best choice

4.9/5

4.9 out of 5

  • Weight: 12.6 lbs
  • Size: 15.3 x 6 x 12

Best for beginners

4.9/5

4.9 out of 5

  • Weight: 10 lbs
  • Size: 13 x 7 x 11.5

Best lightweight

4.8/5

4.8 out of 5

  • Weight: 12.2 lbs
  • Size: 15 x 7.5 x 12

best for quilting

4.7/5

4.7 out of 5

  • Weight: 13.6 lbs
  • Size: 15 x 6.2 x 12

best basic

4.6/5

4.6 out of 5

  • Weight: 10.1 lbs
  • Size: 12.5 x 16.3 x 7

How to choose the best small sewing machine? Read My Master Buyer's Guide Below

best small portable sewing machine review

My Verdict

best compact 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. 

Speaking of issues, the instructional DVD that comes included with the machine makes setting it up and even regular maintenance on the machine much easier. It’s also worth noting that this particular machine also won a Woman’s Choice Award in 2018, and 9 out of 10 customers recommend it.

  • Pros
  • Only weighs 12 pounds
  • 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
My Verdict

best compact sewing machine

My Verdict

best portable sewing machine for beginners

Although it can be an excellent choice for professionals and beginners alike, the Singer Start 1304 is especially great for sewers that are still learning the craft or trying to gain more experience. Some people may find that this is the best portable sewing machine for beginners. With six basic stitches, the machine allows you to pick between them with just the turn of a dial. This includes a basic straight stitch, a zigzag stitch for appliques, a blind hem stitch for fixing a hem, and even a decorative scallop stitch for embellishments. 

One feature that many beginners may appreciate is that the stitch length and width are already preset, so there’s no reason to guess. The Singer Start is designed for versatility as well. If you want to hem trousers or even a sleeve, you can remove the extension table and expose the Free Arm. 

For people that prefer twin needles, the machine also includes two vertical spools that make adding parallel rows of stitching even easier. 

At only eleven pounds, this machine is extremely lightweight and easy to transport wherever you need it to. While it’s lightweight, the machine still has a durable metal frame that’s meant to hold up over time. 

Keep in mind that this machine also comes with three presser feet: an all-purpose foot, 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
My Verdict

best portable sewing machine for beginners

My Verdict

best lightweight portable 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
My Verdict

best lightweight portable sewing machine

My Verdict

best portable sewing machine for quilting

With a heavy-duty frame that’s meant to make it more durable, the Singer Tradition 2259 is constructed to last the test of time. Not only is the machine designed to be heavy-duty, but it can also work with heavy-duty fabrics as well. If one of your projects requires you to use fabric with several layers, you can just reposition the presser foot. Many quilters might find that it’s the best portable sewing machine for quilting. 

With 19 built-in stitches, the Singer Tradition is a great balance between a beginner and professional. While the bells-and-whistles won’t overwhelm someone who’s still trying to learn how to sew, there are still enough extra features for experienced sewers to use and take advantage of. 

The free arm helps provide easier access to stitching up trousers, sleeves, cuffs, or any other areas that might be hard to reach. For customers that purchase the product in the United States, it comes with a 25-year limited warranty. In case you run into any issues, Singer’s customer service team is only a phone call away, and the machine also comes with an instructional manual as well. 

Unlike some products, which may have the stitch length and width already preset, the Singer Tradition allows for owners to make easy adjustments. While this might take beginners a little while to get the hang of, being able to adjust the length and width of a stitch can be helpful with many projects.

  • Pros
  • Great for beginners or inexperienced sewers
  • Automatic four-step buttonhole
  • 19 built-in stitches
  • Easy to adjust the stitch and width length
  • Four presser feet
  • Includes accessories for daily maintenance
  • Durable metal frame
  • Instruction manual included
  • Cons
  • Might not be as advanced enough for professionals or experienced sewers
  • Not as lightweight as some options
My Verdict

best portable sewing machine for quilting

My Verdict

best portable basic 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
My Verdict

best portable basic sewing machine

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.

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. 

However, with so many options on the market and countless articles claiming to have the best portable sewing machine reviews, finding the right machine can be a challenge. Luckily, I’ve made the process a little easier—I’ve compiled a list  for you. 

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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. 
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How To Use a Portable Sewing Machine Safely

Even if you’ve been working for years, it’s never too late to brush up on some of the safety precautions. Knowing how to use one of these machines safely is especially essential for beginners. Accidents might happen while you’re still learning how to use the device, but following these tips can reduce the risk of getting hurt:

  • Watch where your fingers are at. While you’re working, it’s easy to get distracted or let your mind wander. Unfortunately, getting too distracted can mean bandaging up a few of your fingers later on. Make sure you pay close attention to where your fingers are and don’t let them get too close to the feeder. If you need to move the fabric closer, use the end of a pencil eraser rather than the tip of your finger.
  • Sew at a steady pace. Regardless of how fast your machine can go, it’s always a good idea to sew at a slower, steady pace. Not only can you prevent accidents this way, but it can help you stay focused on your work as well. 
  • Unplug the machine when you aren’t using it. It might be tempting to leave the device plugged in if you plan to come back to your work in a couple of hours, but doing so isn’t great for your machine (or your electric bill). 
  • If you have long hair, don’t forget to pull it back. When you’re working closely with your machine, it’s all too easy for your hair to get caught under the needle. Even if you aren’t sure whether or not your hair is long enough, it’s always a good idea to be on the safe side and pull it back anyway. 
  • Make sure your cord is in good condition. With any electronic device that needs to be plugged in, you never want to use it if the cord is damaged. Before every use, gently inspect the cable to make sure there aren’t any nicks, frayed wires, or visible damage. If you do notice damage, you should contact the manufacturer and see if you need to purchase a replacement or take the machine to a technician.
  • Protect your eyes with proper eyewear. While experienced sewers might not need to wear protective eyewear all the time, a beginner who is still learning how to use the machine could benefit from it. Accidents can happen, and you always want to make sure your eyes are protected (even if it’s just with a pair of goggles). 
  • Don’t sew across any pins. If a pin comes near the presser foot, just stop the machine and remove it.
  • Make sure the needle is the right size and thickness for your project. A needle that’s too thin could end up breaking and causing an accident.
  • Make sure you can see clearly.
  • Pay attention to how your machine sounds. If you notice it making strange noises, you should shut it off and get it looked at by a technician. Ignoring a strange sound could only end up leading to a bigger problem later on.

These machines are powerful, and it’s important to remember the proper safety precautions before you operate one.

Types of Portable Sewing Machines

Although many portable machines may look the same, there are actually several different subcategories.

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Handheld

Handheld machines are probably the most portable machines you’ll find on the market. The entire device is small enough to fit in your hand, which makes transporting it much more manageable. Most of the time, these machines only weigh a few pounds. 

However, there is one major disadvantage of a handheld machine. As small as they are, they typically only allow you to use one type of stitch, and they can’t create a whole new garment. As a result, many sewers use handheld machines for “quick fixes.” If you need to hem a dress or fix the bottom of a shirt, a handheld machine is excellent for an on-the-go fix. The challenge can be finding the best small sewing machine. 

If you’re looking to work on a complicated project that requires multiple stitches or even the creation of something new, a handheld machine might not be the best option.

Mini

Mini machines, on the other hand, are a lot more versatile. If you’re still new to the craft, you might be wondering what is the best mini sewing machine or best mini sewing machine review. The goal of the best mini sewing machine is to provide all the same benefits and features of a full-size machine but without taking up extra space. While they might not be as portable as a handheld machine, mini machines are still relatively easy to transport from one place to another. 

For people that live in smaller spaces (like an apartment or dorm room), mini machines tend to be popular since they don’t take up a lot of space. The only disadvantage is that these machines can be limited. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to create a quilt or anything that’s hugely heavy-duty. 

Full-Size

Although mini and handheld machines are the most portable, some manufacturers try to make their full-size machines portable as well. It might be possible to find a full-size machine that only weighs fifteen pounds and includes a carrying handle. 

Another benefit of buying a full-size machine is that you have more options. While most mini devices are only mechanical, you can purchase a full-size machine as electronic or computerized.

Cleaning Your Portable Sewing Machine

One of the most important parts of owning a machine is maintenance. Regardless of what kind of device you purchase, you’ll still need to clean it every once in a while. Some manufacturers may have specific guidelines for cleaning their machines, but the general process looks like this:

  1. The first step is always to unplug your device and begin removing parts like the presser foot and throat plate. With some devices, you might need to use a screwdriver to remove the throat plate. 
  2. Next, you’ll want to find a small plastic brush to clear out any lint that’s collected inside your machine. Even if you don’t use your machine that much, you may be surprised how much dust gathers inside. If you aren’t able to get all of the lint with a plastic brush, you can always try swapping it out for a pipe cleaner. Keep in mind that you should never use compressed air to blast out the lint (this will only make it wedge deeper inside the machine).
  3. Then, you can start oiling your machine. When you do use oil, remember that less is more. It is possible to over-oil your machine, and you could end up with oil stains on your next project. Some brands may also recommend that you only use a specific brand or type of oil on their machines.
  4. To absorb any extra oil, try putting a scrap piece of fabric on the body of the machine. 
  5. Once you’ve done that, you can begin putting the machine back together again.

In addition to cleaning the machine by yourself every once in a while, it’s also important to get regular maintenance by a technician too. Technicians might be able to identify problems that you can’t see and stop them from becoming more significant issues. 

If you’re still curious about oiling your machine, try checking out this video for more information.

FAQ icon

Most Popular Questions About Portable Sewing Machines

I decided to start a new heading here at the end of each post. I will public and answers for the most popular questions which I get to my email every day about machines that was mention in this post.

You can ask your questions on my contact me page or leave your comment below the article.

Question (Q):

If I am a totally newbie in sewing and have never used a sewing machine before will Brother XM2701 be the best choice for me? Is it easy to use for beginners?

Answer (A):

Yes, absolutely this will be the best choice for you. I have read many positive reviews from newbies like you, who never sewed before that they purchased this machine as the first sewing machine and were very happy. It is really easy to use. The best option for newbies is a built-in needle threader which this machine can provide.

Q:

Can I use Singer Start 1304 to sew heavy duty fabrics like denim?

A:

To sew heavy-duty fabrics on this machine I will recommend following some instructions. First, you should use a heavy-duty needle specially designed for heavy fabrics its size should be 16 to 18 inches and use a slower speed while sewing. But my recommendation is not to use this machine for heavy-duty fabrics because it will be hard. This machine not designed for that. You should choose the right machine for your needs. Read my article here on how to choose a heavy-duty machine.

Q:

What kind of bobbin fits the GX37 machine?

A:

Brother GX37 uses SA156 bobbins class 15 bobbins.

This is interesting icon

How to Fix a Sewing Machine

Whether you are new to sewing or a trained professional, your sewing machine will eventually malfunction. Needles break; stitches become uneven or are skipped altogether; thread bunches up underneath your fabric and machines lock up.


A broken machine can take all the fun out of sewing, ruin your fabric, and cause your finished product to look or fit badly. Knowing how to fix a sewing machine will save you time, money and untold hours of frustration. While some repairs should be left to the professionals, many fixes are not as hard as you might think.

What you will need to fix your sewing machine

 

  • A flathead and a Phillips screwdriver sized to fit the screws in your machine
  • A double-headed lint brush (soft head and stiff head for cleaning)
  • A pair of tweezers
  • Sewing machine oil

You can also buy any number of sewing machine repair kits that range in price from a few dollars to as much as $800 for a professional set.

Step by step instructions for simple repairs

 

  • Determine the make and model of your sewing machine. You can usually find this somewhere on the machine itself. https://www.singer.com/find-your-model
  • Find your owner’s manual or search the internet using your make and model number for a downloadable version of the right manual for your machine. You can visit https://www.manualslib.com/s/sewing+machine.html to find manuals for different makes and models.
  • Diagnose your problem.
    • Is your sewing machine making strange noises? Stop the machine immediately and remove any loose thread or lint.
    • Does your needle keep breaking? Be sure you are using the right needle for the fabric you are using. Check each needle before you insert it to see if it is bent. Ensure that you insert it correctly.
    • Is your machine skipping stitches? Check to see that your machine is threaded correctly. Replace your needle if it is bent.
    • Does the thread bunch and tangle on the underside of your fabric? Check to see if both your bobbin and needle are threaded correctly. Also, check your bobbin’s tension.
    • Does your machine suddenly seize up? Turn it off for 20 minutes and try it again. Some machines automatically shut off to prevent overheating.
  • Consult the troubleshooting section of your owner’s manual if these simple fixes do not solve your problem. Learning how to fix a sewing machine can be fun and save you time and money.

 

Stephanie Green

Stephanie Green

I fell in love with sewing eight years ago after stumbling on Etsy and being fascinated by seeing all the creative projects hobbyists were able to make in their spare time. I think part of my interest is that sewing seemed like such an old-fashioned activity, and yet so many young people enjoyed it.

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