Best Compact and Portable Sewing Machines

Sewing doesn’t always happen at home. Whether you’re learning how to sew for the first time or you’ve been practicing the craft for years, having a sewing machine you can take with you is crucial. Personally, I find satisfaction in moving my machine—not across the globe, but from my sewing room to the living room, then to the kitchen table, and occasionally to my mom’s for unexpected mending tasks. Choosing the right compact sewing machine depends on factors like your sewing area, how easy it is to carry, and the type of sewing you do. Whether you’re considering a smaller full-size machine or a truly tiny one, delve into my insights on the top portable sewing machine for a more convenient crafting experience.

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Best Small and Portable Sewing Machines

Brother XM2701 Sewing Machine

Brother XM2701 Sewing Machine


Known as the best small portable sewing machine and constructed with 27 built-in stitches, the Brother XM2701 allows for owners to do everything from a blind hem stitch to stretch stitches. To save a little time, this machine comes with an automatic needle threader. Instead of spending minutes trying to re-thread the machine, you can thread it in a few seconds with just the push of a button. This automatic needle threader also reduces the risk of jams as well.

Since you may need extra lighting while you’re working, you can turn on the LED lights whenever you need to.

When you want to work on sleeves or trousers, the free arm is removable and designed to be versatile for everyday projects. If you notice that there’s an issue with the machine, you can always contact the brand’s customer support team. Purchasing this product comes with a 25-year limited warranty for defects as well as lifetime technical support.

Pros

  • Only weighs 12 pound
  • 27 built-in stitches
  • Includes six different feet
  • Can easily switch between stitch types
  • Automatic needle threader
  • 1-step buttonholes
  • 25-year limited warranty and lifetime technical support

Cons

  • Design of the machine may make it awkward to work with
  • Bobbin holder can become loose

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SINGER Start 1304 Sewing Machine

SINGER Start 1304 Sewing Machine


The Singer Start 1304 is a suitable choice for both beginners and professionals, with a focus on aiding those still learning or seeking more experience in sewing. It’s often touted as the best portable sewing machine for beginners. Boasting six basic stitches, selecting them is a breeze with a simple turn of the dial. The stitches include the essentials like straight, zigzag for appliques, blind hem for fixing hems, and a decorative scallop for embellishments.

A user-friendly feature is the preset stitch length and width, eliminating guesswork. The machine is versatile, allowing easy removal of the extension table for Free Arm use when hemming trousers or sleeves. For enthusiasts of twin needles, the two vertical spools simplify adding parallel stitching.

Weighing a mere eleven pounds, it’s effortlessly portable. Despite its lightweight design, the machine sports a robust metal frame for durability. Noteworthy are the three included presser feet: an all-purpose foot, a buttonhole foot, and a zipper foot.

Pros

  • Lightweight at only 11 pounds
  • Great for beginners
  • Comes with a limited 25-year warranty
  • Uses six basic stitches
  • Long-lasting
  • LED lighting for dim workspaces
  • Includes removable arm and three presser feet

Cons

  • Might not be advanced enough for professionals
  • Bobbin mechanism might be difficult to work with

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SINGER Simple 3232 Sewing Machine

SINGER Simple 3232 Sewing Machine


With thirty-two built-in stitches, the Singer Simple 3232 is an optimal choice for sewers that are looking to become professionals or just take their game to the next level. It’s often referred to as the best lightweight sewing machine or best compact sewing machine.

Unlike some machines, which can take minutes or hours of valuable work time away from you while you try to thread them, this portable machine comes with an automatic needle threader. Now, you can have the entire machine threaded in only a few seconds.

Another perk of this machine is its speed. With the ability to churn out 750 stitches per minute, the Singer Simple might be the right choice if you have to deal with deadlines or you’re looking to tackle bigger projects in a shorter time frame.

Since this machine is also designed to handle thick material or fabrics with several layers, you can easily reposition the presser foot if you need to. While not all machines may come with reversible capabilities, this one does. To reinforce your stitches, you can press the automatic reverse button.

If you encounter any issues with the product, it’s worth noting that Singer includes a 25-year limited warranty with the machine.

Pros

  • Comes with a 25-year warranty
  • Great for experienced sewers or professionals
  • Lightweight at only 12 pounds
  • Comes with 32 built-in stitches
  • Allows you to sew in reverse
  • Adjustable stitch length and width
  • Durable metal frame
  • Comes with accessories for cleaning

Cons

  • Instructions might be difficult to follow
  • Might jam easier than some other products

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Janome 2212 Sewing Machine

Janome 2212 Sewing Machine


The Janome 2212 Sewing Machine has good reviews and is easy to carry around, handy if you want to sew with a friend. It offers 12 stitch options, and I’ve used several of them over the years. The buttonhole foot attachment and system are excellent and user-friendly. The machine’s mechanics are straightforward, making it easy to take apart and clean, which I do often since I use natural fibers.

The drop-in bobbin feature is quick and convenient for changing. With its metal casing and gears, it seems durable, as there are minimal brittle plastic parts. Reassembling it is a breeze.

Pros

  • It’s set up for pretty much everything you might want to do, except for fancy stitches I don’t use and embroidery that can make machines pricey.
  • Mechanical, not electronic, which reduces issues and simplifies troubleshooting.
  • It’s the least expensive machine suitable for quilting with a solid reputation for durability.
  • Worked well for free motion quilting, though quilting accessories need to be bought separately.
  • Faster and sturdier than my previous Singer Confidence Quilter, even sewing through multiple layers of denim.

Cons

  • Making the bobbin can be tricky; sometimes, the thread reel misbehaves.
  • The thread coming off the needle can be irritating, especially for seniors. Threading a needle through a small hole is a challenge and can take a while to resolve.

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Brother GX37 Sewing Machine

Brother GX37 Sewing Machine


With 37 built-in stitches and one auto-size buttonhole, the Brother GX37 is a great choice for anyone who wants to sew on a regular basis. Whether you’re a professional or just a passionate hobbyist, this machine provides plenty of extra features for you to enjoy.

The automatic needle threader reduces the number of jams you experience while also saving you plenty of time from having to thread the machine yourself. With six different presser feet included with purchase, there’s very little that you can’t accomplish with the Brother GX37.

In case you run into any issues, it’s worth noting that this product also comes with a 25-year limited warranty. If you notice a defect with the machine (even if it’s years later), you can always reach out to Brother’s customer service team for free technical support.

Setting the machine up once you’ve gotten it is crucial. While some products may be difficult to assemble or get started with, Brother makes things a little easier by providing a paper manual and an instructional DVD with directions.

Pros

  • Comes with 37 built-in stitches
  • Includes six presser feet
  • Easy setup
  • 25-year limited warranty and free lifetime technical support
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Versatile free arm
  • One-size automatic buttonhole
  • Jam-resistant

Cons

  • Foot pedals are less durable

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Regular Sewing Machines Vs. Portable Sewing Machines

If you’ve never purchased a portable sewing machine before or looked at the best portable sewing machine reviews, you might not be sure what the difference between a mobile machine and a regular sewing machine is. As far as features go, most portable sewing machines have the same features you’d find in a regular machine—the only difference is that they’re designed for transportation.

While a regular machine might be bulky and difficult to move, a portable sewing machine is often much smaller. Not to mention, they’re lightweight—most of them weigh less than fifteen pounds. For this reason, some people may refer to portable machines as “mini sewing machines.”

The significant difference between a portable and regular machine is that a portable one is meant to be taken on the go. Whether you want to sew at someone else’s house, in a coffee shop, or while you’re with friends, a portable sewing machine makes it much more manageable.

How To Choose The Best Portable Sewing Machine

There might be plenty of the best small sewing machine reviews out there, but these sites might not tell you what to look for. When it comes to picking out the best mini portable sewing machine, there are a few factors to consider.

Speed

With any machine and especially the best mini portable sewing machine or best lightweight portable sewing machine, speed is always a factor. Every sewer may work at their own pace, but it’s essential to have a device that lets you work as fast (or as slow) as you need to. The speed of a device can vary, but if a portable machine that can produce at least 750 stitches per minute, that’s usually a good sign.

If you know that speed is going to be an issue, it’s a good idea to check its SPM beforehand.

Built-In Stitches

Just because you’re looking for a portable machine doesn’t mean you should have to sacrifice the number of stitches you can do. Built-in stitches refer to the different types of stitches that you’re able to do with the machine.

While most machines have at least six basic stitches (like the straight stitch and zig zag), other portable machines may have as many twenty or thirty built-in stitches for you to use. You may not need that many, but it’s always good to have options.

Before you buy, it’s a good idea to look at the different stitches that are included with the machine. If you already know what kind of stitches you’ll need to work with (like a zigzag stitch), you can check whether or not it’s included.

Portability

Some machines may claim to be portable or have the best portable sewing machine review, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are. Even mobile devices may lack a carrying handle or be too heavy to carry comfortably.

Before purchasing, try checking whether or not the machine has a handle. If it doesn’t, it may be awkward to try and transport (or you may have to buy a carrying case separately). Another thing to check out is the weight. Many portable machines may weigh less than fifteen pounds, but others might be heavier and more difficult to transport. Heavier machines also tend to be bigger, which can make it challenging to work in smaller spaces.

Special Features

Since portable machines often have the same features that a regular machine does, you can always check for the unique features that come with it. This includes things like maintenance equipment, presser feet, or even just functions on the machine.

  • Presser Feet: Most machines come with at least one or two presser feet, but others may include five or six. Presser feet can be crucial, especially if you’re trying to quilt, add embroidery, or make buttonholes. When they’re purchased separately, these feet can cost as much as fifty dollars, which is why many sewers try to find machines that already include the presser feet they want. The more presser feet that are included with your machine, the less you’ll have to buy later on.
  • Automatic needle threader: If your machine includes an automatic needle threader, it can save you plenty of time since you don’t have to thread it yourself. Some cheaper devices may only include semi-automatic needle threaders.
  • Stitch Selector: Since so many machines include a variety of built-in stitches, it’s essential that you can easily switch between these stitches. Some portable devices may include a dial so that all you need to do is turn it when you want to change your stitch.
  • Included accessories: Along with providing presser feet, many machines also include maintenance supplies. When you clean the machine, having all the supplies you need on-hand can make the process much more comfortable. Not to mention, some brands may only want you to use specific tools or items when cleaning their machines.

Final Thoughts

Although each of these could be labeled the best portable sewing machine, there can only be one clear winner—and it’s the Brother XM2701. There are a few clear advantages of this particular machine. Weighing only 12 and ½ pounds, it’s one of the lightest sewing machines on the market and much easier to transport than some other choices.

With 27 built-in stitches, the Brother XM2701 is also balanced. There are enough stitch options to satisfy experienced sewers and professionals, but it’s also a great machine for beginners to learn on as well.

Not to mention, with six presser feet and plenty of accessories to make regular maintenance easier, there’s no need for sewers to purchase a lot of extra add-ons or features.

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