Marilyn knows how to present the dullest topic in an interesting and easy-to-read way. When she’s not teaching English Literature at a local school or writing for our site, Marylin loves to knit and bake for her two grandchildren.
Julie owns a shop specializing in sewing equipment and accessories. No wonder she knows everything when it comes to technical specifications of practically anything we review. In her free time, Julie loves quilting and scrapbooking.
Last updated: December 10, 2020
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Are you looking to switch from a vintage sewing machine, or you just don’t need all the bells and whistles of overpriced computerized models? If so, you have to get the best mechanical sewing machine. After all, the lack of a few stitch options cannot impede your creativity. Plus, learning the controls of a computerized sewing machine can be a bit complicated.
Finding the best mechanical sewing machine can be a tad tricky, especially with all brands and models lying around. We rounded up the top-rated machines to help you make the best quick decision. Some of the features we considered in our review were maximum sewing speed, stitch patterns, stitch width, weight, dimensions, and buttonhole feature. The features determine the efficiency, versatility, convenience, and usability of the machine. If you are transitioning from a vintage sewing machine, then a mechanical machine with over 20 stitch patterns and a high speed of 1100SPM will impress you!
"For those who are looking for something more affordable, we recommend this mechanical sewing machine with a compact footprint and user-friendly design. Additionally, it offers a lot of stitch options."
More features: 4 presser feet included, comes with a lot of useful accessories, built-in needle threader, easy-to-load top drop-in bobbin system with clear cover, extra-high presser foot lift, full metal frame, 25-year limited warranty
Even if you are new to sewing, you’ll quickly understand why this machine tops our list. Singer is a renowned sewing machine brand that dominates the market, and the 4423 is one of their most popular, low-cost, heavy-duty mechanical sewing machines out there. It is also one of the best mechanical sewing machines for beginners on the market.
The machine is built with heavy metal components for solid durability and sturdiness. Even its internal frame is made with metal. Its bed-plate is made with smooth stainless steel, so you don’t have any trouble with the feeding of material to match the machine’s fast speed.
What’s more, the motor is claimed to be 60% stronger than that of standard machines.
You are probably worried that you will never get to change your sewing place in the house because the machine is a possible deadweight with its all-metal construction. You can never be more wrong, the machine weighs a mere 14.5 pounds, and you can easily move it from one point to another without needing any help.
Essentially, the 4423 sews at 1100 stitches per minute, which is super-fast for a medium-range model like it. This makes it suitable for both beginners and professionals.
The machine is a workhorse and can sew just about any materials, from canvas and denim to leather and upholstery vinyl.
In addition, the machine comes with 23 stitches: 6 basic, 4 stretch, 12 decorative, and 1 buttonhole, which are more than you’d ever need if you’re a beginner. The best thing about the stitches is that you can adjust them. This gives you more freedom to be creative.
The machine comes with several features that make it extremely easy to use for both beginners and regular sewers. They include an automatic needle threader, a foot control pedal, a top drop-in bobbin, and automatic reverse.
As if that wasn’t enough, the machine includes a built-in LED light that comes in handy if your work in a poorly lit room.
Overall, this is one of the best heavy-duty mechanical machines you can get for a variety of projects because of its versatility, durability, and convenience. It also has an attractive price tag.
This is what anyone who loves to get a huge steal once in a while should get. The Eversewn- Sparrow 15 is one of the best mechanical sewing machines since it offers excellent value for money with multiple first-rate features and an extremely attractive price tag.
The machine is sturdily built and is incredibly lightweight. You can easily move it from one place to another.
What sets this machine apart is its 32 stitch settings. This versatility offers you unparalleled freedom of creativity. Additionally, it comes with a buttonhole that has a maximum stitch width of 5mm.
Furthermore, the machine has 2 knobs on its front and a wheel on its top, which you can use to set stitch length and thread tension accordingly to your needs. You can also use them to select stitches.
You will be able to sew efficiently with so much ease thanks to the thread cutter and manual needle threader featured on the machine. The 4 presser feet also contribute to the efficiency as they easily snap on. Also, you will find zig-zag foot, buttonhole foot, button-sew-on foot, and the zipper-foot here. They are all labeled to avoid any confusion.
The machine can sew 750 stitches per minute, which is pretty good for beginners. However, it lacks speed control, a drop-in bobbin, and a needle up/down. Thus it isn’t ideal for anyone who intends to sew a lot.
In sum, this is a fantastic choice for anyone looking for a basic sewing machine at an affordable price. Beginners will especially appreciate its less complicated and sturdy build. Plus, it has LED lights for lighting up your poorly lit working area. Unfortunately, the warranty only lasts 1 year.
More features: adjustable presser foot, automatic needle threader, LED lighting, free arm, hard cover, top drop-in bobbin system, 25-year warranty on mechanical parts, 5 years on electrical parts, 1 year on labor
If you are on the market for a premium quality sewing machine to enhance your sewing experience, here is a sure bet. The Sewist 721 is one of the famous Janome’s gems. It is a no-frills sewing machine that offers exceptional durability, convenience, and versatility. Quite simply, it is one of the best Janome mechanical sewing machines out there.
The machine’s construction has strong metal parts for increased durability and steadiness. It features 19 unique stitches, and what’s more, all the stitches are clearly diagrammed and lettered from A to J for easy reference.
Additionally, the machine includes a reverse stitch lever and an adjusting dial that you can use to reinforce the stitches. These features will also allow you to try something new.
With this machine, you can sew as fast as 820 stitches per minute, which is ideal for both beginners and casual sewers.
Another plus for the Sewist 721 is its 4 standard presser foot, which is super easy to snap on, and they are all lettered for every stitch you’ll be doing.
As for bobbin and threading, there are instructions diagrammed on top of the machine to make it straightforward for you. Also included is a thread tension dial for the stitches you choose to use.
What’s more, the machine features a 4-point feed dog system with a button on the back that you can use to lower or raise it in case you need to do free-motion sewing.
You will love that the machine has an LED that can sufficiently light up your work area and a slide-out accessory storage compartment. When you remove the storage compartment, you get free arm, so you can sew pants, sleeves, cuffs, and other hard to sew parts of clothing.
You also don’t need to break the bank to own one, and it comes with a 25-year warranty cover for defective workmanship or materials and 5 years on the electrical parts.
Here is another well-made and efficient sewing machine from the supreme sewing machine brand. The Start 1304 is an entry-level model and is one of the best Singer mechanical sewing machines on the market.
The Start 1304 boasts a durably built, and it is reliable and suitable for anyone starting out. Its stitch options are a bit limited to 6 patterns as you wouldn’t need so much at the beginning. On the bright side, the length and width of the stitches come preset, guaranteeing accuracy.
Additionally, you can raise the presser foot higher than on many other beginner machines. This is a huge plus if you intend to work with thick fabrics that have multiple layers.
The machine is easily portable, thanks to its incredible lightweight build. It weighs a mere 11.5 pounds.
What’s more, you will be able to sew at a top speed of 750 stitches per minute. It is not so high but sufficient if you are new to sewing.
Further, with the 4-step buttonholer included, you will be able to create perfect shapes and sizes of buttonholes for any buttons. You will also benefit from the automatic tension adjustment, which saves you time. It adjusts tension instantly for every stitch option you choose.
Another plus of this machine is the free arm feature, which allows you to easily work on pants, collars, cuffs, and other smaller projects. It also features dual spool pins, which add more security to your hems, decorative projects, and knit garments.
With a 25-year limited warranty, this is one of the best mechanical sewing machines for beginners on the market. It lacks some automatic features, but it is a workhorse that is built to last.
If you are looking for a mechanical sewing machine that you can carry to your class training with ease, this one can be ideal. The YCDTMY Sewing Machine is one of the best portable mechanical sewing machines out there. Other than portability, it packs plenty of features that make it highly efficient, convenient, and reliable.
The machine is built to last, and it features anti-slip bottom pads to hold it steady when you are working. It also has a small storage compartment where you can keep a few essentials like threads and needles.
It is exceptionally lightweight, weighing in at just 5.78 pounds. You can easily slip it in your backpack and carry it to and from your training class without any trouble.
If you are a beginner, you will find this machine pretty straightforward to use. It comes with 12 stitch patterns to choose from and a 4-step buttonhole feature.
In addition, you can use a foot pedal to achieve more control. It also features reverse sewing, which secures your seams and hems. You can also wrap the thread around the edge of your fabric with the presser foot.
Moreover, its free-arm feature allows you to work on cuffs, collars, pants, and other hard-to-reach items.
With the built-in LED light, you can comfortably work in a poorly lit room. The machine can run using two power methods: 4x AA batteries or an AC/DC adapter. You can choose the most convenient option for yourself, but just keep in mind that it is not that powerful.
Overall, this is one of the best portable mechanical sewing machines on the market. It offers high-quality performance, and it is extremely easy to use.
What we liked:
Highly portable and easy to use
4-step buttonhole feature
Multiple stitch pattern
2 power options
What could be better:
Not that powerful
Things to Сonsider
Buying the best mechanical sewing machine is a crucial undertaking as it largely determines your sewing experience. In this section, we have highlighted a few of the things you ought to know before choosing the right mechanical sewing machine for you, reasons for getting one, and how to pick one. Are you ready to learn more? Let’s go!
Reasons to get a mechanical sewing machine
Here are some of the pros that come with owning a mechanical sewing machine.
Simplicity – Mechanical sewing machines are simpler to use as they have fewer features and components compared to computerized models. Most of their parts are also not fully automated, and thus, they are very straightforward.
Cost – Mechanical sewing machines are highly affordable because of their simplicity. The budget-friendly costs attract beginners and casual sewers. Additionally, they are cheaper to maintain and repair in case of any damages.
Technology break – Nearly everything in life is computerized these days. You might get the feeling of relaxing and unwinding by disconnecting from computers, so sewing with a mechanical machine is one of the best ways to go about it.
Familiarity – Many people have encountered a mechanical sewing machine before, whether in a class or during early school days. The machines are familiar, and the chances are that most people would be ready to use their newly bought mechanical machines immediately they get home.
Nostalgia – A mechanical sewing machine can make you feel nostalgic in a beautiful way. It will evoke your childhood memories of your grandmother sewing and repairing your clothes, or better yet, give you that rare classic 50’s feeling.
How to pick the best mechanical sewing machine?
Picking the best out of many has always required a bag of experience, especially if you don’t have a clue about the product. You need to be well-informed before settling on a product in order to feel confident about your choice. Here are some of the factors that can help you decide which mechanical sewing machine is the best.
Number of stitch patterns
This is the number of stitches and patterns built in the machine. Be sure to go for a model that has multiple options like the Eversewn – Sparrow 15 reviewed above. This will help you avoid unnecessary hassles when stitching. You will be more comfortable with reduced shuffling on the machine.
It is always a great idea to find a model that allows you to make decorative patterns that increase your level of creativity, hence providing you with enhanced sewing experience.
Max sewing speed
This is how fast the machine can sew different types of fabric, and it is measured in stitches per minute. Go for a machine that can handle a variety of tasks at a more than average fast rate like the SINGER 4423 Sewing Machine. However, if you are a beginner, you better go for a slower speed or be extra keen on choosing a machine with speed control.
A machine that can sew 750 stitches per minute averagely should be fine for anyone new to sewing, but for a professional or regular sewer, one with 1100 SPM would be ideal. It would be able to handle all tasks at a fast rate.
It is recommended to go for a machine with the ability to make buttonholes. There are different techniques involved, including the 1-step, which is automatic, and the 4-step, which is more manual. A 4-step buttonhole, such as seen with the SINGER Start 1304, means the machine makes a buttonhole in 4 steps while a 1-step means the machine sews a whole buttonhole in a single step. You will have to pick what you are used to or what works for you.
Other than the obvious function of cutting and making buttonholes you can use them for décor and crafting. Though, you can only achieve this after fully mastering the art of making buttonholes.
Stitch width and length
Being able to adjust your stitch length and width is invaluable in the world of sewing. It increases your freedom of creativity, as you can be able to work on different types of fabrics and designs.
Some machines offer variable stitch lengths and widths while others, mostly low-priced, don’t, so, it is an important feature to check. The Eversewn – Sparrow 15 is one low-priced machine that offers variable stitch sizes.
The size of the machine matters, especially if you are the kind of person who likes to change their work station every often. If you intend to have a stationery workplace, and you will probably be sewing large fabrics, then you better go for a wider sewing machine with a tabletop that has sufficient space.
If, on the other hand, you wish to carry your machine to class or like to move from one workplace to another, then you better settle for a compact machine for ease of mobility. It shouldn’t also feel bulky by occupying so much space in your home. The space you have at home also determines your choice in the size of the model, and the YCDTMY Sewing Machine is a fantastic compact option that doesn’t need much room.
Just like the size, weight also determines the portability of a machine. If you intend to move with the machine a lot, go for a machine that weighs nothing more than 15 pounds, such as the SINGER Start 1304. Some people also prefer to store their machines in a closet and haul them out only when they need them. A lightweight model with a carry handle, like the YCDTMY Sewing Machine, is the only option in such cases.
Heavier machines would also mean superior quality in their construction. A machine with a sturdy motor is likely to be heavier, and it is the type that easily copes with frequent use of heavy fabrics with multiple layers like denim and upholstery material. Most heavy-duty machines tend to weigh more. So your intended use of the machine will determine your choice.
Some of the accessories included with mechanical sewing machines are usually presser feet, which ensure your fabric stays in check during sewing, a stabilizer, extension tables, bobbins, and needles. Some machines even come with bags or cases for carrying it, embroidery hoops, and foot controls.
Ensure you go for a machine with multiple accessories because they’d be more versatile and fun to use. Plus, it would save you cash as you wouldn’t have to buy the necessary accessories separately later.
Free-arm– The free-arm capability is an essential feature of a mechanical machine. It is when the area under the needle extends to allow you to manipulate fabric easily. It allows you to get to the hard-to-reach areas of clothing like collars, hems of pants, sleeves, and other round garment pieces. However, if you’ll be sewing straight garments, you can do without the free-arm capability.
LED – If you have an underlit room, you better go for a machine that has LED lighting. It helps you see the fine details of your projects. Be sure to go for a bright LED as some are really dull and less helpful.
Thread cutter – a thread cutter, such as seen with the Eversewn – Sparrow 15, is one of the features aimed at making work easier for you. It does all the cutting for you, and you wouldn’t need any scissors around. All you have to do is press a button on the machine when you want the thread to be cut.
Adjustable needle position – This is another crucial feature found in just a few sewing machines. It allows you to move the needle and stitching line from right to left and to have a needle up or down whenever you stop.
As with other products, the longer the warranty gives you that peace of mind. An extended warranty assures you of the machine’s quality, and in case you encounter any problems when using it within the stated period, you can always get help from the manufacturer. Some manufacturers offer a warranty as generous as 25 years, like with the SINGER 4423, or limited lifetime backup.
The first thing you need to do is to raise the presser foot. Secondly, turn the handwheel towards you until the needle is in its highest position. Then open the hinged cover and the bobbin case with hand. Insert the bobbin in such a way that the thread runs in a clockwise direction. Next, pull the sewing thread through the slit on the bobbin under the finger. You can then hold the bobbin with its hinged latch and insert it into the shuttle.
Not at all. All you need to do is to hold the broken, bent, or damaged needle in your left hand while undoing the screw that secures the needle in place with your right hand. You can use a screwdriver for that. After, you can remove the needle by pulling it out of the clamp. Then, you can go ahead and insert a new needle on the clamp with its flat side facing the backside of the sewing machine. Once the needle is highly placed on the clamp, you re-tighten the screw to hold it in place, after which you can thread it accordingly.
This depends on the type of sewing machine. Some machines are heavy-duty and can handle various types of fabrics, from thick layers of denim to leather and upholstery fabrics, while others can only handle medium-lightweight fabrics. An all-around machine can handle all types of fabric, including elastic material. It’s recommended to check the product specification to find it out.
The SINGER 4423 Sewing Machine scooped the top position as the best overall machine in our list. Its durable build, heavy-duty capabilities, and a top sewing speed of 1100 SPM cannot be matched. Also, it is highly versatile and extremely easy to use. Essentially, it is backed by a generous 25-year warranty, and it offers excellent value for money.
If you want the biggest bang for your bucks, the Eversewn – Sparrow 15 is the ultimate machine to buy. Its attractive price tag and all the brilliant features found in most high-end machines are unbeatable. Moreover, its 32 different stitch patterns give you the freedom to create everything you wish.
Lastly, the Janome Sewist 721 Sewing Machine was our premium pick. It stood out in our list of the best mechanical sewing machines because of its excellent build, which is typical of all products from this renowned brand. It has multiple features that make it one of the best heavy-duty options, including free-arm capability.