We decided to test and review some of the best sewing machines of this year. For the beginner, the Brother CS6000i makes things easy. If you’re willing to spend more we have an upgrade pick coming up, but for the average newbie it’s a great machine that’ll work for years when they’re learning the ropes.
For the beginner, the CS6000i makes things easy. If you’re willing to spend more we have an upgrade pick coming up, but for the average newbie it’s a great machine that’ll work for years when they’re learning the ropes.
Table of Contents
Top 5 Sewing Machines for Beginners
|Brother CS6000i||60||Computerized||Check Price|
|Singer Heavy Duty 4423||23||Mechanical||Check Price|
|Singer Quantum Stylist 9960||600||Computerized||Check Price|
|Brother LB6800PRW||67||Computerized||Check Price|
|Singer | Simple 3232||32||Mechanical||Check Price|
1. Best Overall Sewing Machine for Beginners
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
When we were looking it was hard to find anything in this price range with quite as many glowing reviews as the CS6000i. It’s a fantastic piece of equipment, and while computerized at a low price it actually ended up being more reliable and solid than most of the mechanical ones we looked at in the same range.
It has 60 different stitches, a top sitting bobbin, and an automatic needle threader. On top of that, the user manual is fantastic which makes it easy to use even if you don’t have a mentor on hand.
It’s mostly plastic construction, but it ends up not feeling as cheap as you’d think. Brother makes remarkably simple machines and parts are readily available in case something does happen. The one problem with the construction is that it lends the machine to being rather light, so don’t push on it too hard.
- Easy to use LCD screen
- Durable internals
- Low price for the quality
- Easy to get parts for
- Not great for thick fabric
- A bit too light for the heavy handed
2. Runner Up for Best Sewing Machine for Beginners
Singer Heavy Duty 4423
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
While it’s not a computerized model, this heavy duty model of Singer has some definite advantages. The biggest one is that we quickly found out it will power through almost any cloth, making it quite a bargain for the low price.
It has quite an array of stitches attached, with 23 different ones, and it’s easy to operate and has a solid feel to it that just adds to our appraisal of it. Unfortunately, as a mechanical model, it’s not quite as newbie friendly as our top pick but if you’re willing to learn then it may be a more solid machine overall.
Since it’s a Singer you know it will last for a long time to come and that parts are quite easy to get as well.
For a great newbie experience with thicker materials, this sewing machine stands out from the pack. It’s a solid choice and one that’s sure to last for years to come, just be aware it’s a bit harder to use than our favorite.
- Solid build-quality
- Excellent price
- Powers through thick materials easily
- Automatic needle threader
- A bit rough
- Has a steeper learning curve than our other picks
3. Best Beginner Sewing Machine for Quilts
Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
The price is pretty steep, but the Quantum Stylist 9960 is perfect for those who are going to dedicate their machine primarily to quilts. With an automatic “down” feature on the needle and a large working table it’s pretty stand out.
This model even has fonts built into it for those little stylistic touches on your pieces of work. It’s got pretty much everything when it comes down to it, although the cost is pretty steep for a beginner.
If you’re willing to pay the higher price, however, then this machine will make quilts a dream come true and it works pretty well for almost anything you might have in mind. It’s not a perfect machine, but for the price point it’s probably the best computerized model on the market.
For those who are looking primarily to do quilts, take a closer look at this machine. The price is higher than many of our picks, but the extra utility makes up for it.
- Super easy to use
- Automatic “down” feature for turns on quilts
- Large working table
- 600 different stitches, including fonts
- Most embroidery stitches are a bit loose, double the thread for better results
4. Best Upgrade Sewing Machine for Beginners
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
If you’re willing to spend the extra money on the Brother LB6800PRW you’re looking at the very bottom end of a reliable and functional computerized sewing machine with all of the bells and whistles.
In addition to the built-in prints, this one can connect to a computer in order to let you save designs and it works smoothly and reliably with a top-loading bobbin which rarely jams and a great manual to get you started.
There are better machines out there, of course, but we feel like this is the absolute top of the line for a true beginner.
For those who are willing to spend the money, this is the best sewing machine for beginners on the market. If you’re not 100% sure you’re going to stick with it, however, you may want to go with something cheaper.
- Amazingly versatile
- Attaches to a computer for updates and designs
- Smooth and reliable action
- Top loading bobbin to help prevent jams
- Very expensive for a beginner
- Could lead to being overwhelmed with features
5. Best Budget Sewing Machine for Beginners
Singer | Simple 3232
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
If you’re just dipping your toes in the water and aren’t sure yet if you want to take up the hobby in a serious way the Simple 3232 is a great way to do it. It combines a super low price with Singer quality and has all of the basics in place.
Indeed, the best part about it is that it’s so barebones. There’s virtually no chance of being overwhelmed with this machine and it’s got enough quality to last through the warranty without any issues.
It lacks some of the functionality of our other picks, but for those who aren’t sure yet or are just planning on doing the occasional repair at home it’s an absolutely wonderful machine.
If you’re going to go cheap, then go with the Singer Simple 3232. Just as its name states, it’s easy to use and lacks many of the overly complicated features of other machines while giving you a great way to get started.
- Awesome quality for the price
- Super simple to work with
- Very clear instructions
- Free arm for cuffs and collars
- Needle threader is finicky
- Not worth fixing after the warranty has run out
Is it Worth Repairing My Old Sewing Machine?
If you’re just getting into sewing, then you’re probably at a loss as to what machine is best for beginners. With all of the options available it can be hard to get a read on what you need to get your new hobby going. We’re here to help, having gone through the arduous process of research and testing.
Our opinion? The Brother CS6000i is extremely user friendly, not prone to malfunctions, and probably the best all around machine for those who are getting into the swing of things. With so many machines on the market, however, it was hard to pick just one and we went through quite a few in order to make sure there was something for everyone’s budget and personal likes and dislikes.
Many people who become interested in sewing end up inheriting a machine or picked one up at a second-hand store. One of the most frequent questions we ran across was whether an older machine was worth repairing, after all most of us have seen the prices that vintage sewing machines go for.
If you know what you’re looking at the decision is much easier to make, but we strongly recommend going with a new, cheap sewing machine if you’re not accomplished at sewing just yet.
While newer machines with more plastic parts often seem “cheaper”, they’re actually more user friendly for the most part.
Don’t throw out your old machine just yet, but in all honesty it’s usually cheaper to buy a beginning sewing machine than it is to have a vintage one repaired. The labor costs on these intricate machines can get quite high at the end of the day and the parts for vintage machines also get expensive rather quickly.
How Sewing Machines Work
Almost all of the machines that we thought were suitable for beginners fell in the “mechanical” category, which some people also call manual although that term more strictly refers to older machines which are powered by a foot pedal.
Sewing machines are pretty simple in concept, although in practice they quickly become more advanced. Essentially, a motor spins a needle attached to thread and you pass the cloth under it. Other wheels ensure that the stitching stays locked as you go along.
If you’re a complete beginner then you may have been at a bit of a loss during our reviews. You should acquaint yourself with the following:
- Bobbin-The bobbin is where you your thread for the bottom of the stitch comes from. We recommend looking for a top loading, as opposed to a front loading, bobbin for those who are beginning as they’re less prone to jamming.
- Presser Foot-The metal piece attached to the bottom of the needle, your presser foot keeps the cloth pressed in place as it passes through the needle and is sewn.
- Feed Dogs-These are small wheels made of metal or rubber which pull the cloth along as you go.
As time goes on you’ll figure out the intricacies of your machine. The modern sewing machine is a rather impressive piece of machinery once you understand just how complicated the internals are, and the fact that they make a complex task much easier is a nice bonus for the home tailor or seamstress.
What We Looked For
When it came time to decide on the best sewing machines for beginners we focused on a few different qualities in order to make sure that they were truly beginner friendly. These included pricing, basic functionalities, and ease of use.
Manual vs. Computerized Models
Computerized models of sewing machines have become quite common at nearly all price points. After some preliminary testing, however, we were forced to eschew most of those that we felt were in a price range suitable for a beginner.
They can be easier to use, but we found that at a lower price range the computerized models tended to actually be sloppier than the manual models and they were also more prone to malfunction. If you’re going over $300 or so, we’d suggest opting for a computerized model however.
There are some definite exceptions to this, such as our favorite, but most of the exceptions are less “computerized” and closer to mechanical models with a set of buttons instead of manual switches.
The Must-Have Features
We did a survey with a few different hobby and professional sewers in order to make sure that all of the machines we brought forward for your consideration had the features which were considered to be “must-have.”
We found all of the following were quite important:
- A straight stitch and a zig-zag stitch are one hundred percent essential. Pretty much any machine will be able to do both of these, but most beginners will also want a buttonhole stitch and at least one or two types of stretches for knit fabrics like a triple straight or triple zig zag. Don’t be seduced by a large number of stitches, they do you no good if you never actually use them after all.
- Your straight stitch should run from about 0-5mm for the best results.
- Top drop-in bobbins make your life a lot easier, and they’re also a lot less prone to jamming than those which load from the front.
- The wider the range of accessory compatibility, the better off you’re going to be. Being able to upgrade your machine with smaller parts, rather than having to replace everything from the ground up, offers a big advantage in the long run.
- A good manual is a must, especially if you’re buying online. While there are tutorials available for many machines, we found manuals to be much quicker to use for the most part.
- Above all, the machine should be reliable and do exactly what you set it to with repeatable results and minimal difficulties.
There are a lot of “want” features as well, and we’ve been sure to note them where applicable but amost of these can be worked around with ease.
Customer Support and Parts Availability
One of the biggest reasons that we focused on the big brands lower-end models for beginners was this: sewing machines require quite a bit of maintenance and repairs over time and that means the availability of parts and your warranty are a big deal.
While some people we talked to have used the same sewing machine for decades without ever having to send it in for repairs, sometimes things break and being able to get the right parts to get it fixed is a huge deal.
Ease of Use
There’s a few different ways that a simple machine can make your life quite a bit simpler when you’re sewing.
For instance, if you’re still going to classes then chances are you’re going to want a lighter machine so that it’s easier to carry with you as you go around town.
We also found that a variable feed is pretty awesome, since some of the simpler machines we found seemed to only have “slow” and “way too fast’ settings.
Ease of use was one of the biggest things that we looked for when we were picking out machines to recommend to beginners. How easy to use a particular machine is largely depends on the person in question however, and there’s a fine line between “feature packed” and “too bloody complicated” that most people will have to navigate for themselves.
We recommend spending more than a hundred dollars and less than five hundred for a beginner. That way you’ll end up with something which isn’t going to make you hate sewing with it but also won’t end up being a major financial loss if you end up rarely using it.
Too much cheaper and it’s hard to find a machine which is actually worth using. Some of the really cheap models we found seemed to have a lifespan of about zero, especially those which are intended for children to learn on.
For that reason, if you’re planning on picking up a cheap machine to teach your child to sew, we recommend still going with one of our picks.
Learning the Ropes
Not all of us were fortunate enough to grow up with a family teaching us how to sew. For those who weren’t, the whole process can often seem quite complicated and some lessons may be needed.
If you opt to pick up your sewing machine in person, then it’s a good idea to make check out the demo model which is on the floor of most places that sell sewing machines. If you’re just going to purchase a cheap one from a big box store, then you’ll probably want to look online first to see if you can find a better deal.
There are a ton of classes that can be taken depending on the area that you’re in. When you buy from a specialty store the sewing machine will often come with free lessons as well, but it’s always a good idea to check and see if there’s anything offered locally.
Most people will find this to be the easiest way to learn.
If you look around the internet a bit you’ll quickly find that there are thousands of videos and tutorials offered by a wide variety of different people in order to ensure that others know how to sew.
The biggest issue for most people is whether they want to pay for a high-end class or if they want to attempt to begin from videos.
If you’re in this situation we recommend checking Youtube or something like Craftsy for free courses and see how far you can get before you begin investing money into lessons.
It’s not that it’s a bad idea to take paid classes, but if you have the knack for both sewing and being able to find the good stuff online then you’re likely to be able to put together most of the basics for free and then figure out where your skills are headed before you pay for any courses.
If you’re just beginning to sew, then we recommend that you eventually get a better machine. How quickly you outgrow your machine will depend a lot on your innate talent and how much work you’re willing to put into learning the whole process.
From here, we recommend going to licensed dealers for higher quality sewing machines. Many of the top brands won’t even work with standard retailers and with a more expensive machine you’ll want a shop that knows you and your brand of sewing machine so that you can get the advice you need in case of a malfunction or question.
Don’t worry too much about it though, many people have found that their beginning sewing machines are able to keep up with them for a decade or more before they need to pick up the next one.
Learning to sew can be made quite a bit easier if you spend the time to make sure that you have the best sewing machine for your beginning skills. We’ve done the digging for you, all that remains is to decide what you’re planning to do and pick the machine which is the best for your budget and future projects.
We’re fond of the Brother CS6000i, but it’s not the be-all end-all for beginners.
Indeed, the “perfect” machine is the one which you end up being the most comfortable with. Don’t let a few dollars stop you from pursuing your fabric related dreams though, it’s time to get started in the exciting world of sewing.