The 10 Best Budget Sewing Machines

Updated May 23, 2018 by Taber Koeghan

Best High-End
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We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Sewing can be many things: calming or exciting, a creative outlet or a necessity. One thing that it doesn’t have to be is expensive, thanks to an impressive range of budget-friendly machines. Keep in mind that each of the models featured here is a long-term investment, so don’t be afraid to spend what you can afford. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best budget sewing machine on Amazon.

10. EverSewn Maker 100

From an independent, Chicago-based company comes the EverSewn Maker 100, a stylish and functional selection that tops out at 650 stitches per minute. Both thread tension and stitch length are adjustable on this robust unit.
  • 5-millimeter stitch width
  • makes threading needles simple
  • tends to move around
Brand Ever Sewn
Model 100
Weight 15 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

9. Brother XM1010

The Brother XM1010 is a popular, entry-level model that can handle a range of tasks. With this one you can take pants and sleeves up, embroider designs, and secure appliqués. And the buttonhole foot allows you to create custom holes in four simple steps.
  • wipes clean with soap and water
  • good value for the price
  • not especially durable
Brand Brother
Model XM1010
Weight 12.9 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

8. Nex Portable

If you’re looking to make small, simple repairs and alterations, the Nex Portable could be just what you need. It’s compact for hassle-free carrying, and gives you the option of powering it up with batteries or by plugging it into an electrical outlet.
  • built-in handle
  • measuring tape printed on the side
  • not for heavy-duty use
Brand NEX
Model pending
Weight 5.9 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Brother XR3774

Both newbies and experts will appreciate the easy-to-use Brother XR3774, with its 37 integrated stitches that are a breeze to select. It comes with eight feet and an attached free arm, making it a versatile, economical choice.
  • sturdy and stable
  • suitable for hemming pants
  • stitches could be more precise
Brand Brother
Model XR3774
Weight 19.5 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

6. Singer 1304

Casual sewers and budget-minded individuals will gravitate toward the Singer 1304. With six patterns and pre-set widths and lengths, it’s a straightforward and enjoyable machine to work with. You’ll be able to see clearly, too, thanks to its LED workspace light.
  • small footprint
  • accommodates twin needles
  • not the best for complex projects
Brand Singer
Model 1304
Weight 14.3 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Brother CS6000i

The Brother CS6000i may be priced affordably, but the company spared no effort in packing this machine with features, including 60 stitches, a detachable table, time-saving one-step buttonholes, an LCD screen, and so much more.
  • excellent choice for quilters
  • english and spanish instructions
  • needle can get stuck in lower cavity
Brand Brother
Model CS6000I
Weight 17.1 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

4. Janome 2212

True beginners will benefit from the Janome 2212. Not only is it lightweight and exceedingly simple to operate, it also comes with a bundle of accessories that new crafters might not have at home, like extra needles and bobbins.
  • 12 basic stitches
  • adjustable zigzag pattern width
  • more expensive than comparable items
Brand Janome
Weight 15.2 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Brother XM2701

Simply turn the dial and pick your favorite among 27 patterns with the Brother XM2701. Options include decorative, quilting, and blind hem, among others. This model features an automatic bobbin winding mechanism, so you can spend more time actually working.
  • feminine floral design
  • free technical support for life
  • comes with helpful dvd
Brand Brother
Model XM2701
Weight 15.8 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Janome Hello Kitty

Newcomers are sure to love the Janome Hello Kitty. Its four interchangeable snap-on presser feet will help novices work without frustration and give quilters the freedom of movement they require. The reverse lever and tension control dial also contribute to ease of use.
  • two designs to choose from
  • etched needle plate
  • 25-year warranty
Brand Janome
Model 15312
Weight 15.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Singer 4423

Finish projects faster than ever with the Singer 4423, which contains a rugged motor that powers 1,100 stitches per minute. The adjustable presser foot offers versatility, while the stainless steel bedplate helps cut down on snags.
  • strong interior metal frame
  • 23 stitch options
  • great for thick fabrics
Brand Singer
Model 4423
Weight 17.1 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

A Brief History Of Sewing

Sewing has been an integral aspect of human life for almost as long as there have been humans. Archaeologists have discovered bone needles dating back to the Gravettian period roughly 25,000 years ago. More than likely, humans were sewing long before that time, we just haven't yet found the evidence. It is believed ancient homo sapiens used these bone needles for sewing furs together to keep warm and to create decorative patterns in textiles. Without the ability to sew, it most likely would not have been possible for humankind to settle in some of the cooler regions of the world after the last Ice Age.

In 7,000 B.C.E., Armenians started to produce copper needles as humankind developed better metalworking skills. Man created the first bronze needles sometime around 2,000 B.C.E., and most historians believe that it was the Germans who developed the first iron sewing needle in the 3rd century B.C.E.

Charles Fredrick Weisenthal obtained the first mechanical sewing machine patent in 1755, which incorporated a double-pointed needle. His machine could only produce crude, very loose stitches, which made it unfeasible for use in actual clothing production. For this reason, it is hard to consider him the inventor of the sewing machine. It was Thomas Saint, an English cabinet maker, who actually built the first fully-functioning sewing machine in 1790, which he also patented. It actually contained many of the same features as modern day sewing machines, such as a tensioning system and an overhead arm.

Seeing the commercial potential of a mechanical sewing machine, many inventors tried to replicate or improve upon Saint's creation, with the most notable being Barthélemy Thimonnier, a French tailor. In 1829, he invented a machine that was capable of producing embroidery-style chain stitches, which he patented in 1830. He went on to open the world's first commercial clothing manufacturing company that used mechanical sewing machines. It was, of course quickly replicated by many other clothing manufacturers.

It wasn't until the 1860s, that consumers started to purchase mechanical sewing machines for home use. In 1889, the Singer Sewing Corporation created the electric sewing machine, and they are still a major player in the industry to this day. Over the last 100 years, there have been a number of small improvements to sewing machines to make them better, more efficient, and more compact, but the basic principle in how they work hasn't changed much.

The Many Benefits Of Sewing

To the lay person, it may seem as if sewing is a dying art form, though those who think this would be sorely mistaken. In fact, over the last few years, there has been a double-digit increase in the number of people involved in some form of needlecraft hobby, like sewing, knitting, and quilting. Sewing-related search queries on Google are rising, and there are a number of sewing-related classes on offer throughout the United States.

Research has shown that sewing-related activities can be extremely therapeutic. The repetitive action that sewing requires creates a zen-like mind state in many people. They become so absorbed in what they are doing that, for a brief moment, they forget about the many issues that weigh on their mind throughout their daily life. For the many people out there who have trouble quieting their mind enough to meditate, sewing might be the next best thing. At the same time, you'll also be creating a beautiful new dress or fashionable blouse.

Many might be surprised to learn that sewing can actually help ward off dementia, as well. Performing tasks that require a high degree of concentration and attention to a series of small steps helps to keep the brain active. The brain may not be a muscle, but it follows the same principle, in that you either use it or your lose it. This means that sewing provides a two-fold benefit to your mental well-being: it helps to relieve stress and it keeps your mind sharp as you age.

Sewing can also lead to better hand-eye coordination. It requires a high degree of dexterity, as you will spend hours working with a very small needle and thread. Better hand-eye coordination can help with many everyday tasks, such as assembling furniture, slicing ingredients for your next culinary masterpiece, or blasting out that tweet in record time.

Tips For Choosing A Sewing Machine

Choosing your next sewing machine doesn't have to be difficult. The first thing is to determine the type of fabrics you want to work with and the types of stitches you want to be able to create. If you are just beginning to learn how to sew, or only want to be able to make simple repairs to your clothing, a basic electric model is probably enough for your needs. If you plan on making complex stitches and a range of garment types, an advanced model capable of a variety of stitch types is a better choice. The more advanced models will usually also offer adjustable tension control, which can be helpful during precision jobs.

Those who want to create complex garments out of a variety of fabrics will need a more advanced model. If you want to sew anything with pockets or sleeves, you should purchase a model with a free arm. A free arm machine gives you more leeway to manipulate the fabric around and under the needle. Machines capable of an overlock stitch allow you to create neater seams and hems, which is important for giving your garments that professionally-produced look. If you will regularly be working with thick and heavy fabrics, like canvas or denim, it is important to choose a sturdy machine that can feed the needle through these fabrics without getting stuck.

Every user, no matter their skill level, can benefit from a model with a foot pedal that allows you to control the machine, while leaving your hands free to work with the fabric.

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Last updated on May 23, 2018 by Taber Koeghan

Taber is a writer working in Los Angeles, which also happens to be the city she was raised in. She enjoys reading mysteries, rock climbing, and baking. A funny cat named Roswell lives in her house.

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