affordable sewing machine seen from close up

When you start a new hobby or business, it is important to have quality tools from day one. This rule applies to any business or hobby. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you should buy the most expensive state-of-the-art equipment. But you do need reliable and solid equipment. It will allow you to get good results from the beginning. Also, you will improve faster if you have adequate tools. So, when it comes to sewing, it is preferable to purchase an inexpensive, solid, and reliable sewing machine.

As a beginner, chances are you have a limited budget. It is also reasonable not to splash too much money right at the start. Very expensive machines usually have many options that you don’t need for the time being. So buying an advanced model would be an unnecessary waste of money. Also, you can’t be sure beforehand how long your adventure is going to last. Hopefully, it will be a lifetime love affair, but you never know. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the balance between performance and price tag.

How to Set The Goals

No matter how much money you can afford, it is possible to find an adequate sewing machine. Of course, with more money, you get more options. But, even if you are on a very tight budget there are a couple of models that can satisfy your basic needs. 

However, you should never pay attention to the price tag only. To make a good choice you should look for the machine that will suit your needs best, within the price range that you set up. 

First, you need to have a clear picture of what you want to do with your machine. Sewing covers a wide array of projects and disciplines. Different sewing machines offer different advantages. If you know what you want, it is easier to narrow down your choices.

Another important thing is your ambition. Do you want to improve as soon as possible and move on to more challenging projects? Or you are happy to use your machine occasionally when you have spare time or a wish to create a piece of clothing?

Both of these basic ideas can change and probably will change over time. But, for a good start, it is best to have a machine that meets your current needs.

What to Look for

Once you set up the basic rules it is time to move on to specific features. I always recommend reputable brands. Lower level top-brand sewing machine will usually outclass and outperform seemingly more advanced models from unknown brands. With top brands you know exactly what you get, and customer support is usually way better. As a beginner, you may need it. 

You should always consider build quality, durability, weight, strength, and speed before you make your decision. A couple of technical details are also very important for new sewists. 

You should favor machines with tension control function. It will make your life easier. Built-in stitches are useful, but make sure to look for the machine with a variety of basic stitches. At the beginning, you don’t need a myriad of decorative stitches. Chances are you will break a couple of needles. Quick and easy way to replace it can make a world of difference. Also, check out the performance of the machine. If your machine can’t produce nice and precise stitches, you will wish to change it in no time. Can it sew through multiple layers and heavy fabric?

 Finding all of the above in one machine is probably impossible even with more advanced models. But, with a clear vision of what you need, you can make a decision on which features are necessary and which you can live without. 

What to Avoid

While there are many things to consider to make the right choice, the most important part is to ask the right questions. And these questions should mirror your needs and desires. You should figure out not only what you want, but also, what you don’t need for the time being.

For example, if you can afford to sew only on weekends or even less frequently, you don’t need an advanced model. You will get confused too often. Even when you figure out how to use some functions you might forget it before you use it again. And you will not need many features for a long, long time. You may get frustrated to the point that you want to give up sewing. In this case, you need simple, easy to operate, reliable machine with basic functions. You will be able to take on many simple projects and you will enjoy your learning process. You will be happy with your machine for a couple of years. Then, you can move on and look for a new machine.

On the other hand, if you plan to sew on a daily basis you will outgrow the simplest models quite quickly. So, a model with more features will suit you better.

At the end of the day, you need to do a lot of research. However, it is even more important to set your personal goals and choose accordingly. This is the list of best inexpensive models of sewing machines.

Top 8 Inexpensive Sewing Machines

It is always difficult to call one machine better than the other. Each machine on the list has some great features and some shortcomings. The one that is best for you might not meet the needs of another sewest-to-be. So, I will start with the most affordable but solid models. At the end of the list, you will find a bit more expensive models with some more advanced features.

Janome Basic 10-stitch, Compact Sewing Machine

While this is by no means a machine to start a new business with, it is a great one to learn how to sew. Weighing only 5 pounds, you won’t find lighter sewing machine capable of doing some basic sewing. 4 different stitches and 6 stitch width and length variations, free arm and top drop-in bobbin will provide all you need to start sewing.

With 11 different color patterns and Finger Guards, it is a children-friendly machine. This is probably the best choice for younger beginners to learn with fun.

Pros
  • It is portable and compact.
  • Great for learning user-friendly.
  • Finger Guards to protect fingers.
  • Very affordable.
Cons
  • It is slow and noisy.
  • No built-in light.
  • Not the best for larger projects.

Singer Start 1304 Sewing Machine

It is a small but strong sewing machine. This machine is lightweight and compact but sturdy and stable thanks to the heavy duty internal skeleton. It comes with only 6 built-in stitches with preset width and length. This is a little bit limiting, but it can be an advantage for easy learning. Top speed of 750 stitches per minute is quite good for beginners.

Overall, it is a basic model for beginners that performs very well. While it doesn’t offer a lot of options, it has many features that make the learning process enjoyable.

Pros
  • Lightweight.
  • Automatic bobbin winder.
  • Tension adjustment.
  • 4-step buttonhole.
  • Heavy duty internal skeleton.
  • Good value for money.
Cons
  • Limited options.
  • Controlling speed can be difficult for beginners.

Brother XM2701 Sewing Machine

If you prefer to have more creative options from the very beginning this machine may be your perfect match. It is a lightweight, and portable sewing machine with more features than one would expect from an entry model.

27 built-in stitches, 6 presser feet, and several automatic features will allow you to be creative and improve quickly. Still, it is user-friendly and not to complicated machine.

Pros
  • Lightweight and compact.
  • It offers a lot of features.
  • Fast for entry level.
Cons
  • Sewing heavy fabric can be challenging. 

You can read a comprehensive review here.

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Brother XR 3774 Sewing and Quilting Machine

If you are interested in sewing and quilting, this machine is a great pick. With 37 built-in stitches, 8 sewing feet, and wide quilting table, you will love this machine.

This model is not the lightest one, but it is still portable and lightweight. It is a really well-rounded model

Pros
  • Versatile enough to keep you busy for a long time.
  • It is user-friendly.
  • Very good performance for an entry-level machine.
Cons
  • Small throat will make larger quilting projects difficult.
  • It is a bit noisy.
  • The automatic needle threader is not always smooth.

Brother CS6000i Sewing  Machine

This one costs a little bit more than the previous models, but it offers more as well. When it comes to versatility, you won’t find an entry-level machine that beats this beauty.

The LCD screen, 60 built-in stitches, and a variety of features and accessories provide all you can ask for to start sewing. 

Pros
  • Excellent versatility.
  • It is packed with features.
  • Quiet and easy to use.
  • Lightweight.
  • Very fast for entry-level.
Cons
  • Small throat.
  • It gets a bit wobbly when sewing heavy fabric.

You can read Brother CS6000i full review here.

Singer HD 4423 Sewing Machine

If you are looking for the strongest workhorse among affordable sewing machines, this is the one. Heavy duty metal frame provides stability and durability.

With a maximum speed of 1100 stitches per minute this machine can take on heavy fabric and do it easily. 

Pros
  • The strongest and fastest entry model.
  • Heavy duty metal frame.
  • It can sew heavy fabrics and multiple layers.
Cons
  • Not very versatile.

For deeper insight read Singer HD 4423 full review.

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Janome 2212 Sewing Machine

This is the model that focuses on performance. It is a simple machine with very few features. This may be considered as a shortcoming, but you won’t find a machine that is easier to use while producing professional results.

Besides ease of use, it is a sturdy, strong and durable machine. If you are okay with a limited number of features you will truly enjoy sewing with this machine. It also has a heavy duty metal frame.

Pros
  • Very easy to use.
  • Outstanding performance.
  • It is reliable and durable. 
Cons
  • Small sewing table.
  • Not the best on heavy fabrics.

If you want to know more about this machine read the Janome 2212 full review.

Final Word

As you can see, it is possible to find affordable yet solid sewing machines for beginners. Not a single model from our list is perfect for every aspiring sewest. So be wise and take your time. “Measure twice, think three times, cut ones”. I have heard this old adage from my teacher, but it suits sewing perfectly. As well as choosing a sewing machine. So, you are at the beginning of a great adventure. I hope you’ll enjoy it.