13 Best Sewing Machines in 2021 (Choosing Made Easy)

A big decision that needn't be tough to make

Written by Phyllis Stewart Updated on March 19th, 2021
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Sewing machines should never be an impulse purchase. Yes, we know the temptation. We see a machine at a fantastic price in the big-box store and begin imagining all the things we could make so easily. However, a sewing machine isn’t a disposable item. If you buy the wrong machine – one too complicated or without some features we really need – we can be stuck with it for a long time.

If you’re considering buying your first or your ‘forever’ sewing machine, take a few minutes to acquaint yourself with the best machines that suit your purpose.

Our picks of the best sewing machines

All sewing machines are not created equal. Some choices are high-end, precision units that professionals use. Others are very inexpensive and useful only for mending projects. There are, of course, myriad choices between these two extremes.

Whether you are new to sewing, wanting to teach a child this useful skill, or sewing all the soft goods for your dream bedroom, you’ll find a great sewing machine that will do the job in this review. 

Our team spent a lot of time and study to ensure the following reviews are accurate and useful, so let’s get right to it.

Best Overall Sewing Machine

Our opinion

The HC1850 has everything the typical home sewer needs or wants in a budget-friendly package. Whether sewing garments, home decor, or quilts, this Brother machine has everything you’ll need for a successful project every time. This is a solid choice for sewers at any skill level.

Best Ultimate Sewing Machine

Our opinion

This top-of-the-line computerized machine has everything the sewist with advanced skill can ask. The Janome has 120 built-in stitches and 7 different alphabets. It can handle straight sewing, embroidery, and tailoring. The 4120QDC is the last machine most homes stitchers will need.

Best Value Sewing Machine

Our opinion

This tiny machine is excellent for small sewing chores. The operation is easy enough for beginners and advanced enough for simple projects around the house. The lightweight machine comes in at 1.65 pounds, making it the perfect choice for grab-and-go sewing while traveling in the camper or taking it to a sewing club meeting.

Best Sewing Machine for Kids

Our opinion

This girl-friendly sewing machine is great for kids. This machine is simple for her to learn. It also has enough features and capabilities to keep her happily sewing until it’s time to invest in a more advanced sewing machine.

Best Sewing Machine for Beginners

Our opinion

If you are just beginning your machine sewing journey, the Start 1304 is worth considering. It’s easy to thread both needle and bobbin, which is the main bugaboo for the inexperienced. It has enough features and built-in stitches to handle everyday needs.

Best Handheld Sewing Machine

Our opinion

Suppose you need an inexpensive alternative to hand sewing for hems, emergency fixes, or the simplest of sewing projects. In that case, a handheld option might be for you. A handheld will fit in a decent-sized purse, a suitcase, or a desk drawer – a quick and easy go-to option.

Best Mechanical Sewing Machine

Our opinion

Electronic sewing machines are not always the right solution. Suppose you want a workhorse that will sew for decades with minimal chance of glitches and confusion. In that case, a mechanical model is worth considering. Not everyone wants to embroider by machine. If you’re going to create great garments and fashion beautiful home projects, a mechanical machine like the full-featured SINGER MX60 might be a good choice.

Best Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine

Our opinion

The SINGER 4452 is a plow horse rather than a show horse. It has all the features home sewers need in a sturdy body and frame that will last for decades. Sturdy doesn’t mean without great features. The 4452 has 110 stitch applications, built-in decorative stitches, and all the extras you expect from a SINGER.

Best Sewing Machine for Quilting

Our opinion

Suppose you are into quilting or even have a home quilting business. In that case, you need a sewing machine that can keep up with your demanding hobby. This Brother machine can stitch up to 1500 stitches per minute. You’ll be able to race from one edge of a king-sized quilt to the other in record time. The wide table holds heavy quilts effortlessly, making the management of large projects more manageable.

Best Sewing Machine for Embroidery

Our opinion

If you love embroidering details on clothing, home projects, or team gear, an embroidery machine is a must-have. The PE800 has 138 built-in designs, a USB port for loading more designs, and 11 alphabets. Suppose you need to save time and effort to make products quickly and perfectly. In that case, this dedicated machine is well worth your time to consider.

Best Serger Machine

Juki MO-50E Serger

Sergers are specialty sewing machines. Their purpose is to overcast seams and finish hems. It isn’t as easy as it sounds, and a home sewing machine won’t cut it. If you sew professionally, you’ll probably get a lot of use from a serger. This Juki model can handle three or four spools of thread with differential feed.

Best Non-Electric Sewing Machine

Janome 712T Treadle Powered Sewing Machine

Suppose you live off the grid or are committed to living with energy conservation values. In that case, the Janome 712T will fit your requirements. Suppose you buy (separately) a treadle-operated sewing table. In that case, you can have a modern sewing machine without one penny added to an electricity bill. The machine offers 10 stitches, a buttonhole function, and more. 

Best Sewing Machine for Advanced Sewers

Juki TL-2010Q Sewing Machine

If you’ve sewn for years making everything from a toddler’s dress to a wedding gown, you need a sewing machine that matches your skillset. For a sewing machine that can handle your needs, you might want to consider the Juki TL-2010Q. It’s lightweight and portable, so you can take it with you on quilt tours, but it still has heavy-duty features. A cast aluminum frame can handle years of use.

Best Professional Quilting Machine

Grace Q’Nique 15R Long Arm Quilting Machine 

Lots of sewing pros take quilt tops home sewers have put together and turned them into layered quilts. This takes not only skill but a dedicated long-arm quilting machine and a big table. If you’re thinking of expanding your sewing empire into a business or want to quilt your own work by machine, this model should meet all your needs.

Special Requirement? Here are some top specialist sewing machines

Well, not everything is serious. The following machines have special uses. You may want to step out on the ledge and sew more interesting items than a skirt or couch pillow. Have fun and let your imagination go wild.

  • Best Sewing Machine for Leather. The Yamata FY5318 Walking Foot Lockstitch is great for those last-minute creations of a purse or belt before the big interview.
  • Best Cobbler’s Sewing Machine. The Seeutek Shoe Repair Machine is for those who need to re-sole their hiking boots but can’t find a neighborhood shoe repair shop.
  • Best TV-Branded Sewing Machine. The SINGER M3330 Making the Cut Sewing Machine will let you sew right along with your favorite contestant.
  • Best Upholstery Industrial Sewing Machine. The Consew Walking Foot Industrial Sewing Machine is the machine to use when you open your own boutique upholstery shop.
  • Best Hemming Machine. The WD-500 Portable Blind Stitch Hemming Machine will zip right through dozens of hems in a jiffy, particularly great if you have a high-volume garment creation business. 
  • Highest End Home Sewing Machine. The Bernina 880 Plus is the ultimate home sewing machine with every possible feature and a price tag to match, this is the machine for the dedicated millionaire home sewist.

The Top Sewing Machine Brands

The home sewist has a wealth of choices for sewing machines. Companies worldwide vie to manufacture the best precision machines with the latest technology, all at an attractive price. The following companies have earned their place as the top producers of fine sewing machines.

So, in alphabetical order…

  • Baby Lock (Tacony Brands). The Baby Lock sewing machine brand specializes in home sewing, quilting, and embroidery machines.
  • Bernina International AG Sewing Company. The Bernina company manufactures high-end sewing, embroidery, and serger/overlock machines, plus computer software for embroidery designs.
  • Brother International Corporation. This sizable international corporation manufactures not only sewing machines but also a full line of home office equipment.
  • Husqvarna Viking (SVP Group Worldwide). The Husqvarna Viking is a Swedish company, an innovator in modern computerized sewing machines.
  • Janome Sewing Machine Co., Ltd. The Janome Company makes sewing machines, imprinters, electro-presses, and robots. 
  • Juki Corporation. Juki was an early developer of serger/overlock machines, and they are known for their technological advances in the sewing machine industry.
  • Pfaff (SVP Group Worldwide)
  • Pfaff Industrial is a German company specializing in home and industrial advanced sewing machines.
  • Sailrite Enterprise Inc. Sailrite is an American that makes sewing machines for sail-making, upholstery, and home sewing.
  • SINGER Corporation (SVP Group Worldwide). The SINGER Corporation is one of the world’s first and oldest manufacturers of home sewing machines and is still known as one of the world’s premier sewing machine producers.
  • Toyota Sewing Machines (AISIN SEIKI World Corporation, a Toyota Group Company). The Toyota sewing machine manufacturer continues its long dedication to innovation.

Wrapping up

Sewing by hand or machine, for home or mass production, has a storied history for a technology that is a mere 170 years old. From a hand-cranked device to today’s modern computerized versions with every innovation, there is a sewing machine that is right for everyone. 

Many of us learn to sew as children, perhaps as part of earning a scouting badge. Others of us learn in high school home economics classes or at the hand of a mother or grandmother. However we come to our skills, making our own clothing, home décor items, or even start a small sewing business, we know the thrill of creating something extraordinary from practically nothing. The satisfaction of sewing is akin to that of a master cabinetmaker or a fine home builder.

Taking the time to learn about all the different choices we have for home sewing machines will pay off in saving money, making unique soft goods, and making the world a bit more beautiful.

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Written by Phyllis Stewart Updated on March 19th, 2021