The various sewing machines on the market today make buying a new sewing machine a big deal and often a difficult decision. The addition of computerized sewing machines throws even more possibilities into the mix, but many still prefer a mechanical sewing machine. Whether you’re a beginner just learning to sew, an experienced sewer hoping to upgrade or are buying a child their very first sewing machine, there are many makes and models from which to choose. Hopefully, our review of the seven best mechanical sewing machines will make it a whole lot easier for you.
While it may seem like many of the machines are very similar, there are some differences. Our comparison chart lists some of the most common specifications for comparison purposes.
Sewing and Quilting
Singer 4423 – Heavy-Duty – Consumers’ Choice
The Singer 4423 has been repeatedly ranked as one of the best mechanical sewing machines on the market. In addition to being a Consumers’ Choice, this machine is ranked as one of the best sewing machines for beginners. To be classed as a good sewing machine for beginners, the machine should be durable, easy to operate and provide high-quality stitches.
The Singer 4423 meets all these criteria and more. Its heavy-duty motor offers more power when working on heavy and thick seams, yet it can still easily handle delicate fabrics. Its extra-high sewing speed of 1,100 stitches per minute will get the job done quicker than you could ever imagine.
Basic, decorative, stretch and buttonhole are just a few of the 23 built-in stitch patterns that are available with this Singer mechanical sewing machine. It can accommodate several different needle sizes, so you can sew various fabric types – from stretchy Lycra and silky satin to heavy-duty denim and leather.
The automatic needle threader takes the aggravation out of trying to thread the needle. Whether it’s quilts, crafts, home décor items or fashionable clothing you want to have, there is very little the Singer 4423 can’t sew easily and beautifully.
The heavy-duty metal interior frame and stainless steel bedframe make the Singer 4423 a very durable sewing machine. It’s no wonder this machine comes with a 25-year warranty.
Singer 4411– Heavy-Duty – Consumers’ Choice
This Consumers’ Choice sewing machine is a heavy-duty machine that includes many of the features consumers look for when purchasing a sewing machine. Its strong motor, which can produce 1,100 stitches per minute, is housed within a heavy-duty metal frame to give added stability and durability.
The stainless steel bed plate allows you to guide the fabric through easily, without snagging or busted stitches. Its 11 built-in stitch patterns include 6 basic stitches, 1 built-in buttonhole stitch and 4 decorative stitches – all the stitches you need for sewing fashionable clothing, home décor projects or simple crafts.
The Singer 4411 includes built-in reverse system and a top drop-in bobbin with a clear cover so you can always see how much thread is left. This is a handy feature that will avoid you running out of thread in the middle of a long seam.
The Singer 4411 also offers three adjustable needle positions, so you can change the height based on what you’re sewing. Between the adjustable needle position and the adjustable presser foot, you’ll be able to find the perfect needle position to get the job done, whether you’re doing simple mending, adding a decorative touch or putting in a zipper. Stitch width can be adjusted to as big as 1/4 inches.
Although it’s designed to easily sew through several layers of fabric, the Singer 4411 is not designed for industrial sewing like leather upholstery, sheepskin or sailboat cloth. Accessories include a lint brush/seam ripper combination, sewing machine needles, extra bobbins, additional spool pins, a screwdriver, a soft-sided dust cover and an instruction manual.
Janome 2212 – Basic Sewing
Janome’s goal is to create machines that inspire innovation and creativity but are simple to use. They’ve met their mission with the Janome 2212. It’s not a state-of-the-art technology-based machine packed with dozens of features you’ll probably never use but does offer the basics every seamstress needs and wants. Despite it being labeled as non-user-friendly by many, the Janome 2212 is a dependable machine that’s fairly easy to operate.
It will sew almost anything, whether it’s clothing, quilt tops, home accessories or outdoor items like boat awnings. Accessories included with the Janome are bobbins, a blind foot, a zipper foot, a buttonhole foot, an instruction book, a foot control, a seam ripper, a screwdriver and a vinyl dust cover.
A four-step buttonhole stitch is one of the 12 built-in stitch patterns offered with the Janome 2212. Many feel that the stitch width and length adjustment that it offers make this machine easy to use on simple sewing projects. The drop feed allows free motion when sewing or quilting. Two of this machine’s best features are its durability and high-quality stitches.
Janome HD3000 – Heavy-Duty
The Janome HD3000’s versatility and durability make it a good choice for beginning sewers and experienced seamstresses. Unlike some sewing machines that can kick out 1,100 stitches per minute, the HD3000 boasts of 860 stitches per minute. But, it does allow you to switch from sewing leather to sewing silk without skipping a beat.
It comes with five different snap-on pressure feet: a blind hem, a rolled hem, an over-edge, a buttonhole and a zipper foot. It also features an ever-popular automatic needle threader. The pressure-adjustable snap-on foot lets you raise it extra high to accommodate thicker fabrics. The machine also includes a convenient instruction/guide panel that tells you what kind of pressure foot you need for that specific project.
Accessories that are included with the Janome HD3000 are bobbins, two packs of leather needles, a pack of regular sewing needles, a lint brush, a spool holder, a seam ripper, a foot control, an extra spool pin and an instruction manual. All of the accessories fit into the storage compartment that’s conveniently located near the bobbin holder. If you need an accessory, you can get it without having to get up. There is a multitude of additional accessories you can get for this machine through Janome.
Brother XM2701 – Basic Sewing
If you’re looking for a heavy-duty sewing machine that will go through almost any fabric, this is not the machine for you. But if you’re in the market for a light duty sewing machine aimed at basic sewing for both beginner and experienced sewers, you’ll love what the Brother XM2701 has to offer.
This machine has not only been ranked as one of the best machines for beginners, but also as one that’s under $100. This mechanical machine offers many of the features found in more expensive heavy-duty machines. The Brother XM2701 mechanical sewing machines offers 27 stitches, six sewing feet, a jam-resistant top drop-in bobbin, a 1-step auto-size buttonholer, an automatic needle threader, a free arm and an instructional DVD.
Considering the low price on this machine, it’s a high-quality sewing machine that’s way above its competitors in the same price category. It also produces high-quality stitching. You can easily switch stitches with only a touch of a button. Every stitch is listed and shown on the front of the machine, so you know what you’re choosing.
Despite its durability, this machine is lightweight and portable, making it easy to carry from one area to another. It comes with such accessories – a 3-piece needle set, an extra spool pin, six sewing feet, a twin needle, a darning plate, a screwdriver, an instructional DV and a user quick reference guide.
Janome Magnolia 7318 – Basic Sewing
If you’re looking for a basic sewing machine for routine sewing and one that’s good for a beginner, the Janome Magnolia 7318 just might fit the bill. Although its price may be slightly higher than in sewing machines offering similar features, many users feel that its smooth operation and reliability make it more than worth the money.
The Janome Magnolia 7318 offers 18 built-in stitches. The jam-proof bobbin system, which is top-loading for ease and convenience, provides you with tangle- and snag-free sewing. Its clear cover lets you easily monitor when it will need more thread. The 7-piece feed dog ensures you’ll have the correct amount of pressure regardless of the type of fabric you’re sewing.
The machine also offers adjustable stitch width and length as well as a reverse level. Stitch width can go as wide as 3/16 inches, and stitch length to 1/8 inches. The push-pull bobbin winder makes it easy to refill the bobbin. The needle plate has measurement markings to make it easier to sew straight lines and seams. The handy drop feed system allows you to switch from basic sewing to fashion darning or free-motion quilting. The Janome Magnolia 7318 can easily handle several layers of fabric at one time.
Janome Jern Gold 660 – Sewing and Quilting
The Janome Jern Gold 660 is a 3/4 size sewing machine used for both sewing and quilting. Its small size makes it a portable machine, but its functionality and numerous features make it a full-size one. It offers 12 different stitches, including overcast, shell tuck, blind hem, stretch blind hem, multi-stitch zigzag, 3 additional zigzag stitches and 4 straight stitches. The 4 straight stitches include mending, basting, gathering and a straight stretch stitch. It also includes a buttonhole stitch.
The Janome Jern Gold 660 comes with a general purpose foot, an over-edge foot and a buttonhole foot. The drop-in bobbin system is housed by a magnetic, full rotary hook that provides an easy bobbin threading process. The thread cutter is located on the arm of the machine. This machine only sews 650 stitches per minute, but it does provide consistently even and precise stitches.
The markings on the needle plate are both metric and imperial. You also have the option of buying a quilting kit, which includes a darning plate, quilting presser foot and a quilting guide. Accessories, which can be stored in the extension arm, include a seam ripper, a pack of needles, 3 bobbins, 2 spool holders, a spool pin and a screwdriver.
How a Mechanical Sewing Machine Works: Video
When comparing one machine to another, it’ll seem like you’re being bombarded with features, accessories and even more special features. Many of these features are common with most sewing machines, so make sure you do a good comparison to learn what extra features one might have that the other lacks.
For instance, most sewing machines offer free-arm sewing. This allows you to sew tube-shaped projects, hem pants and even make small items like doll clothing. While free arms may be advertised as “special features” they’re pretty common on most machines.
Most machines also come with a thread cutter on either the side or the back of the machine. Warranty is another thing to consider when purchasing a mechanical sewing machine. As much as we hope things don’t go wrong with a new machine, it can happen. Most sewing machines come with a 25-year warranty, but check what the warranty covers and what exclusions there might be.
Things to Consider When Buying a Mechanical Sewing Machine
Now that you’ve decided to buy a mechanical sewing machine, you’re probably filled with all sorts of choices. Asking family and friends what they use and how satisfied they are is often helpful. Reviews like this one can also be helpful in demonstrating what some of the highest rated mechanical sewing machines are and what they can do.
Here are some things to consider prior to buying a mechanical sewing machine.
- Features – What will you be using the sewing machine for? Is it strictly sewing? Will you be doing quilting or sewing decorative fashion? Know what you want in a sewing machine.
- Price – Know your budget. You’ll save a lot of time if you know how much you can afford to spend. It will also allow you to narrow down the search a lot, whether you’re searching online or locally.
- Location – Consider the options of shopping online versus shopping locally. You may save money by shopping online, but will you get the same kind of customer service? One advantage of shopping locally is that you can try out the sewing machine and get a real feel for it.
- Don’t be fooled by brands – There are many brands of sewing machines out there. Don’t be fooled by a certain brand because it’s been around forever. Shop around, do comparison shopping and read customer reviews.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How important is it for a machine to be able to sew quickly? Does it matter if one can sew 1,100 stitches per minute as opposed to 800 stitches per minute?
Answer: It’s somewhat important. It’s not just that the sewing machine can sew faster. When machines can sew that many stitches per minute, they’re generally heavy-duty sewing machines that can sew fast without breaking stitches.
Question: Is one sewing machine brand any better than the other?
Answer: When purchasing anything, it’s always important to learn as much as possible about the brand. The sewing machines we’ve reviewed are all made by reputable companies known for their high-quality craftsmanship. Every brand is going to have basic models as well as high-quality, more expensive models.
Question: Some sewing machines offer between dozens of different stitches. Am I wasting money paying for all those stitches when I know I’ll only use a few?
Answer: Since most new sewing machines are offering more stitches, you’re probably not paying that much more for the additional stitches you’re getting. Considering that sewing machines typically last for several years, you may use more stitches in the future.
There You Have It!
Now that you’ve decided to take the plunge and get a new mechanical sewing machine, you’ve taken the first step. With a new sewing machine, you can demonstrate your creativity while making some fashionable designs. Hopefully, this sewing machine guide has helped you narrow down your options and helped you decide on the best mechanical sewing machine for you.