The Best Sewing Machine

The Best Sewing Machine

Given widespread stock issues, we recommend checking retailers several times a week. You can also check for refurbished and used machines. If you’re set on finding something similar to the Janome MOD-19, we suggest the Elna Elnita EM16, which is also made by Janome.

Our pick

Janome MOD-19

Janome MOD-19

Best sewing machine for most beginners

This quiet, affordable sewing machine stitches a variety of fabrics evenly, with enough speed variation and specialized features for beginners or casual sewers.

Buying Options

$157 from Home Depot

May be out of stock

The Janome MOD-19 can handle a variety of fabrics, the dials are easy to read and use, and it has enough specialized features (such as adjustable needle position, stretch stitches for knits, and a four-step buttonhole) that you’ll probably be happy sewing on it for many years. Although the Janome has some frilly decals that make it look dated, the mechanics of this machine are excellent, which is what really counts. You could spend much more on a “beginner” machine with more bells and whistles, but we don’t think you need to.

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Runner-up

Singer Heavy Duty 4423

Singer Heavy Duty 4423

A basic, even stitcher

The Singer’s quality isn’t as high as that of the Janome picks, but it’s a straightforward machine that can handle a variety of fabrics well, and it’s usually less expensive than the Janome MOD-19.

Buying Options

$170* from Home Depot

*At the time of publishing, the price was $161.

If you’re just dipping your toe into the whole sewing thing—you want to hem jeans, say, or make some curtains—or if you’re just plain on a budget, we also like the Singer Heavy Duty 4423, which you can usually pick up for less than $150. The Heavy Duty 4423’s stitch quality isn’t as nice as the MOD-19’s, but it sews evenly, the dials are easy to read, and our testers (who have many years of experience) all said this would be a great machine to learn on. We also found that the Heavy Duty 4423 handled stretch knits slightly better than the MOD-19.

Upgrade pick

Janome HD1000

Janome HD1000

Better for heavier fabrics

This solid, metal-bodied machine is better at sewing through layers of heavier fabrics like denim. It can be a tad trickier for a novice to use, though.

Buying Options

$285* from Home Depot

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $310.

The Janome HD1000 sews as evenly as the MOD-19 but feels more like an industrial machine and more easily sews through multiple layers of heavier fabrics like denim. The HD1000 also has an old-school metal body that those accustomed to vintage sewing machines may prefer. This machine is a bit trickier to thread, however, and more prone to needle jams. Those two problems can be particularly tough for a complete novice to correct, but if you’re familiar with a sewing machine, you should be able to handle the HD1000 just fine.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Janome MOD-19

Janome MOD-19

Best sewing machine for most beginners

This quiet, affordable sewing machine stitches a variety of fabrics evenly, with enough speed variation and specialized features for beginners or casual sewers.

Buying Options

$157 from Home Depot

May be out of stock

Runner-up

Singer Heavy Duty 4423

Singer Heavy Duty 4423

A basic, even stitcher

The Singer’s quality isn’t as high as that of the Janome picks, but it’s a straightforward machine that can handle a variety of fabrics well, and it’s usually less expensive than the Janome MOD-19.

Buying Options

$170* from Home Depot

*At the time of publishing, the price was $161.

Upgrade pick

Janome HD1000

Janome HD1000

Better for heavier fabrics

This solid, metal-bodied machine is better at sewing through layers of heavier fabrics like denim. It can be a tad trickier for a novice to use, though.

Buying Options

$285* from Home Depot

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $310.

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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