The best sewing machine | Review by Wirecutter


In view of widespread stock issues, we recommend that you visit retailers several times a week. You can also check out refurbished and used machines. If you are determined to find something similar to the Janome MOD-19, we suggest the Elna Elnita EM16, which is also made by Janome.

Our choice

Janome MOD-19

This quiet, affordable sewing machine sews a variety of fabrics evenly, with sufficient speed variation and specialized features for beginners or casual dressmakers.

Purchase options

* At the time of publication, the price was $ 157.

The Janome MOD-19 can handle a variety of fabrics, the dials are easy to read and use, and it has enough specialized features (such as adjustable needle position, stretch stitches for knits and a buttonhole in four steps) that you will probably be happy to sew it for many years to come. While the Janome has a few frilly decals that give it a dated look, the mechanics of this machine are great, which is what really matters. You could spend a lot more on a “beginner” machine with more bells and whistles, but we don’t think you need them.

Finalist

Heavy Duty Singer 4423

Heavy Duty Singer 4423

The quality of the Singer is not as high as that of the Janome picks, but it’s a simple machine that can handle a variety of fabrics well, and it’s generally cheaper than the Janome MOD-19.

Purchase options

* At the time of publication, the price was $ 161.

If you’re just soaking your toe in the entire seam – you want to hem jeans, say, or do some curtains – or you’re just on a budget, we also love the Singer Heavy Duty 4423, which you can usually pick up for under $ 150. The stitch quality of the Heavy Duty 4423 is not as good as that of the MOD-19, but it sews evenly, the dials are easy to read and our testers (who have many years of experience) all said this would be a great learning machine. We also found that the Heavy Duty 4423 handled stretch knits slightly better than the MOD-19.

Upgrade Choice

Janome HD1000

Janome HD1000

This strong metal body machine is best for sewing through layers of thicker fabrics like denim. However, it can be a bit trickier for a novice to use.

Purchase options

* At the time of publication, the price was $ 310.

The Janome HD1000 sews as evenly as the MOD-19 but looks more like an industrial machine and sews more easily through multiple layers of heavier fabrics like denim. The HD1000 also has an old-fashioned metal body that those familiar with vintage sewing machines may prefer. This machine is however a bit trickier to thread and more prone to needle jams. Both of these problems can be particularly difficult for a complete novice to correct, but if you are familiar with a sewing machine you should be able to handle the HD1000 quite well.


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