Has long been a teacher of English Literature, after the retirement focused on freelance copywriting. She’s now our full-time writer since our website allows her to know more about the hobby of her lifetime – sewing.
A professional fashion designer and seamstress. Isabel has her own video blog where she shares her experience about all the aspects of sewing – from choosing suitable materials to step-by-step instructions on how to sew a summer skirt.
Last updated: February 10, 2021
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What should you look at when shopping for a good sewing machine? Is it the type, cost, accessories, durability or all? Well, the first thing you should consider is your experience level whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or experts. The reality is, you’ll struggle using the machines that work well for intermediate and seasoned sewers alike if you’re a beginner. But if you get the right machine that suits your needs, you’ll master how to sew, enjoy the process and upgrade your device later.
Our team reviewed the best sewing machines under $500 in the market and based the selection on the type, speed, number of stitches, presser feet and many more. We have different types of sewing machines like mechanical, electrical and computerized models. Mechanical are cost-effective though they offer limited functionalities. Electrical and computerized models are common nowadays, and several sewers prefer them to quilt and sew large projects.
Brother XR9550 is designed in Vietnam and comes with 165 built-in stitches, 110 built-in utility, heirloom, and decorative stitches, eight styles of auto-size buttonholes, and 55 alphanumeric sewing stitches. We also noted it has an automatic needle threader and drop-in top bobbin.
Experts say some of the accessories this machine comes with include a wide table, jam-resistant drop-in bobbin, eight sewing and quilting feet, instructional DVD, foot pedal and a hard-protective cover.
On top of that, you’ll also find a buttonhole, monogramming, blind stitch, quilting feet, buttonhole, and overcasting, among others.
W noted you can adjust your stitch and width with this machine though the thickness is limited to 6 mm. You’ll sew anything that meets this requirement.
There is an LCD that will let you see and switch your stitch selection, and setting with the push of some buttons.
What we liked: Brother XR9550 is a nice effective machine with three position needles which are left, right and center. It’s easy to use but prepare to take time to master the controls. Overall, we love its durability and flexibility.
What could be better: Brother XR9550 doesn’t have an automatic threader. Some customers complained the hard case is just a hard dust cover. Others said it isn’t sturdy.
SINGER Stylist 7258 is a heavy-duty machine that suits the needs of most beginning sewers.
It has the push-button stitch selection though you can go with the automatic selection for optimum stitch length, width and tension in seconds. Experts say it’s easy to customize the options.
This machine has 100 built-in stitches to meet your decorative, home and fashion sewing, quilting, heirloom, and crafting needs.
The other extra features you’ll get include a 6-segment feeding system, horizontal threading, automatic bobbin winding clutch, speed control and automatic foot pressure control and many more.
You can pick any of the six buttonhole styles from the round head, keyhole, basic bartack styles etc.
We also noted it comes with a speed control setting for you to customize your machine’s speed to fit the sewing needs of different materials like a duvet and curtains. Its large LCD screen display will let you see your preferred stitch length and width.
Also, if you want to use the free arm, you’ll have to remove the removable storage compartment to handle small projects like sewing hems, trousers, and children’s clothing.
What we liked: SINGER Stylist 7258 is easy to see and thread. You can spot when you’re running out of thread.
Its programming needle up/down makes topstitching, quilting and sewing appliques super-easy.
We also appreciated its 2 LED lights that illuminate your workspace when using this machine in dark rooms.
What could be better: Most uses complained it’s a low-quality machine with limited functions.
Its thread jams easily on straight stitches. We don’t recommend it for intermediate and expert sewers.
Designed with a heavy-duty metal frame, the SINGER Heavy Duty 4432 sewing machine comes with awesome accessories like a button sewing foot, seam ripper, all-purpose foot, zipper foot, quilting guide, screwdriver, spool pin felt and many more.
This machine also boasts of stainless-steel bedplate, high sewing speeds and a powerful motor that provides the force to sew through heavy-duty fabrics.
SINGER Heavy Duty 4432 offers 110 stitching capabilities, and you’ll make up to 1100 stitches per minute.
Its 6 mm stitch width suits creating eye-catching satin and decorative stitches. Depending on your needs, you can switch your needle position through inserting your cording, zippers, and topstitching.
Overall, SINGER Heavy Duty 4432 is easy to use. You can use it to access hard to reach points on garments like the collars, cuffs, pant hems etc.
Experts say it’s reverse-stitching enabled. You’ll be able to sew in reverse and reinforce any loose stitches.
You’ll enjoy a 90-day limited warranty on the attachments, bulb, belts, and adjustment. There’s another 2-year limited warranty on the motor, wiring, switches, speed control and electronics.
What we liked: SINGER Heavy Duty 4432 is a top-notch machine with high-quality features. It’s super-fast and works well for professionals.
You’ll get several feet types including the buttonholes, all-purpose, button sewing and zipper.
What could be better: Most users complained that SINGER Heavy Duty 4432 isn’t durable. Others said it worked great for some time.
Designed from industrial grade materials, the Janome HD1000 is an easy-to-use machine with accessories like four presser feet, bobbins, needles and a hardcover.
It has a front-loading bobbin system, 14 stitches with 4 step buttonholes, adjustable stitch length and width capabilities.
Its powerful amp motor that will tackle all your sewing needs. The drop feed fosters free-motion sewing.
Experts also note it has a manual thread tension control and a built-in needle threader makes it easy for you to get the thread through the eye of the needle. . You’ll thread and sew your materials with ease.
The manufacturer indicates you can rely on the Janome HD1000 drop feed feature for stitching buttonholes and darning. You’ll enjoy using the removable free arm to handle small openings like hemming your pants or sleeves.
What we liked: Janome HD1000 is a powerful, quiet and easy to use machine. Some users say it operates quietly.
You can use it to sew leather if you get the right needle, but if you want to sew thick leather, you’re better off with an industrial machine.
We loved that it comes with a 3-piece feed dog system suits quilting and high pile fabrics. The hard-sided cover will safeguard your machine when not in use.
What could be better: This machine has no speed dial but most users feel the speed is medium. Others complained it has terrible mechanics.
Things to Consider
We have plenty of sewing machines under $500, so which one should you pick when you’re new to the sewing world? The reality is, not all the sewing machines are good as they’re described. Some break down within months of using them, others don’t make perfect quilts and sew and so on. That’s why we created this guide to walk you through the process of selecting a durable machine that will meet your sewing needs. We will cover the key features you should look into when buying a sewing machine under $500.
Features to consider when choosing the best sewing machine under 500 dollars
It can be confusing to select a good sewing machine, especially when you are a beginner.
How will you know the best type of sewing machine or the type of sewing to start with without the right guidance?
Remember, sewing machines are built differently, and that’s why it’s essential to look into specific features before making any purchase.
In this section, we will cover the main ones like the type of machine, the sewing type, workspace, number and type of stitches etc.
Type of machine
The main types of sewing machines include mechanical, electronic and computerized sewing machines.
Mechanical/manual sewing models like Janome HD1000 are good for beginners. They’re cost-effective though offer limited features. The good thing is, they require less maintenance and can last ages, depending on the care and maintenance.
Electronic machines like SINGER Heavy Duty 4432 are better than mechanical models. They’re lightweight and compact and make perfect sew. Experts say most electronic machines are a hybrid of computerized and mechanical machines.
Computerized models like SINGER Stylist 7258, on the other hand, offer more functionality than mechanical and electronic models. They’re heavier and handle tough fabrics like leather, denim, canvas and more.
Type of sewing
Before you pick any machine, look at the types of stitches it makes and if it’s compatible with your needs.
You’ll have to look into the projects you’ll be working on whether it’s making bags, apparels, pillows cases etc.
Some users also said that the Brother CS7000i and Janome HD1000 can work on leather that meets the stitching needs. If you are working on heavy-duty denim and canvas, look for a good industrial machine and the right needle types.
Workspace, also known as the throat size, refers to the distance between your machine’s needle and the body.
Most machines come with workspaces of different sizes, and experts cite it’s among the key factors separating quilting and sewing machines.
You’ll have to look into your machine’s workspace if you’re planning to handle large sewing and quilting projects.
However, if you’ll be sewing small pieces of garments, then you don’t have to pay more attention to your workspace.
Our top picks like the Brother XR9550 have a free arm and an extension table for handling bulk projects.
Number and type of stitches
The more the number of stitches your machines comes with, the better.
That means you’ll work on different materials. Though we have lots of stitches like a straight, zigzag, buttonhole, and blind hem, you can make good sews if your machines come with the straight and zigzag stitches only.
The models we picked come with as low as 14 stitches to as high as 100 built-in stitches.
The speed for making simple quilts won’t be the same with one for making complex ones.
Sewing machines with speed control makes it easy for you to regulate the tempo and determine the rate at which your machine feeds the fabric. You’ll also do away with stopping and starting your machines when you’re working on your fabrics.
If you prefer a machine with a high stitching speed of up to 1100 SPM then the SINGER Heavy Duty 4432 is the right one for you.
Sewing machines with tension adjustment are a bonus. You’ll avoid making your fabrics too tight to avoid puckered fabrics and loose stitches resulting from a loose thread.
The Janome HD1000 has manual thread tension you’ll use to tweak the thread tension. If you want to make good sew, ensure to get the right balance between your thread tension, stitch length and width.
Another machine with the tension setting is the SINGER Stylist 7258. Experts say you’ll tweak the settings in seconds.
The two types of bobbins placement you’ll find in sewing machines are drop-in and front-loading, which have their pros and cons.
Drop-in bobbin placement allows you to track the thread amount in your machine. Most sewing enthusiasts claim machines with drop-in bobbins like Brother CS7000i are much easier to use than the front-loading bobbins.
Experts recommend machines with front-loading bobbin placement like the Janome HD1000 for embroidery and quilting since it makes it super-easy to switch your bobbin when sewing.
Feed dog system
When sewing you’ll notice some metal teeth-like ridges on your machine, and that’s what we call the feed dogs.
You’ll see them moving as you sew to create top-notch stitches. Beware that different machines come with unique feed dog systems.
For instance, the Janome HD1000 has three-piece feed dogs for quilting and high pile fabrics. If you go for the SINGER Stylist 7258, you’ll get a 6-segment feeding system.
We have several types of presser feet, but the most common ones are a zipper foot, all-purpose sewing foot, a buttonhole foot, and an embroidery foot.
A zipper foot has notches on its sides for your needle positions. You’ll have to adjust your needle position and the zipper to make your desired stitches.
The all-purpose sewing foot dominates in the sewing industry. It has a flat sole you’ll use for control while the fabrics move over your feed dogs.
The buttonhole comes with two grooves for your fabric to move smoothly with continuous thread build up.
The embroidery foot, on the other hand, makes it easy to stitch since it’s fully open in front of your needle. Your stitches will glide through your machine without jamming.
It depends on the materials you’ll be sewing. We have models that work best for light fabrics while you can use others on tough ones.
You now have the list of the best sewing machines under $500. The next step is to look at the right one that matches your experience level and sewing needs. At some point, you’ll also want to consider your budget since the cost of the machines varies. But there’s no harm in spending more to land an effective model.
Our first pick is the Brother XR9550 that is made in Vietnam. It offers 110 stitching options and comes with awesome accessories. It’s an easy-to-use machine though anticipate spending time mastering how to use it.
The SINGER Stylist 7258 is our second pick. It’s easy to use and thread. You’ll enjoy lighting your workspace with its 2 LED lights.
Our third pick is the SINGER Heavy Duty 4432, which is a heavy-duty machine that is super-fast. It works well for professional seamstresses. We also loved its high-quality features and multiple presser feet options.