Mechanical vs. Computerized Sewing Machines

From quilters to beginners, sewers are often in search of a new sewing machine to practice their craft on. However, in addition to considering the different brands of machines, many sewers must question whether mechanical vs. computerized sewing machines are more ideal for them. In order to make the right choice for you, you must consider a variety of factors in order to ensure that you are investing your money in the correct machine. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Mechanical vs. Computerized Sewing Machines

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between a Mechanical or Computerized Machine
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Planned Usage

One of the main factors to consider when choosing what type of sewing machine to purchase is what projects you intend to use it for. For common hemming and other quick-fix projects, it may be more affordable and reliable to choose a mechanical machine that only features the basic elements you would need. 

However, if you plan to use your machine for more involved sewing projects like embroidery, quilting, or advanced garment making, choosing a computerized machine with included features may make your sewing more efficient. 

Adversity to Technology

Although the new technology implemented in computerized machines is useful, it is important to consider what level of technology you are comfortable with. If you are someone who prefers the manual use of buttons and dials, or you struggle to understand and troubleshoot highly technological features, then a computerized machine may not be for you.

Size and Weight

When considering whether to go computerized or mechanical, think of where you plan to store your machine and if you plan to travel with it. Computerized machines tend to be smaller and lighter, which is ideal for travel, especially if you are planning on taking the machine back and forth to classes. In contrast, a mechanical machine is more ideal for someone purchasing a machine that has a dedicated space in your house as they tend to be a bit bulkier and heavier.

Budget

When you add more features to an item, the price tends to rise. This remains true in this case as, in contrast to mechanical machines, computerized machines tend to cost more.

Benefits and Downfalls to a Mechanical Machine

Benefits and Downfalls to a Mechanical Machine
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Benefits

As mentioned above, mechanical machines tend to offer the basic functions of a sewing machine. This is not only beneficial to those who find technology confusing but because they all have similar features, there is a very little learning curve for those who have previously sewn or know how to use a sewing machine. Also, this tends to make a more beginner-friendly experience because there are fewer features to get confused by. 

Some may view the lack of extra features as a downfall, but it tends to make the cost of the machine much lower in comparison. Mechanical machines offer more reasonable prices and tend to be more budget-friendly

Another positive of the mechanical machine is its longevity. Mechanical sewing machines tend to be made of more metal pieces than their computerized counterparts which tend to depend on plastic parts. This means that the parts of the machine are denser and tend to last longer through use and other common wear and tear. Such tough materials are often also more reliable when trying to sew through tougher fabrics like denim. 

Finally, it is fairly easy to get your mechanical machine maintenance. Unlike the newer computerized models, most mechanical sewing machines were built in similar ways. This means that you can get mechanical sewing machine maintenance at just about any local sewing machine shop. Anything from part replacement to general maintenance should be manageable by anyone who specializes in sewing machines. Also, you may be able to find there is more information available to you regarding how to fix your own machine when you run into issues because most of them function the same and contain the same part makeup.

Downfalls

Of course, there are a few downfalls of mechanical sewing machines as well. Firstly, because the settings can only be adjusted through buttons and dials, there tend to be less stitch options. Also, the machines lack the ability to have some of the efficiency features found on computerized machines like automatic needle threaders and thread cutters. 

Also, some beginners find that mechanical machines can be difficult to navigate if you do not know how to use a sewing machine as the instruction manuals can be less detailed. This is usually due to an assumption of common understanding amongst sewers. To lessen this downfall, it can be helpful to use tools and how-to’s on the internet. 

Benefits and Downfalls to a Computerized Machine

Benefits and Downfalls to a Computerized Machine
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Benefits

As mentioned above, the biggest benefit to investing in a computerized machine is the inclusion of a variety of extra features. Some of the best-computerized sewing machines include features like additional stitches, one-step buttonhole features, automatic needle threaders, automatic thread cutters, and button-controlled sewing instead of a foot pedal. This can be helpful or even ideal for someone who plans to use their machine for quilting or advanced garment creation. It can also speed up or even simplify the sewing process. Another feature included in most computerized machines that may be helpful for newer sewers is the ability to set and adjust the sewing speed without relying on adjusting the pressure on the foot pedal. 

Due to the fact that many of the extra stitches are pre-set, the stitching on computerized machines tends to be more reliable and precise as there is less opportunity for user error to come into play. Although these machines boast the ability for complicated sewing, another benefit is that they do not ignore the simplistics. Almost every computerized machine still allows the user to access basic stitches for projects like hemming or other quick-fixes. 

Overall, computerized machines tend to have the largest benefits for those who participate in specialized sewing like quilting or embroidery. Computerized sewing machines offer the ability to streamline more complicated aspects of sewing in order to create a more efficient sewing process. 

Downfalls

Although the automatic features provided by a computerized machine are helpful, they can become a downfall in some situations as they negate the ability to adjust specifics on your machine to your needs. For example, an automatic tension can be helpful to beginners who do not know what their tension should be set at, but can be frustrating to someone who may need the tension to change for a new project they are starting. 

Secondly, where most mechanical machines can be fixed at any sewing shop, you will find that it is more difficult to find people with the knowledge to service newer computerized machines, and the labor and parts can be much more expensive. This is often due to the constantly changing technology of a computerized machine. 

Although such advancements can be a benefit as you are always updating the ease of use of a computerized machine, it can also be a downfall. Like other technology, there will always be an updated model with newer features, meaning you will be more likely to want to update your machine sooner when using a computerized sewing machine, which could get costly. Also, the advanced features of computerized machines in general tend to give them a higher price tag than their mechanical counterparts. 

Lastly, although most features are helpful in aiding beginners in how to sew, some of the more advanced features on computerized machines may prove confusing for beginners or for those who find themselves adverse to technology in general. 

Conclusion

Mechanical vs. Computerized Sewing Machines
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Overall, when deciding between mechanical vs. computerized sewing machines, the machine you get should be determined by what you plan to use it for, as well as a variety of personal factors such as desired features and price range. While computerized machines may be more ideal for specialized sewers, newer sewers or those looking to complete more basic projects may find greater success in mechanical machines. 

Written by Tess Howard

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