For over a century, Japanese manufacturer Brother Industries has produced some of the finest sewing and embroidery machines on the market. I can honestly say that Brother’s machines are among the sturdiest you can find, and I’ve even seen them end up outliving their owners.
If you’re looking for the best Brother sewing machines, you’ve come to the right place. For this review article, I got my hands on all of Brother’s sewing machines to see which ones are worth picking up for your next crafting project. Read on to see which ones made the cut.
Brother 101: A short history
Chances are if you’ve ever used a sewing machine you’ve probably operated either a Brother, Singer, Husqvarna, Janome, Kenmore, Jaguar, or an Elna. These are the big-name players in the industry, and for a good reason too.
These manufacturers have been in the game for generations, and have refined their machines over the years to make them as reliable and user-friendly as possible.
First founded in 1908, Brother Industries Ltd. has a storied history as one of the first multinational manufacturers of consumer and industrial sewing machines. In the late-1970s, Brother became the world’s first manufacturer of the computerized sewing machine, the ZZ3-B820, which remains the industry standard to this day.
With a history of innovation and excellence behind it, Brother has positioned itself as one of the most reliable and successful brands in the world of sewing and embroidery.
How to use your Brother sewing machine
Most Brother sewing machines are designed with two dials and a foot pedal. The first knob determines what type of stitch designed will be used (e..g, zig-zag stitches, narrow stitches, wide stitches, etc.). The second dial determines the length of each stitch.
On the side of your Brother sewing machine you will notice a small wheel. This element is called the “hand wheel” and spinning it will make your sewing needle rise and fall into the fabric if you want to operate the machine manually. Underneath this component is the “reverse stitch lever” which you can activate to stitch in reverse or sew backward.
Finally, the numbered knob at the top of your Brother sewing machine. This gadget determines the amount of force necessary to activate the foot pedal. Although I’ve never had to use this knob, some people may want to use it if their foot pedal is too sensitive or takes too much tension to move.
If you need help operating your Brother sewing machine, check out this helpful Youtube tutorial. This video walks you through virtually every aspect of operating your Brother sewing machine, so make sure you bookmark the video in case you ever need a hand.
Types of sewing machines: Which one is best for you?
There are three main types of sewing machines, and Brother specializes in one of them. Below, I’ve touched on these three machine varieties as well as their respective differences, advantages, and disadvantages.
Electronic sewing machines
Brother was one of the first manufacturers in the world to produce electronic consumer sewing machines. Since their first electric model, Brother has specialized in making the world’s finest all-electric sewing machines.
These machines are plugged into a power source and remove much of the manual labor associated with sewing and quilting. Instead of having to stitch my band, a motor and a computer chip automate the process of stitching. Typically, electronic sewing machines involve a touchpad, small LED screen, and several pressurized sensors to assist with topstitching and detailing.
Mechanical sewing machines
Mechanical sewing machines are non-electronic sewing machines that are more affordable than their electronic counterparts. Before shopping for a mechanical sewing machine, be prepared to put in a significant amount of work to complete your projects.
These “old-school” machines require you to manipulate the needle, thread, and fabric by hand and take care of any repairs or adjustments that the manual machine might need.
Embroidery sewing machines are a special third type of machine that accommodates projects such as bedspreads, pillowcases, and articles of clothing. These machines have a hoop under the needle that allows the needle to move omnidirectionally. A greater range of movement for the needle facilitates the creation of more complex designs and stitching patterns.
Our top 6 favorite Brother sewing machines
Now that we’re familiar with the kind of sewing machines that Brother manufactures let’s take a look at some of their best. After testing out all of Brother’s new models over the course of several weeks, I put together this list of the six best Brother sewing machines below.
Our top choice
The Brother CS6000i is an electronic sewing machine that is one of the most feature-rich units on the market. The Brother CS6000i has an LED display, 70 unique built-in stitch types, a convenient start/stop button, a reverse sewing button, and an automatic needle threader.
Together, these features create one of the most comprehensive all-in-one electronic sewing solutions for beginners and crafting experts alike.
What I liked most about using the Brother CS6000i is that it’s an intuitive machine that anyone can pick up and use, although it doesn’t skimp out on the advanced features.
For example, the LED screen displays what type of stitching pattern is being used, as well as the size of the spacing between each stitch. This makes it easy to tell what kind of stitch you’re making and simplifies the process of switching stitch varieties.
If you’re like me and tend to knock things around your sewing table, you will be pleased to know that the Brother CS6000i comes with a hard protective case to help safeguard your machine. Additionally, the CS6000i is stocked with three bobbins and a twin needle to provide everything you need to get started with your next sewing project.
What we love
- Backed by 25-year manufacturer’s warranty
- LED screen signifies the stitching type being used
- Jam-resistant drop-in bobbin presents snags
- Seven automatic buttonhole settings make it easy to create garments
- When you stop stitching, the machine carries on and creates one more stitch to finish
- Doesn’t work as well with thicker fabrics such as denim
Our second choice
The Brother SE600 sewing and embroidery machine includes a staggering 103 built-in stitch varieties and 80 distinctive pre-set designs. If you want to learn how to embroider fabrics, the SE600 is an excellent option because it includes six lettering fonts.
By taking advantage of the Brother SE600’s lettering capabilities, you can add a personal touch to any crafting project.
What I love most about the SE600 is the LED screen which is is larger and brighter than most other models and also color. Not only that but it’s super easy to switch between stitching patterns by tapping the LED screen. Plus, the automatic needle threader prevented any jams or snags in the stitching.
What we love
- Large 4”x4” embroidery field makes it easy to add lettering to fabrics
- Ten unique buttonhole styles lets you get creative when making garments
- Exclusive “Amazing Designs” software lets you load designs onto a memory stick and load onto other Brother sewing machines
- Runs very quietly to prevent disturbances in the household
- Doesn’t stitch as fast as some competitors
- Doesn’t include a beginner’s embroidery software tutorial
Our third choice
The Brother XM2701 is one of the most compact electronic sewing machines made by this manufacturer. The XM2701 is a lightweight solution that contains 27 unique stitching patterns, which is more than enough to cover most beginner and novice-level crafting projects.
One of the best things about the XM2701 is that it comes with Brother At Your Side 24/7 support in case you run into any issues with your machine. In our books, this makes purchasing the XM2701 a virtually risk-free investment, whether you’re buying it for an expert or a child who is only just learning how to stitch or sew.
What we love
- Comes with a 3-piece needle set to provide everything you need to get started
- Brother At Your Side 24-hour technical support available
- Instructional DVD provides a thorough operation tutorial
- Lightweight design makes it easy for children to maneuver
- The floral pattern on the side of the body might not be everyone’s style
- Doesn’t come with a spool of thread
Our fourth choice
The Brother CS7000i is the newest addition to Brother’s flagship CS series of electronic sewing machines. The CS7000i comes with an extended 10’ stitching table to make it easier to quilt and sew larger garments without running out of space.
Further, the CS7000i comes with all-new stitching designs, including heirloom stitches, to create advanced crafts that older machines cannot.
My favorite aspect of the CS7000i is that the backlit LED screen makes selecting a new stitch as simple as tapping a button and choosing the correct number. By doing this, you can easily create the crafts of your dreams without having to tinker with the threader or bobbin manually. Instead, with the CS7000i, you merely tap a button and get stitching.
What we love
- Bright LED display makes it easy to switch stitching designs
- Generous amount of stitching space (10’)
- Snap-on presser feet are easy to maneuver and attach
- Runs very quietly to prevent unwanted noise
- Doesn’t easily pierce through tough, thick fabrics
- The guiding light isn’t very bright, making sewing in the dark a near-impossibility
Our fifth choice
The Brother HC1850 is one of the most advanced electronic sewing solutions available and one of the best Brother sewing machines on the market. With eight feet of stitching space included, the HC1850 is appropriate for quilting and stitching projects and features a convenient top-loading bobbin system as well as an automatic needle threader to prevent accidents and stitching mishaps.
There’s very little not to like about the HC1850. However, I would’ve liked to have seen this machine skip fewer stitches. Especially at faster stitching speeds, the HC1850 caused a few skips in the stitching. However, these were barely noticeable as the HC1850 still produced excellent garments that look flawless to the untrained eye.
What we love
- Lightweight build makes it easy to move, transport, and maneuver
- Expanded LED screen lets users see what size and pattern they are stitching
- The table easily expands to provide up to 8’ of stitching space
- Not ideal for quilting stitches
- The automatic threader tends to be overly sensitive and fragile (handle lightly!)
Finding the Best Brother Sewing Machine
After spending at least a week or two with each machine, I’ve got to recommend the Brother CS7000i above the rest. This sewing machine is one of the newest to be released by Brother, and it features the largest stitching table (10’) and the brightest and most intuitive LED screen.
Although the entire Brother lineup of electronic sewing machines would make worthy additions to any crafter’s kit, the slate of advanced features, such as the heirloom stitching support, and the added safety of the backlight makes the CS7000i a standout in a class of excellent machines from Brother.