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Best sewing machine brands

Sewing machine brands compared

By Jess O'Leary

Article 1 of 7

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Which is the best sewing machine brand? Our exclusive survey reveals what owners think of brands such as Brother, Janome and Singer.

We've surveyed more than 2,000 sewing machine owners to get the inside track on which brands are rated best and worst by machinists, and to bring you customer score ratings for big-name sewing machine brands.

Our results show that not all sewing machines are created equal - there's a whopping 30% difference between the best and worst brands when it comes to their overall Which? customer satisfaction score. 

Sewing machine brands rated

The table below reveals Which? customer scores for each of the sewing machine brands rated in our survey, and shows which sewing machine brands customers are most likely to have experienced problems with.

You can also see star ratings for factors such as ease of use and value for money, so you can see each brand's pros and cons and compare their strengths and weaknesses.

Which? members can log in now to unlock the scores in the table below. If you're not already a member, you can take a £1 trial to Which? and get instant access to the results.

Best and worst sewing machine brands - overview
Brand Which? customer score Build quality Portability Durability Ease of use Value for money Average spend Which? members say
Subscriber only content 93% £713 The Rolls Royce of machines.
Subscriber only content 85% £348 I love my sewing machine and couldn't manage without the automatic needle threader.
Subscriber only content 81% n/a I would rather give up my freezer than my sewing machine.
Subscriber only content 80% n/a Excellent machine. Built like a tank and very reliable.
Subscriber only content 79% £299 It has proved the most reliable and efficient time after time.
Subscriber only content 78% n/a Amazing value.
Subscriber only content 76% n/a An excellent machine that has not let me down.
Subscriber only content 75% £188 I would not choose any other make.
Subscriber only content 63% n/a It's plain and simple which is perfect for my use.

Table notes: Ratings are based on answers from respondents about their current sewing machines, bought in the last 10 years. Which? customer score is based on respondents' overall satisfaction with the brand and likelihood to recommend. Average spend applies to those who have owned their machine for five years or less. N/a means we did not collect enough data to be able to give a result.

Sample sizes: Bernina (81), Brother (133), Elna (38), Husqvarna (51), Janome (308), John Lewis (36), Pfaff (35), Singer (81), Toyota (44)

For in-depth information on each of the brands rated in the table, choose a company from the left-hand menu of this page.

Choosing and using a sewing machine

Whether you're a beginner or a pro, it's important to find a sewing machine with the features you need - whether you're embarking on an embroidery or patchwork project or just want to make a simple cushion cover.

Our sewing machine buying guide explains the different types of sewing machine available. It will also help you find the best machine for your needs and projects.

Once you've picked a reliable sewing machine that's built to last, you'll want to make sure you get the most out of it. Have a look at our beginner's guide to using a sewing machine for our step-by-step tips.

Does Which? test sewing machines?

At Which? we no longer test sewing machines. For your reference, we've listed the top five highest-scoring sewing machines from previous tests, which ended in 2009.

Most of these models are no longer available, but the information may help give you an idea of the brands and features that are worth looking out for.

Which? members can log in now to unlock the scores in the table below. If you're not already a member, you can take a £1 trial to Which? and get instant access to the results.

Previous test results for sewing machines
What it looks like Brand and model Type Weight (kg) Price Score
 Sewing machine locked out  Subscriber only content Computerised 5.8 £169 Subscriber only content

This computerised sewing machine could be great for novices; its digital display recommends various settings depending on the stitch you've chosen.

It's a sturdy machine that's very easy to use, with an automatic needle threader and good stitch options.

 Sewing machine locked out  Subscriber only content Electronic 8.4 £249 Subscriber only content
The excellent range of accessories and slow speed setting make this sewing machine a versatile model that's suitable for a wide range of tasks.

It operates smoothly and has a drop-in bobbin and an automatic needle threader. The straight stitch isn't perfect, but the zig-zag and overlock stitches are good.
 Sewing machine locked out  Subscriber only content Electronic 6.9 £139 Subscriber only content
This sewing machine is easy for beginners to use and benefits from an automatic needle threader. It also creates a good buttonhole in four simple steps.

However, the small flatbed area doesn't have a decent slope at the front to help feed fabric smoothly, and this sewing machine doesn't handle stretchy fabrics well.
 Sewing machine locked out  Subscriber only content Electronic 6.5 £149 Subscriber only content

This machine is suitable for beginners - plus dressmaking, soft furnishings and even upholstery. It copes well with a variety of fabrics, but will struggle with multiple layers of bulky material.

However, loading the bobbin is difficult and the stitch range is limited. We found it easier to thread the needle manually than to use the automatic needle threader.

 Sewing machine locked out  Subscriber only content Electronic 7.2 £124 Subscriber only content

We weren't impressed with the build quality of this sewing machine, and it's difficult to route the upper thread to the needle.

On the plus side, there's a good choice of stitch length and an automatic needle threader, and this sewing machine handles a range of fabrics well.

Table notes: These sewing machines were tested in 2009 and some models are no longer available. Each model was rated on its stitch quality, handling of different fabrics, performance when sewing a buttonhole, ease of use and suitability for different skills and projects. We no longer test sewing machines.