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Whether you want to learn to sew and are purchasing your first sewing machine or are a more advanced user wanting a second machine, this list of the best cheap sewing machine options will help you pick your next machine.
I’ve included inexpensive full-sized sewing machines with the most basic features and a few more feature-rich, yet still affordable, machines.
There are also a few miniature sewing machines for users who don’t have a lot of space to store a full-sized machine.
So, read on to learn about the best high-quality, yet still cheap, sewing machines on the market now!
Considerations Before Purchasing
If you’re a beginner, sometimes picking the cheapest sewing machine you can find isn’t always the best idea.
Some really nice features on slightly more expensive machines can make your life a lot easier. For instance, an automatic one-step buttonhole or automatic needle threader!
Here are a few things to consider before finding your new best friend for your sewing adventures.
1. Full-size vs. Miniature Sewing Machine
If you plan to travel exclusively and only need very basic functions, a miniature sewing machine, like the one above, is significantly less expensive and can perform basic sewing tasks.
However, I highly recommend choosing a full-size sewing machine if you want to sew more frequently, need reliability, and want more functions.
Even if the full-size machine is more expensive, that extra money will be worth it.
I would also be remiss if I did not mention that the cheapest mini sewing machines are actually handheld sewing machines.
I own the Singer model above, and, while inexpensive, it’s so unimpressive that I wouldn’t recommend it to my worst enemy.
2. Computerized vs. Mechanical
Computerized sewing machines offer much more functionality but are also much more expensive!
With mechanical sewing machines, you sew with the foot pedal and change stitches and their length or width with dials.
With a computerized machine, you can often sew with buttons and use an LCD screen to select your stitch parameters. Some computerized machines even allow you to edit and save stitch patterns.
3. Included Presser Feet
Presser feet hold fabric in place when you sew.
All sewing machines include a general zigzag foot, allowing you to sew a straight and zigzag stitch. This is enough for most sewing projects.
However, additional sewing feet can make specific tasks much more manageable!
For example, buttonhole and button-sewing feet are helpful for adding buttons to garments, and zipper feet can make sewing zippers simpler.
More presser feet like a quilting foot, walking foot, overcasting foot, blind hem foot, or even a narrow hem foot can expand your sewing options, too.
While purchasing a sewing machine that includes your desired feet is nice, just know that you can always buy additional presser feet for most machines.
4. Stitches and Buttonholes
Consider how many built-in stitches and what types you want.
Do you only need a straight stitch? Then, no need to buy an expensive machine with 100+ stitches.
If you also never plan to sew on buttons, there’s also no reason to invest in a sewing machine with an automatic one-step buttonhole stitch.
5. Automatic Needle Threader
The most inexpensive sewing machines do not have this feature, but sometimes spending $10 more will get you a machine with an automatic needle threader.
This type of needle threader uses a small lever and hook to wrap the thread around. With a flick of the lever, the thread passes through the eye of the needle.
This feature is nice if you have poor near vision or difficulty with shaky hands. (Also, check for an LED light if you have poor vision!)
Best Cheap Sewing Machines for 2023
Now, on to reviews of some of the most affordable sewing machines!
And to note, unfortunately, nothing these days is made like it used to be, and nothing lasts forever anymore.
No matter how much you spend, you will likely not get the same quality sewing machine as you would have 50 years ago. And while you could purchase a pre-owned machine, the number of well-maintained machines of yesteryear is also dwindling.
However, most of the machines below are produced by companies that have been in business for 50+ years and still produce quality products. As such, these new machines listed below are some of the best options for the money.
The Brother GX37 is a great sewing machine for beginners and is easy to use.
Even though it might be a little more expensive than some of the other machines I’ll review shortly, here’s why I think it’s worth the money.
First, it features 37 built-in stitches and has an automatic one-step buttonhole stitch. An automatic one-step buttonhole is an INCREDIBLE feature on a beginner sewing machine.
Most budget sewing machines include a 4-step manual buttonhole, meaning you must create the buttonhole yourself in four stages. This method carries a much steeper learning curve and is more time-consuming than having the machine create the buttonhole with almost no input from you!
Stitch length and width are adjusted on the top of the sewing machine with dials. This means you get 37 built-in stitches, which each then can vary in stitch length or width.
Six included presser feet will allow you to do more complicated sewing tasks like sewing a narrow hem or even an invisible hem.
And, the Brother GX37 comes with an automatic needle threader! (Be careful with this feature, though. It can break easily if you’re too aggressive.)
The Brother GX37 sewing machine also features a quick-set, top drop-in bobbin that’s jam-resistant. What quick-set means is, once you place the bobbin in its case, there is no need to draw up the bobbin thread manually. This makes setup one step less!
Also, a clear case lets you keep an eye on the thread level, so you don’t run out of bobbin thread in the middle of a project.
- Beginner-friendly automatic features like needle threading and quick-set bobbin. So easy to use!
- Sew and quilt with the large selection of stitches and presser feet
- Nice built-in LED light and high max stitching speed of 800 stitches per minute
- Brother’s 25-year limited warranty
- It may be “more” sewing machine than some users want.
(This is the updated version of the well-loved Brother XM2701 lightweight sewing machine. The main difference is an additional ten stitches on the GX37. Both are excellent sewing machines! Learn more in my in-depth review of the Brother XM2701 sewing machine.)
2. SINGER | M2100 Sewing Machine or Singer Start 1304
The Singer Start 1304 is an inexpensive and basic Singer sewing machine. It’s not as fully featured as the Brother GX37, but it’s very affordable and is a great machine for Singer loyalists.
The Singer 1304 has several newer models, like the Singer M2100, M1500, and MX60, which are sometimes less expensive. They are identical in features but have a sleeker look to them.
One of the best cheap sewing machines for beginners and kids, the Singer Start 1304 boasts simplicity. It features six built-in stitches with a pre-set stitch length and width. It also comes with three standard sewing feet. That’s everything you need when first learning to sew!
Its lack of options is what makes it so appealing to many users. There’s nothing complicated about it! With no added bells and whistles, it’s a great sewing machine to begin on.
Once you know sewing will “be your thing,” you can then move up to a more featured mechanical sewing machine or even a computerized sewing machine.
- Easy to use and set up
- Limited choices so less likely to get confused when making sewing choices
- Free arm sewing is lovely on this inexpensive sewing machine!
- Not as much “room to grow” with this machine, so not one of the best sewing machines for someone planning to do advanced sewing.
- No automatic needle threading
Learn more in my Singer 1304 review! This is the sewing machine my daughter uses, so there are many pictures.
The Brother CS5055 sewing machine is fully featured and loaded with functionality, and its ease of use makes it a good beginner sewing machine.
Plus, the Brother CS5055 is an improvement over its predecessor, the Brother CS5055prw sewing machine.
It includes 60 built-in stitches and is one of the most inexpensive sewing machines with computerized features. This includes digital selection of stitch number, length, and width.
While it’s not computerized enough to sew pedal-free, it supplies error codes for beginners learning to troubleshoot and assists with matching the correct presser foot to the selected stitch.
There are also seven presser feet included, which majorly expands your options for sewing projects.
In addition to the basic presser feet included with these other inexpensive sewing machines, you’ll also find feet with the CS5055 that assist with creating blind hems and sewing decorative stitches.
One thing that some of these less expensive sewing machines lack, though, is quilting-friendly accessory feet. I regularly use my walking foot and quilting foot when feeding thick quilts and free-motion stitching, respectively. These were included with my Brother CS7000X.
Luckily, if you are a quilter, you can purchase extra feet for this machine.
Lastly, the Brother CS5055 includes an automatic needle threader to help tired eyes and a quick-set, top drop-in bobbin like most fancy sewing machines. There’s also an automatic one-step buttonhole function.
- Tons of stitch options
- Computerized with error codes and stitch selection
- Backed by Brother’s 25-year limited warranty
- More expensive!
- I wish it offered a wide table to expand the work area. I use my detachable table when quilting and sewing costumes or oversized garments.
There is another similar sewing machine, the Brother CP60X, which I currently have in my sewing room.
Everything about these two machines is identical, except the stitch faceplate of the CP60X is light blue.
The contrast is horrific, so I recommend the CS5055 over it if the prices are similar. (You can see all the pictures in my Brother CP60X review!)
The brand Janome commands respect in the sewing community and is usually geared towards more experienced sewists.
I love seeing Janome making an inexpensive sewing machine, though, so new and budget-minded users can afford to try out this reputable brand for their first sewing machine.
Our local library has several Janome Basic sewing machines available for residential use. (As an aside, check if your local library allows you, too, to rent sewing machines!)
They’re portable at only 5 lbs and are great sewing machines for kids to learn on. Surprisingly, they’ve held up through A LOT of use, which is something I didn’t expect.
The Janome Basic includes ten built-in stitches (straight, zigzag, triple-stitch zigzag, and crescent) with different needle position, length, and width options. It’s not the snazziest sewing machine you can find, but it’s one of the least expensive.
There’s no buttonhole stitch, and it only runs at one slow speed. But, again, it’s perfect for kids and beginners who don’t want a full-sized or fully-featured sewing machine.
This inexpensive sewing machine also comes in a HUGE variety of colors, and they’ll often be at different prices. So if you’re not sold on one color, make sure to check prices for each color to see which one’s going to be the least expensive.
- Affordable for a Janome
- Beginner-friendly and kid-friendly as well
- Top drop-in bobbin
- No built-in LED light for tired eyes
- Only one speed (actually may be a pro for kids!)
- No on/off switch. It just turns on when plugged in and the foot pedal is pushed.
The Singer Tradition 2277 sewing machine is easy to use, easy to set up, and includes a bit more than the Singer 1304 above.
It’s one of my top Singer sewing machines for kids because it’s so feature-rich and straightforward to use, considering how much it offers.
Things that set this machine apart from the more inexpensive Singer 1304 are the inclusion of adjustable stitch length and width, an automatic needle threader, and a one-step automatic buttonhole. These are convenient features if you want to sew frequently and do more than just mending or basic alterations.
Twenty-three built-in stitches and four presser feet are included, which is not as impressive as what comes with the Brother CS5055, but still not too bad at all!
Undoubtedly, it’s a “better” sewing machine than the Singer 1304, but it’s up to you to decide if you want or even need this much given the extra cost.
Also, there’s an updated version now, the Singer M3300, if you prefer to have the latest and greatest. The Singer Simple sewing machine 3232 model is also very similar.
Lastly, if you feel like splurging and want a computerized Singer, the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 is a pretty neat computerized machine but costs almost double what the 2277 does.
The Brother LX3817 is one of the cheapest sewing machines at Walmart. It’s a basic beginner sewing machine offering 17 stitches, a 4-step buttonhole, and four accessory feet.
The Brother XM2701 and GX37 offer more for the money, but the Brother LX3817 is usually more inexpensive, especially if you can find it in stock at Walmart.
In contrast to the more fully-featured Brother GX37, the Brother LX3817 lacks in a few ways. It does not include an automatic needle threader or produce one-step buttonholes.
Overall, I prefer to recommend the Brother XM2701 or GX37 because you get more stitch versatility and more features for not too much more money.
While this sewing machine is inexpensive, I don’t recommend it to many people, and I feel the Brother GX37 sewing machine (see above!) is a better pick for most beginner sewing enthusiasts.
That being said, the Brother XM1010 sewing machine has only ten stitches and includes four basic feet. It has no fancy bells and whistles or decorative stitches like the Brother GX37.
But, if you’re looking for a very basic sewing machine, just know Brother produces great, reliable sewing machines. This one is no exception, and I have no doubt it will perform well for you.
In terms of value for money spent, though, I think the Brother XM1010 is lacking.
While this is not an inexpensive sewing machine in comparison, it is the cheapest heavy-duty sewing machine you’ll find.
While some of the above Brother sewing machines will sew thick fabrics occasionally, if you want to stitch leather, canvas, or denim frequently, you’ll be better served by a heavy-duty sewing machine.
Heavy-duty sewing machines have a sturdier metal frame and a stronger motor than regular machines. Additionally, the maximum sewing speed is usually faster than a standard sewing machine.
Just because a sewing machine is geared towards thick fabrics, though, doesn’t mean it won’t perform well on thin fabrics, too. Thanks to adjustable presser foot pressure, pretty much any fabric is fair game for this Singer 4411. Thus, it can function as your everyday sewing machine if you want!
The Singer 4411 sewing machine includes 11 stitches (6 basic stitches, 4 decorative stitches, and 1 buttonhole stitch) and three needle positions. There are also four basic presser feet included allowing you to accomplish various tasks.
Overall, the Singer 4411 heavy-duty is a true workhorse. It’s inexpensive for a heavy-duty sewing machine and stitches with incredible precision!
- Sew thin and thick fabrics (quilts, denim, vinyl, you name it!)
- Precise, reliable stitching
- More expensive than standard sewing machines
- No one-step buttonhole or a large variety of stitches. (There are other Singer heavy-duty sewing machines with these features, but they cost more also!)
If you have a bigger budget, you could also upgrade to the Singer Heavy Duty 4423, 4432, or 4452 for extra accessories and stitches.
This portable sewing machine doesn’t rank highly on my list of inexpensive sewing machines based on quality.
But, at such a low price and with its features, it is one of the better deals.
A miniature sewing machine, it offers a surprising number of full-size sewing machine features, such as reverse stitching and a built-in light. Yet, it’s still lightweight and takes up very little space.
While it doesn’t come with a large variety of presser feet, the foot can be removed and replaced with any additional foot you purchase separately.
Like most small, portable, and easy-to-use sewing machines, you can use batteries or the included power adapter. This is a helpful feature if you’re on the go in an area without electricity!
- Extensive functions for a small sewing machine
- Portable and lightweight
- Brand name does not carry prestige and decades of quality sewing like Brother or Singer
- Reviewers either love it or hate it. Make sure to test it out within the return period!
The Varmax Mini sewing machine is a miniature sewing machine that is not nearly as fully featured as most full-size sewing machines.
There are many similar versions of this miniature sewing machine on Amazon and Walmart, and the one I own is pictured above.
Now, for an occasional user looking for a budget sewing machine for small sewing projects, a mini machine may do the trick.
However, it only comes with a straight stitch, so you must tie off thread ends to prevent unraveling or reverse the handwheel manually to lock stitches.
It’s also a little difficult to set up because of poor instructions, but YouTube videos can fix that. (I also have a tutorial about how to thread a miniature sewing machine and how to use a mini sewing machine.)
As a plus, though, it does have a built-in lamp and thread cutter on the side.
Also, unlike modern sewing machines, the Varmax Mini (and similar machines) allow you to sew with battery power. One nice feature of a miniature sewing machine is sewing can be started with the included foot pedal or an on/off button.
This easy-to-use machine is an okay sewing machine for kids and is good at sewing small cylindrical items such as kids’ pants legs and doll clothes.
This is also a good option for beginner sewists who aren’t looking for anything fancy and see sewing as a way to perform only basic tasks like hemming and making uncomplicated alterations.
However, if you think you’ll ever want to sew more complicated projects, consider purchasing a sewing machine with at least a zigzag stitch.
If I were on a tight budget and had to choose between a used standard-sized machine or a mini sewing machine for the same price, I’d choose the used machine any day.
- Super inexpensive
- Very portable
- includes an extension table for a larger workspace
- Only a straight stitch, so no reverse or zigzag stitch
You can learn more about all the cons in my miniature sewing machine review.
As you can see, the less expensive machines are typically made by Brother, Janome, and Singer, whereas Baby Lock, Bernina, and Juki machines fall on the higher end of the price scale.
However, these cheap sewing machines don’t sacrifice quality.
Furthermore, if you’re a price-shopper like me, you can check Sewingmachinesplus.com to compare prices. Sometimes you’ll find an excellent deal, especially on some of the refurbished sewing machines!
Lastly, if you’re still wondering what you can get for your budget, read how much does a sewing machine cost to get a better idea of functions vs. price.