The 6 Best Sewing Machines for Every Skill Level
By Corrie Pelc
The humble sewing machine has come a long way since the very first modern sewing machine patented by Isaac Merritt Singer in 1851. Since then, sewing machines have graced homes, clothing businesses, and home economics classes around the world. And the recent pandemic created a resurgence of interest in sewing machines as homebound citizens looked to add new DIY skills to their resumes.
With so many choices available on the market today, the shopping process can be a bit overwhelming! That’s why we’re here to help with our product guide of the best sewing machines you can buy right now.
Best Sewing Machine for Beginners: Brother CS6000i Sewing and Quilting MachineAn overall best sewing machine for beginners to grow their skills with.
Best Advanced Sewing Machine: Juki HZL-F600 Computerized Sewing and Quilting MachineAn industrial-grade sewing machine for the most advanced sewers.
Best Budget Sewing Machine: Brother XM2701 Sewing MachineA fully-featured computerized sewing machine for under $150.
Best Portable Sewing Machine: Janome Lady Lilac Derby Sewing MachineA five-pound portable sewing machine that can be used just about anywhere.
Best Sewing Machine for Heavy Fabrics: Singer Heavy Duty 4423 Sewing MachineAn extra-durable sewing machine designed to handle sewing heavy-weight fabrics like denim and canvas.
Best Sewing Machine for Kids: Janome Arctic Crystal Mechanical Sewing MachineA kid-friendly sewing machine with lots of learning and growing opportunities.
How to Buy a Sewing Machine
Here are a few things to consider when purchasing a sewing machine:
- What's Your Skill Level? If you are a novice to the sewing machine world, you'll want to start with a machine that doesn’t necessarily have every bell and whistle out there, or it might be too confusing to get to know. Start with a sewing machine focused on the basics and as your skill level grows, you can upgrade to more intermediate- and advanced-level machines.
- What Stitches Does the Machine Include? Although today's sewing machines can do a lot, the main purpose of a sewing machine is to sew stitches. Many sewing machines will offer a variety of stitch options. The best stitches to always have on a sewing machine are the two most basic stitches: a straight stitch and a zigzag stitch.
- Computerized or Mechanical? Today's sewing machines come in one of these two types. A mechanical sewing machine is much like the simple sewing machine your mother may have had, where you manually adjust knobs to different settings. A computerized sewing machine has built-in stitches and other features that can help save you time and make stitches more precise. There's no right or wrong answer to this one — the type of machine you choose is really a personal preference.
Test Factors We Considered When Picking the Best Sewing Machines
Here is a list of the test factors we used when compiling our list of the top sewing machines on the market today:
- Price: How much does this sewing machine cost?
- Skill Level: What skill level is this sewing machine best for — beginner, intermediate, or advanced?
- Type: Is the sewing machine computerized or mechanical?
- Weight: How much does the sewing machine weigh? This will help the user determine what kind of table support is needed for it and how easy it is to move around.
- Stitches: How many types of stitches does this sewing machine offer?
- Functions: What extra functions does the sewing machine include? Some normal features of today’s sewing machines include an automatic needle threader and a drop-in bobbin, both of which are time—and frustration—savers compared to having to manually set both of those. And some sewing machines come with multiple types of sewing feet (also called presser feet), which is what holds the fabric down as the sewing machine stitches.
- Warranty: Does the manufacturer back the performance of this sewing machine?
Now, let’s take a look at our list of the best sewing machines for 2022.
Best Sewing Machine for Beginners: Brother CS6000i Sewing and Quilting Machine
With over 19,000 ratings and 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon, the Brother CS6000i Sewing and Quilting Machine is one of the best sewing machines you can buy right now. What makes this sewing machine so great for beginners is that not only is it pretty affordable, but its computerized system makes it extremely simple to complete almost any sewing project with ease. The machine comes pre-loaded with 60 stitches, including special decorative stitches and seven different styles of buttonholes. And because it comes with so many stitches, you can grow into this machine as your skills improve. It also features an automatic needle threader and jam-resistant drop-in top bobbin, as well as a wider sewing table for larger projects. And the Brother CS6000i Sewing and Quilting Machine is backed by a 25-year limited warranty that includes free technical support.
- 60 built-in stitches, including decorative stitches and buttonholes
- Included wide sewing table allows for large projects
- 25-year limited warranty
- None that we can see!
Best Advanced Sewing Machine: Juki HZL-F600 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine
If you're an advanced sewer and you want the best sewing machine available today, you'll want to check out the Juki HZL-F600 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine. Although the price tag’s on the heftier side, you get an industrial-grade sewing machine capable of pretty much anything you can throw at it. The computerized sewing machine comes pre-loaded with 255 built-in stitches, including everything from basic stitches to letters and decorative ones. The machine also has a ton of features, many of which are controlled by the device’s LCD display, including automatic needle threading and thread trimming, reverse sewing, quick-set bobbin winder, and much more. It can also handle multiple layers of fabric, including denim and quilting. And the Juki HZL-F600 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine also comes with a slew of accessories, including 12 sewing feet, a wide table, and two presser feet.
- Can tackle almost any project
- 255 built-in stitches
- Comes with a ton of special functions and accessories
Best Budget Sewing Machine: Brother XM2701 Sewing Machine
Priced at under $150, the Brother XM2701 Sewing Machine is our top pick for a budget sewing machine. This computerized sewing machine still features an automatic needle threader and drop-in top bobbin, as well as 27 built-in stitches for tackling a wide variety of sewing projects. Beginners will love how easy it is to use and navigate (it comes with an instructional DVD), and advanced sewers will love how portable and easy on the wallet it is. Despite its budget price, the sewing machine does come with quite a few features, including six sewing feet, an auto-size buttonhole, a three-piece needle set, a twin needle, and four bobbins. And the Brother XM2701 Sewing Machine is protected by a 25-year limited warranty.
- Less than $150
- Some of the same features more expensive models come with
- 25-year limited warranty
- Built-in stitches are limited compared to other machines on our list
Best Portable Sewing Machine: Janome Lady Lilac Derby Sewing Machine
If you want a cheap, user-friendly, and extremely portable sewing machine, then the Janome Lady Lilac Derby Sewing Machine might fit the bill. This sewing machine only weighs five pounds, making it extremely easy to move around and use almost anywhere. It features 10 built-in stitches easily accessed through a manual dial, making it a great option for mending, general crafting, appliques, zipper insertion, and paper crafting. It can also handle a variety of fabrics including cotton, knits, flannel, and even lightweight denim. And the Janome Lady Lilac Derby Sewing Machine also comes with some special features including a top drop-in bobbin, built-in accessory tray, tension dial, and more.
- Only weights 5 pounds
- Great for mending, general crafting, paper crafting, and more
- Very limited amount of stitches
- Not for heavy fabrics or large projects
Best Sewing Machine for Heavy Fabrics: Singer Heavy Duty 4423 Sewing Machine
The Singer Heavy Duty 4423 Sewing Machine comes with 23 built-in stitches ranging from basic to decorative for a wide variety of sewing projects. The machine also offers a number of features, including an automatic needle threader, four different sewing feet, and an automatic one-step buttonhole maker. The Singer Heavy Duty 4423 Sewing Machine is built to last, made from a full metal frame for extra durability. And its motor is 60-percent stronger than standard sewing machine motors, allowing it to handle sewing heavier weighted fabrics like canvas or denim.
- Motor is 60 percent stronger to handle sewing heavy-weight fabrics
- Comes with 23 built-in stitches and a variety of features
- 25-year limited warranty
- Is a mechanical sewing machine, which requires a bit more know-how to use
Best Sewing Machine for Kids: Janome Arctic Crystal Mechanical Sewing Machine
Get the sewers of tomorrow off on the right foot with the Janome Arctic Crystal Mechanical Sewing Machine — our pick for the best sewing machine for kids. Although this sewing machine is a great option for the littlest beginner sewers, it also offers enough features to keep them happy as their skills improve and grow. Kids will get to know their machine and more about sewing in general thanks to the included tutorial videos, quick start guide, and beginner accessories. Available in three fun colors, the Janome Arctic Crystal Mechanical Sewing Machine also features 15 built-in stitches, a front-loading bobbin system, a four-step buttonhole, and much more. It's also backed by a 25-year limited warranty.
- Great starter sewing machine for kids with tutorial videos and beginner accessories
- Comes with 15 built-in stitches and a variety of features
- 25-year limited warranty
- Built-in stitches are a bit limited
Do you have a sewing machine that threads your heartstrings? Tell us about it in the comments below!