We updated this guide in May 2022 to ensure all products tested and vetted by the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab were in stock and reflected current prices.
Whether you love embroidery, quilting, making clothes and masks or are a beginner sewer eager to learn, when shopping for a sewing machine, the crucial question to ask yourself is: What is most important to me when I sew?
To find the best sewing machines on the market, the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab reviewed hundreds of machines to find the best styles for your home sewing projects. In addition to reviewing tester feedback and online reviews, our sewing pros test out new models from popular brands, evaluating ease of threading, innovative features and sewing performance with different types of fabric. Here are the best sewing machines that you can shop now.
Our top picks:
Best Overall Sewing MachineCS7000i Sewing and Quilting Machine Brother Read More
Best Value Sewing MachineMX231 Sewing Machine SINGER Read More
Best First Sewing MachineStart 1304 Sewing Machine SINGER Read More
Best Sewing Machine for BeginnersHC1850 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine Brother Read More
Best Sewing Machine for QuiltingTL-2000Qi Sewing and Quilting Machine JUKI Read More
- 20,000 rave Amazon reviews
- 70 built-in stitches
- Easy to see LCD screen
- Reviewers recommend paying attention to the tension for best results when sewing with different fabrics
This computerized Brother sewing machine is popular for its many exciting features and ease of use. It has 70 built-in stitches and seven styles of one-step buttonholes, so you can personalize your sewing projects with ease. This machine offers free arm capability when sewing sleeves and drop feed for quilting projects. The LCD screen makes it easy to adjust the stitch width, length and style. We love that it includes 10 different presser feet and a wide table for larger projects. With an impressive 19,000 rave Amazon reviews, shoppers agree with our pros that this sewing machine is an excellent buy.
- Affordable pricetag with metal frame
- Simple controls
- Smaller size than other models
- Some reviewers received machines without manuals
For less than $150, this sewing machine offers the best performance and extras for its value. With a metal frame and classic Singer features, this machine is great for simple projects like hemming, DIY crafts and mastering the basics. There are 23 unique stitches, including straight, zig zag, scallop and twin needle sewing (note: the 97 stitch applications listed on the site refer to the different techniques you can do with the selected stitch). With excellent ease of use features like one step buttonholes, built in needle threader and LED lighting, the price is unbeatable. Online reviewers love its small size, so it can easily be stashed away when not in use too.
- Easy threading
- Multiple presser feet included
- Simple, visual controls
- Only six built-in stitches
If you're completely new to sewing and want to buy your first machine, our pros recommend the Singer Start 1304. It's a simple machine with easy to use controls that won't overwhelm a novice sewer. Its small size makes it perfect to bring to sewing classes while the metal frame ensures it'll last. With over 5,800 rave Amazon reviews, reviewers especially appreciate the easily accessible back stitch and the "surprisingly heavy duty needle."
- Easy to use drop in bobbin
- Adjustable speed
- Impressive 130 included stitches
- Some reviewers had issues with stitch skipping
This sewing machine has an easy to use interface for beginner sewers, but can take on more challenging projects. For beginners, we love that there’s a top drop in bobbin, which is easier to thread than standard styles and a button to stop suddenly if you make a mistake. Plus, the speed is adjustable for extra control. It has 130 built-in stitches, eight buttonhole options, quilting capabilities and tension settings for high stretch fabrics, this machine is well suited for more advanced sewing projects as you learn.
- Quilting capabilities like automatic thread cutting and free motion sewing
- Handles thick layers of fabric
- Large table for bigger projects
- Over $600
Juki sewing machines are popular for being sturdy, long lasting quilting machines, tackling multiple layers of fabric with ease – ideal for sewing large quilts, canvas and other thick fabrics. The bright light makes it easy to see your detail work. This Juki machine boasts features designed just for quilting like automatic thread cutting, knee lifter, presser foot pressure adjustment and free motion capabilities. Reviewers rave about how this advanced machine stays quite still when sewing quickly and makes minimal noise. If you are a beginner, try a simpler quilting sewing machine instead.
- 80 built-in stitches included
- Tons of included accessories
- Clear LCD screen
- Some reviewers found it difficult to sew with super delicate fabrics
If you plan on using your sewing machine mainly for fashion sewing, you want certain features: Free arm capabilities for sleeves and cuffs, presser feet specific for hems and zippers and a variety of stitches and buttonholes. This Baby Lock model is ideal. Stitches can be easily selected from the bright LCD screen with 80 built-in stitches. With great ease of use features like adjustable speed, drop feed capabilities and seven included feet for a variety of needs. Plus, this machine has a maximum sewing speed of 850 stitches per minute for the speedy seamstress.
- 4"x4" embroidery area
- 80 built-in designs with a USB port to import more
- Excellent sewing capabilities too
- Affordable price for an embroidery machine
- Smaller embroidery area compared to pricier models
If you want embroidery capabilities, make sure to shop for an embroidery machine in particular. This model offers excellent features, without as high of a price tag. The large, in color, LCD screen makes it easy to preview and edit all embroidery designs. Although the machine already has 80 built-in designs, there’s a USB port to import your own designs, plus thousands of options from Brother online. With free motion sewing, a bright work area and an automatic needle threader, this machine can do both embroidery and standard sewing. You can make your own clothes then personalize them with embroidery designs and text.
- Size 16 needles sew through tough fabrics with ease
- Multiple presser feet including a non-stick foot
- Great for everyday sewing too
- No speed control
One of the most popular heavy duty sewing machines on the market, the Singer Heavy Duty 4452 sewing machine is great for sewing through challenging fabrics like denim and leather. The needles are size 16, which can go through multiple layers of denim fabric. A non-stick foot is included for other challenging fabrics like leather and vinyl. The pressure of the presser foot is adjustable when sewing on more lightweight versus heavyweight fabrics. With 32 built in stitches, this machine is great for heavy duty and standard fabrics alike.
- Tons of included accessories
- Finger guard
- Super lightweight
- Plastic frame not designed for durability
Although it weighs under three pounds, this mini sewing machine can handle many different sewing projects. Young sewers can benefit from the simple design for easy threading and the finger guard to prevent injuries. It has two different speeds, which is great for kids when first learning. This machine includes different colored threads and bobbins, scissors, a measuring tape, seam ripper, needles and more to get started. Plus, it costs just $42!
- Retractable thread cutter
- Easy to set up for beginners to sergers
- Over 30 included accessories
- Some reviewers found the lint trap didn't stay in place
Sewing machines help projects come together, but sergers finish them with a professional look. Baby Lock Vibrant Serger helps finish edge with four, three, or two thread edges and rolled hems. There’s a retractable thread cutter for easy trimming when finished. If you’re new to using a serger, this machine has a color coded thread system to follow. The feed and tensions can be adjusted for a personalized experience when sewing on different fabrics. We love that this machine includes over 30 accessories that you’ll need to keep this machine in excellent condition for years to come.
- Mechanical machine for ease of use
- Many reviewers said they've had this machine for years
- Simple controls
- Fewer stitch options than other machines of the same price
Janome is a brand known for heavy duty sewing. When sewing with tough leather, you'll need a machine up for the challenge. This mechanical machine is a popular pick for its durability, handling difficult fabrics or multiple layers with ease. It offers 18 built-in stitches, 7 included presser feet (with foot pressure adjustment available) and 1 step automatic buttonholes. While not best suited for beginners, experienced sewers love how this machine is easy to operate and stays in pristine condition even with heavy use.
- Over 500 stitches included
- Five inch touchscreen
- Thread tie off option (no back stitching necessary)
- Most expensive pick in the round-up
If you want the absolute top of the line machine or sew for your job, you need a luxury sewing machine that can withstand constant use and offers excellent features for an expert sewer. Look no further than Bernette machines. Synonymous with high quality, this luxury machine offers embroidery, quilting and standard sewing capabilities. With a massive library of 500 stitches and 17 button hole options, this machine can create your own combinations by remembering your exact stitch specifications for specific fabrics in its short and long term memory. Although it is a pricey pick, it’s one of the most affordable Bernette models.
Machines come with lots of different add-ons, accessories and capabilities that may not be relevant to you and just add unnecessary cost, while other features you cannot sew without. Here are some specific features to look at before shopping:
✔️ Number and styles of stitches offered: For beginner sewers, you will need just two stitches: Straight and zig zag. More experienced sewers should look for a wider variety. For example, if you love embroidery or quilting, make sure you look for machines that provide those capabilities: If your machine doesn’t offer embroidery or free motion sewing, those features cannot be added later on. Additionally, make sure the machine has the capability to adjust stitch length, zig zag width and tension so you have more control over your sewing.
✔️ Included accessories: Most machines include a bobbin and a presser foot, but some include much more. For the most bang for your buck, check if the machine includes a zipper foot, buttonhole foot, embroidery foot, removable extended work table and an area for storage.
✔️ Extra features: Some machines include specific capabilities that can make sewing a whole lot easier like a thread cutter, automatic needle threader, lights, free arm, blind stitching and buttonhole capabilities. Once you have them, sometimes you cannot imagine sewing on a machine without them.
✔️ Frame construction: For the longevity of the machine, you want to look for a metal frame option. Plastic frames are common, but can deteriorate quickly and be more difficult to repair.
As with all sewing machines, make sure to read the included manual carefully before sewing, as every machine has slightly different use and care instructions. Then, sew away!
Emma Seymour is a senior textiles product analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute. She’s been at Good Housekeeping for more than three years, overseeing in-Lab and consumer tests for luggage, tampons, pillows, sheets, period underwear and more. With a degree in fiber science and apparel design from Cornell University, she has extensive research experience, particularly focused on athletic wear. As a lifetime sewer with previous product-development experience, she has a strong fashion background with expertise on proper fit and construction. She continues to expand her knowledge with additional coursework on sustainable manufacturing and new textile testing methodologies.