Sewing has for the past couple of decades been a long-forgotten art with textiles and clothing moving to a more glamourous designer trend in the nineties and noughties, long forgotten are those handmade dresses and curtains from the sixties seventies and eighties, that defined their eras where sewing was at its height of popularity. If you are starting out as a beginner, you might ask yourself which is the best sewing machine for home use is? Or what is the best and cheapest sewing machine?
Our top rated, overall best sewing machine award goes to the Pfaff Smarter 160S.
The rebirth has long waited and with the fantastic The British Sewing Bee on the BBC and home textile make over shows like ‘Money for Nothing’ awaking the crafting nation to bring back to life this long-forgotten art. As the market has been steadily growing so has the need for a sewing machine something that every household use to own but sadly has not been a necessity over the past two decades, where sewing machines were passed down from mother to daughter. Here are my best sewing machine UK reviews for 2020:
About Pfaff: Pfaff may not be a well-known sewing machine manufacturer – a Germany company originally designing sewing machines to sew leather to make shoes in the late 1800s. With the introduction of a new factory being built, they reached a target of over 1 million home sewing machines sold in 1910.
Table of Contents
- 1 1: BEST BUY 2020 Pfaff Smarter 160S Sewing Machine
- 2 2: Singer 3232 Sewing Machine, White and Lavender
- 3 3: Brother FS40 Electronic Sewing Machine Review
- 4 4: Janome 2200XT Sewing Machine Review
- 5 5: Toyota Oekaki Renaissance Sewing Machine
- 6 I’m a Sewing Beginner – What should I look for?
- 7 6: Janome 219S Sewing Machine
- 8 The Best Sewing Machine for Quilting: Jaguar HD-696
- 9 7. Jaguar HD-696 Review
- 10 The Best Industrial Sewing Machine: Singer 411
- 11 8: Singer 4411 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine Review
- 12 What Should I look for When Buying a Sewing Machine?
- 13 Where to Purchase (the new way to buy a sewing machine near me)
1: BEST BUY 2020 Pfaff Smarter 160S Sewing Machine
If you are looking for an overall best buy sewing machine for 2020 machine then the Pfaff Smarter 160S does the lot, at a much cheaper price of its high-end competitors.
Comparisons with other machines in the same price range for a standard everyday machine might see this model fall slightly short on stitching strength, but where the Smarter 160s goes above and beyond is in the creative stitches, consistently stronger crisper embroidery than any machine we have tried in this price range.
Easy to understand with good clear graphic indicators as to what dials and buttons do what printed in pink on the machines body, plus simple to understand illustrated instructions means more time to get creative!
Pfaff Smarter 160S Features:
- Needle threader integrated
- Hard white plastic case
- Stitch adjustment up to 6mm ease to understand dials
- Automatic Buttonhole one step solution
In short this is a top pick for the more ambitious sewer with tons of accessories and sharper stitches it opens the doorway to inspirational quilting projects or embroidery without the high-ticket price tag.
Pros of the Pfaff Smarter 160S Sewing Machine
- Crouch braiding foot for braiding and creative stitching
- Snap on and off presser feet
- Clearview foot
- 23 stitches including crisp embroidery
- Great speed control – stop start
- Superb online reviews
Cons: Plastic cover which is not as durable as steel.
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2: Singer 3232 Sewing Machine, White and Lavender
The 3232 is a good looking sturdy portable sewing machine with 32 stitched in a compact construction with an automatic needle threader. It has a metal body so it’s more robust, painted prominently in white with lavender accents. Weighing just over 5kg, the Singer 3232 has a good selection of accessories to tackle a wide range of jobs.
Features of the Singer 3232 Sewing Machine
- Weight 5.5KG
- 32 Built in Stitches
- Speed 750 Stitches
- Front Loading Bobbin
- Auto Needle Threader
With a front-loading bobbin, you would need to remove the compartment at the front of the machines foot to change your thread, simple to use plus easy to open. The automatic needle threader is the best feature of this simple machine unlike older models where you still need to strain your eyes to thread the darn needle!
Additional features such as the automatic reverse stitch will allow for quicker results at a simple tap the sewing machine will stitch in reverse. The easy to understand dial system which allows you to change the length of stitch and tension is super! Making it a very good beginners sewing machine.
The Singer 3232 is not just a basic machine it has a good level of stitched for hems buttons holes and feet for zippers quilting making it a versatile machine for many different projects. On testing it coped well with different fabrics plus layers of fabrics without jumping or bumps and was easy to set up too!
Pros of the Singer 3232 Sewing Machine
- Easy Set Up
- Smooth Stitching
- Versatile Accessories (no extra expense)
- Metal body but light weight
- Cheap Sewing machine
Cons: Tricky bobbin loading and slightly nosier than other sewing machines.
Overall a great all-round performer extremely good value for money as it comes in just above the cost of a basic plastic machine. A sewing machine that can tackle any project you have in mind with the additional knowledge and experience behind one of the best names in sewing.
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3: Brother FS40 Electronic Sewing Machine Review
This is a good computerised sewing machine that fits into an impressive range of Brother computer-based machines. Unlike other computerised machines in this price range it’s packed with features you wouldn’t expect from a budget sewing tool.
Boasting 40 stitches and 9 needle positions the Brother FS40 has an easy to read LCD screen and is particularly good when using the free motion needle embroidery style stitching, as it has the facility to drop the feed dogs.
Brother FS40 Electronic Sewing Machine Features
- Stop and Start button
- 5 x 1 Buttonholes
- Drop in bobbin
- Slide speed control
The automatic bobbin winder and drop-in bobbin made changing the thread easier and quicker with no manual winding needed putting that to together with the easy speed slide, makes this a great beginner sewing machine.
Another benefit we found at Textile Futures with the Brother FS40 is a LED light, eradicating that annoying little task of replacing the bulb, plus an LED light also shows the true colours of your threads, unlike the old-fashioned bulb which would slightly yellow the colours.
One of the most impressive features of the Brother FS40 are the 40 stitches, which include 5 different buttonhole stitches and 16 decorative creatives stitched which can be changed in size up to 7mm in length and 4mm wide.
Pros of the Brother FS40 Electronic Sewing Machine:
- Good value for money for a comprised machine
- Easy set up especially for beginners – DVD instructions
- Speed control is the best feature for careful stitching!
- Peddle free option
Cons: No automatic needle threader.
This sewing machine is the perfect tool for home furnishing dressmaking or other sewing projects with a range of stitches and precision speed control not expected with a budget computer machine.
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4: Janome 2200XT Sewing Machine Review
We love this Janome 2200XT model and of course it has the clout of a big name brand, but it’s the simplicity of this sewing machine that makes it into our list of the top 5 sewing machines in the UK to get you on the road to creativity and good sewing.
The 2200XT does not have a list of confusing tabs functions and levers it’s a two-dial system for control. One dial changes the stitches with 22 to pick from and the other the length of stitch up to 5mm. You would be mistaken in believing that’s it though, as this little machine can pack a punch of speed with the ability to sew 750 stitches per minute it can wiz through any number of sewing projects in a jiffy.
Janome 2200XT Sewing Machine Features:
- 6 snap on feet for extra stability
- Circular sewing option for improved accuracy
- Semi-automatic needle threader
- Comprehensive tool kit including machine oil
Pros of the Janome 2200XT Sewing Machine
- Good stitch options including reverse stitch without being over complicated
- Compact design comes complete with cover
- Nice and quiet in comparison to some machines
- Great value for money
- Good Speed and simplicity
Cons: Foot control takes practice.
We found the Janome 2200XT knocks the socks off most low budget machines with a lightweight but sturdy feel at under 6kg it’s a good reliable Janome, perfect for replacing an older machine if you’re a seasoned sewer or to learn on as a first sewing machine because it simply does the basics very well.
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5: Toyota Oekaki Renaissance Sewing Machine
A sewing machine not for the faint-hearted is the Toyota Oekaki Renaissance, sleek in design with its bright exterior and superior styling you will have probably not seen a machine quite like it.
Available in a range of stunning colours: we love the bold red model; we found this sewing machine ticks all the boxes when looking for a very good free hand embroidery machine that also covered all the normal bases of a good quality computerised machine sewing.
With a wide range of features including some innovations in sewing technology the Toyota Oekaki delights in terms of ergonomic design and stand out functionality, we particularly liked the ease at which it tackles so many layers of fabric without pulling or stitch loss, it boasts sewing up to 12 layers and has a large range of accessories and features including a walking foot, great speed control, quick advisor and drop feed plus 50 stitches and 8 different feet.
Toyota Oekaki Renaissance Features
- Award winning styling and design
- Fully Computerised
- 50 stitches including one step buttonholes
- Unique Oekaki Free motion embroidery
- Multi-layer and thickness stitching up to 12 layers of fabric
- Accessories to tackle any project up to 8 feet included
The Renaissance’s innovation – Variable Stitch Control is exclusive to Toyota and allows you to not just embroidery normal text but to use calligraphy styles in the free motion embroidery mode. This function on the Oekaki is controlled by the foot controller allowing you to adjust your stitch width to create effects and patterned embroidery unlike most other home sewing machine.
Pros of the Toyota Oekaki Renaissance Sewing Machine
- Good for sewing heavy duty fabric including jeans
- Good weight at 6kg not too light or heavy
- Ergonomically designed front foot work area creates more usable space
- Capability to handle any thickness of thread
- View through the bobbin clear cover
- Impressive performance and design
Cons: Foot peddle control can be a little light.
A standalone sewing machine not just for its sleek polished design but for the experienced sewer looking to update with the addition of the variable stitch width option for embroidery this sewing machine allows your creative juices to overflow producing some outstanding results.
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I’m a Sewing Beginner – What should I look for?
There are two things when choosing a beginner’s machine that is always worth considering.
- How easy is it to set up?
- How easy is it to use?
These two elements will make using your new machine a frustration-free zone and allow you to get on with the reason you purchased a sewing machine in the first place. Most makers have a base level model, so the selection is wide-ranging. The Brother LS14 metal chassis sewing machine is well liked by many patrons but we feel the Janome 219S offers a beginner just as many perks at a lower price tag.
6: Janome 219S Sewing Machine
Firstly, the Janome 219S is a good sturdy sewing machine, a nice weight not too light, because when your new to sewing you don’t need the added headache of your machine moving around especially if you’re just using a table to work on. A simple two dial machine with just 14 stitches including an automatic 4 step buttonhole stitch and zigzag.
The set-up is easy and instruction manual clear and well worded with printed indicators where to thread your machine on the case, with a front-loading easy use bobbin making set up trouble-free. Detachable box for storage which converts to a convenient free arm allowing sewing to troublesome areas like sleeves and trouser legs.
Stitching good firm stitched no pulls or tangling and easy to set up for tension, allowing for different types of fabrics to be stitched together. The foot on the 219S has two levels creating extra height for multi layered fabrics. Upon testing the machine had no trouble in handling fabrics from dress making and alterations to upholstery fabrics making this a good entry level, multipurpose project sewing machine.
Pros of the Janome 219S Entry Level Sewing Machine
- Easy set up with clear and concise instructions
- Reverse stitching lever
- 14 Good stitches including an overlock stitch
- Free hand stitching for embroidery
- Darning plate included
- Easy access bobbin
- Twin needle option
Cons: May be a little heavier at around 7kg.
Most users have found set up to stitching takes as little as 20 minutes, a quality brand with all the experience you would expect from a much more expensive machine. Hard to find to reason not to purchase the Janome 219S sewing machine for the newbie sewing bee!
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The Best Sewing Machine for Quilting: Jaguar HD-696
Having tried to stitch quilting on a basic sewing machine not specially developed for this task you run into one basic problem – power, needing a robust heavy-duty sewer is essential with the manufacturer now producing sewing machines designed for home quilting as a speciality.
Brother’s FS100WT free-motion embroidery machine is amongst the front runners with the trusted experience of a powerhouse in sewing machines it could be hard to see what’s not to like but the Jaguar HD-696 formerly known as the 596 perfectly designed with quilting in mind is our preferred computerised quilting machine.
7. Jaguar HD-696 Review
Power and precision is the key to effortless quilting, the Jaguar HD-696 packs a punch in both regards, fully computerised for precision over 8kg in weight a meatier sewing machine than the norm, with up to 800 stitches per minute. Advanced features making the HD-696 an ideal tool for creative quilting speeding up work time for even the professional quilter or sewer.
The 100 different stitches stretch your imagination and to the many decorative quilting techniques, embroidery stitched available and still operating with a good level of normal stitching including an automatic one-step buttonhole. Twin needle capability on the Jaguar HD-696 with easy needle threading and set up add all the expected features required for getting you on the road to effortless quilting.
Pros of the Jaguar HD-696 Sewing Machine
- Handy time saving needle threader
- 12 auto buttonhole styles
- Needle penetration power for tricky or thicker fabrics
- Snap on feet
- Superior feed system (SFS)
- Hard case for better protection
- 100 different stitches
- Ergonomically designed foot for better quilting
Cons: The bobbin is not drop-in.
All this power and precision does not reflect the ticket price with this sewing machine available in the UK. On comparisons with the competition, we found that the weight and power could not be beaten in this price range with the added attraction of a machine designed specifically for quilting it offers the needle power and precise stitching you need to unleash your imagination and speed up your work. The Jaguar HD-696 is the best sewing machine for quilting in 2020.
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The Best Industrial Sewing Machine: Singer 411
Unlike the tricky problem of a multitude of creative stitched and functions, an industrial-style machine is really designed with projects in mind – not dress making or embroidery. Just a good fast heavy-duty stitching machine is required! The UK market does not have many sewing machines that bridge the gap between home sewing and industrial but Toyota and Singer we found have the best buys.
Probably the easiest choice for heavy-duty industrial sewing machines leads us back to where we started with our reviews. Singer; having tested different models and brands the conclusion is always the same Singer produce the best affordable industrial style sewing machines with the Singer 4411 Heavy Duty coming in top for sheer speed and versatility.
8: Singer 4411 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine Review
Capable of stitching through leather or denim this powerful Singer does the job it was designed to do so well, created to be the workhorse in the Singer range the 4411 can stitch up to 1100 stitches per minute. A metal body sewing machine not too heavy with a small selection of stitches it’s easy to set up and powerful enough to tackle any project.
With double the power of most entry-level sewing machines providing double the speed it tackles even the heaviest of materials with ease such as vinyl, denim, upholstery and leather. The Singer has all the usual features expected without the creative flair of additional embroidery stitching.
Pros of the Singer 4411 Industrial Sewing Machine
- Top Loading drop in bobbin with clear lid
- 60-watt motor for industrial strength power
- LED Light for aid with precision sewing
- Stainless steel bed plate for added durability
- Zipper foot
- Buttonhole foot
- 11 different stitch choice
Cons: Not very portable, so this this best industrial sewer for 2020 in a static location.
The Singer 4411 is a top UK sewing machine for anyone who needs power over creative a home machine with an industrial output, a popular sewing machine with many five-star reviews and superb customer reviews.
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What Should I look for When Buying a Sewing Machine?
The sewing machine market is once again vibrant in 2020 with an array of machines to suit every purpose and pocket, but the choice is overwhelming; so many different companies and models, the old favourites are still around like Singer but are they the best or the most reliable?
What about the new computer programmable machines? Or the resurgence in machines designed by car manufacturers with a million stitches and attachments: it’s all very confusing whether you are a returning sewer or new blood we are here to help at Textile Futures in making sure your best sewing machine UK choice is the right one for you!
Where to Purchase (the new way to buy a sewing machine near me)
Three decades ago, our Highstreet would have been the best location to start the search where to buy a sewing machine near me but apart from the occasional shop maybe Argos where stock is limited, plus one or two high-end Department stores such as John Lewis most sewing machines and accessories are bought online.
Is it Cost-Effective to Buy a Second Hand Sewing Machine?
It’s possible to still buy second hand from sites such as Gumtree or eBay, usually machines are from the retro eras, so they are generally metal body heavy machines and more in tune with the experience’s sewer or nostalgia. Sewing machines use to be an expensive purchase so even second hand they can retain their value making them in many more expensive than their modern counterparts but more cumbersome to use.
With new technology making machine based sewing more affordable and easier to operate than older machines we recommend you take a look at some budget models of reputable brands rather than buy a 2nd hand sewer, see our best buys below:Pfaff Smarter 160S – Best Overall Sewing Machine Winner 2020
Singer 3232 – Good all-round Machine
Brother FS40 – Best Electronic Sewer
Janome 2200XT – Decent Performance and Price
Toyota Oekaki – Best for Power & Performance
Janome 219S – Best for Sewing Beginners
Jaguar HD-696 – Best for Quilting
Singer 4411 Heavy Duty – Best Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
Hunting Down the Best Deals for UK Sewing Machines
Search online for the best UK sewing machine deals, there is a big choice but looking for the sewing machine with the best online reviews can be tricky and conflicting because buyers all have differing opinions. Amazon.co.uk has a large range of sewing machines available in all price ranges from beginners to experienced machinists. They include some of the most trusted names from Brother to Janome and highlight the best buys available in the UK.
After consulting not just time trusted sewers but also the growing newbie sewing machine bees, we have put together our best 5 machines for 2020 that give both value for money and performance, highlighting their ease of use and versatility.
The simple truth is that buying a sewing machine is not something you should do on a whim as the choice and price range can be staggering, make sure you know exactly what it is you need the machine to be capable of before your purchase. Most sewing machines and overlockers have lots of very informative reviews so they are well worth a read before you decide.
Hopefully our guide will help you cut through the forest of products to pinpoint the best sewing machine UK that you can trust on your road to creativity. Happy sewing!