What is the best portable sewing machine in the market? This is a recurring question usually asked by newbies in sewing. In this post, we will make some efforts to answer this question.
Many people wonder if they can have a portable sewing machine they can easily move from one point to another. This is more crucial with people learning how to sew.
The answer is yes. You can have such sewing machines with some basic features to make your learning easy and convenient. They are available in both mechanical and computerized versions.
But making the right choice is usually a tough call. You don’t have to worry because we have done the difficult part of the job for you. After conducting thorough research, we pencilled down 7 sewing machines that are portable and lightweight. They are also of high-quality, durable and functional. So, let’s get started.
Here are the 7 best portable sewing machines for your informed choice.
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Top Picks of the Best Portable Sewing Machines
The SINGER 4423 is a heavy-duty portable sewing machine weighing just 14.5 pounds. Its heavy-duty nature helps it to withstand the rigor of daily usage. It also guarantees its sturdiness, durability and stability since it is constructed with a metal interior frame and stainless steel bed frame. With 23 built-in stitches, you have a myriad of stitch options to complete any fabric product which may include home décor, crafts, quilts, fashions and more. The stitch options include stretch, decorative, basic and buttonhole stitches.
The SINGER 4423 has a minimum sewing speed of 1,100 stitches per minute (SPM) so you can deliver urgent projects pretty fast. Built with a 60% stronger motor, the machine comes with a lot of piercing power to sew through thick seams or fabrics. Darkness cannot stop you from working. This is because the machine comes with a built-in LED light bulb for visibility especially when handling dark fabrics. The reverse stitching is another great feature you will enjoy. It has a top-loading bobbin and bobbin winding system that bring a lot of ease to your life. There is a bobbin clear case cover to let you see the thread levels.
The automatic needle threader is a huge relief for people having problems with their eyesight. With this feature, you longer need to manually thread the needle. There are tons of accessories that come with the machine. They include all-purpose foot, buttonhole foot, zipper foot, button sewing foot, needles, bobbins, screwdriver, quilting guide, seam ripper, soft dust cover, auxiliary spool pin, etc. It is backed with a 25-year warranty. There is no doubt that the SINGER 4423 will make a worthy investment.
- Durable and sturdy
- Built to last with metal frame
- Sews quickly with a minimum of 1,100 SPM
- Automatic needle threading
- Ease of use
- No automatic thread cutter
- Sounds a bit loud
Weighing just 13 pounds, there is no question the Brother CS6000i is one of the lightest sewing machines you can find anywhere. This is a cutting edge machine built to last. It is perfect for sewing and quilting. It comes with many stitch options. With 60 built-in stitches, you can stretch your creativity beyond the limit. This makes the perfect choice for intermediate and expert sewers. For beginners, this machine has a lot of pros. There are 9 presser feet including overcasting, monogramming, buttonhole, zigzag, zipper, button fitting, walking, blindstitch, quilting and spring foot. The 7 one-step buttonhole styles and an easy-to-read LCD backlit screen are excellent features, especially for beginners. The LCD screen helps you to view your chosen stitch selection.
You don’t have to worry when you are handling larger projects or quilting since the machine comes with an extended table for greater convenience. Some of the other features are free arm to help you sew collars, sleeves and pant hem; automatic needle threader for the threading of needle without any recourse to the manual method that strains the eye; and adjustable sewing speed to put you in control. The drop-in bobbin is resistant to jams. It has a work area that is well lit so you can have enough visibility when working on dark fabrics.
The package is full of accessories such as 3 bobbins, a set of needles including twin needles, 10 sewing feet, a wide table and a hard protective case. There is also an instructional manual written in both English and Spanish. It has a 25-year limited warranty.
- Extremely versatile
- Operates quietly
- 60 built-in stitches
- The automatic needle threading system
- Stitch speed controller
- Issues with the tension
- Occasional jamming of fabric under the needle
If you are looking for a portable sewing machine with extended features, the SINGER 9960 is your best bet. This is one of the best computerized portable sewing machines from SINGER. With 600 built-in stitches, you will agree with me that there are enough stitch options to go round. This allows you to accomplish any of your creative dreams. It includes 13 built-in one-step buttonholes with an exclusive buttonhole underplate and 5 alphanumeric fonts. A large number of stitches includes decorative, stretch and basic stitches ideal for fashion sewing, crafting and home décor. There are also 7 selections of fonts to effectively personalize any projects.
There are no issues with speed. 850 stitches per minute (SPM) will help you get the job done quickly especially if you have a large project. Needle threading is no issue with the automatic needle threading system. The built-in needle threader threads the needle with ease. This is an impressive machine with 13 presser feet. The top-loading drop-in bobbin system has a clear cover to let you know when you are running low on thread. There is more working area for you especially when quilting with the extended table. There is also the automatic thread cutter.
When it comes to construction, the SINGER 9960 machine is built to last with a heavy-duty frame to ensure durability, sturdiness and stability. It comes with reverse stitching and automatic tension settings. There are two LED lights to illuminate your work area. The abundance of accessories include satin stitch foot, overcasting foot, zipper foot, open toe foot, darning and embroidery foot, cording foot, rolled hem foot, button sewing foot, cording foot, quilting foot, all-purpose foot and walking foot. There is a 25-year limited warranty.
- 600 built-in stitches
- The automatic needle threading system
- 850 SPM sewing speed
- Sturdy and durable
- Well-lit work area
- No quilting tray
- Some of the features can be overwhelming for beginners
The Brother CS5055PRW is a computerized sewing machine that is not just portable but also very versatile with 50 built-in stitches including 5 auto-size buttonholes. The LCD screen allows you to view your chosen stitch so you are certain you are working with the right stitch. While this is not a heavy-duty sewing machine, it is capable of sewing denim and leather of medium thickness. It is extremely lightweight at 10.14 pounds.
The automatic needle threader means you have to say goodbye to manual needle threading with its attendant stress and frustration. It comes with a top drop-in bobbin that is jam-resistant. It features a free arm to help you easily sew cuffs, sleeves, pant hems and other difficult-to-reach areas. The LED light illuminates the work area properly so you can work on dark fabrics without any hindrance. There are other features like adjustable thread tension control, one-touch reverse stitching, adjustable stitch length and width, foot controller and a thread cutter.
Accessories include a screwdriver, seam ripper, bobbins, cleaning brush, extra spool pin, needles, six sewing feet like the overcasting foot, button sewing foot, zipper foot, buttonhole foot, blind stitch foot and monogramming foot. The machine is covered under a 25-year limited warranty.
- 50 built-in stitches
- Automatic needle threader
- Quick bobbin winding system
- 850 SPM sewing speed
- LCD screen and free arm
- Small compartment for storage
- Mostly made with plastic
The SINGER 3232 is an extremely portable mechanical sewing machine with 32 built-in stitches, a built-in one-step buttonhole and stitch selection. These stitch options help you to undertake basic sewing; home projects and make changes to any fabric product very fast. The construction is solid since it is built with a heavy-duty metal frame. If you want to sew at a faster speed, the SINGER 3232 is ideal for you at 750 stitches per minute.
For beginners, this is an impressive machine with an automatic needle threader and automatic reverse sewing. The automatic reverse sewing means you can sew in the reverse position. Just push the button and start sewing reversely and reinforce the stitching. With the high presser foot lifter, you can handle many layers of thick fabric with a lot of ease. The front-loading bobbin is easy to insert and wind. You can adjust the stitch length and width to avoid thread bunching.
The package comes with plenty of accessories like thread spool caps, bobbins, L-screwdriver, seam ripper, darning plate, dust cover, instructional manual, power cord and foot control. Others are all-purpose foot, zipper foot, buttonhole foot and button sewing foot. The machine weighs 12.2 pounds with a 25-year limited warranty.
- Highly versatile with 32 built-in stitches
- Adjustable stitch length and width
- Great for beginners
- 750 SPM sewing speed
- Automatic needle threader
- No thread cutter
- Dim LED light
If you are looking for a portable mechanical sewing machine from Brother, the XM1010 should be part of your consideration. It is extremely portable, lightweight and affordable. It features just 10 built-in stitches which include blind hem, stretch, zigzag and a four-step buttonhole. This makes it perfect for beginners. There is a stitch selector that makes it easy for you to choose the right stitch for a particular fabric. It comes with an automatic bobbin winder and a jam-resistant top bobbin. The clear-view bobbin cover allows you to properly monitor the thread supply. It can be used for quilting and sewing heavy-duty fabric.
With the built-in free arm, you can easily sew sleeves and cuffs with great accuracy. The machine has a storage compartment for storing accessories. It has a well-lit LED light to ensure that you don’t stop working even when it is dark. There is extra control at your fingertips with the reverse sewing lever and the tension control dial to control thread tension. One of the downsides of the sewing machine is that it comes with manual needle threading.
The machine is loaded with accessories such as 4 bobbins, a foot controller, a darning plate, a needle set, a screwdriver and an instructional DVD to let you know the workings of the machine. There are also four sewing feet including button sewing foot, buttonhole foot, zipper foot and zigzag foot. The user manual is available in both English and Spanish.
- Perfect for beginners and kids
- Well-lit work area
- Lightweight and affordable
- Jam-resistant drop-in top bobbin
- Built-in free arm
- No speed controller
- Limited stitch options
- No automatic needle threader
The SINGER 1234 is designed with beginners in mind. It is so kid-friendly. This machine is loved by many novice seamstresses for its extreme portability. It weighs just 10 pounds. It is an impressive sewing machine with limited features. The machine has 6 built-in stitches with a 4-step built-in buttonhole. Some of them include scallop, blind hem, zigzag, satin and straight. All the stitches have preset width and length. Just choose a stitch and start to sew. You would love the removable storage compartment. Storing your accessories in the compartment makes everything handy.
Winding a bobbin is super easy. You just have to follow the numbered diagram well printed at the top of the machine. The bobbin stops the moment it is filled. As basic as the machine is, it has a sewing speed of 750 SPM to help you work on large projects quickly. The built-in reverse stitching allows you to sew in a reverse position. There is also the adjustable tension setting for the easy setting of thread tensions.
With the free arm, you can conveniently sew difficult areas like the collars, sleeves and pant hems. The accessories are all-purpose foot, buttonhole foot, zipper foot, darning plate, bobbins, spool pin felts, seam ripper, foot control, power line cord, pack of needles and more. It has a limited warranty of 25 years.
- Quick and easy threading
- Reverse stitching
- Easy tension adjustment
- Preset stitch length and width
- Four presser feet and free arm
- No automatic needle threading
- Frequent jams and tension problems
The best portable sewing machines don’t usually come with the kind of features you see in high-end sewing machines. However, there are things you must not compromise when looking for a portable sewing machine. Here are the features to consider before you purchase one.
What is the purpose? Answering this question is the starting point. Is the purpose for quilting, curtains, clothing or more? Whatever is the purpose, you have to look at the features of the machine to be sure it can make your projects easier. If you will be doing a lot of pant hems, you must ensure your machine comes with a built-in free arm. Ensure there is an extended table if you will be doing a lot of quilting.
Mechanical vs. Computerized Machine
As a beginner, choosing a mechanical sewing machine will do you a lot of good. This is because the built-in stitches are easier to use than a computerized machine. The errors are far less and the stitches are very dependable.
Automatic Needle Threader
This is a must-have feature. If you have a bad sight, threading the needle manually is going to be a struggle. To eliminate the frustration, it is better to choose a portable machine with an automatic needle threader. It threads the needle efficiently and quickly.
Automatic Thread Cutter
Most of the portable sewing machines don’t come with an automatic thread cutter. In our list, it is only the SINGER 9960 that has it. This feature helps you to cut the thread at the end of a seam without the use of scissors.
Whatever idea you can conceive can be implemented if you have a variety of built-in stitches. This is more important for novice sewers. A portable sewing machine with over 20 built-in stitches will be a good starting point.
If you would want to deliver your projects on time, you will have to go for a portable machine with a good sewing speed. A minimum of 750 stitches per minute (SPM) will be an excellent choice. This allows you to deliver a large project quickly. The SINGER 9960 has 1,100 SPM.
You can easily make buttonholes with ease if you have a machine with an automatic buttonholer. You don’t have to turn a piece of fabric to make a buttonhole anymore.
Extended Work Table
The extended work table is inevitable if you do a lot of quilting. Without it, you will have a tough time quilting and handling large projects.
The LED light comes in handy when you are working in a dark area or with a dark fabric. It illuminates the work area nicely. Always choose a portable sewing machine that comes with a bright LED light. The SINGER 9960 has two LED lights for great visibility.
This determines the durability, sturdiness and stability of the machine. Most portable sewing machines are made of plastics but you must ensure that the inner part of it is made of a heavy-duty metal frame. This helps it to withstand the rigor of everyday usage.
Setting thread tension is an important aspect of sewing. This helps to reduce thread bunching.
Most portable sewing machines come with accessories. Accessories help you to have replacements for some parts or tools. For example, some package includes accessories such as screwdrivers, bobbins, extra needles, measuring tape, a dust cover, a pair of scissors and more.
Top-loading Drop-in Bobbin
The top-loading drop-in bobbin is super easy to insert. The bobbin winding system should also be easy to thread.
Stitch Width and Length
Adjusting the stitch length and width is important when working on any fabric. It makes sewing easy and devoid of hiccups. Ensure that you check your user’s manual to find out the right adjustments for your machine.
Benefits of Choosing a Portable Sewing Machine
Ideal for Beginners
If you are a beginner in sewing and thinking of purchasing your sewing machine, a portable sewing machine is the right place to start from. There are a lot of options that allow novice sewers to learn the art with ease. They also come with various stitch options to help beginners to explore and get creative.
Portable sewing machines are made to be light. This allows you to carry it from one place to another. They are also compact and easy to store.
High-end sewing machines are expensive. This is why the option of a portable sewing machine always comes to mind because they are very cheap.
Portable sewing machines have great designs that make them very attractive. They are available in many designs.
Despite being a low-end sewing machine, they are fast enough to help you deliver on large projects. Some of them like the SINGER 9960 come with 1,100 stitches per minute (SPM).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is a portable sewing machine ideal for new sewers?
Yes, portable sewing is ideal for new sewers. They are made for novice sewers since they are easy to operate and understand.
How do I carry my machine safely?
The best way to carry your machine safely is to purchase a carrying case made for a portable sewing machine. Ensure that the needle is well raised. When packing up the machine, always remember the power cord. If you are traveling a long distance, it makes sense to pack the machine in a box.
How often does one need to clean and service a portable sewing machine?
This will depend on the purpose it serves. If you work on cotton materials quite often, lint may buildup overtime. This is why periodic cleaning and servicing is necessary to prolong the life of the machine.
How do I lift the presser foot up and down?
You will need the presser foot lifter to lift the presser foot up and down. Depending on the brand or model, the presser foot lifter is the level foot that is found at the side or back of the sewing machine.
How do I troubleshoot my sewing machine?
The first step in troubleshooting a sewing machine is by knowing the problem. Some of the common problems are frequent jamming of bobbin or making use of the wrong bobbin. To successfully troubleshoot the problem, you must use the right bobbin. To prevent the tangling of thread, always remember to keep the presser foot in the down position.
Choosing the best portable sewing machine can still be a hard nut to crack even after reading this review. You may be in a dilemma right now. The dilemma may be whether to choose a mechanical or computerized sewing machine. Don’t stress yourself. Just follow our recommendations to make an informed choice.
If you a beginner, we recommend you choose a portable mechanical sewing machine. SINGER 9960 will be the ideal portable machine because of its excellent features. These features would still be relevant even after you have moved from being a beginner to an expert. But if you are an experienced sewer, you can go for a portable computerized sewing machine like the Brother CS6000i.