The best sewing machines for every budget and experience level

Find the best sewing machine to suit your sewing skill level

A grid collage of best sewing machines that w&h tested, with models from Pfaff, Bernina and Singer included
(Image credit: Future)

Whatever your skill and budget, there’s a sewing machine to match your needs on the market, but with countless sewing machines available, finding the right one for you is a near-impossible task. So, we’ve done all the hard work for you and put the best sewing machines to the test. 

From mechanical models with basic stitches to high-tech computerized sewing machines with an abundance of features, our craft editor, Esme Clemo, reviewed the best of the bunch from the leading sewing machine brands. After weeks of putting the machines through their paces, looking at stitch ranges, design, price, durability, and overall sewing performance, we’ve whittled down our list to the following six best sewing machines. 

Should I opt for a mechanical or computerized machine?

The first thing you need to do when looking for the best sewing machine for you is to figure out your sewing level. Is this your first sewing machine? Would you class yourself as a beginner? If the answer to both these questions is yes, firstly, you might want to take a look at the best sewing machines for beginners. But generally, you should start by looking at mechanical machines. Generally, mechanicals have a limited number of basic stitches and can be programmed at the twist of a wheel. Super simple.

Anything more than this and you move into computerized sewing machines. These are perfect for intermediate sewers who want to expand their stitching skills and advance into embroidery, free-motion stitching, quilting and more. They make the perfect transition from simply stitching up a garment or home furnishing to adding embellishment and intricate detailing. More experienced stitchers will usually have a niche, be it quilting, embroidery, garment making – the list goes on. Usually, this determines the type of machine required. So, for example, a quilter who would be on the look for the best sewing machines for quilting would be looking for a machine with a long arm and extendable bed, to name just a few specialist features. 

How to choose the best sewing machine for you

When faced with the plethora of sewing machines on the market, the technical jargon and multiple options can overwhelm even the most experienced of stitchers. These are the key considerations.

Set yourself a budget

It’s easy to become distracted by the gadgets and gizmos on offer without paying attention to the price tag, which increases dramatically with the high-end sewing machines on offer. Work out where you’re going to sew and store your sewing machine. Size matters with a sewing machine, especially when it comes to storage, so pay attention to the model measurements. Don’t forget about the weight, too, and how this might affect your sewing space.

Decide how many stitches you want

It’s a numbers game in the world of sewing machines, especially when it comes down to stitch types. If you’re savvy, research how the higher stitch numbers are selected on the machine. Sometimes, it’s a fiddly and complicated process that takes a long time to master, so you might want to avoid those models.

Best sewing machines as chosen by our experts

Janome Sewist 780DC sewing machine: easy to use, simple design, and great for sewers across levels of expertise

(Image credit: Amazon)

Janome Sewist 780DC

The best sewing machine for most people

Specifications
RRP: £599
Size: W406mm x H302mm x D177mm
Weight: 6.5kg
Amount of stitches: 80 built-in stitches (including three buttonholes)
Sewing machine type: Computerised sewing machine
Warranty: Two years (an additional three years can be purchased)
Reasons to buy
+LCD display is simple to use+Minimal noise and vibration
Reasons to avoid
-Mid-range price tag-Only 80 utility and decorative stitches

For fuss-free sewing at speed, the Janome Sewist 780DC is for you

As the newest model to launch from the Sewist series, the Janome Sewist 780DC boasts all the latest gadgetry. Even with these time-saving and high-tech additions, the Janome Sewist 780DC never loses its simplicity of design and ease of use. It’s the perfect all-rounder. 

Compared with the other models in our best sewing machines guide, you might be thinking that 80 built-in stitches is an uninspiring number. However, unless you’re planning on embroidering every sewing project you embark upon with letters, numbers, and names, you honestly don’t need any more than what this machine has to offer.

So, whether you’re a beginner or intermediate sewer, this is a great mid-range model to step up to from a mechanical, especially if some of the more complex computerized sewing machines are putting you off. 

Read our full Janome Sewist 780DC sewing machine review

Bernina 435 sewing machine: features thoughtful and robust design elements, including jumbo bobbin leads to fewer interruptions throughout your stitching and the included slide-on extension table provides ample sewing space

(Image credit: Amazon)

Bernina 435

The best premium sewing machine

Specifications
Price: £1,295
Size: W423mm x H328mm x D200mm
Weight: 9.5kg
Amount of stitches: 650 stitch patterns (including nine buttonholes and three alphabets)
Sewing machine type: Computerised sewing machine
Warranty: Seven years
Reasons to buy
+Wide range of stitch patterns to choose from+Sews at a speedy 900 stitches per minute
Reasons to avoid
-An expensive purchase-Touch screen display is quite technical

It’s all in the details with this tech-savvy sewing machine

With the Bernina 435, every single detail has been thought about, every function adapted to help the sewing machine perform faster and be easier to use. For example, if you’re a sewer who likes to tackle big projects, the jumbo bobbin leads to fewer interruptions throughout your stitching and the included slide-on extension table provides ample sewing space. 

And what about the unrivaled amount of stitch patterns on offer? True, some might find this an overwhelming selection to choose from, but with an in-built memory function to save and store your stitch settings, you can return to your favorites time and again at the click of a button.

If you’re still wondering what all the fuss is about, it comes down to the color display and interactive touch screen. Feel like it’s a bit too technical for you? The on-screen Sewing Consultant can help you choose the right settings to suit your stitches and your projects, and it’s always there at the touch of a button to help guide you through.

Read our full Bernina 435 sewing machine review

Silver 197 sewing machine: affordable, yet includes a comprehensive range of features

(Image credit: Amazon)

Silver 197

The best budget sewing machine

Specifications
RRP: £525
Size: W380mm x H280mm x D170mm
Weight: 10kg
Amount of stitches: 197 built-in stitches (including seven buttonholes)
Sewing machine type: Computerised sewing machine
Warranty: Two years
Reasons to buy
+197 stitch patterns including alphabet and number options+Memory mode enables the storage of favourite stitch settings
Reasons to avoid
-LCD display is quite complex-Only 10 direct button stitch selection

An all-rounder that delivers on price and performance

The Silver 197, named after the huge range of built-in stitches, is the perfect all-rounder for both beginners and accomplished sewers. The budget-friendly price tag doesn’t reflect the comprehensive range of features it has to offer, of which there are plenty.

Speed-saving functions, like the automatic needle threader, start/stop button as a foot pedal alternative and LCD display might not set this machine apart from its competitors. However, the memory mode used to store up your favorite stitch settings, and the stitch range that includes alphabetical and numerical options, place this machine above the rest. 

It might not be the quietest machine or have the least vibration, but it makes up for these traits by being the cheapest model that offers the user the most creativity.

Read our full Silver 197 sewing machine review

Necchi NC-102D sewing machine: touts a modern design, pop of color, and 200 utility and decorative stitches

(Image credit: Amazon)

Necchi NC-102D

The best value for money sewing machine

Specifications
RRP: £349
Size: W450mm x H300mm x D180mm
Weight: 6.4kg
Amount of stitches: 200 built-in stitches (including eight buttonholes)
Sewing machine type: Computerised sewing machine
Warranty: Three years
Reasons to buy
+Striking color and design+Great range of decorative stitches
Reasons to avoid
-Lesser-known brand-Only one set of alphanumeric stitches

The Necchi NC-102D ticks all the boxes

The first thing to note about the Necchi NC-102D is the way it looks. Its modern appearance and pop of color make it a standout model among the rest, but you’d be wrong in thinking this model is all style over substance. 

With 200 utility and decorative stitches, including an alphanumeric stitch range, this model packs in a lot of features for the mid-level price tag. There’s a rare mute button, to keep your stitching schtum, and all the usual gadgetry and automatic functions you’d expect from a computerized machine, along with a memory feature.

If that’s not enough, the included nine presser feet are sure to win you over if you want to bag a bargain.  

Read our full Necchi NC-102-D sewing machine review

Singer Heavy Duty 4423 sewing machine: capable of stitching up to 1,100 stitches per minute

(Image credit: Singer)

Singer Heavy Duty 4423

The best heavy duty sewing machine

Specifications
RRP: £399.95
Size: W400mm x H305mm x D160mm
Weight: 6.4kg
Amount of stitches: 23 built-in stitches (including one buttonhole)
Sewing machine type: Mechanical sewing machine
Warranty: Two years
Reasons to buy
+Metal frame and steel bedplate+High sewing speed
Reasons to avoid
-Only foot pedal operated-23 built-in stitches

The Singer Heavy Duty 4423 is a must-have machine for speedy stitchers

Compared with the computerized machines on this list, you might be wondering why we’re championing a mechanical model. The Singer Heavy Duty 4423 is in a league of its own when it comes to durability and build. With a metal internal frame, this sewing machine is built to last. 

Capable of stitching up to 1,100 stitches per minute, the speed alone makes this sewing machine noteworthy. Plus, it makes very little noise and no vibration, even when pushed to these top speeds. So, if you’re looking for an option that can keep up with you, you’ve found it.

It’s easy to operate, too, with dials to select stitch options and a foot pedal to control stitching. The Singer Heavy Duty 4423 goes back to basics, but it does it brilliantly – and in a stylish grey finish, too. 

Read our full Singer Heavy Duty 4423 sewing machine review

Pfaff Creative 1.5 sewing machine: offers large sewing space for big projects and specialized features

(Image credit: Amazon)

Pfaff Creative 1.5

The best specialist sewing machine

Specifications
RRP: £1,399
Size: W480mm x H300mm x D193mm
Weight: 13kg
Amount of stitches: 150 built-in stitches (including seven buttonholes plus two built-in alphabets)
Sewing machine type: Computerised sewing machine
Warranty: Five years
Reasons to buy
+Large sewing space for big projects+Specialized embroidery features
Reasons to avoid
-Very high-tech-Expensive

The Pfaff 1.5 Creative delivers specialized embroidery functions for sewing pros

If you’ve not heard of Pfaff before, it’s about time you did. This modern sewing machine brand is the best on the market for computer-integrated software, so you can completely personalize your stitching experience.

Looks-wise, the Pfaff 1.5 Creative has a sleek and elegant design, which helps it to stand out from the crowd, but this isn’t a machine that puts style over substance. It produces high-speed embroideries perfectly, helped by the Original IDT system and the included master hoop attachment. 

Admittedly, this is a specialist machine, so if you’re an enthusiastic embroiderer or want to use your machine for quilting, it’s the perfect model for you, with a large sewing space and 150 beautiful built-in stitches to choose from. 

Read our full Pfaff 1.5 Creative sewing machine review

Brother Innov-is A60SE sewing machine: creates high-quality, precision stitching at top speeds of 850 stitches per minute, with a vast range of 60 stitches to choose from

(Image credit: Brother)

Brother Innov-is A60SE

The best beginner sewing machine

Specifications
RRP: £399
Size: W419mm x H307mm x D196mm
Weight: 6.5kg
Amount of stitches: 60 stitches (including six buttonholes)
Sewing machine type: Computerised sewing machine
Warranty: Three years
Reasons to buy
+Stitches at a speedy 850 stitches per minute+Easy to use with simple features
Reasons to avoid
-Floral design might not be to your taste

The Brother Innov-is A60 Special Edition is perfect for beginners and confident stitchers alike.

This machine creates high-quality, precision stitching at top speeds of 850 stitches per minute. With a vast range of 60 stitches to choose from, you can sew simple seams with the utility stitches or add decorative topstitching to a project with the embroidery options.

At this affordable price, the Brother Innov-is A60 Special Edition works hard to deliver on a range of practical and time-saving features without sacrificing on simplicity. The modern LCD display screen is so easy to use and the illustrations on the body of the machine help to guide new users around threading techniques. 

So, whether you’re a beginner or advanced sewer, this machine is sure to impress.

Read our full Brother Innov-is A60 Special Edition sewing machine review 

Frequently asked questions

How do I use a sewing machine?

Take a look at our in-depth guide on how to use a sewing machine. It covers all the bases for getting started, like how to set up your machine, how to thread a sewing machine, and a deep-dive on all the buttons, sliders and dials and what they do.  

What fabric should I use?

If you’re a beginner, stick to medium-weight cotton fabrics for easy-stitching. Once you’re confident with cotton, you can progress to light-weight voile fabrics or thick canvas-like fabric for robust upholstery and furnishings. Mastered that? Have a go at sewing with stretch fabrics, thin jerseys or thicker knitted styles. Remember, you’ll need to refer to your sewing machine manual to select the best stitches for your fabrics.

What other equipment do I need?

Once you’ve purchased your sewing machine, it’s a good idea to stock up on some sewing thread and fabrics so you can get going with your sewing projects straight away. Invest in a pair of good fabric shears, Fiskars have a great range that stay razor sharp. You’ll also need a rotary cutter and cutting mat if you want to have a go at patchwork or quilting. Fancy dressmaking? Buy some beginner sewing patterns.