What Are the Pluses and Minuses of Handheld Sewing Machines?

You don’t always have to sit by your sewing machine all day and spend hours stitching. Let’s say you just want to do simple stitching or doing a quick mending. 

You have probably heard of handheld sewing machines. You might be thinking of one right now. For proper purposes, handheld sewing machines are lightweight, versatile, convenient, portable, and excellent for quick fixes, emergency repairs, and last-minute alterations. On the other hand, a larger sewing machine is typically set up at home and not mobile. However, you might also have needs at the office, on the road, or in other situations.

But are handheld sewing machines really any good? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons. It’s pretty easy to see why this device is a favorite among most sewing enthusiasts, especially beginners.

red handheld sewing machine

The pluses


One of the biggest advantages of a handheld sewing machine is convenience – the capability to be moved, stored, and transported from one place to another. Its lightness and portability make the handheld sewing machine perfect for taking to classes, on travels, during camping, or for use in small projects. You can carry it in your handbag and even in your pocket!


Compared to full-sized tabletop sewing machines, handheld sewing machines are more affordable by a mile. The relatively low price makes handheld sewing machines an excellent option for beginner sewists. These sewing machines are simple to operate, so some people who want to make clothing on a small budget might choose a handheld sewing machine.

Handheld sewing machines are affordable, usually costing less than $50, but can do decent enough work. Handheld sewing machines can come up with more precise stitches than most people can stitch by hand. You need either four AA batteries or use or an AC adaptor to get the handheld sewing machine working. There are also purely mechanical handheld sewing machines that don’t even require electricity at all.


Another advantage of handheld sewing machines is that they are safer to operate than regular sewing machines. Handheld sewing machines can’t cause injuries to your skin or fingers like regular sewing machines, especially if you’re not careful.

Definitely better than hand sewing

Hand sewing is a slower process. Hence, it will take lots of time, patience, and effort if you choose to do hand sewing. In comparison, a handheld sewing machine does faster, more consistent, and more accurate work. You may be surprised that a handheld sewing machine does more even stitches on the fabric than it does by hand. 

Various makes and models

Handheld sewing machines are available in different makes and models. Some units are better than others. But generally, they all have the same basic functions and most of them come with additional accessories. If your work concerns doing repairs and small sewing projects, a handheld sewing machine can come in handy for such jobs. In that case, a handheld sewing machine will be well worth your purchase.

Can be versatile

Many handheld sewing machines today are designed to work on a wide array of fabrics.

Portable sewing machine with close up of needle inserting part

The minuses

Not as powerful as regular sewing machines

Sure, handheld sewing machines are lightweight, portable, and convenient, but they aren’t as powerful as regular tabletop sewing machines. When you plan to buy a handheld sewing machine, always remember that it is not intended to replace the regular sewing machine for everyday use. It’s designed only for its intended purpose – emergency repairs, minor sewing work, quick fixes, and last-minute alterations.

The stitches may be inconsistent and not last long

The stitches that a handheld sewing machine creates may not last long as those made by a regular sewing machine. One of the usual complaints about handheld sewing machines is that they aren’t capable of handling heavy fabrics or multi-layer fabrics. The stitches may not hold properly. Another common complaint about handheld sewing machines is that the stitches they make tend to unravel easily. It’s all because they don’t have the same power as regular sewing machines. In addition, most handheld sewing machines only sew in a single direction.

So, if you need to do some heavy stitching or want long-lasting stitches, a handheld sewing machine is clearly not the best option.

Not as durable as regular sewing machines

Handheld sewing machines will last long as they can get. But compared to regular sewing machines, handheld sewing machines are not usually durable as they are cheaply made. Some users would complain about the user manual, which is sometimes difficult to understand. They even find handheld sewing machines complex to use at first, so they need some more practice to get the “feel” of the device.

If you want to buy a handheld sewing machine that can last for a long time, avoid the ones with a cheap plastic build.

Portable sewing machine

Best handheld sewing machine brands

As you are considering durability and quality build, it also helps if you also factor in the brand of a handheld sewing machine. Look for the ones with reputable brands, and we’ve put up a few suggestions to ensure you’ll get a quality device:

  • Singer
  • AERB
  • Jeteven
  • W-Dragon
  • Meterella
  • Charminer

Stitching with a hand held sewing machine


There is little doubt that handheld sewing machines are very convenient little gadgets to add to your sewing arsenal, in addition to owning a regular sewing machine.

Now that you have read the pros and cons of handheld sewing machines, always remember that they aren’t a replacement for full-sized sewing machines. They aren’t made for professional use but can be useful for small jobs, difficult-to-access locations, and quick alterations and repairs. 

You won’t have to fear that awful ripping sound as your favorite dress gives way to seams or your pants get caught in a wire. All you have to do is to reach into your handbag or pocket and pull out a handy portable sewing machine. At least, you can repair those ripped seams in a hurry and not have to face an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction.