When in the market for an affordable, new sewing machine, you may not have the budget for an industrial or professional level machine. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to compromise on quality in order to find a great professional quality machine! Many manufacturers make quality economical sewing machines with the features sewers are looking for at price points that won’t break the bank.
The buyer needs to be careful, though, because there are many machines out there for under $200, but they are not all quality machines rated highly by their users. This buying guide will help you find the perfect machine to meet your needs without breaking your budget.
If you’re a newbie, it’s not necessarily the best idea to get the cheapest sewing machine you can find. On slightly more expensive machines, there are several really wonderful features that can make your life a lot easier. For example, a one-step automatic buttonhole! Here are a few things to think about before you go out and find your new sewing best friend.
1. Sewing Machines: Full-Size vs. Miniature
A compact sewing machine will be substantially less expensive and handle basic stitching jobs perfectly if you plan to travel exclusively and only require extremely basic functionality.
However, if you want to sew more frequently and have greater functionality, a full-size sewing machine is the way to go. Even if it costs more, the extra money will be well worth it.
2. Mechanical vs. Computerized
Sewing machines with computers have a lot more features, but they’re also a lot more expensive!
You sew with a foot pedal and change stitches, length, and width with dials on mechanical sewing machines. You can typically sew with buttons on a computerized machine and pick your stitch parameters using an LCD screen. You may even customize and store stitch designs on some computerized machines.
3. Presser Feet Included
When you stitch, presser feet keep the fabric in place.
A universal zigzag foot is included with all sewing machines, allowing you to create a straight or zigzag stitch. For most tasks, this will suffice.
Having extra sewing feet, on the other hand, can make some tasks easier. Buttonhole and button-sewing feet are useful for sewing buttons into clothes, while zipper feet make sewing zippers easier. More presser feet, such as a quilting foot, walking foot, overcasting foot, blind hem foot, or narrow hem foot, can also increase your stitching options.
While it’s ideal to buy a sewing machine that comes with the feet you want, most machines can be upgraded with additional presser feet.
4. Buttonholes and Stitches
Consider how many built-in stitches you want and what types of stitches you desire.
Is a straight stitch all you need? Then there’s no need to spend a lot of money on a machine with a lot of stitches.
There’s no point to buy a sewing machine with an automatic one-step buttonhole stitch if you never plan to sew on buttons.
4. Needle Threader (Automatic)
The most basic sewing machines lack this feature, but a machine with an automatic needle threader can be had for as little as $10 extra.
This needle threader has a little lever and hook around which you loop the thread. The thread passes through the eye of the needle with a flick of the lever. If you have poor near eyesight or have trouble with unsteady hands, this function will come in handy! (If you have weak vision, look for an LED light!)
Best Affordable Sewing Machines
Here are the best cheap sewing machines you can buy.
The Brother CS7000i model is a great affordable computerized tailoring machine packed with features at an affordable price. It comes programmed with 70 stitch patterns, including utility, quilting, decorative, and heirloom stitches for use in a wide variety of tailoring projects. It has the capability to switch to a free arm and also has a drop feed, which makes it suitable for work on hard-to-access areas such as cuffs, and quilting projects as well.Check Today's Price on Amazon
The Singer Heavy Duty 4411 model provides powerful stitching at a great price. The adjustable needle position and presser foot make the placement of zippers and decorative touches like cording simple. Stitch length is adjustable for projects such as basting and applique.
- Adjustable needle position
- Presser foot is adjustable to accommodate a variety of materials
- Includes basic and decorative stitches
The Brother XM2701 model is a lightweight, yet powerful affordable sewing machine at a great price. It comes programmed with 27 stitch patterns, including a one-step, auto-sized buttonhole function. It has a free arm, which makes it suitable for a variety of projects, from beginner to advanced.
- Automatic needle threader and drop-in top bobbin
- Versatile free arm
- 25 year limited warranty
The Singer Start 1304 is a great affordable budget machine for beginners to experienced sewers that will work for many basic projects. It comes programmed with six stitch patterns, including zig-zag, blind hem, or scallop stitch. The extension table can be removed to expose the free arm, which is perfect for use in free sewing and on quilting projects.
- Heavy-duty metal frame
- Stainless steel bedplate for improved fabric feed
- 4-step buttonhole
The Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW model includes a wide variety of features at a great price. It is easy to select one of the many 50 built-in stitches using the convenient LCD screen. The feed system allows for work on a wide range of materials, from silks to denim, with precision and professional results.
- Automatic needle threader and top drop-in bobbin
- LCD screen
- 25 year limited warranty
The Brother XR3774 model features an automatic needle threader and top drop-in bobbin loading system for easy set-up. A free arm and extended work table make working with bulky projects like quilts convenient. It is also programmed with 37 built-in stitches, including decorative stitches, blind hem stitches, quilting stitches, and a one-step buttonhole.
- One step, auto-size buttonhole
- Eight included sewing feet
- Brightly lit LED work area
The Janome 2212 model is a quality entry-level affordable sewing machine at a great price point. It comes programmed with six stitch patterns and a four-step buttonhole. The free arm and drop feed make this machine suitable for all kinds of projects, such as quilting and garment creation.
- Free arm and convertible flatbed
- Maximum speed of 860 stitches per minute
- Four-step buttonhole
The Janome Arctic Crystal sewing machine is easy to use and designed with beginners in mind. It is programmed with 15 popular and versatile stitches for use on a wide range of projects, including quilting, home decor, and garment creation. Youtube tutorial videos are easily available to help you improve your skills.
- Front-loading bobbin system
- Heavy-duty metal frame
- 4 presser feet included
The Janome C30 model comes programmed with 30 stitch patterns, including a customizable, one-step buttonhole. It has a drop feed function and a free arm for ease working with quilting projects. The machine weighs 11 pounds, making it easily portable.
- Computerized buttons – easy reverse, locking stitch, needle up/down, and sliding speed control
- Free arm with removable storage compartment
- Drop feed function for quilting
The Galadim GD-015-AE model is an affordable sewing machine with a variety of great features at a great price point. It comes programmed with 12 different stitch patterns to meet the needs of a variety of projects. An LED sewing light allows you to see the needle well for easy threading and also see the details of your work.
- Replaceable presser foot
- LED sewing light
- Adjustable needle spacing allows you to customize stitches
Cheap Sewing Machine Buyer’s Guide
You might think that you can’t get a computerized sewing machine for under $200, but there are several good options available. These machines are programmed with up to seventy stitch patterns and some even offer customization of stitches. Decorative stitches can be used to customize projects. Many of these machines are also heavy-duty enough to work with multiple layers of fabric and heavy-weight materials such as denim or leather.
Affordable Quilting Machines
Affordable quilting machines are also included in this buying guide. Several machines have a free arm option to allow for free sewing and applique, and extension tables to facilitate smooth feeding of multiple layers of fabric.
An affordable price does not mean that you are limited to basic sewing projects. Many of the machines in this buying guide are suitable for decorative work. These machines can also be used to work on materials ranging from light to heavyweight. Many also feature free arms and extension tables for work on hard-to-reach areas like cuffs and hems. Some models come with different presser feet and needle types to make the same machine useful for a variety of different projects.
Both beginners and advanced sewists can find a machine to meet their needs without breaking the bank. These machines can be used to create professional-quality garments, complete all stages of quilting projects, and add decorative stitches to make any project unique. Sewers also don’t have to give up on options such as free arms and customizable stitch patterns if they have a budget of under $200, or even less. Some of the most popular machines in this guide are under $100!