Which Sewing Machine Should I buy? Compare computer-controlled ( electronic ) and mechanical sewing machines.

Which Sewing Machine Should I buy? Compare computer-controlled ( electronic ) and mechanical sewing machines.

Since their invention, computer-aided sewing machines have changed the landscape on the sewing machine market. Even if they make many tasks easier, these machines also have some disadvantages that have triggered an intensive discussion about which is better. Should you really buy a computer-aided machine if the mechanical machine is still working properly?

Part of the debate on these two types of machines is based on the idea that „ New is better “. There will always be people who want the latest ( and best ) technology. At the same time, there are always people who say that the latest is not necessarily better.

Mechanical or computer controlled sewing machines: which is better? Let’s find out!

What is a mechanical sewing machine?

Most sewing enthusiasts think of classic sewing machines for mechanical sewing machines. These machines are designed for every level of knowledge, but are easier to use than computer-controlled machine models.

Their main characteristic is that they are easier to use. They do not have a digital display on which the functions can be selected because there is no central computer system. Instead, the user must manually control the functions and settings using the rotary control and buttons.

They may seem easier ( and they actually are ), but that doesn’t mean they’re out of date. Mechanical sewing machines are state of the art, and some models even have some automatic functions ( such as. B. an automatic needle feeder ).

The heavy-duty Singer 4423 sewing machine, for example, is a mechanical quality machine with some automatic functions. The robust metal frame inside ensures stability and can process a variety of heavy substances.

Singer Heavy Duty 4423, Elektrische Nähmaschine mit 23 integrierte Stiche -- Freiarm | Profi Haushaltsnähmaschine für dicke Stoffe | Nutzstich-Nähmaschine zum Nähen von Leder und Jeans mit...

What is an electronic sewing machine?

A computer-aided ( also digital ) sewing machine has a powerful computer with software that controls various machine components and functions –, usually via a digital LCD control panel on the machine.

Computer sewing machines are designed in such a way that they automatically perform more complex sewing tasks ( e.g. B. automatic buttonholes in one step, many different stitch types for sewing all types of fabrics, integrated embroidery patterns, etc. ). Learning to operate such a machine can be a bit daunting for beginners and less technically skilled seamstresses.

Due to the versatility of computer control, such machines can also perform many more functions than non-computer-aided machines.

In addition, most modern computer sewing machines are equipped with USB ports, so you can easily transfer embroidery patterns and other data to your PC and back.

Note: Some people use the terms „ electronically “ and „ automatically “ interchangeably with „ computerized “, but these expressions do not all mean the same thing. An automatic sewing machine can be computer controlled, while an electronic sewing machine does not always contain a computer, but can also have simple electronic circuits.

What is the difference between a mechanical and a computer controlled sewing machine?

If we compare these two machine types on a base level, they do the same with different inputs from the seamstress. Both machines sew clothing, perform quilting tasks and much more. The differences become clear when comparing their characteristics and functions.

Ease of use

Even if computer-controlled machines are intended to make sewing easier for the user, they can be difficult to learn due to the many buttons, the many functions, the hundreds of different tricks, etc. Mechanical machines are easier to use, with few options.

One of the best mechanical sewing machines:

Janome Nähmaschine Janome 2212, Nähmaschine weiß

Machines with mechanical control are easier to use and offer a variety of stitches with just one or two buttons, while computer-controlled machines have to spend a lot of time finding out, where everything can be found on the complex user interface!


Computer controlled sewing machines offer a variety of functions that can save time and improve efficiency. The functions include automatic voltage adjustment, automatic needle feeder, automatic sewing foot lowering, thread cutter, automatic sewing of reinforcement seams, automatic fabric sensor system, stapling, multidirectional sewing and much more.

Better quality of the finished product

Computer-aided machines have functions that help to ensure that high-quality products can be manufactured in a shorter time. Precise sewing, adaptation of the tension to the fabric, recommendations for the best stitch type are just a few of them. Yes, the new computer-controlled machines can even tell us which type of stitch is best suited for a particular fabric, so that it is not just left to the imagination whether the projects look perfect.

Crimped stitches? Leaning seams? Clamped fabric? Broken or shredded threads? No buttonholes? There are no such problems with my computer-controlled machines.

Die verfügbaren Sticharten der Carina Diamond.
The available key types of the Carina Diamond.


Computer-controlled sewing machines are ideal for all types of tasks. You can easily work with different fabrics, sew several layers together and also quilted or embroidered.


Mechanical sewing machines are ahead here because they are easier to maintain because they have no electronic parts. They should be oiled at regular intervals, but computer-aided machines may be serviced by technicians in a workshop.


Computer-aided machines may not last as long as mechanical ones, simply because the technology may eventually become obsolete. However, it is known that computer boards will also cease to operate, because after a few years the manufacturers will no longer produce the chips and components that are needed for repair.

Which sewing machine is the best for you?

Every seamstress and every sewer has different requirements for a sewing machine. With the large selection, it is important that you first understand your expectations and needs.

As soon as you know what you need, the choice of a machine type ( and a model ) is much easier. The following factors must be taken into account:

  • What types of sewing projects are planned?
  • What goals do you pursue by sewing, including projects that are to be learned in the future?
  • How big is the budget?

What are the advantages of a mechanical sewing machine?

For many seamstresses, there are many reasons to buy and stay with a mechanical sewing machine instead of upgrading to a computer-aided model „ “. Here are a few arguments for this:

  • Easy: Working with these machines is not complicated, which makes it easier for beginners and older or technically unskilled users.
  • Known: Mechanical sewing machines are familiar and convenient for many seamstresses because they have learned to sew on these machines for decades. Even if new machines have more modern functions, the basics are the same.
  • Easy to maintain: Without computers and other electronic components that are used in computer-controlled sewing machines, the machines only need simple maintenance.
  • cost: Mechanical sewing machines are cheaper than their technologically advanced counterparts. Buying a top-class mechanical machine is usually cheaper than buying the cheapest model of the computer-controlled variant.

What are the advantages of a computer-controlled sewing machine?

It would be easy to compare a mechanical sewing machine with a computer-aided machine according to the motto „ If it is not broken, do not repair it “. But computer-aided sewing machines also have advantages!

Here are some of the advantages:

  • Useful functions: These machines are packed with advanced functions that can facilitate the process of sewing and save time. Functions such as the automatic needle feeder, the locking stitch and the automatic tension make work easier.
  • quality: Computer-controlled machines have functions ( z. B. Suggestions for the best stitch or the best tension ) that improve the quality of the work.
  • versatility: With a computer sewing machine, you can easily switch between sewing clothing, embroidery and quilting or work with multiple layers.
  • Numerous types of stitch: Some models have a dozen stitches, while others have hundreds of stitches programmed into the machine.

The disadvantages of mechanical and computer-controlled sewing machines

Both types of machines have their disadvantages, here are some of them that apply to both machines.

Disadvantages of mechanical sewing machines

  • They demand more from us: Computer sewing machines have many automatic functions that make work easier. With mechanical machines, you have to deal more with the settings and tasks.
  • Fewer stitch options: Sewing machines with modern technology offer much more stitch options, while mechanical machines offer only a small part of them.
  • Higher time: Since computer-controlled machines automatically perform so many tasks, you save a lot of time in the course of a project. With mechanical machines, you have to do more tasks manually.

Disadvantages of computer sewing machines

Overwork: Computer sewing machines offer so many options that sewing beginners can be overwhelmed by them.

Outdated: Although the machine will probably still work perfectly after 10 or 15 years, the rapid technological progress makes the old computer sewing machines appear like „ Dinosaurs “. You will need a new machine to be state of the art.

cost: Regardless of which model you buy, a computer-aided sewing machine usually costs more. If you need advanced or special functions, you have to pay even more.

wasted money: Many models have a variety of functions ( z. B. Hundreds of integrated tricks ) that you never need, so you end up paying for functions that are not needed.

Let me explain the point „ wasted money “ a little more. For example, look at the number of stitches available on a computerized machine. One of the newer models from Janome ( the Memory Craft 14000 ) has 400 stitches, even the inexpensive Singer 9960 has 600 stitches.

SINGER 9960 Näh- und Quiltmaschine mit Zubehör-Set, Anschiebetisch, 600 Stiche, elektronischer Auto-Pilotmodus

How many of these tricks will you use? Probably less than 10% unless you are concerned with a specific trick and you are actively looking for it. With my Janome 6600, which I like very much, I probably didn’t use more than 20 of the available tricks. And she has 163 tricks!

There are also many buttons on my Janome 6600 that I have never used. I don’t even know what they’re there for.

Which sewing machine is more suitable for beginners?

This question is not as easy to answer as it seems, because it really depends on what you want to learn and how willing you are to learn.

I think when you sew with a mechanical machine, you learn more about sewing. For people who find it overwhelming to learn all the details of sewing, a computer-controlled model may be more useful because it performs so many tasks automatically.

My advice is: If you are a beginner but already have a sewing machine, you should first learn to use the machine that is now there. Over time, you will get to know their limits, their good and bad sides. First read the manual, but then start sewing. You only learn when you do it yourself. Only look for a new sewing machine when you find out that the existing machine has restrictions that bother you.

Regardless of what type of sewing machine you have, it is important that it works well, that it is well adjusted and that good quality needles and yarn are used.

Frequently asked questions about mechanical and computer-controlled sewing machines

Here are some questions that readers often ask about the differences between these two types of machines.

What does „ computer-controlled sewing machine “ mean?

A computerized sewing machine is a machine that uses advanced electronics and software to control its various functions. These machines are usually more expensive than mechanical sewing machines, but they offer a number of advantages in terms of speed, precision and functions.

Computer-controlled sewing machines usually have hundreds of integrated stitch patterns that can be selected at the push of a button. This allows you to sew much faster and easier than with a traditional machine. In addition, computer-controlled machines often have functions such as automatic threading and needle positioning, which can save you a lot of time and frustration.

If you are looking for a high quality, versatile sewing machine that makes life easier, you should consider a computer-controlled model.

What is the difference between electronic and computer-controlled sewing machines?

A short answer would be: „ All computer-aided machines are electronic, but not all electronic machines have a computer inside “. An electronic machine is basically a mixture of a mechanical and an automatic sewing machine. Electronic models cost less and are faster and more precise than mechanical machines, but many automatic functions and stitch options are missing.

Is a computerized sewing machine good for beginners?

That depends. A computer-aided sewing machine is definitely more complicated to use than a normal sewing machine, so it can take some time for beginners to master all functions. But once you understand all the functions, sewing with a computer sewing machine is a lot of fun and saves a lot of time.

Overall, I would say that a computer-aided sewing machine is well suited for beginners if they have the time to learn how to use it. But if you are looking for something that is really easy to use immediately after unpacking, I would recommend staying with a mechanical sewing machine.

There are people who claim that computer-controlled machines are better for beginners and others who will say the opposite. I think it really depends on everyone’s willingness to learn the technique while learning to sew.

I think the best machine to start learning is the one you already have; you just have to make sure that it works well.

Can computerized sewing machines sew automatically for us?

Yes, to a certain extent. You can select the desired pattern and stitch style on the screen and then let the machine work. Even if the sewing machine carries out all the tricks, you have to enter information beforehand so that the machine knows what to do for the project.

The more expensive a sewing machine is, the more tasks it can usually do unattended. With top machines, many things can be done independently by the machine, but you still have to program them.

What is better: a computer-controlled or a mechanical sewing machine?

Both types of machines have clear advantages and disadvantages. You have to find the answer to the question of which is better yourself: which functions you expect from a machine, how much you want to sew by hand and how high your budget is.

How long do computer-aided sewing machines last?

I would say that you can work with a computer sewing machine for 5-10 years. Maybe even up to 15 years, depending on how you use them. After that, you should probably update the technology.

My Janome, for example, is 8 years old ( I bought it again ), and with regular care it is still running without problems. But its functionality is already surpassed by newer models.

What is the difference between mechanical and electronic sewing machines?

Mechanical sewing machines are the more traditional type of machines that work with a system of gears and levers. Electronic sewing machines, on the other hand, have some electronic components that control the needle and the sewing speed.

As a rule, electronic sewing machines are more expensive than their mechanical counterparts. They also usually have more functions and tricks to choose from. Another important point is that electronic machines usually sew faster than mechanical ones. These functions can make working with the sewing machine much easier and more pleasant.

Are mechanical sewing machines good?

Yes! Many people ( even beginners ) choose to continue using mechanical sewing machines instead of computer-controlled machines for various reasons. Two important reasons for using mechanical sewing machines are the possibility to take the sewing into your own hands and the costs.

An essential factor is that many seamstresses hesitate to upgrade because they already know their older mechanical machines well. The subjective factor is also very important when we talk about “ good ”: There is no sewing machine that everyone likes.

What is the display of a sewing machine?

The display of a sewing machine usually means the LCD display, on which the user can see all the tricks and settings in one place. For example, the current layer type, the stitch length, the voltage, etc. are displayed, and these settings can be changed with just a few entries on the screen.

Other important information is e.g. B. the needle position, the stitch density, the sewing foot suitable for the respective stitch, etc. Newer machines can also have special displays that show additional functions that go beyond the functions of a conventional computer-controlled machine. These include e.g. B. Instructions or simple internet connection options. Some models are also equipped with touchscreens that make the selection even easier.

Conclusion: mechanical and computer-controlled sewing machines, which is better?

I hope that after reading this comparison between the two machine types, you will have a better understanding of the differences. Ultimately, you have to weigh up the functions, costs and requirements to be met.

Nobody can say for sure which sewing machine is better. In this article, I have set up a number of comparative terms that should help you make a decision. Have fun shopping!

You haven’t found a favorite yet and need inspiration? The following up-to-date list contains the currently most popular ones Sewing machines at Amazon.de. Last updated on 08/30/2022 at 8:12 p.m.

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