Beginner Sewing Machines: How to Choose & Reviews

Choosing a sewing machine is confusing! Unless you’ve been brought up in a world of sewing and embroidery, the sewing machine market can be more than a little overwhelming. Actually, even if you did grow up surrounded by sewing, it can still be overwhelming when trying to pick the best sewing machine that suits your needs.  There are just so many machines out there, with so many different functions and features.

If you need a little more background on the components of sewing machines and how these machines work, let’s take a step back in order for the rest of this post to make sense.  Read How Sewing Machines Work, then meet me back here to learn more about each machine.

Background: Common Sewing Machine Manufacturers

If you have done any research on sewing machines already, you may have noticed that the players dominating the market currently are:

  • Bernina
  • Brother
  • Husqvarna
  • Janome
  • Juki
  • Singer

It is not uncommon for Beginner Sewing group members to ask about other brands or cheaper / more affordable sewing machine options.  My advice (and I am pretty sure not many would disagree) is to look past the price tag. The cost of those cheaper machines are usually the only good thing about them. If you’re tempted by a low-cost unbranded sewing machine, it is advised to steer clear.

When group members asked what the best beginner sewing machines were that were a good price, these three were the top-recommended by others: Best Sewing Machines for Beginners.

And to get you considering which sewing machine is best for you, it might be helpful to read the article that was featured in the Autumn 2020 issue of Beg!nner Sewing Magazine:  5 Tiips for Buying Your First Sewing Machine.

Because I have not done a personal review on each machine, I found a post from Sewing From Home, and loved their complete guide, “Best Sewing Machines: A Complete Buyer’s Guide.” This goes into further detail about this frequently asked beginner sewing question. Also, I was thrilled to see that my first sewing machine made their top recommended sewing machine for beginners as well as my second machine when I did my first upgrade. Both machines I have kept and still love and recommend today for anyone who is interested in Singer brand machines. Feel free to browse their website for more reviews and helpful sewing information. But for now, here is what they had to say about these sewing machines:

What Are The Best Sewing Machines?

From Sewing From Home

Here are our carefully curated top sewing machines.

These are all, bar none, excellent machines. Which one you decide to buy will depend entirely on your own personal preferences — so we’ve labeled them according to what type of sewing they’re best for.

That might be garment making, quilting, or even just general home use.

Let’s take it away…

Singer Quantum Stylist 9960

For many people, this Singer Quantum Stylist is the best sewing machine on the market today — just check out the hordes of sterling reviews!

Those in the know describe it as ‘dealer quality’, but the price is low enough to fool you otherwise.

We think it’s a great all-round machine at a very reasonable price.

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • 600 different stitch patterns available
  • 13 different buttonhole styles (in just 1 step!)
  • 850 stitches per minute
  • Computerized with an LCD screen
  • Quick and easy to use: comes with an automatic needle threader, thread cutter, tension, a top drop-in bobbin system and electronic twin needle control
  • Needle up/down button and free arm
  • Comes with 19 presser feet and an extension table, plus a host of other accessories
  • Slow sewing speed option
  • 1-25 year warranty (limited) according to component

>>> Read full review of the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960

Here’s a video of the machine in action:

While we really love the Singer 9960, here’s what could be better:

  • It’s a little noisy at high speed
  • Singer’s customer service leaves a little to be desired

Brother PC 420PRW

Best brother sewing machine?This sleek and chic machine from Brother is part of their Project Runway collection and is one of the best sewing machines, hands down.

Much like the Singer 9960, it’s an all-round machine that will likely appeal to intermediate sewers and above. Fashion designers and garment makers are likely to favor this machine too.

Here’s what we love about the Brother PC420PRW:

  • Includes 294 pre-programmed stitches, including 10 1-step buttonholes and 3 font styles
  • Brother My Custom Stitch feature allows you to design custom stitches — great for crafters!
  • Automatic needle threader and thread trimming
  • Bobbin winding system powered by start button
  • Comes with 11 presser feet and a host of other accessories
  • 6-point feed dogs and built-in knee lifter
  • Works at 850 stitches per minute
  • Adjustable speed control
  • LCD display for easy stitch selection and size control
  • Twin needle function
  • Works quietly
  • 25 year limited warranty

Here’s what could be improved:

  • Very heavy at around 25 pounds
  • Weak lighting system
  • Some buyers noticed skipping on the zigzag stitch

>>> Read our full Brother PC420PRW Review

 

Juki TL-2010Q

Best Juki sewing machine?Fashion designers, tailors and quilters will love this Juki single needle lockstitch sewing machine, which comes with a high price tag but that unbeatable Japanese quality.

Here’s what we love about this Juki machine:

  • Single needle lockstitch
  • Automatic needle threader and thread trimmer
  • Easy bobbin replacement
  • Knee lifter lever for ease of use
  • Adjustment of presser foot pressure
  • Portable with carrying handle
  • Lots of included accessories
  • Large throat perfect for quilting
  • Free motion quilting capability
  • Can stitch through several layers

And where we think it could improve:

  • It’s really heavy, at over 37 pounds
  • It’s not computerized

>>> Read our full Juki TL-2010Q Review

 

Brother CS6000i

good sewing machine for beginners?This low cost and versatile computerized sewing machine from Brother is particularly popular with quilters and other crafters.

It’s also small and pretty lightweight — ideal for crafting night!

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • 60 built-in stitches, including 7 1-step buttonholes
  • Computerized LCD display for easy stitch and size selection
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Variable speed control
  • Stop/start button and top drop-in bobbin
  • Comes with quilting table, hard cover, 9 presser feet and a host of other accessories
  • Free arm
  • 25 year limited warranty

And here’s a few areas for improvement:

  • Light is not strong enough
  • The operation manual is a little confusing

>>> Read our full Brother CS6000i Review

 

Singer 7528

Is Singer the best sewing machine for me?This is another low-cost model from Singer, but this bad boy offers a lot more stitches as well as a programmable needle — ideal!

It’s another easy to use all-round machine — no wonder it’s one of the most popular sewing machines of the decade.

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • 100 pre-programmed stitches, including 7 1-step buttonholes
  • Automatic needle threader and top drop-in bobbin system
  • Computerized with an LCD display
  • Electronic auto pilot option where you can sew without the foot pedal
  • Comes with 10 presser feet and other accessories
  • Adjustable stitch length and width
  • Programmable up/down needle
  • Speed control with start/stop button
  • 25 year limited warranty

And here’s what could be improved:

  • Not as reliable on thicker materials
  • Machine vibrates on higher speed settings

Brother SE400

The Brother se400In our humble opinion, this is one of the best sewing machines for quilting and embroidery available right now. Crafters — you’re going to love it!

We especially love the fact that you can connect it up to your computer and import your embroidery designs straight to the machine.

Here’s what we love about it:

  • 67 built-in stitch styles, 70 built-in embroidery designs and 5 lettering fonts
  • 4″ x 4″ embroidery capabilities
  • Can connect to your computer to import in your own embroidery designs
  • 1 touch automatic thread cutter and needle threader
  • 7-point feed dogs — smooth fabric feeding
  • Free arm
  • Comes with plenty of accessories including presser feet, embroidery hoop and arm
  • LCD touch display
  • Brightly lit workspace
  • 25 year limited warranty

Here’s a couple of areas where it could be improved:

  • The pre-programmed embroidery designs aren’t particularly inspiring
  • Not so good at tackling thicker fabrics and multiple layers

>>> Read our full Brother SE400 Review

 

Singer 4423

Is the Singer a good machine for sewing?Singer claim that the 4423 can ‘sew through just about anything you throw at it’, which is exactly what we want in a heavy duty sewing machine.

This bad boy is certainly powerful — and it’s fast too, able to stitch 1,100 stitches per minute. It’s great to have industrial level sewing at a home use price!

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • 23 included stitches, including 1 1-step buttonhole
  • Automatic needle threader and top drop-in bobbin
  • Can stitch 1,100 stitches per minute thanks to a 60% stronger motor
  • Very heavy duty and durable: stainless steel bed plate and a strong metal frame
  • 4 included presser feet are snap-on
  • Doesn’t vibrate, even at high speed — and no skipping stitches either!
  • Clear view cover over bobbin thread supply
  • 25 year limited warranty
  • Low cost

Here’s where there’s room for improvement:

  • Can be tricky to set the thread tension successfully
  • Lighting could be better

 

Juki HZL-F600

Top rated Juki machineThis Juki product is truly one of the best sewing machines. In terms of stitch quality, reliability and creative potential, this machine is almost unparalleled.

Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s definitely high quality.

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • Includes 255 sewing patterns, 4 fonts and 16 buttonholes
  • Box feed technology
  • Works with lightweight to thicker materials
  • Wide sewing space with an extended sewing table
  • Stitch charts
  • Accessories include snap-on presser feet
  • 900 stitches per minute
  • Computerized with an LCD display

And here’s where it could improve:

  • You can’t use it for embroidering
  • It’s pretty heavy (around 25 pounds)

>>> Read our full Juki HZL-F600 Review

 

Janome 8077

Sewing with a Janome makerThis is a great value, sewing machine for beginners from Janome that’s pretty much perfect for home use and some crafting.

Stitch quality is always high and there’s plenty of accessories included for you to customize your sewing experience.

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • Comes with 30 built-in stitches, including 6 1-step buttonholes
  • Equipped with the exclusive Janome jam-proof magnetic rotary hook
  • Start/stop button as well as foot control
  • Extra high presser foot lift for maximum ease of use
  • Sliding speed override — great for beginners
  • Plenty of bonus accessories, including presser feet and a needle pack
  • Can handle lightweight through to heavy duty materials

And here’s a couple of areas for improvement:

  • You can only use the start/stop button when the foot pedal is unplugged
  • There aren’t many decorative stitches, which may deter crafters

Janome DC2014

Janome DC modelThis Janome product is one of the best sewing machines for home use and is highly popular with sewers who value reliable stitch quality and ease of use.

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • Comes with 50 pre-programmed stitches, including 3 1-step buttonholes
  • 7-point feed dogs for smooth feeding
  • Auto-lock button and easy reverse
  • Speed control via slider
  • Top loading drop-in bobbin, automatic de-clutch bobbin winder and built-in needle threader
  • Automatic tension control
  • Free arm and quilting guide bar
  • Extra high presser foot lift for ease of use
  • Memorized needle up/down
  • Start/stop button to sew without foot pedal
  • Works reasonably quietly

And here’s where it could be better:

  • Can be tricky to use the needle threader
  • Not so good on sewing through multiple layers of thick material

>>> Read our full Janome DC2014 Review

Brother HC1850

A popular Brother machineThis low-cost Brother machine is good for quilters and other crafters who’ll appreciate the beautiful pre-programmed decorative stitches.

Quilters love the detachable large table, spring action quilting foot, free-motion quilting capabilities and the 14 quilting stitch functions.

Here’s what we love about this machine:

  • 130 built-in stitches, including 8 1-step buttonholes and a sewing font for monogramming
  • Special features for quilting, including wide table
  • Includes lots of accessories, like an attached stitch flip chart and 8 specialty feet
  • Computerized with LCD display
  • Super bright LED-lit work area
  • Adjustable sewing speed
  • Automatic needle threader and quick-set bobbin with start button
  • Drop feed for free motion quilting
  • Just over 10 pounds
  • Inexpensive

And where it could improve:

  • Experienced sewers may find the speed a little slow
  • Doesn’t feel as sturdy as some of the heavy duty machines

>>> Read our full Brother HC1850 Review

 

Janome 2212

Janome 2212A *cheap* Janome machine, you say? Believe the hype — reliable, quality stitching in a low priced machine is here!

This is an easy to use and basic machine that’s perfect for beginners and those dipping their toes into the sewing world.

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • Comes with 12 pre-programmed stitches, including 1 buttonhole
  • Drop feed and free arm for free motion sewing and quilting
  • Pattern selection is via the easy turn dial
  • Front loading bobbin
  • Speeds up to 1000 stitches per minute
  • Built-in thread cutter
  • Comes with multiple accessories, including snap-on presser feet
  • You can lock stitches with the reverse lever
  • Limited 25 year warranty

Areas for improvement:

  • Buttonhole requires 4 steps
  • Needle threading and tension control is manual, which could be tricky

>>> Read our full Janome 2212 Review

 

Janome HD1000

Janome HD1000 machineThis Janome is one of the best heavy duty sewing machines on the market at such a reasonable price.

You can expect that usual Janome quality stitching, plus the ability to tackle thicker and layered fabrics — great for garment makers!

Things we love about the machine:

  • 14 built-in stitches, including 1 buttonhole
  • Very heavy duty, made of cast aluminum
  • Built-in automatic needle threader
  • Removable free arm and drop feed for free motion sewing
  • Comes with plenty of accessories, including 4 presser feet, and bobbins
  • Adjustable stitch length and width
  • Front loading bobbin and automatic de-clutch bobbin winder
  • Select stitches via the dial
  • Extra high presser foot lifter
  • 25 year limited warranty

And some things we don’t like so much:

  • Buttonhole requires 4 steps
  • Machine runs relatively loudly
  • Tension control is manual, which can be tricky

>>> Read our full Janome HD1000 Review (Black Edition)

 

Singer 5400 Sew Mate

The Singer 5400 Sew MateThis popular sewing machine is low cost, lightweight and easy to use — perfect for beginners!

While you shouldn’t expect miracles from a product in this price range, it’s deservedly popular and ideal for basic use.

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • 60 built in stitch styles, including 4 1-step buttonholes
  • Push button stitch selection
  • Automatic needle threader, tension, stitch length and width
  • Front load bobbin
  • Comes with a number of accessories, including presser feet
  • 25 year limited warranty

And here’s what could be improved:

  • The bobbin has to be rethreaded quite a lot
  • Stitch quality is not always consistent (personal use only!)

 

Singer 8763

Singer 8763 modelWhile the 8763 doesn’t have the same bells and whistles as the 9960 above, it’s a fabulous simple machine that gets the job done.

It’s one of our favorite sewing machines for beginners, is easy to use and comes at an attractively low price.

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • 30 stitch styles on offer, including 2 1-step buttonholes
  • Automatic needle threader and bobbin thread pick-up
  • Automatic stitch length and width
  • 3 LED lamps that stay cool
  • Computerized: choose stitch and settings at the touch of a button
  • Free arm
  • Very sturdy and powerful machine
  • Accessory pack included
  • 25 year limited warranty

Obviously, at its low price you can’t expect too much more than just a good sewing machine for beginners, but here’s a few things we would improve aside from that fact:

  • It’s heavy at 17 pounds so not exactly portable!
  • Doesn’t reliably produce totally straight and even stitches — it’s not suitable for anything other than personal and hobbyist use
  • No LCD screen

 

Singer 1234

Low price sewing machineIf you want a cheap, basic sewing machine, it’s hard to go wrong with the Singer 1234. Check out that low, low price!

Sure, it may not have the bells and whistles of the more expensive models, but it’s certainly a good deal that would be well suited to beginners, sewers on a budget or even kids.

Here’s what we love about the machine:

  • Automatic bobbin winding system
  • Free arm and darning plate
  • Includes online machine owner’s class
  • 6 built-in stitches, including 1 button hole
  • Pre-set stitch length and width settings
  • Accessories including 3 presser feet
  • Comes with a tote bag and decorative vinyl decals
  • Dual spool pins for twin needles
  • 750 stitches per minute speed
  • 25 year limited warranty

And here’s what could be improved:

  • Programmed buttonhole stitch is a 4-step process
  • Not good for thick material
Joan Mantini

About Joan Mantini

After several years of being the Facebook page owner at Beginner Sewing, I noticed there was a desperate need to have a single go-to spot for members to be able to find answers to their common questions, get some useful tips & tricks, as well as find reputable places to purchase sewing products online. Taking my role as a trade publication editor by day, and combining it with my knowledge of frequently requested beginner sewing advice, I created www.beginner-sewing.com. An outlet that gives new sewists a free digital magazine geared for entry level sewing as an extra bonus!

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