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- 1 Do I really need the tech? What about a mechanical sewing machine?
- 2 Why buy a computerized sewing machine?
- 3 So, should beginners consider buying a computerized sewing machine?
- 4 Are there different types of computerized sewing machine?
- 5 Are the best computerized sewing machines more expensive?
- 6 What to look out for when buying a computerized sewing machine
- 7 The best computerized sewing machine reviews
- 8 So, which is the best computerized sewing machine?
- 9 read our other sewing machine reviews
Finding the best computerized sewing machine isn’t exactly a straightforward affair. Variables abound in this section of the crafting market, and the sales pitches made by manufacturers can often confuse more than they clarify.
With this in mind, I’ve put together this post to help you cut through the jargon and marketing spiel. I’ll also try and cover the whole gamut of skill levels and budgets, so you can make a decision based on your own personal preferences and circumstances.
Hopefully, by the time I’m done you’ll have a good idea of what the best computerized sewing machine looks like for you. That’s the aim, anyway!
Before we get down to the nitty-gritty and begin the computerized sewing machine reviews, let’s take a look at some questions people ask before they go down the microchip route.
Do I really need the tech? What about a mechanical sewing machine?
This question is often posed by people, like me, who are of a certain age and above.
While not everyone who can see retirement rapidly approaching, or is already of pensionable age, will be a technophobe, it’s safe to say that the older you are, the more skeptical you’ll be about all this newfangled nonsense.
So, are computerized sewing machines worth buying? In short, yes they are, but only if you’re going to use them!
Like dieting, even the very best computerized sewing machine that money can buy is only any good if you stick with it. If you’re in any doubt whatsoever, check out our mechanical sewing machines roundup instead.
Why buy a computerized sewing machine?
The best computerized sewing machines on the market today offer a lot more than the clunky contraptions of old. They are feature-rich and a lot more precise than their more basic counterparts.
One of the most noticeable differences is the stitch library. If you find a mechanical appliance with 30+ you’ll be doing well, whereas computerized sewing machines’ pre-programmed stitch patterns can run into the hundreds.
You’ll often find that computerized sewing machines will run smoother than many mechanical devices as well. Add that to the fact that a lot of the guesswork is taken out of the craft when you’re aided by a computer (many will even suggest the correct presser foot to use with a specific stitch selection), and it’s easy to see why there are so many computerized sewing machines on the market.
You may hear that mechanical devices are more simple, and they are, but this really refers to how they’re manufactured and not necessarily how effortless they are to operate. Uncomplicated they may be, but that doesn’t automatically make them straightforward to use.
Features common on computerized sewing machines, such as variable speed control, definitely make life easier for the user, especially those who are just starting out…and I’m all for an easy life! They arguably make sewing more enjoyable, too, as they remove a lot of the frustration from certain tasks.
So, should beginners consider buying a computerized sewing machine?
Definitely, but only if a computerized sewing machine truly fits your needs. As with everything in life, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to which type of device is best; it’s about your own personal needs and preferences.
Beginners can, however, undoubtedly benefit from many of the features only found on sewing machines with microchips, so the key takeaway is don’t be scared off by the presence of a computer. Even if all those buttons do look a little overwhelming!
Computers can actually be rather helpful if you’re just setting off on your sewing journey.
Are there different types of computerized sewing machine?
Yes. You can get task-specific computerized sewing machines, such as those directly aimed at quilters and embroiderers, but we’re going to concentrate mainly on general sewing here.
Don’t get me wrong, you can indeed complete almost any sewing task with the devices listed below, but they’re more all-purpose than those built with one form of sewing in mind.
Are the best computerized sewing machines more expensive?
Some commercial devices run in a purely mechanical fashion, yet can be priced well into four figures, and there are a number of computerized sewing machines that cost a bomb, too.
So, you can spend a lot of money on either type of device.
Conversely, there are some very good appliances in the sub $100 range, both mechanical and computerized, which means you’ll be able to find either type to suit your budget without any difficulty.
What to look out for when buying a computerized sewing machine
We’ve already touched upon some of the key features computerized sewing machines have, but here are some nice attributes to look out for when you’re doing your research:
Thanks to the onboard microchip that makes a sewing machine computerized, stitch libraries have gotten a whole lot broader.
Many of the best computerized sewing machines now ship with in excess of 100 pre-programmed patterns, so keep an eye out for this if you’re looking for versatility from your new gadget.
If having hundreds of stitches to choose from isn’t enough for you, some appliances allow you to combine those decorative stitches into personalized patterns. This gives you an opportunity to get really creative
Not only do you get to combine a mammoth amount of stitches with some computerized sewing machines, many also have a stitch memory that allows you to save your own patterns for later use.
Some high-end appliances even have the capability to save your stitch patterns to a flash drive via a USB port. How cool is that?
Perhaps the greatest feature of all is the variable speed control found on most computerized sewing machines; it has become ubiquitous for a reason. If you haven’t already tried an appliance with this feature, you’re missing out.
This feature goes hand in hand with the sliding speed controls found on the best computerized sewing machines and it allows you to sew without the foot pedal.
Yep, no more having to worry about applying too much pressure or not enough. Simply set your speed and hit the button to start sewing and then again to stop. Couldn’t be easier.
Memorized needle up / down
Otherwise known as a programmable needle, this feature allows you to tell the machine where you want the needle to finish when you stop sewing, either in the up or down position.
This feature is especially handy for those who like to sew appliqué, where cornering and stitching curves can be troublesome. Having the needle stop on the downward motion helps keep fabric in position while you lift the presser foot and adjust the material before starting to sew once more.
Naturally, having all these bells and whistles will be of no use if you can’t see what you’re doing, so you’ll want to make sure your new machine has an easy to read, clear LCD display.
Most of the best computerized sewing machines have got this all worked out these days, but it’s worth checking on, nonetheless. After all, you don’t want to be left squinting every time you want to change stitches, do you?
Similarly, checking out how easy the machine is to navigate is equally important. Again, most modern appliances are extremely intuitive, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Probably the least important thing, as you can always buy any extras you need after you’ve played around with your device for a while, is the accessory pack that ships with the machine itself.
While it’s not essential to have dozens of bits and bobs supplied, it can help you differentiate between two otherwise closely matched machines.
Accessories are most helpful to those who are buying their first appliance, but even seasoned sewists can be won over by a good accessory pack.
The best computerized sewing machine reviews
Now that we’ve explored the world of computerized sewing machines and found out just how advantageous owning one can be, it’s time to take a closer look at some of the most popular models currently on the market.
Let’s get straight into it, shall we?
I’ll start off with a favorite of mine, the Bernette 38 (or b38, for short).
This is the current top model in the Bernette 30 series range, and it’s a beauty…in more ways than one. Aesthetic appeal, robust reliability, and precision performance are all wrapped up into this wonderful machine from what is actually the domestic arm of the sewing industry’s darling, Bernina.
Yep, the b38 looks great and has performance to match. Sure, it’s not the fastest appliance on our list, at only 820 stitches per minute, but it is one of the nicest to use. Simple and straightforward is the best way to describe operating this device, although it’s also sophisticated enough to keep advanced sewers happy. All skill levels will love this machine.
Stitch quality is superb and, as one would expect when paying over $500 for a machine, stability is great, even at top speed. While it’s by no means silent – show me a sewing machine that is – the Bernette 38 isn’t offensive either. Stitches produced are balanced and even.
In terms of the stitch library, the b38 also does pretty well. With 394 pre-programmed patterns to choose from, it’ll take even the most creative sewist a while to work their way through them.
This wide range of built-in stitches also includes eight one-step buttonholes, which is great for the seamstresses and tailors out there, as well as those of you who like to add a little character to their soft furnishings from time to time. There’s a good selection of stitches for stretchy fabrics, too.
As if that wasn’t enough, the b38 has the ability to store your favorite stitch combinations into its memory as well. This is particularly beneficial for those who use the same decorative patterns frequently, especially if you’re working with the device’s three alphabets to create names or logos.
The machine itself is solid and well-built. As mentioned above, there’s not even a hint of a wobble when in operation and the Bernette 38 has a general air of longevity about it, which is more than can be said for many other domestic sewing machines on the market these days.
It will handle pretty much all fabric types apart from the obvious heavyweights such as really thick leather. Denim poses little problem, even a few layers, while light and delicate materials are handled with finesse. The b38 is quite the all-rounder in this regard.
You’ll receive eight presser feet in the box along with the Bernette 38 – zig-zag, overlock, blindstitch, satin stitch, zipper, button sew on, buttonhole (with slider), and open toe – along with the usual other odds and ends, such as spools, needles, bobbins, and brushes.
The Bernette 38 also comes with a hard dust cover, which is much better for anyone wishing to travel with the machine than a flimsy soft-shell, and an extension table that’ll allow you to work on larger projects that demand a bit more space.
This model from the Swiss designers sits firmly in the mid-range when it comes to pricing, but it does offer exceptional value for money, nonetheless. If you have the cash to splash, the b38 will not leave you feeling disappointed.
- A pleasure to use
- Beautiful to look at
- Robust and well built
- Great all-round sewing appliance
- Suitable for all, from beginner to advanced
- Supplied with a hard dust cover & extension table
- Excellent value for money
Time for another machine that I’ve raved about in the past, the brilliant SINGER 7258.
If you’ve been on the lookout for a new computerized sewing machine for a while, it’s extremely likely that you’ve already stumbled upon the SINGER Stylist 7258. This little device is seemingly everywhere, and for good reason; it’s amazing!
Manufactured by the brand everyone associates with sewing, the 7258 does an incredible job in what is probably the most competitive area of the market: the budget range. Quite how SINGER have managed to produce such a good machine and sell it for under $200 is a mystery.
Granted, it’s missing a lot of the bells and whistles found on other, more expensive appliances, but, on the other hand, it also has a lot of features that are only found on those devices, too.
The 7258 is an incredibly well-equipped sewing machine for the money.
To further bolster the argument for this model, it’s also been around forever, which means it’s proven and well-liked. A company like SINGER is unlikely to keep a lemon in its product range for almost a decade, which is how long they’ve been selling this beauty for. The 7258 has been a complete triumph for them.
Ideally placed in the market to appeal to hobbyists, as well as those with only a passing interest in sewing, the 7258 has the majority of the buying public checking it out. Anything above mid-range in pricing and you have to be a serious sewist to consider forking out that kind of cash, but the 7258 hits the sweet spot, as it’s cheap enough to be affordable to almost everyone.
Not only that, the SINGER 7258 is also great for everyone up to intermediate sewers. Beginners will love the simplicity, while those taking their sewing to the next level with an upgrade will appreciate the features more commonly found on gadgets that aren’t financially viable.
True, this isn’t going to set any speed records, racking up a mere 750 stitches per minute, but, then, will the average sewer need much more than that? Probably not, if I’m being honest. Most of us are more concerned with the quality of the stitch, rather than the speed of which they are churned out at.
Speaking of which, the stitch quality is very good. You’ll also get 100 pre-programmed patterns built-in with the 7258, so it’s no slouch in that regard, either. You’ll also get features such as a decent bobbin winder with auto-stop, programmable needle, automatic threader, and variable speed control complete with stop / start button.
Not bad at all.
The SINGER 7258 also ships with what is possibly the most impressive accessory pack of all the appliances listed in this best computerized sewing machine roundup.
You get an amazing 10 (yes, that’s TEN) presser feet – general-purpose, buttonhole, narrow rolled hem, quarter inch, overcasting, zipper, blind hem, darning / freehand embroidery, gathering, and a satin stitch foot – along with other bits and bobs, such as needles, bobbins, seam ripper, darning plate, and a whole lot more. All of which serves as an impressive, and useful, additional bonus to what is already a bargain.
As you can probably tell, I’m a big fan of this particular appliance. While it can’t compete with some of the more expensive sewing machines out there, for what you’ll pay, the 7258 is unbeatable.
- Incredible value for money
- Packed with features
- Perfect for beginners and intermediates
- Stitches wonderfully well
- Relatively quiet
- Not the quickest (750SPM)
Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200QCP
Next up, I’ve got something a little bit special for you, the Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200QCP.
While it may be hard work to say, the Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200QCP is anything but hard work to use.
This is, quite frankly, a dream machine.
Yes, I’m fully aware that this is financially beyond the reach of 99% of us, but if we’re talking about the best computerized sewing machines, this one has to be part of the conversation. It’s an absolute beast.
So, what do you get for your money? Well, for starters, there’s 170 built-in stitches, with 10 one-step buttonholes and three different alphabets to choose from. Many of these can be adjusted to suit the task at hand, with stitch width going up to a very decent 9mm. All of this can be easily set via the touchpad, which is straightforward and intuitive, as is the screen.
For such an advanced appliance, the Memory Craft Horizon 8200QCP is really simple to get to grips with. You will, of course, have to spend a little time with the user manual, but it’s all straightforward enough.
The Janome 8200QCP is also rather fast. At 1,000 stitches per minute, you’ll have your projects knocked out in no time and, as one would expect from a machine in the upper echelons, stitch quality is fabulous throughout the speed range. Again, this is another machine with brilliant variable speed control.
At 26.5lbs, it’s quite a heavyweight, but this isn’t the sort of machine you’d take to a sewing circle and it’s likely that most owners would have a second machine in their sewing room, with this as their primary.
Lucky them, I say.
The work space of the 8200QCP is noticeably different to most of the others on this list, with 11” (28cm) of room to maneuver whatever project you happen to be working on. Yes, this is a big machine, but it doesn’t feel cumbersome in any way. Just make sure your sewing desk is big enough!
Janome have also done extremely well in illuminating such a large sewing area. They’ve ditched the standard two LED lights found on most higher-end appliances and gone for five instead. That’s right, you get FIVE lights with this bad boy. Squint no more, friends.
Some things remain analogue on this model (as they do on most sewing machines). The presser foot pressure is adjusted by turning a dial, for example, and it works wonderfully. The Memory Craft Horizon 8200QCP will happily work with all fabrics, from silk to denim, without issue.
Part of the reason for this is the highly regarded AcuFeed Flex™ feeding system, which ups the precision of your feed to a whole new level. If you regularly work with plaid, give the AcuFeed Flex™ a try.
You will fall in love, I promise.
Actually, the only thing about the Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200QCP that’s hard to love is the price. Other than that, this is a stunning piece of computerized brilliance.
- Loads of depth and complexity, yet startling easy to use
- Capable of working with a wide range of fabrics
- Incredible stitch quality
- Feed system is second to none
- Large workspace
- Brilliantly lit
- It’s a bit of a heavyweight
- The price…ouch!
Back down the price scale a little now, it’s time to take a look at a relative newcomer – the Brother ST150HDH.
This machine hasn’t been on the market for long, but it’s already causing quite a stir. Billed as Strong and Tough, yet priced at little more than your average budget device, the Brother ST150HDH is certain to catch the eye of anyone looking for a new addition to their sewing room.
Beginners will feel at home when they sit in front of this gadget, as everything about the ST150HDH screams simplicity. From its minimalist look to its ease of operation, this is a no nonsense piece of kit. All of which will likely appeal to the masses and make it a best seller for Brother, I’m sure.
You don’t quite get the stitch library you’d expect from a computerized sewing machine, but you get enough. Fifty different stitch patterns are available to select, and there are five one-step buttonholes amongst them to keep the tailors and seamstresses happy.
Speed is fairly average, too, but that’s only to be expected, given the price point of this device. At 850 stitches per minute, it’s no slowcoach, but it doesn’t zip along as quickly as some of the more expensive machines reviewed here.
Brother have put a really decent seven-piece feed dog system on the ST150HDH, which helps greatly when working with awkward fabrics. That said, despite the “Strong and Tough” label, I wouldn’t go too heavy with this appliance. Things like really thick leather will likely be a bridge too far.
Although the ST150HDH may balk at very heavyweight fabrics, for tasks like stitching a few layers of soft denim it does an admirable job. This shouldn’t be a surprise if you go by the marketing material, but it is impressive when you consider that this appliance only weighs in at a mere 10.14lbs.
It’s a feat to keep things steady with such little weight to hold the machine in place, but Brother have somehow managed it. There’s very little shake, rattle, and roll here, even when you’re sewing at the higher end of its speed range.
Speaking of which, speed can, once again, be controlled. As with most other devices, this is governed by a slider on the front of the ST150HDH. It works well and will no doubt be welcomed by those who are sitting in front of a computerized sewing machine for the first time or returning from sewing after a lengthy layoff.
Having the ability to slow things right down just breeds confidence, as the user feels that much more in control of what’s going on at the business end of the machine. In fact, I can see this compact little machine being very good at building a beginner’s self-belief as it is just so straightforward to use.
Take the LCD screen, for example. Not only is it clear, bright, and easy to read, it also makes navigation a cinch and will even tell you which presser foot to use for a specific stitch. This isn’t all that uncommon on higher priced machines, but the ST150HDH just makes you feel comfortable when you sit down to sew…and you’re not breaking the bank for the privilege.
Finally, the accessory pack provides the buyer with an ample array of bits and bobs. The box includes nine different feet – button sewing, buttonhole, overcasting, spring action zigzag, walking, zipper, quarter inch piecing, blind stitch, and monogramming – along with heavy-duty #14 needles, some #11s, and a couple of ballpoint #14s, too.
I reckon this new machine from Brother is going to be around for a long time.
- Very lightweight, yet surprisingly stable
- Easy to navigate and operate
- Good for beginners and intermediate users who wish to work with heavier fabric
- Decent accessory pack
- Not the best stitch library
Janome 7330 Magnolia
Time for another from Japanese giant, Janome: this time it’s the turn of the infinitely more affordable 7330 Magnolia.
While this model is a whole lot cheaper than the Memory Craft Horizon 8200QCP reviewed above, the 7330 Magnolia is far from a budget model. At the time of writing, this model from Janome sits in the middle of the mid-range.
Basically, it’s not cheap, but it’s not really that expensive, either.
At first glance, however, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Janome Magnolia 7330 looks a little overpriced. You don’t get a lot for your money in terms of pre-programmed stitches (a mere 30) and, with only four additional presser feet, the accessory pack is unlikely to excite buyers all that much.
In short, the 7330 Magnolia looks like a very basic machine with nowhere near as many goodies as the competition…and it will cost you double the price of a SINGER 7258! So, what’s the deal with the pricing?
Well, there’s a hidden element of the 7330 that only becomes apparent once you’ve sat in front of it and sewed for a while: quality. This really is a very good machine, and it will especially appeal to those who are upgrading from an old mechanical contraption, but are still unsure about all of the gimmicky gizmos that come with a computerized sewing machine.
For the technophobe who is reluctantly stepping into sewing’s 21st century arena for the first time, the Janome 7330 Magnolia is about as good a fit as you could hope for.
It’s so easy to operate, yet it doesn’t feel as though you’re missing out on anything when you’re working on it.
Sure, the stitch library is fairly lousy when you compare it to almost all of its competitors, but if you know you’re not going to use hundreds of decorative stitches what exactly are you missing out on? You still get six one-step buttonholes, and all of the other stitches have been well thought-out, as has everything else about this machine.
A lot of the common computerized features are present: start / stop button, adjustable speed control, memorized needle up/down, automatic locking stitches, etc. The LCD display is clear and easy to read, and it will display a warning symbol (and the machine will beep) if there are any problems, which helps with troubleshooting.
The build quality of the Janome 7330 Magnolia is decent, but it also weighs in at a not inconsiderable 18.2lbs. This will be largely irrelevant for those who are looking to add a new device to their sewing rooms, but for anyone who is after a machine they can take with them, or simply one they can easily put away after use, the 7330 might prove to be a little heavy.
Although the Janome Magnolia 7330 looks a little pricey on paper, what you get is well worth the money.
- Perfect fit for those who are unsure about computers
- Very simple to use
- Solid construction
- Clear and easy to read screen
- Decent range of features
- Very limited stitch library
- Accessory pack is poor
- Not great if you want to sew on the go
Next up we have our first JUKI review, the HZL-LB5100.
This model from the brand name all serious sewists respect is another that sits in the same price category as the Janome 7330 Magnolia reviewed above, and it’s another appliance that offers great value for money.
Although JUKI are better known for their commercial devices, this computerized sewing machine is aimed firmly at the domestic market…and it’s a beauty. The JUKI HZL-LB5100 gives hobbyists an opportunity to see what all the fuss is about.
The HZL-LB5100 is a great for beginners who can afford to pay a little more for their first foray into the world of sewing. From box to stitching in minutes is not impossible, although I strongly recommend reading the user manual before attempting anything else (as you should with every sewing machine).
Solid and dependable as it is, the JUKI HZL-LB5100 is actually surprisingly light. Tipping the scales at only 12.3lbs, this is a far cry from their 62lb industrial monster, the DDL-8700, but it still feels robust and steady when in operation.
Speed-wise, the JUKI HZL-LB5100 is a bit pedestrian when compared to the other appliances on this list. At full pelt, you’ll only reach 700 stitches per minute, which is pretty slow these days, but that really is about the only complaint you can level at this machine.
Other than that, it’s brilliant.
The stitch library beats the comparatively priced Janome hands down, with a much more respectable 100 different patterns to choose from, all of which are easy to access via the clear and straightforward LCD screen. Controls are anything but overwhelming, and the whole thing feels intuitive from the get-go.
Other features such as the automatic needle threader, programmable needle, precise stop, and easy overcast are all excellent and will all save you time whilst sewing. It also runs relatively quietly, produces beautiful stitches, and is a genuine all-rounder…up to a point.
JUKI claim that the HZL-LB5100 will handle heavy materials such as leather and denim without issue but, in my opinion, manufacturers are always over egging the pudding in terms of what their machines can and cannot do with regard to heavy-duty work. For me, the HZL-LB5100 is a fantastic light to medium weight device, but heavy and thick materials should be left to appliances specifically built for the job.
Don’t get me wrong, altering the odd pair of jeans is not out of the realms of possibility with this model, but I’m definitely not buying any claims that this will plow through thick leather all day long.
It won’t, so don’t try it is my advice.
To sum up, the JUKI HZL-LB5100 is a wonderful machine for both newbies and intermediate sewers looking to upgrade.
- Solid and sturdy, yet lightweight
- Straightforward controls make it a breeze to operate
- Quiet and precise
- Suitable for all
- Slow (700SPM)
Eversewn Sparrow 25
On to the Eversewn Sparrow 25 review now. Is this sewing machine worth tweeting about?
The first thing that strikes you when you unbox the Eversewn Sparrow 25 is it’s looks. Wow! This is a device designed to stand out…and it does. Reverting back to a more boxy shape, this boldly colored appliance is an eyecatcher, but there’s also a design feature that is automatically apparent when looking at images online.
The Eversewn Sparrow 25’s control panel is actually angled ever-so slightly towards the user, so that both the LCD display and all of the stitch selection buttons are more ergonomically positioned. It’s a very small tweak that makes a very big difference in terms of usability and it gets a big thumbs up from yours truly.
None of this would be worth mentioning, however, if the Eversewn Sparrow 25 didn’t sew well. Thankfully, that’s not the case…this is a cracking little machine. Priced just below the JUKI HZL-LB5100 and the Janome 7330 Magnolia, this model is towards the lower end of the mid-range price bracket, but it packs a huge punch for what you pay.
The stitch library, for starters, is far broader than those two competitors have to offer. In fact. The Eversewn Sparrow 25 actually has more than both of them combined! With 197 different pre-programmed patterns to choose from and the ability to store your own combinations into the machine’s memory, the likelihood of running out of creative options is remote.
It only has one alphabet, unfortunately, but it does come with seven different one-step buttonholes and an eyelet stitch, so it’s pretty impressive in terms of what you can create. I’m also a fan of how EverSewn hide their stitch card beneath their machines in a little slot; it just makes things neater.
Features? Well, you get what you’d expect from a device in this price range. Sliding speed control, start / stop button, programmable needle, automatic threader, droppable feed dogs, and a manual thread cutter are all present. The Eversewn Sparrow 25 will happily jog along at a respectable 850 stitches per minute, too.
If you’re looking for an all-round, general purpose sewing machine that handle lightweight upholstery jobs, clothing repairs, and basic quilting without costing the earth, the Eversewn Sparrow 25 is a lovely machine and one that should be put onto your shortlist.
- Angled control panel is ingenius
- Decent stitch library
- Neat, hidden stitch card
- Nice range of features
- Good all-round machine
- Learning curve is a little steeper than some of the other devices listed here
Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW
Back down the price range a little now, and it’s time for another Brother: the Project Runway CS5055PRW.
As I’ve stated elsewhere on You Sew and Sew, I’m not usually a massive fan of these collab / tie-ins where a massive manufacturer jumps on the celebrity or, in this case, reality TV bandwagon. The resulting product is often substandard and more of a trap than a treat when you actually sit down to use the thing.
Is that the case with the Project Runway CS5055PRW from Brother? Thankfully not. This is, in fact, a pretty decent machine, all things considered.
Naturally, as the Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW is competing at the budget end of the market, it’s not an all-singing, all-dancing affair. However, for a basic computerized sewing machine, the Project Runway CS5055PRW performs okay.
This is perfect for the demographic Brother are trying to reach: those who enjoyed the show and would like to try out sewing for the first time, or rejoin the growing throngs of sewists after a period of time away from the craft.
You’ll get a reasonable stitch library, consisting of 50 pre-programmed patterns, and decent rate of stitches per minute. Most newbies will be more than happy with the 850 SPM the CS5055PRW produces, although it doesn’t feel as zippy as similarly specced appliances.
There is no variable speed control setting on this model, which is unfortunate as I think most beginners appreciate being able to slow things right down when they’re getting to grips with a new device.
Stitch quality is decent enough. Again, it’s important to bear in mind the budget aspect of this machine when judging such things; it’s not going to compete with the Memory Craft’s of this world. For a sub-$150 machine, the results are perfectly acceptable.
In terms of accessories, the Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW comes with six additional presser feet – overcasting, blind stitch, monogramming, zipper, buttonhole, and button sewing – as well as the general-purpose foot that’s already on the machine when you take it from the box.
Other bits and bobs in the accessory pack include a three-piece needle set, twin needle, seam ripper, cleaning brush, extra bobbins and spool pin, and a screwdriver. Not a bad haul!
So, would I recommend this Project Runway collab? Hmmm, if I’m being honest, probably not.
There’s nothing majorly wrong with the CS5055PRW, it’s more that there are a whole lot of things about it that are just okay. Nothing really wows you when you use it, and some parts of the operation are a little frustrating, like the tension settings. Hit and miss is the best way to describe them, and that can be especially annoying for those trying to learn.
Add to that the fact that you can pick up a SINGER 7258 for just a few bucks more and this Brother becomes even more difficult to recommend. Personally, I’d wait until I had the extra dollars and go with the SINGER.
- Nice accessory pack
- Can experience tension issues
- No variable speed control
- Can be a little frustrating to use
- You can get more elsewhere
To the final device on this list of best computerized sewing machine reviews, and it’s another one from JUKI…the HZL-G220, to be precise.
Even at first glance, you can tell that the JUKI HZL-G220 means business. No fancy embellishments or swirly designs to be found here. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a serious bit of kit.
Like the Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200QCP reviewed above, the JUKI HZL-G220 has a wider sewing space than the more compact appliances commonly bought by domestic users. This is a huge plus point for those who regularly create large projects or frequently work with thicker fabrics.
Speaking of heavier materials, as one would expect from a JUKI sewing machine, the HZL-G220 does incredibly well with denim, canvas, and even lightweight leather. A lot of the credit must go to the feed system that JUKI have used here; it’s wonderful.
Not only have they improved their presser foot construction to help move things through evenly, they’ve also opted for a box feed on this model, which is something you commonly find on industrial appliances, but not so much on domestic machines.
Box feeds keep the dogs in contact with the material for far longer than the more conventional oval motion found on most home devices, which means better stitches, less bundling, and no shrinking.
Accuracy of feed is fantastic with the JUKI HZL-G220 and the inclusion of the box feed system makes the machine a lot more versatile, too, as you can shift from delicate to dense fabrics with zero problems. If your sewing repertoire is broad and you’ve never tried a box fed machine before, get yourself in front of a JUKI HZL-G220. You’ll love it.
Other areas of performance are just as good. The JUKI HZL-G220 will happily work all day and the max speed of 900 stitches per minute puts it slightly ahead of the average SPM found on most computerized domestic sewing machines.
The stitch library is jam-packed with 180 different patterns, including eight buttonholes. There’s only one alphabet, though, which is a pity, but it won’t be a dealbreaker for most. Features such as the automatic needle threader and auto thread trimmer work great, as does the bobbin winder. Setting the bobbin is also an incredibly simple and stress-free affair.
The control panel of the JUKI HZL-G220 is about as straightforward as you’ll see anywhere. Easy-to-use up and down buttons are used to make adjustments, so there’s no big, obtrusive number pad in evidence here, which helps keep things simple and sleek. The LCD display is clear and readable, too.
The JUKI HZL-G220 ships with a pretty impressive array of accessories as well. It’s often the case that mid-range and high-end models can be a bit stingy when it comes to supplying extras, but you get a fairly comprehensive pack with this machine.
Zipper, manual buttonhole, auto buttonhole, overcasting, blind hem presser feet are all included, along with a general purpose foot, and you’ll also find a needle pack, twin needle, bobbins, spool cap (large & small), seam ripper / lint brush, and screwdriver when you unbox. There’s also a really nice hard dust cover, which is always good to see.
All in all, the JUKI HZL-G220 is a fantastic machine that is suitable for all skill levels, but not all pockets. If you can afford one, you won’t be disappointed.
- Plenty of room for larger projects
- Very nice stitch library
- Straightforward setup
- Simple and intuitive to use
- Clear display panel
- Good speed (900SPM)
- Durable and dependable
- Suitable for all skill levels
- Great range of accessories, including a hard dust cover
So, which is the best computerized sewing machine?
As is so often the case, the answer to this question isn’t a straightforward one. Many variables have to be taken into consideration, and the main one will always be cost.
So, with this in mind, I’ve split this up into three categories: Budget, Mid-Range, and High-End.
Best budget computerized sewing machine
For me, there’s no question that the SINGER 7258 is the winner here. It overperforms, it’s proven, and you get a bundle of goodies to go along with a very good machine for both beginners and even intermediate sewers.
Best mid-range computerized sewing machine
This is slightly tougher, and I’m torn between two devices. I love the Bernette 38, but the JUKI HZL-G220 is a great appliance as well. Basically, choose either. They won’t let you (or me) down.
Best high-end computerized sewing machine
If you’ve read through the whole of this post, the answer to this one will come as no surprise: it’s the Janome Memory Craft Horizon 8200QCP. A true dream machine, but you might have to sell everything else to fund it!
That’s it for these best computerized sewing machine reviews. Hopefully you’ve gathered the information you were looking for and are someway to making a decision on which appliance suits your needs best.
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read our other sewing machine reviews
If all that computerized sewing machine information wasn’t enough, we’ve reviewed lots of other top rated sewing machines to keep you going. Covering all manner of categories, these posts have been written with only one thing in mind – helping you select the best appliance. Go check them out!