10 Best Intermediate Sewing Machines Of 2015 Under $400

Honest and impartial list of 10 best intermediate sewing machines you can find in US under a price tag of $400. List is filtered on the basis of quality and performance.

I am not going to start this by saying, “buying an intermediate sewing machine is a daunting task”, or something like that. Actually, selecting a good sewing machine is an easy task, provided you know what you are looking for. Now that you have passed the beginner level, you need a sewing machine that lets you do things in a more creative way. Few more advanced computerized options will make a huge difference and it will reflect on your projects. You must be looking for a sewing machine that can provide a professional finish without spending a fortune.

Here, I have compiled a list of 10 sewing machines that will be useful for intermediate sewers. I have kept the list deliberately under $400, as that would be the most an intermediate sewer will be willing to pay (in most cases). The list is strictly based on quality and performance. I haven’t given top priority to price, even though it is used as a criteria to limit the list to 10. Never use price as a criteria upfront, always use quality as the primary filter and then choose the one that suits your budget. This strategy has helped me get the best performing sewing machines for my sewing business.

1. Brother XR9500PRW

This is the best among the best. The magical combination of quality, affordability and features come true on this machine. If you ask me to pick the best sewing machine under $200, I will go with Brother XR9500PRW all day. I personally own this machine and it is a wonderful servant. This machine has achieved a phenomenal growth in sales volume in 2015, which is a testimony to its quality. Its stitch quality is very impressive (especially for a machine in this price range). This is by far the quietest machine in this list. It is also the lightest, weighs just 9.92 pounds. So it would be a great option for those who are attending sewing classes.

Features

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

Cons : The only problem is that it requires a couple of attempts to get used to the automatic needle threader. Other than that, it is a flawless sewing machine.

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2. Singer 9960

You will lose count of the features on this machine. It has that many features. Singer 9960 is the most advanced sewing machine in this list. Intermediate and advanced sewers find it equally useful. It works equally well on thick and lightweight fabrics. Automatic thread cutter is a premium feature, which is not very common on other intermediate sewing machines. The machine operates quietly as well. The auto-pilot feature is pretty cool. The machine even has a memory to store up to 60 stitches in length. A combination of all these things got its entry to our list of ‘Machines You Can Buy With Your Eyes Shut’.

Features

  • 600 built-in stitches
  • 13 one-step buttonholes
  • Programmable needle up/down
  • Sewing start/stop button and speed control slider
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Top drop-in bobbin
  • Automatic thread cutter
  • Mirror imaging and stitch elongation
  • Built-in memory

Cons : Some of the previous batches had a bobbin jamming issue which was fixed by a product upgrade recently. Another thing is that, the machine is slightly on the expensive side, which is understandable from the features on offer.

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3. Singer 7258

Singer 7258 is the best Singer machine you can find under $200. It is the best selling Singer machine in US for some time now. It is still continuing in its merry ways in 2015 as well. For Singer fans, 7258 is an affordable, quality sewing machine that they can rely on. The stitch quality is pretty consistent.

Features

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

Cons : There is no option to lower the feed dogs to do free-motion quilting. It is a serious drawback, which makes Brother XR9500PRW (1st machine in this list) a better option.

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4. Brother PC420PRW

Even though Brother PC420PRW is not as good an option as Singer 9960 in terms of features, it is a quality machine. The stitch quality is pretty good. It features an automatic thread cutter as well. One important thing to note is that, PC420PRW has only 129 built-in stitches, some sewing machine stores list it as 294 built-in stitches, it is actually the number of stitch options they are referring to. It operates smoothly and quietly. Built-in memory enables you to store custom stitch patterns.

Features

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

Cons : The work lights could have been brighter. Personally I am not a huge fan of this machine as I feel it is very over priced for the features on offer. The thing that makes this machine good is its stitch quality. Even then, I don’t see it as a better option over Singer 9960 (2nd machine in this list).

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5. Brother DZ2400

DZ2400 is an easy to use intermediate sewing machine. It has a lot of features as well. It targets designers and it comes with a complete set of designer accessories. The machine is lightweight as well.

Features

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

Cons : Fragile thread holder.

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6. Brother HC1850

When you consider the features and performance, HC1850 is an excellent option for intermediate sewers. But the problem with this machine is that its price fluctuates a lot. So the buying decision has to be made only after comparing the price of HC1850 with that of Brother XR9500PRW. If HC1850 is priced anywhere near XR9500PRW, go for HC1850 as it has 30 more built-in stitches than XR9500PRW.

Features

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

Cons : It is not a great quilting machine. Monogramming on lightweight fabrics is not good. Another problem is the fluctuating price which I have already talked about.

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7. Brother Laura Ashley CX155LA

Laura Ashley CX155LA is a highly underestimated sewing machine, mainly because of its ‘Limited Edition’ tag. It is a quality machine with excellent stitch quality. It sews through multiple layers of denim with ease. It has an affordable price tag as well.

Features

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

Cons : Work light is slightly on the dim side.

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8. Singer Special Edition

This machine is absolutely stunning in looks. The machine has a blend of vintage looks with computerized controls. If you are looking for a good looking intermediate sewing machine, look no further.  This one has all the features you need at an affordable price.

Features

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

Cons : Awkwardly placed manual thread cutter.

9. Singer One Plus

Singer One Plus is the same as the previous machine in this list. Except that it comes in a white finish, whereas Singer Special Edition comes in a silver finish. The machine is quiet and the stitch quality is excellent.

Features

Same as above

Cons : Same as above

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10. Brother SE400 (Special Mention)

In addition to regular sewing, if you love to embroider, you can consider this machine. SE400 is the most affordable sewing and embroidery combo machine available in US. It is also the best in quality. The reason why this machine is ranked low is because this list is about intermediate sewing machines only, otherwise it would have been sitting in the top 3 all the time. It is that good a machine. USB connectivity is the main selling point of this machine. Room for creativity is limitless with USB connectivity. It has an automatic thread cutter as well. It also features in our list of ‘Machines You Can Buy With Your Eyes Shut’.

Features

  • 67 sewing stitches and 70 embroidery designs
  • USB connectivity
  • Automatic thread cutter
  • 4×4″ embroidery area
  • Programmable needle up/down
  • Sewing start/stop button and speed control slider
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Top drop-in bobbin

Cons : Flimsy power cord. Small embroidery area.

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