If you’re looking for an all-purpose home sewing machine, you’re probably seeing one name a lot. The Brother cs6000i sewing machine in review after review comes up as one of the best affordable sewing machines on the market.
The release of the follow-up model, the cs7000i has made the cs6000i even more affordable. The question is, should you scoop up the earlier model for a song, or spend a bit more for the sequel?
The Brother CS6000i Sewing Machine in Review
You might know Brother as a maker of printers and office equipment. But the company began as a sewing machine manufacturer, the Yasui Sewing Machine Company of Japan, more than one hundred years ago. Today, they remain one of the most respected names in sewing machines.
Brother sewing machines have a reputation for being well-made, reliable, and reasonably priced. For the most part, the Brother cs 6000i lives up to those expectations. It’s an easy-to-use all-purpose machine that lends itself to a variety of crafts, particularly quilting.
The Brother cs6000i is a far cry from the longarm a professional quilter would use. At the same time, it comes with some quilting-specific extras that will delight a beginning or casual quilter. These include an extended table, which gives you more room for free-motion work, several decorative stitches, and an assortment of included quilting-specific feet.
At its heart, though, this is an all-arounder. There’s no extended throat — a must for quilting large projects — and other machines do better when it comes to sewing thick fabrics and multiple layers. It maxes out at 850 stitches per minute, which is respectable but average.
This comes down to the motor, which is standard for this class of machine. It will do you well for general home sewing, but may struggle with thicker, tougher work, especially repeatedly and over a long period of time.
Where the Brother cs6000i does excel, though, is as a beginner’s machine. It’s easy to set up and easy to use. The interface is simple and intuitive, and the drop-in quick set bobbin and clear threading diagram mean that you’ll be ready to sew almost right out of the box.
At the same time, this is a machine that will grow with you. Its 60 stitches include sewing stitches, decorative stitches, serging stitches, and more.That’s enough to try your hand at a variety of crafts, or to get a lot of enjoyment from your favorite one.
On the other hand, if sewing turns out to be an occasional hobby, you’ll probably still get your money’s worth.
What’s in the box?
Accessories that come with the Brother cs6000i, include:
- Brother cs6000i needles set
- Twin needle
- Spool pin
- Buttonhole foot
- Overcasting foot
- Monogramming foot
- Zipper foot
- Zigzag foot
- Blind stitch foot
- Button fitting foot
- Walking foot
- Spring action quilting foot
- Three bobbins
- Cleaning brush
- Seam ripper
- Small screwdriver
- Eyelet punch
- Extra-wide table
- Brother cs6000i sewing machine manual
- Power cord
- 25-year limited warranty
- Hard protective case
Pros and cons
This is an excellent sewing machine for the right user. But it’s not perfect, particularly when it comes to heavy work over the long term. Still, it has a lot to offer the average home sewing enthusiast.
- Suitable for a variety of crafts, including quilting and garment making
- Quick setup
- Intuitive user interface
- Easy threading diagram
- Simple drop-in bobbin
- A decent variety of decorative stitches
- Seven easy-to-use one-step buttonhole patterns
- Push-button start, stop, and reverse
- Comes with an assortment of useful presser-feet
- Backed by a 25-year limited warranty
- Excellent value for money
- Small throat size
- Average motor and stitch speed
- Struggles with heavy work, especially over time
- Fabric catches easily in the feed dogs
- Thread tension issues
- E6 (tangled thread) warning that doesn’t clear automatically
- General durability
The Brother cs6000i has some built-in limitations. These may or may not prove to be deal breakers for you, but they’re definitely worth considering.
Overall, we think this machine’s ease of use, features, and versatility outweigh its flaws when it comes to general home sewing. If you’re looking for a machine for heavy-duty, long-term, repeated use, however, you’d probably do better with a more expensive semi-professional level sewing machine.
Things to Consider When Buying a New Sewing Machine
You have questions. Of course you do. When it comes to buying any piece of expensive equipment, it’s important to do your research. And the most important knowledge, when it comes to purchasing a sewing machine, is your specific needs.
What kind of machine do you need?
There are a lot of different kinds of sewing machines. Which one is best for you depends, of course, on you.
Serious crafters — think crafters who enter competitions, have a home-based business, or craft several times per week — would do well to invest in a craft-specific sewing machine. Quilting machines, embroidery machines, and sergers do one task; they do it well, and they’re built to do it repeatedly over a long period of time.
On the other hand, general home sewing enthusiasts would do better with an all-purpose sewing machine. Versatile all-purpose sewing machines can handle multiple craft types, as well as general mending and sewing, with aplomb. However, few are made to handle frequent, long sessions of heavy work in any one craft type.
The Brother cs6000i is an excellent all-purpose sewing machine.
How much machine do you need?
The best sewing machine for you is the one that you’ll feel comfortable using. It might be tempting to go for an expensive, top-of-the-line model with a control panel that looks like an airplane cockpit. But if a machine is so complex that it intimidates, you may shy away from using it. Nobody wants that, especially considering how much one can spend on a top-flight machine.
Beginners and general home sewing enthusiasts should consider a reasonably-priced machine with a modest range of features, such as:
- Straight and zigzag stitches (the foundation of most kinds of sewing)
- A serging stitch (for garment manufacture)
- A small number of decorative or embroidery stitches
In addition, look for:
- Easy setup and threading
- Clear, intuitive controls
- A simple, uncluttered control panel
At the same time, if you’re an experienced sewist, you don’t want to throw your money away on a sewing machine that you’ll outgrow quickly. Look for a sewing machine that can teach you something.
You might consider:
- A wider range of embroidery and monogram options
- An on-board computer that allows you to upload and edit your own stitches and designs
Which features are important, and which are just bloat?
Sewing machines are a crowded field. That means that companies are always adding tempting options to try to attract customers. The problem is that a lot of these options don’t actually add value.
Think about it. Would you really use an on-board stitch camera to livestream your sewing? If you’re a sewing blogger, you might! As for the rest of us? It’s unlikely.
On the other hand, the humble knee-lifter is a boon to quilters of all levels. The same goes for a start/stop/reverse button.
Accessory packs are another way that manufacturers drive up the price. Some accessories are indispensable. But others will only take up space in your sewing room. So if you feel the pull of a shiny, excessively large accessories bundle, ask yourself how many of those things you’re actually going to use.
For general purpose sewing, here are a few features and accessories that we consider necessary:
- Straight and zigzag stitch
- Serging stitch
- Start/stop/reverse button
- A few one-step buttonhole designs
- Hard case
- One-step buttonhole foot
- Cleaning brush
- Bobbins (especially if this is your first sewing machine)
For certain kinds of crafts, these extras are desirable:
- Built-in embroidery stitches and/or patterns
- Monogram fonts
- Knee-lifter (quilting)
- Walking foot (quilting)
- Free-motion foot (quilting)
- Extended table (quilting and embroidery)
- Machine embroidery hoops (embroidery)
These things, on the other hand, are likely to be bloat:
- Huge numbers of decorative stitches (some machines have hundreds)
- Gimmicks like cameras and WiFi connectivity
- Notions like scissors, measuring tape, etc.
- Large selection of small spools of thread
- Uncommonly-used presser feet
How much should you expect to pay?
At the time of this writing, a solid, reliable all-purpose sewing machine will probably cost between $150 and $400. There are always cheaper machines, and some are better than others. Likewise, you could pay more, but at a certain point, you’re probably not getting much extra value for your extra money.
The Brother cs6000i comes in toward the lower end of this spectrum, in part because of the release of its successor, the cs7000i.
What Makes the Brother cS6000i 60-Stitch Sewing Machine Shine
So, what are the specific features that we love about this machine?
Intuitive control panel
Your sewing machine should work as if it’s an extension of you. Every move should come naturally. Most importantly, your sewing machine’s processes should be easy to learn and remember.
This is definitely the case with the Brother cs6000i. You can start, stop and reverse your machine with the touch of a button. Easily select stitches with mode and shift keys. A slider provides efficient speed control, while a manual wheel allows you to make fine adjustments to stitch length.
The Brother cs6000i’s design provides a friendly starting point for beginning sewists, as well as a reliable friend for more experienced crafters.
And setup is a breeze, as well. See for yourself:
60 built-in stitches
Speaking of stitches, how many do you need? 600? 1000? Some sewing machine models offer hundreds and hundreds of decorative stitches. But the truth is, most of us don’t need that many. The most commonly-used stitches include:
- Straight stitch
- Zigzag stitch
- Blind hem stitch
- Serging stich
If you do decorative work, such as embellishments on crazy quilts, then you’ll probably appreciate a diverse selection of embroidery stitches. But how many will you realistically use?
The Brother cs6000i has 60, and for a lot of us that’s enough to have some fun, but not so many that you’ll never use them. Here’s the library in full:
Automatic needle threader
Have you ever tried to thread a sewing machine needle by hand? If so, you’ll understand why an automatic needle threader is a must-have in our opinion.
An automatic needle threading system threads your sewing machine needle with the flick of a switch. And it’s so much easier than trying to push the thread through that little hole with your big fingers.
The Brother cs6000i’s automatic needle threading system is fast, simple, and effective.
Here’s how it works:
Push-button stop and start
When might you want to start and stop your sewing machine with a button, rather than simply using the food pedal? You might be surprised.
A start-stop button is an accessibility option for people who are unable to use a foot pedal. Also, if you misplace your pedal (it happens!) you can run your sewing machine just as easily with the start and stop button.
The Brother cs6000i has a start and stop button, and a reverse lever, as well.
Electronic variable speed control
There are many times you might want to vary your sewing speed. For long stretches of straight sewing, you’ll want to go as quickly as possible. On the other hand, you might want to slow it down for delicate free-motion work. You might also want to vary your speed for different parts of the same project, such as going around curves.
The Brother cs6000i has a slider switch that allows you to adjust the speed as needed.
Extra-wide extension table
The detachable extra-wide extension table is a boon for quilting and embroidery. Why? Because it gives you extra room to maneuver your work. It also helps to steady the fabric during larger projects, and allows you to see more of your project while stitching.
The extension table has foldable legs and slips conveniently over the free arm, where it snaps into place. When you’re finished, it slides right off and folds for easy storage.
The extension table is one of the features, in our opinion, that sets the Brother cs6000i apart from the rest.
Built-in free arm
A free-arm allows you to sew smaller circular work such as cuffs and collars. Most (but not all) all-purpose sewing machines have a free-arm option. Generally, part of the table slides off to reveal the narrower arm.
The Brother cs6000i has a free-arm, which you can access by detaching the accessories holder.
25-year limited warranty
Finally, when making any large purchase, it’s important to make sure you protect your investment.
The Brother cs6000i comes with a 25-year-limited warranty. This means:
- The machine itself is covered for one year from day of purchase
- There’s a five-year warranty for the machine’s printed circuit board
- The chassis (the body of the machine) is covered for 25 years
Brother CS6000i Alternatives
The Brother cs6000i is an excellent home sewing machine. But, depending on your needs, there are similar machines that might suit you better. Here are a few:
A heavy duty option
The Brother cs6000i struggles with thick fabrics and multiple layers. If you’re looking for a sewing machine that can tackle heavy work, you need a heavy-duty sewing machine. Fortunately there are several in the same price range.
The Singer 4423 is a no-frills all-purpose heavy-duty mechanical sewing machine. It has a very small number of stitches, but its all-metal frame and more powerful motor make it a natural for heavy work. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a better heavy option at this price point.
The features option
If you want more features and pizzazz than the cs6000i can provide, the Singer Quantum Stylist 9980 might be a good option for you.
The Quantum Stylist 9980 has a whopping 820 stitches, as well as five monogram fonts. You can also create and save your own original stitch sequences.
The price is considerably higher, but if you do a lot of decorative sewing, it might be worth the splurge.
What about the Brother cS7000i 70-Stitch Sewing Machine?
Sometimes the newer model is substantially better than the older one. In our opinion, this is not the case, here.
The cs7000i is pretty much the same machine as its predecessor, the cs6000i. It does have 10 more decorative stitches, and comes with an additional presser foot. However, the interface is very similar. It has nearly identical features, and the same stitch speed.
As if in recognition of the modest differences, the price increase is modest, as well. Is it worth the upgrade?
In our opinion, not really.
Brother CS6000i Review: Final Thoughts
The Brother cs6000i is a versatile, reliable all-purpose sewing machine. It’s an ideal choice for beginners, but will also serve the general home sewist well. Advanced sewists may feel its limitations, however, for most users, it’s a solid choice.