Despite the popularity of brand name clothing, many people still choose to sew their own things. Some people sew to save money, others sew because it allows them to customize their projects. For some sewing is just as a pastime. Also, sewing is not just for making clothes. Sewing can be used for craft projects, home décor items or even simple outdoor projects. If you’re in the market for a good but inexpensive sewing machine, you’ll be happy to know there is a wide selection from which you can choose.
Maybe that isn’t such good news for you! However, we’re here to make it a little easier for you by putting together this helpful buyer’s guide complete with a comparison chart. Whether you’re buying your first sewing machine, buying one to sew alongside your serger or are just in need of a new sewing machine, you’ll definitely want to get a good one. Here is a list of the best sewing machines under $500.
Title Type Built-in No. of Table Check Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized 600 13 yes Singer Quantum Stylist 9985 Computerized 960 13 no Computerized 60 7 yes Computerized 103 8 no Computerized 70 10 no Computerized 294 10 no Computerized 30 6 no Computerized 820 13 no Mechanical 37 1 yes Computerized 100 8 yes
Singer Quantum Stylist 9960
Singer Quantum Stylist 9985
Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 – Amazon’s Choice Computerized Sewing Machine
The Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 is a portable sewing machine with more built-in stitches than in most of the sewing machines of its class, including several buttonhole stitches and 5 alphanumeric fonts. With this machine, choosing a stitch is easy. They’re all pictured on the front panel with the eight most commonly used stitches. Just select the stitch you want and begin sewing. Customizing your projects is fun and easy thanks to mirror imaging and stitch elongation features.
Accessories include some extra needles, a spool pin felt, an extra-wide extension table, a quilting bar, a shank for presser feet, bobbins, a clearance plate, a seam guide, screwdrivers, a lint brush, a seam ripper and an auxiliary spool pin. Other special features of this machine include an automatic reverse, an electronic autopilot, an auto thread cutter, a direct bobbin winding clutch, a center zigzag taper, an automatic adjustable tension, an automatic locking stitch function, an automatic bobbin winding clutch and an extra-high presser foot lifter.
Singer Quantum Stylist 9985 – Portable Computerized Sewing Machine
The Singer Quantum Stylist 9985 is a computerized portable sewing machine that features not just 960 stitches but also an interactive color-touch LCD screen, which makes it easy to watch what you’re doing. This machine offers so many accessories that you’ll find it easy to customize your projects any way you want. Built-in lettering, knit, stretch, alphanumeric fonts and various decorative stitches are all included with the Stylist 9985. It also offers a stitch reference chart so you can quickly take a look at all the machine’s possibilities.
No more straining your eyes and struggling to get the machine threaded as the Singer Quantum Stylist 9985 has a built-in threader that will have you ready to start sewing in seconds. The thread trimmer not only saves you time but also gives you a good finish. This machine comes with 13 presser feet, so there’s very little you can’t do with the Stylist 9985.
Brother CS6000i – 2018 Women’s Choice Award
The Brother CS6000i is both a quilting and a sewing machine that offers an adjustable sewing speed, a stitch selector switch and a huge LCD display that allows you to see what your sewing designs will look like right away. Not sure if it’s the low price that makes the Brother CS6000i such a popular machine or the fact that it’s so user-friendly. Even a beginner can start sewing right after taking it out of the box. People who enjoy sewing are typically very satisfied with this machine.
This machine comes with eight sewing and quilting feet, including a zipper foot, a walking foot, a button sewing foot, a buttonhole foot, a spring action quilting foot, a blind stitch foot, a monogramming foot and an overcasting foot. The open darning foot makes it easy especially for beginners to learn to embroider. With its lightweight body and hard protective case, you can easily transport the Brother CS6000i from place to place.
Brother SE600 – 2018 Women’s Choice Award
The Brother SE600 is a computerized embroidery and sewing machine that has a large 3.2″ color touchscreen display so you can see your embroidery designs as they’re being created. You can view your design, change thread color via the built-in color palette and then give your design a final look before sewing. And on top of that, the sewing machine’s needle gets threaded automatically by only one push on the lever.
Like most of Brother’s products, the Brother SE600 comes with not just a warranty but also online support and free telephone support for the life of the sewing machine. This machine offers an extended needle-to-arm workspace (6.4″ x 3.1″), giving you more space for working on or folding larger projects. It comes with seven presser feet; the spring-action zigzag foot is longer compared with others, making it easier to push the fabric through smoothly.
Brother SE400 – 2018 Women’s Choice Award, #4 in Embroidery Machines
The Brother SE400 is a computerized embroidery and sewing machine that’s loaded with options, including not just 70 built-in embroidery stitches but also 5 different embroidery fonts and 14 built-in sewing stitches, including stretch, utility, decorative and 4-step buttonhole, among others. It also has 120 frame-pattern combos, which allow you to create a large variety of customized designs, and 67 sewing stitches. You’ll also have a ball choosing among the 98 stitch functions.
The Brother SE400 is a speedy machine that kicks out 840 stitches per minute. It also comes with a USB cable so that you can hook it up to your computer and import your customized designs or designs from the internet. If you’ve always dreaded threading your machine, you’ll love the automatic threader feature of the SE400.
Brother PC420PRW – Professional Grade Computerized Sewing Machine & Part of the Project Runway Limited Edition Series
The Brother PC420PRW is a computerized sewing machine that lets you create clothing and projects that look professional. With almost 300 stitches, 11 pressure feet, 10 buttonhole styles, dual LED workspace light system and a machine that can do 850 stitches per minute, you know you’re sewing with the very best. To make sewing extra fun, this machine also comes with several design stitches and the Brother My Custom Stitch feature, which allows you to customize your project so it’s all about you.
This machine offers a one-handed threading system, a variable speed control, a F.A.S.T. bobbin system, a twin needle function, an automatic needle threader and a start/stop button so you don’t have to use the pedal. Sewing has never been as fun or productive as with the Brother PC420PRW. The see-through bobbin cover gives the opportunity to see when you’re running out of thread so you can replace it rather than run out of it in the middle of a seam.
This machine has tons of special features, including a programmable thread trimmer, a 6-point feed dog system, a needle up/down feature, a reverse/reinforce button, 14 needle positions, a speed control slider and a horizontal top thread delivery.
Janome Magnolia 7330 – Most Advanced Sewing Machine in This Line
The Janome Magnolia 7330 is the ideal sewing machine whether you’re sewing apparel, home décor items or craft projects with the kids. Janome has long been known for the technology and precision it puts into its machines and the Magnolia 7330 definitely keeps up with the tradition. To make sewing even easier for you, the Janome Magnolia 7330 includes many automatic features. It’s the perfect solution to getting a high-quality sewing machine at a value price.
Special features of the Janome 7330 include a start/stop button, a built-in needle threader, a reverse button, a computerized stitch selection and a bonus package filled with all sorts of unique accessories, such as Janome’s universal #12 needles and a ¼” concealed zipper foot. The speed control slider keeps you always in control of how fast or slow you’re sewing. The stitches this machine provides, such as the #10 overcast stitch, give your items a professional finish.
It also has a double lift presser for thicker fabrics. With this feature and the needle up/down button, you’ll never have to worry about thick fabric bunching up or needles breaking. The convenient LED display shows you the stitch width, stitch length and stitch number so you can put these things to memory, allowing yourself to come back to your favorites later.
Singer Quantum Stylist 9980 – Best Sewing Machine for Quilting
The Singer Stylist 9980 is a portable sewing machine that’s filled with many easy-to-use convenient features that you’ll want to help you create your masterpieces. You get more than 820 stitches, including stretch, basic, decorative, home décor and quilting as well as several fonts to customize and personalize your projects.
The built-in automatic needle threader takes the drudgery out of threading the machine the old fashioned way. The Stylist 9980 will thread itself in only seconds. If the 13 buttonhole styles and the unique buttonhole under-plate aren’t enough to excite a tailor, then mirror imaging and stitch elongation features will do the trick. Those features will allow you to create all sorts of customized designs.
Add that to the machines sewing speed, which happens to be 850 stitches per minute and you’ll see why the Singer Stylist 9980 is such a popular sewing machine. This machine also comes with several accessories, including a blind hem foot, a button sewing foot, an all-purpose foot, a buttonhole foot with underplate, a zipper foot, a rolled hem foot, a walking foot, a straight stitch/quilting foot, an open toe foot, a satin stitch foot and more.
Brother XR3774 – 2018 Women’s Choice Award
The Brother XR3774 is a versatile, well-built and value-packed sewing machine that’s ideal for all your sewing projects. It’s low in price but high in features and accessories, including 37 built-in stitches, 74 total stitch functions and an auto-size, one-step buttonhole function that makes buttonholes that look so professional your friends will not believe you made them yourself.
With this sewing machine you’ll get a zipper, a buttonhole, a zigzag, a walking, a narrow hemmer, a button sewing, a blind stitch and a quilting foot. And you will not believe it, but this simple machine can easily sew 850 stitches per minute. Other popular features include a brightly lit LED area, a top drop-in bobbin that won’t jam and a built-in needle threader.
Brother XR9500PRW – Part of the Project Runway Limited Edition Series
The Brother XR9500PRW is a computerized sewing machine with an oversized table for quilting and big projects. Seamstresses can choose from 100 built-in stitches, including decorative, utility and heirloom stitches as well as 140 stitch functions and 55 alphanumeric monogramming stitches. It also has an automatic sewing feature so your stitches will always look professional.
Special features of the XR9500PRW include a needle position button, a jam resistant drop-in top bobbin, an adjustable thread tension control, a built-in thread cutter, an easy bobbin winding system and a user-friendly needle threading system. With the Brother XR9500PRW, it’s very easy to get your sewing project done quicker than you ever imagined. With the flip stitch guide, the automatic bobbin winding feature, the automatic needle threading system and the one-step bobbin replacement, sewing has never been so easy.
Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 Sewing Machine: Video Review
With so many sewing machines on the market today, it’s hard to make an informed decision on which one to buy. You know what you want and you know how much you have to spend, but is that enough? Hopefully, by narrowing down the list to ten of the top sewing machines, some of the hard work is out of the way.
Brand names can be important when it comes to household items like sewing machines. When we’re making a purchase, we seldom think in terms of breakdowns and warranties, but sometimes these things happen. Try to stick with trusted names that have been around for many years. Brother, Singer and Janome all fit in that category. You’ll find that they’ve been around for many years because they are trusted.
If you’ve narrowed your decision down to just a couple of sewing machines and they’re very similar in features and price, take the brand into consideration and the warranty. They may all have a 25-year warranty, but what does each warranty cover? Most state that they have a "limited" warranty. Find out what the limits are on each machine.
Things to Consider When Buying a New Sewing Machine
You’re probably well aware of the importance of shopping around when you’re buying a sewing machine or any large item. Buyers should consider a few things before buying a new sewing machine.
- Where should you buy it? Online shopping is awesome. You don’t have to leave your home or deal with pesky salespeople, the price may be cheaper and it may even come with free shipping. However, if you need to return it for some reason, how easy will it be?
- Don’t be fooled by accessories and extra features. When comparing the different features, take note of the ones you’ll really use and which ones you won’t use. Why pay for things you don’t need? In many cases, many of the features labeled as "extra bonuses" are not really bonuses but are included in the price.
- Check out the warranty. Find out what the warranty really covers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Which name brand is better?
Answer: That’s a tough question to answer because when you’re dealing with name brand sewing machines like Brother, Singer or Janome, you’re dealing with companies that have been around for many years and offer high-quality products.
Question: I want to buy a sewing machine for a young girl to learn on but not one that she will outgrow in a couple of years. What should I buy?
Answer: Many sewing machines out there fit the bill for what you’re looking for. Mechanical sewing machines are good for beginners because they’ll learn the basics of sewing, but computerized sewing machines are easier for a beginner. Try to avoid expensive and complex machines that have features a young girl will probably never need.
Buying a new sewing machine can be an exciting adventure and one that should not take place in one day. Hopefully, this buyer’s guide has provided you with the knowledge of what’s out there and what many of the new machines can do today.