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Buying a Computerized vs. Non-computerized Sewing Machine

Updated: Sep 24, 2023

Turning under fabric with rolled hem sewing foot

Buying a sewing machine that's computerized vs. non-computerized

Non-computerized / Mechanical

Non-computerized mechanical models are a fantastic option if you want simple and second-hand. Your grandma's old sewing machine, which may need to be fixed for around $129-$200, is a better investment than a brand-new one. Unlike today's machines at that price, these oldie-but-goodie machines were built to last. These machines are often available as second-hand purchases from family or friends. While they may not be as quiet or fast as their computerized counterparts and may offer fewer stitch options, they're ideal for beginners and anyone who feels intimidated by modern technology.

If you are looking for a new mechanical machine worth investing in, I recommend the Janome HD3000 ($450), renowned for its durability and long-lasting performance. Although it may be more expensive initially, the investment is worth it when this machine outperforms all the others besides Grandma's old sewing machine. The thing to look for in a mechanical sewing machine is how sturdy it is. Try to void any machine under 10 pounds or called "featherweights." These machines are used mostly for people on the go. If you are sewing and feel a lot of vibration through the machine, such as in the lower-end Janomes, you should go up in price. A promising Janome and most machines will start at $350.


The features you receive with a computerized sewing machine depend on its build quality, price, and available technology. These machines typically have a screen guide to tell you which foot to use for each type of stitch and offer a range of decorative stitches, from 28 to over 700. Most computerized machines include automatic error detection, so if you forget to put your presser foot down, the machine will not sew. All computerized machines feature a needle up and down button and speed control.

Higher-end machines have additional features, such as an automatic thread cutter, a presser foot button to lift the foot, and a superior threader. Some machines even include a fabric sensor to automatically determine your fabric's thickness and have a "pivot" function that lifts the presser foot whenever you stop sewing. A "Stitch Creator" feature on some high-end machines enables you to design your own stitches.

You can start with a good quality computerized machine at around $350 with the Singer Elite CE677, the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 for $499, and the Babylock Jublent for $600. It is important to remember that you are purchasing a computer that sews. It is recommended to buy a computerized machine that costs at least $350 and buy from a reputable sewing shop, not Walmart or Target.

A great mechanical machine will outlast a computerized machine. But a computerized machine has more buttons that make sewing easier.

Unlike mechanical machines that have been around for 50 years, we don't have computerized machines of that age. However, technology is constantly changing and improving, even in sewing machines. I knew someone who had been using their Janome Magnolia computerized machine for ten years without any servicing, and it still sewed beautifully. On the other hand, I've also seen computerized machines that have been used excessively and need replacing. I own three computerized machines and two non-computerized ones. Although the non-computerized Janome HD 3000 is well-built and has no motherboard, making it likely to outlast the computerized ones, I still prefer the unique features that only computerized machines can offer, such as needle up and down, an automatic cutter, more stitch options, lovely alphabet, and a "pivot" function, among others.

The best machine is the one you will sew on!

Choosing between a computerized or non-computerized sewing machine depends on your needs and preferences. If you're new to sewing, starting with a sturdy non-computerized machine may be a good option, allowing you to work up to more advanced features. However, you may feel you can grow more with a simple computerized machine that offers helpful features like foot recommendations, speed control, designer stitches, and an "error" alert if you forget to put your presser foot down. The most important thing is finding the right machine for you on your sewing journey. If you have any more questions, let me know by commenting or emailing me. Happy sewing!

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