Honest and impartial list of 10 best beginner sewing machines you can buy in 2015. The list isn’t a whole lot different from last year but couple of new ones have made their move into the list this year.
In U.S there are at least a dozen sewing machine manufacturers. Thousands of models are available here, but the interesting fact is that only a handful of them are really good at sewing. I am not joking, I have seen awful results even from $500 machines. Some might have all the features in the world but it may lack in stitch quality or ease of use. As a beginner, you must be really careful in choosing a sewing machine. Here, I will be trying my best to bring you the list of 10 best sewing machines for beginners for the year 2015. Some of the machines that did well last year have slipped in their rankings in 2015 due to lack of quality and some others came up with updated models to climb up the ranking tree. I hope this list will help you make a decision. I haven’t included sewing machines that cost well above $200 in this list, mainly because I don’t feel it is necessary to go beyond $200 for a beginner machine. My focus is on 3 things, quality, features and price. The machine you choose must also have enough room for creativity. It should have enough features so that you don’t overgrow it quickly.
1. Brother XR9500PRW
Brother XR9500PRW was the best value for money sewing machine under $200 last year and in 2015 there is no change in its ranking. This machine has a nice blend of quality, features and affordability. I personally own 2 of them and they have never ever disappointed me. This has to be the most feature rich and the best performing sewing machine you can get for well under $200. Features include 100 built-in stitches, automatic needle threader, programmable needle up/down (vital for quilters), built-in font for monogramming, start/stop button and speed control slider. It is also one of the lightest machines around. Notable thing is its stitch quality. It works perfectly on multiple layers of denim. It sews through anything you throw at it.
Why XR9500PRW : For several reasons. It is simply the best value for money sewing machine that beginners can think of. Quilters will love the features like needle position key. At this price point, you will never get a better sewing machine.
Cons : The only con of this machine is the learning curve to get used to the needle threader. Other than that, it is a flawless sewing machine.
CS6000i is a good old warrior. It was released in 2007 and is still the best seller among beginner sewing machines in U.S. To be on top for 8 years is champion stuff, literally. It is still going strong in 2015. This is a clear indication of how good this machine is. If you take the sales volume, this is the most sold sewing machine model in U.S. It has also been listed among ‘Machines You Can Buy With Your Eyes Shut’. It comes with 60 built-in stitches, automatic needle threader, start/stop button and speed control slider.
Why CS6000i : For the stitch quality and affordability. The machine performs admirably well on different kinds of fabrics.
Cons : With the arrival of XR9500PRW, CS6000i lost some of its sheen.. XR9500PRW is aggressively priced and it has 40 extra built-in stitches, needle position key etc. So people are more inclined to XR9500PRW.
3. Brother XM2701
It was released by Brother last year and it sold like hot cakes. Low price and good features are the highlights of XM2701. For the price, it comes with a good variety of features. It has 27 built-in stitches, 1-step buttonhole, automatic needle threader and top drop-in bobbin. The machine is great to use on light to medium weight fabrics. At this price, you really can’t expect a machine to sew multiple layers of heavy duty fabric. So I am not gonna comment on that.
Why XM2701 : For the price and features. If you are under a tight budget, it would be a good choice.
Cons : The sewing light is very dim. Another issue with XM2701 is its availability. It gets sold out very quickly and it takes some time to restock. Due to lack of availability, some stores are selling it at a higher price than it is worth, which is not a good way of doing business. If it is not available, you can always go for Brother XL2600I. XL2600I is much cheaper, the only difference is that it has 2 less stitches. It is available in plenty as well.
4. Singer 7258
7258 is arguably the best beginners sewing machine from Singer. Not all modern Singer machines are ideal for beginners. For those who love good old Singer machines, this is the one to consider (in terms of quality). It is also the most sold beginners sewing machine from Singer. Ease of use and stitch quality made this machine popular among beginners. It has 100 built-in stitches, automatic needle threader, programmable needle up/down, locking stitch function, top drop-in bobbin, start/stop button and speed control slider.
Why 7258 : Simply for the quality that it offers. It has good variety of features as well. If it has to be Singer, it has to be 7258. It also won Women’s Choice Award for the best home sewing machine in America.
Cons : There is no option to lower feed dogs, so you won’t be able to do free-motion quilting. Ignore this machine if free-motion is important for you. It could have been priced better as well, especially when you can get Brother XR9500PRW at a much cheaper price.
5. Singer 4423
If you are looking for an inexpensive heavy duty sewing machine, look no further. Singer 4423 is the best heavy-duty sewing machine you can get for under $200. 4423 has a lot of happy users. Most people love this machine because of its sturdiness. The best thing that Singer has done is that they put a very strong motor inside it. The motor can deliver a whopping 1,100 stitches/min which is way more powerful than any other sewing machine in this list. The stitch quality is excellent. It comes with 23 built-in stitches, automatic needle threader, top drop-in bobbin, 1-step buttonhole etc.
Why 4423 : Powerful motor and the heavy duty construction. Real heavy duty machines cost well above $300 (Janome HD3000 for example) , but if you don’t have that much money in your pocket, then 4423 is definitely the one to consider.
Cons : Even though 4423 has a strong motor, the machine strains when you sew 6 plus layers of denim. It was available for an excellent price before. Now that the product is established in the market, they have increased the price but still it is in the affordable range.
6. Brother XL2600I
XL2600I is the least expensive sewing machine in this list. The XM2701 which we discussed earlier is the upgraded version of this machine. That is why I recommended XL2600I if XM2701 is unavailable. Ever since the release of XM2701 last year, they have slashed the price of XL2600I so much that it is now available for well under $100. For this price, you can’t ask for a better quality machine. Sometimes you get the feeling that XL2600I is a better deal than XM2701, even though XM2701 is an updated machine and has 2 extra built-in stitches.It has 25 built-in stitches, automatic needle threader, top drop-in bobbin and 1-step buttonhole. It is lightweight as well.
Why XL2600I : If you are budget conscious, I would recommend XL2600I over XM2701. It is called the ‘King of Little Machines’ for a reason.
Cons : Not an ideal machine for multiple layers of denim.
7. Singer 2259
This is a mechanical sewing machine with 19 built-in stitches, 4-step buttonhole and automatic needle threader.
Why 2259 : From the point of view of a beginner, 2259 has its limitations, but it does one thing very well. It sews well. The stitch quality is great for a machine at this price.
Cons : Some features are not really ideal for beginners. For example, the 4-step buttonhole (1-step would have been perfect) and side loading bobbin. If you can live with these two things, 2259 will work for you.
8. Janome 2212
As far as features are concerned, Janome 2212 might not be very appealing to many. But it has exceptional stitch quality. It is a mechanical sewing machine with 12 built-in stitches, 4-step buttonhole and vertical bobbin. As I have said, it is not feature rich. It doesn’t even have an automatic needle threader which can be found on even $80 machines. The only thing in its favor is the quality of stitches it can deliver. That is the reason why it is rated so high by its users. Few people had the courage to try this machine as the features were limited. Eventually it turned out to be one of the wisest decisions they ever made.
Why 2212 : Simply for the quality of stitches and durability
Cons : Lack of features. This machine will suit those people who just want to get good looking stitches and are not worried about the extra features you get with other similarly priced machines. As far as beginners are concerned, they will overgrow this machine pretty fast as it is limited in features. It is slightly expensive as well.
9. Janome Jem Gold 660
This is not a full size sewing machine. It is a 3/4 machine, so don’t expect a lot of features from this machine. Even though Jem Gold 660 is a 3/4 machine, it weighs 12 pounds mainly because of its solid metal construction. It is designed for durability. The compact size is the selling point of this machine. It comes with 12 built-in stitches, 4-step buttonhole, top drop-in bobbin and automatic needle threader.
Why Jem Gold 660 : Perfect stitches. Solid construction can handle rough use from beginners.
Cons : 4-step buttonhole is a let down. The biggest bummer is the price. To me, it is really expensive. Feature wise, this machine is not very appealing.
10. Brother CS5055PRW
CS5055PRW is a good beginners machine to consider. It is an electronic sewing machine, not a computerized one. It comes with 50 built-in stitches, automatic needle threader, top drop-in bobbin, 5 1-step buttonhole etc.
Why CS5055PRW : The stitches come out perfect. It is one of the quietest machines around.
Cons : It will take some time to get the tension right. It is not an ideal machine for multiple layers of denim. The biggest bummer of CS5055PRW is its price. It is priced very close to Brother CS6000i which is far superior in features and performance.