches that allow you to sew everything imaginable. Many of the stitches are decorative, but you can view all stitches on the graphical design LCD.
- 70 Built-in Designs: There are 70 designs already built-in that allow you to make a variety of garments and projects without having to scour for patterns.
- 120 Frame Patterns: Frame patterns allow you to make lettering and designs a little more professional.
- 5 Lettering Fonts: Five built-in lettering fonts allow you to add letters to a shirt or a name of a child to their favorite shirt or bib.
- Internet Connectivity: Connecting to iBroidery.com, you can download and buy more patterns directly from the machine.
- 25-year Warranty: There is a 25-year limited warranty included.
You would think that is all this machine offers, but there is so much more, including 7-point feed dogs, lit workspace, LCD touchscreen, Drop-in Bobbin System, free arm, embroidery arm and more.
Even when sewing through thick materials, this machine won’t wobble and remains sturdy. In all honesty, it is a near-perfect sewing machine from threading the needle to finishing your project.
Those that do not have a hard carrying case will find that Brother offers a universal model: the Brother 5300. Anyone that likes embroidery will want to purchase a large hoop because the included hook is only medium. As you progress with your embroidery, you’ll find that the included hoop isn’t enough for all projects that come your way.
The thread does get caught in the spindle, causing it to break sometimes, but attaching a command hook will fix the problem. A seamstress will expect this to happen sometimes.
The SINGER 9960 comes with even more stitches (many unnecessary) and a variety of other features that will allow you to make any project you can imagine – seriously. It’s an advanced machine that is overrun with features.
So, which features stand out?
- 600 Built-in Stitch Patterns: There are 600 built-in stitch patterns included. From tight stitches for jeans to paracords, you have enough stitch patterns to complete any project.
- 13 Buttonhole Styles: Thirteen buttonhole styles to quickly make buttonholes for jeans and t-shirts.
- 5 Font Types: Five alphanumeric fonts are included, which come in handy when making shirts for kids or following an embroidery pattern.
- Stitch Editing: It’s fast and easy to edit a stitch with stitch editing capabilities.
- 18 Presser Feet: SINGER included 18 presser feet that allow you to make buttonholes, open toe, embroidery, and there is even a quilting foot.
There are plenty of features that I could continue to list, such as the automatic stitch length and width, the electronic thread trimmer (a lifesaver), editing capabilities for stitches, free arm for advanced projects, twin needle control and 25 needle positions.
You even get a 25-year warranty.
The extension table is great for advanced projects or trying to sew thick quilts. There is also a hard cover offered to keep your sewing machine protected at all times. This model really does sew like magic and lasts for years without ever breaking down in the process. Yes, I am sure there are some models that are defective, but the warranty will cover any product defects.
For the price, I was hoping for a hard cover, but this machine comes with a flimsy bag cover.
Is this a deal breaker? Heck no. You will want to budget for a hard cover or a carrying case so that transporting the 9960 is easier, and the machine is protected at all times.
Best Inexpensive Computerized Sewing Machine
Who says that a computerized sewing machine needs to be expensive? If you are a seamstress that wants to delve into more advanced projects but don’t have the budget for the Brother or SINGER models we just reviewsed, the 7528 is the perfect choice for you.
A brand famous for their sewing machines. The SINGER 7258 offers 100 stitches, which is more than enough for any seamstress. There is a usage DVD, which is perfect for beginners, and 10 presser feet that can be swapped out based on the project.
This model is even made with a metal frame for the utmost in durability.
- 100 Stitches: A plethora of stitches are available, including: 9 essential stitches, 8 fabric conforming stitches and 76 decorative stitches. There are also 7 automatic buttonholes available.
- Easy Threading: Would you like to thread your needle in just 6 seconds? Well, now it is possible. All it takes is 6 seconds from spool to threading. There are even instructions printed on the machine for easy threading.
- Auto Pilot: No feet necessary. You can put this model on auto pilot, allowing you to sew without using a foot pedal.
- Automatic Tension: Thread tension is automatically adjusted and tested by the sewing machine to ensure it doesn’t snap or break in the middle of sewing.
The LED screen shows you the stitch length and width while the included DVD shows you how a professional uses the 7258 to make beginner and advanced projects.
If you’ve never used a computerized model before, I highly recommend watching the DVD before sewing anything.
A person that sews frequently will often not want to buy an inexpensive model. Why? There is a higher level of durability with high-end models. The 7258 is perfect for the hobbyist that doesn’t sew day and night. I found this model to sew fast and efficiently.
Sure, there were some aspects that I didn’t like about this machine, such as: not being the best option for thick fabric. Unfortunately, all decently-priced sewing machines don’t work well with thick fabrics.
Best Sewing Machine for Kids
Janome 13512 Red Hello Kitty Sewing Machine
Of course, you can’t neglect the younger seamstress that is just dying to make their first scarf of shirt. Computerized sewing machines are too complicated for the average user let alone a child, but the Janome 13512 offers ease-of-use, affordability and a kid-appealing design.
The 13512 offers:
- Design: Red in color, the Janome features a kid-friendly, Hello Kitty design that kids simply love.
- 12 Stitches: All of the basic stitches are included with a printed diagram on the front of the machine. Stitches are selected by the turn of a dial.
- Free Arm: The free arm allows you to make cuffs and sleeves in a breeze.
- Reverse Lever: Sew backwards to lock a stitch in place – all you need to do is hold down a lever.
- 4-Step Buttonhole: There is a 4-step buttonhole that allows you to create buttonholes with ease.
This isn’t a sewing machine that comes with advanced features that confuse children. I have found that a beginner, no matter the age, needs to use beginner’s sewing machines. These are machines that:
- Allow for ease of use.
- Allow a person to learn stitch types.
- Doesn’t include complicated, computerized functions.
Don’t get me wrong, this is one of the best beginner’s sewing machines on the market. You don’t need to be a child to use this machine either. It is perfect for any adult that likes Hello Kitty. Easy to use and just enough stitch types to sew the majority of projects you can imagine, you will find that this Janome sewing machine can handle most projects.
Just remember, this is a machine for beginners, so you won’t get the fancy features you would with many of the computerized models listed.
The Final Verdict
There are a lot of sewing machines to choose from, but the 5 we listed are the top models when it comes to getting the most for your money. The Janome 13512 is definitely the best model for kids simply because it has the Hello Kitty design and allows a person to learn all of the basics of sewing, so a person can master the art of sewing in a fun, natural way.
In terms of pure affordability, the SINGER 7528 provides the most functionality for the price. Being computerized, the 7528 comes at the cost of a mechanical sewing machine, but offers the features intermediate and advanced users need for their projects.
Brother’s CS6000i is the best bang for your buck. While more expensive than the 7528, you receive advanced features and functions from a machine that is an Amazon Best Seller and costs half the price of the competition.
Brother’s SE400 and SINGER’S 9960 are exceptional models with more stitches than you’ll ever need, power and durability. These models are mid-range priced and offer features that you’ll need if you plan to do embroidery or quilting.