For those with sky-high aspirations but a down-to-earth budget, the Brother CS6000i may be just the ticket. Although some users call the workspace too cramped, the lighting too dim, the construction too flimsy or the versatility too limited, this machine has a lot to boast about. With its computerized functions, an LCD screen, 60 stitches, a walking foot and adjustable sewing-speed control, the CS6000i shares features with machines costing several times more, and earns high praise from hundreds of owners.
Computerized operation means fewer mistakes, better results. The Brother CS6000i is a durable and reliable machine, users say, and thanks to its computerized operation, they report making fewer errors and getting precise results. As Kathleen Huddy, the Good Housekeeping Research Institute's textile director, explains, if you start a task such as a buttonhole and set up the parts incorrectly, an error message will appear, saving you from making a huge mistake with your fabric. Other sewers point out that when you change stitches, the display tells you which presser foot to use.
A small number of reviewers say the machine vibrates or produces uneven stitches, and some complain that it's prone to jams or needle breaks, particularly with heavier-weight fabrics. However, the vast majority -- including sewing instructors and professional tailors -- say the machine performs beautifully with a range of simple and complex projects, from clothing and costumes to blankets and crafts.
Easy to use and transport. Professional reviewers and owners alike say the Brother CS6000i makes sewing fun. Many praise its LCD screen, and some also call the instruction manual straightforward. Quilters like the extension table, which they say makes it easier to work on quilts and other large projects. The machine's lightweight design and carrying case make it convenient to transport, according to many users.
Few owners post usability complaints, although some find the machine flimsy and a handful say the light above the workspace could be brighter. One user warns that the CS6000i loses its last stitch setting when it's turned off, so if you stop work in the middle of a section, you may want to make note of the stitch you were using.
Quieter than the machine it replaced. There are very few comments regarding noise for the Brother CS6000i, although most sewing machines don't receive significant feedback in this area. Some users call the machine quiet, and one says this model is quieter than the older Brother model that the CS6000i replaced. A handful of owners report loud operation and one mentions "weird noises," but these sounds are generally attributed to machine malfunctions.
Review Credibility: Very Good More than 1,225 owners weigh in on the Brother CS6000i here, with some 85 percent giving it 4 or 5 stars out of 5. Most appreciate the combination of an affordable price tag with features commonly found on computerized machines costing $1,000 or more. Many say the machine's easy handling makes sewing fun, and they call it suitable for both novice and experienced sewers. However, some users complain of flimsiness or bobbin and tension issues, although some say the solution is to use better-quality thread.
Review: Brother CS6000i Advance Sew Affordable 60-Stitch Computerized Free-Arm Sewing Machine with Hard Case, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good The CS6000i attracts reviews from about 925 owners at Walmart.com, where it gets an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5. Most praise the model for its value and call it especially good for beginners. They say it operates smoothly and can accommodate a wide range of sewing projects from clothes to blankets to crafts. A number of users appreciate the walking foot, which is helpful for sewing multiple layers of fabric at once such as when quilting. A few complain of mechanical problems such as jams or needle breakages.
Review: Brother 60-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine, CS-6000i, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of January 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good More than 150 users give the Brother CS6000i a score of 90 points out of 100 here, one of the highest ratings of any machine on the site. Owners say it's easy to use and offers a wide array of beautiful stitches. However, critics say the machine can't handle denim or other heavy-duty fabrics, and one user calls the pressure feet difficult to change.
Review: Brother Computerized Sewing Machine CS6000i Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com, As of January 2013
4. Good Housekeeping
Review Credibility: Good Based on a test involving five machines and 10 fabrics, Good Housekeeping uses this video to summarize helpful features of two models including the Brother CS6000i. Testers particularly like its buttonhole feature and find the machine easy to thread. However, the video doesn't list all the models tested or provide any comparative ranking.
Review: New Sewing Machines, Editors of Good Housekeeping, Not dated
Review Credibility: Fair About 80 owners post feedback for the CS6000i to this fabric-and-craft retail website, giving it an average rating of 4 stars out of 5. Most find it reliable and easy to use, and many who use the machine for quilting like the included extension table. Its lightweight construction also draws praise. However, some sewers complain about loose tension, and others say the machine vibrates or has trouble handling heavier fabrics.
Review: Brother CS6000i Computerized Sewing Machine, Contributors to Joann.com, As of January 2013