10 Most Recommended Sewing Machines Under $500

A filtered list of 10 most recommended sewing machines by home sewers in America. Only quality machines are included in this list. List is kept under $500.



How does a sewing machine become popular? A sewing machine becomes popular when lot of people buys it. Why do people buy it? Because of its quality, performance and affordability. Not many sewing machine has got this magical formula (quality, performance and affordability) right. I can count at least a dozen sewing machine manufacturers in US alone. Each one of them will have at least 10 different models in each segment. Not all 10 machines are successful, why? Because they missed out on the magical formula. Let me tell you one thing. There are a lot of crap machines out there. If you are not picky, you will be having the frustration of your life (unless you throw it away).

morldEvery sewing machine manufacturer will have two or three models that outperforms their own products by huge margins in a price segment. Those two or three machines will truly be a class apart from other machines. Our focus is on such machines. We are looking at 10 such sewing machines that exceeded the expectations of their manufacturers.

1. Brother CS6000i

Brother CS6000i is the most recommended sewing machine for beginners. You must have come across CS6000i, while searching for a sewing machine. You simply can’t dismiss it from your presence. This one holds the record for most sold beginners computerized sewing machine in US. This machine has been on top ever since its release which was way back in 2007. This guy is still going strong. As I have said, the magical formula of quality, performance and affordability worked perfectly for this machine. Beginners will love its stitch quality and hassle free operation. It has every feature that a beginner needs. It is quiet as well.

Features

  • 60 built-in stitches
  • 7 one-step buttonholes
  • Programmable needle up/down
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Top drop-in bobbin
  • Sewing start/stop
  • Variable speed control

Cons : The automatic needle threader has a learning curve associated with it.

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2. Brother XR9500PRW

If you ask me, which one is the best value for money sewing machine under $200. I would answer BrotherXR9500PRW even in my sleep. If there is any sewing machine that can dethrone CS6000i, it is the XR9500PRW. It has already started eating into the sales volume of CS6000i. Availability of more built-in stitches and excellent stitch quality has made XR9500PRW a serious contender. The machine resembles CS6000i in many areas. If you want a bit more than what CS6000i offers, you can go with this one.

Features

  • 100 built-in stitches
  • 8 one-step buttonholes
  • Programmable needle up/down
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Top drop-in bobbin
  • Sewing start/stop
  • Variable speed control

Cons : The tricky automatic needle threader has been carried over to XR9500PRW as well.

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3. Singer 4432

This machine has been specifically famous for its heavy duty tag. It is the most affordable heavy duty sewing machine. If you are a person who sews a lot of thick fabrics like denim, this is your best choice in the under $200 price category. It can easily sew 6 layers of denim, thanks to the powerful motor which can deliver 1,100 stitches per minute (850 stitches/min is the standard in the segment, this one is more powerful). At this price, Singer 4432 is the best mechanical sewing machine you can get.

Features

  • 32 built-in stitches
  • 1 one-step buttonhole
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Top drop-in bobbin

Cons : Since this is a budget heavy duty sewing machine, you can’t expect the build quality of a 100% heavy duty machine. It is a little bit on the lighter side for a heavy duty sewing machine. The machine will struggle with 8 plus layers of denim, even with its powerful motor.

4. Brother SE400

SE400 is in a different class altogether. Because it is an embroidery machine as well. This is the most recommended sewing and embroidery combo machine. If you want to taste embroidery and at the same time own a regular sewing machine, SE400 is the best bet. It has a maximum embroidery area of 4″x4″. Even though the machine has only 70 built-in embroidery designs, you can download more designs from the internet as the machine has USB connectivity. The machine even has an automatic thread cutter on board (which is a premium feature). The ease of use is something that you will notice on SE400. The stitches have that professional touch to it. It is a quality machine for sure. Considering the features, SE400 is very affordable. This machine belongs to our list of ‘Machines You Can Buy With Your Eyes Shut’.

Features

  • 67 built-in sewing stitches
  • 70 built-in embroidery designs
  • Programmable needle up/down
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Automatic thread cutter
  • Top drop-in bobbin
  • Sewing start/stop
  • Variable speed control
  • USB connectivity

Cons : You can’t find any fault with this machine. The only issue is that the embroidery 4″x4″ embroidery area might not be enough for large projects. It will do the job for most though.

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5. Singer 9960

This is one machine that you will love for its features. It is absolutely feature packed. Yes, the machine is on the expensive side, but its features combined with its stitch quality made it the most recommended Singer machine in the under $500 price category. This machine is perfect for any type of fabrics. It works equally well with lightweight and thick fabrics. The build quality is top notch. This machine has more features than any other machine in this list. This machine will suit professionals than beginners, because there are so many features that beginners won’t even use.

Features

  • 600 built-in stitches
  • 13 one-step buttonholes
  • Programmable needle up/down
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Automatic thread cutter
  • Top drop-in bobbin
  • Sewing start/stop
  • Variable speed control

Cons : Earlier batches had a bobbin jamming issue which was fixed in an upgrade. Other than that, you can’t find any fault with this machine.

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6. Singer 7258

If you are a Singer fan, you will love this machine. It is the best Singer machine for beginners. It has good features, quality and it is affordable. 7258 is Singer’s answer for Brother XR9500PRW. The stitch quality of 7258 is very good. The stitch quality is the thing that made this machine famous. It is the best stitching Singer machine under $200. The Women’s Choice Award for America’s best home sewing machine is a testimony to its quality.

Features

  • 100 built-in stitches
  • 7 one-step buttonholes
  • Programmable needle up/down
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Top drop-in bobbin
  • Sewing start/stop
  • Variable speed control

Cons : There is no option to lower feed dogs for free-motion quilting. The motor is not the most powerful in the segment, but it doesn’t reflect on the stitch quality.

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7. Brother PC420PRW

PC420PRW is an advanced sewing machine from Brother. However it didn’t quite make its mark because it is on the expensive side. The quality and performance is always there, better pricing would have turned the fortunes for PC420PRW. The build quality is good (it is on par for the price). The stitch quality is excellent(one reason why people recommend this machine). I would not have included this machine in this list, if not for its stitch quality. The machine is easy to thread as well. It is also light in weight.

Features

  • 129 built-in stitches
  • 10 one-step buttonholes
  • Programmable needle up/down
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Automatic thread cutter
  • Top drop-in bobbin
  • Sewing start/stop
  • Variable speed control

Cons : LED work lights are dim. Expensive, especially when you can get Singer 9960 for more or less the same price.

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8. Brother HC1850

This is a quality sewing machine with good features but it has a highly unstable price. Sometimes it is an absolute steal and at times it is over priced. HC1850 is a mixed bag in the pricing department. If you can get the machine in and around the price of Brother XR9500PRW, go for it (this is the best advice I can give you). It has a lot of stitch options to choose from.

Features

  • 130 built-in stitches
  • 8 one-step buttonholes
  • Programmable needle up/down
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Top drop-in bobbin
  • Sewing start/stop
  • Variable speed control

Cons : Not a great machine for quilters. Another issue is that the monogramming quality is not that great.

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9. Janome 2212

What would you love a battle tank for? The same is the what you feel with Janome 2212. It is a robust mechanical sewing machine with absolutely mind blowing stitch quality. The build quality is excellent and you don’t need to worry about its durability. The machine has a very simple design and beginners will find it easy to use. This is the most recommended Janome machine by sewers.

Features

  • 12 built-in stitches
  • 1 four-step buttonhole

Cons : Feature wise, you simply can’t compare Janome 2212 with modern computerized sewing machines. It looks like it originated in the early 1900’s.

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10. Janome HD3000

HD3000 is the best heavy duty sewing machine you can get. It can go through anything you throw at it. Multiple layers of denim is like butter for this machine. It is a machine designed for long hours of heavy duty sewing. It works equally well with thin fabrics as well. The machine is a workhorse. It is pretty heavy and you can feel the quality when you lift it.

Features

  • 18 built-in stitches
  • 1 one-step buttonhole
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Top drop-in bobbin

Cons : Dim work lights. The machine is less on features.

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