Sewing machines buying guide

We examined three machines at different price points to see what you get.
 
Learn more
 
 
 
 
 

05.Features and threading

Features

Decision guide

The experts told us you can’t expect much in the way of features from a low-end machine — just the basics, which means you do most of the work yourself. The higher in price you go, the easier it becomes to produce high-quality, specialised garments and crafts, but all the extra features will be overkill if you’re sure you’ll use your sewing machine only for general repairs.

Janome Sewist 525SJanome 525S

At this price, you’ll get only basic extra features. One expert commented that at this price range they’d have expected a needle up/down function, which lets you choose the position of the needle after sewing. This model doesn’t have this feature. It has:

  • One-handed thread cutter

 

 

Janome Memory Craft 4900 QCJanome 4900

This machine provides a set of features that you can expect at this price range and which enhance sewing and quilting performance.

  • Needle up/down button.
  • Automatic thread cutter.
  • Automatic thread tension control.
  • Built-in memory.
  • Knee-lifted presser foot (useful for quilting).

 

Janome Memory Craft 9700Janome 9700

At this price, you can expect the time-saving features of the mid-range machine, plus more.

  • Needle up/down button.
  • Automatic thread cutter.
  • Automatic thread tension control.
  • Built-in memory.
  • PC card slot and optional card reader to download designs.
  • Embroidery hoop unit (A and B) plus additional embroidery features.
  • ‘Eco’ energy-saving mode.

 

Threading and foot control

Decision guide

An automatic needle threader, which all three machines have, works by a small hook pulling the thread through the eye of the needle and helps reduce eyestrain and frustration. One expert was able to thread the needles of all three with her eyes closed. As the price of the machine increases, you should expect the quality and responsiveness of the foot pedal to increase too. The mid and high-end machines have a variable speed control so you can set the maximum speed.

Janome Sewist 525SJanome 525S

Even the low-end machine is easy to thread thanks to clear labelling and an inbuilt needle threader. The foot pedal on this machine is bulky, doesn’t have a retractable cord and has to be wound manually. There’s also no speed control, so speed can only be controlled via the foot petal.

  • Automatic needle threader.

 

Janome Memory Craft 4900 QCJanome 4900

This machine is very easy to thread thanks to clear labelling and an inbuilt needle threader. The foot control is fairly responsive, but the experts noted that the machine doesn’t go as fast as they’d expect at this price.

  • Automatic needle threader.
  • Slimline foot pedal with retractable cord for easy storage.
  • Variable speed control.

 

Janome Memory Craft 9700Janome 9700

This machine is very easy to thread thanks to clear labelling and an inbuilt needle threader. The experts thought its foot pedal had very good response and control, as you should expect at this price.

  • Automatic needle threader.
  • Slimline foot pedal with retractable cord for easy storage.
  • Variable speed control.
 

Sign up to our free
e-Newsletter

Receive FREE email updates of our latest tests, consumer news and CHOICE marketing promotions.

 
Your say - Choice voice

Make a Comment

Members – Sign in on the top right to contribute to comments