Brother is one of the titans of the best sewing machine world. They have been at the cutting edge of sewing technology for generations. Seamstresses have been crafting garments using their products for literally decades. People all over the world will attest to the brand’s reputation for usability, reliability, and never-ending innovation.
Simply put, Brother is a company that has been leading from the front for many years, who have gone from strength to strength. Their extensive experience and dedication to the industry mean they are perfectly placed to understand the needs of the sewing world and provide solutions to them.
(If it’s not obvious from this introduction so far, we love Brother sewing machines)
It’s rare that they make a product that fails to live up to expectations. But as they have been producing machines for such a long time, they currently have a wide range of products on the market. Deciding to go with the Brother brand is the easy part of your decision-making process.
The real question is which one of their many brilliant products should you go for?
Today we are creating the ultimate guide to Brother’s sewing machines. From budget to premium we are going to assess, review, test, and rate 7 of their most popular products.
This is going to be a long one, so grab a drink and get comfy.
Let’s get started.
Top 7 Brother Sewing Machines Reviews & Picks
The SE400 is one of the most popular sewing machines on Amazon (and has been since it was first released). It’s a reasonably priced product that combines some high-tech features with old-fashioned reliability and usability.
- Stitch And Embroidery Functions
This machine has a very respectable 67 different stitch types and over 70 embroidery designs already built into the machine ready to use when you first set it up. Additionally, you can custom program text in over 5 different fonts (which might not sound like much, but for a sewing machine it’s darn good).
- Embroidery Area
The 4″ x 4″ embroidery area provides you with enough creative freedom to utilize the many different stitch and embroidery types available on the machine. This decently sized area is particularly useful when combined with the excellent connectivity features we will mention below.
- Computer Connectivity
The SE400 has connectivity capabilities that many other machines could only dream of. With this hi-tech machine, you can directly load “.pen” embroidery files onto the machine (the industry standard file type). There are countless “.pen” files available online for free, simply load them into the machine and be amazed as they are automatically stitched (as if by magic) in front of your eyes.
- LCD Screen
The LCD screen on the SE400 is one of the biggest and best you’ll see on any machine from any brand. It’s not exactly hi-definition, but it gets the job done. You’ll be able to control all the machines settings (and view its current status) with ease. You can even get a preview of the design you are stitching if you use the computer connectivity with a “.pen” file like we described above. This little screen turns the machine from an inanimate lump of plastic and metal into an intelligent interactive device. We love it.
What We Dislike
If we were going to be picky we would say that this machine would possibly benefit from a larger embroidery area. The 4″ x 4″ area is more than acceptable for beginner embroiderers but it can be quite limiting if you’re an experienced veteran. Larger patterns will require a different machine, which you may find yourself requiring sooner than you think.
This is a great machine that has a reasonable price tag considering how fully featured it is (despite being one of the more expensive products on this list). It’s probably best for beginner or intermediate users because of the mid-sized embroidery area. So if you are just getting started, this is a product you should add to your shortlist.
The cs6000i is one of the cheaper products on this list. It’s around half the price of the SE400 we discussed above (and if we are honest it contains about half the features). However, what the cs6000i lacks in flashy functionality it makes up with undeniable reliability. If you’re just looking for a solid machine that gets the job done, this could be the product for you.
- LCD Display
The cs6000i has a great little LCD display that can show you essential (but basic) information at a moments notice. It’s not a touchscreen and you’ll need to cycle through the menus by using the 4 buttons located on each corner of the screen. It takes a little bit of getting used to, but after a few uses, you’ll be whizzing through the menus like a pro. It’s a much smaller LCD than the SE400 above, but to be honest we are quite impressed that any product in this price bracket has an LCD screen at all.
- Oversized Table
The included oversized table is a great addition to this simple yet versatile machine. It allows you to sew larger and more interesting items like quilts (and even curtains) instead of just small garments.
- Adjustable Speed
The huge adjustable speed switch on the front of the machine can be easily adjusted while in operation. This allows you to speed through simple straight lines while giving you precision control over the machine when dealing with fiddly technical areas.
- Super Easy Threading
The threading of the cs6000i is one of the easiest of any machine we have tried. This makes it a great choice for beginners as threading can be a little bit tricky at first. Simply follow the numbered diagram and you’ll be threaded and ready to sew in no time at all.
What We Dislike
To be honest there’s not much we can fault this machine on when you take the price into consideration. Sure it’s not the most advanced machine in the world, but you’re dealing with a budget product here, and as such you have to set your expectations accordingly.
This is very much a “you get what you see” product. It’s not got any hidden features or specifications that are going to sway you. But if you are just starting out (or want a reasonably manual machine), then this is a well-built product that’s going to do exactly what it says on the box.
Brother XR9500PRW (Project Runway Limited Edition)
The XR9500PRW is the latest in a long line of products to get an endorsement from a TV show to boost sales. The amazingly popular (and influential) Project Runway have decided to allow their name to be utilized on the machine after it was regularly featured in the show.
In real-world terms all this affiliation means is that it’s got a cool logo on the side and comes in a nice color. But don’t let that put you off. Regardless of the affiliation, this is a great machine.
- Stitch Versatility
This is a seriously versatile machine that has over 100 different utility and decorative stitch types that allow you to have full creative freedom. We especially like the ultra wide 7mm zig zag stitch setting which can be used to create stunning unique pieces with the minimum of effort.
- Monogramming Functionality
There are not many machines in this price bracket that allow you to monogram automatically, but this is one of them. It’s not got the super fancy font features of the SE400 but it gets the job done. If you just want a little hidden personalization, this is perfect.
- What We Dislike
To be totally honest we are a little disappointed that the monogramming function only has one font. Don’t get us wrong, we are grateful that Brother has included the functionality at all considering the price of the machine. But we can’t imagine that it would have cost them much more to include more than one font (it’s nothing more than a few lines of code).
Another great budget option from Brother that provides versatility at a great price point. It’s around the same price as the cs6000i above and is of a similar quality. In our opinion, the stitching options on this product machine make it better for garment work, while the oversized table of the cs6000i makes it better for quilting and larger pieces.
The XM2701 is the cheapest product on this list, and if we are honest it’s a little bit basic compared to other options that are not that much more expensive. But if you’re looking for the absolute cheapest Brother machine (that’s still a decent product) then this is probably the one you are looking for. Don’t expect a detailed feature breakdown here, it doesn’t really do all that much…
- 27 Stitches
The XM2701’s 27 different stitch types are the lowest on this list, but then again this is the cheapest product. It’s more than you’d get from many other brands at this price point, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good.
- Manual Controls
The controls on the XM2701 are manual dials and there is no LCD display to let you know what’s going on. This isn’t actually as bad as it sounds, but it does take a little bit of getting used to. However, once you get a little bit of practice under your belt you’ll get the hang of it soon enough.
- Quick Change Sewing Feet
This isn’t really a “feature” but it’s a nice added bonus. The XM2701 comes with 6 interchangeable sewing feet with quick change functionality. The included feet are buttonhole, zipper, zigzag, narrow hemmer, blind stitch, and button.
- What We Dislike
Quite honestly there is nothing particularly good about this product but there is nothing particularly bad either. For the price, it’s a well-built machine that gets the job done. But to be blunt, it’s pretty basic.
To be honest we don’t really recommend that anyone gets this machine unless they are on a super tight budget. There is nothing wrong with it, and it’s great compared to what other brands offer for less than $100, but if you pay a little more you could get so much more functionality.
The cs6000i and the XR9500PRW are only slightly more expensive, but you get a much better machine for the reasonably small additional investment. In our opinion its worth saving up one more month to be able to afford the better products instead of going for the cheaper XM2701.
The XL2600i is one of Brothers older machines that made quite a name for itself when it was first released. It’s still available for sale, but we highly recommend you avoid it on a cost basis alone.
The XM2701 we just reviewed above is the successor to the XL2600i and is currently about $200 cheaper. At the time of writing the XL2600i is still for sale on Amazon at its original price from many years ago. They both the same amount of functionality (roughly) despite the older product being much more expensive.
There is absolutely no reason for anyone to even consider buying the XL2600i these days. It’s massively overpriced. To be honest we are surprised it’s even still available for sale and we imagine it will be removed pretty soon.
If you wanted the XL2600i then we have just saved you $200, get the newer, better, and much cheaper XM2701 instead.
The HC1850 is a mid-range product that is packed full of technology to make your sewing quicker, easier, and better than ever before. The connectivity combined with a lot of stitch settings make this a versatile product that’s going to get the job done regardless of what you’re sewing (or how you like to stitch).
- Stitch Types
The HC1850 has a very impressive 130 stitches to offer its users. These range from old faithful standard stitches through to impressive decorative zig-zag patterns that are captivatingly beautiful.
The HC1850 has very basic monogramming functionality which allows you to program in letters on the touch screen and have them automatically created in front of your eyes. It’s not the most advanced monogramming in the world, but it’s better than nothing.
- Quilting Functionality
This is not just a garment making machine, it also has 14 stitch settings dedicated to quilting. Additionally, included in the box is an oversized super wide quilting table to make life easier when working on bigger pieces. There is a spring action quilting foot that is precise and comfortable (and free motion quilting functionality is also included).
- LCD Display
Again the LCD display on the HC1850 is not as impressive as the SE400 we reviewed earlier on this list. But that being said, it’s more than acceptable by anyone’s standards. It instantly displays the settings your machine is currently operating on and allows for accurate and speedy setting changes (without having to dig through the manual and twist and turn a bunch of analog controls).
- What We Dislike
Again we feel the biggest issue with the HC1850 is the lack of font selection for monogramming. This really reduces the versatility of the function and it can only really be used on hidden areas or projects where the monogram is not really integral (or visible). It’s not the end of the world, but we don’t think it would have taken Brother much more time (or effort) to include an extra font or two.
This is a great mid-range machine that is packed full of features considering its price bracket. It’s one of the most versatile machines on our list with its 130 stitch types. Combine this with various quilting functions and you’ve got a recipe for success.
Anyone who envisions themselves doing both quilting and garment making on a single machine should add the HC1850 to their shortlist.
Brother PC420PRW (Project Runway Limited Edition)
Another one of Brother’s products that have been graced with the Project Runway label is the PC420PRW. If you’re looking for the best of the best, then this the machine you’ve been looking for.
It’s the most expensive (and most advanced) machine on this list, and it’s one of Brother’s flagship models that is immensely popular. Experts and beginners alike will appreciate the massive range of features the PC420PRW has to offer, and despite its hefty price tag – it’s worth every cent.
- 294 Stitches
Yup, that’s not a typo. The PC420PRW has a massive 294 stitch settings that are available at the touch of a button. The costure level consistent stitch quality is second to none. This is a professional grade machine that allows you make designer-quality garments from the comfort of your own home.
- 850 Stitches Per Minute
This is one of the fastest and most efficient machines on this list. It is capable of operating at a blazing fast 850 stitches per minute at top speed. Stitching speed can be accurately and easily controlled by the superb quality foot pedal included in the box. This means you can unleash the full force of the machine when you need it, and then instantly transition to a slower speed for delicate and tricky segments.
- Monogram Functionality
Like many other products on this list, the PC420PRW has monogram functionality. But Brother has decided to allow its customers a choice when it comes to font type. 3 fonts are built into this product allowing you to tailor your monogramming to a style suitable for whatever it is you’re working on.
- LCD Display
The LCD display on the PC420PRW is second to none. It visually displays what stitch style you are using (which can be altered at a moments notice). It also displays length and width settings (and recommendations for the proper foot type to use with your selected stitch).
- Thread Cutter
The automatic thread cutter is an invaluable feature for those who are passionate about quilting (where many individual threads are required). This time-saving functionality cuts the upper and lower threads at the end of each task automatically – meaning you can move on to the next one without having to mess around with scissors.
What We Don’t Like
To be honest this product could be a little cheaper (if we were being super picky). At almost $400 it’s the most expensive item on our list. However, despite this, we still think it’s an excellent product that is great value for money.
This is a product that’s got all the functionality and capability you will ever need. Don’t be put off by the high cost. This is a premium product, and it has a premium price tag. If you can afford the initial investment, it’s worth every single cent.
You’ll struggle to find a machine in this price bracket that has this many stitch types that can stitch quilts and garments at 850 stitches per minute. Brother market this as a professional grade product, and we can see why…
It’s everything you ever wanted a sewing machine to be (and much more).
So there you have it, a review of 7 of Brothers best-selling sewing machines. All of the products on this list are great options and we have tried to cover all price brackets to ensure that we have recommended something here for everyone.
As a bit of parting advice, we would recommend that you consider the long-term nature of your sewing machine investment when deciding your budget.
Ask yourself this: Are you going to be happy you saved $50 to get a cheaper machine 10 years from now when you’re using it?
Sewing machines can be outgrown very quickly when your skill level increases. It’s frustrating being held back by your machine.
If you get a bare-bones basic model now – you may regret it later on…
But whatever you decide to set your budget at, Brother make some seriously good machines.
Whichever one you choose, we are sure you’re going to love it.