Mechanical vs Computerized Sewing Machines: Which One to Pick?

Jean Chaney
Jean Chaney
Research Writer
Jean is the brains behind her fashion label. She's a whiz with a needle and thread, and has been sewing since she was old enough to hold a pair of scissors. Jean has always read more
Reviewed By
Isabel Misner
Isabel Misner
Expert Consultant
A professional seamstress. Isabel has her own video blog where she shares her experience about all the aspects of sewing – from choosing suitable materials to step-by-step read more
Last updated: August 13, 2023
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Torn between picking between a mechanical vs computerized sewing machine? We’re here to help! For the longest time, the mechanical sewing machine was dominant. It’s not until the late 1900s that the computer-controlled version was introduced.

So, do you take advantage of technology, move with the times and pick the latter? Does opting for the mechanical sewing machine mean you’re stuck in your ways?

What I can promise you is that both machines are solid options. And each has a set of pros and cons. The one you pick should be entirely a matter of preference—not compulsion. Let us help you arrive at the right decision for your needs.

Mechanical Sewing Machine

Mechanical vs Computerized Sewing Machines: Which One to Pick?Before we go any further, it’s worth explaining what exactly a computerized sewing machine vs mechanical are? The differences between the two machines lie in the interface and settings. The mechanical sewing machine is as basic as it gets. It uses levers and knobs to adjust settings.

What is it?

It follows that a mechanical sewing machine requires you to manually adjust its settings. You’re responsible for twisting the knobs, moving the lever, determining the stitch length and positioning the needle. Basically, everything you need to achieve your desired stitch. Are you looking to sew a straight or zigzag stitch?


  • Cheaper: Mechanical sewing machines are reasonably priced compared to computerized sewing machines.
  • Low maintenance: Mechanical sewing machines don’t feature multiple electric parts as is the case with computerized sewing machines. This makes them easier to maintain.
  • Heavy-duty: Depending on the model you buy, you can get a heavy duty machine that can sew through almost any material.


  • Labor intensive: Because you have to choose your own settings on a mechanical sewing machine, the entire stitching process can be quite taxing.
  • Requires absolute concentration: To nail precise stitching, absolute control is required which can be difficult for a novice dressmaker.
  • Slow: Since you have to adjust the machine’s settings manually and aim for maximum concentration, the entire process can take much longer.
  • Irregular stitching: Stitches aren’t as precise when compared to those produced by a computerized sewing machine. This is especially true if you’re still new to the sewing world or if you adjust the settings incorrectly.
  • Limited function. Most mechanical sewing machines are limited in function. For example, they don’t allow you to practice decorative stitching and have fewer buttonhole options.

Computerized Sewing Machine

Mechanical vs Computerized Sewing Machines: Which One to Pick?Computerized sewing machines on the other hand feature computerized controls. Adjusting the machine’s settings is as simple as pushing a button or picking a setting on an LCD display screen!

What is it?

A computerized sewing machine uses a small computer to control the unit’s different functions. The computerized controls are responsible for pretty much everything; from adjusting your needle to your stitch length.

And as mentioned, this type of machine usually features a small display monitor designed to make operation easier. Plus, computerized sewing machines come with a bunch of integrated stitches making them extra versatile.


  • Better stitching: By simply picking your desired setting, the computerized machine pretty much does the rest. As a result, it allows for more precise and neater stitching.
  • Fast stitching: Computerized sewing machines generally operate faster than their mechanical counterparts. You’ll get the job done in no time!
  • Versatile: Computerized sewing machines offer more functions and multiple stitching options such as embroidery patterns. This makes them extremely versatile.
  • Better speed control: Computerized sewing machines allow for better speed control since you can set your desired speed. This makes it easier to perform different patterns such as stitching buttonholes.


  • Expensive: Computerized sewing machines generally fetch a higher price tag when compared to mechanical machines. Of course, this isn’t ideal if you’re working on a budget.
  • Feature dense: In a bid to attract buyers, computerized sewing machine manufactures lace their products with all sorts of bells and whistles. Unfortunately, some of these features might overwhelm the novice sewer. Not to mention the risk of paying for features you’ll never get to use.
  • Huge learning curve: This con is more perceptional than anything else. Are you a lover of all things tech or not? A less tech savvy person might find the computerized sewing machine intimidating resulting in a huge learning curve.
  • High maintenance: Much like most tech gadgets, computerized sewing machines are extra delicate. This is because they’re made up of multiple electric components which require regular upkeep to perform optimally.
  • Questionable durability: Given how sensitive electronic parts are, computerized sewing machines might not last as long as their mechanical counterparts. That’s if the model you pick isn’t deemed obsolete after a few years when a better and improved version is introduced!

Which One Should You Get?

Mechanical vs Computerized Sewing Machines: Which One to Pick?You have all the facts, now you have to make a decision between the two. Which one are you buying? The best purchase is often one that serves your needs optimally. Ascertain that by answering the following questions.

Are you technologically adept?

Do you cringe at the thought of using “new age” tech gadgets or are you the type that simply loves to embrace technology?

If you’re not one to shy away from a challenge, by all means, pick a computerized sewing machine. Besides, you can always use the instruction manual or watch the countless YouTube videos available to figure out how to use the machine.

If however you prefer keeping it basic, stick to the mechanical sewing machine.

Are you an experienced or novice sewer?

Which one is the better sewing machine for a beginner between the mechanical vs computerized model?

To a large extent, your years of experience in dress making can influence your purchasing decision. In our opinion, computerized sewing machines are much easier to operate if you’ve never attended a single dress making lesson!

Trying to override the years you learnt how to sew on a mechanical sewing machine and master the computerized version might prove to be a challenge for some. Besides, to others a mechanical sewing machine is as modern as it gets!

What’s your sewing specialty?

Do you view sewing as a hobby to whip up those simple and quick DIY home projects or repairs? A mechanical sewing machine will suffice.

If you’re however looking to take your sewing career to the next level, a computerized sewing machine with more features and function is a sensible buy.

How much are you willing to spend?

At the end of the day, how much you’ve set aside for the machine will impact your decision. As previously highlighted, computerized sewing machines are much more expensive than mechanical machines.

In Conclusion

Have you made your decision on which one to pick between the mechanical and computerized sewing machine? The machine you purchase should be one that you’re comfortable using. No use buying a machine that’ll give you a headache to operate.

Above all, make sure it’s durable and features a sturdy construction. Be sure to make your purchase from a reputable company which offers a reasonable warranty on their products. It’ll come in very handy in case the machine breaks down!

With that said, are you ready to make your pick?

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