Wondering how to choose a sewing machine? Keep reading this sewing machine buying guide made by sewing experts and learn all the basics to buy the best sewing machine for your needs.
1. Have a budget
Before deciding on the right type of sewing machine for your needs or even for a specific brand, it’s time to set a budget.
Remember that not every type of machine is going to be in the same price range and that sometimes it’s better to keep saving for a few more months than rushing into a cheap machine that won’t really serve you well or long enough.
Like with everything in life we can go for the cheaper version or the quality one. Sometimes we can make both ends meet and find real gems that will make us happier than kids. Nevertheless, in most cases, we have to agree upon one of the two choices.
I personally rather wait and buy a more expensive option as after months and months of researching different sewing machines I am certain that I would rather have nothing and sew by hand instead of buying a cheap machine that keeps giving me trouble and wasting my precious time.
2. Compare their technical features
You probably know that going over the different features of a sewing machine before buying one is a must.
A good practice to remember whenever you find yourself comparing two machines is to make sure that both of them are apples, meaning that you want to compare machines that are in a similar quality range or price range. That way, you’ll easily recognize your winner.
At The Sewing Crafter, we believe that a good comparison chart always makes your life easier and helps you better understand what’s the right machine for your needs. And that’s why you’ll constantly find comparison charts in almost every article with the main technical features of every single sewing machine we speak about.
Since we’ve already gone over the different technical features for each type of machine within their actual guides – see below -, we won’t bore you with more of the same. Nevertheless, feel free to read the different guides depending on the kind of craft you’re interested in.
If you’re new to this hobby, start with the Sewing Guide and then move on to the next ones as you feel. No matter where you end up within the website, you’ll always find all of them right on the menu above.
3. Know where to put it and keep it
It seems obvious to even mention it. Before deciding on a specific sewing machine, make sure you have a place where to put it.
If you’re going to be sewing on a daily basis, you might need a sewing table where to place it. That way, it will always be set and ready to go avoiding the laziness one can feel when things are stored away.
And that’s the other point I want to quickly make. If you’d rather keep it in a storage room or in a closet, make sure you actually have space. Oh and beware that sewing machines store best in dry places as humidity can damage its inner parts with time.
So, think twice the size of your new machine before ordering it.
4. Decide whether children will use it or not
Two features any family-owned machine should have
If you believe children will be using the new machine, some good features to consider are the Start/Stop button and the Speed Slider. Having those two features on your sewing machine will increase safety and help children improve their skills at a lower speed. Besides, trying to reach a pedal foot that’s placed on the floor can sometimes be difficult for small children.
If your kid won’t stop asking for a sewing machine but he or she has a history of changing hobbies often and you’re afraid to invest more than a certain amount of money, a good solution can be getting what I personally call a “bait machine”.
You buy a cheap machine under $100 that’s been specifically designed for children, give it to your kid and see how much interest they really have. Are they putting all their effort into learning and looking out for old clothes to start creating their first projects? Or are they watching TV and forgetting the machine even exists?
In the first case, congratulations, you have a potentially creative mind and probably need to start saving some money to upgrade the machine when they grow it out.
In the latter case, breathe deep. You just saved yourself some good money. Oh, and think twice before letting the 30 day refund period pass. Blink, blink.
Speaking of a refund. Do you know where to buy your new sewing machine? Let’s talk about that.
5. Where to buy a sewing machine for the best price?
Going on the hunt for a sewing machine to your local shop has many advantages if you’re not familiar with how the internet works or rather have a try out your potential machine before actually buying it.
While it’s true that physical stores need to raise the prices quite a bit in order to stay in business, they always have people who know very well the machines they offer at that time and can show you the tricks and bits. And you might even leave the store with a bonus free class if you choose to shop around.
The downside is that local stores have limited space and can’t fit every single model available in the market. Besides, YouTube has made the day for the sewing world in particular since no matter the machine you finally buy, you’ll be able to find a tutorial that you can replay as many times as you need until you get it right.
As many of you may have guessed, I am a shopping-online person. As a sensitive type, I run away from big groups of people and rather make the research from the comfort of my home, order with a click, and wait for it to arrive.
Nevertheless, in order to help every kind of personality, I need to let you know that sometimes going in person to the store and speaking to an actual human being does the trick.
I believe online stores are a great alternative that has plenty of perks and even more in these uncertain times.
First of all, you avoid exposure which, as crazy as it would sound before, many of us feel insecure when entering close spaces. So, whether you are in a group risk or not online shopping can be a real bonus, if not for your health, probably for your mind.
Second of all, you skip the trip round to the store which saves you time and money, and instead have the machine of your choice delivered home, for free and in only a few days. You don’t like it as much as you, though? You have a whole month to return it if you change your mind.
Nowadays you can find many online sewing shops that are also family businesses like SewingMachinesPlus where they offer great deals with the added bonus of free delivery and great customer service. If you rather have it delivered to you the fastest, for the better price possible, you can always rely on Amazon, where you’ll find the best seller sewing machines and thousands of comments from current users.
I personally love supporting physical family businesses if I can, although nobody can deny that online retailers like SewingMachinesPlus or others that have Amazon as an intermediator are unbeatable at this point.
In any case, always double-check prices as during this pandemic there can be periods of shortage in sewing machines and some stores go crazy with prices. You know, the higher the demand, the higher the prices.
This online retailer is a family business and we all absolutely love the service provided. They are utterly nice, always willing to help you with anything you may need, and prices are as unbeatable as Amazon’s with the added bonus of buying straight from the dealer which will make it easier in case of needing to access your machine’s warranty rights.
My only concern with them is that they specialize in high-end and industrial sewing machines and many times are out of stock with the cheaper and mainstream models. In that case, refer to Amazon.
I believe I don’t need to introduce Amazon. We all love now a quick delivery and having every single item on the touch of a button. Any mainstream machine you can think of, you’ll be able to buy at Amazon’s. Besides, what I love the most is the number of people who give their opinion on any existing product. A great way to get a clearer idea of what you’re buying without having to make a local trip to your nearer store.
Nevertheless, when buying a sewing machine always double-check that you get full warranty rights. Although in most cases this shouldn’t be an issue, when buying high-end machines like those from the Juki brand, my best advice is to trust your purchase to a dealer like SewingMachinesPlus.
6. Types of Sewing Machines
First and foremost, decide what type of sewing machine you need.
If sewing is somehow familiar to you, you probably know that there is not such a thing as a machine that can do absolutely everything for an affordable price. There are a few high-end sewing machines that for over 10k can do pretty much everything. Yes, for over $10,000. And hey, I have one of those on my vision board, but until that happens, the truth is that you need to compromise.
In fact, in most cases having a convertible machine can make you waste time since you have to keep switching to the wanted settings. As many sewers ultimately find, it’s actually a better idea to own several machines for the different kinds of sewing you may need: high speed, heavy-duty, embroidering, or even a serger for knits.
So, let’s quickly go over the main types of sewing machines.
General Purpose Sewing Machine
Yeap, not much to add. If you’re looking for your very first machine, want to take basic sewing lessons, keep dreaming about creating your own clothes, or even about starting a basic tote’s business from your room to earn some extra cash, this is the first step in the right direction.
How much can a sewing machine cost?
Well, the price of a domestic sewing machine can range from $15 to $15,000 depending on its features.
Serger and Coverstitch Sewing Machines
Got caught in that idea of starting a tote’s business from your room?
The next step is to reinvest the money in a serger machine that will finish the edge of those totes, making them look all professional.
Take the hem of any piece of clothing you are wearing right now. Turn it around to see the inside and look at the edge of the fabric. Can you see a group of stitches interlaced in a way that the last fibers of the fabric can’t escape? That was made with a serger.
Pick a t-shirt now and repeat the action. Do you see that on one side you have two straight lines of stitches while on the other side several threads are interlaced once again? That’s a coverstitch and you guessed it right, it was made with a coverstitch machine.
How much can a serger or coverstitch sewing machine cost?
Serger and Coverstitch sewing machines can from $200 to $1,500 depending on their features and even more for industrial models.
Embroidery Sewing Machine
What about adding some beautiful embroidery design to those totes? You could make it all about the initials of your customer or choose a funny Mickey Mouse design. Your customer could even choose what designs he or she wants to add and you could charge extra for each design and letter.
Well, as you may have figured it out, you can have a machine that does it for you.
How much can an embroidery sewing machine cost?
Embroidery machines can from $300 up to $7,000 depending on their features and even more.
Quilting Sewing Machine
How much can a quilting sewing machine cost?
Quilting sewing machines can range from $250 up to $2,000 depending on their features and even more.
Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
Going bananas and targeting the canvas or leather market? You will then need a heavy duty machine of which the motor can take on heavier materials.
How much can a heavy duty sewing machine cost?
Heavy duty machines go from $250 up to $5,000 depending on their features and even more.
7. What brand of sewing machines is best?
Of course, not all brands are the same. You must know that by now and while some are widely famous and well-known, it doesn’t always mean they’re actually the best choice every time.
Singer Sewing Machine
For instance, have a look at Singer. This brand used to be top US quality, nothing would beat it. Everyone’s grandma has owned one of these and those who are lucky enough to still have access to a vintage Singer sewing machine will agree. Those were tough, oh boy! They were in everybody’s mouth, no joke.
But now? Oh well, let’s say the good old brand died decades ago. It’s as if some witty entrepreneur took the name for the reputation and gave it to some cheap group of machines that have nothing to do quality-wise with what the original brand once was.
Anyways, one can never assume that they’re all the same, and the reality is that some sewing models do have a pass just like some of their sergers and coverstitch machines can also be very decent choices.
Brother Sewing Machine
And what about Brother?
It is true that Brother designs and manufactures good machinery. After all, it’s a Japanese company, but let’s say their sewing machines are the lowest quality of great Japanese quality. They’re definitely amazing options for intermediate level budgets and many times the trickiness of some of their models is still well worth the price.
There is a reason why everyone is loving Brother. And a good guarantee that you are making a good purchase is that their sewing machines are bestsellers for every category. Besides, it really is a great brand that makes sewing a hobby every pocket can easily access.
Janome Sewing Machine
Now, Janome. What to say about Janome? This brand together with Juki is my all-time absolute favorite. There hasn’t been a time where I was doing proper research to buy my next sewing machine where someone who has a good level of expertise would speak poorly of any of their sewing machines, no matter the type. And even though I still can’t afford to own one, I dream about the day where I can spare some money and get one of these.
Seriously, can’t stop drooling over this brand.
If you’re looking for professional quality at an affordable budget, this is your brand.
Juki Sewing Machine
Juki, Juki, Juki. They don’t just make machines. They make THE sewing machines. If the budget is not an issue for you, if you own a business and you’re looking for new machinery, if this is a birthday plus Christmas plus next birthday, know that there is no way you’ll ever regret the investment nor patience until you could save the dollars. They’re mainly focused on industrial sewing machines but with some types of sewing machines, they make an exception and still design and manufacture domestic models for the experienced home user or even the home business owner.
If you’re looking for professional quality and the price is not an issue, Juki is your new best sewing companion.
8. Before you leave, remember…
After buying your new machine remember that you have 30 days to get a full refund. After that, you won’t be able to return it no matter what, so please, make sure to try your machine enough times before the due date.
Many users make the easily avoidable mistake of not trying it until several weeks have passed. And then it’s too late. The moment the machine arrives, open it! Don’t wait to try it on. Once you’ve made sure everything is running as it should, you can put your mind to other things.
And remember to keep the box within 30 days after your purchase. If you were to find any unwanted issues, you would need that box.
I know, it’s a piece of cardboard with some print on it, but while your 30 days are on, that piece of garbage is worth the full price of your machine would anything happen.
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