For BeginnersSewing Machines

Best Cheap Sewing Machines in 2020 Reviewed

We all have a jumper that needs a little stitching to repair, or some upholstery in mind to put that old bit of fabric to good use. Whatever you think you might need one for, there are plenty of great cheap sewing machines available. They differ in what they can offer and when compared to some of the more expensive models, might not be up to the complicated tasks but you’ll be surprised.

Even the most famous brands make some quality sewing machines for under 100 but if you stretch this to 150 you’ll find you get a lot more for your money. The risk is there are some models to avoid. The following is a list of what we believe to be the best cheap sewing machines and each one will give you everything you need and are easy to use.

Summary of the Best Cheap Sewing Machines
Reviews

Editor’s Choice: Brother Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine, CS6000i

For some people, the best cheap sewing machine available starts and ends with this quality product from Brother. Not only do you get the reputable brand name of Brother but you also have a tonne of sewing options and a dependable machine. It’s the perfect sewing machine for beginners but has a lot to offer those with more experience in the 60 built-in stitches (more than most in this price range), 7 different buttonhole styles, and an automatic needle threader to name a few.

The backlit LED display is easy to navigate and makes switching between settings easy. One of the main problems with cheap sewing machines is they can be quite restricted in the type of projects they can be used for. The CS6000i gives you lots of options and can even be used for quilting thanks to the wide table. The built-in free arm allows you to fix sleeves and other cylinder shaped projects and the adjustable sewing speed is ideal for anyone getting to grips with a sewing machine for the first time. Once you have built your confidence you’ll find that this is a versatile product and given the price, the best value.

PROS:

  • Automatic needle threader
  • Free arm for sewing sleeves
  • Large table for bigger projects
  • Adjustable speeds
  • 25-year limited warranty
  • Brilliant value
CONS:

(none)

Best Cheap Singer: Singer | Heavy Duty 4411 Sewing Machine with 11 Built-in Stitches

No list of the best cheap sewing machines would be complete without a Singer or two. This is one of their easiest products to use and comes with 11 built-in stitches. Although that isn’t as many as the Brother, it is less overwhelming for beginners and still gives you plenty of options. Known for being heavy-duty because of the sturdy metal body and robust build, the 4411 sewing machine has a built-in buttonhole feature to allow you to take on intricate projects such as crafts and fashion sewing.

The adjustable needle position makes it easy to add zippers and the powerful motor means it can push out 1,100 stitches a minute so once you get up to speed, this is a very capable sewing machine. The adjustable presser foot means you can switch between light and heavier fabrics and all the settings are adjustable via the side dials to ensure this is one of the easiest sewing machines to use. For additional help, you get access to Singers sewing assistant app.

PROS:

  • 11 built-in stitches
  • Is capable of 1,100 stitches a minute
  • Top drop in bobbin
  • Includes 4 presser feet
CONS:

  • A little louder than some models but this is down to the power

Best Janome: Janome 2212 Sewing Machine

For an alternative to the Singer and Brother brands (as good as they are, it’s always good to consider other products), this is the best of the rest. Janome makes some reliable and cheap sewing machines including 2212. They do make cheaper models but the quality is nowhere near as good so we’ve selected this one because of the easy dial selection where you can choose from the 12 built-in stitches.

You can select from different width and length adjustments, making it easy to use and there is also a drop feed feature that opens up a lot of different projects such as quilting. There are 4 step buttonholes and a tray that is tucked away to keep your intricate accessories out of the way. You can get up to 1,000 stitches per minute at the top speed and there is an easy to use free arm. Janone includes a 25-year limited warranty although it certainly feels robust enough to last without any issues, it is always good to have one just in case.

PROS:

  • Up to 1,000 stitches per minute
  • 12 built-in stitches
  • Easy to use
  • Good value
CONS:

  • No blanket stitch

Best Buil-in Stitches: Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW Electric Sewing Machine

Brother gives you 50 built-in stitches in this versatile product ensuring they have another cheap sewing machine on our list. There are also 5 auto-size bobbin holes and plenty of accessories including a cover to protect it when not in use. It also makes set up easy thanks to the automatic needle threader (beginners and experts will be thankful for this) and a drop-in top bobbin. The instruction manual makes it easy to get to grips with this reliable machine and the 7 presser feet give you a lot of options for sewing.

A lot of people find it to be a well thought out machine that you can see for yourself when you use the super bright LED light that helps you to sew with accuracy, even in low light conditions. With a 25 year limited warranty and the backing of plenty of awards, this is a cheap sewing machine that is easy to like.

PROS:

  • Easy to use stitch chart
  • LED light for accurate sewing
  • Includes 7 presser feet
  • Automatic needle threader
CONS:

  • Some people have had issues with the packaging

Best Free Arm: Singer 1507WC Easy-to-Use Free-Arm Sewing Machine

When looking for a cheap sewing machine, you want to know that it’s not going to be complicated to use. This is one of the major benefits of the 1507WC from Singer. Known for its easy setup, fast threading means you can spend more time sewing and less time trying to thread. You can adjust the stitch length and choose from 8 built-in stitches and switch between the 4 easy to snap on presser feet to open up lots of sewing options. Because of this, you can use this machine for crafts, fashion sewing, home decorating, and a lot more.

The canvas cover keeps it from collecting dust when in storage and the removable free arm makes it easy for you to stitch sleeves. There is adequate storage built-in for your smaller accessories and an automatic bobbin weaving clutch. Weighing 13 pounds it is a little heavier than some of your other options but this is part of what makes it a powerful and reliable sewing machine.

PROS:

  • 8 built-in stitches
  • Includes 4 presser feet
  • Free arm feature
  • Adjustable stitch length
CONS:

  • Weighs 13 pounds

Best Budget: KPCB Mini Sewing Machine with Upgraded Eco-Friendly Material

You’ll find it hard to get your hands on a cheaper sewing machine and for the price, it is surprisingly versatile. KPCB isn’t one of the big hitters in the industry but this product does make sewing accessible to those with a modest budget. There is a foot pedal allowing you to sew at different speeds and automatic bobbin rewinding and a cuff slot so you can stitch sleeves and similar shaped materials.

It weighs just 3 pounds so it is great for storing and taking out for simple repairs. The build doesn’t feel as sturdy as other brands but you do get a large extension table. Included in every purchase is an instruction manual, a needle, 4 bobbins, foot pedal, and a needle threader.

PROS:

  • Very affordable
  • Weighs only 3 pounds
  • Includes a foot pedal
  • Cuff slot and extension table
CONS:

  • Not as durable as other cheap sewing machines

Easiest To Use: Janome Fastlane Fuschia Basic, Easy-to-Use

Ok so this is one of the cheapest sewing machines on our list and can often be found for well under 100 but you do have to compromise on additional features a little. To start, there are plenty of fun colors to choose from including the vibrant pink model. It comes with a finger guard to ensure smaller fingers are protected making this one of the best sewing machines for kids if you want to teach them a new skill.

Even adults will find this meets their basic sewing needs in the 10 built-in stitches and free arm capability. It’s easy to set up thanks to the top drop-in bobbin and threading diagrams and it weighs just 5 pounds so you can move it between rooms with ease.

PROS:

  • Available in different colors
  • Finger guard
  • 10 built-in stitches
  • Weighs just 5 pounds
CONS:

  • Does not include a light
Cheap Sewing Machine Guide

Just because you aren’t looking to extend your budget between 500 – 1000, does not mean you should end up with a cheap sewing machine that is limited and unreliable. There are plenty of great models made by the world’s most reputable companies but not all of them are going to be worth purchasing.

There is more to a sewing machine than built-in stitches and although they are important, you need to know what a quality sewing machine should be capable of before purchasing. This is why we have created the following buyer’s guide. It details everything you need to know to ensure you end up with a reliable sewing machine that does everything you need it to.

What To Look For In A Cheap Sewing Machines

Automatic Threading

Beginners who are eager to get started and those who have been using sewing machines all their life will want to spend less time threading the needle and more time gliding it across their chosen fabric. The best cheap sewing machines will be able to offer this and keep up with the modern features of what a basic product can do.

Built-In Stitches

The more built-in stitches you get, the greater the variety of projects you can work on. We’ve seen products that give you hundreds on built-in stitches but for most of us, this is a little excessive. Beginners will find anything around 10 to be enough for their needs but you might want to consider the future.

After you have built up your confidence or caught the sewing bug, you might look for a little more versatility. This is where buying a cheap sewing machine with 50+ built-in stitches can be of use.

LED Light

It can be hard to sew in straight lines, especially when the room isn’t as well lit as you might like. Most of the cheap sewing machines on our recommended products list come with an LED light to help you see exactly what you are doing. This helps you to keep straight lines and sew with accuracy.

Stitch Chart

Being able to see what the result of your sewing will look like can be important, especially for quilting and larger projects. This is why a lot of brands display their built-in stitches on the side with a stitch chart. 

This is more likely when you buy a product with a greater number of built-in stitches.

Stitches Per Minute

If you have a long list of sewing projects you are eager to get on with, or just want to be able to sew at speed you need to consider the machine’s stitches per minute capability. The best products will be able to give you around 1,000 without compromising on reliability.

Different Sewing Feet

Brands like Brother tend to give you a lot of sewing feet so you can take on different sewing projects but anything around 4 will give you a lot to play with. Typical variations include buttonhole foot, zipper foot, straight stitch, and a lot more.

Instruction Manual

Unless your sewing machine is limited in what it can do, you are going to need an instruction manual to get started. The best products make it easy to understand the features but some go the extra mile. Certain brands come with apps to give you guidance and we have even seen some cheap sewing machines that come with a DVD to show you how to get to grips with the machine.

Portability

You never know when you might need to use your cheap sewing machine so it is important to choose one that is easy to move from place to place. Although some products weigh only 3 pounds, this shouldn’t be seen as a deciding factor. The more versatile sewing machines will still need a bit of weight behind them to give them the power to tackle big sewing projects.

Free Arm

Being able to remove part of the machine will give you room to sew cylinder-shaped fabrics such as cuffs and sleeves. Most of the best cheap sewing machines offer this as standard and if you are looking to use the machine for fashion sewing, it is an important feature for your needs.

Adjustable Speed

It can be hard to control a sewing machine when you are learning how to use it but with adjustable speeds, you can ease your way in with a gentle introduction. As you grow in confidence you can always press the on the foot pedal a little harder.

Will A Cheap Sewing Machine Move Forward?

When using a sewing machine, cheap or not, it should still stay in place. You want power, yes, but you also don’t want to chase the machine across the table. 

Smooth sewing is important and although you should expect a level of vibration as it works its way through the fabric, look out for a loud ticking sound. If you hear this as it moves, you might want to take a look at other brands.

How Much Does A Cheap Sewing Machine Cost?

If you go for the cheapest sewing machine possible then you aren’t going to be getting a lot of options. We consider a cheap sewing machine to be a product that is still capable of doing most of the things the expensive items can but at a fraction of the price.

This is why we think that a cheap sewing machine should cost between 75 – 150. Remember that you will also want to invest in fabrics and threads to get started so include this in your budget before you buy the machine. 

Different Uses For a Cheap Sewing Machine

When you know the type of projects you want to use your cheap sewing machine for, it is easier to find the right product to suit your needs. Consider the following, common uses for a sewing machine before you click to buy:

Fashion Sewing

Making clothes is one of the most common uses for a sewing machine and almost every machine you look at will be able to make this easy. Consider a product that has a free arm to sew sleeves and a variety of presser feet so you can sew button holes among other things. 

For some projects, you might want twin needles and variable stitch lengths and there are plenty of cheap sewing machines that offer both.

Repairs

Quick repair jobs are one of the easiest uses for a sewing machine and can mean you extend the life of your clothes. This is particularly important if you have adventurous children who always seem to come home with a hole in their jumper or a tear in their sleeve.

Upholstery

It might be difficult to find a cheap sewing machine that is capable of sewing upholstery simply because the needle will be too small to cope with the demands. The machine will also need to be capable of handling thicker threads to keep everything in place once you have finished.

Quilting

Although this is one of the larger projects you might embark on, there is plenty of quality machines, capable of quilting that doesn’t cost a lot. A wide table is the first thing to look for as it will have room for larger pieces of material and a powerful motor to make it easy to stitch different fabrics.

This is also where your range of built-in stitches will come in handy as some machines even come with specialist stitches for quilting projects.

Is A Cheap Sewing Machine Easier To Use?

A lot of people would say yes.

Because you get fewer features and options, getting started isn’t as complex. When you don’t have 200 built-in stitches you choose from you also tend to take on simpler projects which are less demanding. Some brands do go a little further to make their product easier to use such as offering snap-on presser feet and automatic threading to name just a couple.

Easy Beginner Sewing Projects

To get started you might want to do a little more than repair your kid’s school uniform. Here are some examples of the easy and common projects that people take on with their new sewing machines. 

  • Tote Bag
  • Baby Bib
  • Tablet Sleeve
  • Baby Blanket
  • Key Fob
  • Birthday Banner
  • Laptop Sleeve
  • Pillowcase
What Is The Best Cheap Sewing Machine?

Although it isn’t easy to say that one sewing machine is suitable for every person’s needs, we have identified one that stood out above the others. 

Brother CS6000i Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine are the most complete we looked at and offers you a range of sewing options. You can tackle quilting projects among others and make use of the 60 built-in stitches – more than most in the price range.

Affordable, with an automatic threader, a free arm feature, an LED-backlit display, adjustable speeds, and a lot more it is the best all-round cheap sewing machine available. 

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