Hand Held Sewing Machines: Which one is for you?

Hand held sewing machines are convenient, versatile, and a good solution in a pinch for a lot of sewing situations. Home isn’t the only place where you might have the need for a sewing machine fast. Depending on the hand held sewing machine you choose, you can get an easy to operate alternate to a regular machine that is portable and strong enough for some repairs of all types of materials. For this review, I am comparing the Singer Stitch Sew Quick, Singer Mini, Lycheers Mini 2-in-1, and the Sunbeam hand held sewing machines.

Quick Recommendation

If you don't need the desktop features, then buy the Singer. However, the Lycheers 2-in-1 gives you more for about the same money, making it our top pick.

Pros:

  • Small
  • Inexpensive
  • Portable
  • Repair clothes without taking them off

Portability is probably one of the best qualities of these machines and in this way they are very convenient to use. They have made sewing somewhat more convenient, and they definitely make more accurate stitches than what most folks can do by hand.

One thing to keep in mind is that hand held sewing machines are not meant to replace traditional sewing machines for regular use. Even the best handheld sewing machine will not have the capacity to perform the same quality of stitching or have the versatility that your regular sewing machine has. What it can do is provide you with a portable machine that makes mending items easier. For example, you can’t hem a pair of drapes on your regular sewing machine without taking them down but you can with a hand held machine.

Some sewers also use hand held sewing machines to learn how to sew. They are a great way to make crafts without the need to invest in a more expensive machine. Even the best hand held sewing machines are affordable and they provide the basic straight stitch that beginners must master before they begin to expand their capabilities.

Cons:

  • Most people find them difficult to use
  • Cheaply made and not very durable
  • Can't stitch heavier materials well (denim, leather, etc.)
  • Stitches don't hold as well as those made with a proper sewing machine

There are many cheap hand held sewing machines on the market. Being inexpensive is also one of their defining features. I've listed the pros and cons below in a very frank manner. If you buy one of these I want you to go in with eyes wide open about it and be at least semi-pleased with your purchase. 

One of the greatest difficulties sewers have with all types of these machines is in understanding the instructions on how to use them. Some learn how to use them through perseverance while others turn to YouTube videos for visual demonstrations that make it easier. In many cases, a demonstration makes all the difference in how well they are able to enjoy their new machine. I think it's actually better to buy an easy to use sewing machine to get started because it better prepares you for serious use.

 Singer Stitch Sew QuickSinger MiniLycheers Mini 2-in-1Sunbeam
Fabric CapabilitiesSilks, Wool, Leather, Denim, Craft MaterialsSilks, Wool, Leather, Denim, Craft MaterialsSilks, Wool, Leather, Denim, Craft MaterialsLightweight Materials Only
Size9" x 7.5" x 2"9" x 8" x 2"10" x 8" x 4"11" x 9" x 4"
Power4 AA Batteries, Adapter4 AA Batteries or AC/DC Adapter4 AA Batteries or AC Adapter4 AA Batteries or Adapter
Adapter Included?NoNoYesYes
Price$$$$
Included in BoxSewing Machine, Bobbins, Needles, Needle Threader, Thread Spindle, InstructionsMachine, 3 Threaded Bobbins, 1 Needle Threader, 3 Machine Needles, 1 Thread SpindleSewing Machine, AC Adapter, User ManualSewing Machine, Adapter, User Manual
Special FeaturesNoneNoneDesktop or Handheld Operation2 Stitching Speeds

How to Choose a Hand Held Sewing Machine

Nowadays, there are sewing machines that are available on the market for every budget, and not only that but also for every type of a project you might have. If you purchase the right sewing machine for your needs then your job will be way easier.

Take into consideration the following things when looking for a hand held sewing machine:

  • Think of your current skills and whether you want to advance those skills or not. Pros are certain to be disappointed with these machines.
  • Determine the type of sewing project you might have. Hand held sewing machines are ok for some lightweight fabrics and not for heavier fabrics.

Singer Stitch Quick 2

Singer has been a leading name in sewing machines for more than a century. The small size of the Singer Mini makes it easy to stick in your purse to take along for all types of events. When someone has to make presentations or performances in front of crowds, having a good hand held sewing machine available for clothing or costume repairs is a must. You can also keep it in your glove compartment so it is always close by when needed.

The Singer Stitch Quick is white and operates on 4AA batteries or with an AC/DC adapter, sold separately. For best results when keeping stored in your car or other place for extended periods, purchase an adapter so you know your machine will always be ready to go. It comes with 3 threaded bobbins, 1 needle threader, 3 machine needles and 1 thread spindle.

Singer Stitch Sew Quick

This Singer comes with everything you need to make a repair immediately and it claims to be durable enough to stitch heavier materials like denim and leather, although the experience of actual users tells me that doesn't work for everyone. The instructions are better than the Sunbeam and people seem to generally have a better experience with this machine. The company's support is top-notch as well. Singer is a very reputable company that specializes in sewing machines and if a hand held model is right for your circumstances and you don't need the desktop functions, this is the one to get. I recommend both the Singer models as they are extremely similar. 

Lycheers Mini 2-in-1

This machine differs from other hand held sewing machines my offering you the choice in handheld or desktop operation. It has the portability and ease of use that you will find with other machines and some additional features that could make it even more versatile for you. It has two stitching speeds and uses either 4 AA batteries or the AC adapter which is included. For crafts and repairs, use it on a desk for two-hand operation. For repairs on the fly, use as a traditional handheld machine.

Sunbeam Hand Held Sewing Machine

The short answer here is that I don't recommend this machine. Though it's made by a reputable brand, virtually no one who buys it actually likes it. After scouring the internet for someone with something nice to say, the only positive reviews were on Amazon and from people who had received a free machine in exchange for the review. A common complaint is that the instructions are so poor that users have a hard time even figuring out what to do with it. The Sunbeam is usually a few cents cheaper than the Singer, but not worth it at all. 

Summary

If you have a good quality hand held sewing machine you can make quick repairs around your house in no time. You can make clothing out of scratch and repair the ones that are already damaged. There are a wide assortment of handheld sewing machines available so you can find a machine that meets your specifications.

All of these machines are relatively inexpensive and all of them have a narrow use case versus a full-size sewing machine. If you understand their limitations though, you can get a very affordable machine that is useful for small jobs, travel purposes and other sewing situations where you're in a pinch or need a small machine to do jobs in place. 

I recommend the Lycheers Mini 2-in-1, unless you don't care about the desktop features, in which case the Singer will do.

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