Let’s be real. There are a lot of reasons why you may be looking for an inexpensive sewing machine.
You might be looking for a gift for a newbie sewist (who might totally drop the hobby in a year… or a week.) You might want to have an extra machine on hand at your second home (think your cottage, your mom’s house, or the trunk of your car.)
You might just be a rational person who is grounded enough in reality to have a moderate budget when it comes to crafting (if so, I kind of need you in my life. I need accountability in this area).
No matter what your reason is, I have great news for you: there are some great inexpensive sewing machines out there. Even though you may have to sacrifice a few bells and whistles, you can totally buy a quality machine for less than you think.
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My 4 Picks for Best Inexpensive Sewing Machines Under $300
1. Bernette 33
This machine has exactly what you need as a quilter and nothing more, which keeps the price nice and low. Most modern quilters rarely use decorative stitches, so the 15 standard stitches on this machine, including the zig-zag and the blanket stitch, are perfectly adequate for what you’re going for.
If you are leaning toward the Bernette 33, I would encourage you to tack two additional accessories onto this purchase: a walking foot and a patchwork foot (that's the 1/4" foot we quilters like.). This machine does not come with any quilting-related accessories, and those feet will help ensure quilting success.
Price at time of article: $199.00
2. Janome 2212
If you are a Janome fan (or just a person who likes quality sans price tag), the 2212 is a great, affordable option. This sewing machine is lightweight, but strong, and easy to navigate through, especially for those who are less familiar with sewing machine anatomy.
The Janome 2212 comes with 12 standard stitch functions, a 4-step buttonhole style, a push-pull bobbin winder, and two, vertical and fully retractable spool pins. One downside for quilters: this machine does not come with an oversized table, making it a little tricker when you’re working with larger fabrics.
On the plus-side, Janome sells this machine with a 25-year limited warranty, so you can really milk your investment, even if you’re going the inexpensive route!
Price at time of article: $129.00
Brother has come out with some fantastic sewing machines, and though this one is available for under $200, it’s no exception. This sewing machine is computerized (which may help or hurt its cause, depending on where you fall on the techy spectrum), and has a LED display monitor built in to help you navigate through the 130 built-in stitches (yeah, this is where this model really stands out.)
True to the Brother brand, the HC1850 is a versatile, portable machine that is known for its smooth, continuous stitching at various speeds. Unlike the Janome 2212, this machine does come with an extra wide table, which is really nice for quilting.
That said, since much of the machine is made of plastic, you do sacrifice a little bit of sturdiness there, but all-in-all, this machine is well-designed, and even at a lower price tag, can deliver some really great results with your sewing projects. (One note: this machine does not come with a carrying case!)
Price at time of article: $190.00
Another computerized option is the Singer 7469Q Confidence Quilter sewing machine. Singer’s reputation has lagged a bit in the last few years, but this machine may be its first step on the road back up to the top. With 98 even, well-defined built-in stitches, this beauty sports drop feed (for free motion quilting) and an electronic needle up/down setting. Some of the bonus quilting accessories include an extension table!
Though this machine is a reliable one, it’s not recommended for extra thick fabrics or lots of heavy layers (no mending your leather jacket with this baby). It may not be a solid metal Singer from the 70’s, but the 7469Q is another inexpensive machine that can deliver great results on a budget.
Price at time of article: $269.00
These four machines won’t break… and they also won’t break the bank. I’d say that’s a pretty great combo! Have you found a less-expensive machine that you really love? Share the wealth and tell us about your tops picks for the best inexpensive sewing machine in the comments!