There are many sewing machines with low prices, but many of them lack the functionality that make daily sewing easier. Here is our list of the top three bargains, for the frugal enthusiasts.
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1. Brother XL2600i
The Brother XL2600i is also featured on our Best for Beginners list. It is priced at a very comfortable $80, and includes some features that are uncommon at twice this price. Beginners and everyday sewists look for features, like: automatic threader, one-step buttonhole stitches, automatic bobbin winder, built in thread cutter, and adjustable stitch length. This machine has all of these functions.
What Makes the Brother XL2600i a Bargain?
- It has 24 stitches. It includes a versatile collection of utility and decorative stitches. It even has a one-step, automatic buttonhole stitch.
- It is very simple to use, and includes an in-depth manual.
What Detracts from the Brother XL2600i’s Value?
- It is not very sturdy or powerful. It stitches at a slower rate, which is good for beginning sewists, but frustrates seasoned professionals.
- People claim it is easy to jam the bobbin. This may be due to using incorrect settings and needle for the fabric they used, or trying to sew too quickly.
- The Brother XL2600i may have features that intrigue experienced sewists, we only recommend this machine for beginners.
2. Janome 3128
Janome is well known for designing high-quality, sturdy products. They are also notorious for their high price tags. However, it is a great bargain at around $120! This machine is a great option for beginners, or anyone looking for a good deal on a basic machine.
The Janome 3128 features:
- eight included stitches, as well as a four-step buttonhole stitch.
- adjustable stitch style, length, and width setting with the turn of the corresponding dial.
- Stitch width is adjustable up to 5mm, and length up to 4mm maximum.
- The machine weighs just eleven pounds. The built-in handle makes it very easy to transport around the house, or to classes.
- Front loading, vertical oscillating hook bobbin.
- Sews at 650 stitches per minute, and the pedal is not pressure sensitive.
- This bargain comes with: a 25-year warranty on it’s motor, a 2-year warranty on it’s electrical systems and 1-year for any labor required.
- This machine has a quiet motor, which we really like.
- The Janome 3128 comes complete with:
- extra bobbins,
- a stitch ripper,
- a felt cushion,
- a set of size 11, blue-tip needles,
- a general purpose foot,
- a sliding buttonhole foot,
- a ¼ inch seam foot,
- and an easy to use manual, which can also be downloaded here.
Things to Think About Before Buying a Janome 3128
This machine is suited well for people who only require a basic machine. If you are used to having more functionality in a machine you already own, you may be let down by the Janome 3128. The low sensitivity offered by the foot pedal can be unforgiving when attempting to complete more detailed work.
It offers a great learning experience for first-time owners. In the end, this is a bargain because it bears the Janome name– a name that promises long-lasting quality!
3. Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW
The third runner-up best inexpensive option is Brother’s Project Runway CS5055PRW. You can buy this at around $150. This is a great price compared to other electric machines out there! This is the third installment of Brother’s Project Runway product line, and has an amazing 50 built-in stitches.
What Do We Like?
- Along with the machine, you will receive:
- three bobbins,
- three needles,
- a twin needle,
- a cleaning brush,
- a screwdriver,
- an extra spool pin,
- the foot pedal with electronic speed control,
- a soft, dust cover,
- an overcasting, a monogramming, a zipper, a blind stitch, a buttonhole, and a button sewing foot.
- Weighs just under eleven pounds.
- The LCD screen is easy to read, and control.
- All 50 stitches are displayed on the machine.
- These 50 stitches include: heirloom, utility, decorative, quilting stitches for a wide range of tasks, and five automatic buttonhole styles.
- Each stitch has it’s own adjustable width and length range.
- Stitch length is adjustable up to 5mm, and stitch width up to 7mm.
- The built-in bobbin winder is easy to use.
- It has an automatic needle threader, and quick set bobbin. These are great for beginners who may not know how to thread.
- The speed is 850 stitches per minute.
- The Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW includes functions for some more advanced sewists. These features include the free arm, and a seven-point, droppable feed dog design.
What Are the Drawbacks?
- Brother built many plastic parts into the design. These will wear down faster than metal parts.
- The built-in storage compartment hardly contains the included accessories. Most people will need a secondary storage option.
- Some people find it noisier than others.
- The LED work light is a little bit dimmer than desired.
Our Final Thoughts About Brother’s CS5055PRW
Though there are a few drawbacks, there are not many bargains that compare to it. When you purchase it for $150, you get a machine with features machines costing over $200 do not have. This is the best bargain for more experienced sewists. This is a machine that can help with every sewing task without breaking the budget!
Things to Consider When Choosing a Bargain Machine
Choosing from the best sewing machine for the money may seem like a daunting task. Know which features you need before you begin searching. Mechanical machines come at a very low cost, which some sewists swear by. However, others are much happier after spending more on a more versatile computerized model, like the CS5055PRW.
It all depends on your personal preferences. Which functions are necessary for your work? Which would be an added bonus? Find a machine within your budget that offers as many of your necessary functions as possible. If you go over budget, you may end up with an over complicated machine that will discourage you.
For more picks check out our main article reviewing the best sewing machines for 2017.
Want to compare the rest of the affordable sewing machines? Check Amazon for cheap and affordable machines!