Portable Sewing Machine – Your Mobile Helper

31 Models Considered
50 Hours of Research
10 Experts Interviewed
184 Reviews Analyzed

Sewing is an excellent way to add a personal, unique touch to your fabric. You can repair, modify and customize the stitches, seams and hems for an original and authentic look. The best portable sewing machine offers you the convenience and flexibility to create innovative outfits and revamp your style anywhere, even when you are on the move. Its compact size and light weight make it ideal for beginners, frequent travelers, designers, ardent sewers, sewing students and instructors. It gives you the opportunity to make minimal creations and alterations as soon as you need them done.

We have factored in the essential features to help you decide the perfect model for your specific needs: the weight for portability and ease of storage, an LCD screen to aid in stitch selection, built-in stitches for a variety of embroidery designs, and a built-in free arm for stitching sleeves and cuffs. We have also looked at the type of the needle threader because an automatic one will save you time. Additionally, we’ve included presser feet because they provide options for various sewing techniques and the controls available for a diversified sewing experience. Finally, we’ve examined warranty for additional security.

Top 6 Portable Sewing Machines Review 2018

This research has led us to this comprehensive compilation consisting of our top choices for the best portable sewing machine. We’ve assessed their features, functionality and effectiveness, and indicated what we’ve liked and disliked about them. Our comparison table ranks the portable sewing machines and identifies their most outstanding qualification and suitability. Details about every machine you will find in the reviews. Thorough buying guide elaborates on the features you should consider and their importance. It also fields common questions from buyers and sums up our top three picks.

Name and Features Image Rating Price
1. Janome JW8100 (Editor’s Choice)
A highly functional machine with 100 stitch patterns works perfectly well for both experienced tailors and sewing enthusiasts
Janome JW8100 image
2. Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine, CS6000i (Best for Home Use)
A pretty light machine, that can operate at the sewing speed of 850 stitches per minute, will help you make quick adjustments not only at your own home
Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine CS6000i image
3. SINGER Heavy Duty 4432 (Best for Quilting)
This model is fast and powerful; it can work up to 1100 stitches per minute and can sew through heavy fabric
SINGER Heavy Duty 4432 image
4. EverSewn Charlotte (Best for Beginners)
70 integrated stitches combined with easy operating system and speed of 650 stitches per minute – are the main advantages of this machine
EverSewn Charlotte image
5. Janome Easy-to-Use Sewing Machine (The Lightest)
Easy to carry around and pleasant to the eye, this machine’s sturdy and has plenty of additional guides for the inexperienced users
Janome Easy to Use Sewing Machine image
6. Brother Sewing Machine, XM2701 (Budget Pick)
This light machine has 27 built-in stitches to choose from, demonstrative DVD for novices and automatic threading for your convenience
Brother Sewing Machine XM2701 image
Features
  • Weight: 12.7 pounds
  • Built-in stitches: 100
  • LCD display: yes
  • Needle threader: one-hand
  • Warranty: 25-year limited warranty

More features: lit LED work area, 7 buttonholes

OVERALL RATING: 9.8 out of 10

It features an impressive 100 preset stitch patterns, including 20 basic and fashion ones, 18 for quilting, 28 for home décor, 27 for heirloom, and seven buttonhole stitches. Stitch width and length is automatically adjusted to correspond to the selected stitch pattern.

The built-in threader makes it easy to put the thread through the needle’s eye. Also you can adjust the sewing speed with a speed control slider – a great feature for both beginners and veterans. The Start/Stop button eliminates the need for foot pedaling.

The backlit LCD display features buttons for easy navigation of stitch selection and switching, and indicates the recommended foot. The extension table provides ample working space. The drop feed can be adjusted for manual control of the speed and direction of the fabric. The reverse button reinforces seams through backstitching, and the lock stitch button halts a stitching pattern.

This model also features auto-declutch bobbin winder and a removable free arm suitable for hemming and stitching small openings. The five different feet provide plenty of stitching techniques while the automatic needle threader quickens the sewing process. Janome JW8100 has a limited warranty of 25 years.

The lack of a free-motion quilting foot makes this machine unsuitable for quilting. Some reviewers found this model a bit ineffective for quilting and sewing through many layers. They also complained about the stitch chart which is not displayed on the machine itself, but on an attachable card.

PROS:
  • Compact
  • Easy to operate
  • Multiple stitching options
  • Extensional table
  • Five additional feet
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Auto-declutch bobbin winder

CONS:
  • No Free-motion quilting foot
  • No automatic thread cutter
  • Stitch chart is on an attachable card

Features
  • Weight: 13 pounds
  • Built-in stitches: 60
  • LCD display: yes
  • Needle threader: automatic
  • Warranty: 25-year limited warranty

More features: lit LED work area, built-in free-arm

OVERALL RATING: 9.7 out of 10

This is one of the best-computerized sewing machines on our list. Its automated controls are easy for a newbie to operate and its multiple features will thrill skilled sewers who want to explore their creative spark. The plethora of built-in 60 stitches includes 20 for decoration, 20 for making garments, six for heirloom, seven for quilting, and seven for auto-size buttonholes. It also features nine presser feet. You can opt out of using the foot pedal with the Start/Stop button, and select a preset stitch and presser foot from the LCD display.

The slide controller adjusts the sewing speed up to a maximum of 850 stitches per minute. You can also adjust the needle as well as stitch length and width. The dual LED light illuminates your working space.

A jam-resistant bobbin winder, thread cutter and automatic needle threader simplify the threading process. A reverse sewing button reinforces your seams and prevents your stitches from unraveling. The removable free arm is ideal for hemming and sewing cuffs and sleeves.  The spring action quilting foot and wide table provide adequate support and space for quilting.

The package includes a Quick Start guide and an instructional manual. The limited warranty covers you for 25 years.

While the majority of reviews were positive, a few customers faced issues with tension adjustment and the touchy presser foot.

PROS:
  • Versatile with multiple advanced features
  •  Computerized capabilities
  •  Detachable wide working table
  •  Spring action quilting foot
  •  60 integrated stitch settings

CONS:
  • Complicated for a beginner
  •  Nonadjustable presser foot pressure

Features
  • Weight: 17.42 pounds
  • Built-in stitches: 32
  • LCD display: no
  • Needle threader: automatic
  • Warranty: 25-year limited warranty

More features: lit LED work area, built-in reverse lever, heavy duty metal frame

OVERALL RATING: 9.5 out of 10

This model’s powerful motor and high speed of 1,100 stitches per minute make it suitable for heavy fabric, such as leather and denim. It features three adjustable needle positions for various stitching styles. Additional four presser feet are included in the package: Zipper foot, Button sewing foot, All-purpose Foot and Buttonhole foot. You can also adjust presser foot pressure and stitch length and width, and lower the feed dogs.

32 preset stitches include six for normal sewing, 18 for core mending and construction, seven for stretch stitching, and one for automated buttonholes. A top-loaded bobbin and automatic needle threader reduce strain when threading. More for convenience – you can use twin needles with this machine, and a removable free arm provides easy access to cuffs and collars, and a reverse sewing option is available

The tension system can be adjusted with a dial.. Your working space is lit with LED. The enclosed instructional manual, quilting guide and the bobbin-winding illustration printed on the machine will give you a hand in setting up and operating it. The stainless steel bedplate and sturdy heavy-duty metal exterior make it a durable investment, and the 25-year limited warranty protects you in case some of the parts break down.

Several buyers hailed this machine’s ability to sew heavy fabric. They recommended using a big needle and slowing the speed for tough garments. Due to its strong build, some reviewers found this mechanical model somewhat heavy.

PROS:
  • High stitches per minute rate
  • Handles heavy fabric
  • Multiple integrated stitch settings
  • Twin needle functionality
  • Adjustable feet

CONS:
  • No LCD display
  • Heavy

Features
  • Weight: 13 pounds
  • Built-in stitches: 70
  • LCD display: yes
  • Needle threader: automatic
  • Warranty: 25-year limited warranty

More features: automatic needle threader and drop-in bobbin

OVERALL RATING: 9.2 out of 10

This computerized model is equipped with an internal metal frame, 70 integrated stitches, a buttonholer and it is fairly powerful with stitches per minute rate count of 650, contrasting its powerful functions with its stylish and petite appearance. The stitch width is up to 7mm. Its size and ease of operation make it ideal for novices and travelers.

Its set includes: seven presser feet; zipper, satin stitch, buttonhole, all-purpose, blind hem, overcasting, and button sewing. The variable speed is adjusted by pressing a dial while the needle is automatically threaded by simply pulling a lever. You can lower the feed dogs for embroidery and quilting projects.

An illuminated LCD panel displays the selected stitch style and length. The Start/Stop button provides an alternative to the foot pedal. A real time-saver for you would be a set of automatic functions such as needle threading and thread cuting.

The removable 163 mm free arm gives you easy access to the difficult points of the fabric. The bobbin is easy to load, and its clear cover allows for monitoring of thread supply. Other accessories include two spool holders, three needles and a quilting guide. The stitch pattern is on a card that you can use for reference. Limited warranty is valid for 25 years.

EverSewn Charlotte is ISO 9001-certified. Reviewers loved machine’s design, size and automated functions, but a few buyers struggled with tension adjustment.

PROS:
  • Computerized features
  • Automatic thread cutter
  • 70 stitch choices
  • Easy to operate
  • Compact
  • ISO 9001certified

CONS:
  • Stitch chart is on an attachable card
  • A limited set of functions

Features
  • Weight: 12 pounds
  • Built-in stitches: 15
  • LCD display: no
  • Needle threader: none
  • Warranty: 25-year limited warranty

More features: front-loading bobbin system, lit LED work area

OVERALL RATING: 9.0 out of 10

This model features a bright color and a heavy-duty metal frame that increases its sturdiness and shelf life. It is designed to help sewing beginners find their footing. The removable free arm, with a circumference of 11 inches, is suitable for hems and sleeves.

The 15 integrated stitches and a four-step buttonhole provide versatility for your sewing projects. The stitch length and width can be easily adjusted. Stitch patterns are selected by turning the dial.

The 3-piece feeding system facilitates the smooth feeding of fabric, but you cannot lower the feed dogs. It also consists of a front-loading bobbin and a reverse lever which you can hold down for reverse stitching. The dual retractable spool pins can accommodate two spools of thread. Unfortunately, it lacks an automatic needle threader.

Four presser feet and an extra high presser lift allow you to customize your work. The presser feet are Zipper Foot, General Purpose Foot, Sliding Buttonhole Foot and Blind Hemming Foot. LED light illuminates the needle plate and sewing space. The package includes an instructional manual, Quick Start guide, tutorial videos and a built-in bobbin loading illustration. The purchase is backed by a limited warranty of 25 years.

Reviewers discovered that adjusting the bobbin tension eliminates jamming issues. Unfortunately, quilting users found it difficult to lower the feed dogs.

PROS:
  • Sturdilybuilt
  • Design
  • Variety of additional guides for the inexperienced users
  • Extra high presser lift
  • Dual retractable spool pins

CONS:
  • Feed dogs are hard to drop
  • No automatic needle threader

Features
  • Weight: 12.6 pounds
  • Built-in stitches: 27
  • LCD display: no
  • Needle threader: automatic
  • Warranty: 25-year limited warranty

More features: lit LED work area, includes an instructional DVD

OVERALL RATING: 8.6 out of 10

This model’s simplicity and affordability make it suitable for novices who want to nurture their skills. It features 27 built-in embroidery stitches like zigzag, decorative and stretch stitches, and 63 stitch functions to cover the majority of your basic needs. Selection of stitches is made by turning the dial.

It has a built-in buttonholer and six interchangeable presser feet for a wide array of stitching styles. Automatic threading means you don’t have to squint to thread the needle. The drop-in bobbin is jam-resistant and its case makes it easy to keep an eye on the thread supply, and the removable arm makes fixing cuffs and sleeves a breeze. The top loaded bobbin is easy to change.

Illustrated instructions, diagrams and demonstrative DVD are included with the purchase for much more simple navigation. In addition to attractive pricing, it has a limited warranty of 25 years.

Buyers praise this sewing machine as a great way to improve your sewing techniques. However, some do not like the speed of the foot pedal being easily triggered by the slightest pressure. Others found the LED-lit working area slightly dim.

PROS:
  • Suitable for novices
  • Easy to operate
  • Compact
  • Variety of additional guides for the inexperienced users
  • Low price

CONS:
  • A limited set of functions
  • Nonadjustable foot pedal speed

Buying Guide

Shopping for a portable and powerful sewing machine, but overwhelmed by the plethora of available models and functionalities? The following guide helps you narrow them down by expounding more on the important components and capabilities and answering pertinent questions for better clarity.

Advantages of a portable sewing machine

A portable sewing machine is easy to store and carry to classes, work, retreats and client meetings. It also provides sewing enthusiasts with an immediate release for creative urges, and instant fixes for urgent adjustments and repairs.

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Features to consider before buying a portable sewing machine

These features will guide you in identifying the best portable sewing machine for your lifestyle, sewing habits and budget, so you would make the most out of your purchase.

Weight: the less the better?

Portable sewing machine’s weight is one of the essential features. Most portable machines have a plastic exterior to reduce their weight. A large and heavy machine beats the core purpose of being able to tote it between various locations. However, if the machine is too light, it might totter as you operate it. Find a model that strikes the right balance of compactness, portability, stability, competitive features and adequate working space. Janome Easy-to-Use Sewing Machine  and Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine CS6000i are great examples.

Built-in stitches

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Built-in stitches are integrated into the machine. Patterns are formed with the help of programmed speed and needle movement. They are designed for specific styles of stitching and fabric. The number of stitches required will mainly be determined by your intended purpose of the portable sewing machine and the different types of fabric you will be working with. SINGER Heavy Duty 4432 is equipped with a multitude of stitches that can handle fabrics from silk to quilts, and everything in-between. Another alternative is Janome JW8100 which features 100 expansive stitching options for unique designs.

Do you need an LCD display?

LCD displays are mostly found in computerized portable sewing machines. While you can still get good results with manual dials, a backlit LCD display will provide more information and take the guesswork out of identifying the right settings for your specific fabric and task. It displays the recommended presser foot and the selected type, length and width of stitches, like in the EverSewn Charlotte. The interface makes it easy to navigate through various stitches with the touch of a button.

Controls

Portable sewing machines can either be controlled mechanically, electronically or automatically. Computerized features include preset speed and stitch programs, LCD display and touchscreen capability. Portable sewing machines are controlled with dials, buttons or touchscreen. Automated features may require you to have some technological know-how.

Types of needle threader

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Threading a needle can be exasperating when you consider its minuscule eye and the end-fraying tendency of threads. Add poor eyesight, shaky hands and dim lighting and you got yourself a minor catastrophe. Portable sewing machines, such as Brother Sewing Machine XM2701, include an automatic needle threader to ease your frustration and save time. A needle threader works by hooking and looping the thread using a thin hook.

Presser feet

They are footplate attachments that apply pressure on a garment as feed dogs move it under the needle. The pressure keeps the garment flat and prevents it from mirroring the up and down movement of the needle.

Presser feet are generally classified as a high shank, a low shank, and a slant shank. They are available for specific sewing tasks, such as hemming, zipping, braiding, quilting and fringe.

Some like the All-Purpose foot can be used for multiple purposes. Presser feet are mostly included as accessories when you purchase a portable sewing machine, but they can also be bought separately. They can either be interchangeable among brands or limited to specific brands.

Free-arm to the help

The free arm is usually out of sight, but it can be accessed by sliding away the accessory compartment.  It helps you to sew the curved areas of your fabric, such as hems, sleeves and cuffs. It does this by slipping the garment around it and lengthening the bobbin, feed dog and shuttle space. A free arm can be converted to a flat surface using snaps. Removable free arms also enhance portability and majority of portable sewing machines feature them.

Is it recommended for beginners?

Portable sewing machines vary in technology, features and functions. Some have advanced functions that can confuse or intimidate novices. For others, it is difficult to navigate through the controls and mechanisms due to a sketchy instructional guide or a poor user interface.

If you are new to the craft, identify the best portable sewing machine for a beginner that has easy instructions, and is simple to operate.

A mechanized machine is less daunting, but if you would prefer a computerized option, EverSewn Charlotte is a wonderful choice. With a detailed guide, you can gradually learn about its complex capabilities and test them as you hone your skills.

Warranty

Warranty offers support and security to manage future failure and breakdowns. Most of our featured portable sewing machines have a lengthy warrant of 25 years. Study the scope and terms of the coverage to avoid future disappointment. Examine the repair policy carefully because unauthorized repairs can void the warranty. Sellers will usually direct you to an authorized technician, or provide you with one.

How to carry your sewing machine with you?

Remove spools, bobbins, needles and other detachable components that can come loose, and pack them separately along with the power cord. Insert fabric between the presser foot and the feed dogs to avoid friction once you have put the former down. Pack the portable sewing machine into its original case and encase it with foam and padding to reduce movement that can cause damage. Seal the box shut with tape. Additionally, you can pack it in tote bags like Everything Mary rolling sewing machine tote with lots of storage and wheels for easy movement, and SINGER Black Universal Sewing Machine Tote with secure straps and padded walls.  Another excellent alternative is the SINGER Universal Hard Carrying Case with metallic safety lock latches and impact-resistant plastic casing for dust-free and secure storage of the sewing machine.

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FAQ

The type of thread will be determined by the fabric, stitching style, machine, and needle type and size. The most common type of thread is polyester, followed by cotton.

Not all types are suitable. For instance, heavy fabric requires a powerful motor and the high-speed settings found in heavy-duty models like the SINGER Heavy Duty 4432. Most portable sewing machines are not designed for thick fabric.

Not necessarily. The needle depends on fabric thickness and stitching task. Universal needles suffice.

Our Verdict

Our top Editor’s Choice was Janome JW8100 because it embodies the ideal features of the best portable sewing machine; compatibility, portability, versatility, and multiple stitch patterns and presser feet. We loved the speed slider, adjustable reverse and lock stitch buttons, and the automatic thread cutter and needle threader. The feed dogs are adjustable and the extension table provides extra working space.

We were fascinated by the computerized Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine CS6000i and its ability to handle heavy fabric like quilts with its spring action quilting foot and the wide table. It is one of the few portable sewing machines that can do that comfortably. Capacity and flexibility make it the Best Portable Sewing Machine for Home Use.

At a speed rate of 1,100 stitches per minute and a powerful motor, the SINGER Heavy Duty 4432  is another potent beast that can handle a wide array of fabric, including leather, denim and quilting. We crowned it the Best Portable Sewing Machine for Quilting.

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