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Best sewing machines 2021

Best sewing machines 2021: Top computerized and mechanical sewing machines
(Image credit: Getty)

The best sewing machines offer an impressive combination of features including a variety of stitching combinations, a convenient start/stop button, and highly customizable settings for hassle-free sewing. Whether you are a professional with years of sewing experience or a newbie who is about to touch a sewing machine for the first time, the best sewing machines have the right set of functions for users at every level. 

Sewing machines can be useful for a variety of purposes. Some use a sewing machine to alter clothes that don’t fit, while others prefer buying fabric and creating an outfit from scratch.

Nowadays, fashion influencers and “thrifters'' also use sewing machines to re-design clothes they buy from second hand stores. This can be a great creative outlet that promotes the eco-friendly use of clothing and fabrics. 

Having so many uses, sewing machines are becoming increasingly common among Gen-Z and Millennial populations. To meet this rising demand, renowned brands like Singer incorporate user feedback and introduce new features in their machines to stand out from the competition.  Strategies like this have added numerous high-quality sewing machines to the market in recent years. 

So how do you choose the right sewing machine for your needs? Let’s find out which ones are the best. 

P.S. If you are interested in crafts, you should also check out our guide to the best die cutting machines


1. Singer Stylist 7258: Best sewing machine overall

singer stylist sewing machine

(Image credit: Future)

Singer Stylist 7258

This is the best sewing machine you can buy as it balances price with performance.

Reasons to Buy

Affordable
Computerized
100 stitch patterns

Reasons to Avoid

 Noisy 

Singer Stylist 7258 is the best sewing machine for most people. It comes programmed with 100 different stitch patterns, including six different styles of buttonholes, so you have a lot to pick from, whether it's a basic straight stitch or something decorative. All the stitches are preset in the machine, but you can also alter the width and length manually on the sewing machine's LCD screen.

This computerized sewing machine has integrated speed control along with a stop/start button, so you don’t have to use the pedal at all if you don’t want to. It can reach a maximum of 750 stitches per minute, which isn’t the fastest, but it’s not far off. It has a little bit of a high-pitched motor and can be on the noisy side. It might not be the quietest sewing machine, but the teal color on the front of the machine is a nice design element that makes the Stylist 7258 stand out.

Along with a lot of stitch patterns this machine has a sewing light, thread cutter, instructional DVD, soft case for storage, automatic needle threader and a whopping nine extra sewing feet. Other sewing accessories like a seam ripper and extra bobbins are also included. That’s a lot for your money, which is part of the reason why the Singer Stylist 7258 is the best sewing machine we reviewed.


2. Brother ST150HDH: Best heavy duty machine 

Brother ST150HDH sewing machine

(Image credit: Brother)

Brother ST150HDH

The Brother ST150HDH is a brilliant sewing machine for those on a budget.

Reasons to Buy

Cheap computerized machine
Simple and easy display
Backlit LCD

Reasons to Avoid

Only 50 stitches

The Brother ST150HDH has a clear display and a smooth dial to choose from its 50 stitch options. 50 stitches is a somewhat small selection when you compare it to the other sewing machines we reviewed, but for day-to-day tasks you’ll find this sewing machine more than capable. 

This sewing machine has a free arm, so you can use it to sew cuffs and collars easily and evenly. It also has five button options and a generous seven-point feed dogs display that will pull the fabric through the machine with minimal guidance. The Brother ST150HDH is a computerized machine, and it has a great backlit LCD display that will allow you to customize and control your stitch size and dimensions. The stitch key is hidden away at the top of the machine, which means the appearance of the Brother ST150HDH is uncluttered, but you may find it tricky to switch stitch in a hurry. That’s a matter of preference though, so if you don’t mind the flip-out display, it’s a great choice.


3. Singer Quantum Stylist 9960: Best computerized sewing machine

Singer Quantum Stylist 9960: Best computerized sewing machine

(Image credit: Amazon)

Singer Quantum Stylist 9960

It doesn’t get much smarter than the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960.

Reasons to Buy

600 stitch patterns
Clear LCD display
Great for sewists of all skill levels

Reasons to Avoid

Relatively expensive

The Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 has an unbeatable amount of stitch patterns on offer. In fact, we’d be surprised if even the most advanced sewist used all 600. The machine is immensely smart. It has decorative stitches that display on its clear LCD display and up to 18 buttonhole options. You can choose the right one for you with this digital machine. 

If you like to take your sewing machine with you on the go, the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 has a weight of 20 pounds, so it’s not your best bet. It does have an attachable extension table that will offer you a clearer view if you’re working on large projects. If you do have a large task at hand, you’ll also be grateful for the 850-stitch-per-minute capabilities. 

The Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 is immensely capable. It has a huge range of presser feet attachments included, with an all-purpose, zipper, buttonhole, button sewing, blind hem, satin stitch, open toe, overcasting, darning and embroidery, and rolled hem foot, and that’s not all. 


4. Juki HZL-LB5100L Best sewing machine for beginners 

Juki HZL-LB5100

(Image credit: Juki)

Juki HZL-LB5100L

This is the best sewing machine for those just starting out.

Reasons to Buy

Easy to use
Quiet running
Lots of stitch options

Reasons to Avoid

 A little slow 

The Juki HZL-LB5100 is the best sewing machine we reviewed for beginners. It’s one of the easiest machines you can use, and we found it a delight to use. The stitches are all automatic, meaning you won’t have to adjust the tension and stitch width when changing the stitch. This is perfect for beginners who haven’t mastered the complex workings of more advanced machines. 

The Juki HZL-LB5100 has 100 stitches to choose from. To use the different preprogrammed stitches, you simply reference the stitch key on the front of the machine. Then you change the number on the LCD screen to match the kind of stitch you want. Along with extra accessories like bobbins and a lint brush, this sewing machine comes with five extra sewing feet and an instruction DVD you can follow along with if you're new to the hobby. You won’t need all of these as a beginner, but it goes to show that this machine will work for you even as your sewing skills advance. One element that won’t advance with your sewing skills is the rate of stitches per minute, which tops out at 700. That’s one of the slower machines we tested, so you may find it a little more cumbersome with large tasks. 

We also encountered minimal problems in our tests across a range of fabrics when testing the Juki HZL-LB5100. It didn’t pucker on thick fabric like denim, and although it struggled with satin, we did find that this was common across all the machines we used. 


5. Brother XR9500PRW: Best for experienced sewists 

XR9500PRW Project Runway

(Image credit: Brother)

Brother XR9500PRW Project Runway

Costume makers and fashion designers will love the aptly-named Brother XR9500PRW Project Runway sewing machine.

Reasons to Buy

850 stitches per minute
Extension table
Lettering options

Reasons to Avoid

There’s a learning curve to this machine

The Brother XR9500PRW is an immensely powerful sewing machine. It has 100 stitch patterns, as well as 55 built-in alphanumeric stitches and eight styles of auto-size buttonholes. These, as well as the width and length of your stitches, can be adjusted on the computerized LCD screen on this capable machine.

This machine comes with a hard case, and weighs just shy of nine pounds, meaning it’s great for taking on the go if you need it for work. The flip-stitch guide is great for quilting, and all of these stitches are displayed on the front of the machine. The machine is quiet, and its instruction manual is very helpful. 

Some of our tests proved tricky with the Brother XR9500PRW. It’s a great machine, but it does take some adjusting to. Particularly when sewing on denim, this machine was a little tricky to use, so beginners may find it a bit temperamental if they don’t understand the difference that adjusting tension and stitch dimensions can make. 


6. Singer 7640 Confidence: Best sewing machine for making clothes 

Singer confidence sewing machine

(Image credit: Singer)

Singer 7640 Confidence

Power through complex projects and with the Singer 7640 Confidence.

Reasons to Buy

200 stitches
Designed for large projects
Easy to use

Reasons to Avoid

At 18 pounds… it’s heavy

We love the Singer 7640 Confidence for large projects and clothes making. It has 200 stitches to choose from, and you can easily adjust this as well as the width and length of your stitch with the easy touch buttons on the front of this machine. This machine comes with an extension table that allows you to see the bigger picture as you work on large-scale projects, and it’s easily removed for smaller tasks. 

This is a reasonably priced machine when you consider just how many features are on offer. The computerized Confidence 7640 has automatic stitch settings, but one downside to this machine is the location of the stitch key. Instead of listing them right on the front of the machine, they’re on a separate card, which is a little inconvenient. Aside from that, it has several great features like a sewing light, extension table, thread cutter and automatic needle threader. It comes with nine extra sewing feet, including an even feed walking foot, saving you money. Speed control is also built into the machine, along with a start/stop button so the fabric you’re working on won’t get away from you if you press too hard on the foot pedal. The Singer 7640 Confidence does 750 stitches per minute. That’s not loads - in fact, it’s one of the slowest machines we reviewed.  Every time you start sewing though, the first couple of stitches are slow to ensure an accurate line.

This sewing machine put out 69.3 decibels of sound at full speed, so it wasn’t the quietest but it also wasn’t the loudest we tested. The alphanumeric stitches really make this machine stand out and can be entered into the machine’s memory. Essentially, you can program the machine to sew out a sentence while you sit back and watch. This Singer can sew so many different stitches, you’re never going to run out and it’s all-around easy to use.


7. Singer 4423: Best cheap sewing machine 

singer heavy duty sewing machine

(Image credit: Singer)

Singer Heavy Duty 4423

This is a powerful, fast, and reasonably priced sewing machine.

Reasons to Buy

It can sew quickly through thick fabrics
Reliable
Inexpensive

Reasons to Avoid

Very few stitches

Sewing an incredible 1,100 stitches per minute, this mechanical sewing machine has some serious muscle. During our tests we tried sewing through four layers of denim on this machine and it worked just as well as on two layers of cotton. 

The Singer 4423 only has 23 stitch patterns, but if power is your priority then you don’t need hundreds of frilly stitches. We noticed some puckering while working with satin but overall this machine works really well, it just lacks some of the fancier features of computerized models. All that power means this sewing machine is by no means dainty: it hit 71.4 decibels sewing at its fastest, the loudest of the machines we tested. However, this sewing machine is ideal for your heavy duty sewing projects.


8. Janome JW8100: Best compact sewing machine 

Janome JW8100

(Image credit: Janome)

Janome JW8100

A small but mighty sewing machine, perfect for those with limited space.

Reasons to Buy

Easy use
Stop/start button
Free arm sewing

Reasons to Avoid

Separate card for stitches

The Janome JW8100 is a fantastic sewing machine for those with limited space. It’s compact but capable, and you can add buttons with this sewing machine’s three different styles of buttonholes or hem skirts and pants with commonplace stitches. While you’re sewing, tap the needle placement button to send it to either its highest or lowest point, making for tight turns and secure stitches. 

The stitch key doesn’t come on the front of this sewing machine, meaning you could lose it if you don’t keep it in the accessory drawer on the front of the arm attachment. As well as a free arm option, this sewing machine also comes with an extra wide extension table attachment. You get four extra sewing feet and a handful of sewing accessories as well, and a hard cover for when you need to store your machine when it’s not in use, making the Janome JW8100 sewing machine worth its slightly higher price tag.


9. Brother HC1850: Best sewing machine for quilting 

Brother HC1850

(Image credit: Brother)

Brother HC1850

The Brother HC1850 is a great machine for both sewing and quilting.

Reasons to Buy

185 stitches
Designed for quilting and sewing
Sensitive speed control

Reasons to Avoid

We don’t love the look

Those with a love of quilting will enjoy the Brother HC1850, but we don’t love its somewhat outdated-looking design. While it looks a little old, it has a modern computerized design that won’t disappoint. The Brother HC1850 has all 185 of its stitches displayed on the front of the machine itself, and it’s easy to decipher and program your stitch of choice on the LCD screen. The 185 stitches on offer include alphanumeric options, as well as decorative styles. For monogramming and quilting, as well as creating fabulous garments, it's more than capable. 

The Brother HC1850 comes with a bunch of extras including a hard protective case, wide table, seven sewing feet, a variety of needles, and four bobbins for running multiple projects simultaneously.  


10. Juki HZL-355ZW-A: Best mechanical sewing machine 

Juki HZL-355ZW-A

(Image credit: Juki)

Juki HZL-355ZW-A

Take this basic and easy-to-use sewing machine with you everywhere.

Reasons to Buy

Great compact design
Easy to use
Limited stitch options

Reasons to Avoid

Expensive for what you get

The Juki HZL-355ZW-A is an easy-to-use sewing machine with a simple design. It’s not computerized, but for those seeking a traditional mechanical model, it’s a good option. This machine does cost a similar amount as computerized sewing machines, which for the comparably scant offering of stitches and speed, isn’t exactly a selling point. If the price is right for you though, or if you see it on sale, this is a great choice. 

With a carry case and sweet pink and white design, this would be a great starter machine for teens and new sewists. The Juki HZL-355ZW-A has 26 stitch patterns and everything you need for most projects, including a buttonhole option and stitches for blind seams. If you work on garments, you’ll make good use of the free arm design, but it doesn’t have an extension table for large projects. The Juki HZL-355ZW-A goes up to 750 stitches per minute, which isn’t the fastest machine we reviewed, but it’s also not the slowest by any means. 


How to choose the best sewing machine

Choosing the best sewing machine can feel challenging, considering the variety of options available in the market. From design patterns to price, there is a wide selection of factors to consider when making the final decision. 

To help make this process easy for you, we have compiled a list of the top features you need to look out for when buying a high-quality sewing machine tailored to your needs. 

Stitching patterns

Whether you are buying a sewing machine for professional use or just as a hobby, stitching patterns can be an important consideration when choosing the right fit for your creative needs. 

Most sewing machines available in the market today offer a combination of simple, “straight-line” sewing patterns with some complex, designer options. This helps users at all levels find the stitching pattern that suits their skills and needs.

When looking at stitching patterns, ask yourself questions like:
- Which pattern do I use most often?
- Which pattern am I interested in learning?
- Which pattern suits the clothes I currently own?
- How many pattern combinations do I plan to use?

This will help you decide which stitching patterns to prioritize and which you can do without.

(Image credit: Future)

Computerized or mechanical operations

Another feature to consider in a sewing machine is how it operates. Do you have to do everything manually? Is it fully automatic? Many sewing machines in the market are a combination of the two. They offer some mechanical features with some automated options for convenience. Such computerized settings are particularly helpful for beginners who are not familiar with the mechanical sewing processes.

Space

The size of the sewing machine you can buy largely depends on how much space you have. If you have a dedicated sewing space with a large work area, you can invest in a large machine with multiple features. On the other hand, users working in a compact space might want to choose a smaller, portable model.  

(Image credit: Future)

Price

Your budget may determine how many features you get to pick. Users with smaller budgets may have to cut down on size or extra features like premium stitching patterns to get a bargain deal. Users with a bigger budget can invest in a branded, highly functional, pro-oriented option. 

Other important factors to keep in mind while buying a sewing machine include frequency and intensity of use, aesthetic choices, and preferred brand. According to a representative for JOANN Fabric & Craft Stores, you should test drive any sewing machine before you buy it.

“The sewing machine needs to work for what the customer wants to do, and be easy for them to understand,” they said. “Metal inner parts are best as the machine is less likely to break and will run more smoothly. However, other factors should be based on personal preference.”

Millie Fender

Millie is a former writer for Top Ten Reviews who now works across Future's Home portfolio. Her spare time is spent traveling, cooking, playing guitar and she's currently learning how to knit. Millie loves tracking down a good deal and keeping up-to-date on the newest technology and kitchen appliances.