**UPDATED for 2017**
Today we’re taking on a very exciting topic: finding the best sewing machine under $500.
The $300 – $500 price range is an exciting one for sewing machines. There are many great models to be had here, but I’m going to narrow it down to what I would consider the top 3 for you.
Best Sub-$500 Sewing Machine Roundup
I gave you two clear winners – one for best value, and the other for best performance. Do read the whole roundup to make sure you get the right machine.
Alright, here we go! Starting with…
…Best Value: Singer 8060 Quantum Stylist
Feature-packed, automatic thread tension, cutting and stitch lock-down, reliable, affordable, can quilt
Lacks automatic threading and bobbin winding, sheer amount of stitches and lettering may be overkill, can’t save pattern sequences to memory
Singer claims to sell more sewing machines than any other manufacturer, and it is a brand synonymous with sewing machines. However, their machines often fall into the “average to good” bracket, with a collection if annoyances that put many people off the brand.
For a long time, the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 was my favorite sewing machine under $500 for sheer value. While you may think it’s been discontinued, I’m happy to report that it simply appears to have been rebranded as the Singer 8060. Excellent! This wonderful machine is still in circulation and readily available for purchase.
Singer have ticked most of the boxes and produced a sewing machine well below $500 which offers more features than you’re ever likely to need, along with smooth operation and reliability.
Most operations can be button-controlled, although a foot pedal is included should you prefer using that. The accessory pack adds a lot of value, with 13 presser feet, a large extension table and all the other standard extras you’d expect in a decent sewing machine.
The top drop-in bobbin saves time and hassle, the crucial needle up/down functionality is right where you expect it to be and electronic autopilot stitching adds to the great sewing experience and convenience this machine offers. Many of the automatic features, like thread tension, needle threading and cutting, really are a pleasure to work with.
Bottom Line: This is one of the best modern Singer sewing machines available. It is one of the best buys in the $300-$400 price range which it frequently occupies at Amazon. It wins our Editor’s Choice award based on the sheer value, performance and reliable track record it offers.Get reviews and pricing on Amazon
Workhorse: Janome DC2013
Solid construction, great performance, Superior Feed System, needle up/down memory
Finicky needle threader
Janome sewing machines are known for their solid construction, reliability and no-fuss reliable performance. The Janome DC2013 (newer models include the DC2014 and DC2015, but you’re unlikely to find them for under $500) should still be near the top of the list for anyone looking for a high quality sewing machine in this price range.
The one area this machine cannot compete with the Singers is the amount of stitches included. The 50 you get with the Janome shows off badly against the 600 and 960 respectively of Singer’s offerings.
However, I already question the practical value of such a massive amount of stitches as most people only ever use a handful of popular stitches anyway. If you’ve sewn before, you’ll know if the number of stitches (and the extra hundreds on the other machines are all decorative) is an important feature for you or not.
The SFS (Superior Feed System) on the Janome works really well, eliminating jams. The needle up/down system it employs is excellent.
Overall, the Janome has all the features you need in a good all-round sewing machine (it is also fine for quilting). It is a somewhat more expensive than comparable Brother and Singer models, but quality control seems better and this just feels like a solid, extremely reliable machine.
If you want a true computerized workhorse, built to last and without the frills and fuss of hundreds upon hundreds of stitches, the Janome should make you very happy indeed.
Bottom Line: The Janome DC2013 is a strong, metal frame constructed sewing machine that suits heavy duty usage more than any other machine in this price range. It may not have all the flashy features of comparable models, but it stitches like a champ, is built to last and have enough features to comfortably complete most sewing tasks, earning it my Best Performance award.
Updated Versions of this Machine ($550 – $600 price range)
The slightly more ($50 give or take) expensive Janome DC2014 is not a major upgrade to the DC2013 and almost identical in look and features. The $100 more expensive DC2015 adds more stitches (60) and updates the machine to a more modern look, but functionally the difference is almost indiscernible.
Also consider the Janome Magnolia 7330.
Latest Technology: Singer Quantum Stylist 9985
Pros: Fantastic screen, huge variety of stitches, presser foot sensor, stitch memory, DC motor for instant startup, power control sensors
Cons: No quilting table included
The Singer 9985 is the latest entry in the Quantum Stylist series, and it’s a beautiful machine. What immediately stands out from what you may be used to from computerized sewing machine, is the eye-catching touch screen control panel.
The machine ships with a staggering 960 built-in stitches. If you ever use them all, give me a ring and I’ll buy you an ice cream! Most of these are decorative stitches, with your basic core and stretch stitches included.
The 13 automatic buttonholes also leave you with plenty of options, while you also get 6 styles of monogramming.
This machine comes with all the features you need in a sewing machine. There’s the presser foot sensor to make sure you start off on the right…uh, foot. A simple clear cover drop-in bobbin, free arm, automatic thread trimmer, stitch length & width, needle threading, bobbin winding, tension and locking stitch.
Also cool is the built-in help, that can give you instant advice on threading the machine, or whatever task you’re struggling with. Also, and this is brilliant, especially on a machine with so many stitches available, is the stitch memory. You can program up to 60 stitches into the machine’s memory and retrieve them even if the machine has been powered off.
It’s a pity that the machine ships without a quilting table.
So, this is one beast of a machine and all for under $500! It’s a hard call between this and the Singer 8060. For about $100 more than the very competent and well-specced 8060, you get one of the most advanced sewing machines in this price range. More experienced seamstresses will know if the features this machine offers is worth that price.
This is a great sewing machine that is a joy to use, but the word overkill comes to mind. While the absence of a quilting table is disappointing, there is still a lot of value packed into this machine. I’m just not sure how much of everything it offers will find a practical use in the end.
Short Comparison Table: Best Sewing Machine Below $500
|Singer 8060||Singer 9985||Janome DC2013|
|Speed Slider Control||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Quilting Feet||Yes||Yes||With Special Bundle
|Avg User Rating (5)||4.3||4.3||4.3|
Final Words: Best Sewing Machine under $500
Choosing between these 3 machines is not an easy task. Let me try to narrow it down for you based on the strongest points of each machine:
Singer 8060: Get it if you want good all-round performance and a ton of features at a very affordable price. The 8060 has proven itself a reliable, worthy performer and is hard to beat on a bang-for-buck comparison. Get pricing.
Janome DC2013: Barely scratching in under $500, this is the most expensive of the bunch, but also the most solidly built. If you need a workhorse with all the features and basic stitches you need to complete most sewing tasks, this will serve you well for years to come. Get pricing.
Singer Quantum Stylist 9985: The biggest advantage this machine offers over the 8060 is stitch memory. It is a crucial feature that makes a lot of sense. The lack of a quilting table takes away from its overall value, but it brings the latest in computerized technology and usability to the table. Definitely worth considering. Get pricing.