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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Best Cheap Sewing Machine Reviews
1. Brother XM2701
The Brother XM2701 is also featured on our Best for Beginners list. It is priced extremely affordably, 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 XM2701 such a bargain?
- It has a whopping 27 stitches built in! That impressive total includes a versatile collection of utility and decorative stitches. It even has a one-step, automatic buttonhole stitch! Overall, there are far more options on the Brother than on similarly-priced models from other brands.
- It comes with 6 different feet right out of the box, so you shouldn’t need to buy anything extra to get up and sewing.
- Since it’s covered by a 25-year warranty, you’ll have lots of insurance on your purchase.
- It is very simple to use, and includes lots of convenient little features. The Brother will thread your needle for you, and the bobbin system couldn’t be easier to navigate!
- You’ll be up and running in no time, regardless of experience! As well as an in-depth manual, this one comes with an instructional DVD and lots of helpful videos online.
What Detracts from the Brother XM2701’s value?
- It’s not especially sturdy or powerful. It stitches at a slower rate, which is good for beginning sewists, but may frustrate seasoned professionals. You’ll also have to be aware that this one isn’t going to tackle super thick materials or pieces with many layers.
- The Brother XM2701 is a good budget choice for experienced folks who want to keep things cheap. However, it will probably be something the majority of people outgrow. This isn’t something any ambitious sewist will be keeping for life.
2. Janome 2212
Janome is well known for designing high-quality, sturdy products. They are also notorious for their high price tags. However, the 2212 is a bargain among bargains! This machine is a great option for beginners, or anyone looking for a good deal on a basic machine.
The Janome 2212 features:
- 12 built-in stitches, as well as a four-step buttonhole stitch. You’ll have all the options you need to cover the basics. There are plenty of utility stitches onboard, even if you won’t have the decorative versatility of fancier machines.
- adjustable stitch style, length, and width setting with manual controls. A lot of other minimalist machines like this don’t let you adjust stitch dimensions, so it’s a real plus.
- Stitch width is adjustable up to 5mm, and length up to 4mm maximum.
- The machine weighs just under 13 pounds. The low weight makes it very easy to transport around the house, or to classes.
- Front loading, vertical oscillating hook bobbin. While most contemporary machines are moving to top-loading bobbins for convenience, the 2212’s compartment is relatively easy to use and works reliably.
- Free arm and drop feed. These are essential for versatility! You can easily work on cylindrical and free-motion projects using the 2212.
- This bargain comes with: a 25-year warranty on it’s motor, a 2-year warranty on its electrical systems and 1-year for any labor required.
- This machine has a quiet motor, which we really like. Overall, it’s very well-made, and feels more solid than other inexpensive models. You notice the difference in stitch consistency, since the whole thing flexes less and sews straighter!
- The Janome 2212 comes complete with an accessory set:
- 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 2212
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 this one. It doesn’t have all that many stitches on board, and you’ll have to do everything manually. If you want more features or automatic conveniences, look at one of our other picks!
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. 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, you get a machine with features that even the more expensive models don’t 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!