Best Portable Lightweight Sewing Machines – My Top 4 Picks

Who says you can't have a full-featured machine and portability? These lightweight sewing machines are feature-packed, versatile, and reliable.

This article will go over some of my top picks for sewing machines that are lightweight and portable, sometimes referred to as 3/4 sewing machines because of their size.

Before I get started I want to clarify the type of sewing machines I will focus on here. There are a couple different types of lightweight sewing machines. You have mini sewing machines, which typically weigh under 5 lbs (ultra portable), cost under $50 or so, and can usually be operated with AA batteries if needed. Then you have full-featured lightweight machines that weigh under 15 lbs, which is still light enough to be transported to and from sewing classes or for travel.

I am going to focus on lightweight, portable, full-featured sewing machines in this review. My top picks are based on weight since we are focusing on portability and overall features and reviews. All of these machines are under 14 lbs. Three of these are mechanical sewing machines (these are always lighter) and one is a computerized sewing machine if you wish to have the touch button controls and automatic features. Read more about computerized vs. mechanical machines if you aren’t clear on the difference.

Okay now let’s get started.

What to Look for In a Portable Sewing Machine

Obviously size is a big factor in portability. It is much easier to tote around a 12 lb sewing machine than a 20 lb machine. My main sewing machine that I’ve sewn on for years weighs about 18 lbs.

Another thing that stands out to me is having a machine that is simple and low cost. It would be devastating to drop an expensive computerized sewing machine and break or damage it – some of these machines can cost thousands of dollars.

Also, what features are a must for you? Some seamstresses have their main, heavy-duty bells and whistles machine at home that stays there and they just want to have a simple, lightweight machine to move around with. Or maybe you are going to have one and only machine but you want it to be full of as many features as you can get, yet light enough to go to sewing classes or other trips.

Top Picks for Lightweight Sewing Machines

These 4 are full-featured sewing machines from trusted brands and each of them are lightweight machines. This is an overview of the weight, various features, and the cost. Continue reading below for a more in-depth breakdown of each of these machines.

 Janome 660Singer 2277
Singer 5400Brother HC1850
Weight11.6 lbs13.6 lbs13.6 lbs13.2 lbs
Built-In Stitches122360130
Easy Buttonholes 1, 4-step1, 1-step4, 1-step8, 1-step
Needle ThreaderAutomaticAutomaticAutomaticAutomatic
Slider Speed ControlNoNoNoYes
Thread CutterYesYesNoYes
Max Speed650650750850
Presser Feet Included5338
Current Price

Janome Jem Gold 660 12-Stitch Compact Lightweight Sewing Quilting Machine

The Janome Jem Gold 660 weighs only 11.6 lbs. so it is definitely lightweight and portable, and it has enough convenience features and stitches to satisfy a beginner as well as an experienced seamstress. There are 12 stitches to choose from using a turn dial and one 4-step buttonhole.

Features of this Machine:

  • Easy reverse button
  • Built-in needle threader
  • Free arm
  • Top loading full rotary hook bobbin
  • One hand thread cutter
  • Extra high presser foot lift
  • 5 included presser feet (standard, buttonhole foot, overedge foot, sliding buttonhole foot, zig-zag foot)

Overall this is a great compact sewing machine from a trusted brand. Janome machines overall are known for being very well-built machines whether you are spending $100 or $1,000.

This does not have a built-in handle and it does not come with a carrying case but Janome has several options for cases and rolling trolleys. These are a worthwhile investment if you will be toting your machine from place to place.

SINGER 2277 Tradition Sewing Machine

The Singer 2277 weighs just 13.6 lbs. and it has 23 built-in stitches and a fully automatic 1 step buttonhole. This is a nice lightweight, inexpensive basic sewing machine.

Additional Features:

  • Automatic needle threader
  • Adjustable stitch length & width
  • Free arm with accessory storage
  • Heavy duty metal interior frame
  • Automatic reverse
  • Twin needle capability
  • Cabinet mountable

Overall owners of this machine are happy and say they were pleasantly surprised with the quality despite the low price. Other reviewers wished they had saved up just a little bit more to get a machine with more features.

The Singer 2277 does not have a built-in handle but you can purchase the Singer Universal Hard Carrying Case separately.

SINGER 5400 Sew Mate Sewing Machine

The Singer 5400 is the first electronic sewing machine in this list, which means it has touch button controls and some additional convenience features.

This machine has 60 built-in stitches and 4 buttonholes.

Additional Features:

  • Automatic needle threader
  • Push button stitch selection
  • 13 needle positions
  • Automatic reverse
  • Automatic presser foot pressure
  • Extra-High presser foot lifter
  • Free arm
  • Heavy duty metal frame for skip free sewing
  • Up to 6.5 mm stitch width

This machine does not have a built-in handle but you can purchase the Singer Universal Hard Carrying Case separately.

Brother HC1850 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine

The Brother HC1850 is another computerized sewing machine with convenient touch button controls. It has the most features and stitches of the machines mentioned her, yet weighs only 13.2 lbs. so it is easily portable.

With 130 built-in stitches, which includes monogramming, you have options for days. The stitches are shown on a convenient flip chart attached to front of machine and you choose your stitch with the touch of a button.

If you are looking for a portable quilting sewing machine, the Brother HC1850 is a perfect option becaihis particular machine has additional quilting features including a detachable wide table, spring action quilting foot, 14 quilting stitch functions, and the ability to do free-motion quilting.

Additional Features:

  • Automatic needle threader
  • Quick set bobbin
  • Wide table for large projects
  • Large backlit LCD screen
  • Drop feed for free motion quilting
  • 8 presser feet included (Zigzag foot, Overcasting foot, Monogramming foot, Zipper foot, Blind stitch foot, Buttonhole foot, Button sewing foot, Quilting foot)

This is the only machine in this list that has variable speed control so if that is an important feature for you (this is one of my must have features 🙂 ), then the Brother HC1850 is a good fit. This has built-in handle, which makes carrying it around a breeze. You can also purchase a carrying case for protection.

Overall Summary About Portable Lightweight Sewing Machines

The machines mentioned here are great options if you are looking for a full-featured sewing machine that is light enough to comfortably take along with you to sewing classes, family trips, or other situations where you need to move your sewing machine.

Keep in mind that this is not an end all be all list. There are definitely more machines out there that fit the profile for a great lightweight sewing machine.

A few more machines that I can throw out there if you want some additional options are:

I’ve also reviewed several mini sewing machines, which are tiny machines that can be operated with a battery, if that is something you are interested in.

Keep in mind that I do not own all of these machines. Although I’ve sewn on Brother, Singer, and Janome machines, sewing machines can vary so much from brand to brand and model to model so I also highly recommend reading reviews and doing some additional research if you are undecided. This provides a lot of insight from real users. Good luck on your sewing machine shopping and I am happy to answer questions if you have any.