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Top 10 Best Cheap Sewing Machines – For Beginners to Experts in 2020

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If you’re wanting to learn to sew as a beginner or are a more advanced user wanting a second machine, this list of best cheap sewing machines will help you find your perfect sewing match.

I’ve included inexpensive full-sized sewing machines with the most basic features as well as a few more feature-rich, yet still affordable, sewing 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!

Best Cheap Sewing Machine

Best Cheap Sewing Machines for 2020 – Quick List

If you’re merely looking for the cheapest sewing machine you can find, I’ve put together a chart (complete with current prices!) of my top choices for affordable sewing machines.  If finding the absolute cheapest sewing machine isn’t your end goal, I recommend reading the reviews below to help you sift through features and choose the best inexpensive sewing machine for you.  (You may need to scroll right on your phone to fully view the chart.)

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Considerations Before Purchasing

If you’re a beginner, sometimes picking the cheapest sewing machine you can find isn’t always the best idea.  There are certain really nice features on slightly more expensive sewing machines that can make your life a lot easier.  For instance, an automatic one-step buttonhole! Here are a few things to consider before finding your new best friend for your sewing adventures.

Full-size vs Miniature Sewing Machine

If you plan to travel exclusively and only need very basic functions, a miniature sewing machine is going to be significantly less expensive and perform basic sewing tasks perfectly.  However, if you’re wanting to sew more frequently and have more functionality, I highly recommend choosing a full-size sewing machine.  Even if it is more expensive, that extra money will be worth it.

Computerized vs Mechanical

Computerized sewing machines offer way more functionality, but they 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 sewing machine, you often have the option to sew with buttons and use an LCD screen to select your stitch parameters.  Some computerized sewing machines even allow you to edit and save stitch patterns.

Included Presser Feet

Presser feet hold the fabric in place when you sew.  All sewing machines will come with a general zigzag foot, which allows you to sew a straight stitch or zigzag stitch.  This will be enough for most projects.  However, having additional sewing machine feet can make certain tasks easier.  Buttonhole and button-sewing feet are nice 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 it’s nice to purchase a sewing machine that includes your desired feet, just know that you can always buy additional presser feet for most sewing machines.

Stitches and Buttonholes

Consider how many stitches and what types you’re wanting.  Do you only need a straight stitch?  Then, no need to buy an expensive sewing machine with 100+ stitches.  If you never plan to sew on buttons, there’s also no reason to invest in a sewing machine with an automatic one-step buttonhole stitch, even if it automatically sizes your buttonholes.

Automatic Needle Threader

The absolute cheapest sewing machines available do not have this feature, but sometimes spending $10 more will get you a sewing machine with an automatic needle threader.  This type of needle threader uses a small lever and hook that you 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!

Best Cheap Sewing Machines – Reviews & Specs

Without further ado, here are reviews of some of the most affordable sewing machines on the market in 2020.

Brother XM2701 Lightweight Sewing Machine

Brother Sewing Machine, XM2701, Lightweight Sewing Machine with 27 Stitches, 1-Step Auto-Size Buttonholer, 6 Sewing Feet, Free Arm and Instructional DVD

Buy on Amazon!

The Brother XM2701 sewing machine is the best sewing machine under $100.  Even though it’s a little more expensive than some of the other sewing machines I’ll review shortly, here’s why I think it’s worth the money.

It features 27 built-in stitches and has an automatic one-step buttonhole stitch.  An automatic one-step buttonhole is an INCREDIBLE feature to have on a sewing machine if you’re a beginner.  Most budget sewing machines include a 4-step manual buttonhole, meaning you have to 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 27 stitches, which each have the option to adjust length or width.  This brings you to a total of 63 stitch functions!

6 included presser feet will allow you to do more complicated sewing tasks like sewing a narrow hem even an invisible hem.

And guys, the Brother XM2701 has an automatic needle threader!  (Be careful with this feature, though.  I broke the auto needle threader on my Brother CS7000i by fiddling with it a little too aggressively!)

The Brother XM2701 sewing machine also features a top-drop, quick-set bobbin that’s jam-resistant. What quick-set means is, once you place the bobbin in its case, there is no need to manually draw up the bobbin thread.  This makes setup one step less!  Also, a clear case allows you to keep an eye on the thread level so you don’t run out of bobbin thread in the middle of a project.

Pros:

  • Beginner-friendly automatic features like needle threading and quick-set bobbin
  • Sew and quilt with the large selection of stitches and presser feet
  • Nice built-in light and high max stitching speed of 800 spm

Cons:

  • May be “more” sewing machine than some users want

Learn even more in my in-depth review of the Brother XM2701 sewing machine, or check out my list of best Brother sewing machines for beginners.

Singer Start 1304 Sewing Machine

singer start 1304 review

Read more on Amazon!

The Singer Start is an inexpensive and basic Singer sewing machine.  It’s not as fully-featured as the Brother XM2701, but it’s very affordable and is a great machine for Singer loyalists.

One of the best cheap sewing machines for beginners and kids, the Singer Start 1304 boasts simplicity.  It features 6 built-in stitches with a pre-set length and width.  It also comes with 3 standard presser feet.

Its lack of options is what makes it so appealing to many users.  There’s nothing complicated about it!  It’s a great sewing machine to begin on, and once you know sewing is going to be your thing, you can then move up to a more featured mechanical sewing machine or even a computerized sewing machine.

Also, the Singer 1304 now has a newer model, the Singer M1500, out.  (Read my Singer M1500 review for more information!)  It’s identical in features but is usually a little pricier because it has a snazzier look to it.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Limited choices so less likely to get confused when making sewing choices

Cons:

  • Not as much “room to grow” with this machine
  • No automatic needle threading

Learn more in my Singer 1304 review!  This is the sewing machine my daughter uses, so there are lots of pictures.

Brother XR3774 Full-Featured Quilting Machine

Brother XR3774 FullFeatured Quilting Machine with 37 Stitches, 8 Sewing Feet, Wide Table, and Instructional DVD, RedBuy on Amazon!

The Brother XR3774 sewing machine is fully-featured and loaded with functionality.  If you’re looking for the best sewing and quilting machine under $100 (well, sometimes prices fluctuate a little over), the Brother XR3774 is your best bet.

It includes 37 stitches (a total of 74 stitch functions) and is the cheapest Brother sewing machine that offers a wide table to expand your workspace.  I like to use my detachable wide table when quilting and sewing costumes or large garments.  Because the table detaches, the sewing machine still takes up a small space in your sewing corner.

There are also 8 presser feet included, which will majorly expand your options.  In addition to the basic presser feet included with these other inexpensive sewing machines, you’ll also find feet with the XR3774 that assist with creating blind and narrow hems.  Because this is a quilting and sewing combination machine, two quilting-friendly accessory feet are included.  Use the walking foot to feed thick layers evenly and the quilting foot for free-motion quilting.

Like many fancy sewing machines, the Brother XR3774 includes an automatic needle threader to help tired eyes and top-drop, quick-set bobbin.  There’s also an automatic one-step buttonhole function.

Pros:

  • Extendable wide table and extra quilting presser feet make the Brother XR3774 particularly good for quilting
  • Tons of stitch options

Cons:

  • More expensive!

Read more in my Brother XR3774 review

Janome Basic Sewing Machine

Janome Graceful Gray Basic, Easy-to-Use, 10-Stitch Portable, Compact Sewing Machine with Free Arm only 5 poundsShop on Amazon!

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 respectable brand.

Our local library has several of these 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 10 stitches (straight, zigzag, triple-stitch zigzag and crescent) with different options for needle position and length and width.  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 on 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 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 cheapest.

Pros:

  • Affordable for a Janome
  • Beginner-friendly and kid-friendly as well
  • Top-drop bobbin

Cons:

  • No built-in light for tired eyes
  • Only one speed (actually may be a pro for kids!)
  • No on/off switch.  Just turns on when plugged in and foot pedal pushed.

Singer Tradition 2277 Sewing Machine

SINGER | Tradition 2277 Sewing Machine including 23 Built-In Stitches, Automatic Needle Threader, Snap-On Presser Feet, Automatic Tension, perfect for sewing all types of fabrics with easeShop on Amazon!

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 simple to use considering how much it offers.

Things that set this sewing machine apart from the less expensive Singer 1304 are the inclusion of adjustable stitch length and width, an automatic needle threader, and a one-step automatic buttonhole. These are very handy features if you’re wanting to sew frequently and do more than just mending or basic alterations.

23 stitches and four presser feet are included, which is not as impressive as what comes with the Brother XR3774, 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 sewing machine given the extra cost.  Also, there’s an updated version now, the Singer M3300, if you prefer to have the latest and greatest.

Brother LX3817 Sewing Machine

Brother Intl LX3817 Lightweight and Full-Size Sewing Machine

Buy now on Amazon!

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 4 presser feet.

The Brother XM2701 offers more for the money, but the Brother LX3817 is more inexpensive usually.

In contrast to the more fully-featured Brother XM2701, the Brother LX3817 lacks in a few ways.  It does not include an automatic needle threader nor does it produce one-step buttonholes.  Overall, I prefer to recommend the Brother XM2701 because you get more stitch versatility and more features for not too much more money.

Find out more in my full Brother LX3817 and LX3817a review.

Brother XM1010 Portable Sewing Machine

Brother Sewing Machine, XM1010, 10-Stitch Sewing Machine, Portable Sewing Machine, 10 Built-in Stitches, 4 Included Sewing Feet, 25-Year Limited WarrantyShop on Amazon!

While this sewing machine is inexpensive, I don’t recommend it for many people.  If you read my full Brother XM1010 sewing machine review, I’ve outlined its shortcomings in much greater detail.  I’ve also explained why I feel the Brother XM2701 sewing machine (see above!) is a better pick for most beginner sewing enthusiasts.

That being said, the Brother XM1010 sewing machine has only 10 stitches and includes 4 basic presser feet.  It has no fancy bells and whistles like the Brother XM2701.  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.

Just in terms of value for money spent, I think the Brother XM1010 is lacking.

Singer Heavy Duty 4411 Sewing Machine

Singer | Heavy Duty 4411 Sewing Machine with 11 Built-in Stitches, Metal Frame and Stainless Steel Bedplate, Great for Sewing All FabricsBuy now on Amazon!

While this sewing machine is not inexpensive by 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’re wanting 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 sewing 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 sewing machine.  Thus, it can function as your everyday sewing machine if you want!

The Singer 4411 sewing machine includes 11 stitches (6 basic, 4 decorative, and 1 buttonhole) and three needle positions.  There are also four basic presser feet included allowing you to accomplish a variety of tasks.

Overall, the Singer 4411 heavy-duty sewing machine is a true workhorse.  It’s inexpensive for a heavy-duty sewing machine and stitches with incredible precision!  But seriously, am I the only one who wishes Singer would start producing prettier heavy-duty sewing machines?

Pros:

  • Sew thin and thick fabrics (quilts, denim, vinyl, you name it!)
  • Precise, reliable stitching

Cons:

  • 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!)

AGM Portable Sewing Machine Review

AGM Portable Sewing Machine, 12 Stitches 2 Speed Heavy Duty Sew Machine, Handheld Quilting Embroidery Overlock Quick Sewing MachineView on Amazon!

The AGM 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 the features it offers, it is one of the best deals.

A miniature sewing machine, it offers a surprising number of full-size sewing machine features such as reverse stitching a built-in light.  Yet, it’s still lightweight and takes up very little space.

It features 12 stitches, including an overlocking stitch and buttonhole stitch.  This is HUGE for a miniature sewing machine!  While it doesn’t come with a large variety of presser feet, the presser foot can be removed and replaced with any additional foot you purchase separately.

Like most small, portable sewing machines, you can use batteries or the included power adapter.  This is a nice feature if you’re on the go in an area without electricity!

Pros:

  • Extensive functions for a small sewing machine
  • Portable and lightweight

Cons:

  • 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!

Varmax Mini Sewing Machine with Extension Table Review

Varmax Mini Sewing Machine with Extension TableShop on Amazon!

The Varmax Mini Sewing machine is a miniature sewing machine and is not near as fully-featured as most full-size sewing machines.  However, for an occasional user looking for a budget sewing machine, the Varmax mini sewing machine will not disappoint.

It only comes with a straight stitch and has no option for a reverse stitch.  However, it does have a built-in lamp and thread cutter.  Unlike modern sewing machines, the Varmax Mini gives you the option to sew with battery power.  One nice feature for a miniature sewing machine is that sewing can be started with the included foot pedal or an on/off button.

The Varmax Mini is a great basic sewing machine for kids and is really good at sewing small cylindrical items such as kids’ pants legs and doll clothes.  For beginner sewists who aren’t looking for anything fancy and see sewing as a way to perform basic tasks like hemming jeans and making uncomplicated alterations only, this is a great option.  However, if you think you’ll ever want to sew more complicated projects, consider purchasing a sewing machine with at least a zigzag stitch.

Pros:

  • Super inexpensive
  • Very portable
  • Comes with an extension table for a larger workspace

Cons:

  • Only a straight stitch
  • No reverse stitch

In Conclusion

And there you have it! A large selection of cheap sewing machines that don’t sacrifice quality.  I hope you are able to find a sewing machine that fits your desires, and if I can be of any help in your selection process, please let me know!

And if you’re a price-shopper like me, you can check Walmart.com and Sewingmachinesplus.com also to compare prices.  Sometimes you’ll find a nice deal, especially on some of the refurbished sewing machines here!

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