Buying Guide: Best Sewing Machine Under $200 for 2017

bestsewingmachineunder200

Discover 4 Outstanding Sub-$200 Sewing Machines for 2017

In the $100 to $200 price range there are a few excellent sewing machines, and this is a great price segment for anyone who expects to be more than just hobbyist to start looking.

Here we move from mechanical sewing machines (although you can still find an excellent mechanical machine in this segment) into the wonderfully versatile world of computerized sewing machines.

Today we’re going to help you decide on the best sewing machine under $200 by giving you a comparison charts as well as a short summary of the strengths and weaknesses of each of the top 4 models.

Shortcut – The Winners

The best computerized sewing machine under $200 at the moment is the Brother Laura Ashley Limited Edition CX155LA. It balances power, features and extras into an irresistible package, including decorative and alphanumeric stitches, quilting feet and oversize table.

brother cx155la

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The sewing machine offering the best value under $200 is the Brother XR9500PRW.

At around $50 less than the Laura Ashley model, this is just about the perfect entry level sewing machine and if your budget is stretched, this is a safe choice. 

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The best mechanical sewing machine in this price range is the Janome 2212, offering the legendary Janome reliability combined with powerful stitching and quilting abilities.

janome 2212 best mechanical sewing machine under 200

editor's choice

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Here is the full roundup of machines if you want to have more information before making a decision.

Best Computerized Sewing Machine Under $200: The Contenders

I’ve narrowed it down to four machines: the Brother CS6000i, the Brother XR9500PRW, the Brother Laura Ashley Limited Edition CX155LA and the Singer 7258 Stylist.

Right from the start I can tell you that none of these machines will disappoint you. They are all very good at what they do and get outstanding user ratings. In the end the difference between them lies in a few key features and some other small pros and cons, which I’ll discuss just now.

First, a comparison table, which will help you easily compare the difference in features between the models.

Brother CS6000i
cs6000i-s

Brother XR9500PRW
brotherxr9500prw-s

Singer 7258
singer7258-s

Brother LA Limited Edition CX155LA
brother laura ashley le

Built-in Stitches

70

100

100

100
(+ 55 alphanumeric)

Needle Threader

Auto

Advanced

Auto

Auto

Drop-in Bobbin

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

1-Step Buttonhole Styles

7

8

6

8

Stitches per minute

850

850

750

850

Included Presser Feet

7

7

10

10
(plus quilting guide)

Quilting Table

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Free Arm

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Max Stitch Width

7mm

7mm

6mm

7mm

Presser Foot Pressure Adjust

Manual

Auto

Manual

No

Thread Cutter

Manual

Auto

Manual

Auto

Thread Tension

Dial

Manual

Auto

Manual

Needle Position Up/Down

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Avg Buyer Rating

4.4 out of 5

4.5 out of 5

4.3 out of 5

4.4 out of 5

Current Price

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Let’s compare the main selling points and features of these machines to see which one comes out the winner:

Price

The prices of these machines fluctuate almost daily, so this is only a rough indicator:

Brother CS6000i – Approx. $160
Brother XR9500PRW – Approx. $160
Singer 7258 – Approx. $160
Brother LA Limited Edition – Approx. $190

The Brother CS6000i can normally be found considerably cheaper than the other three contenders.

Built-In Stitches

The number of stitches is not all that important as you’re not likely to use even half of them. However, variety is always nice and here the Brother XR9500PRW and Singer 7258 offer 100 built-in stitches each against the 70 of the CS6000i, while the Laura Ashley LE leads the pack with 155 (100 stitches and 55 alphanumeric stitches).

Presser Feet

While stitch numbers may be more academic, presser feet can really expand the versatility and use you get out of a your sewing machine. The bigger variety included with the machine, the better the value of the total package.

The Singer 7258 offers 10 presser feet against 7 each for the Brother CS6000i and XR9500, while the Laura Ashley LE has 11. The actual feet included are also important though.

For the Singer: rolled hem foot, 3/4 inch foot, embroidery and darning foot, special purpose (satin) foot, button sewing foot, invisible zipper foot, all purpose foot, gathering foot, blindstitch hem foot and overcasting foot.

For the Brother (CS6000 & XR9500): buttonhole foot, overcasting foot, monogramming foot, zipper foot, zigzag foot, blind stitch foot and button fitting foot.

For the Laura Ashley, add walking foot, quilting foot, 1/4″ quilting foot and quilting guide.

A nice balance on both brands, and of course you can always purchase additional feet separately.

Quilting Table

If you are at all interested in quilting, this is where the balance will tilt strongly towards the Brother machines. All of them offer a quilting table accessory as part of the package, while the Singer doesn’t.

The Brother CS6000i and Laura Ashley CX155LA go one step further by also including additional quilting feet – two quilting feet on the CS6000i and three quilting feet as well as a quilting guide on the CX155LA. The quilting performance is only average though, so for serious quilting projects you should consider a more advanced sewing machine.

Quality and Features

Both brands have an excellent reputation. For what are essentially entry-level machines, all three machines deliver accurate and reliable performance.

Brother XR9500PRW vs Brother CS6000i

The Brother CS6000i and XR9500PRW are very close in features. The latter however adds the following features:

  • needle position up/down key
  • 30 extra stitches
  • thread sensor
  • automatic thread cutter
  • twin needle setting key
  • automatic presser foot pressure & lifter

With the price of these two machines often hovering very close together these days, the XR9500PRW is making more and more sense over the old stalwart CS6000i.

The Singer 7258 is the only machine offering automatic thread tension, and is otherwise a close match for the Brother XR9500PRW.

Verdict: Best Computerized Sewing Machine Under $200

(In Order of Recommendation)

Let’s face it, any of these four machines will do a good sewing job. Here are short final summaries on each one to help you decide.

brother cx155la

The Brother Laura Ashley CX155LA:

  • powerful machine for tougher tasks
  • great range of features, including quilting support
  • incredible range of decorative and alphanumeric stitches

Summary: This machine is hard to beat, and punches above its weight in this price segment. Your $200 won’t buy you a much better computerized sewing machine than this one.


brotherxr9500prw

 

 

 

 

The Brother XR9500PRW:

  • Same basic quality and functionality as the CS6000i, but…
  • …adds a number of features as laid out in the “Quality and Features” section above
  • With very little price difference between the two machines, there is little reason to recommend the CS6000i over it anymore

Summary:  Recently reduced in price to about the same level as the CS6000i, this is the best bang for your buck in this price segment. The Laura Ashley CX155LA just beats it on features and performance though, but for about $50 less you should not overlook the XR9500PRW.


singer7258

 

 

 

 

The Singer 7258 Stylist:

  • Offers automatic thread tension
  • Compares well to the XR9500PRW on features
  • Very good consumer feedback

Summary: The Singer 7258 Stylist is a solid sewing machine, with nothing unique enough about it to make it stand out. It remains a safe choice that won’t disappoint.


cs6000i

 

 

 

 

The Brother CS6000i:

  • Offers outstanding value for the price
  • Handy quilting table and two quilting feet included
  • Excellent reputation in the industry

Summary: For sheer dollar for dollar value, this used to be the clear winner until the price adjustments to the other machines. It remains a trusted and popular sewing machine in the industry with a solid reputation, but hard to recommend over the similarly priced Singer 7258 and Brother XR9500PRW anymore.


A Final Word

The Laura Ashley Limited Edition CX155LA is the best sewing machine on offer at under $200.

As the cheapest of these machines for a long time, the Brother CS6000i was hard to beat. It has firmly entrenched itself as the #1 best-selling sewing machine on Amazon, and I don’t see it losing that spot to any of the other contenders in this lineup anytime soon.

However, while still a safe bet, the price fluctuations at the moment that often leaves the price of the XR9500PRW in the same range as the CS6000i makes the former a better choice with its wider range of features.

Best Mechanical Sewing Machine Under $200: Janome 2212

best mechanical sewing machine under 200

Not everyone wants a computerized sewing machine. Mechanical sewing machines offer simplicity and reliability, although you get a smaller variety of stitches and features than you do on computerized models.

The best mechanical sewing machine in this price range is the Janome 2212.

Quick Features:

  • 12 stitches
  • 5 piece feed dog
  • 4mm max stitch length
  • 5mm max stitch width
  • vertical oscillating bobbin
  • 1 four step buttonhole
  • free arm
  • reverse lever

While this is not a heavy duty machine, it can still take on tougher jobs than most entry level machines, and can sew multiple layers together with no problem.

You don’t get a huge variety of stitches, and this is best used as a workhorse machine for straight stitching, zigzag, blind hem and similar jobs.

Despite its limitations, this is an excellent, durable machine ready to take on even challenging jobs. Operation is very easy. Even if you fancy a computerized machine with all the bells and whistles, the Janome 2212 is a solid backup to have and also a great machine for beginners.

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