Even in this era of technology, still, some people love mechanical sewing machines. The majority of the users of mechanical sewing machines are those who switch from a vintage sewing machine.
They find the controls of a computerized sewing machine too complicated to learn. A mechanical sewing machine is the best option then. Mechanical sewing machines tend to last longer than computerized ones.
Moreover, you can save many dollars on repair costs, as the parts of mechanical sewing machines are very cheap compared to the electronic components of a computerized sewing machine.
The frustrating thing about computerized sewing machines is that there are many electronic parts to go wrong, and only a trained professional will be able to fix it.
On the other hand, you can try some self-repair techniques on a mechanical sewing machine even if you are not experienced in repairing sewing machines.
The durability factor was the main selling point of mechanical sewing machines 100 years ago, and still, it is. Some things like this never change with time. So is your mom’s love.
Reviews of the Mechanical Sewing Machines 2021 – (Editors’ Choice)
Now let us look at the best mechanical sewing machines you can get in the U.S. There are few in the market, but you need to choose the one with quality.
Cheap ones are not recommended as they will misbehave at some point. This list is created by taking 2 points into account; they are listed in priority.
- Quality of performance
- User feedback
It was a daunting task to come up with a list like this. I reviewed over 30 machines, and after days of filtering, I came up with the list of 7 top mechanical sewing machines that can provide value for the money spent.
1. Janome HD3000
This is the ideal mechanical sewing machine. This is one of the expensive machines on my list. No other machine can handle heavy-duty fabrics better than this one.
It has 18 built-in stitches, an automatic needle threader, and a built-in thread cutter. This is a costly machine for sure, but if you are a person who loves quality more than the low price, you should consider this.
I am a big fan of this machinist because of the quality of stitches it can provide, especially while sewing denim and other heavy-duty fabrics. Being a heavy model, it is much heavier than other machines.
Most parts are made of metal, and so durability won’t be an issue at all—a sturdy workhorse by all means.
The built-in sewing light needs to be better. You can’t rely on it; you need exterior lighting. For the price, Janome could have included at least a dozen extra built-in stitches. It seems Janome has focused more on quality than on features.
2. Singer 4423
Its popularity is because it is heavy-duty and is inexpensive. The stitch quality is not bad as well. It has 23 built-in stitches, an automatic needle threader, a drop-in bobbin, and a 1-step buttonhole.
Even though 4423 is a heavy-duty model, don’t expect this to run over eight-plus denim layers. That will be asking too much from a machine of this price.
3. Janome 2212
Janome 2212 retains the 4th posture not due to the attributes, but thanks to the standard of stitches. The user feedback for this equipment is unimaginable for the stitching device that does not give you a lot regarding features.
It has 12 built-in stitches, including a 4-step buttonhole. The quality of the stitches is excellent, and it works well with multiple layers of denim. It is a sturdy machine; you can expect this machine to last for years.
The main disadvantage of this machine is the lack of features, especially when you consider the price. It does not have a self-acting needle threaded or a drop-in bobbin, or a 1-step buttonhole. These features are vital for a beginner sewer. It does not have a lot of stitch options as well.
4. Brother XL-3750
Another low-cost wonder from Brother and that too, with impressive features. You can say that it is feature-rich for the price. It comes with 35 built-in stitches, automatic needle threader, a drop-in bobbin, and a 1-step buttonhole.
It is an incredibly light sewing machine, so it will be handy for attending sewing classes. It sews through heavy fabrics quite well, provided you have the right needle in place.
Sometimes the tension is off; once fixed, it doesn’t reappear for a while. The built-in sewing light is very dim for my liking.
5. Janome HD1000
HD1000 is the younger brother of HD3000, with lesser features and lesser price. If you can’t afford HD3000, then the next best option is this one.
The construction is almost identical. HD1000 has 14 built-in stitches and a 4-step buttonhole. Like HD3000, this is also a solid performer. It won’t struggle with multiple layers of thick fabrics. The consistency of the stitches is impressive.
After HD3000, it is the second-best heavy-duty sewing machine, but it lacks some features that beginners love, like the 1-step buttonhole and drop-in bobbin.
6. Janome 2206
This is the minimum pricey Janome equipment during this listing. Like 2212 model, 2206 also grew to become common by way of mouth publicity.
It does not have many features to boast of, but it does what it is supposed to do. It sews well with consistent stitch quality. It comes with six built-in stitches, a 4-step buttonhole, and a built-in thread cutter.
Similar to 2212, this one also lacks features like an automatic needle threader, drop-in bobbin, and a 1-step buttonhole.
7. Brother XL2600I
This is the king of low-cost sewing machines. If you are under a budget and don’t want to compromise too much on quality, Brother XL2600I will be a good option.
It has been the best seller in the price category for quite a while now. It is the least expensive sewing machine on this list. Even though it is cheap, it still has some excellent features, including 25 built-in stitches, automatic needle threader, 1-step buttonhole, drop-in bobbin, etc.
You can’t expect it to be good at multiple sewing layers of thick fabrics like denim being a cheap sewing machine. The overall stitch quality is not bad, though. The user manual also requires some improvement. It is not that easy to understand.
Are You Looking For Mechanical Sewing Machine? Here’s What You Need to Consider
Many people prefer to purchase a mechanical machine for their sewing needs over a computerized or electronic variant. There are lots of reasons behind their choice of this machine.
One of the common reasons is the price factor as these are much lesser than the others. Moreover, they are also easy to maintain and can last a long time with people who are into sewing.
The money spent on maintaining a mechanical machine is a lot lesser when compared to its variants. Oiling it regularly and keeping it clean would be adequate in most cases for these machines. Servicing it at regular intervals is also easier and does not require professional help.
However, once you have decided to purchase a machine-driven device for your sewing needs, you may have to consider a few things. We have tallied some of the prominent aspects you ought to look at before investing in one of these machines.
Ease of Operating
One of the aspects that you would have to notice is how you can operate the machine. Although a mechanical machine is simpler for your stitching, there are ones in the market that are a little complex.
Ideally, you would have to select a machine that matches your level of expertise. This would ensure that you can create pieces of excellence with fabric once you put them to use.
Weight and Budget
Sewing machines that are machine-driven are lighter in weight when compared to their variants like electronic or computerized. This is because they do not have a computer inside the machine.
Purchasing a machine that is light in weight can do wonders for you. However, you might not want to compromise on the machine parts that might not be in metal. Metal parts last longer than their plastic counterparts.
Keeping a budget separately for a mechanical sewing machine should also be of prominence. Purchasing one that is too costly may end up being a complex machine.
On the alternative, investing too little would mean that you purchase a machine with fragile plastic parts. You would ideally be able to hit the balance between the two.
Doing a Trial Run
Taking a fabric along with you while you go for a purchase may be a good idea. This would allow you to try the machine if possible and try some of the important patterns you wish to do on the mechanical machine.
In case you are purchasing it online, it would be a great idea to read reviews and testimonials before you do. It can give you an idea of how good the machine is for sewing with different fabrics and patterns.
Accessories and Compatibility
Usually, mechanical machines for sewing might not come with a lot of accessories. However, you might want to check if they are compatible for them to accommodate different accessories you can purchase from the market. This is one important thing that many people miss out on.
Purchase from a Local Manufacturer
Purchasing a mechanical machine will be a good idea if you do so from a local manufacturer. This is because your servicing and maintenance needs would be met with a good response if the machine is locally manufactured.
In the case of a product that is made by a foreign company, the chances are that you might not get the type of service and support that you expect.
Last but not least, of the aspects that you would have to look at is the features. The simpler the mechanical machine features, the easier it would be for you to operate and maintain.
It would also allow you to do different manual stitches with it than the more complex ones. Although it may increase your workload, it would give you a better finish to your completed stitching project.
How Does A Mechanical Sewing Machine Work?
You can mainly divide sewing machines into two different categories in the sewing industry, such as as- computerized sewing machines and mechanical sewing machines. And, as you can see, this article is about a mechanical sewing machine.
Computerized sewing machines are high in demand these days, but mechanical sewing machines are their predecessors. Although their operation might seem a little handful for all of its parts about computerized ones, they can be skillful from their positions too.
You will find it intriguing when you take a look inside of a mechanical sewing machine. However, we will try eluding technical details and explaining a mechanical sewing machine’s working mechanism from the general perspective as much as we can. Let’s have an inner look at a mechanical sewing machine.
Working Mechanism Of Mechanical Sewing Machines
You already mentioned above, and a mechanical sewing machine has many parts that are not put together instead connected. In contrast to that, a computerized sewing machine has its parts put together. Now, you will look into the essential parts involved in the operation of a mechanical sewing machine.
Without a motor, you cannot run a mechanical sewing machine, making it the prerequisite of all other operational activities. The motor provides force and speed. The needle moved up and down with force. Also, bobbin shuttle, feed-dogs contribute to the sewing process with the force and speed they receive from the motor.
This is another essential part that helps you to control the speed of the motor. As there is no automatic speed controlling set up or a push-button, the harder you press the pedal, the faster the needle goes and completes forming exquisite stitches.
Brother, Janome, Singer- these are some leading sewing machine manufacturers. Mechanical sewing machines from them can churn out the highest 1100 stitches per minute. And, you can control the speed and stitch production according to your need with the foot pedal.
Upper And Lower Threading
Whether it’s a mechanical one or a computerized one, you will have to perform upper and lower threading. This is the same for all the sewing machines out there. A successful stitching process contains threads that come from two sources. As s result, you need to do upper and lower threading. Let’s see how these two stages of threading work.
Here, you place a spool of thread on the spool. And then you take the thread through multiple thread guides and channels. Then you finally pass the thread through the needle eye.
Lowering threading basically means you thread the bobbin and install it in the shuttle. Essentially, you will have to thread a bobbin from a spool that stays on the body of a machine.
After threading the bobbin, you put it in the bobbin case and then into the shuttle. You can see the house of the bobbin if you remove the thread plate. An improperly winded bobbin will result in various stitching issues. The same goes for the upper threading too. Hence, completing both stages of threading is critical for a sewing process.
After both threadings are correctly done, the needle takes up the lower thread from the bobbin when you run the motor. The needle keeps on making lops as you crank the machine. The lops are, in other words, the stitches a sewing machine makes.
After placing a fabric under the needle, the needle starts penetrating the fabric when you start the motor. Then you will notice the fabric being dragged forward during the stitching process. That’s the work of feed-dogs under the throat plate.
The feed-dogs are truly prominent in a sewing machine. You will see them right under the needle with their spiky heads upward and notched between the heads. With the heads, they pull a fabric or materials to stitch it accurately. Feed-dogs can be dropped downward for free-motion sewing. Free-motion sewing is done for creative and complex projects like- embroidering, quilting, monogramming, etc.
These other essential stages of sewing. Also, this is needed to be done in both computerized and mechanical machines. The only difference is in a computerized machine, you do it with some enhanced features, and in a mechanical machine, you need to do it manually.
Note that few mechanical sewing machines don’t offer this feature or stage, but it is crucial. Different projects will necessitate different stitch lengths and widths. You adjust the length and width of stitches, and then you start stitching.
You need to stitch on the back of a piece of fabric, which is called reverse stitching. After you stitch through a fabric in one line, you need to move the fabric in 360 degrees and stitch it again. In a computerized machine, it’s easier because you don’t need to move a fabric. Other than that, it’s the same for both sorts of machines and essential to how they work or complete a sewing process.
You might ask why that is a part of the mechanism. Well, it rather falls under the sewing process, which takes us to how a mechanical sewing machine works for small items and garments with a narrow opening.
Besides, you can’t complete stitching small items or garments with narrow openings by merely placing them on the throat plate. You will need a free-arm to complete those tasks. From motor to stitch adjustments, you will need to set the free-arm in a mechanical sewing machine.
Also, all the mechanical sewing machines don’t come with free-arm capability. This makes it an additional part of the mechanism. Hence, this stage does not apply to all the mechanical sewing machines, yet it’s a necessary stage for some particular garments.
The overall body formation is also a part of how the machine works. Mechanical sewing machines are made from metal. For the motor function, these machines are made from metal. Otherwise, they will jump around. Hence, the sturdy formation is an integral part of the mechanism. The metal construction also contributes to stitching quality too. When the machine sits stable, it can form flawless stitches.
Mechanical and computerized sewing machines are the same to a great extent if we look at their mechanism stages. The only difference is mechanical machines are run by a motor and computerized run by some advanced automation.
Other than that, stages and features are the same. The time is wholly shifted towards computerized machines. For home uses, you will see people opt for computerized machines these days.
But there are still many garments industries that utilize mechanical sewing machines. Also, considering the practicality, these machines are suitable for industrial use. Hopefully, you have built a thorough understanding of how mechanical machine works.
What is the difference between Mechanical and Electronic Sewing Machines?
If you are trying to figure out the differences between Mechanical and Electronic Sewing Machines, we will get you a clear picture of the differences. Besides explaining the differences between mechanical and electronic sewing machines, we have also shared the best known mechanical and electronic machines to help you with a faster choice.
A user must manually do many things in a mechanical sewing machine, from positioning the needle, stitch selection to moving the knobs and lever. Mechanical sewing machines are ideal for beginners, and if you are about to buy one, you have to make sure that it has the following features:
- built-in presser feet,
- bottom loading bobbin,
- adjustable stitch length and tension,
- reverse stitch.
On the contrary, an electronic sewing machine comes with comparatively better and easy control with push buttons, menu settings on LCD, computerized control of stitch selection, stitch length, and width, pre-loaded sewing patterns. However, these sewing machines are comparatively more expensive than mechanical sewing machines.
Another critical difference is in terms of the number of in-built stitches. While mechanical sewing machines come with minimal stitches, electronic sewing machines come with various in-built stitches.
Electronic Sewing machines can also be seen as a blend of mechanical and electronic components. You can surely save much time by using an electronic machine since, unlike a mechanical machine, an automatic machine comes with several automatic features that include:
- Auto bobbin winder,
- Automatic thread cutter,
- Automatic tension adjustment,
- Straight stitch function
However, you have a couple of advantages with mechanical sewing machines. These machines are pretty simple, so they don’t require any repairs or maintenance much often.
On the contrary, just as any electronic product is, an electronic sewing machine may need maintenance more often than a mechanical machine.
An electronic sewing machine has many electronic components, and while one component is working fine, another may stop functioning at some point and need repairs.
Cloth Material and Projects
Mechanical sewing machines can be used to sew just any cloth material except for leather and denim. An electronic machine is ideal for various projects that may include DIY, textiles, and hobby projects.
Most importantly, since most electronic sewing machines come with a powerful motor, they allow you to quickly sew through thicker materials such as Leather and Denim.
Some Good Mechanical Sewing Machines
- Brother XR3774
- Singer 3232
- Singer Heavy Duty 4423
- Singer Heavy Duty 4452
- Brother XM2701
Some Good Electronic Sewing Machines
- SINGER 9985 Quantum Stylist TOUCH
- SINGER 9960 Quantum Stylist
- Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW
- SINGER 8763
- Brother cs6000i
Top-rated Mechanical Sewing Machines Comparison Chart
|Model||Stitches||Drop-in Bobbin||Auto Needle threader||Stitches|
|Janome HD3000||18||Yes||Yes||860||16 x 11.3 x 7.2 inches|
|SINGER 4423||23||Yes||Yes||1100||15.5 x 6.2 x 12 inches|
|Janome 2212||12||Yes||Yes||860||17x 19 x 13.5 inches|
|Brother XL-3750||35||Yes||Yes||800||15.4 x 6.7 x 11.5 inches|
|Janome HD1000||14||Yes||Yes||860||18.25 x 8.5 x 15.25 inches|
|Janome 2206||6||Yes||Yes||860||15.2 x 11.6 x 6 inches|
|Brother XL2600I||25||Yes||Yes||800||12.3 x 7.7 x 9.6 inches|
This concludes my list of 7 Best Mechanical Sewing Machines. I hope this list will help you make a decision. Here are my final recommendations
- Go for Janome HD3000 if you sew a lot and want a heavy-duty machine that is easy to use.
- Go for Brother XL2600I or Brother XL-3750 if you want many features and are on a budget.