Brother is a large multinational company these days, but its humble beginnings as a sewing machine company date back to 1908. The company makes some excellent sewing machines, which tend to be of good quality and surprisingly good value for money.
The company really sets itself apart when it comes to computerised machines. Most Brother sewing machines are computerised, and the company only really produces mechanical machines for the entry to mid-level markets.
The table below shows you my recommendations for the best Brother sewing machines for different experience levels and applications. All of the machines I talk about are available to buy in the UK.
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Keep reading though, as I will cover in more detail which Brother machine is most suitable for you, whether you are a beginner or an advanced sewist!
Brother Sewing Machine Ranges
Brother sewing machines in the UK are split into a few different ranges:
- The L range (e.g. Brother L14S), which contains all of the entry level mechanical machines
- The XR range (e.g. Brother XR27NT), which is made up of mid-range mechanical machines
- The FS range (e.g. Brother FS210), which is made up of mid-range computerised machines
- The Innov-is range (e.g. Brother Innov-is NV15), which consists of mid-range to very advanced computerised machines, and covers a very wide price band
The Brother UK products page provides more information about the different sewing machines within these ranges.
The Best Mechanical Brother Sewing Machine for Beginners
Beginners are seemingly spoilt for choice when it comes to Brother sewing machines. The company has a lot of different entry level models to choose from, which for mechanical sewing machines includes the Brother AE2500, Brother AE1700, Brother LX17 and Brother LX25 machines, to name just a few.
One thing to bear in mind with Brother machines in this price range is that in some cases the differences between models will only be very minor (and in fact in some cases they are only cosmetic differences). This is true for the Brother LS14, L14 and L14S models, for example. My advice is to check prices between different models, and then have a close look at what the actual differences between them are. You may find a very similar machine which is cheaper or on sale and save yourself a bit of money!
The machine which I recommend for beginners though is the Brother LS14.
There is a lot to like about the Brother LS14. First of all it is a very affordable machine. In fact it is one of the cheapest fully functional sewing machines you can get in the UK at the moment. It has a total of 14 stitches, including a 4-step buttonhole. It also has a top loading bobbin, which is quite rare for entry level machines (I prefer top loading to front loading bobbins).
It does have a few limitations which might put off more advanced sewists, but for casual sewists and those who are just getting started it is ideal.
The Best Computerised Brother Sewing Machine for Beginners
For those who have their eye on an entry level computerised machine, the FS range is definitely worth a look. There are quite a few different models, including the FS40, FS60, FS70WT and FS100WT. For beginners I recommend the Brother FS40.
The Brother FS40 has a total of 40 stitches, including 5 1-step buttonholes. The machine's LCD screen is used to select stitches, and it tells you which presser foot to use for different stitches. It has a drop-in bobbin and a bunch of other great features including a start/stop button and speed slider, which can be great for precise speed control without having to use the foot pedal. It also comes with 7 presser feet, which is great for experimenting.
The thing I like about this machine is that it provides a wide range of stitches, a good selection of presser feet and a load of handy features, which will allow you to improve and grow over time as a sewist without feeling limited by your sewing machine.
If you don't think you'll have a use for all of the stitches on the FS40 but prefer something with slightly better build quality, then the Brother Innovis NV15 might be the one for you.
The Best Intermediate/Advanced Brother Sewing Machine
Intermediate or advanced sewists will be after a high quality, well built computerised machine with a complete set of features and a large range of stitches. The Brother Innovis F420 fits the bill.
Brother Innov-is F420
It has a total of 140 stitches, 10 buttonholes and 5 alphabets. It also has built-in memory to store stitch sequences, a lock stitch button and automatic thread cutter, and a start/stop button and speed slider.
Another great feature on this machine is the knee lift - this allows you to lift the presser foot with your knee whilst keeping your hands and focus on the fabric. It's a minor feature, but you see knee lifts more commonly on Bernina machines, so it's nice to have it on this Brother.
The F420 comes with a total of 7 presser feet - an all purpose foot, a zipper foot, a buttonhole foot, a button sewing foot, a blind stitch foot, an overcasting foot and a monogramming foot.
The Best Brother Sewing Machine for Embroidery
If it's just free motion embroidery you're interested in, the Brother FS100WT I mentioned earlier is a good choice which doesn't break the bank. It comes with the appropriate presser feet and has a large extension table.
However for an affordable sewing machine which has a complete set of embroidery features, including an embroidery hoop, I recommend the Brother Innovis F440E.
Brother Innov-is F440E
The Brother Innovis F440E includes a total of 138 embroidery designs and 11 fonts.
It comes an with a 18cm x 13cm embroidery hoop, which is large enough for most embroidery work. You will have to pay a premium for machines which can handle anything much larger than that. There is the option of buying an extra large 30cm x 13cm hoop which is compatible with this machine, but to use it you will have to do multi-position hooping. This works by dividing the pattern you are using into sections which fit within the 18cm x 13xm field of the machine.
The F440E allows you to adjust, rotate and mirror designs using the LCD screen, and you can even upload your own embroidery designs from your computer via a USB port.
Embroidery machines can be prohibitively expensive, so I've decided to recommend a more affordable option here. For other options which have more features, but are a bit more expensive, take a look at my guide to the best embroidery machines.