Sewing machines have come along way since the vintage Singer machines with a wheel that you turn by hand. While these early models have, rightly, become iconic in recent years, in time designs evolved and now we’re here to celebrate the best of sewing tech – digital sewing machines! Get ready for speedier, snazzier, super-charged stitching.
Those early Singer models in time gave way to the brilliant range of manual and computerised machines that are available today. If you’re brand new on your sewing journey, a good place to start is our sister guide to the best sewing machines for beginners, but if you’re now wondering what more your machine could do for you, it’s time to consider an electronic sewing machine.
Computerized sewing machines are hot stuff in the sewing world, and it’s easy to see why. While they offer all the main features of manual machines, their digital display and functions allow you better speed control, and an impressive range of functions. In this article, we look at why you need one and a few of the best options on the market if you’re looking to treat yourself.
What is an electronic sewing machine?
Simply put, computerised or electronic machines are powered by a computer, and you tell them what to do via a digital display panel at the front or side. They have built-in software which allows you to control everything from the speed of sewing, tension, feed dogs. You don’t have to be a pro-stitcher to use them – they’re great for beginners too. Don’t be put off by the initial instructions – sewing with a digital machine becomes second nature with a bit of practice and you’ll soon adapt and wonder how you coped without one.
Manual vs electronic – are computerized sewing machines better than mechanical machines?
There are pros and cons to both. Some people find the digital displays and instructions can be a bit off putting at first with electronic machines, but persevere – it’s worth it! Electronic machines have all sorts of extra features that will make your life easier. Many will automatically start and finish your thread for you, they can offer more precise stitches and greater control over your sewing speed. Some machines offer a huge number of different stitch styles, and most incredibly, these machines can even do the sewing for you – sewing the pattern and stitch of your choice for you.
What is the best electronic sewing machine?
We’ve compared the market and come up with this round-up of our favourite 8 digital sewing machines. We’ve included machines for different budgets and stitching levels, from some of the best brands out there…
Best computerised sewing machines
- Brother Innovis A60SE
- Singer Starlet 6660
- Uten computerised sewing machine
- Janome M30A sewing machine
- Brother FS70WTX Sewing and quilting machine
- Singer 7285Q Patchwork sewing machine
- Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist embroidery machine
- Janome 5030 Sewing Machine
We look at each model and compare their key features and benefits to help you chose the right one for you.
Brother Innovis A60SE
- Buy it now (Amazon, £439)
Stitches: 60 (including six buttonhole styles)
Main features: Ergonomic jog dial, start/stop button, lockstitch function, one-step needle threader, twin needle sewing, drop feed, hard case, seven presser feet and tool kit included
Trusted brand Brother have a lot to offer with the A60SE. Features include twin needle sewing and a drop feed function, plus the time-saving start/stop button, lockstitch option and one-step automatic needle threader.
Weighing in at 6.5kg and with a free hard case cover included, it’s a good choice if you often move your machine from room to room or out and about to sew with friends and family. You’ll also enjoy versatile project options with seven different presser feet and a small tool kit for daily maintenance.
Read our full Brother Innovis A60SE review
Singer Starlet 6660 Digital Sewing machine
Best for: Beginners
Stitches: 60 built-in stitches
Main features: Automatic Needle Threader, 1-Step Buttonholes, 8 presser feet included, 60 stitches, extension table, hard cover
Quilters and dressmakers take note. With its impressive array of stitches, the Singer Starlet comes with automatic needle threader, plus the benefit of automatically setting the best width and length for each stitch option for you. Choose between 13 needle positions, sew buttonholes, zips and more with this good value starter electronic machine. It’s one of the more affordable models in the digital machines market too so a good choice if you need to keep costs manageable.
Uten Computerized Sewing Machine
Best for: Budget
Main features: Built-in stitches include letters, numbers and 8 buttonhole styles, drop feed for free motion sewing and quilting, speedy stitching, needle plate in inches and centimetres
While it’s not the best-known brand in this round up, you can’t beat this Uten model for price if budget is a real stretch. As well as bringing all the basic benefits you can want from a digital machine (easy start-stop functions, needle up-down memory to help you pivot your angles and an easy drop-in top bobbin), there’s lots of room to grow your skills too. The free arm is really handy for sewing cuffs and sleeves, it has a twin needle setting and sews at 700+ stitches per minute so is a nippy addition to your sewing table. It comes with more sewing stitches than you know what to do with – including letters, numbers and 8 buttonhole styles, and drop feed for free motion sewing and quilting. You’ll find it useful that the needle plate offers both inches and centimetres if, like me, you switch between dressmaking and quilt patterns where the measurement style used varies.
Janome M30A Sewing Machine
Best for: Dressmaking
Main features: Easy stitch selection guide, speed adjustment slider, needle up-down option for appliqué and sewing corners, light to carry with handle.
If you’re new to sewing or have caught the bug and now want to level up your tech, the M30A could be the one for you. Janome machines have an almost cult-like following with those who make clothes and home sewing regularly – and it’s easy to see why with models like this one. It can comfortably handle light and medium-weight fabrics and has all the stitches you need for dressmaking and home sewing, plus some decorative options to play around with. Weighing in at just 5kg it’s a lightweight machine to carry and has a handle for added portability. It comes with 4 feet (Standard, zipper, buttonhole and satin stitch) plus spare bobbins.
Brother FS70WTX Sewing and quilting machine
Best for: All Rounder
Features: Quick Set Drop in Bobbin, Drop Feed, Slide speed control, Extra wide table and free motion embroidery foot
There’s a reason Brother are a firm favourite with sewists – they make machines like this one. The FS70WTX is a lightweight machine with a lot to offer, from it’s nifty slide speed control (you can use it to sew without needing foot control) to 70 stitch options, a handy wide table for larger projects and a drop feed for free hand embroidery and quilting. With 15 needle positions, 7 button hole options and an automatic needle threader (of course), there’s a lot to love about this machine.
Singer 7285Q Patchwork sewing machine
Best for: Quilting
Main features: Extension table, variable speed control, automatic needle threader and tension, 4 bonus quilting feet
If you’re a quilt maker you need a large space to sew on (extension tables are a game changer), and a tool that can help you sew quilting decorative patterns through thick layers of wadding and fabric. The Singer 7285Q has been designed with quilters in mind. Alongside an impressive range of 98 built-in stitches, including 15 quilting stitches, the automatic needle threader will save you so much time when you’re starting and stopping a lot as you create quilt blocks from smaller fabric units. Four bonus quilting feet will boost your stitching while the variable speed control is super handy. It can automatically set your tension – this is really useful when you’re switching between piecing lightweight quilting cottons for your patchwork, and quilting the bulky layers of your quilt sandwich to make your finished quilt.
Janome 5030 sewing machine
Best for: Growing confidence
Main features: 3 options for 1-step buttonholes, drop feed for freehand embroidery, needle up/down memory, footless operation, 4 feet including zipper and satin stitch
With enough stitches and features to keep you busy, but not enough to overwhelm newer makers the Janome 5030 will sew through a variety of fabrics, making it a great model to consider for both beginner and intermediate makers. As with many of the machines in this round up, we love the needle up-down memory (meaning the needle stays where you want it to, handy for sewing corners), while the start-stop button makes sewing easier than ever. You’ll get a nice range of accessories included, from buttonhole foot to zipper foot plus spare bobbins and needles.
Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist sewing machine
Best for: Embroidery
Main features: 5 fonts, speed control, needle up-down memory, speed control, 18 presser feet included
If you’ve been thinking of investing in an embroidery machine for a while now, the Singer Quantum Stylist could be the one to tempt you. It offers 5 fonts and hundreds of stitches so is hugely versatile. Use it to sew stitches, lettering or a variation of both with a multitude of options for personalising and adjusting your stitch designs. The needle up-down feature allows you to easily pivot your row of stitching, while it will also make light work of topstitching, quilting and appliqué, alongside your embroidery projects. It comes with (wait for it) 18 presser feet! Sewing machine geeks among us will love the options this opens up. Have fun with feet including all the basics plus open toe foot, blind hem foot, cording foot, darning and freehand embroidery foot and adjustable bias binder foot.
Have we missed a great computerized sewing machine that you think we should include in this round up? Leave a comment or tip below and share our favourite. You’re finding yourself taking on increasingly tricky and numerous projects, find out more about industrial sewing machines here.