The Difference Between Mechanical Sewing Machines and Electronic Sewing Machines

Electronic vs Mechanical Sewing Machines

Today almost all sewing machines produced run on electricity. To find a sewing machine run by a foot or knee treadle, you have to purchase an antique. Which makes the terms “mechanical sewing machine” and “electronic sewing machine” a bit confusing. Aren’t they all electronic?

What the manufacturers of the machines mean to convey by the terms “mechanical” vs. “electronic” is how you the user determine what your sewing machine does. It’s more about the interface and the settings of the machine. Thus, “mechanical” means that you will move knobs, twist knobs, manually move a lever, and such to determine stitch lengths, whether your needle is positioned in the center or to the side, and whether you are sewing a straight stitch or zig-zag. “Electronic” in this context means that you will set these sewing machine attributes electronically, usually pushing a button or choosing a menu setting on a LCD display screen.

The Brother  Innov-is NQ1300PRW
The Brother Innov-is NQ1300PRW

These computerized controls adjust your stitch length, width of your zig-zag, decorative stitching, and more. For many years, this reviewer was convinced that the extra expense of the electronic machines was not warranted and the electronics just one more thing that could need repairing. However, today there are a number of electronic sewing machines that compete with the best of the mechanical machines. Yes, they are more expensive, but they make up for it long term in flexibility of use as well as “solid workhorse” reliability. In fact, while researching inexpensive “workhorse” sewing machines, this reviewer was disappointed in many of the mechanical offerings and became convinced that the lower end electronic machines were a better investment today.

XM3710 Mechanical Sewing Machine
Brother XM3710 Mechanical Sewing Machine

Today many of the “cheap sewing machines” are just too cheap to last for years. Some of them are fine, but it is extremely important to read reviews. A Sewing machine that our mothers and grandmothers considered to be a “workhorse” that lasts a lifetime, may not make every model to meet such expectations these days. Read reviews, determine who covers your warranty (the dealer or the manufacturer), and purchase from a reliable source. Sewing is fun, creative, and can stretch your home budget in the long run. Investing in the right sewing machine for you is important to be able to explore all that you can do without breaking the bank. Robin Brown is a pen name for the owner of

How a Manual/Mechanical Sewing Machine Works – with Lori Griffiths

Please visit for more content from Lori Griffiths.

Electronic vs Mechanical Sewing Machine Pedal – with Brian Remlinger

Watch this video and see why you should be replacing your old mechanical sewing machine pedal with a newer style electronic one! This is of special interest to anyone with a vintage machine they want to start getting the best out of. Give your vintage sewing machine a modern tune up!

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