What every best Sewing Machines has:
Updating this report to reflect the discontinuation of their former top pick, the writers put in 20 hours of research and then test 15 machines. Elsewhere on this site, sewing machines for intermediate sewers are also tested and recommended, although one of the runners up also has been discontinued.
The Good Housekeeping Institute's Textiles Lab offers this selection of sewing machines at all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. While it's not clear if testing was done on all of them, the people at the textiles lab definitely have the expertise and experience to make these recommendations.
Top Ten Reviews say they test everything, but their reports often have few details of that testing. This sewing machine roundup is a welcome exception to that rule, however, their top pick seems to have been discontinued.
Vernelle Nelson, the owner of this sewing blog, personally tests dozens of sewing machines at all price levels and brands, including some very high-end models. Her reviews are extremely thorough, and she is very consistent in her testing -- making sure, for example, to test the same stitch types from machine to machine. She also notes what skill level each machine is best suited to.
Amazon carries hundreds of sewing machines, and many popular choices attract hundreds -- sometimes many thousands -- of reviews. Brother and Singer rule the roost here, with Janome also making it into the ranks of the top-rated machines. User feedback is often detailed, providing information on long-term durability as well as ease of use for beginners.
Brother, Singer and Janome are tops at Walmart as well, which also carries hundreds of sewing machines and sewing notions and accessories. Many machines get hundreds or thousands of reviews, and there are quite a few that earn close to 5-star ratings.
Joann is a store dedicated to sewers and crafters, so is a great resource for finding knowledgeable reviews of sewing machines. Reviews are broken down by quality and value, and reviewers can also say if they would recommend the sewing machine to others.
At PatternReview.com, experienced sewers can post reviews of their sewing machines, giving an overview of how they use them, any pros and cons, and if they would recommend them. This is a great source for reviews of sewing machines that you can't easily find online, including reviews of machines from higher-end brands such as Baby Lock and Pfaff.
SewMamaSew asked readers to fill out a survey about their favorite sewing machines, giving the answer to specific questions that give a good overview of the machine and how it's used. They then compiled this master list of reviews for each machine. As with PatternReview.com, this is an excellent way to read individual reviews of machines that are only sold in retail stores and are usually not reviewed online.
ConsumerReports.org has discontinued their testing of sewing machines, but this sewing machine guide is still available and free to the public. It's an extensive look of what you need to know before shopping for a sewing machine. Brands are mentioned but not rated.