The 10 Best Sewing Machines

Updated December 28, 2017 by Melissa Harr

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We spent 47 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. It's easy to sew up a storm with one of these high-quality sewing machines, whether you’re a quilter, professional seamstress, or casual crafter. We’ve included everything from entry-level models with basic features that are easy for beginners to use all the way to heavy-duty, feature-packed options that will keep even the most innovative tailors happy. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best sewing machine on Amazon.

10. Brother Project Runway

Get ready to bring your own fashions to life with the Brother Project Runway, a computerized machine that delivers 294 built-in stitches. Its innovative My Custom Stitch feature even lets you save your own designs to memory.
  • one-handed threading
  • led lighting system
  • not as hardwearing as other models
Brand Brother Sewing
Model PC420PRW
Weight 26 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Singer Quantum Stylist

The Singer Quantum Stylist offers a large color touchscreen with helpful visual and audible messaging, a handy feature for both beginners and the experienced alike. And with over 960 stitches, it’ll give you exactly what you need for any type of project.
  • presser foot sensor prevents mishaps
  • programmable stitch memory
  • could be sturdier for the price
Brand Singer
Model 9985
Weight 24.2 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

8. Janome DC2014

With 50 built-in stitches and three one-step buttonholes, the versatile Janome DC2014 can handle a wide variety of home decor, garment, and quilting projects. Its bright LED screen helps with easy stitch selection, so you can always sew confidently.
  • automatic tension control
  • presser foot lifts extra high
  • hard cover for transport
Brand Janome
Model 001DC2014
Weight 23.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Juki TL-2010Q

The Juki TL-2010Q has an industrial feel, with heavy-duty metal construction that’s made for the long haul. Its convenient auxiliary table gives you a large 23-inch work area for precision projects, plus it has a knee-lift lever for hands-free presser foot raising.
  • great for quilting
  • creates beautiful stitches
  • more expensive than many models
Brand JUKI
Model TL-2010Q
Weight 37.9 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

6. Janome MOD-19

The Janome MOD-19 is a cute and stylish little machine that weighs a meager 12 pounds, yet it still gives you the usability and qualities you might expect from a more robust model, from the range of built-in stitches to the drop feed.
  • handy zipper foot
  • sews at 750 stitches per minute
  • feet might be tough to change
Brand Janome
Model 150816
Weight 14 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Brother XM2701

The Brother XM2701 is a great choice for both casual and beginner sewers, especially since it comes in at a budget-friendly price. It features a top drop-in bobbin designed to resist jamming, a super simple stitch selector, and a built-in free arm.
  • includes instructional dvd
  • 25-year limited warranty
  • foot pedal could be more durable
Brand Brother
Model XM2701
Weight 15.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Janome DC5100

A computerized model, the Janome DC5100 has a snap-on presser feet system, an LCD touchscreen, and an ample 167 different stitches, including five buttonholes and an alphabet. For those tight curves, it’s got a slider that helps you control the speed conveniently.
  • built-in bobbin winder
  • attached thread cutter
  • incandescent bulb not very bright
Brand Janome
Model DC5100
Weight 24.4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Janome Magnolia 7318

The Janome Magnolia 7318 makes it easy to tackle all kinds of projects. You can, for example, drop the feed dogs for freeform quilting, choose one of the 18 stitches easily with the selector dial, and change both the width and length of your stitches.
  • stitch chart on the front
  • lightweight for portability
  • integrated seam guides
Brand Janome Magnolia 7318
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Singer 4423

You won’t have to worry about your machine jostling all over the place with the Singer 4423, which is crafted with a heavy-duty frame for smooth sewing. It provides a total of 23 built-in stitches and a rapid 1,100 stitches-per-minute speed.
  • comes with four presser feet
  • clear-view bobbin cover
  • no trouble with thick fabrics
Brand Singer
Model 4423
Weight 17.4 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Brother CS6000i

Designed for hassle-free use, the Brother CS6000i has a handy storage compartment on its arm to keep your accessories organized, seven different buttonhole stitches, and nine included presser feet. Its hard carrying case makes it easy to transport.
  • sewing speed adjusts via slide
  • detachable sewing table
  • can use with or without foot pedal
Brand Brother Sewing
Model CS6000I
Weight 17.1 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts

Imagine the sight of a torn sweater and the appreciation experienced when a family member takes the time to sit in front of a sewing machine to put these torn pieces back together again. This image of the sewing machine and its function to both manipulate and repair fabrics is the main focus of discussion.

Whereas knitting involves creating independent shapes of fabric from scratch using a set of connected loops from different colored yarns, a sewing machine can be used to stitch these individually-shaped pieces together using thread to form the entire garment. This is accomplished by allowing fabrics to glide in and out of the machine without the inconvenience of a needle, thread, or thimble getting in the way or causing injury to one's fingers. With a sewing machine, the objects ordinarily used for hand stitching are integrated into the machine's casing and design, which automates the sewing process while making it more efficient and safe for the operator.

The four most common types of sewing machines include mechanical, electronic, computerized, and overlocker. Mechanical machines are the oldest type and operate through use of a side wheels, cranks, and dials requiring manual effort from the operator. An electronic machine has a single electric motor powering its needle while the operator controls the machine's speed using an integrated foot pedal. This provides the operator's hands with freedom to guide and feed fabrics through the machine for additional precision.

Electronic machines normally have side dials for choosing the desired stitch patterns and lengths. Some electronic machines are also equipped with adjustable thread tension settings. Rather than using dials and buttons, computerized sewing machines have digital displays with the ability to store favorite or previously-used stitch patterns. Some computerized machines have built-in universal serial bus (USB) ports for creating custom designs and saving them for future use. Overlocker machines are strictly designed to add professional finishes to hems and seams.

Depending on the machine, both plain and patterned stitches with dozens of recognized patterns are possible. Many patterns make use of multiple threads for a stitch. Plain stitches include the chainstitch, lockstitch, overlock, and coverstitch. The chainstitch is the oldest type with the most drawbacks because it isn't capable of self-locking. This means that if its thread breaks at any point during the sewing process, the entire length of stitching comes undone. Secondly, if the direction of sewing is changed from one stitch to the next using this method, the process could fail.

The lockstitch is the most common for household sewing machines and is characterized by two threads with one being passed through a needle and the other coming from a bobbin or shuttle. Each single thread stays on the same side of the material that is sewn until it is interlaced with the opposing thread at each needle hole through use of a bobbin driver. The overlock stitch uses two to four threads for garment seams in knit and stretchy fabrics. The coverstitch is formed by at least two needles and one or two loopers (thread holders) that manipulate thread both above and below the material. The needle threads then form parallel rows, while the looper threads cross back and forth along those rows. This results in a grid-like stitch pattern.

Sewing To Your Heart's Content

When searching for the best sewing machine, one's profession should be the first consideration. Should you be using the machine for professional repair or garment fabrication, then a machine with an extended working table will definitely come in handy, particularly when sewing large garments.

If you feel that automation will make your job easier, then spring for a computerized model with plenty of preprogrammed stitches. You will appreciate having as much customization available to you as possible so that you're equipped to handle whatever your customers may need.

If the machine can accept additional custom stitches, then all the better to choose a computerized model with a digital readout that can accept a USB device. The machine should have plenty of available memory for saving your designs as well. Some computerized machines even leverage audio and visual sewing guides if you're new to the craft.

The types of presser feet with which your machine is compatible will also determine the degree of customization you can accomplish. For this reason, it is important to be knowledgeable about which feet will work with your machine and to be sure you have a wide enough variety.

A Brief History Of Sewing Machines

The first practical patent for a mechanical sewing machine was issued to Charles Fredrick Weisenthal in 1755. It described a needle designed for a machine, but nothing more. English inventor and cabinet maker Thomas Saint invented the first sewing machine design thirty-five years later in 1790, but it was never successfully marketed.

The first fully functional sewing machine was invented in 1829 by French tailor Barthélemy Thimonnier. Thimonnier's machine used a single thread and a hooked needle that made the same chainstitch used for embroidery. The patent for Thimonnier's machine was issued in 1830. That same year, Thimonnier opened the world's first machine-based clothing manufacturing company to create uniforms for the French army. Unfortunately, his factory was burnt down by workers fearful of losing their livelihood upon the grant of his patent.

By 1846, American inventor Elias Howe received the very first American patent for his lockstitch mechanism. However, Howe experienced trouble marketing his product and defending the patent against competition from other innovators, including Isaac Singer (inventor of the up-and-down motion mechanism).

Clothing manufacturers were the first major customers for the sewing machine and used the device to produce the first ready-to-wear clothing. Consumer purchases for the machine became common by the 1860s. The first electric sewing machines were developed by Singer Sewing Corporation in 1889. Throughout the course of the twentieth century, the electric machine continued to grow in popularity with its motor eventually integrated into the machine's casing.

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Last updated on December 28, 2017 by Melissa Harr

Melissa is a writer, editor, and EFL educator from the U.S. She's worked in the field since earning her B.A. in 2012, during which time she's judged fiction contests, taught English in Asia, and authored e-courses about arts and crafts. In her free time, she likes to make stuff out of sticks and string.

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