The question of whether or not we should get the most expensive sewing machines our money can buy is tricky to navigate. The answer definitely depends on many different factors we’ll discuss today. So let’s talk about the differences between the best inexpensive sewing machines and the pricier options on the market.
In addition to seeing what the most and least expensive sewing machines on the market have to offer, we’ll also talk about why some machines are more expensive than others. Once and for all we’ll see whether expensive machines are worth the money and whether you should get one for yourself!
What kind of features can justify the cost of the most expensive sewing machines on the market? Frankly, the more we researched expensive machines, the more we found ourselves wanting one! You see, it all comes down to the capabilities and the type of machine, as well as its durability.
Firstly, let’s start by saying that most of the budget-friendly machines within the $100–$200 range are perfect for most people. As long as we’ve taken the time to research the machine we’re getting, it’s probably going to work for us. The most important thing is to make sure that it’s a good machine from a reputable brand.
However, there are times when a regular low-cost machine just won’t cut it. For example, low-cost machines have fewer built-in stitching options. So cheaper machines will have about 30 stitching styles as opposed to the hundreds of styles we’d get from a pricier machine. In fact, expensive machines also have various sewing settings, including embroidery and button-sewing.
Even the best inexpensive sewing machines are also by and large mechanical. In contrast, many pricier models have digital displays and even memory capabilities. So a more expensive machine can remember some of your preferences and save them as default sewing settings. The computer in the machine can also help you set up your embroidery designs and adjust the program according to the type of thread you’re using.
So while a regular machine is perfectly adequate for most people, more advanced users may want to go for a more expensive machine.
The sewing machine market can be incredibly confusing. Some machines cost only $100, while others are upwards of $5,000. What could possibly explain that variety in the cost of these products?
Well, depending on the technology a machine uses, there are several types of sewing machines we might run into when we’re shopping for machines. Typically, mechanical machines are the cheapest. They’ll handle just about anything you throw at them. However, they’re also the first ones to break down, as is the case with any low-cost tool.
Electronic machines can be anywhere from slightly to significantly more expensive than mechanical ones. However, they’re also much more dependable. These are the machines that have LED screens and touchpads in place of the stitch width and length wheels that are usually on the right.
Still, the most expensive machines are the ones that can handle embroidery in addition to your regular sewing. Some of these models have an internal memory that is expandable through memory cards, CDs, or USB — and some of them can even connect to your computer! These features allow the machine to edit, save, and execute your embroidery designs.
Although these newer sewing machine models can have quite the learning curve, we can understand why people want to get one of the most expensive sewing machines on the market. After a brief adjustment period, high-end machines win over even the most traditional seamstresses.
At the end of the day, most of the small frustrations that happen during a sewing project are the result of machine malfunctions. The machines jam, threads snap, and sometimes we can even have fabric tears. Clearly, all of that is unacceptable. Still, the occasional machine jam is bearable because it’s rare. What happens when a machine is prone to missing stitches and tearing thread?
Usually, machine maintenance only requires us to use a few drops of oil to lubricate the various components. And, although the most expensive sewing machines aren’t as likely to break as the cheaper ones are, they’re also more difficult to take care of. If your fancy sewing machine breaks down, it’s not only the gears you’ll have to worry about. How do you fix the digital screen or the touchpad at home? To put it simply: you don’t.
Fortunately, most of these newer models come with repair policies and warranties, at least when you get them at a registered dealership. That’s why these are some of the most important factors that influence the longevity of both the most expensive and least expensive sewing machines.
Now that we understand more about the things that make a machine more expensive, let’s talk about the specifics.
When it comes to sewing machines, there are only a few brands that reign supreme. As you may already know, Singer, Brother, and Kenmore are the traditional crowd favorites. However, in recent years, other brands like Bernina, Juki, Viking, and Janome have been gaining popularity.
These brands have actually been around for decades. In fact, Janome has actually existed for nearly a century. Still, they weren’t famous in the West until recently. And now, Janome actually makes some of the most expensive sewing machines on the market. They were also the first manufacturer to create a programmable home sewing machine, way back in 1971. Additionally, they were the first company to come out with a home embroidery machine in 1990.
Other sewing machine brands also excel in their own ways. Singer, Viking (or Husqvarna), and Pfaff brands are all owned by the same company, SVP Group. Therefore, you can expect about the same quality out of all of those products.
Naturally, all of these brands make machines in various price ranges. So we couldn’t really say that any of them makes exclusively expensive machines. However, some brands do pride themselves in making more high-end products. For example, Bernina machines don’t usually cost under $300.
Now, we also wanted to see what some of the most expensive sewing machines on the market are right now. In the following segment, we’ll mention some of the priciest products we’ve found.
For the purpose of this article, we’ve determined that all machines that are over $1,000 are in the high-end price range.
At the very top of that category, there are several Janome machines, including the Memory Craft 12000 and 14000. The former costs about $4,300 while the newer model is about $5,500 on Amazon. What’s more, the 14000 actually costs closer to $10,000 on the manufacturer’s website. So what would we get for that kind of price?
Well, for one, the Memory Craft 14000 has a computer connection. The machine is also fully programmable, featuring 350 embroidery and monogramming settings. What’s more, this sewing machine can also use 400 different stitches, and 4MG of memory to save your preferences to. For those of us who like to dabble in sewing as a hobby, these features seem like a bit of an overkill. However, they’re pretty common in this price range.
Other similarly expensive machines are the Bernina 820 sewing and embroidery machine at $4,000, and several Reliable machines. For example, the Reliable 2852ZW machine is just $200 short of $7,000.
There are more Janome machines in the under $4,000 price range, with the $2,700 Janome Memory Craft 9900 being one of the more popular ones. You’ll also be able to find Juki sewing machines, like the HZL-NX7 machine, up in the $3,000 category.
However, modern sewing machines aren’t the only ones that can be somewhat pricey. Some of the most expensive sewing machines are actually the antique ones! These lavishly decorated metal machines can also serve as home decor, which is why they’re highly sought-after collector’s pieces.
Original Express machines that were manufactured in 19th-century Germany can cost nearly $1,000. So if you’ve got one of those lying around, you may want to cash in. Even old Singers will get you about $500, maybe even more than that.
The Singer 301, 66, and 127 are fairly popular, as are some of the Japanese Singer copies made after World War II. Moreover, antique machines with a similar look include machines from White, New Home, and Wheeler & Wilson companies, among others.
The reason why expensive antique sewing machines go for the prices they do is mostly due to aesthetics. However, their prices can go up and down based on the individual machine’s overall condition and popularity.
Just because a sewing machine is expensive doesn’t mean that it’ll be a great match for you. Think of what you typically use your machine for or what you’re going to be using it for, if you’re a beginner. If all you require is to be able to make basic pieces of clothing, an inexpensive sewing machine will do the job. Better still, some of the reliable brands we’ve previously listed make low-cost sewing machines as well.
Singer, in particular, offers a highly diverse range of low-cost machines. Their $125 Heavy Duty 4423 mechanic sewing machine has 23 built-in stitches, 12 of which are decorative. The Singer Start 1304 is even cheaper, and there are 6, 19, and 23-stitch versions of the machine. The Janome 2212 and Brother XM2701 are also within this price range.
However, if you only use a machine for small mending jobs, mini sewing machines cost $20–$30. Eonsix and other brands make machines that are only about 8 inches tall, making them perfect for casual sewing enthusiasts. These machines are also perfect for teaching kids how to sew!
We’ve made our thoughts on expensive machines clear. They’re very helpful tools that bring many advantages to the table — but they’re not really necessary for everyday projects. Ultimately, whether or not you should get an expensive machine depends on several factors.
If you’re a newcomer to the world of sewing, we don’t recommend jumping into the deep end. Buying an expensive machine right off the bat would be like buying a full set of golf clubs before playing a single round. So go with a simple machine, to begin with.
On the other hand, if you’re already a skilled seamstress or you’re in the fashion industry, getting a more advanced machine can only help you. After all, the kinds of projects you’re working on are going to be hugely important when you’re picking out the right sewing machine for you.
Even if you’re an experienced seamstress, you may not need to buy one of the most expensive sewing machines. Take your typical projects into account when you’re making your final decision. If you’re only going to be making makeup bags, and lightweight clothes, you don’t really need a machine that can also embroider, do you?
Alternatively, working with thicker fabrics and more difficult designs may require the help of a programmable machine.
Certainly, when we’re choosing between the most expensive and least expensive sewing machines, we need to keep their respective durability in mind. After all, we don’t want our machines to break, no matter how much we’ve paid for them.
Of course, there’s no real way to tell how long any machine will last. Even the materials aren’t good indicators since most machines are part plastic, part metal.
Ultimately, a great sewing machine should last you decades. However, although it may seem that the more you pay, the longer your machine will last, that’s not necessarily the case. If you really want to find out more about the build of a particular model, you ought to do plenty of research before you get it. Hands-on user reviews are the best way to find out how well a machine really performs, despite what the manufacturer is saying.
Finally, one of the most important considerations when choosing to buy a sewing machine is your own budget. If you can’t afford to get an expensive sewing machine, don’t. It’s as simple as that. Although, you may want to take into account whether or not your new machine would be a financial investment. If you believe that getting one of the most expensive sewing machines would improve your business, then by all means, get one.
Selecting a sewing machine for yourself is not a process you should take lightly. You should take into consideration all of the factors we’ve mentioned here. Once you’ve settled on a few of the last choices, we have one last tip to impart.
Buying from a dealership, as opposed to a chain store, can make your final decision much easier to come to. Brand dealerships often have all of the models set up and might even let you try them out. Call ahead and ask the dealership if you could bring a couple of fabric samples to run some stitches over.
However, even if they don’t allow tests, you should still go to a brand dealership, if for no other reason than to get all of the brand perks that come with the purchase.
If you have personal experience with one of the most expensive sewing machines on the market, make sure to share it in the comments below. And, if you know someone else that can contribute to this conversation, go ahead and send them this post!