Mechanical sewing machines are different than computerized machines. They are simpler, don’t have LCD displays and don’t come with the software inside.
Some may think that there’s no advantage of getting one since computerized machines can do a lot more and have a plethora of built-in stitches available, but that is not true.
The best mechanical sewing machines are a great companion to any sewist, especially beginners. They are easy to use, lightweight, simple to maintain and, above all, incredibly affordable.
If you are just starting with your hobby or if you know you only do projects that require basic stitches and straightforward sewing techniques there is no reason to shell out hundreds of dollars on a state of the art device.
That is why we summed up the ten best ones available on the market today and summarized their specifications and advantages.
The Best Mechanical Sewing Machine of 2020
1. Janome HD3000
The Janome HD3000 is not just some old sewing machine. This beauty is a heavy-duty device, and it can sew through several layers of denim and even leather.
As soon as you take it out of the box you can feel how sturdy it is, it is not made of plastic but durable metal. If you can’t afford a computerized machine but need something that can endure thick fabrics the Janome is the next best thing.
The bobbin is very easy to thread, just drop it in and it is done. There is a pop-up guide at the top that instructs you on tension and stitch length and seam foot, plastic bobbins and needles are included.
This is a quiet machine as well, and a fantastic tool for beginners and advanced users alike.
2. Brother XR3774
When it comes to features, Brother does not disappoint. This is a very affordable model great for any sewists that value brand name and quality.
The sewing table is a considerable advantage, bigger than most in this price range and suitable even for quilting. The sewing area is brightly lit with an inbuilt LED light, the bobbin is jam-resistant and the needle-threader is automatic.
Even though this is a mechanical machine there are still thirty-seven stitches available, and the included foot types let you make perfect buttonholes, hems, zigzags, zippers and more.
It is simple to use the machine, just rotate the dial to shift between stitches and follow the included DVD for any extra instructions you may need.
3. Singer 4423
Another heavy-duty model, the Singer has a wide variety of stitches available. That makes it perfect for small business owners or anyone looking for a sewing machine that can perform well in a variety of tasks such as quilting, clothing, and crafts.
It can also handle thick fabrics such as curtains and pillows. The trick is on the foot, the pressure is adjustable and that means you control how to sew a wide variety of fabrics.
Unlike most mechanical machines, this model can reach over one thousand stitches per minute, making it the fastest in its price range!
This is a great professional starter sewing machine and a solid choice.
4. Janome 2212
One of Janome’s mission is to create sewing machines that are easy to use, and that is a goal we can get behind. Janome 2212 is sold as a heavy-duty sewing machine, but it is much more than that.
It can handle very thin fabric just as well as thick, and the free arm makes it very easy to manipulate the patch. You can choose from twelve built-in stitches and it’s as simple as picking the one you want from the chart.
Curtains, beanbags, leather, numerous layers of fabric, nothing is out of reach with the 2212 model. A very affordable and intuitive sewing machine.
5. Brother GX37
If you need to go one step further than the basic mechanical sewing machine, the Brother GX37 has you covered. With thirty-seven included stitches and six sewing feet, you can complete an array of projects with its help.
It comes with directions and they are very simple to understand, but also handles a plethora of fabric types, which makes it ideal for both beginners and advanced users. It comes with all the needles and bobbins you need, ready to use from the box.
All Brother sewing machines include free online technical support, so you will be covered for that.
6. Eversewn – Sparrow
The Eversewn is not a heavy-duty machine, but that means that you can probably take it around easily and conveniently. It is one of the simplest sewing machines you can get in terms of the number of stitches, built and functions.
There are thirty-two built-in stitches including a buttonhole. As with most sewing machines, you can set the thread width and tension, and there are a manual needle threader and cutter.
It is a great device for homemade craft projects and items of clothing. The best part about it is the price – it is a very inexpensive model that will fit any budget.
7. Singer | Heavy Duty 4411
Singer does the best heavy-duty types of sewing machines. While this model is as fast as the 4423 and is also made from a strong metal case, it is simpler to use and has fewer features.
It has eleven stitches, as opposed to the thirty-six of the 4423, and there is no automatic needle threader. You can use it in all conditions, including dimmed ones, as it comes with a workspace light.
If you do not need a variety of stitches, want to sew through denim, leather or any other heavy material and need to keep costs down, check the 4411 out.
8. Brother XM2701
Anyone can learn how to use a sewing machine with this Brother model. It is brightly lit with LED lights, it is very light, and it has an impressive amount of features for such a small device.
Twenty-seven stitches and six different feet ensure you can tackle any project you want, and an automatic needle threader helps you set up in seconds.
This is the best mechanical sewing machine for beginners – just follow the instructional video that comes with it and you will understand all the basics in less than an hour.
9. Janome Arctic Crystal
With a removable free arm, fifteen stitches, a metal frame and included feet and accessories, the Janome Crystal makes for a solid low budget choice.
The manual that arrives with it is simple and easy to understand, and the frame is compact but sturdy. You can choose between teal, blue and pink – a nice touch if you are looking to distance yourself from the usual white.
Easy to store when not in use, this is the perfect model for home sewists.
10. Mini Sew Mighty
Are you looking for something to gift a little one in your life? If your child wants to sew alongside you the Sew Mighty is a fantastic -and very cute – sewing machine to get.
Even though it is child-sized, adults can use it too, and it is great for small projects such as doll clothes, coin purses, and children’s apparel.
They are also perfectly capable of doing small repairs, so if you just want a working and very affordable sewing machine to do hems and repairs socks, the Sew Mighty will work just fine.
Buying Guide for the Best Mechanical Sewing Machine
You will only be able to sew with the stitches your machine comes with. Consider the projects you intend to work on and research which types of stitches they need. All machines clearly state the kind and number of stitches they can do, so just read the specifications beforehand.
A free arm is a big help when you are sewing pants, sleeves, or any circular project. This is a must-have feature if you know you are working on those types of apparel.
The type of fabric you intend on sewing determines if you need a lightweight sewing machine or if only a heavy-duty will do. Heavy-duty sewing machines are made to handle leather, denim, curtains, and any type of thick fabric you throw at it.
You can even sew many layers together with little to no effort. Lightweight ones will vary in their capacity but usually are best suited for thinner textiles.
The sewing speed is determined by the number of stitches per minute achieved. Extremely fast mechanical machines sew up to one thousand stitches per minute, giving your work a definite boost.
If you are in no rush, however, and only sew for personal needs, this is not necessary and an average of four hundred will do.
A sewing machine doesn’t work by itself – you need thread, needles, different feet for every need and bobbins. Check if your model includes the accessories you need, as you don’t want to be caught by surprise when you’re about to start sewing.
Auto threading and thread cutter
Even though these were originally computerized machines features, nowadays the best mechanical sewing machines will come with these features.
Any sewist will tell you how frustrating it can be to not have them, so make sure to have that in mind when doing your research.
Frequently Asked Questions – Sewing Machines
What is the difference between a mechanical and a computerized sewing machine?
As the name suggests, a computerized sewing machine has software inside and will perform a lot of tasks automatically. They also have a display that shows patterns, stitch specifications and all kinds of useful information.
They are great for quilting and a necessity for embroidery. Mechanical machines, on the other hand, are completely controlled manually.
They still have built-in stitches, they are marginally cheaper and extremely simple to use.
What does free arm mean?
Free arm is an extended area of the sewing table. It is much smaller than the regular sewing space, but it moves and it allows you to sew tubular things such as sleeves and legs.
Why is my sewing machine stuck?
If your sewing machine gets jammed, it is usually a thread or needle problem. Either the tension is not right, the thread didn’t “catch”, or there may even be some dust hiding inside.
Check to see if the needle is not broken, if the thread has knots on it and try to drop the bobbin again.
How do I take care of my sewing machine?
It is always best to cover your sewing machine when not in use. Change the needles regularly and if you need to remove lint use compressed air.
Don’t use any oil as a lubricant, but a specialized one – easy to find in any craft shop. It is always good to service any machine you own, but you don’t need to do it more than once a year.