When you want to make repairs on the go or continue working on your sewing projects while you travel, a portable sewing machine is a must-have tool to take with you. But what makes for a good one? The best portable sewing machines are user-friendly, compact, and lightweight enough to store in a bag or a small suitcase. Some even come with features like an automatic needle threader and built-in LED lights to help make sewing more convenient when you're away from home.
To start, you should know that portable sewing machines range from around 3 pounds in weight to nearly 15. This may go without saying, but lighter machines have more basic designs when compared to their heavier counterparts. Usually, you can follow this general rule: The smaller machine is, the fewer stitch options you'll have.
If you have the need for any extra features (a built-in LED light is great for poorly lit rooms, for example), look out for those when making your decision. Also pay mind to the number of sewing feet each machine has, especially if you're used to working with a more versatile full-sized machine or have difficult projects in mind.
With that in mind, take a look, below, at three of the best portable sewing machines on the market.
1. The Best Overall: Brother XM2701 Lightweight Sewing Machine
- Weight: 12.6 pounds
Although it's certainly not the smallest portable sewing machine out there, this Brother XM2701 lightweight sewing machine offers the best value and greatest number of features while still clocking in at a manageable 12.6 pounds. It boasts an impressive 27 built-in stitches and six different sewing feet, along with other user-friendly features like an automatic needle threader, top drop-in bobbin for even stitching, and LED lights to keep your workspace bright. No matter your skill level, this sewing machine will allow you to tackle any sewing project no matter where you are.
What fans say: "I wanted a decent, yet inexpensive, sewing machine to fix occasional things. I was really impressed. Instructions are very clear. I see no reason why even a professional wouldn't like this machine as it is quite portable."
2. The Best for Beginners: SINGER Start 1304 Sewing Machine
- Weight: 11.5 pounds
Designed with beginning sewers in mind, this SINGER Start 1304 sewing machine is a great choice that weighs just under 12 pounds. It offers three different presser feet and six basic stitches (including zigzag, straight, and scallop stitches), all of which you can easily select with the turn of a dial. In addition, this sewing machine boasts a threading system that's printed right on the machine and preset stitch length and width to make getting started on a sewing project as easy and quick as possible.
What fans say: "It is a very light machine with a convenient handle that makes it easy to move. The stringing of thread is 'normal' and easy, and operation is intuitive. The drawer for your bobbin and extra needles is also convenient."
3. The Smallest: Varmax Mini Sewing Machine With Extension Table
- Weight: 2.8 pounds
For the most lightweight and affordably priced portable sewing machine out there, look no further than this Varmax mini sewing machine. At just 2.8 pounds, this plastic machine is small and easy to carry. Plus, it comes with an extension table to help stabilize sewing, as well as built-in lights, double-thread stitching, and two speed controls. However, since this machine does straight stitching only, it may be best suited to repairs and very basic sewing projects only. For a bit more functionality, you can upgrade to the brand's 6-pound model here.
What fans say: "This mini sewing machine is very easy to use. It’s great if you don’t have room or money for a big sewing machine but still need one. The little table that comes with it is really handy too. It can run on AA batteries or plug in the wall and it has the option of a foot pedal or automatic sewing with the press of a button. It was very easy to set up, it took less than 5 minutes. Very good product."
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