Brother LS14s Sewing Machine review
Our expert testers try out this entry-level sewing machine – perfect for beginners or those looking for a second machine to take to classes or sewing clubs!
What is the Brother LS14s sewing machine?
The Brother LS14s sewing is an entry level sewing machine that is intended to be affordable and easy to use.
What does the Brother LS14s sewing machine do?
Let’s start with the pros of this machine. The machine comes with a 3-year warranty through Brother so you can be sure that if any issues occur in that time you will be covered.
This sewing machine has some great features: there’s only one pedal and lead cable, they are joined together so there’s less to get mixed up in your sewing space! The machine has a push down spool holder – this is a brilliant idea and means removable ones won’t get lost.
There are five stitch length options (for straight stitch), plus left needle position, six zig zig stitch widths and lengths a four-step buttonhole option, blind hem stitch, stretch blind hem stitch and a three step zig zag stitch for attaching elastic. A great selection for an entry-level machine. In comparison to some higher-end machines the options are limited but really these 14 options are all that you need – the only missing stitches would be edge finishing stitches (which you can use zig zag stitch for), eyelets (not really an essential!) and decorative stitches.
There is also only one buttonhole stitch option whereas some more advanced machines will have several shapes, but a simple rectangular buttonhole is all you really need, after all they’re usually hidden underneath your buttons!
The machine has a nice simple layout – the only visible dials are the stitch selection dial, the tension setting dial and the backstitch lever. The backstitch is a handy level on the right-hand side too.
There is a helpful diagram for how to insert the bobbin on the needle plate, as well as clear measurement markings. The top of the machine also has clear illustrations showing how to thread the machine and wind the bobbin.
There’s a simple drop in bobbin, so there’s no fiddly bobbin case to load up and insert. There’s a handy thread cutter on the side of the machine, saves you constantly reaching for your snips too!
The Brother LS14s comes with with a clear zip foot (makes it nice and easy to see what’s going on under the foot as you insert a zip) and a buttonhole foot. Also, three spare needles (all size 90/14), three bobbins and a mini screwdriver.
There is a fold-out manual, an instructional DVD, a leaflet for checking the quality of your thread and a three year warranty.
Now for the cons. The machine lacks a needle threader but this is usually something that starts to appear around the £200 price mark.
There are limited edge finishing stitches (but zig zag can be used just as well).
The machine has a small harp space (the central gap) so isn’t great for larger projects such as quilts or bulky clothing, but fine for alterations, making lighter weight garments and small-medium sized homewares. You can’t disable the dog teeth, which means you couldn’t free motion quilt on this machine.
There is a hole for an additional spool holder but no extra spool holder is included. It’s rare that you would need two spools at the same time though, this would only be useful if you wanted to use a twin needle.
The manual is quite brief, however there are good basic instructions for the features of the machine as well as an instructional DVD.
There’s no automatic foot release button, you’ll need to use a screwdriver, while this might be a bit of a faff, for the price point this isn’t really to be expected.
There is no speed control which can be useful for beginners or even for more advanced sewists when approaching corners/intricate sections. You can control the speed using the presser foot though, you’ll just need to practice on some scrap fabric to get a feel of how much pressure you need to apply for your desired speed.
The included screwdriver is a flat metal piece, so is more slippery than a standard mini screwdriver. It kept slipping out of my (completely dry) hands. This would be even harder for anyone with arthritis or other hand mobility issues.
The flat bed attachment is described as a storage compartment in the instructions, but as there is no ‘compartment’ so to speak you will need to put the accessories in another bag inside the compartment to avoid them spilling out when you open it.
When removed the flat bed attachment doesn’t give you that much of a smaller worksurface. Cuffs and narrow trouser legs most likely wouldn’t fit around the smaller arm unless their circumference is larger than 32cm.
The machine doesn’t come with a cover of any sort only a thin plastic wrapper (which you could use for the meantime until you sew your own!) Find out how to make a sewing machine cover.
How much is the Brother LS14s sewing machine?
The Brother LS14s is currently priced at £85 on Amazon (currently reduced from £99), which is an incredible price for a full-size machine that does everything you would need for the vast majority of sewing projects.
Is the Brother LS14s sewing machine good value for money?
It’s simple to use and excellent quality, making it a great option for beginners to buy. If you’re a more experienced sewer looking for a second machine to take to sewing classes then this also a good choice.
If you’re just starting out or if you’re buying a gift for a beginner, this is a great price for the included features. I wouldn’t recommend this machine for a young child, but for older children who are being supervised or teenagers who know the basics, this is the perfect machine.
It’s definitely worth the money – although if you have any accessibility concerns, read that section of this review before you dive in.
For more tips on buying a sewing machine, read our best sewing machines guide.
Brother LS14s sewing machine stitch options
- a, b, c – 3-step buttonhole
- Zig zag narrow width and length
- Zig zag medium width and length
- Zig zag long width and length
- Narrow length, long width zig zag stitches (for bar tacking/satin stitch)
- Short length straight stitch, needle in central position
- Short-medium length straight stitch, needle in central position
- Medium length straight stitch, needle in central position
- Medium-long length straight stitch, needle in central position
- Long length straight stitch, needle in central position
- Medium-long length straight stitch, needle in left position
- Blind hem stitch
- 3 step zig zag stitch (for attaching elastics/stretch fabrics)
- Blind hem stitch for stretch fabrics
Is the Brother LS14s sewing machine accessible and easy to use?
For me, the machine’s accessibility features are where it unfortunately falls short. As with most electronics, the entry level items are often not the most accessible, but I feel it’s only fair to include my thoughts on these aspects in this review. If you decide to purchase this machine, I would also pick up a set of small screwdrivers to keep to hand. As I mentioned previously, the little screwdriver provided kept slipping out of my hands as it has nothing to grip onto. I don’t have any issues with mobility in my hands, but for someone who does, I imagine this would be extremely frustrating. A screwdriver is also needed to remove the presser foot, whereas some machines come with a quick release button to swap the feet over – have a look for machine with this feature if you think fiddly screws might be an issue for you.
The machine’s built in light is quite dim, I tested the machine during the daytime with my blinds closed to get an idea of the light quality. You’d need a decent desk lamp when working late at night on this machine (you’d expect to use a lamp late in the evenings with any machine, but I have definitely used machines with brighter lights built in).
As the needle area is quite low under the main threaders section of the machine, you need to hunch over a little to see the needle area to thread it. There is also no needle threader – which is a must for those with visual impairments or painful/unsteady hands. I don’t have any visual or hand mobility issues, but a needle threader is still a must for me, it can shave five minutes off your prep time and get you sewing quicker!
The manual is a fold out A2 double-sided sheet rather than a booklet which is a shame, but expected at this price point. The illustrations in the manual are a bit on the small side, and are all in black and white (this would be expected in any manual though) – so you may need glasses/a magnifier if you struggle with your vision. However, Brother do include an instructional DVD, so there are plenty of ways to learn about the machine if you struggle with the fold-out manual.
For these reasons I would give this machine the lowest score for accessibility as you may need to ask someone for help to use a few of the functions.
Brother LS14s sewing machine quality and durability
The machine has a metal chassis (foundation) with a white plastic outer shell. The plastic is high quality, and the dials all seem very secure and durable.
How portable is it?
The machine is quite heavy, weighing 4.6kg. And the lack of a handle (there is a slot for your hand to grip onto) means that I wouldn’t want to carry this machine far without a strong bag to hold it in!
With that being said, for the price, this is a brilliant quality machine.
Our verdict: should you buy a Brother LS14s sewing machine?
This is an excellent option for new sewers or anyone who wants a second sewing machine to take to a class or club.