Many prominent brands sell sewing machines these days, which means that you have many options to choose from as you shop for a new model! But what makes a good sewing machine, and how much will it cost? And what are the most popular sewing machine brands today?
The most popular sewing machine brands include Singer, Brother, and Juki. Some of the most popular high-end sewing machine brands include Bernina, Pfaff, Husqvarna Viking, and Janome. Popular old sewing machine brands include Necchi, Kenmore, and White.
In this article, you will learn about the twelve most popular sewing machine brands today. You will find info on popular sewing machine prices. Finally, you will discover the top industrial sewing machine brands and the top antique sewing machine brands on the market today.
- How Many Brands of Sewing Machines Are There?
- Top 12 Most Popular Sewing Machine Brands
- Old Sewing Machine Brands
- Popular Industrial Sewing Machine Names
- What is the Most Reliable Sewing Machine?
- Best Sewing Machine Brands in 2022
How Many Brands of Sewing Machines Are There?
More than 100 companies sell some form of sewing machine today, though only a select few brands remain prominent in the sewing world. For example, you will recognize brand names like Singer, Brother, and Janome. These sewing machine companies have dominated the market for more than a century!
Not so long ago, almost every household owned a sewing machine, and new companies sprang up all the time to build and sell sewing machines. But ready-wear clothing put an end to a true need for sewing machines, and now most people use them more as a hobby than as a necessity.
The sewing machine industry is still going strong, as you can see by recent advances in technology. But it does not have as many popular brands striving to take over the market anymore.
A handful of strong brands remain popular and provide excellent sewing machines today. The rest of the 100 brands sold today do not stand out as they tend to come and go and sell economy sewing machines.
On top of this, most of the popular sewing machine brands out there no longer exist as individual companies. Instead, the brands belong to larger companies or conglomerates. For instance, SVP Worldwide now owns Singer, Husqvarna Viking, and Pfaff!
Also, you can buy several different kinds of machines that sew. When you say “sewing machine,” most people mean a domestic sewing machine. This can come in either mechanical or computerized form these days.
But you can also buy heavy-duty industrial sewing machines or specialized sewing machines.
If you prefer a specialized form of sewing, you may want a quilting or embroidery machine instead of a regular sewing machine. These models have different features, such as a hoop area on an embroidery machine. A quilting machine may have an extension table.
Finally, you can explore the world of overlock machines. Overlock machines use many spools of thread and a hook system to either create a hem or encase the raw edge of a seam. They do not sew a straight-stitch seam using a top and bottom thread like a regular sewing machine.
Top 12 Most Popular Sewing Machine Brands
The top twelve sewing machine brands today come from companies originally launched all around the world. Of course, in the global economy, many of these companies no longer make their own sewing machines. Instead, manufacturing takes place more cheaply in China, Thailand, and Singapore.
Most of these brands have stood the test of time and remained popular in the sewing world over many decades, if not centuries!
Not so long ago, America had a thriving sewing machine industry full of brands so popular that they briefly became household names. Nearly all those companies folded after the sewing machine boom in the 1950s, though. Today, Singer remains America’s one great claim to fame in the sewing machine world.
SingerSinger is the most successful sewing machine company ever founded in America. It is also one of the most popular sewing machine brands globally. The brand has a 170-year history that has its roots in the invention of sewing machines in the 1850s.
Isaac Singer founded the company in 1851. At the time, the company made and sold cast iron treadle-powered machines. The idea of having a machine to sew a basic straight stitch, even if you had to power it by pressing the treadle up and down with your foot, was a novel idea at the time!
In 1913 the company sold over one million sewing machines in one year! By the 1920s, Singer started to offer electrical sewing machines.
From the 20s through the 50s, the domestic sewing machine industry boomed. Many people either made their own clothes or repaired their clothing to keep it nice in those days because new clothes cost so much money!
The end of WWII hit Singer pretty hard, though. The 1950s launched the growth of the Japanese sewing machine industry. The global competition drove many American companies out of business.
Singer remained prominent by continuously developing new, relevant technology. Eventually, the company was bought out, though, and all production of Singer machines now takes place overseas rather than in the United States.
Today, the Singer brand is best known for its inexpensive beginner and intermediate level machines. You can find valuable antique Singer machines for sale today, though!
MerrowYou may not recognize the Merrow brand name as instantly as you recognize Singer, but Merrow has existed since the 1800s! Merrow specializes in manufacturing industrial or heavy-duty sewing machines today.
In the early 1900s, Merrow made its name patenting new overlock machines. This led to the production of industrial-strength machines for use by tailors and other professionals.
The company does not sell regular domestic sewing machines these days. But some home sewers still look to Merrow for sergers and overlock machines because they offer such high quality.
Merrow is also one of the very few modern companies that continue to manufacture its own machines in its country of origins. Its models are still made in the United States!
MelcoMelco has 50 years of experience manufacturing embroidery machines. This specialized company is famous for both its machines and its embroidery software. Both home artists and professionals use these machines.
Founded in 1972, this company invented some of the first computerized embroidery machines. Interestingly, Melco recently branched out into fabric printing equipment. You can now buy things like sublimation printers from them, too!
Today, the Melco company belongs to Bernina but continues to manufacture its machines in the United States.
Even during the Industrial Revolution Sweden did not have a ton of sewing machine companies creating new technology. But the nation can lay claim to one of the best-known high-end sewing machine brands in the world: Husqvarna Viking!
Husqvarna VikingHusqvarna Viking has its roots in a factory designed to create firearms. In 1872, the company began to make and sell very popular sewing machines for home use.
Of course, the earliest models operated by treadle power. In the early 1900s, the company transitioned to electric-powered models like the super-popular Freya model.
Today, the company is famous for its high-end, advanced sewing machines. The brand has a cult following who like to call their special machines “huskies!”
A few things that make these sewing machines so special include the brand’s proprietary “Sewing Advisor” software that enables the machines to select the right settings for a project and the Sensor and Stitch System that automates stitch selection and controls the tension between the upper and bobbin threads.
While these machines have an excellent reputation, the brand is now owned by SVP Worldwide. Also, Viking machines are made overseas in East Asia rather than in Sweden as they were in the early days.
While several sewing machine companies have emerged from Germany, only one stood the test of time: the iconic, high-end brand of Pfaff sewing machines. Many sewers consider Pfaff and Bernina to offer the absolute best luxury sewing machines in the world!
Asking if Pfaff makes good sewing machines is like asking if Porsches are good cars. Founded in Germany in 1862, the Pfaff company remained family-owned until the mid 20th century. SVP Worldwide now owns the brand name, but the brand remains famous for its high-end sewing machines today.
For a long time, Pfaff made its name out of using precisely cut all-metal parts in its machines. The intricate German engineering of these machines made them precise, durable, and highly reliable. Of course, times change, and now Pfaff machines no longer use solid-metal construction, though they do maintain a reputation for durability!
The brand does sell a few beginner-friendly mechanical models without all the bells and whistles. Still, most Pfaff sewing machines focus on complex functionality and high precision and automation.
Pfaff invented the concept of Integrated Dual Transportation, or IDT, which is an advanced technology that lets a sewing machine feed fabric beneath the needle smoothly and evenly. Many Pfaff models come with touchscreen digital control panels and integrated sewing and embroidery or sewing and quilting features. Some models offer wireless connectivity or the ability to download digital sewing designs using a USB port.
Where are Pfaff sewing machines made? As with most modern manufacturing, Pfaff designs its models in its home location of Germany, but the actual production takes place overseas now.
Switzerland has a long history of famous clockmakers, so it is no surprise that the country has also seen the rise of several prominent sewing machine brands! After all, sewing machines use complex inner mechanisms just like clocks used to.
Bernina began in 1893 when its founder invented a hemstitch sewing machine. In the following years, the family-owned company gained a well-deserved reputation for crafting some of the best sewing machines in the world. In fact, to this day, many sewers herald Bernina machines as the best in the world!
Unlike almost every major sewing machine brand, Bernina remains a privately owned company today. All new technology and software get their start at the company headquarters in Switerzland, though the actual manufacturing of Bernina machines now happens overseas.
Bernina sewing machines offer all kinds of special features such as digital control panels or wireless technology to let you manipulate the machine from an iPad or smartphone. Plus, many Bernina models have dual-feed technology, automatic tension through the Bernina Hook system, and extra-large bobbins, so you do not have to rethread the machine as often. Some also come with Bernina’s exclusive embroidery and quilting software, among other computerized features!
Are Bernina and Bernette the same thing? Well, not exactly.
Bernette is an independent brand owned by Bernina, which markets much more beginner-friendly, simple sewing machines. Bernina launched the Bernette line in 1989 to market to a different demographic than their mainline, extremely high-end models.
In the late 1930s, a Spanish doctor and several Swiss business partners launched a company to market the world’s first free-arm sewing machine. The advent of World War II put a damper on these plans, but somehow Elna found its footing as a sewing machine company in Switzerland despite the global conflict.
A local company called Tavarro bought and owned Elna for quite a while and even shepherded the popular brand into the era of the first computerized sewing machines in the 1980s.
Eventually, the company went bankrupt, though, and Janome bought the Elna brand name in 2006. Today, Elna exists as a brand with its own proud Swiss history, but it is no longer a company in its own right.
Modern Elna models like the Air Artist offer advanced sewing and embroidery technology. Janome only sells a small selection of Elna-brand models every year, but you can count on the Swiss design behind every one of these fancy machines!
You may be surprised to learn that many of the world’s premier sewing machine brands belong to Japan. The oldest of these, Brother Industries Ltd., sold its first sewing machine in 1928! Many other well-known names, like Juki and Janome, got their start in the years following WWII.
Founded in 1908, Brother Industries is the oldest Japanese sewing machine company and it remains a real powerhouse in the industry to this day. In its early days, the company primarily sold industrial sewing machines for professionals, but after WWII, Brother moved into the global market by selling domestic sewing machines made out of durable metal parts.
In the 1930s, one of the owners invented the shuttle hook design still used in most sewing machines today. Over the years, the company launched many sewing machine innovations, including marketing the first computerized sewing machine for home use in the 1980s!
Unlike Singer and many other big-name sewing brands, Brother Industries remains a company in its own right. The corporation has a huge range of office and printing products! It operates in 44 different countries around the world and claims a large piece of the sewing machine sales pie every year, too.
Brother does sell a few super high-end sewing machines today, but overall the brand offers many models on par with Singer models. They have all the features and capabilities necessary for a beginner or intermediate sewer, and they don’t cost an arm and a leg!
Just like Bernette is an offshoot of Bernina, Baby Lock is a sort of sub-brand of Brother, first launched in the 1960s. The engineers working for Brother were the first to invent overlock machines, also called sergers, small and compact enough for home use. This founded Baby Lock, a brand focused on selling some of the best sergers in the world.
Today, Baby Lock also has a line of sewing and quilting machines, though the brand remains best known for its sergers. Also, Baby Lock does not offer a line of economy or beginner models, focusing instead on high-end sewing machines and sergers.
Baby Lock models like the Aventura line offer advanced embroidery features and more than 300 built-in stitches. As with most high-end sewing machines today, you can also buy models that come with full digital control that let you computerize your sewing designs.
JanomeOriginally known as the Pine Sewing Machine Company, Janome started in 1921 and quickly made a name for itself when its founder invented the round bobbin used in all sewing machines today. The round bobbin looked like a snake eye, which led to the new company name Janome, which means snake eye in Japanese!
After World War II, Janome developed an international following by purchasing a failing American sewing machine company called New Home. With this foothold in the States, Janome launched an ever-more-successful series of sewing machines globally.
Is Janome a good sewing machine brand? While not typically measured against Bernina and Pfaff, Janome has a great reputation and sells models often compared to Husqvarna Viking or Juki sewing machines.
Some of the special features available in Janome machines include adjustable knee lifts, AcuGuide technology for smooth sewing, and digital controls of varying levels. On top of all that, Janome offers a 25-year warranty for most of its models!
JukiFounded in Japan in 1938, Juki started out selling domestic sewing machines and has since become the number-one seller of industrial sewing machines in the world! Of course, the company also continues to sell many popular domestic sewing machines for home use.
Juki Corporation has its headquarters in Tokyo, but most manufacturing takes place in China and Vietnam.
Juki sewing machines have a special focus on intuitive design that sets them apart from the crowded field of high-end sewing machines. Yes, most Juki models offer computerized digital technology, but users find it easy to understand and operate. Plus, the company has a great reputation for consistently producing reliable and long-lasting machines!
JaguarThough perhaps not a household name like Brother or Singer, Jaguar sewing machines have been around since the 1940s! Founded in 1949, the Japanese company expanded into international sales in the late 1960s by opening several factories around the world. Today, Jaguar is one of the rare companies that still manufactures its machines in Japan.
Jaguar sewing machines offer a few special features, including a Digital Quick Threading system and fully computerized, digital options for embroidery or quilting work. Many models feature many built-in stitches and can sew very quickly, too!
Old Sewing Machine Brands
If you are interested in antique sewing machines, you may also want to investigate old sewing machine brands. Some of these brands, like Singer, have thrived on modern technology and remain prominent today, but many others have long since gone out of business, leaving only antique or vintage models on the market today.
Of course, you can track down dozens of now-defunct sewing machine companies, so this is not a comprehensive list! It will give you a quick overview of some of the most popular old sewing machine brands.
One of the earliest and most prominent sewing machine brands, antique and vintage Singers often fetch a good price today. Some of them are quite collectible! Plus, vintage models like the SInger Featheright remain popular with sewers today because these sturdy metal machines can sew through lots of layers of fabric without pause.
Because Singer made and sold so very many sewing machines, you can easily find vintage models for sale today online or at many antique stores.
For most of the 20th century, Sears applied the brand name “Kenmore” to all of the sewing machines it sold. Several different companies made the Kenmore machines over the years, including White, Janome, and Singer.
Vintage Kenmore has a reputation for durability, but they can also have more of a clunky design than some more popular vintage models. They are not as sought-after as Singers, in general.
The White Sewing Machine Company had its start way back in 1958 and gave Singer a lot of stiff competition for many decades. Following WWII, White could not keep up with the international competition and eventually merged with the Husqvarna Viking company.
Antique and vintage White machines have a reputation as simple but usable models. Even the old models don’t usually have a collectible status, but you can often find them for sale on Etsy or eBay if you want a solid mid-century vintage model.
Necchi is one of the most interesting vanished sewing machine companies. Founded in 1924, the company went from a small-town operation in an Italian village to a massive, global operation. An innovative Italian man named Vittorio Necchi started this unique company.
Modern sewists consider vintage Necchi models to be some of the best old sewing machines to sew on today! They contain excellent craftsmanship and solid-metal parts.
The catch is that later models have a sharp drop in quality. These models were no longer made at the Necchi factory in Italy.
Eventually, Janome bought the Necchi brand name, but it has little connection to the original Italian models made in the early 20th century.
Because of its long history, Bernina also has a good number of vintage and antique models. These sought-after models sometimes come up for sale on the collectible sewing machine market.
Even used Bernina models often cost quite a lot, but if you can find a vintage model, you have basically struck gold! These guys contain solid metal parts and authentic, exquisite Swiss craftsmanship.
Like Bernina, vintage Pfaff machines have a great reputation for durability. Unfortunately, these European models do not show up as often for sale in the States.
One of the cool things about vintage Pfaff machines is that they can famously sew through many layers of heavy fabric. They contain heavy-duty parts and can power through denim or canvas!
Popular Industrial Sewing Machine Names
Popular industrial sewing machine names include familiar brands like Juki and Janome. Singer and Brother also offer heavy-duty industrial models. Companies that specialize in industrial machines include Merrow and Consew.
Industrial machines have special features that make them durable for professional use. These machines may look like domestic models, just made with heavier materials. Or they may come in table-mounted, complex styles.
All industrial machines contain heavy-duty parts designed to last for decades.
What is the Most Reliable Sewing Machine?
Many sewing machine brands like Pfaff and Brother offer reliable sewing machines today. In fact, all of the other brands listed in this article offer reliable machines.
That said, many factors determine the reliability of a sewing machine. Some of these factors include the level of customer support offered by the company and the durability of parts used to make the machine. Whether you provide maintenance of the machine during use also plays a role.
Beginner-level sewing machines made out of plastic typically last no more than five to seven years. But high-end models should last for twenty years or more.
Besides fancy high-end sewing machines, brands that offer heavy-duty models will last for the longest time. If you don’t need digital sewing features, you could also consider purchasing a vintage sewing machine made out of solid metal parts. These models will last forever given the proper care!
Best Sewing Machine Brands in 2022
The best sewing machine brands in 2022 include most of the brands listed in this article, with a special focus on Singer and Brother machines. Any list of the “best sewing machines” will likely include Singer and Brother machines! These powerful companies provide a large percentage of the sewing machines sold in the world every year.
Plenty of other brands like Janome and Juki, Husqvarna Viking, and Bernina remain popular in 2022.
The best sewing machine for you should come from a reputable brand, but you also want to consider your own personal sewing needs. If you love to quilt, you may want to investigate Bernina or Pfaff’s high-end quilting machines. But if you merely dabble in a bit of sewing, you may want an affordable, beginner-level Singer machine.
For this reason, it’s not possible to answer the question of which sewing machine brand is best. Every sewer needs a different machine to best meet her needs!
Finally, how much does a good sewing machine cost? This varies a lot from brand to brand and can also depend on the level of functionality you want. Good sewing machines can range in price from as little as $200 to as much as $20,000!
Only a handful of sewing machine brands remain super-popular today, including very old and prominent brands like Singer and Brother. Famous high-end sewing machine brands that have stood the test of time include Bernina and Pfaff. Other popular brands today include Janome, Juki, and Husqvarna Viking.
Famous old sewing machine brands include Kenmore machines sold by Sears and Necchi machines made in Italy. You can also find popular industrial sewing machine brands such as Merrow and Consew.