The Best Portable Sewing Machines (2021)

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For anyone interested in doing some sewing, a portable sewing machine is a great tool to invest in. Beginners love their smaller footprint and simpler, less intimidating features. More advanced sewers will also find that a portable sewing machine is great for trips when surprise stitches might be needed, like weddings, pageants, or other events.

Our Top Picks

What is the best portable sewing machines?

Although preferences vary from person to person, our rankings depend on key factors such as ease of use, suitability for beginners, stitch options, and durability. Even for advanced sewers, having a machine that is easy to use is important. Having expanded stitch options makes it possible to tackle more varied projects. Lastly, if it isn’t durable, it will not hold up to being moved or stowed when it is not in use.

With this in mind, we have spent hours researching compiling information on various models of machines to find the five best makes and models. After reviewing a combination of customer experiences, expert reviews, and product specs, we have distilled down all the relevant data into an easy-to-read table and detailed reviews of each product as well as a buying guide so that you can easily decide which highly rated portable sewing machine fits your needs.

Brother CS6000i

FEATURES

  • 4 inch by 4-inch embroidery capability
  • backlit touchscreen display
  • 67 sewing stitches
  • 70 embroidery stitches
  • 7 styles of one-step buttonholes
  • 5 lettering fonts
  • computer connectivity for uploading designs
  • automatic thread cutter
  • included wide table for maneuverability
  • hard protective case
  • 9 included presser feet
  • 25-year limited warranty
  • Max speed of 710 stitches per minute
  • 13 pounds, not including case

The most highly reviewed machine on our list, the Brother CS6000i is a real wiz of a machine. Experienced sewers love the variety of stitches and options available, along with the extra-wide included table that makes maneuvering a project a breeze. It is also highly reviewed by beginners who appreciate easy to use features like the automatic thread cutter. Many folks have found that this machine is also sturdy, despite its petite size, stating that it still works a treat after three or more years of daily use. Some users found minor issues with tension and thick materials, but swapping out the pressure foot can solve these problems.

PROS

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to learn
  • Versatile
  • Lots of stitch options
  • Embroidery features
  • Computer connectivity
  • Durable
  • Good range of movement/maneuverability

CONS

  • Tension issues (can be resolved by switching the presser foot)
  • Struggles with thick material like denim (can be resolved by switching the presser foot)

2. Brother XM2701 – Best Lightweight Sewing Machine

Brother XM2701

FEATURES

  • 27 stitches
  • auto-size buttonhole stitch
  • automatic needle threader and drop-in top bobbin
  • accessory kit including 6 sewing feet, 4-piece needle set, twin needle, 4 bobbins, and instructional DVD
  • free arm for sewing cuffs, sleeves, and other tight turns
  • 25 year limited warranty
  • Max speed of 800 stitches per minute
  • 12.6 pounds

Apartment dwellers, older folks, and very young folks love this lightweight sewing machine for its portability. Users with mobility issues were able to move it with no problem. Due to its small size, it is great for situations when a dedicated workstation isn’t available. Just set up, stitch away, and stash it somewhere when you are done. Many reviewers report that this machine is pretty sturdy and great for beginners, but recommend watching the DVD to help work out the dial system.

PROS

  • Very lightweight
  • Works well on small surfaces like a coffee table
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to learn
  • Good for beginners
  • Durable
  • Good value

CONS

  • Control dials are a little confusing without watching the DVD
  • Storage tray included in removable arm
  • Some issues with the buttonhole stitch

3. Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW – Best for Quilting

Brother CS5055PRW

FEATURES

  • 50 stitches
  • 5 auto-size buttonhole stitches
  • automatic needle threader and drop-in top bobbin
  • accessory kit including softcover, 7 sewing feet, 3-piece needle set, and twin needle
  • LCD screen with push-button controls
  • free arm for sewing cuffs, sleeves, and other tight turns
  • 25 year limited warranty
  • 14.75 pounds

Although this machine features the “Project “Runway” name, experts love this portable sewing machine for quilting. It handles several layers of fabric well, and beginners report that it is fairly easy to use and learn with. It has quite a few features that are also nice for garment construction, and it does not disappoint when it comes to durability either. Some reviewers found the auto-threading bobbin a little confusing, so be sure to read the manual well before starting.

PROS

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to learn
  • Good for beginners
  • Durable
  • Great for quilting

CONS

  • Automatically stops with a needle in down position
  • Screen is dim/difficult to read
  • Confusing bobbin threading

4. SINGER Simple 3232 – Best for Travel

SINGER Simple 3232

FEATURES

  • 32 stitches
  • 1 step buttonhole stitch
  • automatic needle threader
  • accessory kit including seam ripper, lint brush, pack of needles, and bobbins
  • control dials
  • 4 snap-on presser feet with a high presser foot lifter
  • 25 year limited warranty
  • Max speed of 750 stitches per minute
  • 12.2 pounds

The SINGER Simple 3232 lives up to its name. This machine is the top of all the travel size sewing machines for its super lightweight design and simple controls. Even if it’s just traveling around the house, users like that this little machine is light and suitable for daily use. Experts say that this machine is ideal for basic projects, and it also serves well for beginners who might decide to spring for a more complex machine later. The most common issue with the 3232 from reviewers was that automatic needle threader is confusing and difficult.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Good for beginners
  • Durable
  • Great for quilting
  • Ideal for basic projects

CONS

  • Only suitable for lightweight projects
  • Confusing auto needle threading

5. SINGER Tradition 2277 – Budget Pick

SINGER Tradition 2277

FEATURES

  • 23 stitches
  • 1 buttonhole stitch
  • automatic needle threader
  • accessory kit including seam ripper, lint brush, pack of needles, and bobbins
  • control dials
  • 4 snap-on presser feet with a high presser foot lifter
  • 25 year limited warranty
  • 13.6 pounds

If you’re looking for a super simple machine to start sewing, the SINGER Tradition 2277 is a great, low-cost option. While more experienced sewers might be in search of something with more options, beginners might find this machine an unintimidating place to start. Reviewers like that this machine, although basic, is fairly durable, versatile, and can handle layers of fabric. One person even reported having no trouble stitching through 4 to 5 layers of flannel with this machine. Some issues with tension were reported, but overall this is a nice sewing machine for those on a budget.

PROS

  • Easy to learn
  • Easy to use
  • Good for beginners
  • Versatile

CONS

  • Tension issues
  • Confusing auto needle threading
  • Limited options

Buying Guide

One of the most commonly asked questions when searching for a portable sewing machine is, “will it be a good option for beginners?” The answer to all five of these machines is, “Absolutely, yes.” One of the great things about a portable machine is the ability to tackle a range of projects while also not being too complicated to use, and each machine on this list ultimately achieves both these goals. Plus, each machine featured here has a 25-year limited warranty, which is always a comfort when purchasing a new appliance. Depending on your own needs, it’s a great idea to consider other features like weight, stitch speed, and all the extra goodies that are included. One of our most important findings was that sometimes features meant to make sewing easier, like automatic bobbins and needle threaders, tend to be confusing. Be sure to read the manual before starting with your new machine and, if necessary, visit an expert for an in-person demonstration to save a lot of time and headaches.

Wrapping it up

Of the three machines, our highest ranked were the Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine CS6000i, Brother XM2701, and the Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW. Our editor’s pick, the Brother Sewing, and Quilting Machine CS6000i are jam-packed with fun features that experienced sewers will love. Its extra-wide table makes maneuvering projects around a dream. Experts agree that this machine is competitive with many full-size machines, but with less of a footprint. Likewise, the Brother XM2701 has tons of stitch options, a super-fast 800 stitch per minute speed, and a lightweight design that makes it great for working in tight spaces. Finally, the Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW delights quilters with its ability to whizz through tough layers of fabric without a problem and push-button controls for those who want an update but aren’t crazy about touchscreen. Each machine is highly reviewed in terms of ease of use and durability, so they’re sure to please whether you’re stitching up pants, quilting, or working on home décor.

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