The 10 Best Mechanical Sewing Machines For Makers (2020 Reviews)

IN THIS GUIDE

Do you want to get started sewing and creating, but don’t want to overcomplicate things as a new maker?  Maybe you want to get your kids started sewing but don’t want them messing up your complicated electronic machine. 

One of the best places to start when you’re new to sewing is with a simple mechanical sewing machine.  These machines are easy to operate right out of the box, don’t have a lot of electronics to malfunction and are just way more straightforward and easy to use when you’re just starting out.  

But, how on earth do you pick the best mechanical sewing machine when there are SO many out there.  How do you keep from choosing the wrong one, or one that actually makes your sewing even more complicated?  

That’s where this guide comes in.  We’ve gone through the most popular and easy to find mechanical sewing machines out there and done the research for you.

Now let’s have a look…

The 10 Best Mechanical Sewing Machines

Here are our top picks for the best mechanical sewing machine at three different price points.

Read below for all the details about which features to look for in a mechanical sewing machine.

This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is sort of boring, but you can find it here.



#1 Brother XM2701


Brother Sewing Machine XM2701, Lightweight, Full Featured, 27 Stitches
  • 27 UNIQUE BUILT-IN STITCHES: The XM2701 includes 27 built-in stitches including decorative, blind hem, zigzag, and stretch stitches and an auto-size buttonhole
  • AUTOMATIC NEEDLE THREADER AND DROP-IN TOP BOBBIN: This sewing machine includes an automatic needle threader that perfectly pushes thread through the needle and a convenient, jam resistant drop-in top bobbin
  • INCLUDED ACCESSORIES: The XM2701 comes with 6 sewing feet, 3-piece needle set, twin needle, 4 bobbins, instructional DVD, manual and more
  • VERSATILE FREE ARM: This free arm sewing machine is perfect for a wide range of everyday sewing projects, and users from beginners to advanced
  • AT YOUR SIDE SUPPORT: The XM2701 sewing machine comes with Brother At Your Side support offering free technical support via online, live chat or phone for the life of your machine

Manufacturers Specs

  • 800 stitches per minute max
  • 27 built-in stitches
  • 12.6 pounds
  • 5 mm stitch width
  • 4 mm stitch length

What We Like

  • Drop-in bobbin
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Comes with 6 extra presser feet
  • 1 step buttonhole
  • Lots of stitches to choose from
  • Built-in accessory storage
  • Comes with a hard carrying case

What We Don’t Like

  • Have to have a DVD player for the instructional video
  • Speed can be hard to control

Our Verdict

If you’re looking for the best mechanical sewing machine with lots of features at a great price, this one should definitely be on your shortlist. This is our top choice in the lowest price category.

#2 Singer Heavy Duty 4452


SINGER | Heavy Duty 4452 Sewing Machine with 32 Built-In Stitches, Metal Frame, Built-In Needle Threader, & Heavy Duty Accessory Kit – Sewing Made Easy,Grey
  • SINGER HEAVY DUTY SEWING MACHINE: The SINGER Heavy Duty 4452 sewing machine boasts an array of features that make creating elegant garments and gifts for yourself and others fun and exciting. The Sewing machine with 32 built-in stitches includes 6 Basic, 7 Stretch, 18 Decorative Stitches and 1 Fully Automatic 1-step Buttonholes. A large variety of stitches for all types of sewing and perfect for crafts, home decor, clothing construction and much more
  • AUTOMATIC NEEDLE THREADER SEWING MACHINE: After following the threading path printed right on the machine, this built-in feature helps you to effortlessly thread the eye of the needle without eye strain or frustration, Machine Size – 15.5 x 6.25 x 12 inches
  • HIGH-SPEED SEWING MACHINE: The Singer 4452 sewing machine has a maximum sewing speed of 1,100 stitches-per-minute, so projects can be sewn quickly. The 60% Stronger Motor than standard sewing machines allows it to sew through heavyweight fabrics with ease.
  • SEWING MACHINE ACCESSORIES: Four bonus Heavy Duty optimized accessories included: Even Feed / Walking Foot for layers of fabric, Non-Stick Foot for leather and vinyl, a 5-pack of Size 16 needles and a Clearance Plate for thick seams. Plus a variety of must-have accessories are included with all-purpose foot, zipper foot, buttonhole foot, button sewing foot, seam ripper / lint brush, quilting guide, needles, bobbins, screwdriver, auxiliary spool pin, spool pin felt are all conveniently located and stored in the accessory tray. A soft-sided dust cover is also included in the packaging
  • BEST SELLING SEWING MACHINE: The SINGER Heavy Duty 4452 sewing machine is a true workhorse. The stainless steel bedplate enables smooth fabric flow and the heavy duty interior metal frame ensures skip-free sewing. Top drop-in bobbin is easy to insert, remove and monitor thread supply

Manufacturers Specs

  • 1100 stitches per minute max
  • 32 built-in stitches
  • 15 pounds
  • 6 mm stitch width
  • 4 mm stitch length

What We Like

  • Adjustable needle position perfect for zippers and topstitching.
  • Extra-high presser foot lifter
  • Drop feed for free-motion sewing
  • Online sewing tutorials
  • Comes with a walking foot (super helpful for quilters), zipper foot, buttonhole foot, and other all-purpose feet
  • Onboard accessory storage

What we don’t like

  • The buttonhole attachment can be finicky
  • Automatic needle threader can take some practice

Our Verdict

If you’re looking for a heavy-duty machine that has the ability to sew thicker materials like leather, this is a great choice. It comes with accessories like the walking foot that usually don’t come with basic mechanical machines. The adjustable needle position is super handy for inserting zippers, welt, and topstitching. This is a top buy for sure, and is our favorite pick for a mid-priced best mechanical sewing machine.

#3 Janome Magnolia 7325


Janome Magnolia 7325 Sewing Machine with Exclusive Bonus Bundle
  • Bonus Bundle Includes: Purple Tote [color may vary].
  • Looking to get started sewing on a budget? The Magnolia 7325 might be the perfect fit! A fully electronic sewing machine with 25 stitches allows you to experiment and learn with ease.

Manufacturers Specs

  • 800 stitches per minute max
  • 25 built-in stitches
  • 18.7 pounds
  • 5 mm stitch width
  • 5 mm stitch length

What We Like

  • Needle up/down feature
  • Drop feed
  • High presser foot lift
  • Adjustable foot pressure
  • Good presser foot selection
  • Available optional accessories for future upgrades

What we don’t like

  • No locking stitch which we’d expect at this price point

Our Verdict

This machine is our top choice at this price point. Janome makes quality machines and this one has many extra features we didn’t expect like the needle up/down feature which can really add to your sewing enjoyment. The possibility to add extra accessories and presser feet in the future also makes this machine stand out. It’s our top pick in the highest price category.

#4 Singer Heavy Duty 4423


SINGER | Heavy Duty 4423 Sewing Machine with 23 Built-In Stitches -12 Decorative Stitches, 60% Stronger Motor & Automatic Needle Threader, Perfect for Sewing all Types of Fabrics with Ease
  • SINGER HEAVY DUTY SEWING MACHINE: The 23 built-in stitches including basic, stretch, decorative, and buttonhole stitches allow you to sew a variety of projects, such as fashions, home décor, quilts, crafts, and more
  • AUTOMATIC NEEDLE THREADER SEWING MACHINE: After following the threading path printed right on the machine, this built-in feature helps you to effortlessly thread the eye of the needle without eye strain or frustration. Amps (0.7). Watts (84). Volts (120). Hz (60)
  • HIGH-SPEED SEWING MACHINE:The Singer 4423 Sewing Machine has a maximum sewing speed of 1, 100 stitches-per-minute, so projects can be sewn quickly. The 60% Stronger Motor provides greater piercing power for thick seams
  • HEAVY DUTY METAL FRAME: The Singer 4423 heavy duty sewing machine is a true workhorse. With a heavy-duty metal interior frame, stainless steel bedframe, extra-high sewing speed and powerful motor, this sewing machine can sew through a variety of heavy weight fabrics and provides long lasting stability
  • SEWING MACHINE ACCESSORIES: A variety of accessories are included with All-purpose foot, zipper foot, buttonhole foot, button sewing foot, seam ripper/lint brush, quilting guide, needles, bobbins, screwdriver, auxiliary spool pin, spool pin felt are all conveniently located and stored in the accessory tray. A soft-sided dust cover is also included in the packaging

Manufacturers Specs

  • 1100 stitches per minute max
  • 23 built-in stitches
  • 14.6 pounds
  • 6 mm stitch width
  • Adjustable stitch length

What We Like

  • Drop-in bobbin
  • Feed dogs can be dropped for free motion quilting
  • Strong motor
  • Built-in needle threader
  • Good assortment of stitches
  • Snap-on presser feet include zipper, buttonhole, button sewing foot

What we don’t like

  • Can be a bit loud
  • Hard to work the needle threader
  • Foot pedal can be finicky

Our Verdict

This machine is a good choice if you’re looking for something a bit heavier. It comes with just about everything a beginner would need to get started creating and sewing. One of our top picks.

#5 Janome D3000


Janome HD3000 Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine with 18 Built-In Stitches + Hard Case
  • 7-piece feed dog
  • 6.5mm mHeavy-duty frame
  • Heavy-duty frame
  • Comes with Hard Cover
  • Built-in Needle Threader

Manufacturers Specs

  • 18 built-in stitches
  • 19 pounds
  • 6.5 mm stitch width
  • 4 mm stitch length

What We Like

  • Comes with a hard cover
  • Can sew heavier fabrics
  • Extra high presser foot lift for thicker layers
  • Feed dogs can be dropped for free-motion sewing
  • Automatic bobbin winding
  • Built-in storage for presser feet and accessories
  • Quiet
  • Lots of optional feet and accessories you can purchase in the future to expand your sewing

What we don’t like

  • Dropping the feed dogs can be complicated
  • Threader is difficult to use

Our Verdict

One of the priciest machines on the list, this mechanical sewing machine is heavier weight and has the ability to upgrade in the future with lots of optional accessories. If your budget allows it, this is a solid choice for a best mechanical sewing machine. We still like our #3 choice better in the higher-priced category, which is also a Janome.

#6 Singer Start 1304


SINGER Start 1304 6 Built-in Stitches, Free Arm Best Sewing Machine for Beginners
  • Heavy duty metal frame ensures that the machine remains Still for skip-free sewing
  • Stainless steel bedplate provides smooth fabric feed for even sewing
  • Made in China
  • Amps:0.6. Volts – 110

Manufacturers Specs

  • 350 stitches per minute max
  • 6 built-in stitches
  • 11.5 pounds
  • Preset stitch widths
  • Preset stitch lengths

What We Like

  • Easy to thread
  • Automatic bobbin winder
  • Built-in buttonholer
  • Can do twin needle sewing for topstitching

What we don’t like

  • Can’t adjust stitch width or length beyond the 6 presets
  • Quick start guide can be hard to follow for a new sewist

Our Verdict

This machine would be good for simple repairs and hems, but lacks many of the features of similarly priced models. If this machine is in your price range, you’d be better off with our #1 listed machine above (Brother XM2701).

#7 Janome 2212


Janome 2212 Sewing Machine
  • Easy turn dial pattern selection
  • 12 built-in stitches including a four-step buttonhole
  • Stitch width adjustment and length adjustment ensures ease of use
  • Drop feed for free motion sewing and quilting
  • 110-volt machine, for use in US only

Manufacturers Specs

  • 1000 stitches per minute max
  • 12 built-in stitches
  • 13 pounds
  • 5 mm stitch width
  • 4 mm stitch length

What We Like

  • Drop feed
  • Front-loading bobbin
  • Built-in thread cutter
  • Free Arm
  • Extra high presser foot lift
  • Buttonhole foot

What we don’t like

  • It lacks a zipper foot and other specialty feet
  • It’s light enough to move around a bit when sewing fast

Our Verdict

While this Janome mechanical sewing machine is a quality choice, it lacks some standard things like a zipper foot that can make your sewing experience easier. It may not be the best mechanical sewing machine for your needs, but it has some good features and is easy to select and adjust the desired stitches.

#8 Singer Heavy Duty 4432


SINGER Heavy Duty 4432 32 Built-in Stitches, Automatic Needle Threader, Metal Frame and Stainless Steel Bedplate, Perfect T Sewing Machine, Gray
  • HEAVY DUTY METAL FRAME: Adds stability and provides long lasting durability
  • SEWING MACHINE ACCESSORIES: A variety of accessories are included: all-purpose foot, zipper foot, buttonhole foot, button sewing foot, seam ripper/lint brush, edge/quilting guide, needles, bobbins, screwdriver, auxiliary spool pin, and spool pin felt are all conveniently located and stored in the accessory tray. A soft-sided dust cover is also included in the packaging
  • REVERSE STITCH SEWING MACHINE: The SINGER 4432 heavy duty sewing machine has a built-in reverse lever so you can sew in reverse and reinforce stitches
  • Limited 90-DAY for Adjustments, Belts, Rings, Bulbs, Attachments; Limited 2-Year for Motors, Light assembly, Wiring, Switches, Speed control and Electronic Components; Limited 25-Year for Sewing Machine Head
  • Included Components: Includes: All-Purpose, Zipper, Buttonhole, & Button Sewing Feet, Seam Ripper/Lint Brush, Quilting Guide, Needles, Bobbins, Screwdriver, Auxiliary Spool Pin, Spool Pin Felt, Soft-Sided Dust Cover, Manual, Power Cord, Foot Controller, Quick Start Guide

Manufacturers Specs

  • 1100 stitches per minute max
  • 32 built-in stitches
  • 17.4 pounds
  • 6 mm stitch width
  • Adjustable stitch length

What We Like

  • Adjustable pressure system
  • Drop feed dogs
  • 4 snap-on presser feet for zipper, buttonholes and general sewing
  • 3 needle positions
  • Bright LED light

What we don’t like

  • Handwheel can be slippery and hard to turn

Our Verdict

This is a solid, heavy-duty mechanical sewing machine that does a good job at all basic sewing tasks. It has a metal frame and stainless steel bedplate which is more durable and sturdy. The ability to change the needle position is handy for tasks like zippers and topstitching.

#9 Bernette 33


Bernette 33 Swiss Design Sewing Machine
  • Stitch Width: 5mm
  • Hook System: Front Loading
  • Patterns: 15
  • Utility Stitches: 14
  • Buttonholes: 4-Step

Manufacturers Specs

  • 860 stitches per minute max
  • 15 built-in stitches
  • 5 mm stitch width
  • Adjustable stitch length

What We Like

  • Good easy to understand manual
  • Smooth running motor
  • Quiet
  • Can purchase optional feet and accessories for future expansion

What we don’t like

  • Bobbins can sometimes wind unevenly
  • 10-year warranty when most mechanical machines have a 25-year warranty.

Our Verdict

We love Berninas so we wanted to love this machine. It does a good job for basic mechanical sewing machine tasks, comes with a good selection of presser feet, with the possibility of purchasing more accessories down the road. The fact that the warranty isn’t as generous may help you decide that for the price point, this may not be the best mechanical sewing machine for you. There are better machines on this list, like #2 on our list, the Singer 4452.

#10 Brother ST371HD


Brother Machine ST371HD, Strong & Tough, 37 Built-in Stitches, Free Arm Option, 6 Included Sewing Feet
  • 37 UNIQUE BUILT-IN STITCHES: The Brother ST371HD features 37 built-in stitches including an auto-size buttonhole
  • AUTOMATIC NEEDLE THREADER AND DROP-IN TOP BOBBIN: This sewing machine includes an automatic needle threader that perfectly pushes thread through the needle and a convenient, jam resistant drop-in top bobbin
  • INCLUDED ACCESSORIES: The ST371HD heavy duty sewing machine includes 6 sewing feet, instructional DVD, manual and more
  • VERSATILE FREE ARM: This free arm sewing machine is perfect for a wide range of everyday sewing projects, and users from beginning to advanced
  • AT YOUR SIDE SUPPORT: The ST371HD sewing machine comes with Brother At Your Side support offering free technical support via online, live chat or phone for the life of your machine

Manufacturers Specs

  • 800 stitches per minute max
  • 37 built-in stitches
  • 15.1 pounds
  • 7 mm stitch width
  • 5 mm stitch length

What We Like

  • One-step automatic buttonholer
  • Good selection of presser feet
  • Metal needle plate
  • Twin needle capable
  • Drop feed
  • Free Arm

What we don’t like

  • Feels a bit “plastic-y”
  • LED light not very bright

Our Verdict

This machine does a decent job doing the tasks a beginner sewist would want in a mechanical machine. It’s a solid choice at this price point, so we put it in our list of the best mechanical sewing machine.

best mechanical sewing machines

What is a Mechanical Sewing Machine?

Mechanical sewing machines are simple sewing machines that are built to operate without lots of electronic settings.  These machines are operated with simple dials, knobs and sliders that can adjust things like stitch length and width.  

Mechanical sewing machines usually are easier to learn to sew on than the fancier electronic machines because there are fewer settings and adjustments to learn. 

Why Should you choose a mechanical machine?

Mechanical sewing machines are perfect if:

  • You are a beginner sewist.
  • You have a tight budget.
  • You have basic sewing needs, like straight stitching, zig-zagging and buttonholes.
  • Electronics make you nervous.
  • You learned on a mechanical machine and you feel comfortable using one.

A mechanical sewing machine probably is not your best option if:

  • You want to be able to do a large number of specialty stitches.
  • You want to be able to do embroidery, free motion quilting or monogramming

Pros of Mechanical Sewing Machines

  • Simplicity:  Mechanical sewing machines are easy to learn to sew with.  They are perfect for beginning sewists because the learning curve is short and you can get to creating right away.  They are also perfect for teaching others to sew on. They are a great choice for kids because there are fewer adjustments, and fewer things to become frustrated with. 
  • Affordability:  Mechanical Sewing machines are usually much cheaper than computerized models so they are great for sewists and crafters just starting out.   They are a great option if you’re just beginning to explore sewing and don’t know how much you’ll love it.
  • Durability:  Mechanical sewing machines can be more durable in the long run because there are fewer parts to break, and no electronics to malfunction.

Cons of Mechanical Sewing Machines

  • Limited number of stitches:  A mechanical machine usually has a few standard stitches.  If you are looking for a wide variety of stitches, a mechanical machine probably isn’t for you.
  • Fewer functions:  These basic machines have fewer functions than the pricier electronics machines.  If you’re looking for 10 kinds of buttonholes, automatic threaders, and the ability to do fancy stitches, you won’t be able to find these features.

Features to Look For in a Mechanical Sewing Machine

Number of Built-In Stitches

Make sure the machine you choose has enough stitches to keep you happy when you’re creating, but not so many that it adds extra complexity (and cost) to the machine.

Most beginning sewists will need at the minimum, a straight stitch (for woven fabrics), and a zig-zag stitch (for knits/stretch fabrics, and for edge finishing).

Sew for a while and you’ll discover your favorite go-to stitches. I’ve been sewing for years and haven’t used half of the built-in stitches on my machine.

Machine Weight & Construction

This can be a tough one…you want a machine heavy enough not to shake and shimmy when you sew quickly, but light enough to be portable and easy to move around.

The moral of the story is lighter isn’t usually better than a medium weight machine.

Look for a heavy-duty model if you’re going to be sewing heavier materials like canvas, denim or leather.   If you want to sew these tougher fabrics look for a metal case and a more powerful motor.

Free Arm

A free arm system is a necessity if you want to sew anything that’s like a small tube. (Like sleeves, pant legs, scrunchies, etc.)

Most machines have a stitch platform that slides off leaving a free arm left so you can easily sew smaller diameter items.

Drop Feed

If you think you may want to try any kind of free-motion sewing like quilting, pick a mechanical machine that has the ability to drop the feed dogs.

Adjustable Needle Position

Being able to shift the needle position to the right or left really comes in handy when you’re topstitching or putting in a zipper or cording. This feature usually is only found on the more expensive mechanical sewing machines but is a great feature to have if you think you may want to try your hand at garment sewing.

Needle Up/Down

If you choose a machine with this feature, you can set the machine to stop with the needle up or down in the fabric.

Accessories & Presser Feet

Most mechanical sewing machines come with basic presser feet, but many machines come with extra presser feet for jobs like zippers and buttonholes.  These can really make your sewing life easier if you are planning to make garments and clothing.

Extra Features

Most mechanical machines come with some handy features, but not a comprehensive list.  Make sure you consider if you’ll want to have features like LED lighting, accessory box, etc. 

Warranty

Most mechanical machines come with a limited warranty. Check the fine print because the terms can vary by manufacturer.

Summary: Our Top Picks at Each Pricepoint

Here are our top picks for the best mechanical sewing machine at three different price points.



The takeaway: Which is the Best mechanical Sewing Machine for Me?

The best mechanical sewing machine for you is one you can afford and one that has the basic stitches you need for your projects.  Unless you have an unlimited budget, there is no reason to pick a top of the line electronic machine when you’re just starting out.  

You should consider buying a mechanical sewing machine if you want a limited number of stitches, have basic sewing needs and want a simple, durable machine that is easy to learn on.  

Choose the machine that has the accessories and features you are looking for at the price you want to pay, and you’ll have many years of joyful creativity in your future. 

What should you look for when you want to buy the best mechanical sewing machine for your creative needs? Find out which features to expect and how much money you'll need to spend to get a mechanical sewing machine that will give you hours of sewing enjoyment.