8 Best Cheap Sewing Machines: Ratings, Comparison Chart, Pros, and Cons

Here’s what we’ll cover:

There are many reasons why you might prefer an inexpensive sewing machine.

Maybe it’s a gift for a newbie sewist (who might not like the hobby in a year… or a week.)  Or perhaps you need a backup machine? Or maybe you just be a reasonable person who has a specific budget in mind when it comes to crafting related shopping. 

In any case, it’s true, you might have to lose a few bells and whistles, but you still can buy a quality machine for way less than many people would think. (But don’t go too cheap! Make sure it has all the basics you need in its list of features).

How much does a cheap sewing machine cost?

Most beginner-oriented sewing machines are highly affordable today. Many of them cost less than $200 and will definitely help you in mastering your sewing skills.

More upscale options can go up to $500 and way beyond range, but those are for people willing to invest extra time and efforts in the skill development process. And taking the whole process VERY seriously.

 In this rating, we hardly have any machines that cost more than $200. But we’ve made sure that all the units we’ve reviewed are of decent quality and will serve you well as long as possible.

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The caveats of purchasing cheap sewing machine

If you’re considering buying a cheap one because “you’re not going to do a lot of sewing” or “what if you don’t like sewing,” don’t. 

Because a cheap machine can take responsibility for the “reasons” and become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

They won’t give out straight stitches, miss a couple of stitches, get easily jammed and won’t last long. It’s hardly enjoyable to sew “a lot” that way. 

So, if you’re thinking about saving a few bucks, go for the reasonably priced ones. 

Most of the machines offered on the internet are of the refurbished range to obtain a low price. Budget-conscious customers can make significant cost savings to these slight imperfections. The best worth products are those still under warranty, which will allow for some peace of mind right after obtaining.

Don’t pick the cheapest of the cheapest. Spent slightly more and consider it an investment. It’s going to be worth it and last you’re old and won’t need a lot of repairs.

Just think how many times this machine will pay for itself as long as it produces decent quality stitches. You won’t be longer throwing away clothes that can be easily mended. And no longer you would need to buy tons of gifts for all the holidays and family celebrations. You can make them yourself!

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Here’s how we compared sewing machines:

  • We’ve analyzed the selection of most popular sewing machines that are sold on Amazon.com and selected 50+ of the cheapest best-rated units.  
  • We’ve scrutinized the shortlist based on the design, users’ reviews and feedback, functionalities and more. 
  • The final list of the top 8 best cheapest sewing machines was categorized based on the crucial machines’ features: whether its quilting functionality, portability or else. 
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Compare cheap sewing machines

For your convenience, you can find all the major data points describing each sewing machine in the rating in one table below. You can quickly access the detailed review related to the particular model by clicking on its name in the left column. 

ModelWeight, PDimensions, IPriceStitchesCompH.DutyEasySYS Score
#1 Brother PE53510.8216.5 x 7.8 x 12$$NoYYY9.3
#2 Brother CS5055PRW15.119.5 x 10.8 x 16$50YYY9.2
#3 Brother xm270112.612.1 x 5.9 x 15.3$27NYY9.0
#4 Janome Pink Sorbet1216 x 7 x 12$15NNY9.2
#5 Varmax mini2.858.6 x 3.5 x 6.9$1NNY9.0
#6 SINGER | Start 13049.813 x 7 x 11.5$6NYY8.5
#7 Brother RLX381712.5515.4 x 5.8 x 12.1$17NYY8.7
#8 SINGER | Simple 322312.215 x 7.5 x 12$23NYY9.5

And now let’s dive deeper into details about the cheapest sewing machines in each category.

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Best cheap embroidery machine

Brother PE535

Description: 

It’s an excellent little machine for you if you are just starting out in machine embroidery and don’t want to make large designs. It doesn’t come with all the supplies you need, but it comes with all the functions that the machine needs. 

Getting started is easy, it has some designs uploaded, but you can buy or create new designs and upload them through a USB stick. Best value embroidery machine for the beginners in the price range.

Brother PE535 manual

Download User’s guide (PDF)

Download embroidery design guide (PDF)

Check instructional videos here

Features:

  • Comes with 80 designs, 6 adjustable fonts, borders and more
  • 3.2” Sew Smart color LCD touchscreen display 
  • Includes a built-in memory function to import more designs
  • Automatic needle threader 
  • Embroidery designs up to 4″x4″

You can check more specifications HERE.

9.3Expert Score
Brother PE535

Easy and fun to use embroidery machine even if you are a first time user.

Design
9
Functions
9
Sewing Quality
9
Accessories
9
Ease of Use
10
Value for money
10
PROS
  • Easy to set up and easy to use
  • Easily embroiders even on thicker fabrics
  • Lots of fonts for monogramming
  • Price
CONS
  • Doesn’t have sewing function
  • You might need to invest in more to embroidery gear (including threads)
Go back to comparison chart or to the beginning of the report
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Cheap computerized sewing machine

Brother CS5055PRW 

Description: 

It can sew through many different fabrics, and you can take advantage of hundreds of beautiful built-in stitches that can be utilized for virtually any project. Winding a bobbin and threadding is very easy.

The multiple setting and patterns are awe-inspiring. There’s a lot to learn, but all you need is covered by the owners manual. This sewing machine has an outstanding value.

Brother CS5055PRW manual

Download User’s guide (PDF)

Check instructional videos here

Features:

  • 50 stitches, including decorative, heirloom and quilting
  • Free arm for working with sleeves and cuffs
  • Sewing speed up to 850 stitches per minute
  • Comes with 6 specialty feet and more
  • 5 one-step buttonholes 
  • Easy threading of both top thread and bobbin 

You can check more specifications HERE.

9Expert Score
Brother CS5055PRW

If you are looking for a computerized machine that has tons of the bells and whistles without the giant price tag - that’s the one.

Design
8
Functions
9
Sewing Quality
9
Accessories
9
Ease of Use
9
Value for money
10
PROS
  • Small and lightweight
  • Lots of stitches and it’s very easy to change stitching styles
  • Very powerful
  • Great price
  • The needle threader is a great feature
CONS
  • LED light is not very bright
  • It’s hard to read from LCD screen
Go back to comparison chart or to the beginning of the report
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Best cheap sewing machine for quilting

Brother XM2701

Description: 

With a full range of features & cute design, the Brother XM2701 is perfect for beginners learning to sew and quilt. And even more advanced sewers who are looking for easy portability and the generous price tag will be impressed by this machine.

It sews like a dream, and can definitely take on some basic quilting projects. It has some lovely options for quilting stitches and can go through thick materials too. Great unit for the price.

Brother xm2701 manual

Download User’s guide (PDF)

Check instructional videos here

Features:

  • 27 built-in stitches, including decorative, and quilting stitches
  • Sewing speed up to 800 stitches per minute
  • Jam-resistant drop-in top bobbin
  • Built-in free arm
  • One-step buttonholer
  • Includes 6 sewing feet and more accessories

You can check more specifications HERE

9Expert Score
Brother XM2701

Great little portable sewing machine great for quilting beginner.

Design
9
Functions
8
Sewing Quality
9
Accessories
8
Ease of Use
10
Value for money
10
PROS
  • Drop in bobbin works great
  • Easy to set up
  • DVD instructions are very helpful
  • Has a lot of various stitches, including quilting options (more than other machines in the same price range)
  • Comes with tons of accessories
  • Built-in easy needle threader
CONS
  • Doesn’t include the case
  • It can handle the jeans fabric, but it’s quite challenging to make it work
  • Dim LED light (which is the case for most of the machines)
  • Foot pedal seems cheap
Go back to comparison chart or to the beginning of the report
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Best cheap Janome sewing machine

Janome Pink Sorbet

Description: 

Janome has done an excellent job with this unit. Not only is it adorable and ridiculously affordable.  Stitches are impeccable and pretty. It works well, the manual is excellent, threading is easy, the loading of bobbins is simple. All in all, a solid basic machine.  Great for learning or as a simple machine to have around for clothing repairs and occasional projects.

Janome Pink Sorbet manual

Download User’s guide (PDF)

Check instructional videos here

Features:

  • 15 Built-In Stitches
  • 4-Step Buttonhole
  • Adjustable Stitch Length & ZigZag Width
  • Front-Loading Bobbin System
  • 3-Piece Feed Dog System
  • Heavy Duty Interior Metal Frame
  • Removable Free Arm
  • Good bonus pack includes 4 Presser Feet, lots of accessories, easy-to-follow manual and 25-Year Limited Warranty

You can check more specifications HERE

9.2Expert Score
Janome Pink Sorbet

Pretty, reliable, lightweight, cheap, and easy enough to figure out.

Design
10
Functions
9
Sewing Quality
9
Accessories
7
Ease of Use
10
Value for money
10
PROS
  • Design
  • Price
  • Heavy-duty frame
  • Very functional
  • Perfect stitches
  • Easy to use
CONS
  • Cannot handle thick fabrics
  • The needle only has 2 positions
  • Some users mentioned that it doesn’t seem very durable
  • Poor lighting
Go back to comparison chart or to the beginning of the report

Love Janome? Check our research of the best Janome sewing machines HERE.

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Best cheap small sewing machine

Varmax mini

Description: 

Ideal as a first sewing machine. It’s compact and sturdy. Perfect for small projects and quick alterations. You’ll even be able to create brand new clothes. 

The model can deal with a variety of fabrics from linen and wool to cotton and denim. Just use the right settings and needles.

It comes with 90/14 needles and is also compatible with 75/11, 80/12, 10/16 needles.

The mini machine has speed controls, enabling you to adjust the speed as you go. There is a slow speed for delicate sewing or small segments and a faster one for larger areas.

The machine arrives pre-threaded and ready to use out of the box. Just plug it into the mains or use four AA batteries to get started. Thanks to its lightweight, small construction, you will also be able to transport this handy machine anywhere! It does the job, and it’s dirt cheap

Varmax mini manual

Download User’s guide (PDF)

Check instructional videos here

Features:

  • Only one classic straight-line stitch
  • Small and lightweight
  • Special cuff slot is designed for sleeves 
  • Equipped with built-in light
  • Bonus bundle includes four bobbins, needles, and even extension table 
  • Built-in thread cutter for easy sewing
  • Foot pedal for easy control
  • Automatic bobbin rewinding

You can check more specifications HERE

9Expert Score
Varmax mini

Ideal for newbie sewers looking to give a new hobby a try without spending a fortune.

Design
10
Functions
9
Sewing Quality
8
Accessories
7
Ease of Use
10
Value for money
10
PROS
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Very lightweight
  • Doesn’t take up a lot of space
  • Astounding price
  • Large extension table
  • Very user-friendly
CONS
  • Only one stitch
  • Thread tensioner is a bit tricky
Go back to comparison chart or to the beginning of the report
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Best cheap basic sewing machine

SINGER | Start 1304

Description: 

It’s lightweight but very solid. The base is sturdy. It has enough different stitches and functions to be really useful to have (like sewing on buttons and making buttonholes, more than I’ll ever need).

The instructions are easy to follow, and the sewing mechanism’s motion is smooth and seems to last. This product is of high quality. It has a clear manual, along with great YouTube instruction videos. It is easy to use, well supported by the manufacturer and creates beautiful stitches every time. 

A really hardworking and straightforward little helper. A truly great basic sewing machine. 

SINGER | Start 1304 manual

Download User’s guide (PDF)

Check instructional videos here

Features:

  • 6 Built-in basic stitches (Straight, Satin, ZigZag, Blind Hem and more)
  • Lightweight and Portable
  • Heavy-duty frame
  • Easy threading with visible guides
  • Built-in four-Step Buttonhole
  • Comes with three feet (all-purpose, buttonhole, zipper)
  • Preset Stitches’ length and width
  • Free Arm to sew around cuffs

You can check more specifications HERE

8.5Expert Score
SINGER | Start 1304

Tiny, cute, inexpensive, goof-proof basic sewing machine.

Design
9
Functions
9
Sewing Quality
9
Accessories
7
Ease of Use
8
Value for money
9
PROS
  • Has all the basic essential functions
  • Seems to be capable of long-term use
  • Lightweight and portable but still solid
  • Operates quietly
  • The thread cutter is a pleasant surprise
  • The QuickStart guide is very handy
  • Heavy duty with the right needles
CONS
  • Need to put some pressure to make foot pedal work perfectly
  • Adjusting the bobbin tension can be challenging
  • The bobbin is inside the machine which takes time to get used to
Go back to comparison chart or to the beginning of the report
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Best cheap Brother sewing machine

Brother RLX3817

Description: 

You might expect that this unit would only be a help for some simple projects at this price. However, it does almost everything the full-size heavy machines do, including buttonholes, lots of different stitches. It even works with thicker fabrics too – with the proper settings, of course, the maximum thickness that can be sewn on the LX3817 is 6 mm.

It’s a full-size portable that’s perfect for beginners or people who need a machine but don’t sew much or as much as they used to. As soon as you have completed your first project-whether, it’s installing zippers, or pant hems-your savings will exceed the cost of the machine.

Brother RLX3817 manual

Download User’s guide (PDF)

Check instructional videos here

Features:

  • 17 built-in stitches, including zigzag, blind-hem and more
  • Jam resistant
  • 4 step auto-sized buttonhole
  • Free arm
  • Comes with 4 sewing feet and protective soft cover
  • Lightweight, portable and compact

You can check more specifications HERE

9.7Expert Score
Brother RLX3817

Lots of features at the low price.

Design
10
Functions
10
Sewing Quality
9
Accessories
9
Ease of Use
10
Value for money
10
PROS
  • Many easy to use features
  • Low price
  • Very beautiful
  • Good instructional videos
  • Fairly quiet
  • Very lightweight
CONS
  • This machine has all plastic parts (but it does the job though)
  • Refurbished (but still comes with warranty)
Go back to comparison chart or to the beginning of the report

Interested in more options from Brother? Check our research of the best brother sewing machines here.

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Best cheap Singer sewing machine

SINGER | Simple 3223

Description: 

This machine is packed with robust sets of functions, offering excellent Singer quality at a very affordable price. With this little (and pretty) working horse you can take on all kinds of projects. From fashions to simple home decoration, from gifts to craft items, you can do it all. There are 23 stitches to choose from. And it looks beautiful.

This model can even sew denim with proper needle and machine settings. As suggested by the manufacturer – use Singer Denim needle, type 2026, or Singer standard needle, type 2020. Using another brand may cause tension and/or timing problems.  The proper sizes are 16 or 18, depending on the weight of the fabric.

A perfect starter model. 

SINGER | Simple 3223 manual

Download User’s guide (PDF)

Check instructional videos here

Features:

  • 23 built-in stitched including options for home décor and crafts
  • 4-step buttonhole
  • Automatic bobbin winder
  • Heavy-duty metal frame 
  • Free arm and storage section
  • Stitch selector
  • High presser foot lifter
  • Good bonus pack includes 4 presser feet, quilting guide, needles, bobbins and more

You can check more specifications HERE

9.5Expert Score
SINGER | Simple 3223

A solid (and very pretty) Singer sewing machine for a reasonable price.

Design
10
Functions
10
Sewing Quality
9
Accessories
9
Ease of Use
10
Value for money
9
PROS
  • Works with every possible material with the right settings (denim, cotton, linen, paper, cardstock, jersey, and a few other fabrics).
  • Design is adorable
  • Simple and lightweight
  • Very easy to use
CONS
  • Getting the bobbin tension perfect has some learning curve
  • The stitch length might change with speed
Go back to comparison chart or to the beginning of the report

Think that SINGER might have more options you’ll like? Check our research of the BEST SINGER SEWING MACHINES HERE.

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Cheap sewing machines deals and pricing guide 

$29.99
$32.99
in stock
4 new from $29.99
3 used from $27.89
as of November 25, 2019 11:06 am
Amazon.com
Free shipping
$73.12
$159.99
in stock
34 new from $73.12
4 used from $67.35
as of November 25, 2019 11:06 am
Amazon.com
Free shipping
$76.00
$99.99
in stock
11 new from $76.00
5 used from $70.68
as of November 25, 2019 11:06 am
Amazon.com
Free shipping
$89.99
$199.00
in stock
4 new from $89.99
2 used from $76.90
as of November 25, 2019 11:06 am
Amazon.com
Free shipping
$106.65
$129.99
in stock
1 new from $106.65
as of November 25, 2019 11:06 am
Amazon.com
Free shipping
$125.00
$127.69
in stock
18 new from $125.00
10 used from $93.75
as of November 25, 2019 11:06 am
Amazon.com
Free shipping
$321.40
$349.99
in stock
2 new from $321.40
4 used from $290.15
as of November 25, 2019 11:06 am
Amazon.com
Free shipping
$57.00
out of stock
as of November 25, 2019 11:06 am
Amazon.com
Free shipping
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