A handheld sewing machine is a handy little device that’s so useful to have around the house since it can be used for quick and simple sewing projects and alterations like hemming pants or fixing ripped stitches in old clothes.
This compact, handheld tool looks deceptively simple – at first, you may mistake it for a stapler! However, it’s the chosen tool for casual sewers, since it is much cheaper than a regular sewing machine but still very effective. If you’re a complete beginner with simple sewing needs, you may want to consider buying this tool.
What are the best handheld sewing machines? The best handheld sewing machines have a reasonably high power and functionability for their size, are well-made, and three or four thread points (including an adjustable tension knob).
It is especially helpful to read reviews for handheld sewing machines, however these reviews must all be taken with a grain of salt. Many find these small machines difficult to operate, especially at first, and many have unrealistically high expectations of these very basic, but handy, sewing machines.
There are so many brands that offer the same type of handheld sewing, so if you don’t know how these tools work or what to look for, below is our complete buyers’ guide and list of the best-rated handheld sewing machines to help you get started.
Buying a Handheld Sewing Machine, What to Know
A handheld sewing machine is a portable, versatile tool that can help you with your everyday sewing needs. Its compact size and light weight allow you to work even while wearing the garment, and it’s the perfect tool to take with you on the go.
Most handheld sewing machines are very lightweight and are designed to fit in one hand, so you can hold it while you sew. Alternatively, you can set it up on a flat surface to work, similar to a full-sized sewing machine.
This convenient tool is great for quick repairs since most modern handheld sewing machines are battery operated and cordless. It is normally very simple to operate – once you know how to use it – especially for a sewing novice who just needs to mend the occasional rips or seam.
It is designed to help you work without taking off the garment, so it’s perfect if you just want to make quick fixes.
Things to Note
Keep in mind that a handheld sewing machine cannot be used to completely replace a traditional, full-powered sewing machine, since it is not designed to be used for a prolonged period. The machine is designed with an “on” button that you need to continuously push while sewing, which can be tiring for longer projects.
Many are disappointed with their handheld sewing machines, expecting them to function as well as high-powered full machines, but this just isn’t possible. You may also wish to look up video tutorials before you use them, as some find the handheld models tricky to figure out.
And if you’re looking for a smaller machine because you’d like one that is quieter, we’ve got another article for you on the quietest quiet sewing machines available today.
Furthermore, you can only use this small tool for lighter fabrics, since it’s not durable enough to work with thick fabric like denim or corduroy. Most handheld sewing machines can only work with a total thickness of up to 1.8mm, you won’t be able to use it on thicker materials.
Due to its small size, it is also quite limiting in what you can sew since you won’t be able to pull much fabric through the inside of the machine. It would work best when sewing seams and not joining larger pieces of fabric together. Larger projects often need a large throat machine.
Portable sewing machines are designed for beginners and quick fixes, so professionals and those with some sewing skills may find it limiting. It is designed to sew a single straight stitch with one bobbin, so you will not be able to use it to work on bigger projects that require other, more functional stitches.
Due to its compact design, a handheld sewing machine will not be able to stay on for a prolonged period of time. If you keep it up for too long, the machine may overheat, so it is best that you take frequent breaks to help the machine cool down before continuing work.
Overall, we recommend this handy little device for quick alterations and small projects, not extensive garments that you will need to make from scratch.
Now that you know the pros and cons of having a handheld sewing machine, let’s learn about this tool’s basic features:
Most handheld sewing machines have a compact, cordless design. The machine is battery-operated and can function while it’s set up on a flat surface or held in one hand. It is fully portable and can fit into a small handbag if you need to take it on the go.
However, there is also an option of using some handheld sewing machines with a 6V power cord, although you will often need to buy a separate power cord to use it. However, compared to the use of AA batteries, using a power cord will save you more money in the long term.
Most handheld sewing machines have three or four thread points, including an adjustable tension knob, so you can adjust how your stitches look, similar to a full-sized sewing machine.
Ideally, there is also a fastening plate to help you secure the fabric while you work.
A handheld sewing machine usually has a bobbin thread attachment and a needle at the front, where you can run the fabric through the machine to sew.
Setting up this small tool only takes a few minutes, which is much more convenient compared to full-sized sewing machines, especially if you only need to make quick fixes.
Operating this machine should be easy since it only has a single button that turns it on. Once the thread is properly set up, you can hold your hand on the “ON” button while pushing the fabric through, and it will start sewing.
It’s helpful to read reviews to determine which are easiest to set up, but again be cautious – someone will inevitably find handheld models difficult, yet many can figure it out with a little help from online tutorials.
Because of its compact size, a handheld sewing machine can only sew a straight stitch. It is handy for lighter fabric that doesn’t stretch, such as linen. For thicker fabric like denim or stretchy fabric like knits, you may have some difficulties as this machine is not designed to work with complicated stitches or thicker fabric.
A handheld sewing machine only works with one bobbin instead of the two bobbins that you see in conventional sewing machines, so you will have to make a knot to seal off the two ends of the stitches after sewing.
The machine is designed with an adjustable tension knob, so you can still adjust your stitches to fit the fabric and the project. However, it’s not as versatile as conventional sewing machines in terms of customization.
If you’ve decided that a handheld sewing machine is for you, below are our recommendations of the nine highest-rated handheld sewing machines.
9 Best Handheld Sewing Machines
We have done our research and found nine of our favorite, most highly-rated handheld sewing machines out there (say that five times fast!):
|1.||PiAEK Handheld Sewing Machine||Best overall performance|
|2.||Amazing Creations 2-in-1 Mini Hand Sewing Machine||Manually powered|
|3.||TailorBox Handheld Sewing Machine & Thread Kit||Comes with full thread kit|
|4.||Singer Stitch Sew Quick Bundle||Ideal for repairs|
|5.||PNBO Handheld Sewing Machine||Works on a variety of materials|
|6.||CENGOY Handy Stitch Sewing Machine||Sturdier with 4 thread points|
|7.||Amazing Creations Portable Sewing Machine||Ergonomic handle|
|8.||SiddenGold Handheld Sewing Machine||Simple beginner set|
|9.||GiWuh Handy Stitch Sewing Machine||Simple beginner machine|
We have also included a full review of each so keep reading for more about each of these fantastic machines. Happy sewing!
1. PiAEK Handheld Sewing Machine
The PiAEK portable sewing machine is well liked by sewing enthusiasts because it is so lightweight, easy to use, and works surprisingly well for such a small machine. Its portability allows the tool to be useful when you’re on the go or even on professional photoshoots, as it can be handy to make quick fixes even while wearing the garment.
The machine is operated by four AA batteries or a 6V power supply, you can use whatever suits your needs. The cordless option is obviously more versatile since you can take it on the go, but if you’re hoping for a cost-saving option where you don’t have to change out the battery every once in a while, you can use the power cord. Keeping the cord with you is also a good idea in case your batteries run out at the worst moment!
This machine is so easy to assemble and set up, with what seem to be only three thread set points and one bobbin holder, so you can get it up and going in no time.
The machine comes with a full set of 8 bobbins in different colors, including white and black, and other sewing accessories to help you get started (safety pins, tape measure, thread scissors, and a needle threader).
Overall, this machine is a good investment for those who just need to make quick alterations around the house without having to buy any other sewing accessories.
2. Amazing Creations 2-in-1 Mini Hand Sewing Machine
These miniature handheld sewing machines from Amazing Creations may surprise you, and not just because they look like a 2-for-1 stapler pack!
These lightweight machines are a great gift for a beginner who has just started learning how to sew but is intimidated by a full-powered machine, or anyone hoping to have a no-fuss, yet surprisingly capable, sewing machine in their purse.
These sewing machines are unique and completely manual – no batteries or corded power supply necessary! There’s no risk of batteries running out of juice at the worst moment, nor getting stuck without an outlet nearby.
To operate these manual sewing machines, simply press down one-handed as if you were using a handheld stapler. Gently pull the fabric with the other hand, and you’re sewing a simple straight stitch! If anything, these might be easier than the electric or battery-powered models, since you control the speed yourself.
This package includes four extra bobbins with thread, an extension spindle, a threader, scissors, and multiple sewing needles in a convenient carrying case. These are great simple machines to have around.
3. TailorBox Handheld Sewing Machine & Thread Kit
This handheld sewing machine can inspire any beginner to get started with sewing. It’s super lightweight and takes up so little space, so it’s super easy to store and take with you on the go. Plus, it comes with a full set of bobbins and extra thread in a wide variety of colors and a portable plastic sewing box.
Similar to other handheld sewing machines, it can be battery operated as well as connecting to a power source using a USB cable. The package includes a cable that you can connect to any power source, which is a big plus compared to other handheld sewing machines on this list.
This tool has four thread points, so the thread is extra secured while you work. You can also adjust the thread tension, which will help you customize how your stitches will look. Setting up and operating this tool is very easy and straightforward, so you don’t have to worry if you don’t have any sewing skills to start with.
We love that it comes with an extensive package of accessories, including a threader, an extension spindle that allows you to work with bigger thread spools, extra sewing needles, a pair of scissors, a leather ruler, 32 prewound bobbins and 32 more thread spools.
It’s enough to help you work on any sewing project, without having to buy any additional materials!
4. Singer Stitch Sew Quick Bundle
This handheld model from trusted sewing machine brand Singer is a fantastic choice for anyone who needs a go-to machine for repairs and quick fixes. It is designed to handle almost any on the spot repair and can even handle light to medium weight fabrics!
It has all the features you can expect from a handheld sewing machine, allowing you to sew a variety of materials with a touch of a button. It is powered by four AA batteries (not included) and is always cordless.
This compact tool has three different thread points and an adjustable tension knob, allowing you to customize your stitches as you work. Keep in mind, however, that its capacity for heavier weight fabrics is likely still limited, which is why its best suited for repairs.
This package includes 12 bobbins with different color polyester threads, 10 needles suited for different fabric weights, a threader, and an extra spindle that allow you to work with bigger thread spools. Setting it up and adjusting the settings is super easy, and it’s also a quick and convenient option for travelers.
5. PNBO Handheld Sewing Machine
Don’t let the plain exterior fool you, this little sewing machine can inspire any beginner to get started with sewing. It’s super lightweight and takes up so little space, so it’s super easy to store and take with you on the go.
Operating with 4 AA batteries, this tool has three thread points. There is also an adjustable tension knob. Setting up this tool is similar to other models, so even if you have trouble following the convenient instruction manual, you will be able to find useful tutorials online.
This model is another great option that works with a variety of fabrics. It is advertised as being suited to even denim, wool, leather and silk; however, we don’t recommend counting on its usefulness on denim and leather. While this is a solid handheld sewing machine, it is most likely better saved for lightweight sewing projects.
The PNBO machine comes with a threader, 3 spools of different colors, a sewing needle, and instructions. It appears to come with a spindle extension as well. You can get started on your first couple of projects while you ease into using this machine.
6. CENGOY Handy Stitch Sewing Machine
This mini handheld sewing machine is another great option for beginners hoping to learn how to sew, as well as those who are just looking for a versatile and convenient machine to help them make small alterations with a lighter fabric.
This is one of the sturdier options on this list, as the machine comes with four thread points, including an adjustable tension knob, to make sure that the thread stays put while you work. There’s also an extension spindle that comes with the machine, so you can work with a normal-sized thread spool instead of the small bobbin that comes with it.
The machine is powered by four AA batteries, not included with the box. You can also order the 6V adapter cord (not included here). Once connected to a power source, setting up this little device takes no time. Note that it is not designed to be used for a prolonged period of time, you will need to hold down the “ON” button to keep it running, so it may be inconvenient for longer sewing projects.
The package includes a threader, an extension spindle, an extra needle, a pair of scissors, a tape measure, and eight bobbins with different colored threads. It is enough for basic sewing needs and quick fixes, as well as simple projects while you’re on the go.
7. Amazing Creations Portable Sewing Machine
This portable sewing machine from Amazing Creations is another great option that works best on lighterweight fabrics. It can sew a fabric of up to 1.88mm in thickness, so it would work with a reasonably wide range of materials.
Similar to other portable sewing machines, it runs on four AA batteries, or a power cord. It’s super on-the-go convenient. Plus it boasts an ergonomic handle, making it a great option for those who are intrigued by handheld models, but worry about their hands cramping up.
Despite that handle, this machine is still compact and easy to port around.
This all-in-one sewing kit from Amazing Creations comes with four bobbins, a threader, a spindle extension, and an extra sewing needle. It also has a convenient thread cutter on the front of the machine (which is one less thing to carry around).
8. SiddenGold Handheld Sewing Machine
This sleek black handheld sewing machine from SiddenGold is another convenient option for quick fixes. It’s battery operated and super lightweight, allowing you to work in different settings and take it with you on the go.
There are only three different thread points, including a tension control that allows you to adjust the stitch. The fastening plate allows you to secure the fabric in place while working, so there’s no flimsiness while you sew.
Similar to other machines, we don’t recommend it for heavier fabric, since it can only sew up to 1.8mm in thickness. Remember to make a double knot to seal off the ends after you finish stitching since the machine only uses one thread to sew.
Operating it is super easy and beginner-friendly, you only need to fasten the fabric in place with the fastening plate, and push “ON” to get it going. Once it’s running, it’s quite sturdy and gets the job done fairly quickly. It’s also not as loud as regular sewing machines, a bonus point if you are conscious about noises.
This machine comes with two extra bobbins with different colored threads, a spindle, an extra needle, and a threader – just the basics to help you get started. Overall, it’s a good option to satisfy simple sewing needs and fixes.
9. GiWuh Handheld Sewing Machine
The GiWuh handheld sewing machine is another highly rated option with all the functions you can ask of a handheld sewing machine. Its portability and light weight means that it is perfect to take with you on the go, and it is especially handy in situations that require quick fixes like a fashion shoot.
The machine can work with all kinds of fabric, but it would work best with lighter materials like cotton or silk. It can only sew fabric thickness of up to 1.8mm, so thicker materials will not hold up as well.
Similar to other models on this list, you can use four AA batteries or a 6V power supply to work with this handheld machine. If you have a working station with a flat surface, connecting the machine to a 6V power supply may be a more sustainable option. The option to use batteries is more convenient on the go.
We should note that the batteries and 6V power cords are not included with the machine, so you will have to buy them yourself.
This box comes with everything you need to get started on sewing – nine thread spools with different colors, two sewing needles, an extension spindle, threader, scissors, and a tape measure. It’s a complete sewing kit merged into one, and it’s a perfect addition to your home even if you are a complete beginner.
If you’re confused about how these handheld sewing machines work, here’s a great tutorial from Easy Sewing For Beginners:
Easy Sewing For Beginners also has a great video showing how to thread and use a manual handheld sewing machine: