The Brother CS6000i sewing machine model may have been released the best part of a decade ago, but it still ranks within Brother’s top bestselling products.
The fact that Brother is considered to be one of the best sewing machine manufacturers worldwide makes the CS6000i’s continued popularity even more impressive.
The best way to explain why the CS6000i is so popular is to review its most important features individually. This will paint a detailed picture of how the machine works and just how superior it is in terms of construction and functionality.
Please note, the CS7000i was released after this review was published. If you would like more info on that machine, check out our Brother CS7000i review.
Before we move on to reviewing the CS6000i machine itself, let’s talk a little bit about Brother to set the scene…
An Introduction to Brother
Brother was initially founded over a century ago in 1908. The company began as a family-run business that specialized in sewing machines.
Since then, the sewing machine manufacturer has come a long way with its products regularly placing in prestigious awards like the British Sewing Awards. Just last year, Brother placed first in Sew Magazine’s British Sewing Award categories for best embroidery, top-spec, and overlocker sewing machines.
The brand was also ranked ‘highly commended’ in best entry-level, all-round, and quilting machines.
Despite Brother’s phenomenal success, the company hasn’t lost sight of the core values on which it built its legacy. Brother’s continued commitment to quality and customer service is evident, both in the physical proof of their products and customer testimonials, which consistently rate Brother sewing machines between 4 and 5 stars on average.
60 Built-In Stitches
One of the most important features of any sewing machine is the range of built-in stitches. A machine with too few stitching possibilities is unlikely to be creatively satisfying or practical for advanced sewing projects.
However, on the flip side, having too many stitches available can be more of a nuisance than a help. We know this seems like a counterintuitive perspective, but the reality is that newer machines with hundreds of built-in stitches can be complicated (and overwhelming) to use, and especially daunting for beginners.
For one thing, there’s no way of fitting controls for 600 stitches onto the front control panel of a sewing machine; it simply can’t be done without cluttering your control panel with ridiculously tiny buttons or diagrams. Therefore, less common stitches are not visibly featured on the machine. This makes machines with excessive stitch options less beginner-friendly and generally more difficult to master.
Brother managed to strike the perfect balance with the CS6000i’s design. Featuring 60 built-in stitches, this machine has plenty to choose from without becoming overwhelming.
This range of stitches is wide enough to encompass all the basic stitches you’d use in day-to-day sewing, plus some more decorative options for passion projects. Seven buttonhole styles are also included for selection. While this machine can be used for basic monogramming, it’s not an embroidery machine and doesn’t have any specific embroidery functions.
All of the stitches are clearly numbered with accompanying diagrams on the front panel of the machine so you have all the information you need in front of you at all times. Once you’ve chosen your desired stitch, another main feature of the CS6000i comes into play…
For a long time, sewing machines were manufactured without LCD displays. In fact, the first computerized sewing machine wasn’t manufactured until 1994.
While the CS6000i sewing machine wasn’t the first to use computerized technology by any means, it remains one of the most affordable, multifunctional computerized machines on the market to this day.
Our favorite computerized feature of the CS6000i is the LCD display. The screen provides an intuitive, one-touch selection system for the built-in stitches. Admittedly, the display does look a little outdated in 2021, but it does everything it needs to do with no extra confusing bells and whistles.
One thing about the LCD display that definitely isn’t outdated, though, is the error message system. Often, sewing machines cause problems by showing error messages with no further indication of the problem.
The CS6000i, on the other hand, provides specific error codes that correspond to a section of the machine’s user manual. In the manual, you can find a list of error codes with their related issues to help you solve the problem.
Once again, the display of the CS6000i makes it suitable for anyone to use, regardless of technological aptitude or experience, which may partly explain its sustained popularity.
Needle-related injuries and eye strain are two of the most common physical ailments correlated with regular machine sewing.
Nobody wants to deal with either of these problems, and eye strain, in particular, can become a long term issue if not dealt with out the gate.
Thankfully, both eye strain and needle accidents are almost completely avoidable with a little help from the magic of LED lighting, which Brother incorporated into the design of the CS6000i.
LED lights have been around for a while, but they’ve become more popular this century due to their environmental and electrical efficiency. LED lighting remains the most cost-efficient and environmentally friendly type of lighting on the market today.
Therefore, despite having been developed several years ago, the CS6000i is still with the times in terms of its lighting function. We found the lighting to be bright and effective, although some customers have reported that it isn’t bright enough for their taste.
Automatic Needle Threader and Bobbin Winding
I’m sure most of us machine-stitching veterans can remember the first time we tried to thread a machine. Unfortunately, in most cases, this is a memory of sweaty fingers, broken threads, and potentially some tears.
Luckily, Brother’s automatic needle threading system is one of the most intuitive automated systems out there.
Of course, plenty of newer sewing machine models have been released since the CS6000i hit the market, and many of them have even more advanced automated needle threading systems.
But, as the saying goes, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. And this system certainly hasn’t outlived its usefulness. It’s probably just as easy to use as some of the fancier systems on newer models, but without the equally fancy price tag!
Even the bobbin winder is automated thanks to the dedicated bobbin winding motor.
Combined, these features save a lot of preparation time, leaving dedicated crafters free to progress with their work with fewer interruptions. This is another very good reason why the Brother CS6000i has managed to retain its popularity after so many years.
In some ways, feeling held back by your sewing machine can be more frustrating than not having a sewing machine at all. Restrictive controls and single speeds can defeat the primary purpose of a sewing machine: to optimize your sewing speed.
Brother’s CS6000i model has sliding speed controls, adjustable from ‘low’ to ‘medium’ or ‘high.’
Of course, the speed can be further controlled using the foot treadle included with the machine.
The adjustability of the sewing speed contributes to the CS6000i’s overall suitability for all sewing abilities and various stitching styles. For example, beginners could start on the ‘low’ speed while they find their feet, while intermediate or advanced sewers may wish to start on the higher speed options straight away.
Moreover, intricate, decorative stitches or practical tasks like hemming will benefit from a slower stitching speed, unlike simpler stitches which can usually be executed quickly and accurately.
The CS6000i’s simple, incremental speed adjustment system makes it one of the most flexible, control-oriented sewing machines in its price range.
Table Extension and Free Arm
A cramped workspace can often be the downfall of a sewing project. Quilters, in particular, suffer from insufficient table space on regular sewing machines.
Sewing garments is also more difficult on regular sewing machine tables, especially when it comes to cuffs and pant legs.
Brother’s CS6000i machine makes subpar work tables a thing of the past with a table extension and free arm combination.
The table extension simply lengthens the workspace to the side of the sewing machine, allowing more space for larger projects like quilts. Meanwhile, the free arm is designed to fit inside shirt arms and pant legs for more ergonomic hemming and cuff stitching.
While many sewing machines these days come with a detachable extension table, not quite so many feature a free arm. This uncommon but highly desirable feature enhances the multifunctionality of the CS6000i and makes a great purchase incentive for this machine over many of the newer competitors.
Jam-Resistant Bobbin System
Bobbin-related issues make up a large portion of complaints surrounding sewing machine use. Of all the shenanigans caused by sewing machine bobbins, jamming is probably the most commonly reported.
Bearing this in mind, it’s possible that one of the main reasons the CS6000i remains so popular is that its bobbin system is so easy to use – and, better still, jam-resistant!
First of all, the CS6000i uses a drop-in-top bobbin system. While this isn’t the time to delve into the ongoing dispute surrounding top-loading versus front-loading bobbin systems (we could be here for hours), top-loading bobbins are generally considered to be easier to work with than their front-loading counterparts.
Ultimately, though, this is a matter of preference, with many sewers preferring to use front-loading bobbin systems for a variety of reasons.
However, what both top-loading and front-loading enthusiasts can agree on is that any kind of bobbin getting jammed is an absolute nightmare.
That’s why we (and, clearly, Brother’s customer base) love the jam-resistant system incorporated into the CS6000i.
We’ve talked about how the automatic needle threading system built into the CS6000i saves a lot of time. This feature may not be quite so much of a dramatic time-saver, but it’s certainly a helpful tool that will make your sewing life easier in a small but significant way.
An automatic thread cutter is one of those things you never know you need until you use one. Being able to push a button and have your thread snipped in exactly the right place is so much easier than fumbling for your scissors every time you finish a seam.
Of course, Brother’s thread cutting system is nothing new – plenty of other sewing machines have these handy tools built-in. However, it’s yet another example of how Brother has managed to incorporate so many helpful features into the CS6000i for a reasonable price.
It’s quite common for sewing machines to come with a selection of accessories to get you set up and started. Often, however, we see the same type of issue as with built-in stitches: either too many or too few accessories are provided.
‘Can there really be such a thing as too many accessories?’ we hear you ask. Well, if you’re already navigating a cluttered craft room, the answer is a resounding yes. Once again, though, Brother has struck the ideal balance.
The CS6000i comes with a selection of 10 presser feet to enhance the machine’s versatility. These include the standard presser foot, of course, plus a walking foot, overcasting foot, and spring-action quilting foot.
In conjunction with the extended free arm, the quilting foot cements this machine as an excellent choice for quilters of any ability. You’ll also receive presser feet for monogramming, buttonholes, button fitting, zigzag stitching, blind stitching, and zippers.
And that’s not all! If you, like so many crafters out there, struggle to keep track of your needles, this machine also includes a needle set. The set even includes a twin needle for parallel stitching.
A set of 3 bobbins is also included with the CS6000i machine. We know these tiny components can be frustratingly easy to lose, but this way, you’ll have a couple of spares ready just in case. Plus, it’s always nice to have bobbins on hand for new colors.
The machine also features a protective case for when it’s not in use. This enhances the machine’s portability. At 13 lbs, it’s light enough for most people to lift without too much trouble, although you probably won’t want to be carting it around for hours at a time.
The CS6000i comes with just the right amount of accessories, but the machine goes above and beyond with a hidden accessory compartment!
The machine’s arm opens up on a hinge, revealing a handy compartment for all your bobbins, needles, and presser feet!
This is a great feature that not many sewing machines (even newer models) incorporate – especially not at this price.
The only unfortunate thing about the accessory compartment is that it doesn’t work when the extension table is attached due to the way the extension clips onto the work area. This means that while you can make full use of the compartment without the extension or free arm, you won’t be able to get to it when the extension is in place.
- Optimal range of 60 built-in stitches
- Computerized for ease of use
- Easy needle threading reduces preparation time
- Time-saving automatic bobbin winder
- Automatic thread cutter for convenience
- No-jam bobbin system
- 10 presser feet
- Bobbins and needles included
- Built-in accessory compartment
- Not an embroidery machine combo (but it handles sewing and quilting like a dream so 2 outta 3 ain’t bad!)
- Lighting could be brighter
- Accessory compartment must be removed with the table extension
The Final Touch (a.k.a. Our Final Thoughts)
Having explored each feature of the Brother CS6000i individually, we can definitely see why this machine has remained so popular years after its release.
Ultimately, the Brother CS6000i’s continuing popularity isn’t so much a testament to its features as a reflection of its excellent value for money.
For context, you can get sewing machines for just about any price point. There are cheap, basic models at under $100, and high-end models that will put you out of pocket by over $10,000.
The Brother CS6000i sits towards the lower end of this price range. However, despite its affordability, it still manages to tick most of the boxes we’d look for in a mid-range sewing machine, and even some we’d expect from a high-end model.
The optimal 60-stitch range, clear LCD display, specific error codes, automatic threading and cutting features and table extension all come together to make an intuitive, time-saving and control-oriented machine that will suit sewers of all abilities. The included accessories and accessory compartment are fantastic bonuses.
This isn’t an embroidery machine, but it’s excellent for basic and decorative sewing as well as quilting.
Although the LED lighting could be brightened to improve the overall ease-of-use of the machine, and while the minimalism of the LCD display might not be to all customers’ tastes, the verdict is clear: this is an outstanding, yet simple and accessible sewing machine that will serve both beginners and experienced machine users well for many years.
So, now you know why the Brother CS6000i is so popular, just one question remains: will you be the next proud owner of this multifunctional sewing machine?
As always, happy sewing.
P.S. If you are interested in the next generation, check out our Brother CS7000i review.