This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Which sewing machine for beginners is best?

Learning a new skill, pastime or hobby can be a daunting task, especially when it is something as potentially complex as sewing. Thankfully, there are plenty of sewing machines made for those just starting out that contain some advanced features, allowing you to grow your skill.

The top choice of sewing machine for beginners is the Brother CS6000i 60-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine. This particular machine is well-equipped to help beginners learn the computerized functions, and more experienced sewers will appreciate both its simple and more advanced features.

What to know before you buy a sewing machine for beginners

Computerized vs. mechanical

Both computerized and mechanical sewing machines for beginners have pros and cons.

  • Computerized: Computerized sewing machines allow you to adjust the length, width and stitch length with a few button pushes, and they may also have adjustable speed controls that don’t require a pedal. They also offer a multitude of stitching options. Adding more stitching options can raise the cost of the machine a good amount.
  • Mechanical: Mechanical sewing machines use all manner of dials, knobs and levers to adjust every aspect of your sewing, and are generally easier to maintain and repair. They don’t typically have as many stitching and decorative options as computerized models, but if you like the hands-on aspect, then the finer controls are unbeatable.

Battery vs. electric

Battery-operated sewing machines lower the overall cost, but introduce several cons. They are considerably smaller than standard machines, provide less power and the power they do provide is quickly drained. They don’t have the motor strength to stitch through thick fabrics like denim and have a limited number of available stitches. Handheld models allow you to mend average tears in fabrics of reasonable thickness, which makes them a great pick for traveling.


Most sewing machines take up a good amount of space in both storage and while in use, but there are a few compact and handheld models made specifically for mending. Slightly smaller than standard sizes, compact machines generally have fewer features and built-in stitches.

What to look for in a quality sewing machine for beginners

Drop-in bobbin

Many users prefer drop-in bobbins over front-load ones, as they are usually easier to load. This may be especially true for beginners who might struggle initially. Machines with clear plate coverings are even better, as they allow you to see when your bottom thread is about to run out.

Automatic threader

An automatic threader can thread the eye of your needle automatically. This is an excellent option for those with shakier hands or poor eyesight. However, most beginners should be able to master manually threading a needle easily enough to make this feature more of a minor bonus. 

Needle up/down

Some sewing machines include a feature which raises and lowers the needle either by pushing a button or after you release pressure on your foot pedal. This is particularly helpful for stitching corners or angles.

How much you can expect to spend on a sewing machine for beginners

As a beginner, you may wish to start with something small and inexpensive before launching into more complex and pricey machines. Beginner sewing machines can cost less than $50. A better choice may be to spend $50-$150 on an intermediate machine so you won’t become frustrated with the lack of features or need to upgrade as quickly. Another option is to jump in feet-first with a high-end beginner sewing machine costing between $150-$300.

Sewing machine for beginners FAQ

What is a good beginner sewing project to cut my teeth on?

A. At the beginning, you can develop your skills by mastering straight sewing with woven fabrics, like woven cotton. Placemats, pillows and pajamas are great starter projects for this kind of thing. Once you’ve mastered this you can move on to knit cottens, flannels or fleece.

Does a sewing machine need to be serviced regularly?

A. Not regularly per say, but certainly occasionally. It depends on how much you use it and what you’ve been sewing. If you regularly maintain your machine yourself using the manufacturer’s guidelines, then you can probably get away with having it professionally serviced once every 12-18 months. If you aren’t sure where to take your sewing machine for service, check the manufacturer’s website or with the good people at a local sewing or crafts store.

What are the best sewing machines for beginners to buy?

Top sewing machine for beginners

Brother CS6000i 60-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine

Brother CS6000i 60-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine

What you need to know: This sewing machine is for the beginner that wants to challenge themself to tackle some intermediate goals.

What you’ll love: Quilting capabilities and various features like adjustable top speed and drop feed as well as bobbin winding are high marks for this Brother.

What you should consider: The tension setting can be difficult to adjust as desired.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top sewing machine for beginners for the money

Brother XM2701 Lightweight Sewing Machine

Brother XM2701 Lightweight Sewing Machine

What you need to know: This is a top budget option that includes a host of useful basic and a few intermediate options.

What you’ll love: The automatic needle threader is a godsend and an included instructional DVD helps true beginners get started fast.

What you should consider: The foot pedal is sensitive, so it may take a longer time to get used to than expected.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Singer 7258 100-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine

Singer 7258 100-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine

What you need to know: This computerized model has a variety of extra accessories that are surprisingly affordable.

What you’ll love: The speed control dial lets you concentrate on accuracy, and the thread cutter and drop needle positioning also ease the path for beginners.

What you should consider: This particular sewing machine struggles to quilt multiple layers of fabric. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.