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Best Handheld Sewing Machines

A handheld sewing machine is a useful little device that is great for quick hems, rips, and patch jobs. They also tend to be cheaper than most full-sized sewing machines, and take up less space. Here are some of our top picks.

We don't always need a heavy-duty, high-quality sewing machine for intricate embroidery jobs; sometimes, we just need something smaller but equally efficient for minor repairing and sewing needs. That's where a handheld or a "stapler" sewing machine comes in handy. These are portable sewing machines that look slightly larger than a stapler machine but can do amazing repairing, mending, and sewing jobs in a very small time. They are efficient, compact, affordable, and can help us with the small repairs around the house, or anywhere else we may need. 

In today's market, there are a lot of different handheld sewing machines, all varying in price, features, and quality. We've curated a list of the top ten best handheld sewing machines to make your search a little easier.

How much should I expect to spend on a handheld sewing machine?

Handheld sewing machines come at a variety of prices. There are some brands in the market that cost around $100 or so, but you can get a good-quality, efficient one under $50. Some smaller and travel-friendly machines are also very affordable at under $10, if you are looking for a simple machine for occasional repair jobs.

There's not much or very high-quality intricate work that you need to do with a handheld sewing machine, so they need to be as simple, compact and lightweight as possible. 

What features can you expect in a budget model?

Ease of use. Your budget friendly sewing machine definitely needs to be easy to use, so that a person who has never handled a sewing machine or even a needle in their hand can use it. Not everyone is a fashion designer or a cloth enthusiast, but everyone should know how to take care of small repairing jobs around the house. A handheld sewing machine needs to be so easy that everyone can use it. 

Durability. It will be great to invest in a model that is very durable. These devices around the house are not really used daily but they become almost crucially important in times of need. You need a brand/model that you can continue using for years and keep safely in storage when not needed. 

Weight. Lightweight handheld sewing machines are the best. You can carry them around your office bag, or carelessly toss it in your luggage while travelling.

Size. The smaller the machine, the better it is for you to carry around or store away. The ideal handheld sewing machine will be just slightly larger than a commercial-grade stapler. 

What are more advanced features that you can expect in a high-end model?

Stitching speed. When you need repairing jobs in a hurry, there's nothing better than a fast sewing machine. The more expensive options in the market are usually very fast in sewing.

Fabric range. Some of the brands available in the market can work on all types of clothes, from cotton and linen to silk, and coarser material used for curtains and carpets.

Reversible stitching. This is another option that you will be able to find in only some of the premium models, but definitely a very useful feature.

Number of stitches. If you are looking for a machine for quick repairs around the house, you won't need more than one or two basic stitches. Most inexpensive models can only give you a classic back-stitch and cross-stitch. 

Frequently asked questions

  • How does a handheld sewing machine work?
    You use a handheld sewing machine just like a stapler but instead of paper, you are stitching clothes. There is usually a button that you have to press and hold for as long as you want to keep sewing, The bigger sewing machines have to be set on a hard surface and used like you operate a normal sewing machine, but they are still small and compact.
  • Can I use a handheld sewing machine on thick fabric?
    You can, with some models. There are some inexpensive models that can only be used on regular materials like cotton, but the sturdier and more expensive models can be used on thicker fabric like denim or curtains, .
  • How many types of stitches does a handheld sewing machine have?
    The most basic handheld sewing machines can usually do a few stitches, i.e. the loop stitch, chain stitch, lock stitch, etc. 

1) Singer Stitch Sew Quick available for $13 on Amazon

Key features
  • Lightweight
  • Battery Operated/Power adapter operated 
  • Perfect for on-the-spot repairs 
  • Measurement: 8.5"X2.1" 
  • Single thread feed 
  • Comes with accessories

There’s no brand better or more renowned than Singer when it comes to sewing machines: basic, handheld or embroidery. The Stitch Sew Quick from Singer costs under $25 and is one of the best handheld sewing machines you can come across. It is lightweight and portable, but it is also a handy machine that you can use in areas that are usually inaccessible. 

Image Source: Amazon

How does this item compare to other handheld machines?

This is a complete set that you are getting from Singer, completed with the sewing machine, threads, needles, bobbins and thread spindles, all under $25. The instructions that come with this machine are easy to understand, even for someone completely new to sewing. You can use this sewing machine both with batteries or by charging with a power adapter. It is truly a portable device that you can use around the house, while standing up or lying down. The cordless device is quite useful when you are repairing the clothes you are already wearing, curtains, or bed sheets without having to remove them from the bed.

What's not so good about it?

Although this machine can work on a number of fabrics including denim and silk, the stitching isn’t really very strong. This machine can be great for a quick, emergency job but not that good for the final job. You might have to use a regular sewing machine for the final strong stitch when you have the time. This is a good enough, affordable machine for quick repairs in inaccessible places.

Pros:
  • Affordable 
  • Works with both battery and adapter 
  • Works on a number of fabric 
  • Great to work in inaccessible areas 
Cons:
  • Not very strong stitches 
  • Stitches need final touches by a regular machine
  • Good for emergencies but not for final stitching 

2) Michley LSS-202 Lil' Sew & Sew Mini 2-Speed available for $14 on Amazon

Key features
  • 2-speed options 
  • Double-thread sturdy sewing 
  • Works on different fabrics 
  • Automatic Thread rewind 
  • Lightweight 
  • Measurement: 7.5” x 4.2” x 8.2”

This sewing machine from Michley is affordable under $20, and a pretty good handheld machine for all your repair jobs around the house. Although it is not exactly a very small or compact machine, it is run by batteries and quite handy when you need quick fixing. You can actually choose a speed option from a choice of two: slower for beginners and faster for experienced users. 

Image Source: Amazon

How does this item compare to other handheld machines?

For a handheld model, this machine gives you quite a sturdy stitch. The design is slender and beautiful, and it is lightweight enough to travel with. You get two speeds to choose from with this sewing machine, which helps if you are new to the experience. The stitching is sturdy, double threaded, and fast. You can use it on any type of fabric, from silk to cotton, denim to linen. It also comes with a foot pedal, needles, and a threader.

What's not so good about it?

This sewing machine is much bigger than something you can actually call “handheld”. There are other machines that are more compact and easier to work with. Although small, to call the Michley LSS-202 a compact machine would be a mistake. It is also loud when you work with it, so that can be a bother. Also, at something so inexpensive, you will be getting a machine that is not very durable, i.e. it may stop working after a few months.

Pros:
  • Affordable 
  • 2 speed options 
  • Works on multiple types of fabric 
  • Automatic thread rewind 
  • Comes with foot pedal, threader, and needles 
Cons:
  • Not really compact 
  • Hard to use while holding in hand 
  • Thread may start to break 
  • Too loud 
  • Not very durable
More on Michley LSS-202 Lil' Sew & Sew Mini 2-Speed
Buy on Amazon: $14 Read customer reviews Read seller's description

3) Varmax Mini Sewing Machine available for $29 on Amazon

Key features
  • Extra large extension table 
  • Works with an AC/DC adapter or batteries
  • Built-in lamps 
  • Two-speed controls 
  • Perfect for small projects 

This “handheld” sewing machine from Varmax is not really a “handheld” device, but just a smaller, more compact version of a regular sewing machine. At under $30, it is a rather good machine if you are looking for something lightweight but effective, and comes with a special extension table that you can use. Without the extension table and the other accessories, this is quite a small machine, but one that you can also use for all your regular repairing, mending, sewing and embroidery needs by setting it on a table top.

Image Source: Amazon

How does this item compare to other handheld machines?

The Varmax Mini is a sewing machine that you can use both as a compact machine and a table top machine. It comes with an unique extension table that you can add when working on something big and remove when you don’t need it. This machine also has a built-in light for your convenience.

You can use this sewing machine with the help of batteries or with an AC/DC power supply, and run it with an option of foot pedal or an On/Off button. It works on all kinds of fabric (denim, silk, canvas, linen) as well as crafting paper. The thread cutter and bobbin rewind functions are quite helpful as well.

What's not so good about it?

This sewing machine is quite good for beginners, easy repair and mending jobs, or for young adults as their first machines, but not if you are thinking of taking up large, extensive projects. The back-stitch can be a little loose and not very sturdy at times, which makes it difficult when you are working on several pieces of clothes at the same time. The threads that come with the machine are weak and break easily too.

Pros:
  • Comes with an extension table
  • Has a built-in lamp 
  • Foot pedal as well as On/Off switch 
  • Automatic thread cutter and bobbin rewind 
  • Can be used on all fabrics and crafting paper 
Cons:
  • Not for extensive or large project
  • Not very durable under stress
  • Backstitch can be a little loose
  • Weak threads

4) Royalsell Portable Sewing Machine

Key features
  • Single-stitch machine
  • Battery Operated/Power Adapter Operation
  • Portable & Lightweight
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Can’t work with too thick or too thin fabric

Costing a little under $30, the Royalsell Portable is truly a “handheld” sewing machine that is no bigger than a commercial grade stapler. It is a basic, single-stitch machine that you can use for all of your easy repairing and mending jobs around the house. A simple device that you can operate with batteries or a power adapter, and is very easy to carry around.

Image Source: Amazon

How does this item compare to other handheld machines?

While there are many other “compact” sewing machines in the market, this one from Royalsell is actually a “handheld” device. It is lightweight and portable, and can be carried anywhere around in your bag. This machine is perfect for single-stitch repair jobs for your regular clothes, but not for more than that. It works with a battery if you don’t want the hassle of a power cord.

What's not so good about it?

It’s not a good idea to use this sewing machine for more than small repairs around the house. You won’t be able to use it on thicker fabrics like denim or carpets, or on very fine clothes. It will probably get damaged if you decide to take on large products or use it extensively. The stitching is not so good so you might have to work hard just to get a straight line out of this machine.

Pros:
  • Lightweight & Compact 
  • Easy to carry around 
  • Single-stitch machine 
  • Can be used on both battery or power adapter 
Cons:
  • Not a very durable machine 
  • Can't work on very thick or thin fabric 
  • Not for large projects 

5) Smartek Usa Rx-01 Handheld Sewing Machine available for $9 on Amazon

Key features
  • Lightweight & portable 
  • Easy to carry around 
  • Comes with necessary accessories 
  • Single stitch machine 
  • Works on all materials 

This extremely inexpensive sewing machine costs under $10, and it is extremely fast and easy to use. It is small enough that it fits into your palms, lightweight, and easy to carry around. The Smartek USA RX-01 also comes in a complete set with bobbins,a needle threader, needles, and an extra spool pin. This is quite helpful if you want to make small repairs on your clothes without having to take them off! 

Image Source: Amazon

How does this item compare to other handheld machines?

This is actually a fast machine that can be quite useful when it comes to emergency repairs. You won’t even have to take off your clothes to make any necessary changes or repairs in a hurry. This sewing machine easily fits into the palm of your hand, easy to travel with or keep in your office drawer, or even carry around in your bag. This is a perfect machine for any crafts or small projects around the house, i.e. cushions, napkins, place holders, etc.

What's not so good about it?

As with most affordable “handheld” sewing machines, this is not something very durable. While you can keep the Smartek RS-01 at home as a backup for your repair projects, you will need a real sewing machine for all of your big projects. It may end up chewing your fabric, or the needle may break when you are using too thick fabric. With regular use, your sewing machine may need replacement.

Pros:
  • Costs under $10
  • Very fast 
  • Perfect for small repair jobs 
  • Works on most standard fabric 
Cons:
  • Not very durable 
  • Might end up chewing your fabric 
  • Needles will break when in use 
More on Smartek Usa Rx-01 Handheld Sewing Machine
Buy on Amazon: $9 Read customer reviews Read seller's description

6) EIALA Professional-Portable Cordless Handheld Sewing

Key features
  • Battery Operated
  • Great for all fabrics
  • Ideal for travelling
  • Comes with needles and thread

This professional “handheld” sewing machine from EIALA can be something that professionals use in an emergency. It’s fast and easy, but also useful for stitching on different types of fabrics from silk to denim, wool to leather. You can use it on hanging fabrics like curtains, wall hangings, and bed sheets, etc without taking them out.

Image Source: Amazon

How does this item compare to other handheld machines?

It is fast, easy to use, and lightweight enough that you can carry this portable sewing machine with you wherever you go. It is cordless so that you don’t have to worry about carrying a power adapter with you too; just a few batteries would do. Your pre-teens and teens can safely use it too, if they are interested in starting out a new hobby. It is great for repair jobs and small projects for school.

What's not so good about it?

This is not a very durable machine. The guide that comes with the machine isn’t very helpful; some users have actually described it as illegible. This machine is great for quick repairs but not something to be used in the long run. Even if it has been termed as “professional”, this is not a machine that professionals are going to use for large or extensive projects. 

Pros:
  • Fast and easy-to-use 
  • Lightweight 
  • Portable; easy to travel with 
  • Safe for teens and pre-teens 
  • Battery operated/cordless 
Cons:
  • Not durable 
  • Unhelpful instructions 
  • Not for professionals 
  • Not for extensive projects 
More on EIALA Professional-Portable Cordless Handheld Sewing
Buy on Amazon: Read customer reviews Read seller's description

7) Imax FHSM-202 Mini 2-Speed

Key features
  • Perfect as a beginner machine
  • Battery Operated/Power supply cord
  • On/Off Button or Foot pedal operated
  • Built-in thread cutter and overhead light
  •  Measurement: 7.9” x 7.6” x 5.0”

This sewing machine from Imax costs a little under $20 and while not exactly a “handheld” machine, it is definitely a portable model. It is also very easy to use and perfect as a beginner’s machine. You can operate it via an On/Off button or with a portable foot pedal that comes with the machine. If you have a teen or a pre-teen interested in sewing, this is the perfect sewing machine to get them started on.

Image Source: Amazon

How does this item compare to other handheld machines?

This is a portable machine if not a “handheld” device, but at the same time, portable and lightweight. You can use it for light repairs, mending jobs, and crafting. Basic sewing is also possible with this machine. It comes with double switches: an On/Off button and a speed button. You can also operate it with a foot paddle. It is a pretty standard device for basic sewing and repair jobs around the house.

What's not so good about it?

This machine has a history of binding up a lot.  The needles can break while in use; this machine can also end up useless after a few weeks. The stitches are weak and hard to do. While this is a good enough machine for repair jobs, you can’t use it long or for large projects.

Pros:
  • Portable & Lightweight 
  • Perfect for light repairs 
  • Good for home and work 
  • Battery or foot paddle operated 
  • On/Off button 
Cons:
  • Binds up a lot 
  • Needles can break 
  • Can stop after a few weeks 
  • Not for large projects 

8) OxGord Professional Handheld Sewing Machine available for $12 on Amazon

Key features
  • Portable and handheld operation 
  • Battery operated 
  • Works on all fabric types 
  • Great for crafting 
  • Comes with accessories 

This sewing machine from OxGord is another affordable model under $10, but not one you can rely on very much in a crisis. It is compact and quite powerful, and will help in quick fixes around the house. It can be used to hem your pants and skirts, repair any holes or tears, or sew on any kind of fabrics, from denim to silk, cotton to polyester.

Image Source: Amazon

How does this item compare to other handheld machines?

This is a fairly good enough sewing machine for the price, one that you can carry around with you in case of clothing emergencies. It is lightweight and portable and doesn’t need any cords to work. You can work anywhere with it, sitting down or standing up, wherever your fabrics need work done. You can hem your own clothes while wearing them. It is quite powerful for a machine that is so miniature and you can operate it with batteries.

What's not so good about it?

Of course, as you can guess from the price, this is a cheap machine that will probably break down after a few weeks of use. The machine can work on a lot of fabrics, but not on something very thick or very thin. It is also kind of slow compared to other machines in similar price. You can keep it for a backup sewing machine in case of emergencies, but not more than that.

Pros:
  • Lightweight and portable 
  • Battery Operated/Cordless 
  • Can be used while sitting down or standing up 
  • Quite a powerful machine 
Cons:
  • Not very durable 
  • Can't work on very thick or very thin fabric 
  • Will fall apart after a few weeks 
  • Not for use for a long time 
More on OxGord Professional Handheld Sewing Machine
Buy on Amazon: $12 Read customer reviews Read seller's description

9) Handy Stitch Handheld Sewing Machine available for $10 on Amazon

Key features
  • Affordable 
  • Portable and lightweight 
  • Good for repair and basic sewing jobs 
  • Runs on AA batteries 
  • Comes with accessories 
  • Measurements: 9" x 2" x 6" 

This is the most inexpensive handheld sewing machine that you can find on the market, at just over $5. It works on 4 AA batteries and doesn’t need the additional hassles of a power adapter. You can use the Handy Stitch sewing machine for most of the fabric repair jobs around the house. It is not a very reliable or long lasting machine, but you can definitely count on it during fabric related emergencies.

Image Source: Amazon

How does this item compare to other handheld machines?

For just over $5, this is truly a good handheld sewing machine that you will be able to use in times of emergency. The stitches are tight and long lasting, and this machine will work on most fabrics used around the house. The whole process is simple, even for someone who has never sewn before or never used a sewing machine before. The Handy Stitch is a good machine to keep at home for when you have torn clothes or pants/skirts that need hemming.

What's not so good about it?

You can’t really expect this sewing machine to give you years of service, at least at this price. This is a good backup machine for repairs and nothing more than that; if you are a serious craftier or like to take on heavy sewing projects, this is not the sewing machine for you. It might just stop working one day when you least expect it.

Pros:
  • Extremely affordable under $5 
  • Can be used while standing up 
  • Good for hemming or repair work 
  • Simple to use 
Cons:
  • Not very long lasting 
  • Not for extensive projects 
  • Not good as the main sewing machine 

10) Sting Sew

Key features
  • Portable 
  • Cordless/Battery Operated 
  • Electric Household Tool 
  • Good for repairs 
  • Quick machine 
  • Comes with accessories 
  • Measurement: 9" x 3.5" x 2" 

Like any other handheld sewing machines, the Sting Sew is affordable, compact, and lightweight. While it is good for repair jobs, it cannot really be used for extensive projects. This handheld machine from Sting Sew comes with all the standard features of such similar machines, perfect for travel use.

Image Source: Amazon

How does this item compare to other handheld machines?

Portable and lightweight, this is a great sewing machine that you can hold in your hand to work for a long time. You can use it for basic sewing and repair jobs around the house. It comes with a number of bobbins, needles, and other accessories that you are going to need for sewing. The instructions that come with this machine are also easy to understand and quite helpful.

What's not so good about it?

You cannot really use this sewing machine on very thick fabric, which means making repairs to curtains or carpets is out of the question. The difference between the needed and the base is very small so you can't use it on large pieces of clothes. The needles needed for this machine are extremely thin and will easily break. 

Pros:
  • Portable & Lightweight 
  • Good for basic repairs and sewing 
  • Comes with a number of accessories 
  • Easy to use 
  • Easy-to-understand instructions 
Cons:
  • Not for use on thick material 
  • Not durable 
  • Base is very small 
  • Needles are thin and breaks easily 

In conclusion...

These “handheld” sewing machines are definitely something that you will find helpful in an emergency, in case of torn clothes or small repairs around the house. However, almost none of these machines are very durable or long lasting. They might give you a few weeks or months of use, but will eventually break down. These machines all happen to be inexpensive ones, all under $40; some are even available for under $20, and they are easy to use for basic repairs. With the handheld devices, you can work anywhere, while standing up or sitting down, but they are not very reliable. With the slightly larger ones, sewing is also easy but they are not exactly easy to travel with.

So, it is better to choose a model that fits your budget because most of the machines come with the same features, advantages and disadvantages, and remember that you might have to replace it after a few months.