When choosing from the best sewing machines available now you need to consider a number of things, including what is your budget? As times are tough it's good to look for a sewing machine that's affordable but also good quality, and if you're an experienced sewer a more expensive machine is best as it will last many years. In my list I've chosen my favourite sewing machines, including the best sewing machine for clothes and the best sewing machine for beginners.
A good sewing machine is a much-needed companion to the best Cricut machines, as you can cut your cloth accurately and speedily and then begin stitching. Brother not only make great sewing machines (there a some in my list below) but the company also manufacturers one of the best craft machines, read our Brother ScanNCut review.
If you need more info jump to our frequent questions section at the bottom of this guide. If you'd like to read more about how our reviewers work and test each sewing machine then take look at our How we test craft and sewing machines explainer, where we outline the process. Generally our reviewers will use a sewing machine for up to four weeks and create projects to test the key features.
The best sewing machines: available now
For the price, the Singer 4432 is at the top-end for a mechanical machine but not without good reason. With an integrated motor 60% stronger than standard sewing machines, It is a heavy-duty sewing machine that can tackle a wide range of fabrics, including stretch and denim. I feel this is one of the best sewing machines for everyday use, which makes it one of the best sewing machines for home use.
In our Singer 4423 review we loved that this sewing machine has over 32 stitch options, including a one-step buttonhole function, it has everything you need to complete all dressmaking tasks. Not only is this machine robust, it's also fast; the metal frame has rigid support to hold all the mechanisms in perfect alignment for skip-free sewing and it includes an extra high sewing speed. You’ll be stitching up a new pair of jeans in a flash.
The Brother XR9550 is an excellent entry-level and affordable sewing machine that can be used for both sewing tasks and quilting projects. For a sewing machine under $300 / £300 this Brother represents excellent value.
For your money you get a computerised sewing machine with 165 built-in stitches, an easy to use LCD display and an extra wide extension table for quilting. This is one of Brother's most popular machines and combines an approachable design and use (an automatic needle threader) with some higher-end functions – such as all those pre-loaded stitches and LCD screen.
The only downside I can see is it's not a great embroidery machine, as some of the alphabet stitches are a little small. But you can't have everything. While the Brother XR9550 model is available in the US, in the UK look for the Brother HC1850 (opens in new tab).
The Singer M3500 is the best sewing machine for new sewists, as it's easy to use, comes with enough pre-loaded stitches for most basic jobs and is a neat and compact design. When you're starting out you'll likely head to a friend's house, visit a relative or attend classes, and this small sewing machine is ideal.
Coming in five colours, including a deep grey-blue, the Singer M3500 features 110 stitches for most projects, and can handle basic sewing as well as decorative sewing, and is powerful enough to be used on stiff fabrics, such as denim and wool. (It can be a little less responsive on delicate fabric, such as silk.)
As a first-time sewing machine this Brother is an excellent choice, and comes with some of the tech you'll come to live with, including an automatic needle threader, a front-loading bobbin for ease and a one-step buttonhole function. If you're looking for a first-time sewing machine that will last and not break the bank, the Singer M3500 is a stylish option.
The Janome Arctic Crystal (known as the Janome 219S / John Lewis JL110 in the UK) is an excellent choice if you're looking for a good sewing machine for beginners or simply a decent sewing machine for the home. This sewing machine retails for under $140 / £150 and represents superb value for money (it also comes in a choice of three vibrant colours.)
The Janome Arctic Crystal is excellent for clothing repairs and general fixes. It features 14 stitches, a four-step buttonhole feature and even a darning plate. Its size, weight and simplicity means the Janome Arctic Crystal can be put away and set up quickly and easily.
The motor feels powerful and solid in use and the machine overall is very capable, but as you'd expect from a cheap sewing machine there are some limitations to the Janome Arctic Crystal – such as the lack of a zipper foot and the bobbin is a little fiddly to access and thread. But, overall, for the money and ability, the Janome Arctic Crystal is excellent value.
The Janome America M7 (previously known as the Janome Continental M7 Professional) is expensive but it's also a beautifully designed and well-built sewing machine that will last a long, long time. It's been designed for quilters with height to see the material clearly, and a large extension table enables you to work on big projects with ease. The Janome America M7 has plenty of customisable stitches (400) and alphabets (5) to give any quilter options.
But, in our Janome Continental M7 Professional review (the Janome America M7 is a newer update to this) our tester discovered a machine that can be turned to near enough any sewing project. It's a large and complex computerised machine but comes with an LCD screen and menu system that is approachable and easy to use. The free QR code-enabled app takes you directly to tutorials, too.
This is an expensive sewing machine but it can do everything and anything, meaning it will last you through your sewing journey. The real ace in Janome's deck is the Janome America M7 is so easy to use; you can be up and running in minutes and the app and LCD screen and computer inside enables a constant and elegant learning curve. If you can afford it, and if you're quilting every day professionally, then this is one of the best sewing machines on the market.
If you are looking for a machine that does it all at an affordable price, the Brother CS7000X (known as the Brother FS70WTX in the UK) has you covered. With 70 in-built stitches and seven feet included, the model has everything you need for dressmaking, quilting, embroidery and home furnishings projects.
The Brother CS7000X also a great choice for anyone who wants to do free motion embroidery, as it comes with an extra wide table and one of the included feet is a free motion embroidery foot.
This feature packed sewing machine has time saving elements too, such as a needle threader and a quick set drop-in bobbin and bobbin winder. The inclusion of an LED light, which won’t need replacing, avoids thread discolouration from a bulb. The Brother CS7000X is a great machine whether you are new to sewing or a more advanced sewer.
The Brother XR3774 is a great beginner's sewing machine. The brand is known for the number of features it includes on its most basic machines. The Brother XR3774 is an impressively priced basic mechanical machine with 37 stitch options, making it the ideal machine for beginners or the occasional sewer. It’s great to see a three year warranty included for this price, too.
The top loading bobbin and included instructional DVD will help you to have the machine up and running in no time. For the price, and as a starter machine, the Brother XR3774 has solid features and is very approachable.
This is the US model, and comes with a wide table to get you started in quilting too, but in the UK there's the similarly priced Brother LX25 (opens in new tab). This UK model doesn't include the table and has fewer built-in stitches, but it is cheaper.
The Janome 5270QDC is a good and compact sewing machine with enough features – 270 built-in stitches, auto-thread cutter, 1/4" Foot and automatic buttonhole feet – to ensure you can tackle most projects. The price, size and functions mean this is a sewing machine for experienced sewists and beginners looking to expand their creative capabilities.
In our Janome 5270QDC review, our writer comments on how she found this to be a solid and dependable machine. It's easy to use but has enough features and accessories to tackle complex projects, including garment patterns and quilting.
In fact, if you're not a quilter you may find it over-delivers – whether you’ll use half the 270 stitches or need the 11x16 inch extension table is debatable. But the level of functionality offered ensures you've always got something new it can do, for example being able to stitch so many types of buttonhole automatically will ensure most dressmakers are happy with a Janome 5270QDC.
This exact model is only available in the UK but there is a similar US machine, called the Janome 4120QDC-B (opens in new tab), that has slightly fewer built-in stitches (120 stitches) but the same build quality and performance.
Whilst the Singer 9960 would still be a great machine for dressmakers (the model has 13 fully automatic one-step buttonholes), the inclusion of four quilting presser feet and a good sized extension table to manage large projects make this machine ideal for quilters.
Further features that make the Singer 9960 appealing to the quilter is the Straight Stitch/Quilting Foot but you also get a mix of feet for all projects, including an All-Purpose Foot, Zipper Foot, Buttonhole Foot with Underplate, Button Sewing Foot, Blind Hem Foot, Satin Stitch Foot, Open Toe Foot, Overcasting Foot, Darning and Embroidery Foot, Rolled Hem Foot, Cording Foot – that's enough for most projects.
Providing plenty of opportunities for creative topstitching and quilting for the advanced sewer the Singer 9960 really is a great machine, and replaces the Singer Patchwork 7285Q as my go-to sewing and quilting machine. If you're a beginner this will last you years, if you're an experienced sewer you'll be up and running quickly.
The Brother Innovis NV1800Q can do just about everything you'd ask of it, and comes with some eye-catching features you'd not usually find on a machine in this price range ($1,799 / £1,499), such as sideways sewing.
In our Brother Innovis NV1800Q review, our writer loved the sideways sewing feature that enables you to stitch continuously without needing to raise the sewing foot and move your material 90 degrees. Obviously, this is great for quilting large, heavy material but also handy for sewing patches and badges.
This is a sewing machine crammed with features and an accessible LCD touchscreen to help you get around. It's also a machine that can grow with you, its My Custom Stitch function enables you to design and program your own stitches.
If you're not a quilter then you may find much of what this machine does surplus, and you could also find it too large and heavy for everyday clothes alterations. But if you do quilt and sew large projects, you'll find the Brother Innovis NV1800Q excellent value for money.
If you're in the US the Brother SE1900 (opens in new tab) is a similarly specced and excellent machine that offers 240 built-in stitches, 11 fonts and is a good all-rounder for sewing, quilting and embroidery.
The Janome 5270QDC is one of the more complete machines around, but it comes at a price. So, what do you get once you start spending over $1,000 / £1,000 on a sewing machine? Let’s start with your own stitch composer to design your own stitches, should the 240 built-in stitches not cover exactly what you need. In our Janome 5270QDC review we found this to be a fantastic all-round sewing machine.
You can make pivoting around corners and applique work super quick and easy by programming the machine to keep the needle down and lift the presser foot automatically when you stop sewing. You can even use the knee lift – a V-shaped leaver that plugs into the front of the machine – to raise and lower the presser foot with your knee or thigh. If seven buttonhole styles isn’t enough for you, the Atelier 7 can provide you with eleven.
This exact sewing machine isn't available in the US, instead the closest machine similar by this manufacturer is the Janome Skyline S3 (opens in new tab), but this features fewer built-in stitches, yet is still an excellent sewing machine for the budget.
The best sewing machines: what to look for
Consider what you need the sewing machine to do
There’s no point splashing out on a computerised machine with a hundred embroidery stitch options if you are predominantly going to sew curtains.
Think about the fabrics you will you be sewing with
If you sew with heavyweight fabrics on a regular basis a £100 machine just isn’t going to cut it. If you’re going to sew sports and swimwear, you’ll need a machine with suitable stitches for dealing with stretch fabrics. The finest sewing machines are great, but you do need to consider how you will use one.
Match a sewing machine with how you will use it
Someone sewing once in a while doesn’t need to be spending as much on a sewing machine as the person sewing every day. Establish your needs and budget and let our guide to the best sewing machines help you find the best machine in your price range.
Best sewing machines: frequent questions
How long can I expect a sewing machine to last?
If you buy the right machine for your needs, treat it well and get it serviced, your machine will serve you for a very long time.
What do I do if I have problems with my machine?
Most brands offer an after-sales service which you can call for replacement parts and problem shooting.
I want to sew clothes, how many stitch options does my sewing machine need?
Really not very many. A straight stitch, buttonhole and a zigzag stitch will get you through most projects.
Do I need a coverstitch machine?
Only if you are going to be sewing lots of sportswear and t-shirts that require a professional hemmed finish.
What does an overlocker do?
An overlocker (or serger) finishes the edges of fabric with an overlocking stitch whilst also cutting off the seam allowance as it sews.
Where can I buy a sewing machine?
You can buy sewing machines from Amazon and leading stores in your country, for example John Lewis in the UK and Walmart in the US. We would also advice you find your local Brother or Janome dealer as they can offer good advice and unique repair deals.