If you’ve got a friend or family member with sewing chops, you’ve likely seen how powerful a sewing machine can be in the hands of an artist.
There has never been a better time to learn how to sew and make your own items whether it’s fashion, home decor or something else. It’s a useful skill, a fun creative outlet, and has even potential to grow into a small business or side hustle. Those aren’t the only reasons sewing is rising in popularity.
COVID-19 has had major effect on the sewing industry. Many people made reusable fabric masks (and still are). In “quarantine mode” lots of people have taken up new hobbies and sewing has been a top choice. Think about it, after months of social distancing and Netlfix or Prime bingeing, who hasn’t been inspired by Making the Cut or Amazing Interiors?
Yes, the pandemic has sewing machines flying off shelves, with many popular models out of stock. Luckily there are many models and lots of brands to chose from so you’re in luck.
Read on for recommendations for the best sewing machines 2022, followed by a guide to help you through your purchase process so you don’t get overwhelmed. Lots of tips and insights along the way too. Let’s get to it!
Choosing the Best Sewing Machine
Researching sewing machines can be overwhelming to say the least.
Our own exhaustive research includes comparing top rated machines on Amazon, Joann, Micheal’s, SewingMachinesPlus and various sewing forums along with first hand insights from experienced sewers – and our own experience too.
I checked stock at different sites so I can recommend machines that are available (not on back order due to COVID related demand.)
The Best Sewing Machines 2022
For the 2022 best sewing machines, here are our recommendations from beginner to splurge purchases.
|Category||Model||Price||Needle Threader||Stitch Count||Presser Feet #||Computerized /Mechanical|
|Best Overall||Brother CS7000X||$$||Yes||70||10||Computerized|
|Best Basic||Singer Start 1304||$$||No||6||3||Mechanical|
|Best “Cheap”||Magic Fly Mini||$||No||1||1||Mechanical|
|Best for Kids||Babylock Zest||$||No||1||1|
|Best Computerized||Singer Quantum Stylist 9960||$$$||Yes||600||13||Computerized|
|Best Serger||Juki MO654DE||$$$||No||N/A||1||Mechanical|
|Best Heavy Duty||Singer 4432||$$||Yes||32||4||Mechanical|
|Best Sewing and Embroidery Combo||Brother SE1900||$$$$||Yes||240||8||Computerized|
Best Sewing Machine for Beginners
The Brother CS7000x is a great option for various levels but it’s especially appealing for beginners that are interested in quilting because of the price point.
This machine has 70 built-in stitches including decorative and quilting stitches, a free arm to make it easy to sew your skinny jeans and a drop feed mechanism for free motion sewing and quilting. It comes with 10 presser feet and a detachable wide table for big quilting projects. Another bonus is that it comes with a “hard shell” carrying case to protect it while it’s stored or in transit.
The Brother CS7000X gets 4.7/5 stars from over 14,000 reviewers so you know it’s got a lot going for it. Reviews comment that it’s an easy to use, inviting machine that makes it easy for beginners to learn sewing and quilting. Note, the previous version, the CS6000i is also a great option if you can’t find the 7000 in stock (or want to save a little cash).
Check out our full review of the CS7000x.
Best Basic Sewing Machine
If you’re looking for a basic machine, (less complicated features, simple to use and quick to get up and running), consider a mechanical sewing machine like the Singer Start 1304.
Mechanical sewing machines are super easy to use and maintain. One of the main draws for a mechanical (or “manual”) sewing machine is that they have no computerized parts so they are simplest use and if a repair is needed, it will likely be an easy (and less costly) one.
Mechanical machines have manual controls (dials) to switch between the built-in stitches. The length and width of the stitches are preset so figuring out what they should be is one less thing to worry about.
The Singer Start 1304 has all the basic stitches to cover “light sewing” like hemming, mending, alternations, and making masks. At under 10 pounds, it’s easy to carry back and forth to a sewing class too.
Overall this is a great entry-level machine at a reasonable price. For more details, check our our in-depth review of the Singer Start 1304.
Best Cheap Sewing Machine
This is a mini electric sewing machine that is under 4 lbs and under $50!
It provides one stitch so it’s really as basic as it gets. The machine comes with a 42 piece sewing kit, an extension table, and a bag to store it in. It can be powered via electric cord or by batteries which makes it easily portable for small tasks nearly anywhere. Sewing is powered by your usual foot pedal or by an on/off switch, making it even more simplistic to use. Plus it come in a few different fun colors.
This was my choice for my 6 year old. She wants to learn how to sew and I want to make sure it’s as easy as possible so she can get right to sewing rather than get bogged down with a learning curve. The Magicfly comes with a fun set of threads, read-to-use bobbins, tiny scissors and a threader tool which my kiddo was excited to get – she loves accessories so the kit was a quick hit. There is also a machine bag to keep dust off the machine when not in use. We kept the box because it has a handle and my daughter likes to carry the box back and forth to Grandma’s place.
All in all this was a solid choice for a starter machine for a young kid. It’s a little awkward at times though. Grandma found the bobbin winder and tension dial a little cumbersome to turn. However, she is used to the more lux machines so…we have a great sewing machine recommendation specifically for kids coming up later in the article.
The tradeoff for simplicity and price was worth it for me. If my daughter sticks with sewing I’ll get her a more advanced machine in the future, like the one below. But I wasn’t prepared to get an expensive machine right out the gate before knowing that she would stick with sewing.
The Magicfly Mini is great to have on hand if you don’t sew regularly but you need a quick tool for “one off” sewing projects.
Best Computerized Sewing Machine
Note: the latest model, Singer Quantum Stylist 9985, was out of stock at the time of writing this article. If it’s in stock when you read this, be sure to check it out!
There may be a newer model (that goes out of stock everywhere due to pandemic-related demand), but don’t let that stop you from checking out the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 sewing machine (and save a few bucks while you are at it).
This machine has 600 stitches and lettering options so you’ve got countless possibilities for customization. It provides a needle up/down feature for easy pivoting, free-motion quilting, appliqué and whatever else you can dream up. A thread trimmer makes it quick and easy to move to the next step of your project. Loads of features make this a fabulous option for fashion sewing, quilting, home decor and crafting. And if speed matters to you, this baby gets up to 850 stitches-per-minute.
Note: The pandemic sewing machine shortages certainly make it hard to find many sewing machine models but this can be a blessing in disguise if you check out models that you would have otherwise overlooked. Check this one out for a great machine at a lower price point than the newer model.
Best Sewing Machine for Kids
Kids ages range quite a bit so we are focusing on 7 years old and up for this category. Please note, most “kids sewing machines”are not truly designed for kids but are considered “kid friendly” because of their size, simplicity, and ease of use. Those things also tend to result in a less expensive machine. These beginner-friendly sewing machines tend to be easily portable and great to bring to a friend’s house or to a class – in our case Grandma’s place – to get some lessons and make fun projects.
Keep in mind, even though these machines are “kid friendly” they still have sharp needles, and motorized, moving parts so adult supervision is important. These often come in fun, bright colors or beloved character themes like Hello Kitty.
If you prefer an upscale option for your budding designer, consider the Baby Lock Zest. Baby Lock is considered a high end brand so going with their more entry level machine is a way to introduce a younger sewing artist to a luxury experience (high quality look and feel) that is very user friendly.
It’s a mechanical machine that is light weight and includes all the accessories they need to get started. I would choose this option for bigger kids – preteen/teens (especially if they have Grandmas that are partial to Baby Lock. Not naming names but you know who you are).
Best Sewing Machine for Kids – Alternate
Janome HD 1000
Many people prefer a less expensive machine when they are purchasing for a child. It means letting the kiddo explore sewing without a hefty investment in case they don’t love it. But they often do love it….and having an extremely user friendly, accessible machine can make all the difference. Our “alternate” pick is a little more pricey, but worth a look.
For kids (and new beginner sewists) the additional feature of an adjustable speed control is incredibly helpful. My daughter and I have been taking classes with a local costumer that uses a Janome HD 1000. This machine has a speed control slider (separate from the speed control in the foot pedal) that makes it MUCH easier to get your bearings as a beginner. Adjustable speed control is usually found on more expensive machines but it is a game changer for slowing things down and keeping things easy and smooth for kids.
Check out our detailed review of the Janome HD 1000 for more details – it’s more expensive than a basic, entry level machine but the features and power of this machine make it user friendly and a joy to use. You can often save a little bit my purchasing the black edition or a renewed machine.
Best Serger Sewing Machine
This machine is well loved with over 360 people rating it a 4.6/5 stars on Amazon. Juki boasts that this is an industrial style machine designed for home use. Built to last, the Juki MO-644D is considered a “best bang for the buck” machine which puts it easily into our recommendations for beginners.
Note: I’ve heard a few complaints about difficulty threading this machine but after watching video tutorials, it became a breeze.
Best Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
Singer HD 4432
When you need a machine that can handle multiple layers of thick fabric, you start looking at heavy duty sewing machines – and inevitable you’ll come across the Singer line.
A high-quality Singer heavy duty sewing machine means a strong frame, a powerful motor, and high-speed sewing capabilities. It offers versatility to bring your creative visions to life from denim garments to leather hand bags to heavy drapery.
Singer also offers heavy duty 4423 (with 23 stitches), and heavy duty 4452 (with 32 stitches and a bundle of additional accessories). All of Singer’s heavy duty machines are reliable and capable options, but price-based, we think the Singer Heavy Duty 4432 is the best choice. We’ve written a lot of comparison reviews on these machines so click through for more information .
Best Sewing and Embroidery Machine Combo
The Brother SE1900 is a computerized sewing machine that easily switches over to embroidery mode. It has 138 built in designs, 11 embroidery fonts (for monogramming) and a large user-friendly LCD screen for editting. Once you’ve selected a design you like, customize it by rotating, flipping and adjusting the size of the design however you like. You can also add additional design elements including fonts.
The embroidery field is 5 x 7, much larger than the standard 4 x 4 of other popular machines like the Brother SE600.
Most people that are testing the waters with embroidery opt for the Brother SE600 because of the friendly price point. If you are not yet sure if you’ll love embroidery as much as sewing, the SE600 is a great option. However, if you are ready to commit to a bigger investment – perhaps you want to add larger embroidered designs onto your quilts or you want to do embroidery for a home business, the Brother SE1900 is definitely worth a look.
For a detailed look of the Brother SE1900, check out our review.
Best Sewing Machine Splurge
Once you’ve got some experience and polished projects under your belt, you may consider getting a “splurge machine.” This may also be the opportunity where you diversify your machine “fleet” and add a serger, long arm quilting system or embroidery machine to your collection. That’s if you’re go-to sewing machine still meets your needs of course. Alternatively, you could purchase an antique sewing machine for the nostalgia, glamour and utility all wrapped in one.
Once you’ve been sewing for a while you’ll know what you like, what you want in your upgraded option and any speciality features that you want to have for future projects. What you consider a splurge will depend on what you love. Some ideas to consider:
(Can anyone tell I am dreaming of getting into embroidery work? Ha!)
When you splurge, I recommend getting a machine from a reputable brand that offers lessons and support, has accessories and tons of decorative stitches. It can easily run you over $1,000 so make sure you get all the bells and whistles you’re dreaming of.
How to Choose the Best Sewing Machine for You
Now that you’ve read our recommendations, it’s time to think about what will work best for YOU. Here are five questions to ask yourself before you start shopping, along with a quick line-up of sewing machines types and how they differ.
What will you use the sewing machine for?
Each sewing machine brand has tons of models with various features so sifting through the options can get overwhelming quickly. A good place to start is asking yourself “what will I use the sewing machine for?”
If you plan to do simple tailoring, home decor and the occasional creative project, a simple sewing machine with few features will cover your needs. However, if you plan to do quilting or embroidery, you’ll need a machine with specific functionality. Those things are not “add-ons” for later so spend a little time thinking about the kinds of projects that capture your attention and get your heart racing.
Here’s the “quick and dirty” on categories of sewing machines and how they compare to each other.
Manual Sewing Machines vs Computerized Sewing Machines
What is the difference between a manual and computerized sewing machine?
A manual sewing machine uses knobs to adjust the settings. They are considered “basic machines” and tend to have less precise stitches and less ability to make the more detailed or decorative stitches. On the other hand, computerized sewing machines usually have a variety of built-in stitches including very precise styles.
Since mechanical sewing machines lack computerized parts, if they need a repair, the repair tends to be far less expensive.
If you just want to sew the basics (alternations, hemming, etc) a mechanical machine is a more affordable option that will still be a work horse for your needs. If you want to develop your sewing skills into expertise, consider a computerized machine that you can grow into.
Sewing Machine vs Embroidery Machine
What is the difference between a sewing machine and an embroidery machine?
While both involve stitching, sewing and embroidery are different techniques and have different uses. It’s helpful to think of sewing machines as the go-to for construction while embroidery machines are for design and decoration. On a basic level, sewing machines allow you to stitch fabric together in to a functional piece. Embroidery machines are highly specialized devices that sew designs on to fabric.
You can use an embroidery machine for all kinds of embellishments – stitch a company logo on to a shirt to personalize it or make a highly artistic design just for the sake of adding beauty to your work.
Sewing Machine vs Serger
What is the difference between a serger and a sewing machine?
A serger is a specialized sewing machine (sometimes called an overlock machine) that loops thread over the edge of material to prevent fraying. Sergers use multiple threads at the same time (compare that to one thread at a time with a “regular” sewing machine) to loop the thread. This creates a more durable seam and more professional look. Sergers also have a blade that trims access fabric. In short, a serger trims the seam allowance and closes the raw edges at rapid speed.
These babies are your best friend when you have lots of long, straight seams. Think prom dresses, bridesmaids dresses, and the like. They give you clean seams at 3 – 4 times the pace you would do other wise. If you sew A LOT or professionally, a serger is a smart thing to consider.
Note, sergers do not sew buttonholes, zippers, and top stitching so it’s not a replacement for your “main machine.” It’s usually a separate purchase, made in addition to a sewing machine once want to take your skills to a new level with a professional look.
Sewing vs Quilting
What is the difference between sewing and quilting?
Quilting refers to the process of sewing layers of fabric together to create a thicker, padded material, usually with an insulating layer in the middle. You can sew the material together by manually stitching it, mechanically sewing it or using a specialized long arm quilting machine.
Quilting machines require strength and space. You need a strong machine that also has the space to accommodate a large anoint of fabric.since you need to sew through layers of fabric, often called a “fabric sandwich. Most quilting machines have a wider space (the u section) for you to be able to roll the quilt in. Quilting machines also have a walking foot which walks the “fabric sandwich” to be stitched.
What kinds of fabric will you use?
What kinds of fabric do you love and/or plan to use? Thicker fabric and upholstery materials need a stronger machine with a powerful motor that can handle layers of that thick fabric. Think leather, denim, canvas, wool. The last thing you want is to invest in a machine that can’t handle the fabrics you use most often.
What extra sewing machine features do you need?
Important Features & Why They Matter
- Number of stitches: Most sewing can be accomplished with a straight stitch or zig zag stitch. Many machines comes with additional stitches that range from utility stitches to decorative stitches. Don’t get caught up in the number of stitches that a machine offers but rather, which ones you think you’ll actually use.
- Variety of presser feet: A speciality presser foot can make a technique much easier to learn and master. Example presser feet include edge-stitching foot, buttonhole foot, zipper foot and a blind stitch foot for creating blind hems. Purchasing additional feet can add up so if you know you’ll want the versatility that comes from using different feet, look for models that come with them included.
- Automatic buttonholer: Some machines have four-step buttonholes and others have one-step buttonholes. This means some sew buttons in 4 steps vs 1.
- Built-in needle threader: A tool that threads the needle for you so you don’t have to do get in there and thread it yourself. Helpful if you have any trouble with vision or shaky hands.
- Thread cutter: This is a little razor, attached to the machine, that makes it very quick and efficient to cut thread when you are done sewing and move to your next step.
- Weight and carrying handle: If you plan to take your sewing machine on the go (to classes, to your friend’s place, for volunteering to make costumes for your kid’s school play) it’s much easier to have a lighter weight machine that has a carrying handle. Alternatively you can get a carrying case – or sew one!
How much to budget for a sewing machine?
Finding the all around best sewing machine is challenging considering the amount of options on the market that are labeled “good for beginners.” Going by price does not narrow it down by much since sewing machines easily go from $50 – $2,000. Based on personal experience, a great machine with all the “must haves” presented in an easy to use way (or easy to learn way!) will likely run you between $100 – $300.
It’s worth splurging as high as you can go so that you get the machine that fits your needs and is easy to use right out of the box. Working with a sewing machine that is not user-friendly just makes it harder to sew, learn and fall in love with the process.
For an advanced sewer, as a splurge, you might consider getting a high end machine from a reputable brand that offers lessons/support, has lots of accessories, a great deal of decorative stitches, a button stitch and cover stitch. Cost can easily start around $1,500.
A traditional rule has been to purchase a machine from a dealer so you can take advantage of in-person classes. However, this is not always ideal (like in the case of a world-wide pandemic) or convenient (if you don’t live near a dealer). So if you don’t actually make it to the classes or take advantage of these perks you’ve spent a premium for no reason. You can purchase a model online and take online classes on Craftsy, CreativeBug or the countless talented makers that share info and tutorials on social media platforms from Instagram to Youtube.
Sewing machine warranty?
Finally, check out the warranty so you’re covered for anything major.
Most machines offer a year on labor, 2 – 5 years on the electronics, and a 25 year limited warranty that covers the head of the machine. If you need to repair your machine beyond the warranty the cost usually comes from labor fees. Parts in the more budget-friendly machines are not all that pricey, in general.
My mom suffered a major loss when her apartment burned down but luckily the computer parts in her machine were covered so her machine was restored to its glory despite losing most other belongings. Even the best sewing machines sometimes need repairs or replacement. Big love for warranties over here.
In general, when you are looking for the best sewing machine, what you really need to do is find the best sewing machine for your particular needs. That said,I recommend you pick a reliable brand, (Singer, Brother, Janome) that has a few more than just the basic stitches and costs less that $400. A few features that are especially “beginner friendly” are drop in bobbins, an automatic needle threader, and a thread cutter.
If you go with the bare minimum (the economical machine with only basic stitches and less of the “beginner friendly features” that are listed above) AND you fall in love with sewing, you’ll find yourself wanting to trade up in no time.
No matter what you choose, make sure you give yourself the time and space to develop your sewing skills. Like most things, in order to excel, you need practice. A great teacher, classes, YouTube tutorials and lots of inspiration doesn’t hurt either.
What’s the best sewing machine for you?