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Top 5 Sewing Machine Shopping FAQ

Should I buy computerized or non-computerized?

Should I buy computerized or non-computerized?

What you get with a non-computerized machine: simplicity and costs less out-of-pocketbook to fix and buy. You can usually find a used oldie but goodie non-computerized machine from a friend, mom, or grandma. A great used non-computerized machine could still run you about $400 but have seen them sold for less, or as I talk about in “Should I buy used?” how I inherited someone’s Grandmother’s machine that only cost me $119. Non-computerized machines usually only have straight, zig-zag, stretch stitches with some satin stitches added in. These machines are also noisier than computerized ones. They are great for someone just learning or getting intimidated by technology. Once again, be careful when buying a new non-computerized machine under $400 if you are a serious sewer or become a serious sewer. These days, many non-computerized machines are not built to last long if used daily. However, if you intend to sew day in and day out, a few newer machines like the Janome HD3000 are exceptionally well built and keep running long-term even if worked hard. The Janome HD3000 is worth every penny if this machine is within your budget. 


What you get with a computerized machine depends on the build, pay, and technology exiting inside the machine. Computerized machines will tell you what foot to use with what stitches. You get more decorative stitches from as little as 28 to over 700. Most computerized machines also have an automatic “error” function so that if you, for example, forget to put your presser foot down, the machine will refuse to sew. A couple of machines come with “Stitch Creator,” where you can design your own stitches. Basic computerized machines will all have a needle up and down button and speed control. For more money, you get an automatic cutter that will cut your thread at a push of a button. Spend more money, and there’s a button that will raise and lower your presser foot and thread the needle. Some computerized machines have a fabric sensor built-in that will automatically tell how thick or thin your fabric is. Some machines can sew a square without turning your material and have a “pivot” function, so every time you stop, your presser foot automatically lifts so you can turn your fabric. These machines can cost as much as $10,000+, but an excellent computerized machine can start at around $400. Once again, I wouldn’t buy a computerized machine that costs less than $400. Remember, you are purchasing a computer that sews, and what you pay for is what you get.     


Which ones last longer?


Once again depends on the build. Since there are no 50-year-old computerized machines around yet, it’s hard to say. However, updated technology is continuously changing, even in sewing machines. I know a person that has never serviced her Janome Magnolia basic computerized machine, and after ten years, the machine still sews beautifully. I have also seen loved-to-death computerized machines where someone just had to buy a new one. I own three computerized machines and two non-computerized ones. My non-computerized well-built Janome HD 3000 has no motherboard, so I predict this machine will outlast my computerized ones. However, I love having the unique features that only come from a computerized machine like needle up and down, more stitches, “Stitch Creator,” and a “pivot” function, just to name a few. 


The decision to buy a computerized or non-computerized machine is up to the individual. The choice depends on what you plan to sew, what you need to expand your creativity, maybe sanity, and what will help you grow. Computerized machines spoil you quickly, so if you are a new sewer, starting with a well-built non-computerized might be a great start and work your way up. However, a simple computerized machine that tells you what foot to use with what stitch, has speed control, and gives you an “error” if you forget to put your presser foot down, might make you feel less stressed as you learn how to control your machine. Nevertheless, some people think that learning on a non-computerized machine is less stressful. Others believe that learning on a machine that costs no more than $200, no matter the machine, to see if they love sewing, is the right investment. Once again, it’s a personal choice on your sewing journey. The most important decision is the one where you end up with the right machine you’ll love. Happy sewing!!


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