Sewing machines save modern crafters so much time when compared to hand stitching. What used to take hours, or even days, can now be accomplished in just minutes. Sewing machines are also handy because many come preprogrammed with a wide variety of stitches and other functions, so they can make up for what we lack in finer skills and expertise easily.
Despite all of their benefits, many sewing machines’ biggest downfall is that they are big, clunky, heavy, cumbersome… or any other way you want to put it. They’re great when you can set them on a dedicated workspace, but unfortunately many of us don’t have that luxury! Additionally, those of us that do sewing work for others may need to take our sewing machines elsewhere in order to get the job done. When a machine weighs 30, 40, or even 50 pounds, this is simply not efficient.
Thankfully, portable sewing machines are here to save the day. Available in a variety of options, some handheld, and some even with their own built-in tables, there is one for every need and situation. With these options varying so greatly, it’s important to take into account a couple of features when selecting your new portable sewing machine.
Design: As mentioned above, portable sewing machines are available in a ton of different design options and each is well suited to a different purpose. For hemming on the go, consider a handheld version that won’t take up much space, even though it may not have as many stitching options or other features. If space in the home is a concern, a mini version of a regular sewing machine (or one with a built-in table) will allow you to enjoy almost all the bells and whistles of a larger machine but with half the footprint. The built-in table machines are also handy for working in someone else’s home or at places like craft shows.
Stitch Settings: Many machines now come with lots of pre-programmed stitch settings. This allows you to create beautiful pieces effortlessly, and also allows a much wider variety in your designs. However, with the benefits of portability come the drawbacks of fewer features, including stitches. In fact, some portable machines only do one stitch. This isn’t as much of an issue in an emergency hemming situation, but isn’t great if you’re looking to get full sewing machine functionality on a smaller scale.
Thread Holding Capacity: While larger machines can sometimes hold six or more different thread bobbins, portable machines usually hold two at the most. The majority of these machines hold just one thread bobbin. Again, this may not be an issue for someone just starting out in sewing, or someone who is using their machine for more simple projects, but it is something to consider down the road.
Power Source: Lastly, it is important to consider what supplies power to your portable sewing machine. Some of them plug in like regular sewing machines, but some run on battery power. This is a major consideration for sewing on the go, as you’ll have to consider whether or not there is an outlet nearby or how charged up your batteries are. Both of these can be either pros or cons, depending on how you look at them.
Follow along below for an in-depth look at our top ten portable sewing machines of 2020!
Top 9 Best Portable Sewing Machines Reviewed!
It’s no wonder that this little powerhouse made Amazon’s Choice for portable sewing machine. The ultimate choice for portability, it features a handheld design that is perfect for mending and hemming on the go. It is a cordless sewing machine, making it perfect for when you’re without an outlet or without power. A great bargain, this handheld sewing machine would also make a great addition to someone with an existing collection of sewing machines and accessories.
Like many portable options, this machine can only accommodate a single thread. This means that multiple colors and thread weights cannot be used simultaneously, and you’ll also have to tie your own knots to start and finish your project. It requires four AA batteries to operate, and the manufacturer recommends not mixing different brands or old and new batteries. They also specify that the fabric thickness should be around 1.8 mm, which does limit the things that it can be used with.
Pros: cordless, very small
Cons: can’t be used on too thin or thick fabric, single thread, battery can overheat
A slightly sturdier and more table-oriented option, the Mini Speed Sewing Machine in an upgraded version of the previous popular model. The most noticeable addition is the built-in lamp, making it easier than ever to sew in dim or not-ideal lighting. They have also made the extension table larger and the body of the machine more durable, so you can be confident that you’ll be able to tackle any project easily.
The kit comes with everything a beginner or novice could need to get started with sewing including various needles, thread spools, needle threaders, a foot pedal, scissors, a tape measure, and a bobbin box full of 25 different threads! It does have some limited functionality, as it is not able to do any kind of reverse stitching. However, it still makes a great purchase for someone looking to get into sewing or for someone looking for a more portable machine to bring with them. The extension table means that it can be easily used anywhere, even on the floor!
Pros: large extension table, more durable, built-in light, lightweight, battery or plug in
Cons: cannot do reverse stitches (such as back button)
For a portable machine with nearly all the functionality of a standard one, check out the Mini Portable Sewing Machine by Neala. Super lightweight at only 5.39 pounds, this machine is ideal for working on the go or for a child or teen’s first sewing machine. Equipped with an LED lamp for working in dim light and a foot pedal for maximum control, this sewing machine is well suited for a variety of uses in almost any environment. It is a little limited by the fact that it doesn’t include an extension table, but tabletop use is perfectly fine for most people.
With a non-slip bottom and fun colors, the Mini Portable machine is great for use by children (with adult supervision, of course). However, it still has the full functionality of a full sized sewing machine! Unlike most of our other choices, this machine is dual threaded and has two speeds. It can also sew in reverse, so button holes are no problem! This gives you a lot more flexibility in what you can accomplish, and its two power source choices also allow you to take it on the go if needed. A convenient storage drawer underneath can hold extra thread and accessories, and it comes with everything you’ll need to get started.
Pros: can do reverse stitches, dual threaded, lightweight, 2 power options, dual speed
Cons: no extension table
For a machine that combines the convenience of portability with all the features of a standard sewing machine, the Singer Start 1304 is the number one choice. A well-known brand in sewing for decades, Singer has knocked it out of the park with this durable yet compact machine. Slightly heavier than most “portable” machines at around 10 pounds, it can still be carried from place to place without too much hassle if needed. Its heavy duty metal frame is what contributes to the bulk of the machine’s weight, but this can be a big plus as it adds so much durability when compared to other machines made of mostly plastic.
Dual threaded, the Singer 1304 gives users much more flexibility in sewing and finishing their projects. It also has an automatic 4 step buttonhole function, taking the guesswork and stress out of this notoriously tricky stitch. It also comes with a plethora of accessories including three feet, a darning plate, pack of needles, a needle plate screwdriver, seam ripper, a dust cover, foot pedal, and a power cord. It does need to be plugged into an outlet and does not have any other power source options, unlike some other model’s we’re discussing.
Pros: durable, dual threaded, lots of stitches, free arm
Cons: heavier, no battery option
One of the heaviest on the list, the Brother Sewing Machine XM2701 weighs in at over 12 pounds. While this may not greatly inhibit portability for most, it is a factor to consider. The tradeoff is that in exchange for a slightly larger size than the other machines, you’ll get so many more features. This machine strikes the best balance between size and function. With 27 stitches to choose from, it is certainly not lacking in any options you could ever need.
Super functional for more advanced sewers looking to automate some of their processes, this sewing machine features things like automatic needle threading and a drop-in bobbin so you can get up and running quickly and not have to wrestle with finicky details. It also comes with six sewing feet so you can tackle a wide range of fabric, and the movable free arm allows you to work at angles and is the feature that gives users the most flexibility. With the LED lit work area, you’ll have bright light no matter where you are.
Pros: tons of built in stitches, automatic needle threader
Cons: heavy, needs to be plugged in
Somewhat reminiscent of the Mini Portable Sewing Machine by Neala, the KPCM Mini Sewing Machine with Upgraded Eco Friendly Material is an even smaller portable sewing machine that also comes with the same convenient extension table. Featuring new upgraded materials in its construction, the KPCB is now even more eco-friendly than ever. The perfect gift for your child or relative who is beginning to show interest in sewing and crafts, it has been authenticated by various safety commissions to ensure that it is as safe as possible.
Featuring an advanced foot pedal operation, it will help acclimate first-time sewers to the mechanisms of a full-size machine. Unlike similar sized machines, it actually has an automatic bobbin rewinding system which will save users a ton of frustration and time.
Pros: very small and portable, more ethical production materials, extension table, foot pedal operated
Cons: single threaded, only one stitch
If you are looking for the full, standard-size sewing machine experience in a portable and compact package, then the Singer Simple 3232 Portable Sewing Machine is the one for you. With a whopping 32 built-in stitches, it has the second most features of any machine on our list today. While this may be overwhelming for some beginners or those who don’t need any fancy finished, an intermediate to advanced sewer can make great use of this compact and powerful machine.
With an automatic needle threader and a unique one-step buttonhole feature, the Singer Simple is a great time-saving help. The heavy duty metal frame is responsible for the slightly higher weight, and it does require plugging in and has no battery power option. However, for home or mostly stationary use it remains a great choice to maximize functionality.
Pros: tons of built in stitches, 1 step buttonhole, fast speed, lots of accessories
Cons: heavy, no battery power
A choice for those tight on space, the Haitral Portable Sewing Machine has a very small footprint and no extension table. While you will need some sort of surface to work on, you’re limited only by the size of your materials as the machine itself is a tiny 7 x 8.5 x 3.5 inches! It can be controlled via either a traditional foot pedal or a hand switch, which makes it great for beginners who are getting comfortable with their machines.
Bobbins can be stored in a small but convenient drawer directly underneath the work surface. There are two speed options available so you can get things done as quickly as you need or as slowly as you are comfortable.
Pros: very small, battery or power cord options, foot pedal or hand control, double speed, lit sewing area
Cons: no extension table, not super heavy duty
We’ve saved the best for last! The Brother Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine CS 6000i has absolutely everything you could possibly need to accomplish just about any sewing or quilting project with ease. With an absolutely insane 60 built-in stiches, you won’t find yourself lacking for options. The large work table is not removable, which is a concern for storage, but is a big plus for bringing the machine to places with less-than-ideal work surfaces. A bit of a pricey option, you’re most definitely getting your money’s worth with this advanced machine.
Pros: the most stitches of any machine on the list, fast, free arm, hard protective case
Cons: pricey, larger, table is not removable, heavy
Hopefully by now you have a much better idea of which portable sewing machine you’ll be purchasing in 2020. Remember to keep in mind the design of the machine and whether or not it works for you and your lifestyle. Also remember that the stitch settings of each machine vary widely, and you may get a much simpler or more complicated machine than you bargained for if you’re not careful! Thread holding capacity tends to be on the lower side for portable machines, so if you anticipate this being an issue be sure to find a machine with the highest number of bobbins possible. The machine’s power source also shouldn’t be overlooked. Nobody wants to be stuck with a machine they can’t use for lack of an outlet or batteries! With the help of this list and these extra tips, you’ll be on your way to your next craft project in no time!