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.
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.
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 be several thousands of dollars.
Start with a Budget
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.
Features OF Sewing Machines for Beginners
BRANDS - Choose a reputable brand such as Brother, Singer or Janome that offer 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 - 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.
BUTTONHOLES - 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!
LIGHTING - 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.
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
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 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.
Things to Ask Yourself When Purchasing Sewing Machines for Beginners
- 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.
How Did I Decide?
Personally, I never use even half of the fancy stitches my machines have. The things that are important to me when buying a machine is a metal frame for durability, ease of use and reliability.
On my "love to have but not necessary" list is - 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.
Sewing Machines For Beginners $100-$200
1. Brother CS6000i
With nearly 6500 reviews and a high Amazon rating, the Brother CS6000I (Amazon link) wins hands down every time as a perfect combination of features and 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.
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 Extra-High Speed 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
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 Extra-High Sewing Speed 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 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 100-Stitch Computerized Sewing 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, it has 100 stitches, one-step fully automated buttonholes and a metal interior frame.
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 and Quilting Machine
With a feature-packed 130 stitches, this Brother HC1850 (Amazon link )machine will bring you hours of fun to your sewing and quilting projects. This is a great machine for quilters as it includes a detachable wide table.
Why Treasurie loves it - Great value if you are looking for a computerized machine with maximum features and stitch function.
Comparison Chart for Sewing Machines for Beginners $100-$200
|Singer 7258 Stylist||100||Metal||4.5||10||Yes|
Sewing Machines for Beginners $300-$500
1. Brother SE400 Combination Computerized Sewing and 4x4 Embroidery Machine
What makes this Brother SE400 (Amazon link) machine so popular is that regular sewing functions are combined with a fun to use embroidery machine. 67 stitches and 70 built-in embroidery designs mean you will have no shortage of projects you can create.
Why Treasurie loves it - Computerized convenience combined with the added bonus of 4x4 inch embroidery options lets you maximize your inner creativity. Great for sewing quilting and embroidery, this versatile machine can do it all.
2. 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, automatic needle threader, large extension table and heavy-duty metal interior frame. Perfect for those of you looking for fun and creative options in your machine with maximum features.
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?
3. 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. (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.
Sewing Machines for Beginners - Comparison Chart $300-$500
|SINGER 9960 Quantum||600||Metal||4.3||19||Yes|
Sewing Machines For Beginners $500-$1000
1. Singer S18 Studio
The Singer S18 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.
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.
2. Brother Designio DZ820E
The Brother Designio DZ820E (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 a USB flash drive port to easily transfer embroidery designs from your computer to your sewing machine with no added software. 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 a quilter and embroiderers dream machine.
3. 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.
Comparison Chart for Sewing Machines For Beginners $500-$1000
|Juki TL 2000Qi||1||Metal||4.4||No|
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.
Please note that the price ranges on these lists were correct at the time of publishing but may have changed since. 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).