Vintage lawn mowers wanted. Explore Riding Lawn Mowers

Explore Riding Lawn Mowers

A complete lineup of zero-turn mowers, lawn and garden tractors, and electric mowers, all featuring the strength and durability that bring your lawn to life.

Lawn Garden Tractors

Built in America since ‘61 and backed by the industry’s strongest warranty, Cub Cadet® lawn and garden tractors all come standard with the strongest cutting systems for mowing performance, refined ergonomics designed around you and an array of attachments and accessories for year-round versatility and utility.

Zero-Turn Mowers

Designed with strength, comfort and the ability to get the job done 50% faster than riding tractors, each Cub Cadet zero-turn riding mower is engineered to handle a range of terrain and cover up to 5 acres, with steering wheel options that increase ease.

Electric Riding Mowers

We took the proven strength and performance of our gas-powered machines and combined them with a powerful and convenient lithium-ion battery to create electric lawn mowers with no power fade and reduced noise for a more enjoyable ride.

How to Choose a Riding Lawn Mower

With so many options and features available on riding lawn mowers, how can you make an informed decision about what type of mower to buy? There are two popular options when it comes to riding lawn mowers, both of which provide all-season functionality:

Most lawn and garden tractors look like a traditional riding lawn mower and have an engine mounted in the front and a steering wheel that steers using the front wheels, like a car. Some have the engine in the back with a simple steering column in front, allowing for increased viability and increased maneuverability for the driver. Zero-turn riding mowers pivot on the rear wheels, meaning there is zero-degree turning radius, and the mower can actually spin in a circle to cut one area or maneuver around obstacles.

Zero-turn riding lawn mowers are available in both gas-powered and electric.

Types of Riding Mowers

Lawn Tractors

Looking like the stereotypical riding lawn mower, a lawn and garden tractor is the best compromise between performance and cost. Much smaller than zero-turn counterparts, they’re easy to store in a garage or a shed and have plenty of power and maneuverability for small to medium sized yard, all without breaking a sweat like you would with a push mower or walk-behind mower.

Garden Tractors

Garden tractors look very similar to a lawn tractor or traditional riding lawn mower, however they are usually a bit larger due to their more powerful engines and transmissions. This added power allows for more utility work and ground-engaging jobs, such as use with plows and other attachments. The added weight of a garden tractor also makes it better on hills, but it will have less maneuverability than a lawn tractor.

Zero-turn riding lawn mowers

If you have a large yard, or a yard with a lot of obstacles and tight corners, a zero-turn riding lawn mower is the right mower for you. Zero-turn mowers are available with a wide range of deck sizes and turn more quickly than both lawn and garden tractors and walk-behind mowers, meaning that mowing your lawn will take about half the time with a zero-turn riding lawn mower. Zero-turn mowers come with a lap bar or steering wheel control. Lap bar steering is the most common way to steer, while steering wheel control has little to no learning curve and is needed for mowing along the side edges of slopes and hills due to increased control in the front wheels.

Gas mowers vs. Electric mowers

No matter whether you decide on a tractor riding lawn mower or a zero-turn mower, either can be purchased in either gas or electric. Our electric mowers have a cutting time of 1 hour or more, making this the ideal choice for small to medium sized yards. If you’re environmentally conscious, or live in a city with noise ordinances, place your trust in one of our electric riding lawn mowers. With no spark plugs, fuel, or oil changes, electric mowers require less maintenance than their gas counterparts.

The Best Riding Mowers for Different Yard Types

Small to Medium Yards

For small to medium yards, both lawn and garden tractors are recommended. These are two high-performing, yet cost-effective options for those who don’t want to hassle with a push mower. Lawn tractors and garden tractors also allow for much more utility with attachments like snow blowers, leaf collectors, and pull carts.

Medium to large yards

As the yard and the mowing job gets bigger, it’s worth considering additional options other than a lawn and garden tractor. A zero-turn riding lawn mower will allow you to get the job done faster and with more maneuverability.

Yards with obstacles

For yards with obstacles, such as landscaping, trees, rocks, and so on, we highly recommend a zero-turn mower. Trying to cut around landscaping and trees can be frustrating and time-consuming without the highly maneuverable zero-turn mower. For yards with fences, be sure to compare the deck size of the mower with the fence opening size to be sure it will fit. Even for residential homes, professional mowers can be a great option, as they’re designed for spaces with landscaping and other obstacles. With professional and commercial models, you also have different configuration models, such as stand-on and stand-behind mowers with excellent maneuverability.

Sloped yards

If your yard has a notable incline or decline, there are a couple very important factors to consider: traction control and stability. Meeting these needs will allow you to safely negotiate your yard’s hills and slopes. For sloped yards, you should consider a steering wheel zero-turn as the steering wheel provides more control when mowing along slopes, compared to lap bar steering.

Types of Attachments for Riding Lawn Mowers

There are a variety of attachments for your riding lawn mower to make your lawn care a breeze: Baggers. Double and triple baggers are available for all models of tractor and zero-turn riding mowers. Baggers collect the cut grass from the discharge for easy disposal.

  • Snow blowers. You can attach a snow blower to the front of your tractor and turn your riding lawn mower into a riding snow blower. They have an auger that feeds snow into the discharge, moving the snow away from walking or driving paths.
  • Snow cabs. Snow cabs are like tents that attach to your mower and cover the top and sides so you can plow or snow blow without getting covered in snow. These can also be used in warmer months to help prevent bug bites.
  • All-season plows. Plows are available for tractors and zero-turns, and can push dirt, snow, or gravel. There’s no discharge with a plow attachment, just pushing to displace.
  • Mulchers. Mulchers take the grass clippings that usually come with cutting grass, and instead of collecting the grass from the discharge chute, the mulcher cuts the grass into fine pieces, which falls into the soil and breaks down, giving nutrients back to the soil.
  • Striping kits. On zero-turn mowers, you have the option of adding a striping kit. This adds those classic manicured stripes into your lawn while you cut.
  • Leaf collectors. With a larger chute, a leaf collector picks up leaves and debris from under your mower and collects it all into a bag for easy disposal.
  • Pull carts. These attach to the back of your riding lawn mower, allowing you to transport tools, soil, or mulch.

Attachments are available for lawn tractors, garden tractors, and zero-turn riding lawn mowers. Be sure to check specifications on the attachments you’re interested in to see what mowers it’s compatible with.

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WARRANTY ADDENDUM. IMPORTANT: This addendum defines the start of the warranty period. The applicable Warranty Period will begin on the original date of purchase of the Product or on the date of delivery of the Product, whichever is later. Engine Disclaimer: The engine horsepower information is provided by the engine manufacturer to be used for comparison purposes only. See your local Cub Cadet Dealer for warranty details.Pricing Disclaimer: Posted price is in USD Dollars and is manufacturer’s suggested sale price. Models and pricing may vary by location. Taxes, freight, set-up and delivery not included. Optional equipment, accessories and attachments sold separately. See your retailer for details. Image Disclaimer: Products may vary from depicted model image in design, required attachments, safety features and non-functional appearance, and may not reflect dealer inventory or unit specifications. Specifications Disclaimer: Specifications subject to change without notice. Images may not reflect retailer inventory and/or unit specifications. Operator’s Manual Disclaimer: The operator’s manual posted is for general information and use. To ensure the download of the operator’s manual specific to your unit, we require a model and serial number. Speed Disclaimer: Actual vehicle speed varies based on load, use and environmental conditions. Battery Disclaimer: Battery and battery powered product performance varies with load, use and environmental conditions. Software Disclaimer: Software available on Company websites is provided on an as is basis without any warranty of any kind, either express or implied. The download and use of any software is done at the user’s own risk. Professional Products: Cub Cadet commercial products are intended for professional use. UTV: Cub Cadet Utility Vehicles (UTV) are intended for off-road use by adults only. Please see the operator’s manual and the warning labels posted on the vehicle itself for more details. Email disclaimer: Sign up to receive communication on services, products and special offers. You may unsubscribe at any time. Please refer to our Privacy Policy.

Lawn Mower Parts

Search and shop all the parts you need for your riding lawn equipment and Gator UTV including lawn mower blades, filters, belts, spark plugs, oil, and home maintenance kits.

Find Parts

Search part numbers and John Deere parts diagrams to identify exactly what you need to keep your equipment running smoothly.

Quick Reference Guides

As a John Deere owner, when it’s time to maintain, service or repair your equipment we have easy-to-use information sheets that keep your John Deere equipment running well.

Home Maintenance Kits

Feel confident in tuning up your lawn mower or garden equipment this season with our Home Maintenance Kits. Easily find the right product so you can DIY and save!

Looking for your Serial Number?

Finding your lawn mower’s model number and serial number is as easy as locating the identification tag on your machine. As seen in the example, the model number will be displayed below the MODEL heading (Example: Z235), and the serial number will be underlined on the top-right corner of the tag (Example: 130002).

If you’re looking for the engine number, that can be found directly on the engine itself.

Home and Garden, eat your heart out.

Get the latest on how to care for and enjoy your yard and garden. The articles and videos are informative and the ideas are amazing.

MowerPlus Mobile App

MowerPlus is the app you need to keep your John Deere riding lawn mower running well and your lawn looking great this season. The app tracks and records yard tasks and serves as a one-stop shop for seasonal care tips and maintenance activities. Know your mower and know how you mow with John Deere’s MowerPlus app.

The Right Part. The Right Price.

At John Deere, you get the value of choice for your maintenance and replacement parts for all makes and ages of machines – at any budget.

Genuine Parts

Genuine John Deere Belts Blades are your best choice for your newer machines.

Alternative Parts

Alternative Parts are an economical solution for your John Deere equipment.

The John Deere Easy Change™ 30-Second Oil Change System

Never drain engine oil again.

We’ve changed the oil change. Revolutionized it really. See how fast and easy changing your oil can now be on 100 Series Riding Lawn Tractors with the John Deere Easy Change™ 30-Second Oil Change System. Only from John Deere. Included on the E120, E130, E150, E160, E170, and E180 models.

Step One. Take it off.

Lift the hood. Make sure the engine is cool, then, twist to remove. It’s that simple.

Step Two. Twist and lock.

Grab the new Easy Change™ Canister, twist and lock into place. Make sure the arrow on your Filter System aligns with the arrow on your engine.

Step three. Done.

Close the hood and mow. John Deere recommends the Easy Change™ 30-second Oil Change System every 50 hours or at the end of your mowing season. Don’t drain engine oil ever again.

Draining engine oil is so 2017.

The engine modifications and new technologies are in. The re-envisioned oil filter with a media designed to resist breaking down in oil over time is here. The thousands of hours of testing are done. The end result is an all-in-one, oil and oil filter system like no other. The first of its kind. And thanks to the new John Deere Easy Change™ 30-Second Oil Change System (“System”), you’ll never have to drain the oil from 100 Series Riding Lawn Tractors again.

Here’s why: The new System captures contaminants and recharges your engine with nearly a quart (0.8qt) (0.76 l) of new oil. In fact, this System increases the amount of oil in the engine by nearly 40%. 2 Your engine likes that.

What do you mean, I will never have to drain oil from my engine again? How is that possible? The answer is simple. We have developed a better filtration system and filter design for our 100 Series Riding Lawn Tractors 1. This fully synthetic filter media has greater surface area which increases its capacity to hold harmful contaminants. What’s more, the filter media is designed to resist breaking down in oil over time. Which means you’ll get a cooler running engine. And a cooler running engine and better filtering helps increase engine oil life. John Deere’s recommended oil service for 100 Series Riding Lawn Tractors 1. is to change the System every 50 hours or once a season, whichever comes first. Remember, the System replaces a portion of your engine oil. And that’s plenty.

The System uses John Deere Turf-Gard™ Oil. Using John Deere Turf-Gard™ Oil ensures you are using the exact oil specified by John Deere engineers.

Testing. Testing. Testing. Thanks to thousands of hours of rigorous and extensive testing, you can feel confident your engine will run for years to come.

1 The John Deere Easy Change™ 30-Second Oil Change System is available on E120, E130, E150, E160, E170 and E180 Lawn Tractors today.

2 Compared to similar V-Twin engine models that do not have the John Deere Easy Change™ 30-Second Oil Change System. That includes equivalent Deere 2017 models and 2018 models without the System.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is new with John Deere Riding Lawn Equipment?

We are excited about the exclusive John Deere Easy Change™ 30 second oil change system. Exclusive to John Deere and only available on certain models of the new 100 Series Lawn Tractors. These tractors are designed for ease of use for both operation and maintenance. The John Deere Easy Change™ System (“Easy Change”) allows the user to easily complete the recommended engine oil and filter maintenance in 30 seconds.

What is this new oil change system?

We changed the oil change. The all-in-one oil and oil filter system gives the owner the ability to change a portion of the oil and the filter in less than 30 seconds.

What happens to the rest of the oil in the engine when the Easy Change system is replaced?

The Easy Change system replaces.8 quart of oil. The remaining oil in the engine is refreshed by the charge of new oil included in the replacement Easy Change system. Combined with 40% more engine oil capacity, improved filtration and cooler running temperatures which help extend oil life, it is no longer necessary to remove and dispose of all the oil in your engine during service.

What makes the Easy Change system unique from other filters?

It is not just a filter. It is a newly developed technology system that allows a new “filter” to come already charged with oil and allows you to remove an existing filter and the contaminants inside without tools and without making a mess. Beyond the filter, technology within the canister and on your engine makes this possible.

Models with the Easy Change oil system use a fully synthetic filter that has more capacity to trap and hold contaminants. The larger surface area of the Easy Change canister acts like a radiator helping the oil to stay cool.

Does the Easy Change system somehow decrease the life of the engine?

The John Deere 100 Series lawn tractor models, with and without Easy Change, are specified for the same lifetime and are rigorously tested to the same standards to ensure the life of the tractor meets expectations.

Can I add the Easy change system to an existing tractor?

Because this system also requires unique features within the engine, the Easy Change system cannot be added to an engine that was not equipped with it at the factory.

Can I change all the oil if I choose to?

You could if you wanted to. There is an oil drain plug. It is not required for maintenance.

How often do I need to change the Easy Change canister?

Every 50 hours or once a year. The 100 Series Lawn Tractors with and without the Easy Change system have the same maintenance schedule.

What type of oil is recommended?

We recommend only John Deere Turf-Gard™ 10W30 Oil. The Easy Change canister comes pre-filled with John Deere Turf-Gard™ 10W30 oil.

How do I recycle the old oil?

Many local government recycling programs, authorized retailers, auto repair stations, and auto parts stores will puncture and recycle used oil filters and oil.

Do I ever need to add oil?

Yes. Consistent with our service recommendations for this product, you should check oil level daily and add oil if required.

Lawn Care Oddly Satisfying Mowing #shorts #lawncare #kubota

The Best Sewing Machine

After a new round of testing, we’ve made the computerized Brother CS7000X our top pick and the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 our upgrade pick.

Sewing is one of those magical hobbies that are both endlessly creative and especially practical. With relatively little effort—and a good sewing machine—you can make a quilt, whip up some curtains, hem pants, or even make pants out of things that weren’t pants at all before. But there are as many sewing machines to choose from as there are things you can do with them, which can make finding the perfect starter setup more stressful than it ought to be. After interviewing a diverse panel of experts and spending more than 40 hours sewing with 12 machines on a variety of projects, we’re sure that the Brother CS7000X is the best option for most beginner sewists thanks to its accessible price, its wealth of helpful features, and its versatile functions and accessories.

The best sewing machine for most beginners

This compact, computerized sewing machine offers more features and accessories than others in its price range.

Buying Options

The Brother CS7000X is a surprisingly affordable, computerized sewing machine that’s intuitive enough to allow beginners to gain confidence and skill but also versatile enough to handle more advanced projects as the sewist’s skills grow. It isn’t an heirloom machine you’re likely to pass down to future generations—you can expect a lifespan in years rather than decades—but it is an impressively sophisticated machine for its price. It comes with a wealth of presser feet, which will help even beginner sewists produce professional-looking work, and it even includes a wide table extension and a walking foot, which are rarities on a machine in this price range. The CS7000X comes with a huge variety of programmed stitches, both utilitarian and whimsical, and the included manual is thorough and helpful.

For the ambitious beginner

This quiet, versatile machine does it all, and it comes with almost all the accessories you’re ever likely to need. It’s about twice the price of our top pick, but it’s still a relative bargain for a dedicated sewist.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 430.

The Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 is more solidly built than the Brother CS7000X, more stylish, and more flexible in the size of the sewing surface. It’s also, simply put, really fun to use. It has a ton of features, stitches, and accessories, and it includes some extras usually found on much higher-end machines, such as an automatic thread cutter. (If you think that sounds goofy, try using it once and see how you yearn for it on every machine after.) In looks and use, the Quantum Stylist feels like a premium machine, but its usability and relative affordability also make it a viable choice for someone just beginning to sew.

The best sewing machine for most beginners

This compact, computerized sewing machine offers more features and accessories than others in its price range.

For the ambitious beginner

This quiet, versatile machine does it all, and it comes with almost all the accessories you’re ever likely to need. It’s about twice the price of our top pick, but it’s still a relative bargain for a dedicated sewist.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 430.

Why you should trust us

I learned how to use a sewing machine as a kid in a Here, earn your Girl Scout badge kind of way, but it wasn’t until early 2020 that I took a six-week beginner sewing class at SewLeana in Maplewood, New Jersey, and got hooked. Less than three years later, I’m an avid sewist, and I’ve made clothes, quilts, bags, home-decor items—even a pair of jeans. (And yes, my butt looks great in them.) Fun fact: My first sewing machine, a holiday gift in 2019, was this guide’s previous top pick.

In preparation for writing this guide, I spoke to several sewing professionals to get their advice and personal requirements for a good machine. This group included sewing teacher Léana Lu of SewLeana, professional tailor and jeans-making queen Lauren Taylor, tailor and workwear designer Kelly Hogaboom, sewist and accessibility advocate Samantha Waude, and sewing-ergonomics expert Rose Parr.

Who should get this

If you’re seeking a reliable, versatile sewing machine that can bang out projects from quilting to garment making, as well as handle heavier fabrics like denim or the kind used in home decor (especially if you don’t think you’ll want or need to upgrade to a pro-level machine in the next few years), this guide is for you.

If you’ve never touched a sewing machine before, we recommend trying one out at a dealer and purchasing in person.

The pandemic brought with it a more widespread interest in sewing, whether because it’s a creative, practical hobby that can be carried out at home, or because people finally found the time for those “I’d love to learn if I ever had the time” activities, or perhaps as a side effect of the “homesteading” mindset. For many people, sewing face masks for themselves or others was a gateway.

But regardless of the impetus for learning, the benefits of knowing your way around a sewing machine are manifold. It’s undeniably useful—not to mention particularly satisfying—to be able to hem, repair, or even entirely design and create your own fabric goods. Sewing can be a great way to make new friends, since there’s an active and generally friendly online sewing community to connect with. And the health benefits of having a hobby, regardless of what it is, have been documented time and time again.

If you’ve never touched a sewing machine before, we recommend trying one out at a dealer and purchasing in person. Although sewing machines are relatively simple to operate, the mechanics of even basic manual machines can seem a little intimidating to the novice. A good dealer can show you the ropes—stuff like winding the bobbin, replacing the needle, threading the machine, and adjusting stitches—which will probably save you hours of frustration trying to learn on your own. Plus, dealers often throw in complimentary sewing classes or other perks like servicing if you purchase through them.

How we picked

A person can spend anywhere from about 100 to over 15,000 on a sewing machine, but more expensive doesn’t always equal better. There is no one-size-fits-all “best machine”; the ideal option for an expert quilter doesn’t necessarily have the right features for a DIYer who wants to make curtains or repair fraying cuffs and dragging hems. You don’t need to go all-out for your first machine, either, but it should have enough features so that you can continue to use it as your skill set grows.

To assemble an initial list of models for potential testing, I consulted recommendations from publications such as Good Housekeeping and The Strategist, scoured Reddit and the forums on, looked at reviews from Amazon and Joann customers, and polled sewing friends near and far, in person, over email, and on Instagram, where the modern sewing community is alive and well. I also asked sewing machine manufacturers about their best sellers and fan favorites.

For this guide, we focused on machines that cost 500 or less and were simple enough for beginners to use but had features and options that more advanced sewists might be able to take advantage of. We also prioritized versatility, seeking out flexible machines that could work well on a variety of fabric and project types.

Sewing-ergonomics expert Rose Parr told me, “A big mistake a lot of people make is buying [a first machine that’s] too simple,” since they’ll end up needing to upgrade too soon. But at the same time, it’s important that beginners not buy a machine that’s so complicated, it’s intimidating or confusing to use. To strike that crucial balance, here’s what we looked for in a good starter sewing machine:

Easy to use: First and foremost, the controls should be simple and intuitive. It should be easy to set up the machine to sew—winding the bobbin and threading the needle—and straightforward to select and customize the stitches you want. Workwear designer Kelly Hogaboom told me that more than once they have encountered beginner sewists who wanted to give up because of a frustrating machine but were too inexperienced to know that it was the machine’s fault things weren’t turning out how they wanted, not their own. It’s important that your machine makes you feel empowered and is easy to get good outcomes from. Lauren Taylor, a sewing teacher and tailor, said, “Tools are not going to make or break your skill level. I can sew on anything. I can make anything work at this point. But starting out, if I’d had [bad] tools, I would have given up.”

Smooth stitching: The machine should produce even stitches and seams that don’t wander. It should pull the fabric along at an even pace without the sewist feeling like they have to force it, and the machine should smoothly sew through a range of fabrics without jamming or damaging the material.

Variety of presser feet: A presser foot is a small, flat attachment that holds your fabric in place as the needle pierces it, and presser feet come in many varieties to suit different tasks. Some of the most useful feet include a clear-plastic foot, an edge-stitching foot, a buttonhole foot, a zipper foot, an invisible-zipper foot, and a blind-stitch foot for creating blind hems. Some machines work only with presser feet from the same specific brand, whereas others work with generic feet. It’s a bonus if a machine takes generic feet or comes with a good variety in the box, because additional feet (such as walking feet) can be expensive.

Automatic buttonholer: Buttonholes are difficult to sew cleanly on your own even once, not to mention seven times in a row, as on a button-up shirt. This is one area in which modern technology can really help out. Some machines sew buttonholes in four steps, while others do a one-step buttonhole or even offer multiple types of buttonholes that are suitable for different purposes. Typically, manual machines feature a four-step configuration, while computerized models usually have automatic (one-step) buttonholes. It’s possible to sew a buttonhole using a bar-tack (essentially a very dense zigzag), but for a uniform buttonhole that’s the exact right size for your button of choice, a clean automatic buttonhole function is a lifesaver, sparing you the time and frustration that you might spend with a more manual application.

Good light: Sewing is close work, and having a good light built into your machine is essential to saving your eyes and your posture. None of the machines we tested offer the ability to adjust the light, and many sewists choose to add a desk lamp or an LED strip of lights to further brighten their sewing space, but a machine shouldn’t have you squinting from the get-go.

Adjustable needle position: This feature allows you to move the needle off-center (to the left or right) while straight-stitching, which is helpful to get professional-looking edge stitching and essential for precise stitch placement on tiny surfaces as in lingerie sewing or detail work.

Needle up/down: With this feature, you can choose whether the sewing needle rises or stays embedded in the fabric when you stop sewing. Most computerized machines have a button to automatically raise or lower the needle, and often you can change settings to always have the needle stop in the down position. That’s extremely handy when you’re pivoting around a corner or curve, or when you want to make adjustments without accidentally jarring your line of stitching.

Adjustable feed-dog height: The feed dogs are the small metal teeth, just below the needle, that help pull the fabric across the sewing surface. If you can adjust the height of the feed dogs, you can more easily sew a variety of fabrics, or you can even put the feed dogs all the way down for something like free-motion quilting or darning. If you’re interested in sustainability, you may want to learn to darn garments on your machine. Hogaboom mentioned that “the mending movement is getting bigger all the time,” and advised that sustainability-minded sewists should make sure they have a darning foot (sometimes labeled as an embroidery foot) and the ability to drop the feed dogs to more easily FOCUS on areas that need reinforcement.

Variety of stitches: stitches on your machine doesn’t always equal better—who’s going to use 600 separate stitches, really?—but the right stitch can make the difference between a cringing “Is that homemade?” and an awestruck “You made that?” Ultimately, what matters is that the stitches you need (straight stitch, stretch stitches, and triple-stitch are all versatile options) are included. “Unless you are making embroidered items for your Etsy shop, you’ll never have a need for all those stitches,” sewing instructor Léana Lu said. But decorative and specialty stitches can be fun and can add a special touch to projects.

Sewing surface: The most versatile machines can also transform the size of their sewing surfaces to be both bigger and smaller, depending on the project. For larger projects like garments or quilts, an attachable extension table is helpful to keep the fabric from slipping around. For something like the cuffs of a pair of jeans or a similarly tight squeeze, being able to remove part of the machine’s surface to expose a free arm—a much smaller surface that helps you get to that part without accidentally sewing your pants leg (or any other tubular piece) closed—on the machine is especially useful. Most machines we tested had a free arm, but not all came with an extension table.

Reel Mower Paper Cut Test

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Thorough manual: A great manual is clearly written, offering general use instructions, troubleshooting tips, maintenance guidelines, and advice regarding what stitches to use when. Be wary of machines with skimpy or poorly written manuals, since they probably portend other issues with support down the road.

Warranty: We found that most machines designed for beginners come with a similar warranty: one year on labor (for things like calibration or other issues that occur right out of the box) and two to five years on electronics. Although all of these machines have what is called a limited 25-year warranty, it’s usually not all that helpful since it only applies to the head, which is essentially the frame. Under normal operating circumstances, it will never break, and if it breaks due to a drop or other accident, the repair won’t be covered.

Built-in needle threader: Most machines come with a built-in needle-threading mechanism to save sewists the often frustrating work of grappling with the tiny eye. However, in practice, some of these mechanisms are fussier to use than just doing it yourself. Still, if you have poor eyesight, a good needle threader can be a huge help, no matter how finicky it is.

Adjustable presser-foot pressure: A machine with this feature allows you to adjust the pressure of the presser foot to make it easier to sew a variety of fabrics or projects of varying thickness. This is a rare feature at this price range—available on just a few of the machines we tested—but it’s nice to have for the occasional instance when you need it.

The 2017 update to this guide included testing of seven models. In 2022, we tested 12 machines, including our former picks and new contenders. Six of the machines were mechanical and six were computerized, and they ranged in price from about 150 to 500.

How we tested

In updating this guide, I put our 12 candidate machines through their paces and came out the other side with a dress, a jumpsuit, an athleisure ensemble, a backpack, a tote with many useful s, a pair of overalls, a quilt, and a pile of finished mending and alterations that had been staring at me pleadingly from their basket of shame for far too long.

I logged over 40 hours of total sewing with the test group, read every machine’s included manual, and frowned at tangled birds’ nests in bobbin casings more than a dozen times. A few of the machines even came on a beachside vacation with me, as I put their portability to the test. I began testing with a straight stitch on plain quilting cotton, and then I tested each of the machines with a stable fabric like linen, a fussier fabric like cupro, a knit athleisure fabric, heavy waxed canvas paired with thick cotton webbing, and an assembled quilt stack to see how they would handle different situations. I also sewed buttonholes according to each machine’s instructions, with varying degrees of success.

I didn’t use formal metrics to measure stitch quality, instead going by feel and visual cues: How easy was it to feed fabric through? How did the stitches look? I also kept an eye out for different things depending on the fabric: Did the stretch stitches make a ripply mess on knit fabrics? How did the look and ease of use change when I used a walking foot? Did it feel like I was having to muscle a quilt sandwich or a multilayered bag or bottomweight project through a machine, or did it slide through easily? Did the presser foot leave marks on delicate fabric?

Rather than just sewing test stitches, I found it helpful to use the machines for actual projects. This approach revealed both pain points and delightful surprises in everyday sewing tasks such as swapping presser feet, changing needles, switching between stitch patterns, and beginning and ending seams. When I inevitably jammed the thread (some things never change, no matter how experienced you become), I had the opportunity to test how easy or difficult it was to remove the machine’s needle plate and clean out the ruins of the bobbin casing. Lucky me!

Extensive testing in such practical applications helps reveal quirks that might not present themselves in quick run-throughs of comparison tests, as in the case of the machine that started stitching just fine on a quilt sandwich (not a snack, but actually the term for batting between layers of quilting cotton) but soon began making a horrible banging sound as it stitched. (It could quilt, yes, but it was absolutely making its complaints known to the management. It would rather not.)

As I evaluated each model, I also considered ongoing availability, price. features, and included accessories. The last two points are especially important since this guide is for the beginner to advanced beginner sewist, who might not specialize in any one type of project yet. In other words, versatility is key.

After my controlled testing weeded out the less promising machines, I tested the top contenders repeatedly on different projects to discover even more of their secrets.

A word on sewing machine dealers

If you buy your machine through a big-box retailer, you’re largely on your own if your box gets banged up in shipping or a similar mishap. It’s a different story if you find a local sewing machine dealer to buy from.

If you purchase your machine through a dealer, you may miss out on some discounts or extra-fast shipping and convenience, but dealer machines often come with classes, tune-ups and other servicing, or other perks in exchange for buying directly. Plus, by visiting your local dealer, you support local businesses and have the opportunity to try a machine out before you buy it.

“If you buy from a dealer, then you know that you’re going to have a local resource where you can buy accessories you know for a fact will fit your machine,” Lauren Taylor said. “I know for a fact that there is someone who can repair your machine or replace parts.”

Our pick: Brother CS7000X

The best sewing machine for most beginners

This compact, computerized sewing machine offers more features and accessories than others in its price range.

Buying Options

The Brother CS7000X seems almost too good to be true thanks to its combination of a reasonable asking price, a wide variety of computerized stitches, reliably excellent performance, an impressive range of accessories, and a surprisingly compact footprint (just 16 by 8 inches, in its included hard cover). All together, these things make it an easy recommendation for anyone looking to pick up their first sewing machine.

The CS7000X costs less than many of the other sewing machines we tested but comes with more features and delivers better all-around performance. It offers more preprogrammed stitches (70) than you can find in the Janome C30 (30) and any of the mechanical machines we tried, and it includes more presser feet (10) than the Brother HC1850 (eight) and the Bernette 37 (five). It’s equipped with eight different automatic buttonholes, and the included manual is a great resource for making the most of these options, letting you know when you might choose to use a keyhole buttonhole versus, say, a stretch buttonhole. Less necessary stitches include options such as little daisy-chained rows of hearts—not as practical as, for example, a lightning stretch stitch but fun to play with and cute for decorative use or quilting.

But the real beauty here is everything else that comes in the box. Reading through a pattern and realizing that you don’t have the required presser foot to complete a step is especially frustrating, but it’s not a problem you’re likely to have with this machine. It comes with the standard zigzag foot attached right out of the box but also includes a buttonhole foot, an overcasting foot, a monogramming foot, a zipper foot, a blind-stitch foot, a button-sewing foot, a quarter-inch piecing foot, a quilting foot, and, most impressively, a walking foot. Walking feet are rarely included with beginner-level machines but are particularly helpful for fabric that might be prone to shifting, whether that’s a stretchy jersey, a multilayered quilt sandwich, or a slippery lightweight fabric. Both Brother models we tested came with a walking foot, as did the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 and the EverSewn Sparrow 30s, but none of the others in our testing pool did. A walking foot works with the feed dogs underneath to move fabric through the machine evenly, helping you get clean results on your project. (If this whole paragraph is Greek to you, see this handy overview of many kinds of presser feet.)

Another rare level-up the CS7000X offers is its included extension table, which widens the sewing area from harp to edge from 10 inches to 17 inches. None of the machines under 200 in our test group offered this accessory in the box, and even the Bernette 37, the most expensive machine at 500, didn’t come with one. Extension tables are typically a separate accessory, and they’re quite useful because they give you room to work and to distribute the weight of your projects, making it easier to keep your fabric under control for larger projects like quilts. In another nice touch, the table snaps into grooves on the machine itself, so it remains stationary and steady. On some other machines we tried in this test round, the extension tables were entirely freestanding—they nestled up to the machine but didn’t attach, which allowed them to sometimes move under the things I was trying to sew.

The Brother CS7000X is equipped with a wide variety of programmed stitches, and it comes with lots of accessories standard in the box. Photo: Connie Park

The CS7000X’s accessories compartment is one area where it falls short of some competitors. One of the tabs that attach the compartment to the machine snapped off almost immediately during our testing, and you need to put the accessories in a plastic bag lest they fall out of a hole in the compartment. Photo: Connie Park

The CS7000X comes with a nice variety of presser feet and accessories, including a walking foot (not shown here). Photo: Connie Park

Using the machine is plug-and-play: Plug the foot pedal into the machine and plug the machine into the outlet, and you’re stitching in no time. Photo: Connie Park

The Brother CS7000X is equipped with a wide variety of programmed stitches, and it comes with lots of accessories standard in the box. Photo: Connie Park

Using the machine is easy and, for the most part, intuitive. The stitch patterns are printed directly on the machine, saving you the trouble of digging through the manual to find a chart, and the LCD screen tells you which foot you should use for the stitch pattern you have selected. The stitches are even, the machine is quiet, and in my testing it handled all the varieties of fabric with aplomb—including multiple layers of heavy canvas layered with foam interfacing, during the construction of a particularly sturdy tote bag. As my notes read, “Like butter.”

Although this machine is mostly plug-and-play, be sure to page through the manual to save yourself some frustration with a few of its quirks. The default needle position at startup, for one thing, is to the far left instead of in the center—a setting that you can easily change but leaves you wondering why it’s like that to begin with. The manual also fills you in on the clever shortcuts the machine has to offer. For example, if you stop sewing in the middle of a seam, the needle stops in the down position by default, which is helpful for turning corners on projects or pausing to make adjustments without accidentally moving your fabric. This setting isn’t the default on all computerized machines: The EverSewn Sparrow 30s, to name one prominent competitor, requires that you push the needle up/down button during each sewing run to trigger stopping with the needle in a down position. Finally, if you’re forever forgetting to backstitch at the beginning and end of your seams, you can turn on a feature on the CS7000X to automatically do it for you.

Winding and loading the bobbin and threading the machine are easy enough, and I quickly got the hang of the automatic needle threader. Because the machine features a quick-set bobbin, sewists don’t need to grab onto the thread tails when they start sewing, nor do they even need to draw the bobbin thread up to begin sewing in the first place. This sew-and-go ability is one extremely convenient feature of computerized machines like the CS7000X that is nonexistent in mechanical machines.

You’ll find some nice accessibility features here, too, such as a sliding switch for adjusting the sewing speed. This is a trait that all six of the computerized machines in this round of testing share, and it is not available on manual machines. Other extras include the option to turn off the beeping sounds on startup (a feature that Samantha Waude called out as being a great option for people who have sensory-processing issues relating to sound), as well as a start/stop button that allows you to operate the machine without a foot pedal. Again, this last item is a feature that doesn’t exist on mechanical machines, and it can be helpful to reduce muscle fatigue from using the foot pedal, or for those who can’t use the foot pedal at all.

Overall, this sewing machine is easy to use and approachable, yet it also offers impressive longevity and features; some of the more serious sewists I know are still using their previous-generation computerized Brother machines with no complaints or plans to upgrade, even years after their purchase. I also recommended this machine to a very new sewist who recently caught the bug, and she has been thrilled with it so far, commenting that in quality and ease of use it’s far superior to the machine she had borrowed to learn (a mechanical machine from Singer’s Heavy Duty line).

Flaws but not dealbreakers

That a sewing machine at this price would have a few drawbacks isn’t surprising. But the good news is that they’re not insurmountable.

As previously mentioned, it’s annoying that the CS7000X’s default needle position is not in the center when you turn on the machine, and although you can move the needle to a custom position on a straight stitch for precise placement, the manual doesn’t make it immediately obvious how to do so. (Spoiler: You use the stitch width adjustment buttons in straight-stitch mode to move the needle.) The presser foot’s pressure isn’t adjustable, either—an omission that might frustrate more experienced sewists in some cases but doesn’t come into play often. The only computerized machine we tested that offered this feature was the EverSewn Sparrow 30s, and the Singer Heavy Duty and Bernette 05 manual machines we tried have the feature, as well.

The CS7000X offers an impressive array of buttonholes, all of which are automatic and one-touch, but on default settings some of them came out a little scraggly looking (though still usable) in our tests. You can remedy these aesthetic flaws by fiddling with the stitch length, but we were surprised to see that the buttonholes were less than polished by default.

Brother keeps the CS7000X’s price down by using a metal interior frame but wrapping it in plastic casing—a cheap-looking exterior that belies the machine’s power and utility. Anecdotally, my machine arrived with one of the accessory storage compartment’s tabs nearly snapped off; it hung on only until the first time I removed the storage compartment to use the machine’s free-arm feature. The compartment still stays attached thanks to the surviving tabs, but for a high-stress component of the machine, we expected a sturdier connective piece.

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