Alexandra's Quick Notes
The Janome 423S is a sturdy, metal-bodied mechanical sewing machine, which is built to last.
With 24 stitches it has the basics covered. It runs smoothly, has good consistent stitch quality, and has some nice features like a needle threader and adjustable foot pressure.
Janome 423S Overview
If you are after a mechanical sewing machine which is built to last, and which offers a reasonable range of stitches without too much complexity, then the 423S model from Janome may be the machine for you.
It is very similar to the Janome 419S model, but offers 4 additional decorative/satin stitches. It is also similar to the 525S - both machines have exactly the same stitches. However the 525S doesn't have a metal body, just a metal internal frame, and it has a top loading rather than front loading bobbin. You can find out more about it in my review of the Janome 525S.
The Janome 423S sewing machine has the following main features:
- 24 Stitches
- 1-Step Buttonhole
- Front Loading Bobbin
- Needle Threader
- Adjustable Presser Foot Pressure
As you can see, whilst it doesn't have all the bells and whistles that you would get with a computerised machine, it does have quite a complete range of features which make it suitable for both novices and more experiences sewers.
The 423S has a total of 24 stitches, including a 1-step buttonhole. These are the exact same stitches which are available with the 525S model. You can see each of the stitches in the picture below.
The maximum stitch width is 5 mm and the maximum stitch length is 4 mm. The maximum stitch length is quite short. I would prefer the option of longer sttiches, especially for applications such as basting.
One of the great things about the 423S is its metal body. This makes it much more durable than models which rely more heavily on plastic components. Plastic components are much more likely to warp and break than those made of metal. As such a metal body improves the durability of the sewing machine quite substantially. It also makes the machine feel more sturdy. In the case of the 423S, the metal body is made of aluminium. This rigid metal body is one of the reasons I recommend this sewing machine for working with leather.
The fact this is a mechanical machine also inherently makes it more durable than computerised machines. It has no electronic components which can get fried, and if something goes wrong you can even open the machine up and try and fix any issues yourself, which just would not be possible with a computerised machine, where so much more can go wrong. The Button Ship has a good guide to disassembling the 423S, which can help with troubleshooting issues. The Servicing Manual is also very good and explains clearly how to get into the machine and how to make manual adjustments. It also provides a handy pasts list.
Although the metal body makes the machine more durable, it of course also makes it heavier. The 423S weights approximately 8 kg, and as such is just over 1 kg heavier than the 525S. That's not too much of a difference, but if you are looking for a portable machine for taking to classes you might want to take a look at the 525S model instead.
Stitch Quality and Speed
The 423S has very consistent, good quality stitches which are difficult to fault. It can handle quite a few layers, but if you are after a heavy duty machine, for upholstery or just a lot of heavy use, I would recommend looking into the Janome HD2200 or the Singer Heavy Duty 4411 instead.
Bobbin System and Needle Plate
The bobbin system on the 423S is front loading. It is normally a matter of personal opinion as to whether a front loading or top loading system is best. Personally I prefer a top loading system, as I find it easier to change the bobbin, the bobbin is easier to access (I don't need to remove the extension table to change the bobbin) and I can easily keep an eye on how much thread is left. I also find that top loading bobbins are less prone to jamming. The 525S model has a top loading bobbin.
One issue people have with the 423S is that there are only two needle positions, centre and left. There is no option to position the needle to the right.
The feed dogs can be dropped using a lever at the front the machine, which is only accessible when the extension table is removed. I much prefer when you can drop the feed dogs using levers at the front of the machine, like you can with the Bernina 1008, but it's not a big deal.
The 423S has a built in needle threader, which is great for those with poor eyesight or who otherwise struggle to thread needles. It does take a bit of practice (and patience!) to figure out how to get it to work, but once you have it is a great time saver.
Presser Foot System
Presser foot pressure can be adjusted using a dial on the left of the machine. It's great having that extra bit of control for things like appliqué and embroidery.
The Janome 423S comes with the following clip-on presser feet:
- All Purpose Zig-Zag Foot
- Zipper Foot
- Hemmer Foot
- Buttonhole Foot
Most mid to upper range Janome machines come with a hard cover, which is great for both protecting the machine and keeping dust off it. Hard covers are so much better than those cheap flimsy dust covers you see so much of these days!
Brand and Manufacturing
As I have mentioned many times before, the Janome brand is well know for its good quality machines. To learn more about Janome and how it compares to other brands, take a look at my review of sewing machine brands. The 423S is manufactured in Taiwan.
The Janome 423S is a robust sewing machine with good stitch quality. Its metal body makes it less portable than other similar machines, but it will also be more durable! It had a good range of stitches for a mechanical machine, and should keep everyone happy, from novices to the more experienced.
Let me know what you think of it in the comments below!