What are the best sewing machines for beginners is a personal choice and will depend on how often you will use your sewing machine and what features you are looking for. Currently, Brother and Singer machines dominate the best sewing machine list due to their perfect balance of price and features.
I have omitted from this list any of the mini-machines, handheld sewing machines, or those under $100, which are more suited to the occasional sewing project rather than regular use.
Sewing Machines for Beginners
When looking to purchase sewing machines for beginners, you need to look for a great balance between price and features. Look for a balance between your budget, features, and build quality. The features that may be important to you will include the number of stitches, build quality (whether it has a metal frame or is all plastic), and durability.
What is most important to you?
- Price and maximum features
Read Sewing Machine vs Serger vs Coverstitch to learn about the different kinds of machines.
Comparison Chart for Sewing Machines for Beginners
|Singer 7258 Stylist
|SINGER 9960 Quantum
|Juki TL 2000Qi
Please note that the price ranges on these lists were correct at the time of publishing but may have changed since. The number and types of accessories included can also vary as manufacturers update their machines. Look out for specials, particularly at holiday times.
*One of the ways Treasurie is able to provide free tutorials and patterns is that we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and earn a small commission when readers make a purchase from Amazon and affiliated sites after clicking on our links (such as those above).
Prices of Sewing Machines for Beginners
Expect to pay from $100-$300 for good entry-level sewing machines for beginners. At this price point, you will get a few different stitches and functions to play with without being overwhelmed by complicated computerized functions.
You can certainly get machines under $100, but these are better suited to very occasional sewing rather than regular sewing and crafts. On the other side, you can pay a lot more for computerized machines with lots of fancy decorative stitches. Some machines move towards $1000 or beyond. Embroidery machines can cost several thousands of dollars.
My suggestion is to always start with what is in your budget before going and looking at features. With a machine that only does a basic straight stitch and zig-zag, you can complete 99% of all sewing projects successfully, including stretch fabric, leotards, sewing leather, and many other different fabrics.
Don't overspend, and you will be more likely to be relaxed about your new machine and enjoy it without being overly precious. A sewing machine is a working tool and not a decoration for the sewing room.
Choosing Best Sewing Machines for Beginners
Things to Ask Yourself
- Does the sewing machine have a metal or plastic frame? If you are looking to sew every day or sew heavy fabrics, then choose a metal frame.
- Do I want to embroider or just sew normally? Machines with embroidery functions generally cost a little more but can open a whole new world of possibilities.
- Will I use all the extra and fancy stitches, or do I just need a good quality basic machine? You may not need all the fancy stitches included in some machines. If not, then spend your money on a quality built work-horse.
Choose a reputable sewing machine brand such as Brother, Singer or Janome that offers a great combination of price and features. Other great quality brands include Pfaff, Bernina, and Husqvarna but these tend to start at a higher price. I have a Janome machine and a cheaper Brother machine as my backup. I'm sure you don't need a backup machine though!
Functions of the Best Sewing Machines for Beginners
Like most electrical devices, the greater the functions, the greater the price. All modern sewing machines will straight stitch and zig-zag, which is all you really need to sew clothing, bags, and even leotards.
Most other stitches are decorative, and while they can make life prettier and more fun aren't strictly necessary. Personally, I rarely use any stitches other than a zig-zag and straight stitch. I think buttonholes are a necessity, too, although I rarely use mine.
Cheaper machines have set stitch lengths, while more expensive and computerized machines have the ultimate control over stitch length and stitch width.
Even basic machines come with a buttonhole function, and you may ask yourself if you really need 7 different styles. When was the last time you noticed the style of buttonholes on your clothing? I bet you thought there was only one! Look for one-step buttonholes for the easiest option.
More expensive machines often come with better lighting, which, since I started wearing glasses, I have to agree is a great selling point. But sunlight is free, so counteract this by setting up your sewing table in a well-lit area or purchasing a separate light.
Sewing Machine Feet
Don't worry about extras like the number of feet included, as these are cheap to buy in sets afterward. You can get aftermarket sewing machine feet kits for under $20. Further Reading: Best 10 sewing machine feet to buy
Sewing Machine Body
One thing to consider is whether you plan to be sewing lightweight fabrics or heavier fabrics such as decorator fabrics, denim, and leather. If you want to sew heavier fabrics such as those used for curtains and home decor, then look for sewing machines with a metal internal frame that is designed for heavy-duty sewing.
Nearly all machines these days are plastic on the outside, but a few brands have models that have metal interior bodies. My Janome machines have metal interiors but fewer fancy stitches. It is often a matter of trade-off and having to decide what is important to you. If you will be sewing every day or several times a week, then seriously consider a model with a metal interior.
Automatic Thread Cutters
Some machines have automatic thread cutters, which is handy when you are in a hurry.
Years in Warranty
Check the warranty the machine comes with, and make sure you read the fine print. While some machines come with 25-year warranties, this doesn't cover everything.
For most of you, a sewing machine will sit firmly on a table at home, but if you plan on moving your machine, then its weight will be an important factor. Machines with plastic bodies and interiors are considerably lighter. Most manufacturers list the weight in their descriptions so check these before purchase.
Mechanical vs Computerized Machines
Mechanical machines have a knob or sliders to alter stitches, widths, and lengths, while computerized machines will typically have an LCD display. Personally, I like mechanical sewing machines as there is less to go wrong but you really can't beat the amazing array of stitches and functions in computerized versions. Read more about types of sewing machines.
How Did I Decide on the Best Beginner Sewing Machine?
Personally, I never use even half of the fancy stitches my machines have. The things that are important to me when buying a machine are a metal frame for durability, ease of use, and reliability.
On my "love to have but not necessary," list are - automatic threading and one-step, fully automatic buttonholes. If possible, go for a one-step fully automatic buttonhole function over a 4 step automatic buttonhole. To me, 4 steps mean 4 chances of making a mistake.
Different people will have different requirements, so use the comparison tables below and make a decision based on your ideal wish list in your budget.
10 Best Sewing Machines For Beginners
1. Brother CS6000i
With nearly 20,00 reviews and a high Amazon rating of 4.5 stars, the Brother CS6000I (Amazon link) wins hands down every time as a perfect combination of features and a very affordable price.
With 60 stitch functions, it is a great machine if you are a beginner sewer or a more experienced sewer looking for an entry-level computerized machine. This Brother sewing machine has an easy drop-in bobbin which is easier for beginners, and includes accessories like a hard protective case, 10 feet, a wide table as well and a free arm.
The advantage of a wide table is that it is easier to sew larger items such as clothing and quilts. An LCD screen means you can select stitches easily and double-check your settings.
Why Treasurie loves it - Nothing gives you confidence like a product with such a large amount of positive reviews. This Brother machine has lots of features for a great price.
2. Singer Sewing 4432 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
With the words "Heavy Duty" in its title, the Singer Sewing 4432 (Amazon Link) was always bound to be on the best sewing machine list. It has fewer features than the Brother machine above, but with its superior metal interior frame, it is great for the everyday sewer or those looking to sew heavier fabrics such as those used for home decor.
23 built-in stitches are more than enough for most sewing projects, and it still has an automatic buttonhole stitch which is highly desirable. Included accessories are 4 presser feet. Don't be put off by the limited stitches and feet. If your machine can do straight stitch and zig-zag, then you can complete 99% of all sewing projects.
Why Treasurie loves it – This machine would be my pick in this price range! The Singer 4432 has a durable, heavy-duty body and internal metal frame and 32 stitch functions. Great for sewing leather, denim, and other heavy fabrics with ease.
3. SINGER 4411 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
The Singer 4411 (Amazon Link) is similar to the number 2 machine on this list but has 11 built-in stitches compared to the Singer Sewing 4432 with 23 built-in stitches. It also has a 1 step fully automatic buttonhole function which is highly recommended for those of you wanting to do buttonholes regularly.
Why Treasurie loves it - Metal heavy-duty frame and its simplicity. Just the basics, so very little can go wrong at a little cheaper price than the Singer 4432.
4. SINGER 7258 Stylist Computerized Machine
Like the Brother machines at number 1 on this list, this Singer 7258 Stylist (Amazon link) is a combination of features and affordability. Computerized with an LCD screen, it has 203 stitches, one-step, fully automated buttonholes, and a metal interior frame.
An easy push-button stitch selection will have you sewing in the minimum amount of time! This Singer machine comes with 4 feet to get you started.
Why Treasurie loves it - The Singer 7258 is a great machine for the price combining easy-to-use computerized sewing and loads of functions; metal interior frame.
5. Brother HC1850 Computerized Sewing Machine
With a feature-packed 185 stitches including 8 styles of buttonholes, this Brother HC1850 (Amazon link) machine will bring you hours of fun to your sewing and quilting projects. The addition of 55 lettering stitches makes it highly desirable if you wish to sew clothing or home decor with monograms.
This is a great machine for quilters as it includes a detachable wide table and the ability to do free-motion quilting with its spring quilting foot. Accessories included are 8 feet and an instructional DVD to get you started.
Why Treasurie loves it - Great value if you are looking for a computerized machine with maximum features and stitch function. If you are a quilter looking for a reasonably priced machine then this is a great option.
6. Brother SE400 Combination Computerized
What makes this Brother SE400 (Amazon link) machine so popular is that regular sewing functions are combined with a fun-to-use embroidery machine. 185 stitches, including 8 styles of buttonholes and 55 lettering stitches, mean you will have no shortage of projects you can create.
This machine has computer connectivity to import your designs from a PC or laptop via a USB cable. It has an automatic needle threader you will love and a top-loading bobbin. Its larger LCD will make stitch selection easy. Included accessories are a wide table great for embroidery and quilting and 10 sewing feet.
Why Treasurie loves it - Computerized convenience combined with the added bonus of 4x4 inch embroidery designs lets you maximize your inner creativity. 7. SINGER 9960 Quantum Stylist 600-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine
This Singer 9960 (Amazon link) machine has an incredible 600 stitches, 13 fully automatic 1-step buttonholes, an automatic needle threader, a large extension table, and a heavy-duty metal interior frame.
This machine has computerized stitch and speed control settings and an easy needle up and down function. Perfect for those of you looking for fun and creative options in your machine with maximum features. Accessories include 13 presser feet.
Why Treasurie loves it - Who doesn't want 600 stitches? I can't even imagine that many! This machine has a quality build in combination with computerized convenience and creativity. What is not to love?
7. Janome HD3000 Heavy Duty
This great Janome HD3000 Heavy Duty (Amazon link) machine is a quality build with a metal interior frame that is designed for heavy-duty sewing. A real workhorse, this Janome is perfect for those of you looking to sew every day or sew heavier fabrics such as leather, vinyl, and denim. Like most heavy-duty sewing machines it has fewer features and accessories but this should not put you off as it has plenty for most sewing projects. (Read my leather sewing machine guide)
Why Treasurie loves it – I love the metal frame and simplicity of this machine. Simple means nothing much to go wrong, especially if you need a machine that will be hard-wearing and long-lasting.
8. Singer S18 Studio
The Singer S16 STUDIO (Amazon link) has an extra-large sewing space plus an extension table which is perfect for quilters and sewers looking to tackle larger projects. This is a high-performance machine with a large number of functions including 400 stitches and alphabet scripts.
It has advanced features as well, such as programmable pattern combinations, which will appeal to those of you looking to stretch your creativity. The stitch controller allows you to maintain smooth sewing at all speeds. Singer refers to this as an industrial-grade machine as it can stitch 1600 stitches per minute.
Why Treasurie loves it - So many functions to play with! This machine will appeal to quilters looking to work on larger projects and get a little more out of their machine than basic stitching. It is also great for beginners with a higher budget due to its variable speed control lever.
9. Brother SE600
The Brother SE600 (Amazon link) is the ultimate sewing machine package that includes so many extras it will take you hours to unpack the box. This computerized machine includes 80 built-in designs and 6 embroidery letter fonts.
An amazing 103 stitches and a large color touchscreen mean it is beginner-friendly to use. If your wish list for the best sewing machine includes high-speed embroidery functions, then this is the machine for you.
Why Treasurie loves it - With all these added extras, this machine is an embroiderer's dream machine.
10. Juki TL-2000Qi
This Juki TL-2000Qi (Amazon link) machine comes with a durable aluminum die-cast arm for low-vibration sewing, perfect for heavy-duty sewing and quilting. The extension table that is included means you have a large work area for large sewing projects such as home decor items.
Why Treasurie loves it - This semi-industrial machine is a quality build that will be truly durable for those of you looking to sew heavier fabrics.
Buying Second Hand Sewing Machines
I have a full article on how to buy a used sewing machine and what to look for. Always make sure you test the machine before you hand over any money. Check that the sewing machine manual and accessories are included if possible.
Before you purchase, assess the condition of the machine and research online how much the machine was new to compare the prices. If you can't afford a new machine or simply want a bargain then second-hand machines are a great way to enter a new hobby.
Sewing Machines For Beginners - In Conclusion
Other notable quality brands of sewing machines for beginners that are absent from this list include PFAFF, Husqvarna, and Bernina. They are more expensive than Brother, Singer, or Janome but are known for their high reputation and deliver superior results for those of you with a much larger budget.