In case you don’t know what is a mechanical sewing machine, it is the exact opposite to computerized sewing machine.
This means that in case you buy a mechanical sewing machine, you’d miss the advantages of computerized sewing machines, while you’d be happy to evade the disadvantages of the same.
This type of sewing machines neither has the advanced features that you enjoy while using a computerized sewing machine, nor the kind of complex problems that computerized sewing machines bring to your “table”.
Best Mechanical Sewing Machines
This is a review of top 3 mechanical sewing machines: the best mechanical sewing machines that a seamstress or seamster can get.
Take your time and read the buyer’s guide too to have a general idea about how to buy mechanical sewing machines.
A Review of 3 Best Mechanical Sewing Machines
So, before I take each and every of these machines and dissect them for you, here’s a little insight on how my review framework and criteria work.
The review framework is three-fold; I do the reviews based on pros and cons, important features and the answers to the FAQs that the prospects ask.
The criteria is also three-fold; I get hands-on experience on one of the machines that I am going to review, I interview experts seamstresses that use the machines that I’m going to review, then lastly and obviously, I use the reviews given to these machines by their verified customers on Amazon.
Now without any further ado, here’s the review.
In any breakdown of the best sewing machines of any type (mechanical or computerized, heavy-duty or portable), you cannot miss out on the amazing sewing machines made by Brother. This is one of the best mechanical sewing machines made by Brother.
- 27 Unique Built-in Stitches – Although this is a small machine and it is referred to as a beginner sewing machine from where you can move on to bigger mechanical machines or even computerized ones, this machine comes with 27 built-in stitches. I know 27 are not a lot, but I can show you computerized sewing machines with only 16 of them. These 27 stitches include decorative ones, blind hem, stretch and zigzag stitches – with one auto-size buttonhole too.
- Automatic Needle Threader – This is sort of an essential when we talk about modern sewing machines. Gone are the days when one had to manually thread the needle in the same old way grandmas did.
- Drop-in Top Bobbin – A top drop-in bobbin is preferred because of more than one reason. What are those reasons? Well to start with, most of them come with transparent lids that let you see when the bobbin is about to run short of thread, secondly, this type of bobbin is easy to install because it drops inside the cavity made for that and they are jam-resistant too.
- Free Arm – There is an accessories box on the front side of this sewing machine. You can remove that accessories box anytime to turn this machine into a free arm sewing machine. Free arm makes it easier and quicker to sew cuffs, collars and hems etc.
- Stitches Chart – There is a stitches chart to the right side. Just pick the stitch you want to apply, note the number of that stitch and then move the dial to apply that exact stitch. Real simple.
- Electronic Foot Controller – You get an electronic foot controller and other helpful material with this sewing machine.
- 800 Stitches/Minute Maximum Speed – Now, 800 stitches/minute is definitely not the best maximum sewing speed that you expect from your sewing machine, but this is on the edge of standard per minute sewing speed that one should expect from a professional sewing machine: 850/minute. And again – I’ve seen computerized sewing machines from big brands with lower stitching speeds.
- Easy Dial Selection – The dial selection makes things easier for you. Trust me a few big and easy to see dials are way better than small LCDs, without any backlight and with very small and hard to read digits.
- Portable – This machine is very portable because of its light weight and dimensions. It weighs at merely 12.6lbs while its dimensions are 12.1” x 5.9” x 15.3”.
- Automatic Bobbin Winding System – Even though it’s a beginner-level mechanical sewing machine, it comes with an automatic bobbin winding system that makes lives easier – just like an automatic needle threader do.
- Accessories – This sewing machine comes with all the accessories that you need to immediately start sewing on it. These accessories include 6 sewing feet, assorted needles, 4 bobbins and user manual etc.
- Free Online Technical Support – Lastly, Brother’s free online live chat or phone-based technical support is always available to help you with any technical issues or learning curve.
- 27 Built-in Stitches
- 800 Stitches/Minute
- Free Arm
- Easy to Break
- Very Expensive Parts
If I have to name two rival sewing machine manufacturers that are known for making really great sewing machines and that too over a pan of more than a century, I’d definitely name Brother and Singer. This machine from Singer is just as good as the Brother one that I’ve reviewed above.
- 23 Built-in Stitches – Well, this machine has 23 built-in stitches and this is definitely a drawback when you compare with one with Brother XM2701 with 27 built-in stitches, but keep on reading and you’d see where this machine gains a clear advantage over its rival. These stitches include decorative stitches as well as buttonhole styles, stretch and other varieties of stitches.
- Automatic Needle Threader – This one too has an automatic needle threader, which is one of the most essential features of a modern sewing machine. In case you wonder how that works, lemme break it to you that one-hand needle threaders are the same as automatic ones – you still have to do a thing or two manually.
- 1,100 Stitches/Minute – So, this is where this sewing machine enjoys a definitive edge over its key river: Brother mechanical unit that I have reviewed before. 1100 stitches/minute means that this machine means business. This is the speed that you should expect from a professional mechanical sewing machine.
- Heavy-Duty Metal Frame – This one is small and compact even though it has a heavy-duty metal frame. The size of this machine is 18.25” x 8.5” x 15.25” and weight is 15lbs. It can be considered semi-portable.
- Easy Stitch Selection – Dials aren’t as advanced as backlit and big LCDs, but in case of most of the mid-tier computerized machines we get to see a lot of small, non-backlit LCDs with small digits.
- Automatic One-Step Buttonholes – The buttonhole designs that you can choose from 23 built-in stitches are all one-step (instead of time-taking and complex 4-step).
- Extra High Presser Foot – Another edge! A presser foot has only two positions: up and down. But a few sewing machines have extra high presser feet – with one swift move, you can raise the foot even higher than its normal position and accommodate thicker fabric or more layers.
- Top Drop-in Bobbin – As I have said before, a top drop-in bobbin is awesome because of many different reasons: easy to install, see if the thread is running out, quality sewing and jam resistance.
- Accessories – This machine also comes with a host of sewing machine accessories that you won’t have to buy from anywhere else. These accessories include different feet like buttonhole foot, zipper foot, all-purpose foot, button sewing foot, and other accessories like assorted needles, bobbins, spool pin, screwdriver and spool pin felt etc.
- 1100 Stitches/Minute Maximum Speed
- 23 Built-in Stitches
- Top Drop-in Bobbin
- Metal Frame
- Speed is Hard to Regulate
EverSewn Sparrow 32
Last, but not the least, a very promising mechanical sewing machine from a company that might not be very well-known to you. However, this sewing machine, in one way or another, seems to be beating its rivals.
- 32 Built-in Stitches – Here comes the first advantage – this sewing machine has more built-in stitches than both of its well-known rivals. There are in total 32 built-in stitches that include a buttonhole style, several decorative stitches, 15 utility stitches, stretch stitches and 1quilting stitch etc.
- CB Hook System Free Arm – So, CB hook system is basically a different style of free arm functionality. In case you have been using Bernia company’s sewing machines, you must be aware of that. While all other brands (Brother and Singer etc.) allow you to remove the accessory box to turn the machine into a free arm one, this system allows you to remove a wide plate and once removed you see a narrow arm that can help with sewing hems and cuffs etc.
- 750 Stitches/Minute – This machine is a little disappointing when it comes to the maximum stitching speed. The maximum speed that you can achieve on this one is 750/minute. This makes it inferior to Brother XM2701 whose maximum stitching speed is 800/minute.
- Upper Thread Tension Control – So, this machine allows you to control upper thread tension. It would have been better if you could control lower tension too. However, being able to control the upper tension means that you can balance it with lower for concealed knots or you can keep it tight and thus keep the knots visible.
- Adjustable Presser Foot Pressure – Presser foot and feed dog are very useful because they help you achieve seamless control on the fabric for different types of projects. This is why it is important to have a presser foot whose pressure can be adjusted as per the type of fabric (thickness, layers, nature of fabric etc.).
- Manual Thread Cutter – This one has a manual, but super quick and easy to use thread cutter. You don’t need to keep a set of scissors with you for just that one thing.
- LED Light – An LED light, right on top of your working space, keeps the fabric and the space illuminated. This means better focus and no stress on your eyes.
- Twin-Needle Capability – You know how good are the twin needles and in how many cases they can be used, right? You can make parallel and decorative stitches on projects like knitting jerseys and stuff. However, all machines are not compatible with a twin-needle set; the good news is that this one is.
- 2-Step Presser Foot Lift – This is just another term for the same thing that we know as “extra high presser foot”. You can lift the presser foot a notch or two to sew a thicker fabric or more than one layer of a fabric.
- Electronic Foot Control – The electronic foot control is one of the free accessories that you get with this machine. In case you don’t know, people prefer electronic foot control because a) they don’t get tired too quick and b) because the voltage remains the same, motor can work faster at a reduced rpm which means you can sew slower, but with the kind of power you need.
- Adjustable Stitch Width and Length – The good thing is that you can adjust both: the width of the stitch as well as its length. The bad news is that the maximum width and length are not on par with the kind of adjustment you can do on other machines. Maximum width is 5mm while maximum length is 4mm.
- Automatic Bobbin Winder – This machine also has an automatic bobbin winder. A machine with automatic bobbin winder would stop when bobbin runs out of thread and will automatically wind it (with a motor). Then you’re ready to resume sewing.
- Accessories – This machine also has a lot of accessories. For example, you get, different types of feet like zigzag foot, buttonhole foot, sewing foot and assorted needles set, bobbins, spool pin, spool pin felt, screwdriver, seam ripper and dust cover etc.
- 32 Built-in Stitches
- 750 Stitches/minute Speed
- CB Hook System Free Arm
- Tension Control
- Insufficient Stitches/Minute
- No Needle Threader
What is a Mechanical Sewing Machine?
You can say that it is the exact opposite to computerized sewing machine.
It is more like a basic sewing machine that does not have the advanced features that computerized sewing machines have to offer e.g. LCD display, customization of designs and other features.
This is why you see many knobs, but no screen. Definitely this is why these machines are very simple too.
If you go from mid-tier to high-end mechanical machines, the only noticeable difference is the bigger number of built-in stitches with more focus on diversity and bigger range of decorative stitches.
What is the Difference between Mechanical and Regular/Computerized Machine?
So, I have already explained the main difference: the mechanical machines, as the name suggests, rely on mechanical functioning, while the computerized ones have modern features like LCD display.
Here are all the differences:
Mechanical vs Computer
While using a mechanical sewing machine you have to rely on foot control and mechanical movements – there is nothing advanced (and thus complicated) in the way how a mechanical machine functions.
While using a computerized sewing machine, you notice some advanced features and a different type of functioning. For example, some very advanced computerized machines let you make your own stitch style with a stylus.
Knobs vs LCD Display
If you ask me as to what is the biggest difference, I’d say that on a computerized machine you select and customize stitch with an LCD display and navigational buttons.
To the contrary, on a mechanical machine, you don’t get to see LCD displays or buttons, because those machines work mechanically. They are controlled via knobs – just like grandma’s TV.
Simple vs Complex
While a mechanical machine is lacking in terms of modern technology and the ease it assures, it is very simple to use, very easy to operate and there is no learning curve at all. Even a kid can use one.
To the contrary, a computerized machine gets more and more complex when you move from beginner level ones to expert level ones.
Since mechanical machines are made of simple knobs and parts, they are very affordable; to the contrary, the computerized machines are expensive. A 25 stitches mechanical one would be cheaper than 15 stitches computerized one.
Simplicity vs Ease of Use
Yes, mechanical machines are simple and east to use too, but they’re not as easy as computerized ones are. Technology, inarguably, makes lives easier and work faster. Definitely computerized machines bring features like time-saving and ease of use to you table.
While mechanical sewing machines are not made for complex tasks and you can mainly only sew and quilt on them, the computerized ones are so versatile in how many options they offer to a user.
These machines are for specialized sewing. From sewing to embroidery to customization of stitches/making new stitches then and there on the machine, computerized machines rightfully claim the future of this field.
Mechanical machines are awesome if you’re a beginner – a learner. You can learn on cheap and yet adequately well-sewing machines. However, if you’re not a beginner and you want to enjoy sewing difficult projects with 100% precision (in terms of stitches), you should go for computerized sewing machines.
In case you like our careful collection of top functioning mechanical sewing machines, but you still want to know what to look for when buying mechanical sewing machines, this buyer’s guide can help you a lot.
Just take a look at the points that I’ve covered in this guide, make a checklist out of those points and buy any mechanical machines that checks most, if not all of the boxes.
As it has been said above, when it comes to mechanical sewing machines, moving from an inferior to superior sewing machine only means going from a machine with a smaller number of built-in stitches and less decorative ones to a bigger number of built-in stitches with more choices.
In case you’re blind – the discussion basically boils down to braille and white cane etc.; likewise, when you want a mechanical sewing machine, you don’t get buttons or LCD displays to talk about.
You get dials and you have to be sure about a few things about the machine you are going to buy – dials make navigation easier, they are easier to understand and they are plenty because plenty means maximum control.
Ease of Use
When it comes to the ease of use, a mechanical sewing machine is a mixed bag of everything. On one hand there is nothing complex about it and thus it is a very simple product, but on the other hand, the kind of ease of use features that you enjoy because of the computerized machine’s technological advancement, aren’t available in a mechanical machine.
So, make sure that while your mechanical machine is simple and easy to use, it has certain advanced features like twin-needle and high presser foot etc.
Here are the most frequently asked questions about mechanical sewing machines and the answers to those questions.
What is a mechanical sewing machine?
In simple words – it is a sewing machine that relies on mechanical movement of parts, instead of electronic or computerized one.
What is the best mechanical sewing machine?
From this breakdown, Brother XM2701 is the best mechanical sewing machine. I think so based on its overall reception among customers and critics, its features and other details.
What’s the difference between mechanical and electronic sewing machines?
So, there is no difference between a mechanical and electronic sewing machine. Basically, a mechanical sewing machine is the direct opponent to computerized one. Both of them are electronic. Gone are the days when machines used to be manned via hands or feet. However, a mechanical sewing machine is different from a computerized one because of dials vs LCDs and buttons, limited features and limited number of built-in stitches.