When it comes to Sewing, we all know it can get expensive. I’ve tested and ranked the best sewing machine for the money.
Please be advised that the prices and ratings provided are accurate as of the time of writing.
1. SINGER | 9960 Sewing & Quilting Machine With Accessory Kit, Extension Table
Top-rated: 8,248 ratings
Informative Review: “I can’t say enough good things about the automatic thread cutter that this machine has. That was one of the primary reasons I chose this model — and I do not regret it!
You push one button and it cuts both the top thread and the bobbin thread and leaves about a one inch length left on your fabric. The amount of time this saves is incredible!
You don’t even realize it until you are at the machine working. Finish your seam, push the button, move on to the next seam. No hunting around for scissors, pulling thread out, wasting thread, etc.
If you are doing patchwork or quilting this is a godsend. That feature alone is worth the purchase price of the machine.
The second reason I chose this machine is because it does a great job sewing over thick fabrics. I sew a lot of denim and I often use faux leather. I have not had a problem sewing through many thick layers. It plows through them like a dream.
For the bags pictured above, I used a Schmetz #90 needle with no problems. On my old Brother machine, I would break about one needle per every 2-3 bags I made and that was getting annoying.
I have not broken a single needle on this machine, and I’ve made dozens of bags. If you screw up and accidentally sew over the metal part of a zipper or a pin, for example, the machine just stops. It does not break the needle.
Another feature I really like is that the machine stops with the needle in the down position. If you have done much sewing, you know that in older machines, it’s a crap shoot whether or not the needle is in the up position, down position, or somewhere in between when you top. And when it is up you risk your fabric being pulled askew and your seams being crooked.
But when it is down, everything stays in place. This feature has improved the quality of my sewing immensely. I would add, that once you push the thread cutter button, it raises the needle. There is also a button to push to raise or lower it when you want to.
The decorative stitches work well and are lots of fun. I like that you just push a button to select a zigzag or a straight stitch. You don’t have to turn any knobs or anything. Super easy.
The power cord and the foot pedal are separate, so you can put one behind the table and one in front without having a big tangled mess.
I am very pleased with this purchase. It has made sewing much easier and more fun for me. If you are an experienced sewist, you will have no problem learning to use it.
I watched a couple of brief YouTube videos and learned about everything I couldn’t figure out on my own. This is the first Singer sewing machine I have every owned and I like it. My previous ones were Kenmore and Brother.” – Dena Bee, CZT
Another Helpful Review: “I love the speed control setting on this sewing machine. So many stitches on the lift up top. Easy to use screen to select stitches and edit stitch sizes and options.
Shortcut buttons for frequently used stitches. This machine has a needle threader attached, an up/down button, reverse button, and an automatic thread cutter button.
There is a start stop button on the machine that you can use to make one or many stitches instead of the foot pedal. A removable section for sleeve cuffs, and an added table to extend sewing surface area even more.
It comes with 13 Singer feet, including a walking foot, and even an adapter and set of Husqvarna Viking feet for special functions and trims! There are many instructional videos online for this machine. 40+ from one company. I have so much more techniques to learn!” – Kindle Customer
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2. Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine, Computerized, 165 Built-in Stitches, LCD Display
Top-rated: 5,190 ratings
Informative Review: “Best home machine for the intermediate/expert level seamstress. The Brother XR9550 computerized machine is a dream to operate and easy to learn BUT it has too many features for a beginner. (A novice would do better with a simpler machine until they master straight and zigzag sewing on a variety of fabrics.)
This machine is a perfect gift. The top 10 best features are: the machine is light weight-older people can easily move this machine making it very convenient.
The built-in stitch options are displayed on the machine and the LED selection box is easy to read, well placed. The automatic needle controls (needle down/ backstitch) are comfortably placed if you’re right- handed.
Love the automatic needle threader! The trick is to keep the thread taunt across the U bracket. (I never figured out how my previous computerized machine auto threaded.)
A big plus of the Brother computerized sewing machine is the ease to select and change stitches. The amount and variety of the built-in stitches is perfect! The embroidery option is fantastic! It takes time to set up the lettering but worth it because it sews a crisp print.
I donate items to various personalized items to clinics so this feature is important to me. The only con is that the pressure foot tension cannot be easily adjusted for thicker materials. This is the best, most versatile sewing machine for experienced seamstresses.” – Kindle Customer
Another Helpful Review: “I was sewing a skirt for Halloween and it was a nightmare! In my rage I broke something on my machine. Since I don’t live on Elm Street I decided to get a new machine.
What a dream! I was able to start a whole new skirt and finish it hours, not days. My sewing confidence has increased! I may even buy a dress form now.
I have strong feelings about tools in general. You need a tool that can do the job or you wont enjoy using it. This machine is priced well for a beginner, and simultaneously sews well enough that they will enjoy sewing. Being intermediate, it was a long overdue purchase.” – chris chu
One More Review: “I’ve had this machine for about 2 years now and my feelings are bittersweet.
- It has a lot of options for the price.
- It’s lightweight.
- Comes with a decent amount of accessories.
- User friendly with simple directions.
- I like the flow of its setup.
- It’s at the end of its life after only 2 years! The cost to repair it is about equal to the cost of buying a new one.
- Very difficult to stitch in a straight line.
- The lettering options are sad. They are choppy and not adjustable.
- It does not do well with thick or thin delicate fabrics. Denim, canvas, silk etc. forget it.
- Buying replacement parts is not easy.
Overall it did well enough for the time it worked, but it only lasted 2 years and for how much it costs… I don’t recommend it on that fact alone.” – erik p arellano
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3. SINGER | M3500 Sewing Machine With Accessory Kit & Foot Pedal – 110 Stitch Applications – Simple & Great for Beginners
Top-rated: 6,680 ratings
Informative Review: “Before you even touch anything on this machine after unboxing it, go to Singer.com and watch the tutorial on how to operate it!
When I opened the bottom to thread it the metal ring with clips that holds the parts in so you can safely remove the bobbin holder was not clipped in and the entire piece fell out.
Luckily they have a great short video on how to thread and operate all the functions on it and I was able to put it back together correctly.
Having said that, while I’m not a pro seamstress, I do know how to operate a sewing machine and I can tell you that a beginner would not be able to just set this up and sew without watching the tutorial.
You’re definitely going to have to put forth an effort to learn how to thread it and all of it’s functions if you’re not familiar with a sewing machine because the instructions are confusing and not very helpful even for someone with experience.
It jams very easily as well. It is definitely light weight though and the foot pedal is a dream come true. I’m happy with it for the price.” – CourtLee
Another Helpful Review: “I love it! I have tried to learn to sew several times in my life and really struggled. This machine is definitely the one to get if you are new to sewing. Singer has really great videos to get you started.
The visual instructions that come with it aren’t really worth bothering with. just go straight to their you tube. the machine is super easy to thread.
It’s very manageable and has lots of stitch options even for a beginner machine. And it has a pedal which was important to me. I bought this machine in early May and have been using it almost every day since.” Wendy H. Ascher
One More Review: “I haven’t used a sewing machine since 7th grade Home Ec. but found online reviews suggesting this one for beginners. I’ve made three small lap blankets and a few pillows and have had no issues.
Threading the needle and filling a bobbin is easier than I expected but might take a few tries. The thickest I’ve sewed is a 3 layer blanket (two layers of fabric, batting in the center) and it worked perfectly fine.
I did snap a needle, but it was from 4 or so overlapping layers at a corner so I don’t blame the machine.
I’ve tried the first four stich settings and they all came out great. Back stitching also works well.
I don’t know where all these reviews are coming from about jamming. If you’re machine is jamming you’re probably threading the machine wrong or are somehow misusing it.
The manual is on Singers site and there’s official YouTube tutorials. What does come in the box directions-wise is a visual guide on how to thread the needle and wrap a bobbin.
If you’re planning on opening an etsy shop or doing heavy fabrics, this machine probably isn’t for you. But if you’re just starting out or are sticking to simple projects this is a great first machine.” – Vee
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Top-rated: 9,651 ratings
Informative Review: “I am so pleased with this machine. I’d been looking for a new ‘budget’ machine for a while as my old Brother had tension issues I battled since day one.
This singer model was something I’ve been eyeing for a while and I finally pulled the trigger when needing to make a quick project.
What a joy to skip the first 20 min of my project fighting with tension knots!
I love the ease of use. The machine is very sturdy and the stitching is smooth. I do not need an extensive array of stitches nor a computerized machine, but it did buy the higher model number (more stitches) as it seemed that the motor had been upgraded on this model. It was worth the small price bump.
There are many decorative stitches, some I’d like to use, some I probably never will. However one of the stitches did not work for me (hence the one star markdown).
I’m not sure if it’s a glitch but I was not able to get this particular stitch to apply. It is probably not going to be worth it to return or repair this one stitch but it was a bit frustrating to have one defunct element of a brand new machine.
As for the pros, this model came with several additional feet and attachments that I suspect may come in handy. I *love’ the button hole feature as I usually find myself cranky about button holes. It even allows for buttons themselves to be stitched on and they look great! Very helpful time saver.
As for ‘heavy duty’, the machine was able to make it through several layers of upholstery fabric, gathered into a skirt.
The color is polarizing, but I love it’s ‘khaki’ vibe. It feels industrial and substantial to me.
I will update if I notice significant changes, but I’m initially very satisfied and would recommend as a dependable all-purpose machine.” – Hooper
Another Helpful Review: “I have been sewing for many years. I have a Viking and a Baby Lock sewing machine. I wanted a machine that could sew through thicker layers than either of these can and this machine is fantastic.
I am not a quilter but I sew almost every day making new things or repairing new and older items and this machine is wonderful. Filling the bobbin is a breeze and the machine is very sturdy and the stitches are even and you have a good variety of lengths and widths.
I love this machine. It is a wonderful bargain for the prize and if you watch the lessons on YouTube about this model you will be fine. This is a very, very good product for both beginners and old pros as well. I am thrilled with this machine and highly recommend it to anyone!!” – Happy Customer
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5. Brother Sewing Machine, ST371HD, 37 Built-in Stitches
Top-rated: 2,386 ratings
Informative Review: “I can’t fully review the mechanics of the Brother ST371HD sewing machine because I received it yesterday. After I use the machine for a while, I will add to my review.
The reason I’m doing a review before using the machine is to express my amazement regarding the FAST delivery of the sewing machine. I ordered the sewing machine on a Wednesday & received it early morning on the following Friday! (yesterday).
I live in a rural area & I allow a week or more for my “many” amazon deliveries. This delivery was a pleasant surprise. Good Job UPS & Good Job Brother Sewing Machine Seller!
I do want to say that I did research before purchasing this sewing machine. This is my 2nd Brother Sewing Machine. I purchased my first Brother Sewing Machine in 1975. I used it until it broke in 2013. I loved that machine! It was dependable & easy to use.
I don’t sew a lot but I sew enough crafty & mending projects to warrant owning a sewing machine. My mother & my grandmother were Great seamstress. They made their own clothes plus mine & my siblings. I learned to sew from them, mainly from my grandmother.
One thing I do want to say is that in the QUESTIONS area for this sewing machine description, several people ask which compatible sewing machine case to buy. Brother answers with a “recommended” case.
When comparing the size of the Brother sewing machine with the “recommended” case, the width of the Brother Sewing Machine is more than the width of the “recommended” case. I asked a QUESTION regarding the width discrepancy & received an answer from Brother saying there is no “recommended” case for this particular Brother model.
I did find & ordered a Sewing Machine Case with larger measurements than the Sewing Machine so I hope that case works for my lifetime with my new Brother Sewing Machine.
Also when doing research, I found a similar but slightly better Brother Sewing Machine. However, the other Brother Model was not available or was out of stock at all the bigger well known shopping chains, to include Amazon.
That Brother Sewing Machine model is ST531HD. It’s a few dollars more & has a few more features than my Brother ST371HD (ST = Strong & Tough, 37 stitches, & HD = Heavy Duty).
Of note is that when my almost 40-year-old 1975 Brother Sewing Machine broke, I replaced it with a comparable Singer Sewing Machine. I think it was Singer’s Anniversary Model for that year?
After several attempts at trying to learn how to use it, I gave up because it was too complicated for me. It’s brand new sitting in a closet for the last 7 years.
After I use my Brother sewing machine, I will update my review.” – Katherine
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Top-rated: 780 ratings
Informative Review: “I had my eye on this machine for at least 5 years before I purchased it. I’d been sewing on a $200 Brother starter machine and turned out some good quality quilt tops and clothing on it, but eventually it wore out.
I have a 30 year old Husquevarna viking that still runs beautifully but it just can’t handle the FMQ like I wanted. This JUKI is absolutely all I had hoped for. The noise is so minimal, it doesn’t bounce around the table even when I sew at high speeds–speaking of which, no more getting impatient with your top sewing speed on this machine.
I worried about not having the speed control like on the 2010 model, but I wasn’t willing to pay the extra price just for that. The foot control is good on this and I needn’t have worried; I can go any speed comfortably.
Remember to read the instructions and oil all points before you start. The throat is not as wide as one might expect, but you don’t really need a full-on longarm in most cases. The extra height and 1.25 inches or so of throat space is plenty for most quilters. You can buy a frame or build on if you like, or just quilt even a large king quilt in quarters.
The thread trimming works great and so far I haven’t had any problems with starting again right away, even when the bobbin thread is invisible after trimming. NICE. The knee lifter lever is a time saver too, although I don’t use it consistently because I have 3 little ones who are very curious.
If you, like me, have LO’s in the house and plan to leave this machine out, do use the cover and unplug all the cords when you leave it, just to be safe, and don’t have it on anything that could be pulled down. She’s not a move-around-often machine and could really do damage if she fell.
I wish this particular package had come with a few more bobbins, but it’s not a big deal. We always need more bobbins anyway.
Basically, this is not a starter machine, but is absolutely perfect for a step up in your game and one that will last you a good long time if you take care of her.
The feet are so sturdy and i like the threading–reminds me of my grandmother’s 1950s Necchi that I learned to sew on–and nothing could shop that one. I have a feeling this lovely sleek and powerful JUKI will be just the same.” – K Waller
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