Honest and detailed list of 10 top rated sewing machines that you can buy in US for under $500. I hope this list will help you make a decision.
Choosing the right sewing machine under $500 is a daunting task. There are way too many options in front of you. We are already into 2015 and now we have even more models to choose from. It is always very frustrating to see the machine you bought fail on you without even stitching a decent seam. The tricky thing about sewing machines is that, the general rule of ‘more expensive the machine, better the quality’ doesn’t really apply. I have seen some $150 machines work better than $500 ones, so you need to be picky. Whenever I am looking for a sewing machine, my top priority is quality, I really don’t care about the price whether it is cheap or expensive. Sometimes you really need to be flexible with the price, to find that perfect machine of yours. You can’t go with a mindset like, “Alright, I am gonna buy a sewing machine that costs between $450 – $500”, it just doesn’t work like that and by doing that you probably won’t even find a good machine.
Here I have tried my level best to bring you the list of 10 top rated sewing machines that cost under $500. This is not an exclusive list of expensive machines, there are machines that cost under $150 in this list. The machines are ranked on the basis of user feedback and quality.
1. Brother SE400
In terms of quality, Brother SE400 is the undisputed leader among sewing machines under $500. The unique factor that makes this machine different from all others is that it has an awesome mixture of quality, features and affordability. SE400 is also the only sewing and embroidery combo machine in this list, which means you can do embroidery along with regular sewing. It comes with 67 sewing stitches and 70 embroidery designs. It has an embroidery area of 4″x4″. It also features sewing speed control slider, automatic needle threader and thread cutter, programmable needle up/down etc.
Pros : The ease of use made this machine very popular among sewers. It has USB connectivity for importing designs from the internet. So in addition to 70 designs that come built-in, you can download unlimited number of designs from internet. SE400 will be a great option for an ultra creative person. For the price, you can’t ask for more.
Cons : Not much to point out. Probably you can say that the machine won’t appeal to those who already own an embroidery machine.
2. Brother XR9500PRW
XR9500PRW is the top rated sewing machine in the under $200 price category. There are certain machines that you fall in love on the first use itself, XR9500PRW is one of that kind ( I really fell in love with the price as well). This machine has 100 built-in stitches, speed control slider, programmable needle up/down etc.
Pros : By virtue of its aggressive pricing, XR9500PRW in 2015 has surpassed the ever popular Brother CS6000i in popularity. XR9500PRW also has better features on its side, when compared to CS6000i. The built-in sewing font for monogramming is another highlight. The quietness of this machine is another thing that I really liked, this will work in favor of moms with little kids. The quality of stitches are excellent. All in all, XR9500PRW is a real value for money machine.
Cons : The automatic needle threader requires a learning curve.
3. Singer 9960
You might have heard the word ‘Feature Packed’ before, but if you really want to know what it actually means, you need to have a look at Singer 9960. It is the best sewing machine from Singer (under $500 category) to date and that is the reason why it features in our list of Machines You Can Buy With Your Eyes Shut. It is also the top rated Singer machine in this list. It comes with 600 built-in stitches, 5 fonts, advanced stitch editing and customization, automatic needle threader and thread cutter, programmable needle up/down etc.
Pros : If you go by features, this has to be the choice 9 out of 10 times (yes, I mean it). Another thing is the ability of the machine to sew heavy and lightweight fabrics equally well. The level of customization possible on this machine is endless. It has functions like mirror imaging, stitch elongation, automatic locking stitch etc which adds to the usability of the machine.
Cons : Old batch of machines had a bobbin jamming issue, which now is fixed. The machine will be too much for a beginner, it is designed for advanced sewers.
4. Brother CS6000i
CS6000i is the most sold sewing machine in US. This machine has been among the top rated sewing machines (under $200 category), ever since its inception in 2007. This has been a beginners favorite for years and it still is. To be on top for over 7 years, there has to be something special about this machine and the specialty is the quality it offers for such a low price. It has 60 built-in stitches, automatic needle threader, speed control slider, programmable needle up/down etc.
Pros : When you consider the price point, it is an awesome machine. The stitch quality is right up there with those $500 machines. The machine is pretty lightweight as well. The ease of use also made it very popular.
Cons : CS6000i recently lost a little bit of sheen due to the entry of XR9500PRW, which clearly has better features and that too in a similar price range.
5. Janome HD3000
Are you searching for the best Heavy Duty sewing machine ? Look no further. There is simply no better choice than Janome HD3000 even in the under $1000 price category. This is a machine specifically designed for heavy duty sewing. The machine comes with all heavy duty construction (Honestly, you can’t make a sewing machine without using plastic at all, there are some plastic exterior parts on this machine, but its use is minimal). The machine has excellent build quality. HD3000 comes with 18 built-in stitches and automatic needle threader.
Pros : This machine is a beast. It sews through denim and hard leather like a knife going through a cheese bar. It sews through anything you throw at it. Multiple layers of denim is a walk in the park. All stitches come out perfect. For such a heavy duty machine, you expect it to be loud as the motor has to churn out more power than normal, but it is incredibly quiet (really surprised me).
Cons : HD3000 is not the most appealing sewing machine in terms of features. Honestly you can’t expect a lot from a mechanical sewing machine. It does what it is supposed to do, that’s all. Another thing to point out is that the work light is very dim.
6. Brother PC420PRW
This is another top rated sewing machine from Brother. Even though it is on the expensive side, the quality and features are top notch. The machine has 129 built-in sewing stitches, 3 lettering fonts for monogramming, automatic needle threader and thread cutter, programmable needle up/down, speed control slider etc.
Pros : The machine is lightweight. On PC420PRW, you can combine stitch patterns and save it in the built-in memory of the machine for later use. The machine operates quietly. The machine does a very good job with multiple layers of denim.
Cons : Even though the machine has good features, I still feel it is slightly on the expensive side. A better price tag would have made it more competitive in the market.
7. Singer 7258
7258 is a ‘value for money package’. It is one of the top rated sewing machines in the under $200 price category. It has some nice features bundled up at a very good price. If you are searching for a Singer machine under $200, then 7258 and the machine next in the list are best. 7258 holds the advantage of computerized sewing options when compared to the next machine. Singer 7258 has 100 built-in stitches, automatic needle threader, speed control slider, programmable needle position button etc.
Pros : Perfect stitches. The machine even won Women’s Choice Award for the best home sewing machine in USA. It is nicely priced as well.
Cons : No option to lower feed dogs. So those who wish to do free-motion quilting will have to find another machine.
8. Singer 4411
If you are looking for a really inexpensive, sub $200 heavy duty sewing machine, then Singer 4411 is the best bet. There are 3 other similar models as well, namely 4423 and 4432. The only difference is in the number of built-in stitches. 4411 has 11 stitches, 4423 has 23 and 4432 has 32 of them.
Pros : Singer 4411 does a commendable job with denim and leather. It can go through multiple layers of denim without any trouble. It has the most powerful motor in the under $200 category. It can sew fast, trust me.
Cons : With less number of stitches, generally 4411 is the least expensive of the 3 models, but at times I have seen 4432 priced much cheaper than the other two. So if you are thinking of buying any one of these 3, you must check the price of all 3. The machine also struggles with 8 plus layers of denim. Go with Janome HD3000, if you are going to deal with projects of that magnitude.
9. Brother DZ2400
DZ2400 has been a popular sewing machine among advanced and intermediate sewers. This machine will suit designers more. DZ2400 belongs to the Designio series machines rolled out by Brother. The machine comes with 185 built-in stitches including 130 sewing stitches and 55 alphanumeric stitches. The machine also features automatic needle threader, programmable needle up/down, speed control slider etc.
Pros : DZ2400 has amazing stitch quality. The stitches come out nice and perfect. Added advantage is the full set of accessories that comes with it. The price is affordable as well.
Cons : The thread holder is very fragile.
10. Janome 7318
This holds the second position among top rated sewing machines from Janome. 7318 is a mechanical sewing machine. All the features are not really ideal for beginners, but it has received excellent feedback from users regarding the quality. The machine comes with 18 built-in stitches.
Pros : Janome 7318 is a very stable sewing machine. The stitch quality is pretty good across all kinds of fabric.
Cons : Janome 7318 is not a perfect machine for beginners in terms of features. It comes with a 4-step buttonhole in an era of easy to use 1-step buttonholes. The machine is noisy as well. For the features, I think it is priced high.