Like all pieces of equipment, sewing machines vary in price and quality. Prices can range from more than twenty dollars for a small hand stitch model to thousands of dollars for industrial grade sewing machines with multiple feature sets. The right sewing machine for you depends on how often you plan to use it and what features you need.

The cheapest machines do only straight stitches. If all you are doing is simple seams, this may be sufficient for you. If you need different styles of stitches, you will need to go up in price. There are some machines which do 100 or more types of stitches. How many sewing stitch styles do you need? Straight stitch, blind hem stitch, zip and buttonhole stitches are standard. You may want a stretch stitch along with a few decorative stitches.

Some basic features of sewing machines you should consider are: a variety of needle positions, adjustable stitch width and length, drop feed dogs and easy bobbin winding. If you change color and thread types often, an easy to thread machine will be important. Threading some sewing machines is like running through a labyrinth of parts. On other machines, all you need to do is just drop the thread into place, and the sewing machine does the rest.

A one step button hole feature is helpful. Most machines include a special foot to help create uniform, correctly sized buttonholes.

Solid construction is also important. The machine should operate quietly and not vibrate. It should have enough weight to not slowly work its way off the table during use. It should not rattle and parts should not fall off. Make sure that all of the levers, buttons and hinges are strong.

If you do embroidery, you may want your sewing machine to connect to your computer. This will allow you to make your embroidery design on your computer. You then connect the computer to your sewing machine, click the mouse and watch you machine embroider.

When shopping for a machine, bring fabric samples to the store and test out the various machines. A few minutes with a machine will let you quickly know if the machine will work for you. Also, go to several different dealers. A good relationship with the sewing machine dealer is often cited as more important than price.

If you are looking for a basic sewing machine, you'll find better deals at discount stores and online than with a sewing machine dealer. If you are buying online, make sure that the retailer is an authorized dealer for the brand. Note if the machine is new, used or refurbished and if the original manufacturer's warranty still applies. Also understand who to process a warranty claim.