Mechanical vs. Computerized Sewing Machines

differences between computerized and mechanical sewing machineThe contention between mechanical and computerized sewing machines began when the latter was introduced in the market and it has been going on ever since. These two sewing machines have their advantages and disadvantages.

All in all the choice of which one to choose comes down to what is right for an individual.


What is a Mechanical Sewing Machine?

From its name, we can say that a mechanical sewing machine is a basic sewing machine that requires knobs. These knobs can either be turned up and down, or twisted right and left to adjust the settings.

With the competition in the market, some manufacturers have produced high-end mechanical sewing machines that have some additional features. Some of these features include decorative stitches, diverse foot pedal settings, and buttonhole stitches.

Mechanical sewing machines that are produced mostly, however, are the regular type. These machines are widely known for making simple stitches and only the pros can add some creativity and done a little embroidery and quilting.

The basic mechanical sewing machines make less precise stitches and cannot perform decorative sewing stitches unless one has honed their skills in doing embroidery.


Benefits and Drawbacks of a Mechanical Sewing Machine

Though technology keeps on changing and coming with better ways to make work easier. There is still great production of mechanical sewing machines. Some sewers prefer using mechanical sewing machines throughout their life compared to computerized machines.


Even though mechanical machines make plain stitches, there are many reasons why they are still loved and are in the market currently. Some of the reasons include:

  • Affordable

Mechanical sewing machines are made to perform simple stitches and for this reason, they are cheaper than electronic sewing machines. Top brand mechanical sewing machines are less costly compared to top-end automated sewing machines.

Therefore, you can purchase a mechanical sewing machine at a lower price. There is no need for paying highly for a sewing machine that you do not require.

  • Simple

Sewing is an art that started a long time ago and has been passed on from generation to generation. You have probably watched your grandmother sew on an old pedal-style machine at one time when you visited her. We can conclude that a mechanical sewing machine is as modern as the owner wants it to be.

  • Reliable

If you honed your skills using a mechanical sewing machine, you will be very familiar with it. You know what to do to make the machine sew the way you want, instead of putting it in electronic components’ hands, which is hard to figure out when bugs pop up. Everything is under your control with a mechanical sewing machine. 

  • Non-tech savvy

Technology is the best thing that ever happened. When you dedicate your time to learn how to use it, your work will be simple and flowing smoothly. Nonetheless, not everyone has the patience to acquaint themselves with technology. Additionally, very many parts of our lives are automated.

Some people prefer to use what they know and in this case, it is the mechanical sewing machine. While some use these sewing machines to relax, unwind, and be free from computers for a little while since many of their activities all involve using a computer system.



Some of the disadvantages of these machines include:

  • Fewer stitch & buttonhole options

Mechanical sewing machines have fewer stitches and buttonholes. This will be problematic for those who love making and furnishing clothes of various styles.

  • More processes

When working with a mechanical sewing machine, you will need more processes compared to working with a computerized one. For instance, you will always have to pause to adjust settings or control the needle hence consuming a lot of time when sewing.

After weighing the pros and cons,  the durability set Brother ST371HD apart from other mechanical machines.

Search for more quality mechanical sewing machine? Take look at our Best Mechanical Sewing Machine Reviews.


What is a Computerized Sewing Machine?

A computerized sewing machine is a sewing unit that has automated controls. It performs its activities just like a typical computer world.

This sewing machine comes with a variety of inbuilt features and functions such as stitches, speed controls, stitch length adjustments, and many more.

The same way you purchase and download apps on your smartphone, you can also buy and download designs from the internet onto your computerized sewing machine.

Apart from automated sewing machines having a wide range of inbuilt designs and stitch options, they also make accurate stitches. To add to this, they also create more elaborate stitch designs making them stand out from their competition.


Benefits and Drawbacks of a Computerized Sewing Machine

Computerized sewing machines are gaining recognition in the industry and are gradually replacing mechanical sewing machines. With time, they will be the only sewing machines being used.


Some of the advantages of these machines include:

  • Automated features

These sewing machines come with many inbuilt features that allow you to work quickly and efficiently. The automated needle threader saves you the time that you will waste trying to thread the needle.

Other automated features that come along with this unit are locking straight stitch function which is ideal for reinforcing seams, auto-tying feature for securing the seams end, bobbin winder, and tension adjustment among others.

  • Various and accurate stitching

Computerized sewing machines are equipped with loads of inbuilt sewing stitches and embroidery designs for you to personalize your works.

And you have to key in the type of stitching you want, thus there is no guesswork. All you have to do is wait for the machine to do the sewing for you, in a professionally accurate way.

  • Versatility

A computerized sewing machine has been designed to handle all different types of tasks you throw its way be it embroidery, quilting, or heavy-duty sewing jobs. They have been designed to handle all types of fabric and thick or multi-layered materials do not pose a threat.

  • LCD screen

Another best thing that comes with this machine is that it offers on-screen tutorials. After having selected the stitch type, it will recommend to you the presser foot and speed that are relevant to your project.

Furthermore, some high-end models have a touchable screen, thus it is super easy to select and adjust designs.

  • Connection with internet

On certain advanced machines, you can also buy sewing designs from the internet and download them from your computer to your sewing machine. You now have a continuous supply of embroidery designs that you can include in your projects.



Some of the disadvantages of these machines include:

  • Expensive

Digital sewing machines are expensive compared to mechanical ones. Since they come with automated features and functions, there is no way they can be cheap. Some of them are more costly. You do not need to go for the highly-priced one to enjoy these additional features.

  • Short life span

Computers are known to malfunction and no amount of oil that will be able to fix it like the mechanical sewing machine.

Besides, technology keeps on changing and there will always be a new computerized sewing machine in the market with additional features.

Having done a research on all kinds of computerized sewing machines, we find Brother CS6000i to have the most stunning feature above mentioned, while it is reasonalbly priced and backed by a 25 year limited warranty.

In case that you want to get the whole picture about how to choose a computerized sewing machine, click here!


Things to Consider when Deciding Between a Mechanical and Computerized Sewing Machine

There are many things you need to consider before deciding to purchase a mechanical or a digital sewing machine.

Type of sewing you will be doing

There are different features that depend on what you are sewing.

Mechanical sewing machines perform basic stitches and have fewer embroidery options. For regular sewing and repairing of clothes, it will come in handy.

Computerized sewing machines have very many features, inbuilt stitches, buttonholes, embroidery designs, and more that you need especially if you are or want to grow into a professional.

Though they are very cool and fancy, you do not need a sewing machine that has more than 100 inbuilt stitches when you only use a few basic stitches. There is no need in paying for what you will not use.

For basic sewing such as repairs, simple home tasks, and alterations a mechanical sewing machine will serve you best.

How technology savvy are you?

Digital sewing machines have many automatic features like an automatic needle threader, bobbin winder among others. Some people find these features to be convenient and a huge time saver while the LCD screens and many buttons that are on these machines turn others off.

What is your budget?

When you compare two similar machines of the same brand where one is mechanical and the other one is computerized, then the mechanical machine will be cheaper. The mechanical sewing machine will be less expensive because of its simplicity.

This is a basic mechanical sewing machine under $150, which covers most of your needs.

In contrast, computerized counterparts tend to be costly, especially when it comes to loads of automated features. If a computerized sewing machine is way out of your budget then you can get a great mechanical sewing machine that will save you money over the computerized one of the same brand.

As follows, we give you two computerized sewing machines which fall in 2 different price ranges: around $200, and over $300. They stand out as the best one in each medium- and high-end machine.

Similarities Between a  Computerized and a Mechanical Sewing Machine

Some of the similarities between these two machines are:

Foot pedal

These two machines have a foot pedal though a computerized sewing machine can be operated without one. A foot pedal allows sewers to adjust the speed of stitches. Although working with a digital sewing machine, you can select your sewing speed on the LCD screen.

All can be used for long

Digital sewing machines are advanced with their automated functions and built-in features and can be used for many years to come. Alternatively, a mechanical sewing machine has basic features only but can also be used for several years.


Differences Between a Computerized and a Mechanical Sewing Machine

There are many differences between an electronic and a mechanical sewing machine. This article is going to elaborate on some of the basic differences between these two units.

Connection with computer

A computerized sewing machine comes with computerized features such as a USB port that allows you to connect it to a computer. Connecting your digital machine to a computer allows you to download more designs online and transfer them to your computerized sewing machine.

This is not conceivable when using a mechanical sewing machine.


A mechanical sewing machine has few control options. It features a wheel that allows you to adjust the speed of the needle when sewing. You have the power to adjust the thread tension.

A computerized sewing machine on the other hand comes with inbuilt speed controls and speed settings that allow you to work smoothly. It features automatic thread tension adjustments which ought to be done manually. This may result in poor stitch quality.


The most important thing to consider is the price of a sewing machine. We all have our budgets which we do not want to exceed.

A computerized sewing machine applies the latest technology and comes with advanced useful features that will make sewing easy and more enjoyable. All these features mean that the prices will be high compared to mechanical sewing machines.

If you desire to have a digital sewing machine, make sure that your pockets are full to spend on it without affecting your other needs.

Ease of use

Individuals who are not tech-savvy often find computerized sewing machines hard to use. Even though they come with instruction manuals and systematic guidance on how to use some of them still leave beginners very much confused.

Mechanical sewing machines on the other hand are easy to use for non-tech savvy people since they do not feature so many additional features.


With their wide range of automated features, computerized sewing machines can be used for many projects including embroidery and quilting. They can also sew all types of materials from lightweight to multilayered materials.

Mechanical sewing machines alternatively are used for basic simple home projects and repair works.


Which Sewing Machine Should I Pick?

It is clear how a computerized sewing machine differs from a mechanical sewing machine. When deciding which machine to buy, you should consider that one which is easy to operate while it has all the features you require for your sewing task.

If you have a low budget, you should pick a mechanical sewing machine since it is cheaper than its computerized counterpart.

At the same time, if you love technology and would not mind increasing your budget a bit, then you can go for a computerized sewing machine to enjoy all the additional features that come along with it.

For a beginner, it is advisable to buy a mechanical sewing machine that has the basics that are required to learn then when you have honed your skills perfectly you can go for the digital machines with hundreds of inbuilt stitches.

All these sewing machines will serve you for a long time when properly maintained.


How to Sew with a Computerized Sewing Machine?

The following steps will guide you on how to sew using a digital machine.

Set up the machine

Find a good reliable table to place your machine on and then connect the power cable and foot pedal to the machine.

Most digital machines come with foot pedals so you may not need to connect them. The other connections are similar to connecting a regular sewing machine.

Bobbin threading

Most sewing machines come with extra bobbins and you need to use the bobbin winding system to fill it up. Put the thread into the spool pin, pull out the thread and lead it through the tensioning disc then bring back the thread to the bobbin.

Insert it through the side hole, wrap it around severally, then put the bobbin in its pin. Lock the bobbin in place and run the machine. It will stop automatically once the bobbin is full.

Stitch selection

Digital sewing machines feature LCD touch screens that allow you to select your stitches. Since they have wide stitch selections it is virtually impossible to select stitches using dials.

The display screens display the stitches drawing themselves for fast and easy referencing during the selection process. Stitch length adjustment and stitch width can be made using the display screen.

Advanced features and adjustments

Digital sewing machines have many advanced features such as speed control that allows you to choose between the three, low, medium, and high, speeds so that you can perform tasks at a speed that you are comfortable with.

It also provides you a start/stop button, for resetting your foot without using the walking pedal. Some other features include an automatic needle threader, needle up/down, varied thread tensioning, and an automatic thread cutter that cuts the thread immediately after stitching.

Stitch style downloading

These sewing machines allow you to download additional stitch patterns from the internet and integrate them onto your sewing machine. The USB cable that comes with this machine allows you to transfer the designs into your sewing machine.

Test your sewing machine

After connecting your machine, threading and selecting the speed, finally the stitch pattern to use. Test the working of your machine on a piece of cloth to ensure that it is functioning correctly.



1. How Do Computerized Sewing Machines Work?

If you know how a basic sewing machine works, you will have an easy time understanding the computerized one. Though it is mostly the professional sewers that can exploit computerized sewing machines, they are fairly easy to figure out.

With a computerized sewing machine, you can program your machine from the LCD screen on the side. The software in the computerized machine controls all the gears of the machine including the feed dog, tension discs, and needle bar among others.

Still with this, you need regular practice and patience for you to become fully efficient with the unit.

2. Are Computerized Sewing Machines Easy to Use?

Well, it depends on the complexity. Machines are meant to make our life and work easier. But learning how to operate one is not as simple as ABC. Once you got the hang of it, work can’t be more convenient and easier.

Computerized Sewing Machines feature very many stitches and other automated functions which causes a high learning curve. Trying to learn sewing using a digital sewing machine with too complicated functions will probably confuse a beginner and you might end up losing interest in sewing together.

If you are a sewer that has already used a mechanical sewing machine and wants to learn something new or want to reduce the time you spend on your projects and increase productivity simultaneously, then you will have no trouble using a computerized sewing machine of any type.

3. Do Computerized Sewing Machines Have a Foot Pedal?

Yes, a digital sewing machine has a foot pedal, though it can be used without one.

A foot pedal is used to adjust the speed of the stitches on a regular machine. A computerized sewing machine has advanced features including an inbuilt speed setting adjustment that allows you to change the speed of stitches when working.

However, a computerized sewing machine can work with or without a foot pedal. If you do not like working minus a foot pedal you can reattach it and continue working.

4. Do the Computerized Sewing Machines Work with Mac Computers?

Most of the digital machines are not compatible with Mac computers. However, you can look through the reviews of each type of machine you are considering.

When you plug in the USB cable that comes with the machine into a Mac, it will register as an external hard drive. With this, you can easily drag your files to the memory of the machine. The files can be viewed on the screen display and then you can have it embroider the design on your task.



Choosing what machine to purchase should not be a difficult task now that you have this article helping you out. For a beginner, it is advisable to go for a mechanical sewing machine such as Bernette 35 for it has the basic features that will help you sharpen your skills. If you are looking to sew a lot and do some quilting and embroidery then computerized machines with advanced stitch options like Brother HC1850 will be your best pick.