The 7 Best Sewing Machines

Updated September 07, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

7 Best Sewing Machines
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Whether you are a quilter, make or repair your own clothes, or need a professional machine for your workplace, we've made it easy to select the right sewing machine for your needs by ranking them according to durability, ease of use and price. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best sewing machine on Amazon.

7. Brother Project Runway

The Brother Project Runway is a computerized sewing machine that delivers more than 294 built-in stitches. Its innovative My Custom Stitch feature lets you save your own custom stitch designs to memory, though the overall build quality isn't super durable.
  • one-handed threading system
  • capable of 10 buttonhole styles
  • triple stitch setting is very slow
Brand Brother
Model PC420PRW
Weight 26.7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Singer S16 Studio

Ideal for professional sewers and quilters, the Singer S16 Studio is a high-performance, straight stitch machine designed to tackle high-volume sewing jobs. Its longer arm easily accommodates draperies and other large projects.
  • independent bobbin winding system
  • sews 1600 stitches per minute
  • no stop position memory
Brand Singer
Model S16
Weight 38.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Brother CS6000i

The Brother CS6000i has a handy storage compartment on its arm to keep your accessories organized in one location, 7 styles of one-step buttonholes, and 9 presser feet. Its included hard carrying case also makes it easy to transport.
  • allows for sewing speed adjustments
  • detachable sewing table
  • can use with or without foot control
Brand Brother
Model CS6000I
Weight 17.3 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Janome DC2012

With 50 built-in stitches and 3 one-step buttonholes, the versatile Janome DC2012 can handle a wide variety of home decor, garment, and quilting projects. Its backlit LED screen also allows for easy stitch selection, so you can always sew confidently.
  • built-in auto-lock function
  • up-down needle position buttons
  • creates stitches up to 5mm in length
Brand Janome
Model 001DC2014
Weight 23.2 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Singer Quantum Stylist

The Singer Quantum Stylist features a large color touchscreen with built-in sewing assistance in the form of audible and visual messaging, making it ideal for beginners. Its presser foot sensor helps to reduce thread bunching for smooth stitching.
  • 13 different presser feet
  • helpful auto stitch settings
  • simple top-loading bobbin system
Brand Singer
Model 9985
Weight 22.9 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Janome Magnolia 7318

The Janome Magnolia 7318 is a commercial quality machine that comes at a consumer price point. Its 7-piece feed dog offers optimum control while sewing, and it has a simple dial that allows you to choose from any of the 18 stitch options.
  • stitch chart on the front
  • lightweight at just 18 pounds
  • integrated seam guides
Brand Janome Magnolia 7318
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Juki TL-2010Q

The Juki TL-2010Q is an industrial-quality sewing/quilting machine that is constructed from heavy-duty aluminum die casting. Its convenient auxiliary table gives you a large 23-inch work area for precision projects, plus it has a knee-lifter lever for more efficient use.
  • easy to replace the bobbin
  • automatic thread trimmer
  • impressive 20-year guarantee
Brand JUKI
Model TL-2010Q
Weight 37.6 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 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 September 07, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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