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Best Mechanical Sewing Machine For Your Needs In 2022

If you’re in the market for a new sewing machine, use this list of the best mechanical sewing machine options to help you narrow your choices before making a purchase.

Today’s sewing machine market contains two types of machines: mechanical and computerized sewing machines. Not sure what the difference is between the two? You can check out my in-depth guide on the differences between mechanical and computerized sewing machines so that you know which type you need.

If you’ve decided that a mechanical sewing machine is what you want, this guide will help you find the perfect model to purchase.

Best mechanical sewing machine

Brief History Of Sewing Machines

Nowadays, it may seem as though sewing machines have been around since the dawn of time, but I assure you that’s not the case! Before the late 1700s or early 1800s, all sewing was done exclusively by hand. Everything from clothing to bedding to home decor items (and more) was made at home. 

Along with the industrial revolution came the motivation to modernize the process of sewing by creating machines that could do the task faster and more accurately than human hands.

 

The earliest sewing machine was patented by Thomas Saint in 1790. In 1790 Thomas Saint had invented a machine with an overhanging arm, a feed mechanism (adequate for the short lengths of leather he intended it for), a vertical needle bar and a looper.

Wikipedia

According to Wikipedia, In 1829 a French tailor named Barthélemy Thimonnier invented the first commercial mechanical sewing machine. He opened the first machine-based clothing manufacturing company in the world. His model sewed stitches in a straight line to make seams. In 1889, the Singer Sewing Co. developed the first electric sewing machines. Since then, mechanical sewing machines have been modernized and improved.

mechanical sewing machine

Today, some people think mechanical sewing machines are outdated and computerized options are the latest and greatest. But, in truth, many sewists prefer mechanical sewing machines over the more expensive computerized machines and all their bells and whistles.

What is a mechanical sewing machine?

Mechanical sewing machines give you basic sewing machine functionality without many fancy features. The name reflects how they employ the use of dials and knobs to adjust settings manually as opposed to using the digital screen and computer chips found in computerized sewing machines.

Mechanical sewing machines also use electricity, but they don’t have the more advanced internal programming that computerized machines have.

These machines offer sturdy durability and affordability in an easy-to-use basic package that’s designed with sewists of all levels in mind to be able to use.

Janome mechanical sewing machine

Are mechanical sewing machines easier to use than computerized versions?

This question sounds like it should be easy to answer, but it’s not. It comes down to preference for many people based on sewing experience and technological savviness.

Mechanical machines offer a straightforward, user-friendly interface. Many beginner sewists find it easier to learn how to use a sewing machine on a mechanical version because the simplicity makes it easier to be very hands-on with the project. Mechanical machines don’t perform as many automatic functions, so they require more input from the sewist.

On the other hand, some sewists find it easier to use a computerized machine because it will do many more tasks automatically, making the project a little more hands-off. They prefer to tackle the learning curve necessary to operate the LCD screen to have the machine handle more functions with the simple press of a button.

There’s no right or wrong – it’s all a matter of preference.

The Best Features To Look For In A Mechanical Sewing Machine

If you were to simply walk into a sewing shop and take a look at all the sewing machine models for sale, chances are it would overwhelm you. What features are essential? Which machine is better? It’s hard to know where to start. 

Use this list of features to help narrow down your list of choices so you can find the machine that meets your needs faster and easier.

Stitch Variety

One of the first features that may come to mind is the types of stitches each machine has programmed. The actual number doesn’t matter as much as buying a machine with the stitches you will use.
You only really need a straight stitch and a zigzag stitch because you can accomplish most tasks with these stitches. However, I recommend looking for a machine with a buttonhole stitch, blind hem stitch, and stretch stitch (the lightning bolt and three adjacent lines) as well.

stitch variety

Adjustable Stitch Length And Width

This feature allows you to change the length of each stitch that your sewing machine makes by adjusting the feed dogs. Stitch lengths are measured in millimeters and can vary from 0 to 7 depending on the machine.

Varying the width allows you to change the width of your zigzag stitches from almost straight to wide based on your project needs.

stitch width

Lighting

The lighting on machines has come a long way. Check out the lighting on machines before purchasing one to ensure you can adequately see as you sew.

Modern sewing machines come equipped with LED lights

LED lights are brighter than traditional bulbs, so they can help you see your work more clearly. They also tend to last longer, so you won’t have to worry about replacing them as often. And because they generate less heat than other types of light bulbs, they can help keep your sewing area cooler and more comfortable. 

So if you’re looking for new mechanical sewing that can help you see your work better, be sure to check out models with LED lighting. You may just find that it makes all the difference in the world.

Automatic Needle Threader

You can find some budget mechanical sewing machines with a needle threader. Many sewists like this feature because it makes the dreaded task of threading a sewing machine needle much more manageable.

Snap-on presser feet

One of the best features of modern mechanical sewing machines is snap-on presser feet. This type of presser foot allows you to easily and quickly change the type of foot that you are using without having to remove the whole presser foot assembly. 

There are a variety of snap-on presser feet available, including those for quilting, embroidery, and sewing buttonholes. Each type of snap-on presser foot has its own specific function, making it easy to find the right one for your project. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced sewist, snap-on presser feet can make your sewing projects easier and more enjoyable.

Snap-on presser feet

Reverse stitch lever

One of the features of modern mechanical sewing machines is the reverse stitch lever. This lever can be found on the front of the machine, and it allows you to sew in reverse. This is a very useful feature, as it can be used to reinforce stitches or to backstitch. 

In order to reverse stitch, simply press down on the reverse stitch lever and the machine will sew in reverse.

reverse stitch lever

Free arm

The free arm is a feature found on many modern mechanical sewing machines. The free arm is essentially a small extension of the sewing machine that you can use to sew tubular pieces of fabric. The free arm is designed for working with tubes of fabric, such as sleeves, cuffs, or pants. 

To use the free arm, simply remove any accessory tray that is blocking it and slide your fabric over the free arm. Then, start sewing as normal. When you’re finished, replace the accessory tray and continue sewing. Free arms are helpful because they make it easier to sew those types of fabrics.

Free Arm

Top Loading Bobbin with Clear Cover

Top loading bobbin with a clear cover is a great feature of modern sewing machines. It is very easy to change the bobbin. You can see when it is getting low and needs to be changed. Top loading bobbin is great for beginners and experienced sewers alike. 

Top Loading Bobbin with Clear Cover

How To Choose The Right Mechanical Sewing Machine For Your Needs

There are so many options because every sewist will have different needs for their sewing machine. So when it comes to picking the perfect mechanical sewing machine for you, spend some time deciding which features you need the most.

Then you can take your list of desired features and compare machines based on these criteria:

  • Your budget
  • Types of projects you currently sew
  • The types of projects you plan to learn in the future

The Pros And Cons Of Using A Mechanical Sewing Machine

Mechanical sewing machines are like anything else in life: different models have pros and cons. If you’re debating between buying a mechanical sewing machine or a computerized sewing machine, this list of advantages and disadvantages may help make your decision easier.

Advantages

  • Simplicity – If you learned how to sew on these machines or from your mom or grandma, this type of machine might hold a great deal of appeal. Many beginners, older users, and sewists who aren’t comfortable with technology may find mechanical machines more comfortable to use.
  • Reliability – Mechanical sewing machines are workhorses. They can handle challenging projects and have simple components that last for years and years. Even though they are basic, they have modern updated features. 
  • Easy maintenance – Their simplicity (lack of motherboard and intricate electrical components) means less to maintain with these machines. As long as you keep it clean and oiled, little other maintenance is needed. 
  • Affordability – They fit any budget. Since they don’t contain technologically advanced components, these machines often cost less – much less – than computerized sewing machines.

Disadvantages

  • More sewist involvement – Since mechanical machines don’t do many tasks automatically, they require the sewist to be much more involved in adjusting various functions and settings (such as tension and stitch length). Some sewists may find it frustrating and prefer the computerized machines’ handy hands-off approach.
  • Number of stitch options – Computerized sewing machines offer many (maybe dozens or even hundreds) more stitch options. Mechanical machines only offer a small portion of that large number.
  • Can seem more complicated – Since computerized machines do so many tasks automatically (including suggesting optimal settings), they end up saving you quite a bit of time. They can also be helpful for inexperienced sewists who aren’t sure how to choose tension settings, stitch length, and more.

Best Mechanical Sewing Machine Options

Use this list to learn the features of each machine and get an idea of what you want before buying a machine. Without this list, you’re likely to become overwhelmed with all the options.

Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means I will receive a commission if you order a product through one of my links. I only recommend products I believe in and use myself. 

Best Heavy-Duty Mechanical Sewing Machine Options

Here are two incredible mechanical sewing machines made to handle the most challenging projects:

Janome HD3000 Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine

Janome HD3000 Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine

This machine is perfect for someone who needs a reliable and affordable basic all-purpose machine. It will take care of your needs until you decide you need something more specialized.

HD-3000 heavy-duty mechanical sewing machine features: 

  • 18 stitches
  • One-step buttonhole 
  • Built-in needle threader
  • Snap-on presser feet 
  • Extra high presser foot lift 
  • Free arm 
  • Reverse stitching
  • Automatic bobbin winder
  • Drop feed capabilities

SINGER 4423 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

SINGER 4423 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

This machine isn’t a top-of-the-line model with a ton of functions, but it offers more for the price than you might expect. It’s a workhorse that comes with various accessories and will last for many years for $200.

  • 23 built-in stitches including basic, stretch, decorative, and buttonhole stitches 
  • Automatic needle threader 
  • High-speed: The Singer 4423 Sewing Machine has a maximum sewing speed of 1,100 stitches-per-minute
  • Heavy-duty metal frame: this sewing machine can sew through a variety of heavyweight fabrics and provides long-lasting stability
  • Snap-on presser feet: A variety of presser feet are included with an all-purpose foot, zipper foot, buttonhole foot, and even button sewing foot.

Best Mechanical Sewing Machine For Quilting 

Which model is the best for quilting? Hands down, it’s:

Janome HD3000 Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine

Janome HD3000 Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine

You’ll pay a little more for this machine, but once you buy it, you’ll see why it wins in two categories on this list. Its built-in needle threader and drop feed capabilities help it stand out from the crowd and make quilting enjoyable. It’s solidly constructed with one-piece aluminum casting. So, let me repeat its features that are essential for quilting:

  • Drop feed capabilities
  • 18 stitches
  • Built-in needle threader
  • Snap-on presser feet 
  • Extra high presser foot lift 
  • Reverse stitching
  • Automatic bobbin winder
  • One-hand thread cutter

Brother ST371HD Sewing Machine

Brother ST371HD Sewing Machine

Brother ST371HD has a lot of features that are great for quilting, such as a built-in needle threader, and a sewing speed of up to 800 stitches per minute. It is compatible with a Brother walking foot, which is essential for quilting. Additionally, the drop feed feature allows you to complete free-motion sewing with ease. The Brother ST371HD is also very easy to use and comes with a helpful instruction manual. Overall, it is a great sewing machine for people who like to quilt every day.

  • 37 unique stitches
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Drop-in top bobbin
  • Free arm
  • Drop feed capabilities for free motion quilting
  • Snap-on presser feet
  • Extra high presser foot lift
  • Reverse stitching
  • Automatic bobbin winder
  • 1-step buttonhole

Best Mechanical Sewing Machine For Beginners

If you’re brand new to using sewing machines, consider these two options for easy learning.

SINGER MX231 Sewing Machine

SINGER MX231 Sewing Machine

Another very affordable option on this list, this machine is a great option for those who are looking for a versatile and user-friendly machine. With 97 unique stitches, it can handle almost any sewing project you throw at it, and the adjustable stitch length and width mean that you can always get the perfect finish. 

The machine also comes with a free arm, which makes it easy to hem pants and sew sleeves, and the one-step buttonhole function means that you can add buttonholes without any hassle. Plus, all of the basic accessories you need come included in the removable storage compartment, so you can get started on your projects right away. 

  • 97 stitches
  • 1-step buttonhole 
  • Adjustable presser foot pressure to allow adjustments for heavyweight or lightweight fabrics
  • Adjustable stitch length and width
  • Built-in needle threader
  • Front-load bobbin
  • Free arm 

Janome MOD-19 Easy-to-Use Sewing Machine

Janome MOD-19 Easy-to-Use Sewing Machine

This is a great machine that covers all the basics and then some with an affordable price tag that won’t blow your budget. 

  • 19 Stitches 
  • 1 four-step buttonhole stitch
  • Built-in needle threader
  • Top Loading Bobbin with Clear Cover 
  • 5-Piece Feed Dog System
  • Adjustable Stitch Length and Width 
  • Snap-on Presser Feet
  • Free Arm 
  • Drop Feed 

Best Mechanical Sewing Machine Under $200

You can still get a great sewing machine when the budget is stretched thin! Here are my two favorite budget-friendly options:

SINGER SM024 Sewing Machine

SINGER SM024 Sewing Machine

Given the sheer volume of fantastic reviews and tiny price tag, it’s no wonder that I’ve included the Singer SMO24 on the list!

  • 24 stitch options 
  • 4-step buttonhole 
  • Free arm 
  • Durable all-metal frame
  • Front-load bobbin 
  • Brilliant LED lighting

Janome Arctic Crystal Easy-to-Use Sewing Machine

Janome Arctic Crystal Easy-to-Use Sewing Machine

This machine is ideal for beginners as it’s easy to learn and has enough features that you can grow into it as you improve your skills for only $200.

  • 15 Built-In Stitches 
  • 4-Step Buttonhole
  • Front-Loading Bobbin System 
  • Heavy Duty Interior Metal Frame
  • Adjustable Stitch Length & ZigZag Width 
  • Reverse Lever
  • Darning Plate
  • Free Arm
  • Dual Retractable Spool Pins

Best Janome Mechanical Sewing Machine 

Janome is one of the best brands for sewing machines. If you want to buy a Janome mechanical sewing machine, I recommend:

Janome HD1000BE HD1000 Black Edition All Metal Body Sewing Machine

Janome HD1000

If you don’t need anything fancy, this workhorse will give you many helpful features and meet all your needs at a very reasonable price.

  • Aluminum Interior Frame, Aluminum Outer Body
  • Front-Loading Bobbin System
  • 14 Stitches
  • 4-Step Buttonhole
  • Automatic Needle Threader
  • Adjustable Stitch Length and Width
  • Drop Feed with 3-Piece Feed Dogs for free-motion sewing 
  • Free Arm for cuffs and sleeves

Best Mechanical Sewing Machine For Home Use 

When you want a great machine with great accessories at an affordable price point, check out the:

Bernette b35 Swiss Design Sewing Machine

Bernette 35 Swiss Design

The Bernetta b35 is an excellent sewing machine for home use. It is very easy to use, with no computerized controls – you simply turn three knobs to set the width, length, and the stitch. The tension can be adjusted, using an easily accessible dial. 

The Bernetta 35 also has a 1-step buttonhole function, which is quick and easy to use. With a total of 23 stitches, including both utility and decorative stitches, you can bring your creative ideas to fruition quickly and easily. It’s not a heavy-duty machine though. Highly recommended for anyone looking for good quality, entry-level sewing machine for home use. 

It gets great reviews and comes with many extras, including several presser feet.

  • 23 stitches
  • 1-step buttonhole 
  • Manual needle threader
  • Manual thread cutter
  • Stable presser foot shank
  • 2-step presser foot lift 
  • Front-load bobbin

Best Basic Mechanical Sewing Machine

Picking the best machine is tough, which is why I narrowed the list to 3 options.

Janome Magnolia 7318 Sewing Machine

Janome Magnolia 7318 Sewing Machine

The Janome Magnolia 7318 is a great little machine that packs a lot of features into a small package. It has 18 built-in stitches, a top-loading bobbin system, and more. It’s perfect for quilting, sewing garments, crafting, home decor, and more. 

The stitch panel on the front of the machine makes it easy to select the right stitch for your project. The Janome 7318 is an easy-to-use machine even for beginner sewers. Just turn the dial to the selected stitch indicated on the stitch panel on the front of the machine and start sewing. 

  • Top loading jam proof bobbin system 
  • 7-piece feed dog which ensures precision fabric control
  • 18 stitches 
  • 4-step buttonhole
  • Handy carrying handle
  • Adjustable Stitch Length and Width
  • Reverse lever 
  • Convenient measurement markings on the needle plate

Brother GX37 Sewing Machine

Brother GX37 Sewing Machine

Thousands of great reviews, loads of helpful features, and an itty bitty price tag make this machine an obvious choice.

The Brother GX37 sewing machine is the perfect basic machine for anyone who wants to tackle sewing projects big and small. With 37 built-in utility and decorative stitches, it’s easy to select the perfect stitch for any project. The machine also features free-arm sewing capability, making it ideal for sewing cuffs and sleeves. Plus, the included accessories – such as the zigzag foot, buttonhole foot, and zipper foot – make it easy to get started on a variety of projects. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned sewer, the Brother GX37 is a great choice for all your basic sewing needs.

  • 37 unique built-in stitches
  • 1-step buttonhole
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Drop-in top bobbin
  • Versatile free arm
  • Drop Feed for free-motion sewing 

SINGER 4411 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

SINGER 4411 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

Here’s another great product (with thousands of top reviews) from one of the most trusted names in sewing machines.

The SINGER HEAVY DUTY 4411 sewing machine is a powerful and versatile machine that is perfect for a variety of sewing projects. With a heavy-duty metal interior frame, high sewing speed and powerful motor, this sewing machine can sew through a wide range of fabrics, from lightweight cottons to heavy denim and leather. Adjustable Presser Foot Pressure add a new dimension of ease to heavy duty sewing. With a 60% stronger motor than standard sewing machines, the SINGER HEAVY DUTY 4411 can sew through heavyweight fabrics with ease. It’s the perfect machine for anyone who loves to sew.

  • 11 built-in stitches
  • 4-step buttonhole
  • Adjustable needle position
  • Heavy-duty metal frame
  • Great speed up tp 1,100 stitches per minute
  • Adjustable presser foot pressure
  • Top drop-In bobbin
  • Drop feed for free motion quilting

Best-Selling Mechanical Sewing Machine On Amazon.com

If you’re in the market for a new mechanical sewing machine, you might be wondering which one to buy. After all, there are hundreds of different models on the market, and it can be tough to know which one is best for your needs. Luckily, Amazon.com keeps track of best-selling items in a variety of categories, so you can easily see which sewing machines are the most popular with customers. 

Based on my research, I would say there are two top options here: SINGER 4423 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine and Brother GX37 Sewing Machine. Both of these machines are very highly rated and affordable, so you can’t go wrong with either one. Both machines come with a built-in needle threader, adjustable stitch length and width, and a top drop-in bobbin. Whichever model you choose, you’re sure to be happy with your purchase.

SINGER 4423 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

SINGER 4423 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

This machine has thousands of great reviews, average customer rating is 4.6 out of 5 stars

  • 23 built-in stitches including basic, stretch, decorative, and buttonhole stitches 
  • Automatic needle threader 
  • High-speed: The Singer 4423 Sewing Machine has a maximum sewing speed of 1,100 stitches-per-minute
  • Heavy-duty metal frame: this sewing machine can sew through a variety of heavyweight fabrics and provides long-lasting stability
  • Snap-on presser feet: A variety of presser feet are included with an all-purpose foot, zipper foot, buttonhole foot, and even button sewing foot.

Brother GX37 Sewing Machine

Brother GX37 Sewing Machine

There are thousands of 5-star reviews, average customer rating is 4.7 out of 5 stars

  • 37 unique built-in stitches
  • 1-step buttonhole
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Drop-in top bobbin
  • Versatile free arm
  • Drop Feed for free-motion sewing 

Best Vintage Mechanical Sewing Machine 

Singer Featherweight 221

If you want to go old-school, the Singer Featherweight  sewing machine is the best.

This classic model is still in high demand today, but it can only be found on eBay or Etsy. 

The Singer Featherweight is known for its sturdy construction and reliable operation, making it the perfect choice for anyone who wants to get back to basics with their sewing hobby. 

With its durable metal body, minimalistic design, and precise stitching capabilities, the Singer Featherweight delivers professional-quality results that are sure to impress. This timeless vintage machine is the perfect choice for any crafter. 

In conclusion: I hope this list of the best mechanical sewing machine options on the market helps make your selection faster and easier. Do your research before you start shopping so that you feel confident in your choice of a new sewing machine.

Did you find this tutorial helpful? If so, save this pin (see below) on your sewing board so you can come to this tutorial later when you are ready to look for the best mechanical sewing machine to buy, and follow me on Pinterest for more tips, tutorials, and inspiration!

Best Mechanical Sewing Machine pin

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