Best sewing machine

The Best Sewing Machines of 2023

A Presser Foot is an attachment that holds the fabric in place while the needle pulls the thread. Machines come with an assortment of basic feet, which can handle straight stitches, zig-zags, and buttonholes. You can change out the feet as needed since each is designed to help you complete various tasks like adding a zipper or finishing a hem.

Help choosing a sewing machine? Advanced Beginner, and no idea what to buy!

About 10 years ago my parents bought me a Brother Xn1700 for Christmas. I used it a lot then it basically went back in the bag for most of that decade until this year when I picked the hobby up big time sewing jackets and dresses and everything in between.

However, last night my machine stopped working. Grinding noises, handwheel not turning, the whole lot. And in the middle of sewing a birthday present for next week 🙃 Looking into repairs it’s going to cost half of what the machine itself would cost, so I reckoned rather than pay for repairs on a decade old machine I should invest in a new one.

Easier said than done!

I’m torn on if I should go mechanical or computerised – I’ve seen pros and cons for both. I don’t think I have a lot of use for so many of the stitches on a computerised, but that’s right now – what if I do as I grow into sewing more? Even some of the features I don’t know how useful they are. I’m so used to a mechanical machine and it does everything I need it to, so wondering if there’s a real argument to pay the extra money to go digital?

Second if anyone has recommendations for machines – mainly Brother – around the £200 mark I would greatly appreciate it! I primarily just sew clothes from patterns, I don’t do a lot of upholstery aside from hemming some too-long curtains occasionally.

The Best Sewing Machines of 2023

These are the best sewing machines available today.

Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases made through the links below may earn us and our publishing partners a commission.

These are the best sewing machines available today.

Product image of Juki HZL-LB5100

Juki HZL-LB5100

The Juki HZL-LB5100 is a great machine for making pants and skirts. Read More

Pros

Cons

  • Less consistent stitch lines with heavier fabrics

Product image of Janome 3160QDC-T

Janome 3160QDC-T

This full-featured Janome machine comes with a variety of features, including a useful quilting accessory kit. Read More

Pros

  • Quilting kit included
  • User-friendly
  • Fun to use

Cons

Product image of Bernette 38

Bernette 38

This Bernette makes a strong first impression thanks to its European design. Read More

Pros

Cons

Product image of Brother CS7000X

Brother CS7000X

The Brother CS7000X is affordable, portable, and comes with a free arm, an extension table, and plenty of other useful features. Read More

Pros

  • 70 built-in stitches
  • LCD control screen

Cons

Product image of Singer Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

Singer Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

Our testers have struggled with Singer machines in the past, but this easy-to-use Heavy Duty model is beloved by hobbyists around the world. Read More

Pros

Cons

Alex Kane

Lisa Lawrence

Written by Alex Kane and Lisa Lawrence

Updated July 7, 2023

If you’re interested in sewing, the only way to do it well is to have a proper sewing machine. From pants and skirts to decorative pillows and clutches, the best sewing machines can help you create all sorts of things. They’re also great for keeping things you currently own in great shape, like hemming a too-long pair of pants or fixing that dangling button on an old winter coat.

However, choosing which sewing machine to buy may seem like a daunting task. To help you along the way we dug deep into sewing machine reviews, researching competition and comparing specs. These are some of the best sewing machines for beginners and hobbyists alike.

The recommendations in this guide are based on thorough product and market research by our team of expert product reviewers. The picks are based on examining user reviews, product specifications, and, in some limited cases, our experience with the specific products named.

Product image of Juki HZL-LB5100

Best sewing machine

When I was taking sewing classes at Santa Monica College, the school lab was full of Juki industrial machines, so I had high hopes. Fortunately, this home sewing machine definitely lives up to those high expectations. It’s a somewhat portable machine at 12.3 pounds and comes with a hard case for protection.

This machine has an automatic buttonhole setting and a setting for bar-tack, which is a series of zigzag stitches, just in case you want to do it manually. The speed-control slider and pedal also allow for significant control while sewing.

This is a great machine for making pants and skirts. The cursor arrows allow you to adjust your needle in small increments, which is perfect for creating a blind-hem stitch. The blind-hem foot also makes a big difference, as it helps steer the fabric.

The Juki has a metal frame to which all moving parts are connected. This sturdy construction includes a metal hook that moves the thread. This is a plus, as plastic hooks tend to snap. Not all plastic is bad, though—there are some automotive-grade nylon gears on this machine, which help dampen the sound of metal on metal and create a more pleasant user experience.

Pros

Cons

  • Less consistent stitch lines with heavier fabrics

Product image of Janome 3160QDC-T

This computerized sewing machine from Janome is loaded with features, including a useful quilting accessories kit. It’s also got a built-in automatic needle threader, an LCD screen, a thread-cutter button, and other quality-of-life touches you’d expect from a full-featured machine.

In the past, our testers have found Janome sewing machines to be intuitive, easy to use, and consistent. The DC4030 was a top pick of ours for a long time, though it’s now discontinued. This model offers a host of similar conveniences with an emphasis on jam-proof sewing and quilting.

Reviewers say it can get noisy, but it’s lightweight and extra portable despite its sturdy build quality and extensive feature set. It should be a perfect option for most hobbyists.

Pros

  • Quilting kit included
  • User-friendly
  • Fun to use

Cons

Product image of Bernette 38

We tested the previous model, the Bernette 37, and it makes a strong first impression with its attractive design. However, these machines offer more than just a pretty face.

The Bernette 38 comes with presser feet, an accessories holder, and a second spool pin (for holding more thread). It also has a 7mm stitch width. It’s a great machine for beginners.

Pros

Cons

Product image of Brother CS7000X

The computerized sewing machine features 70 built-in stitches and seven different auto-size buttonholes. It also includes a smaller free arm and an extension table for even more versatility.

One of the best-selling sewing machines online, reviewers call it “an amazing piece of machinery,” citing its usefulness, attractive price point, and overall build quality. If you want to learn to sew without breaking the bank, the overwhelming number of positive ratings on this model should put your mind at ease. But, as you might expect, there’s a slight learning curve.

Pros

  • 70 built-in stitches
  • LCD control screen

Cons

Product image of Singer Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

The Singer Heavy Duty is one of the most popular sewing machines on the market, available in a variety of bundles and colors. In the past, however, our testers have found other Singer models a bit of a struggle.

Satisfied reviewers elsewhere love how easy this one is to use—it’s advertised as an ideal option for beginners. Negative reviews, by contrast, complain about its noise level or the odd mechanical issue here and there. If you’re hesitant about this one, the good news is that there’s a wealth of great video demonstrations out there, so see it in action if you’re on the fence.

Pros

Cons

Product image of Brother HC1850

The Brother HC1850 comes with a number of helpful accessories and is super portable thanks to its compact size and built-in handle. This computerized machine is great for specifically making buttonholes, as it has eight different buttonhole styles. It also comes with several presser feet and needles for different thicknesses of fabric.

It’s worth noting that the user manual is for many different Brother machines. Although you’ll find the Brother HC1850 in there, it’s not dedicated to the specific model on your table, which is a little annoying. This is a minuscule nitpick but the winding post is made of plastic, which could be a clue to what you might find inside the machine (more plastic parts than needed). Minor drawbacks aside, it’s a good entry-level machine, as it’s both reliable and affordable.

Pros

  • Includes a variety of feet
  • Has a control slider

Cons

Product image of Bernette 35

The Bernette 35 is nicely designed. My favorite thing about it is its hinged accessories drawer, which is easy to access. The machine also comes with seven presser feet, three bobbins, a needle set, and so on. While I like the number of accessories and the drawer that holds them, the sewing experience is a little rough.

Unfortunately, its foot pedal sensitivity is weak. To get the machine to move the fabric across the plate, you have to press down pretty hard. When it comes to thick fabrics, a slower speed must be maintained for even stitch-lengths.

A fast stitch held at full throttle puts out uneven stitch-lengths, which results in an inconsistent look. This machine also struggles to pass over thick spots where layers of fabric are folded into seams.

Pros

Cons

  • Struggles with thick fabric
  • Expensive
  • Pedal control is miminal

Product image of Janome MOD-19

The Janome Mod 19 is a solid choice for those on a tight budget. With its metal hook race and frame, it’s more durable than most of the mechanical machines in this guide. This machine comes with a zipper foot, a buttonhole foot, a needle set, and more. It also includes a four-step buttonhole, which is nice because you don’t have to make any additional purchases.

The five-piece feed dog is lower in quality compared to the Janome DC4030P’s seven-piece feed dog system but functions well enough. As for the pedal, it’s capable of about three different speeds, the highest of which is not very fast but fine for a beginner. The stitch lines are a little erratic on the bobbin side, but this isn’t surprising given it’s a lower-end machine.

Pros

Cons

What You Should Know About Sewing Machines

Sewing Machine Basics

No matter what kind of sewing machine you choose to buy, the basic functionality will be the same.

On any sewing machine, you’ll find two threads: one coming from a spool on the top of the machine and the other from the bobbin below the machine. These threads are threaded together to make a stitch. The fabric the stitch is being sewn into is held in place by the sewing machine’s metal plate and pressure foot while the needle goes in. The feed-dog, a metal piece with teeth, then moves the fabric forward and makes space for the next stitch.

For mechanical models, the motor is controlled by a foot pedal. As for computerized models, the motor is controlled by a button when the pedal is disconnected. As a rule, machines with metal frames and parts typically last longer, as plastic tends to crack and warp over time.

Computerized vs. Mechanical

Computerized and mechanical machines have their pros and cons. Computerized machines generally offer extra creative options, but cost more. Personally, I really like using the cursors on computerized models, which move the needle in small increments, simplifying the blind-hem stitch and making button-sewing easier. They have buttons to raise and lower the needle, which is convenient, especially when you turn corners.

Computerized machines typically have a one-step buttonhole function, whereas the mechanical version finishes after four steps. A computerized machine may come with more bells and whistles, but don’t worry, the extras aren’t very difficult to use.

Mechanical machines are easier to repair and more affordable. That said, a lower price tag means you’re getting less of a machine. I could feel that difference while sewing.

Computerized models offer more control and smoother sewing. If you’re working with a flexible budget, I’d recommend springing for a computerized machine.

Basic Sewing Terms

Presser Foot

A Presser Foot is an attachment that holds the fabric in place while the needle pulls the thread. Machines come with an assortment of basic feet, which can handle straight stitches, zig-zags, and buttonholes. You can change out the feet as needed since each is designed to help you complete various tasks like adding a zipper or finishing a hem.

Bobbin

The bobbin sits inside the sewing machine. It’s designed to be loaded with the thread that provides the underside stitch-line.

Feed Dog

The feed dog helps move the fabric across the needle stitch plate, a removable metal shield where the fabric slides across. It has a set of metal teeth that grip the underside of the fabric. Most sewing machines allow you to move the feed dog up and down via a switch.

Lowering the feed dog releases the grip on the fabric, which is good for sewing a button or doing freehand work. Raising the feed dog grips the fabric and is good for straight stitching.

Blind-Hem Stitch

A blind hem stitch is a sewing technique in which the stitch is sewn into the folded area of a hem, effectively hiding the thread.

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Meet the testers

Alex Kane

Sr. Editor, Search and Updates

Alex Kane is a senior editor at USA Today’s Reviewed and the author of the Boss Fight Books volume on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. He has written for Fangoria, PC Gamer, Polygon, Rolling Stone, StarWars.com, and Variety. He lives in west-central Illinois.

Lisa Lawrence

Passionate about art and anything hand-made, Lisa Lawrence is a mother, photographer, and writer in Los Angeles. After graduating from UCLA with a Bachelor’s in English she worked at a middle school for two years helping kids to find their voice.

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