The Brother XL-2600i is an excellent machine for beginners and those with basic sewing needs, as well as veterans who haven't sewn for a while. Despite some complaints about bobbin and tension issues, most users say it's easy to use right out of the box, and the variety of stitches, one-step buttonholer and automatic needle threader are major pluses.
Consistently reliable across a range of projects. The Brother XL-2600i is widely considered a reliable sewing machine that's perfect for beginners, and useful for those with more experience and expanded needs. Hundreds of owners posting reviews for this model at retail and opinion-based websites largely praise the performance of its one-step buttonholer and automatic needle threader. Many also consider the 25 different stich types a bonus given the machine's low price.
Users report success with a variety of projects from simple mending to decorative piping to creating Halloween costumes, with some making note of the XL-2600i's nice, even stitches. There are few performance complaints, but they tend to describe frustration with too-loose tension, mechanical jams and needle breakages. Some sewers say the machine isn't as capable of handling heavier-weight fabrics as the owner's manual suggests.
A simplicity superstar. Here the Brother XL-2600i truly shines, with owners consistently calling it easy to handle. One posts at Amazon.com that you can wind the bobbin in preparation to sew just 10 minutes after opening the box. The intuitive design of features such as the one-step buttonholer and automatic needle threader is often cited as the primary reason this model earns such high marks. Many reviewers say the instruction manual is straightforward and easy to understand, making the XL-2600i suitable for beginners and even pre-teens. A few owners also praise the unit's lightweight construction, which makes it easy to move, although a few wish it came with a carrying case. While some sewers report mechanical malfunctions, we found no complaints that the machine is difficult to operate.
Very few sound issues. It's difficult to find feedback regarding the noise level of the Brother XL-2600i; most users' comments focus on performance and ease of use. No positive reviews mention noise as a factor one way or another. Noise problems arise only occasionally in the relatively few negative evaluations we found: Some owners complain of loud or grinding sounds, connecting them to mechanical problems or perceptions of flimsy construction.
Review Credibility: Very Good More than 475 users review the Brother XL-2600i on Amazon.com, giving it an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5. The vast majority of comments are highly positive, with owners saying the machine is easy to use, performs well, and is lightweight yet sturdy. Many add that this model has better features than similarly priced alternatives. The relatively few complaints largely focus on threads tangling and too-loose tension.
Review: Brother XL2600I Sew Advance Sew Affordable 25-Stitch Free-Arm Sewing Machine, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good The more than 475 owners posting to Walmart.com give the Brother XL-2600i a score of 4.5 stars out of 5. Its fans -- primarily beginning sewers -- find it easy to use and suitable for a range of projects. The automatic buttonholer and threading system draw praise, and several say the model is well priced. However, a few users complain about jams or tension issues, and some say the machine can't handle anything but thin fabrics.
Review: Brother 25-Stitch Free-Arm Sewing Machine, XL-2600i, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of January 2013
Review Credibility: Good This site sells refurbished versions of the Brother XL-2600i, which earns an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 from nearly 200 reviewers. Many are new sewers who find it easy to learn on this machine, with several calling it easy to use and great for basic sewing. Some complain about the quality of the refurbished model, however, and a few report problems with thread tension.
Review: Brother XL 2600I Sewing Machine (Refurbished), Contributors to Overstock.com, As of January 2013
Review Credibility: Good About 30 users post reviews for the Brother XL-2600i at Viewpoints.com, giving it a score of 81 points out of 100. Most agree that it's easy to handle, easy to use and extremely well priced. Many say the machine is versatile and like its multiple stitches, and some call it useful for a range of projects. The handful of complaints on this website involve jams or other mechanical problems.
Review: Brother Mechanical Sewing Machine XL2600i Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com, As of January 2013
Review Credibility: Fair At Target.com, about 20 user reviews of the Brother XL-2600i nearly universally describe it as a good basic machine, which accounts for its average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Many say this model is well worth the price. The two owners who post negative ratings both report mechanical problems with the machine's reverse mode.
Review: Brother Sewing Machine – XL2600i, Contributors to Target.com, As of January 2013