What Is the Difference Between a Mechanical Sewing Machine and and Electronic Sewing Machine?

Today almost all sewing machines that are produced are made to 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 how long your stitches will be, whether your needle is positioned in the center or to the side, and whether you are sewing straight or zig zag. “Electronic” in this context means that you will set these machine attributes electronically, usually pushing a button or choosing a menu setting on an LCD display screen.

These computerized controls determine your stitch length, width of your zigzag, decorative stitches, 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 ones. 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.

Today many of the “cheap sewing machines” are just too cheap to last for years. Some of them are fine, and it is extremely important to read reviews. Brands which were considered by our mothers and grandmothers to be “workhorse” machines that last 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.