Consumer Reports Rates The Best Sewing Machines
March Issue Features Seven Standout Machines as a New Generation Embraces the Hobby
Singer, a brand synonymous with sewing, leads in sales, but not in testing. The Singer sewing machines CR tested were easy to use and relatively inexpensive, but sewing performance was only fair to average, a drop from past tests.
Machines from Brother, Bernina, and almost every other manufacturer performed better. Brother makes official “Project Runway” sewing machines, including the Brother Innov-is 40,
Consumer Reports also found that sewing machine warranties vary considerably. Warranties of most tested models range from three-months to a year for parts and labor and from 10 to 25 years for mechanical defects. Five of the tested models needed one or more repairs, parts, or reprogramming.
“While all the machines we tested could handle straight seams and zigzag stitches, plenty for basic sewing and repairs, you can use our Ratings to match the machine to the type of projects you’ll make and the fabrics you’ll use.” says
Shopping for the Best Machine
Consumer Reports’ online readers told us that shopping for a sewing machine was worse than shopping for a used car. Major retailers set firm prices, but choices are limited and repairs can be a hassle. Comparison shopping is difficult with many dealers setting their own price and not quoting prices over the phone. On the plus side, many dealers offer sewing lessons, service, and sell parts and accessories.
For budget conscious shoppers and beginners, mechanical models will do fine for basic sewing. The Consumer Reports Best Buy,
Many electronic sewing machines have touchpad controls and recommend the best stitch, settings, presser foot, and more based on the material. All the electronic models tested were easy to use and have a programmable memory to save stitch and letter settings. The Brother Innov-is 40 Project Runway Limited Edition,
How to Choose
- Take a test drive – Independent dealers will usually let the shopper try the machine in the store, so take a project and a few fabrics. If it is not allowed, ask about returns.
- Never pay full price – Save by searching for online coupons and asking about upcoming sales, trade-in allowances, and interest-free financing. Don’t be shy about negotiating with dealers and asking for free sewing lessons.
- Learn about repair policies – Many dealers offer in-store service. If not, they will recommend a repair center or to send directly to the manufacturer. No matter what, ask for the turnaround time, which can vary from days to weeks. Keep in mind, the repairs made by technicians who are not factory-authorized can void the manufacturer’s warranty.
The full report on sewing machines is available in the
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SOURCE Consumer Reports