The 7 Best Sewing Machines, Tested and Reviewed

We tested and reviewed top-rated sewing machines. From beginner-friendly models to heavy-duty workhorses, find the perfect sewing machine for all your DIY projects from brands like Singer, Brother, and Janome.

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April 12, 2024

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Photo by: Belle DuChene

Belle DuChene

Our Top Sewing Machine Picks

Tested by Belle DuChene

There’s something uniquely satisfying about sewing something with your own hands, whether it’s a small project like a monogrammed bathroom towel or as ambitious as a quilted hammock cover. Sewing is a widely practiced skill and hobby that’s easier than you think to do as long as you start with the right tools, including one of our picks for the best high-quality sewing machines.

It used to be that knowing how to sew was a crucial life skill for survival since it was the only way to create clothing for warmth and shelter from the outside world. Over time we moved beyond the basic needle and thread to the modern sewing machine, which has caused creativity to burst at the seams!

Whether you’re a budget-conscious crafter with your eye on a user-friendly machine or an experienced quilter who demands precision and cutting-edge technology for intricate garments, quilts, or embroidery projects, a good sewing machine makes all the difference in the world.

With a myriad of options available in the market, finding the best sewing machine tailored to your needs can be a daunting task. Fear not! In this article, we'll unravel the top sewing machines across various categories, helping you make an informed decision.

Photo by: Belle DuChene

Belle DuChene

How We Tested

To find the best sewing machines, we read ratings and reviews to select top-rated sewing machines from brands like Singer, Brother, and Janome. We then put them to the test to evaluate how easy the machines were to set up and how user-friendly each machine was and then tested them for essential stitches like straight, zigzag, and buttonhole stitches, as well as decorative stitches for embellishments on both woven cotton and denim.

Photo by: Belle DuChene

Belle DuChene

We looked for features like automatic needle threading, backstitch functions, adjustable stitch length and width, and clear labeling that can enhance ease of use. We ensured the machine came with essential items like presser feet, bobbins, and a seam ripper and noted any additional accessories like extension tables and quilting feet that may also be beneficial depending on your sewing needs.

What We Like
  1. Great for sewing and quilting
  2. Comes with an extension table
  3. Variety of decorative stitch options
What We Don't Like
  1. Slightly high pitched
  2. No backlight on LCD display

Our top pick for the best overall sewing machine is the Brother Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine because it is a versatile and feature-packed option that caters to both sewers and quilters. It is durable, easy to set up and use, and has all the functionalities an experienced sewer would find convenient without any fussy extras that could confuse beginners.

One of the standout features of this machine is the start/stop function that allows you to control the machine with a button, instead of the pedal. It’s handy to be able to push the button to quickly stop the machine if you make a mistake. However, where this function shines is with beginner sewers – especially kids – because they can use this button instead of trying to master the pedal, so they don’t feel overwhelmed by so much multitasking. Other buttons are handy like the reverse and the needle up/down button, which makes it easy to keep your needle down when you need to pivot.

The automatic needle threading is a convenient way to save a lot of time. The arm of the needle threader descends and stays put until it's engaged, which takes a lot of frustration out of threading your needle. It also has a quick-set drop-in top bobbin that is jam-resistant. All you have to do is pop the bobbin in place and let the machine do the rest for you!

The computerized functions of the machine are shown on an intuitive and easy-to-read LCD screen that helps you select which of the 70 built-in stitches, including decorative and utility stitches, you want to use. In our testing, we were able to select the stitches we wanted without having to consult the manual. When we tested them out, we found they made consistent straight and zigzag stitches on both denim and woven cotton. The decorative stitches were neatly stitched with even tension. While we only tested one, it has settings for 7 different styles of buttonholes so you can customize your designs to the tiniest detail.

A great choice for quilting enthusiasts, it comes with specialty quilting stitches programmed in, a quilt guide, and a quilting bar that attaches to the walking foot to help keep your stitches straight. It also includes a quilting table with measurement markings on the side to give you more space for quilts or other large projects that require you to handle a lot of fabric.

  1. Type of Machine Computerized
  2. Weight 14 lbs
  3. Dimensions 6.65" x 16.26" x 12.21"
  4. Number of Stitches 70
  5. Special Features Sews and quilts; 70 decorative and functional stitches; LCD screen with button selection; auto needle threader; free arm and extension table for larger projects.
What We Like
  1. Powerful motor
  2. Can handle tough projects
  3. Simple to understand and operate
What We Don't Like
  1. Not great for beginners
  2. Not a lot of decorative stitches
  3. Stainless steel plate shows fingerprints

There’s just one word that comes to mind with the Singer Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine: workhorse. When you think about sewing machines, the name Singer usually comes to mind because the company has a track record of manufacturing durable and reliable machines that last for years. This model is no exception, with its heavy-duty metal interior frame and a 50% more powerful motor. (Word of warning: The motor sounds like a jet taking off when it reaches top speed, so if a quiet machine is important to you, this might not be it.)

If you need a machine that can handle heavy-duty projects like piercing through leather or recycled jeans to make a denim rug (yes, it’s a thing!) you’re in luck because it was designed down to the extra high presser foot lift to specifically handle thicker and tougher fabrics at up to 1,100 stitches per minute.

This machine offers the choice of 32 different stitches and a handful of different buttonholes to choose from, but aside from that, what you see is what you get. Stitches are displayed on the stitch selector dial. All you have to do is turn the dial to your selected stitch. We tested it on woven cotton and denim and found it created even stitches with correct tension beautifully.

This machine reminded us of the vintage machine that grandmothers used because it is simple – with next to no bells and whistles – yet strong. We found it was one of the easiest machines to manually thread by following the threading guides and that we didn’t need to look at the directions to be able to sit down to sew, though we appreciated the large pictures on the quickstart guide.

Even though the machine is straightforward to use, we don’t recommend it for beginners. Kids would have a hard time managing the pedal and it would be hard for them to reach the presser foot lever because it’s to the back instead of the side. You would also have to have a few sewing lessons under your belt to know, for example, that you need to hold the threads when starting a stitch because if you don’t, the machine can snap the threads back and cause you to rethread the machine or make a tangled mess of thread around the needle.

  1. Type of Machine Manual
  2. Weight 14.6 lbs
  3. Dimensions 15.50" x 6.25" x 12"
  4. Number of Stitches 32
  5. Special Features 50% more power for thick fabrics; built-in needle threader; 1-step buttonholes; extra high sewing speed; quick and easy-to-follow threading guides
What We Like
  1. Manual has photos and directions side-by-side
  2. Smooth operation
  3. Stores and displays accessories in the lid
What We Don't Like
  1. Hand wheel is hard to turn
  2. Not made for quilting

If you found that you are outgrowing your current sewing machine and want a solid upgrade or if you are a sewing newbie who isn’t afraid of investing in a machine as long as it will grow with you, take a look at this model by Janome.

It checks all the boxes of must-haves with a combination of durability, reliability, and versatility rolled up into a solid build that will stand up to years of heavy use. In our testing, every feature we tried out was satisfyingly sturdy, from the way the presser foot snaps into place to how sturdy the backstitch button feels when you force it down.

Seasoned sewers will appreciate its wide range of built-in stitches including essential stitches (straight, zigzag, and decorative stitches), as well as stretch stitches for sewing on knits. Simply turn the dial to select the stitch and the appropriate length and width adjustments with the move of a dial (choose 3 for regular sewing, 2 for appliques, and 1 for delicates like chiffon and lace or velours and knits). In our testing, zigzag stitches on sturdy denim with a little bit of stretch came out perfectly even and straight.

The presser foot can be raised even further than normal for additional clearance for any thicker projects involving layers and it comes with leather needles for sewing leather.

Everyone will appreciate the markings on the lid of the machine that outline which width, length, patterns, thread tension, and foot to use, so you don’t have to remember them or look them up each time. The lid also has cutouts for the different feet so you never have to go looking for them and can see at a glance which one is which. It’s the kind of feature that makes you think, “Why doesn’t every machine have this?”

  1. Type of Machine Manual
  2. Weight 18.7 lbs
  3. Dimensions 16" x 11.3" x 7.2"
  4. Number of Stitches 8
  5. Special Features Top-loading and jam-proof bobbin; built-in needle threader; reverse stitch level; snap-on presser feet; foot pressure adjustment
What We Like
  1. Stitches are sturdy and straight
  2. Holds two colors of thread at once
  3. Does not jam
What We Don't Like
  1. Only has basic stitches
  2. Lacks some features

The Bernette B33 Swiss Design Sewing Machine is a compact and versatile sewing machine designed to meet the needs of both beginners and intermediate sewers. With its user-friendly features and solid construction it offers an excellent balance of functionality and affordability. Bernette is the bridge line for Bernina, the beloved Swiss marque. While this model may lack some advanced features found in the higher-end model, it more than makes up for it with its affordability and reliability. Since it comes at a lower price point, it’s a great value buy.

During our tests, what stood out about this model is its intuitive design and straightforward dials that make it a no-fuss choice and ideal for those new to sewing. The machine is easy to set up and operate, with clearly labeled stitch selections, straightforward controls, and no high-tech features that could be confusing. This simplicity allows beginners to quickly grasp the basics of sewing without feeling overwhelmed. It is the type of machine that would be perfect for students studying fashion design.

Despite its compact size, the Bernette B33 doesn't compromise on performance. It holds two colors of thread at once and the presser foot and shank are sturdy and high-quality. It offers a variety of built-in stitches, including essential stitches like straight, zigzag, and decorative stitches, providing versatility for a range of sewing projects. The adjustable stitch length and width settings allow users to customize their stitches to suit their specific needs. In our testing, the stitches came out clean and even on both woven cotton and denim, making hems feel secure and professionally sewn.

The automatic needle threader is a convenient feature that saves time and frustration by effortlessly threading the needle with the push of a lever. Additionally, the built-in thread cutter allows for quick and easy trimming of thread ends, minimizing interruptions during sewing sessions. The backstitch function is quick and easy and we appreciated that the pedal was easy to control and didn’t slide around.

For sewers on the go or those with limited space, the Bernette B33's lightweight and compact design makes it easy to transport and store. Whether you're attending sewing classes, crafting with friends, or sewing in a small apartment, this machine offers convenience and versatility without sacrificing performance. It also comes in your choice of color (arctic teal, blue, lilac, pink, and purple).

  1. Type of Machine Manual
  2. Weight 16 lbs
  3. Dimensions 6" x 16" x 14"
  4. Number of Stitches 15
  5. Special Features Semi-automatic needle threader; simple knobs; manual thread cutter; large accessory box; stable presser foot shank and bobbin rods
What We Like
  1. Customization seems endless
  2. Self-threading
  3. Guides you through step-by-step tutorials on LCD display
What We Don't Like
  1. Only embroiders
  2. Hoop can only make 4-inch designs

The Disney-themed Brother Embroidery Machine is a feature-rich embroidery machine that combines versatility, convenience, and creativity with a little bit of Mickey Mouse flair! The most memorable feature is its extensive selection of built-in designs, including 45 iconic Disney designs, plus 9 different font styles.

One thing that took us by surprise during testing was that this model only embroiders. There is no pedal since everything is managed by hand with buttons. If you’re looking for a machine that does both embroidery and classic sewing, it wouldn’t be the right model for you.

Still, if you’re not opposed to investing in a machine that is more creative than practical, this machine offers hours upon hours of creative fun with its vast library of built-in designs, which includes 125 designs in total, including 45 Disney designs featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Tinkerbelle, Elsa, Winnie the Pooh, and more. It also has nine different fonts that can be customized. You can also download paid designs and use the USB port to import them, which makes the options endless whether you're personalizing gifts, labeling garments, or adding captions to embroidery designs.

The user-friendly interface and intuitive controls make it easy to navigate through the machine's features and settings on the 3.2-inch LCD color touchscreen display. We had to look up some of the options to make sure we didn’t goof on any of the designs but found the navigation easy to use while selecting designs and adjusting settings.

The machine's 4"x4" embroidery area provides a lot of space for stitching intricate designs with precision and detail, though this seems slightly limiting and we wish it could handle larger designs. We also didn’t like that you couldn’t edit the size of some of the Disney designs, like the size of Mickey’s head.

To create a design, you need to load the embroidery hoop with your fabric and a backing stabilizer. At first, it’s a tricky task to get both pieces in the hoop. Pro tip: Use the thinnest tearaway backing you can find. It’s affordable and makes it easy to prep the hoop. The machine will navigate you through all the steps. It shows you how long each color will take and stops automatically when it’s time for you to put in the next color thread. We didn’t have any problems with threads breaking but if that were to happen, all you would need to do is replace the thread and press the start button to pick up where you left off.

For added convenience, the PE550D is equipped with a built-in needle threader and automatic thread cutter, which allows you to concentrate on important details, like finding the right color for Mickey’s face or choosing the right red for his trousers. It also has the easiest threading ever. Just push down a lever on the side, and the machine does the rest.

  1. Type of Machine Computerized
  2. Weight 24 lbs
  3. Dimensions 12" x 16.5" x 7.8"
  4. Number of Stitches Unlimited
  5. Special Features 45 built-in licensed Disney designs; colored 3.2" LCD screen; easy threading with the touch of a lever; step-by-step tutorials on LCD display
What We Like
  1. Sturdy build with a compact size
  2. Thread tension is balanced
  3. Easy-to-use, color-coded upper thread guide
What We Don't Like
  1. Trim trap feels cheap and is difficult to install

It’s easy to see why the Brother Serger Metal Frame Overlock Machine is one of the most popular sergers on the market. It’s a reliable and versatile overlock machine designed to streamline the process of finishing raw edges, sewing seams, and creating professional-looking hems to put a polish on all of your designs.

One of the first things we noticed about this model is its sturdy construction for such a nicely compact machine. The heavy-duty metal frame provides stability and durability, which is promising for even thicker fabrics. In our testing, it sliced through both woven cotton and denim with ease and precision, making us confident that it can handle multiple layers of denim and other heavy materials.

Despite its powerful performance, the 1034D is remarkably easy to use, even for beginners. When we opened the box we found that the pre-loaded threads had come out during shipping, making for a tangled mess in the box. Luckily, the color-coded threading system and lay-in threading made it simple to rethread it correctly. If we had any problems, the included instructional DVD would have provided step-by-step guidance. The pedal wasn’t too touchy, either, so you could use the pedal to increase the speed without it taking off too quickly.

Beginners and experienced sewers alike will appreciate the smooth fabric feed mechanism, which ensures smooth and even stitching on different types of fabric, including stretchy or lightweight materials. This feature is particularly useful for achieving professional-looking results on garments with seams that need to stretch, such as activewear or knitwear. In our testing, we were delighted to see how straight the machine keeps the fabric, almost guaranteeing a straight cut.

The machine's adjustable stitch width and length settings make tension fears go away and provide flexibility to suit different project requirements. Whether you're creating narrow rolled hems or wide decorative edges, you can easily adjust the stitch width and length with ease.

The only aspect of the machine that we didn’t like was the removable trim trap. It was the only part of the machine that felt cheaply made and it was incredibly hard to insert correctly.

  1. Type of Machine Manual
  2. Weight 8.02 lbs
  3. Dimensions 10.98" x 11.73" x 13.19"
  4. Number of Stitches 1
  5. Special Features Comes with 3 snap-on feet (standard, gathering, and blind stitch); 1,300 stitches per minute ; easy-to-use, color-coded upper thread guide; control speed with the included foot pedal
What We Like
  1. Unlimited options for creativity
  2. Automatic threading
  3. Intuitive button control
What We Don't Like
  1. On the pricey side

The Singer Quantum Stylist Sewing & Quilting Machine is like having a creative powerhouse right at your fingertips and with its heavy-duty metal frame, you can trust that this machine will stand up to whatever you throw at it. It would take days to discover its incredible array of stitch options – more than 600 in total – including everything from simple basics to intricate decorative designs. While all of these details could sound overwhelming, a visual guide is displayed under the lid so you can see the pretty designs at a glance (plus 13 different buttonholes and specialty stitches like one that is just for tacks).

All of these options could seem daunting, except it has a stellar user-friendly design that holds your hand through each step on a large LCD screen. Use it to select your stitches and adjust settings. During testing, we needed to use the manual at first to learn what the symbols for each button meant, but they made sense to us and were easy to remember.

A few details were standouts, like the electronic twin needle settings are easier than you’d think to swap out and adjustable stitch length and width give you complete control over your projects. This model comes with 5 extra feet (walking food, shank, adjustable bias binder, fancy trim, stitch, and a ditch foot). The shank that connects to each foot has a locking mechanism to keep it level when you’re sewing a stack of thick fabrics so you can avoid tension problems.

With this machine's automatic needle threading feature, you never have to squint and strain to thread a needle again. Threading it is as easy as pushing a button. When it comes to cutting thread, the automatic thread cutter does the job neatly and quickly, so you can keep your momentum going without missing a beat. It even has an automatic function for buttons. Just select which one you want, go to reheat your cup of coffee, and come back to a perfectly sewn buttonhole with tension and balance that beat every other machine during our tests.

For quilters, this machine is an absolute game-changer. The extended work surface gives you plenty of room to maneuver even the biggest quilts, while the drop feed feature lets you get creative with free-motion quilting and intricate stitching. Plus, with specialized quilting stitches and a walking foot attachment, your quilts will come out looking polished and professional every time.

One small detail that did not go unnoticed during testing was the fact that the power cord and pedal are separate units, which made sewing less cumbersome because the pedal could lay flat instead of being tethered to another cord.

  1. Type of Machine Computerized
  2. Weight 18.2 lbs
  3. Dimensions 8.25" x 17.25" x 12"
  4. Number of Stitches 600
  5. Special Features Large selection of stitches including basic, stretch and decorative stitches; automatic needle threading; sewing speed of 850 stitches-per-minute; variety of presser feet are included; automatic 1-step buttonholes; intuitive LCD screen with guidance

What to Consider When Buying a Sewing Machine

Type of Machine: Decide whether you need a mechanical, computerized, or electronic sewing machine based on your skill level and the type of projects you'll be working on.

Purpose: Consider what you'll primarily use the machine for: basic repairs and alterations, garment making, quilting, embroidery, etc.

Ease of Use: Consider features like automatic threading, needle positioning, and tension adjustment, which can make sewing easier and more efficient, especially for beginners.

Stitch Options: Look for machines with a variety of stitch options to accommodate different sewing projects. This includes basic stitches like straight, zigzag, and buttonhole stitches, as well as decorative stitches.

Size and Weight: Think about where you'll be using the machine and if you'll need to move it around frequently. Choose a size and weight that are manageable for your workspace.

Accessories and Attachments: Check what accessories and attachments come with the machine, such as presser feet, extension tables, and quilting guides. Make sure they're compatible with your sewing projects.


How long does a sewing machine last?

The lifespan of a sewing machine can vary depending on factors such as usage frequency, maintenance, build quality, and brand. Generally, a well-maintained sewing machine can last for many years, with some high-quality models lasting decades or even a lifetime.

Entry-level or basic sewing machines may have a shorter lifespan compared to more durable and heavy-duty models. These machines typically have simpler construction and may not be designed to withstand heavy use or demanding sewing tasks over extended periods.

Who makes the best sewing machines?

Determining the "best" sewing machine brand can be subjective and depends on individual preferences, needs, and budget. However, several brands are well-regarded in the sewing community for their quality craftsmanship, reliability, and innovation. Some of the top sewing machine brands include:

Brother: Brother is known for producing a wide range of sewing machines suitable for beginners to advanced users. Their machines often feature user-friendly designs, advanced technology, and a variety of stitch options.

Singer: Singer is one of the oldest and most recognizable names in the sewing industry. They offer a diverse lineup of sewing machines, ranging from basic models to high-end computerized machines, known for their durability and versatility.

Janome: Janome is renowned for its high-quality machines with innovative features and precision stitching. Their machines are favored by sewers of all skill levels for their reliability, ease of use, and durability.

Bernina: Bernina is synonymous with premium sewing machines known for their exceptional performance, precision engineering, and Swiss craftsmanship. Their machines are often favored by professional sewers and quilting enthusiasts.

Juki: Juki offers quality–but at a high cost. It is renowned for its industrial-grade sewing machines, known for their speed, durability, and precision stitching. Their home sewing machines offer similar performance and are favored by serious sewers and professionals.

Photo by: Belle DuChene

Belle DuChene

Are there any sewing projects I can’t use an at-home sewing machine for?

While at-home sewing machines are versatile and capable of handling a wide range of sewing projects, some projects may require specialized equipment or techniques that may not be suitable for standard home sewing machines. Here are a few examples:

Heavy-duty fabrics: While home sewing machines can handle lightweight to medium-weight fabrics with ease, they may struggle with extremely heavy fabrics such as thick leather, canvas, or upholstery fabrics.

Embroidery on thick or delicate materials: While many home sewing machines offer basic embroidery functions, intricate embroidery designs on very thick or delicate fabrics may require specialized embroidery machines with more advanced features and capabilities, such as larger embroidery areas, multiple needle positions, and automatic thread trimming.

Large-scale quilting: While home sewing machines can handle small quilting projects with ease, such as table runners or baby quilts, larger quilting projects such as bed quilts or wall hangings may require a long-arm quilting machine or specialized quilting frame to accommodate the size of the project and provide the necessary support for quilting.

How much do sewing machines cost?

The cost of sewing machines can vary widely depending on factors such as brand, features, functionality, and build quality. In this guide, we have included entry-level and mid-range machines.

Entry-level sewing machines typically start at around $100 to $200. These machines often offer essential features such as straight and zigzag stitches, basic buttonhole functions, and manual threading.

Mid-range sewing machines with more advanced features and capabilities typically range from $200 to $500. These machines may offer a wider variety of stitches, automatic needle threading, adjustable stitch length and width, and additional accessories such as presser feet and extension tables.

High-end sewing machines: Premium sewing machines with advanced technology, extensive stitch options, and durable construction can range from $500 to several thousand dollars. These machines may offer computerized functionality, embroidery capabilities, quilting features, and specialized accessories for professional-grade sewing projects.

How do I repair my sewing machine?

Repairing a sewing machine can vary in complexity depending on the specific issue you're encountering. Before attempting any repairs, carefully examine your sewing machine to identify the issue. Common problems include thread jams, needle breakage, tension issues, and motor problems. Consult your manual to see what tips you can find for fixing the problem or reach out to the manufacturer to see if you can DIY the problem.

If you're unable to resolve the issue on your own or if the problem is more complex, consider seeking assistance from a professional sewing machine technician. They can diagnose and repair more serious problems and provide expert guidance on maintaining your machine.

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