One often buys a sewing machine when they want to improve the efficiency of sewing. The decision then becomes, should I go for a computerized or mechanical sewing machine? Both types of machines perform the basic task of making uninformed stitches on fabrics using two sets of threads and a needle. Factors such as skill level, user’s needs, and budget will heavily influence whether you buy a computerized sewing machine or a mechanical machine. In this article, I’ll take a look at some of the common features of a computerized sewing machine and review the best ones out there.
Top 5 Computerized Sewing Machines
Why would you want to buy a computerized sewing machine?
There are many reasons why you will want to buy a computerized sewing machine instead of a mechanical one. The main factor for me is the needs of the user. If you are heavily into embroidery and would like to make more intricate designs and patterns, then you need a computerized sewing machine. This type of machine also allows you to download and use patterns from the internet in your design. There are thousands of pages out there you get free designs and patterns from. You’ll quickly embroider designs you didn’t even think was possible.
Computerized sewing machines also save you time by automating some of the tasks that you’ll otherwise have to do manually with a mechanical machine. Auto-threading, stop/start buttons, automatic buttonhole making, automatic tensioning, a wide variety of stitch length and width selection, presser foot up or down selection and automatic thread cutting are some of the features that make sewing with a computerized sewing machine much more efficient and time-saving.
Let me make a car comparison here. Let’s say you have a basic car without all the modern touches. No air conditioning, no power windows or power steering, no heated seats, no traction control, no anti-lock brakes, etc. You can still drive the car, but a modern computerized car with all these amenities is very so much easier to drive. You can practically drive them with just one finger. It is the same with a computerized sewing machine. It makes sewing much easier than a mechanical machine.
A mechanical machine is a very capable sewing machine, but unless you are highly skilled, it will be difficult for you to make even and uniformed stitches. Automatic thread tensioning and presser foot pressure adjustment allows even the novice to make straight uniformed stitches. After reading through the manual and getting yourself acquainted with how your new computerized sewing machine works, you’ll be making beautiful works of fashion in no time.
The Best Computerized Sewing Machines
The list below is my choice of the best computerized sewing machines based on personal experience and research into user feedbacks. I’ve asked around, and these are the best machines that people recommended the most. I’ve selected a machine to satisfy almost any budget.
#1 Brother SE1800 Computerized Sewing And Embroidery Machine
The SE1800 is the complete machine at a fantastic price for crafts enthusiast. This machine is ideal for someone who will be doing a lot of sewing and embroidery but does not want to spend a ton of money on a machine. This is a combo sewing and embroidery machine and is, therefore, perfect for anyone with space issues. One thing I like about it is the ability to download designs from the internet and transfer them to the machine for use in your project. The machine itself comes with an assortment of preloaded designs, but I find those designs a bit too cutesy. It is very easy to find designs on the internet and download them onto this machine. You do this using a USB storage device such as a flash drive.
The machine itself is straightforward to set up and use without the need to read the manual extensively. You will be ready to go within a few minutes of taking it out of the box. There is no steep learning curve to overcome. And if you ever get stuck, there is plenty of tutorials available to get you through any aspect of the machine.
The SE1800 produces an excellent stitch quality. It comes with 11 additional presser feet to help you sew different type of stitches. The large 5 X 7 inches embroidery hoop allows you to work on larger projects efficiently.
As a sewing machine, it works like a charm. The different presser feet allows you to sew a wide variety of stitches. The stitches are straight, even and of excellent quality. It is also a great embroidery machine with very few faults. The only flaw I find with it is that it displays the designs in black and white on the LCD display. But you’ll be hard-pressed to find a computerized sewing machine with color LED displays under $1,000.
The SE1800 computerized sewing and embroidery machine is fun, user-friendly, and produces excellent stitches. It has some great user feedbacks that you can read using the link below. I’ll recommend this machine for beginners and experienced sewing enthusiasts alike.
- 5 X 7 inches large embroidery field
- Built-in memory allows you import your own designs or designs you’ve downloaded from the internet
- Automatic threader makes threading the needle a breeze
- A backlit LCD display allows you to do basic design editing directly on the machine.
- One-step automatic buttonhole maker with 10 buttonhole styles
- USB connectivity allows you to import your own designs or ones you’ve downloaded from the internet
- Sideways sewing for applique and cylindrical sewing
- Automatic thread cutter
- Carrying case for storage and transportation
- Automatic thread cutter
- Knee presser foot lifter
- 3 built-in lettering fonts for monogramming
- Start/Stop button
- Needle Up/Down feature
- Speed Control
- Automatic thread tensioner
#2 Singer Quantum Stylist Computerized Sewing Machine
The quantum stylist machines are a range of five computerized sewing machines from Singler. The models in the range include; 9960, 8060, 8060 fashion bundle, 9985, and 9980. Click on each model name to read more about them.
These machines all come with plenty of bells and whistles you can expect from a computerized sewing machine. The machines seem to vary based on the number of built-in stitches, type of display and included accessories. The cheapest in the line is the Quantum Stylist 9960. But don’t be fooled by it’s lower price into thinking it is a basic machine because it comes with a lot of features. It comes with 600 built-in stitches that should cover every type of stitch you’ll ever need. You also get 18 additional presser feet to give you more creative freedom with your designs.
It makes excellent stitches and perfect monograms. The machine performs a lot of tasks for you automatically which is convenient. Automatic needle threading, automatic thread cutter, stop/start button, automatic buttonholes, needle up/down button, automatic stitch length and width adjuster, and automatic thread tensioner, are a few of the useful features of the machine.
It comes with an extension table which makes sewing large fabrics more comfortable. The dual built-in LED light illuminates the work at night. The lighting on this machine easily rivals that found on high-end sewing machines.
During my research, I found a few negative reviews about this machine which had to do with the bobbin system. However, Singer identified and fixed the problem in their updated machines. If you do decide to buy this machine, you’ll be getting the updated machines and should, therefore, not worry about this issue.
The Singer Quantum stylist 9960 computerized sewing machine is an excellent machine that will meet all of your sewing needs. It is durable, makes high-quality stitches, very easy to set up and use, affordable, and has the features of a high-end machine. If you are looking for an excellent computerized sewing machine, you really should be considering the 9960 or the other members of the Singer Quantum Stylist family.
This is a good machine for beginners and experienced sewers alike. I honestly don’t have any complaints about this machine.
- Automatic needle threading system
- Drop-in bobbin system with transparent cover allows you to see when you are running out of bobbin thread.
- Automatic thread cutter
- Stop/Start button
- Needle Up/Down feature remembers to lower or raise the needle every time you stop sewing.
- LCD display allows you to do basic stitch editing
- Automatic thread tensioner
- Automatic buttonholes with 13 buttonhole styles to choose from
- 600 built-in stitches with a style chart of all 600 stitches located on the machine for quick reference
- 18 additional presser feet including a walking foot. The machine also comes with a ton of bonus accessories
- An extension table offers a large sewing area for large projects and quilting
- Speed control provides precision sewing for beginners.
- Auto bobbin winding system
- Free arm sewing
- Freehand embroidery
#3 Singer One Plus Computerized Sewing Machine
This is another feature-packed computerized sewing machine from Singer. A friend of mine has this machine, so naturally, I went and took a spin on it. And I have to admit that I’ve fallen in love with it. The machine is straightforward to use, and it is whisper quiet when being operated. It produces clean, crisp, even and strong stitches.
It comes with all of the features you’d expect from a computerized sewing machine. Auto needle threading, auto thread cutter, auto buttonholes, stop/start button, needle up/down feature, auto bobbin winding, auto thread tensioning, are all standard features on this machine. Make buttonholes with the one-step automatic buttonhole maker. And you’ll have 6 different buttonhole styles to choose from. If you enjoy working with fun and diverse stitches, this machine comes pre-loaded with 231 stitches including letters and numbers. The LCD screen allows you to see the stitch you’ve selected, and make basic editing to the length and width of the stitch.
Sewing is a smooth and fluid process with this machine. The feed dogs move the fabric along at a sturdy and even pace, resulting in a clean and even stitching. The large sewing surface ensures that you are able to work on large projects with ease. The heavy metal frame of the machine makes it ideal for sewing heavy fabrics or layers of fabrics.
Whether you are a beginner or someone with experience, this machine will work for you. It is very easy to use. It sews very well and will last for many years.
Let me go through some of the key features of this machine.
- Automatic needle threading. Threading the needle is made easy with the automatic needle threading feature. It is easy to use after a quick read of the manual.
- LCD Screen. The LCD screen is not the most glamorous screen you’ll ever see. The screen allows you to see the stitch you’ve selected, the number of the stitch, the length, and width of the stitch. The displayed information is somewhat pixelated looking.
- Automatic thread cutter. This cuts the bobbin and needle threads automatically when you reach the end of your sewing.
- Automatic one-step buttonholes. Make buttonholes quickly with this feature. The machine automatically determines the size of the buttonhole based on the size of the button you placed in the foot. You have a choice of 6 buttonhole styles to choose from.
- Stop/Start button. This allows you to sew without the use of the foot pedal. If you find it difficult to coordinate your foot movements, this feature comes in very handy.
- Needle Up/Down feature. The machine can remember your selection and either raise and lower the needle every time you stop sewing. I explain why this feature is vital in the paragraphs below.
- 3 LED lights illuminate every inch of the workspace at night.
- Automatic reverse feature when you need it.
This machine has a lot going for it and has very positive feedback from other users. Happy sewing!
#4 Janome JNHMC7700QCP Craft Sewing and Quilting Machine
The only reason I don’t have this machine at number one on my list is the price. This machine is in the $$$$ range and not affordable for the average home sewing enthusiast. But if you can afford it, this should be the computerized sewing machine to get. I have yet to come across a single negative user feedback for the Janome 7700.
Yes, I have personally used this machine, and I’m full of praise for it. The 7700QCP is an upgrade of the super popular Janome Memory Craft 6600p. Janome took everything that was good about the 6600p, take in user feedbacks, added improvements and bundled everything into the Memory Craft 7700QCP.
The 7700QCP is a sewing and quilting delight. Straight out of the box, the machine looks very sturdy and has a high-quality design. The diecast metal frame means the machine will last a long time and provide a sturdy base that you need when working on large and heavy-duty fabrics. The extra large 11 x 5 inches workspace is also ideal for ensuring straight and even stitches when working on large projects. If you do a lot of quilting, you’ll find this machine to be a dream. It has a large throat which easily accommodates your largest quilts. If you love free motion quilting, this machine is a dream.
It has a powerful motor which is very quiet when running. The machine comes with a dizzying amount of built-in stitches and monogramming options. In total, you can choose from 250 different stitches and 3 monogramming fonts. The one-step buttonhole maker comes with 11 different buttonhole styles to choose from. The stitches are clean and beautiful. Five LED lights light up the entire workspace at night.
The machine comes with an array of feet including a free motion quilting foot, a walking foot, a zipper foot, and many hemming feet. It comes with a knee presser foot lift so you can raise the presser foot without using your hands. It also comes with all of the convenient features one would expect from a good computerized sewing machine. Automatic needle threader, one-step buttonholes, needle up/down, automatic plate converter, automatic thread tensioner, automatic thread cutter, and a drop feed dog are some of the standard features of the 7700.
I could go on talking about this machine because it is just a fantastic sewing machine for the price. It comes with an LED touchscreen display which is a vast improvement on the screens I’ve seen on machines in similar price range. You can select the stitch you want with the touch of the screen and make basic editing of the stitch right on the screen.
If you ever get stuck, the instruction manual will get you out of any jam. It is very detailed and guides you through every aspect of the machine. I wish I could list some flaws with this machine, but there wasn’t any for me. It works like a charm and looks and feels like a machine that will last forever. I rate this machine A++++ and will highly recommend it to those who can afford it.
- Automatic needle threader
- Stop/Start button
- A drop feed dog system for free motion quilting
- Needle up/down position. The machine remembers your selection.
- Automatic thread cutter cuts the needle and bobbin threads when you are done sewing
- Automatic thread tensioner
- High-speed sewing up to 1000 stitches per minute.
- Speed control lever
- Automatic plate converter
- Knee presser foot lifter
- Extra-large throat space
- Extra high presser foot lift
- LED touchscreen display
- LED illuminating lights
#5 Janome 7330 Magnolia Computerized Sewing Machine
If you are a first-time sewer or someone looking for a good computerized sewing machine, the Janome 7330 Magnolia should be one of the machines on the top of your shopping list. It is very easy to use and will not overwhelm you. One of the great things I came across whiles doing my research into this machine was how reliable it was. The Janome 7330 doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles but will get the job done in a very efficient manner. It has a very sturdy design and excellent at sewing heavier fabrics. It will quickly sew through multiple layers of fabric and is, therefore, an ideal heavy duty sewing machine.
The machine is very easy to set up and use, which makes it an excellent sewing machine for beginners. You will be making beautiful designs within 30 minutes of taking the machine out of the box even if you have no experience with sewing. It is a workhorse for sewing and quilting on larger projects. Although it does not have lots of bells and whistles, it has enough to satisfy the needs of most sewers and quilters.
One of the features that a lot of users liked about this machine is the start/stop button. This lets you sew without using the foot pedal. Another favorite feature is the needle up/down button. You can choose to have the needle stop in the up or down position anytime you stop sewing. The machine remembers your selection and sticks to it until you cancel it. The needle down feature and the start/stop features are two of the most desirable features in a computerized sewing machine, and this machine provides just that.
Another useful feature is the automatic buttonhole maker. The buttonhole feet incorporate a sensor that automatically makes the right buttonhole size for your buttons each time. There are 6 different buttonhole styles to choose from.
If I’m to list any negatives for the 7330, it’ll be that it only comes with 4 presser feet. You get a satin stitch foot, a regular foot, a buttonhole foot and a zipper foot. In reality, these feet are enough to construct almost any garment. But if you need other feet such as a walking, piping, or hemmer foot, you’ll have to buy them separately.
This machine is excellent for the free quilter, home mending, and home garment and decorative sewing. It is an excellent sewing machine for the price point and very easy to use. It is designed to help you focus on sewing rather than fiddling with settings on the machine.
- One-step automatic buttonhole maker with 6 different buttonhole styles to choose from
- Adjustable stitch length and width
- Automatic needle threader
- Jam proof bobbin system
- Automatic bobbin winding
- Needle Up/Down function memorizes your preferred needle position when you stop sewing.
- Free arm quilting
- Reverse sew button
Computerized vs. Mechanical Sewing Machines
What are the differences between a computerized and mechanical sewing machine? Both types of sewing machines will contain the same basic moving parts and structure. The main difference is how the various functions of the machine are controlled. In a mechanical machine, the user manually controls all the functions of the various parts by turning knobs or levers. These engage gears that allow the machine to perform the desired function. In a computerized machine, these functions are controlled by microprocessors in the machine. The user inputs the desired functions with the use of buttons or knobs. The computer stores these commands in memory and controls the movement of the various parts to achieve the desired result.
One of the major differences between a mechanical and computerized sewing machine is the accessories. Mechanical machines use manual processes to achieve various tasks. They, therefore, require an army of parts to change the settings, such as the type of stitches or the type of fabric. You’d be lucky if you can make 20 different types of stitches with this kind of machine. You can select various stitch types with the touch of a button on computerized sewing machines. You won’t need to switch parts to achieve these settings as you’ll do on a mechanical machine. Some have USB ports or internet connectivity which allows you to download thousands of additional stitches or make your own.
Setting Up of Computerized and Mechanical Sewing Machines
There are similar tasks that you have to undertake when setting up both types of machines. You will have to place bobbins and thread spools in the machine manually and manually change the presser foot for your desired stitch selection.
When selecting a stitch type on a mechanical machine, you do so by sliding a lever to the desired stitch. You’ll do the same for stitch length and width selection. A computerized sewing machine uses a different process for stitch selection. You select these settings using buttons or sometimes a touchscreen. Most computerized sewing machines come with an LED or LCD display that displays the selected settings and a visual of the type of stitch you have selected. The screen will then recommend the ideal presser foot to use for your selected stitch.
If you are like me, then you hate having to thread the needle manually as you do with mechanical machines. Some computerized sewing machines come with automatic needle threader which does all the work for you. Hooks automatically catch and pass the thread through the eye of the needle. This saves you time, avoids finger pricks and strain on your eyes.
How Mechanical and Computerized Sewing Machines sew
On both types of machine, the fabric is automatically advanced, and the needle moved in the right direction to form the desired stitches. However, there is a difference in the control of the sewing process on both machines. On a mechanical machine, you’ll have to manually guide the fabric along the feed dogs as you sew. You control the sewing speed with a foot pedal. A computerized sewing machine has automatic processes which control functions such as speed. There is also a fabric guidance system that ensures your stitches are straight and even. Making a buttonhole with a computerized sewing machine can be as simple as pressing a button.
Needle positioning on a mechanical and Computerized Sewing Machines
The position of the needle when the machine comes to a stop is a major factor in determining the strength of your stitches. If the needle stops in the up position, the fabric can move around and weaken your last made stitch. Ideally, you want the needle to stop in the down position which holds the fabric in place and allows you to turn it without weakening the stitch. In mechanical machines, you’ll have to press the foot pedal carefully to stop the needle in the down position before turning the fabric. Computerized sewing machines often have a feature known as the “needle up/down” selector. The user can set this to always automatically stop the needle in the down or up position. This is a convenient feature that reduces errors and loose stitches.
One other useful feature on a computerized sewing machine is the automatic thread cutter. Old fashioned machines require the user to cut the thread with a pair of scissors at the end of sewing. The automatic thread cutter does this for you on computerized sewing machines.
Thread Tention Adjustment
On mechanical sewing machines, you adjust the thread tension turning a knob until you get your desired tension. Computerized sewing machines feature an automatic thread tensioner which senses when the thread tension needs adjustment and automatically adjust the tension.
Both types of machines have similar parts and are of similar size. They both take up roughly the same amount of space if you want to store them. Some come with their own carrying cases, and you can easily find carrying cases that fit both. However, mechanical machines contain gears and are therefore slightly heavier than computerized sewing machines. If you would be taking your machine to and from classes regularly, you might want to get the lighter computerized models.
Durability and Maintainance.
As good as any machine is, it cannot run forever. There’ll come a time when you’ll need to replace or repair some parts on your sewing machine. Mechanical sewing machines have parts that are easy to replace at home. Also, the parts on a mechanical machine are less expensive. Computerized sewing machines contain parts that will most likely require a professional to replace. You might also lose all of your stored favorite stitches if there is a problem with your computerized machine.
When it comes to durability, both machines are very durable. They can last more than 10 years before you experience any problems.
Your skill level can influence the machine you ultimately chose. Some beginners prefer the mechanical sewing machine because it helps them develop their basic sewing skills. You will learn the basics of sewing better with this type of machine because you control most of the sewing. It will take practice to be able to sew clean, even and straight stitches with a mechanical machine. However, novices who want to go straight into sewing without having to learn the basic sewing skills will find a computerized sewing machine easier to sew with. Automatic processes make sewing much easier than a mechanical sewing machine. You simply have to read the manual that comes with your machine to understand how the various functions work and you’ll be making beautiful end products in no time. If you are a beginner and looking for the best beginner’s sewing machines, check out my sewing machine for beginners section.
Rate of Usage
Those who sew once in a while seem to find mechanical sewing machines easier to manage. For those who sew on a daily basis, a computerized sewing machine offers many time-saving and convenient features. You are able to save your preferences and use them over and over again at the touch of a button. When you use a computerized sewing machine, you spend more time sewing instead of fiddling with settings.
Type of Sewing
Some types of sewing are ideal for certain types of machines. Mechanical models are ideal for sewing simple stitches, stitch repairs and hemming. This kind of machine is ideal for short-term sewing projects that do not require large fabrics. For more elaborate sewing projects such as embroidery and quilting, a computerized sewing machine is more suitable. The automated sewing process is suited to long-term and large projects. A computerized model can help you make embroidery designs you couldn’t achieve with a mechanical machine.
Cost of mechanical and computerized sewing machines
The price of a mechanical and a computerized sewing machine can vary wildly. A good mechanical machine can cost you a few hundred dollars while a decent computerized sewing machine can cost a few hundred to thousands of dollars. Some high-end computerized models can cost upwards of $4,000. It is up to you to determine how much you want to spend on a sewing machine. If money is no object, then buying an advanced computerized machine for $5,000 might not be a problem for you. If you want to sew as a source of income, you might want to take a look at how much you expect to earn in revenue and determine how much you are prepared to spend on a machine.