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With 200 stitch patterns, including alphanumeric stitches and eight styles of buttonholes, it has the most of any we tested and still comes at a reasonable price. It can also sew up to 750 stitches per minute accurately. Our testers gave it an A+ for sewing accuracy and an A for ease of use.

The computerized Confidence 7640 has automatic stitch settings, but the one downside to this machine is the location of the stitch key. Instead of listing them right on the front of the machine, they’re on a separate card, which is a little inconvenient. Aside from that, it has several great features like a sewing light, extension table, thread cutter and automatic needle threader. It comes with nine extra sewing feet, including an even feed walking foot, saving you money. Speed control is also built into the machine, along with a start/stop button so the fabric you’re working on won’t get away from you if you press too hard on the foot pedal. Every time you start sewing though, the first couple of stitches are slow to ensure an accurate line.

This sewing machine put out 69.3 decibels of sound at full speed, so it wasn’t the quietest but it also wasn’t the loudest we tested. The alphanumeric stitches really make this machine stand out and can be entered into the machine’s memory. Essentially, you can program the machine to sew out a sentence while you sit back and watch. This Singer can sew so many different stitches, you’re never going to run out and it’s all-around easy to use, making it our best overall pick.

To use the different preprogrammed stitches, you simply reference the stitch key on the front of the machine. Then you change the number on the LCD screen to match the kind of stitch you want. There are 100 to pick from so the odds of having just what you need for your project are high. Along with extra accessories like bobbins and a lint brush, this sewing machine comes with five extra sewing feet and an instruction DVD you can follow along with if you’re new to the hobby.

Our testers really liked this machine and encountered few problems, giving it an A+ for ease of use and a B for sewing accuracy. It can only sew 700 stitches per minute, but most novice sewers probably won’t want to fly through their first projects anyway. At its fastest, this machine only put out 62.3 decibels of sound, making it the quietest one we tested. The average refrigerator puts out about 50 decibels, and this sewing machine isn’t much louder.

The drop-in bobbin is easy to install, but we did notice winding it takes twice as much time as most of the machines we tested. Still, waiting a full two minutes for a bobbin to wind probably won’t bother most new sewers who are just learning how to thread the sewing machine anyway. It also has an automatic needle threader to make setting up even easier, along with a sewing light and thread cutter.

We bought 3 yards of white cotton, 3 yards of white denim and 3 yards of white satin. Then we cut the fabrics into smaller pieces, some of which had curved edges, and divided them among four testers. Each tester used all 10 machines to sew at least one line of straight stitch and one line of decorative stitch along each type of fabric. Most testers did more than that though, with a couple even making buttonholes. All the testers had access to each machine’s instruction manual.

When sewing on denim, we switched the needle the machine came with for a heavy duty one purchased at a fabric store. One thing we noticed in switching out needles repeatedly is a slick layer of clear oil. While it didn’t discolor any of our white fabric, it did leave our fingers quite slippery, so you’ll want to wipe your hands off before handling any delicate fabric just in case. We also sewed a straight stitch around the curved edge of a piece of fabric to see how easy it was to maneuver. In doing this, we tested each machine’s settings to see how intuitive the machine was and whether it struggled with any particular kind of stitch.