Alexandra's Quick Notes
The Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 is packed full of features, and in terms of bang for your buck it is a winner in its price range.
The pros far outweigh the cons with this one, and I would recommend it for those looking for an advanced computerised machine.
Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 Overview
There is definitely a bit of a buzz about the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960. It is one of those machines which stands out and gets people talking.
It is a relatively advanced computerised machine, and it offers a very wide range of features. So many that it sometimes feels a bit like a Swiss Army knife! It has 600 stitches, 5 alphabet stitches, start/stop and needle up/down buttons, a needle threader, and one of my all-time favourite features - a thread trimmer button. Another remarkable thing about this machine is the number of presser feet it comes with - more about that later!
The success of this model is good news for the Singer brand, which in recent years has been suffering with reports of slipping quality and poorly designed machines. When it comes to Singer sewing machines these days, the 9960 is the one that stands out.
How Does It Compare?
The comparison table below illustrates well just how much bang you get for your buck with the Quantum Stylist 9960. You can see that the Bernina 330 and Pfaff Ambition Essential offer fewer features and far fewer stitches, despite being generally similar in price. The Quantum Stylist 9985 is usually a bit more expensive.
Stylist 9985 Touch
|Price|| Check Price|
| Check Price|
| Check Price|
| Check Price|
|Bobbin Type||Top Loading||Top Loading||Front Loading||Top Loading|
|Presser Feet|| 13 (including a|
| 13 (including a|
|Auto Needle Threader|
|Auto Thread Cutter|
|Other Features|| Extension table|
|Colour touch screen||-||IDT system|
A word of warning here - for some reason this particular machine is much (much!) cheaper to buy in the US than in the UK. Bear that in mind if you’re browsing the Internet and reading reviews from our cousins across the pond!
Now that we know a bit more about how the 9960 compares to other machines, lets get down to business - starting with the stitches...
The 9960 offers a total of 600 stitches, which is far too many to list here. Obviously it's not all about the total number of stitches, and having 300 or having 600 probably won't make that much difference to your sewing experience in practical terms. That being said it can be a load of fun having access to such a wide range of stitches, even just for experimenting with!
It also has 5 different alphabets (Gothic, Script, Italic, Outline and Russian) which can be used in both uppercase and lowercase. Because one of the alphabets is Cyrillic, really the number of *useful* alphabets is 4 for most people in the UK. Roxanne from roxannestitches.com has stitched them all out, so you can see what they look like here.
There are two interesting features on this machine which are quite handy. The mirror/reverse image utility allows you to flip most stitches horizontally and vertically, and the stitch elongation function allows you to elongate stitches up to five times their original length. These are nifty little tools which give you a load more versatility.
Unlike the Pfaff Ambition Essential and the Bernina 330 we looked at earlier, this machine doesn't give you the option of saving stitch sequences, so any sequences will be lost when you turn of the machine. I don't mind that too much though, as it is only really a minor inconvenience.
The 9960 comes with a total of 13 presser feet. Yes, you read that correctly, 13! For me this is one of the stand out things about it. How many machines come with a walking foot as standard these days?
Here is the full (and long!) list of presser feet you get:
- All-purpose foot
- Zipper foot
- Buttonhole foot
- Satin foot
- Blind hem foot
- Open toe foot
- Cording foot
- Darning and embroidery foot
- Walking foot
- Overcasting foot
- Button sewing foot
- Narrow hemming foot
- Patch quilt foot
If that doesn't keep you busy, I don't know what will! The quality of these feet might not be on a par with Bernina feet, but most people probably won't be able to tell the difference in the finished product.
I'll go into a bit more detail here and whizz through some of the other good features this machine has.
Bobbin, Needle and Needle Plate
Like most machines in this price range, the 9960 has a top loading "drop-in" bobbin system with a transparent cover, which means that you can always see how much thread you have left on your bobbin.
The needle up/down button on the front of the machine is super handy for lowering or raising the needle very quickly. However you can't tell the machine to finish sewing with the needle up – it will always finish with the needle down. Some of you may find this frustrating if it's not what you're used to!
The machine also has a fairly standard automatic needle threader. Almost without exception I find needle threaders to be poorly constructed and flimsy, and this machine is no exception. The first manufacturer to develop an intuitive, sturdy and attractive needle threader will win over my heart (and my hard earned pounds)!
Automatic Thread Cutter
The thread cutter button is amazing! I love this feature. One tap of the button and the machine will cut your bobbin and needle threads. It is a great time saver and gives you very professional results with minimum effort. It tends to cut the threads fairly close to the fabric as well, so you don't need to spend much time going back over and snipping any excess.
Sewing Control and Speed
I mentioned in my review of the Brother FS40 that I love it when a sewing machine has start/stop and speed button controls. Not only does it mean you don't always need to use the foot pedal, it gives you greater control and is also great for kids and people with reduced mobility. I'm very glad the 9960 has this feature.
There is nothing particularly of note about the screen on this machine. It is a fairly standard backlit black and white LCD screen, which does an okay job of displaying stitches and other information such as which presser foot is best for the job. It is slightly on the small side. The screen on the 9985 model is not only larger, but also displays colours and is touch sensitive. But it comes at a price!
Design and Build Quality
The Quantum Stylist 9960 has a sleek, good looking design, and it feels quite stable and sturdy. There are some parts of the machine which are a little flimsy. The buttons on the front of the machine are pretty easy to use, but don’t feel like they are of the best quality, and as I mentioned earlier the needle threader is a little flimsy too. But generally it is well designed.
However I will add here that there may be an issue with quality control on some of these machines, as several people have reported having to return their purchase due to the machine being defective. Of course any such issues should be covered by the warranty, but let’s face it, having to return a machine because you got a lemon is about as fun as sorting out a bird's nest of bunched threads!
The 9960 gets bonus points for coming with an extension table as standard. It's great for larger projects, and I consider it to be an almost essential accessory for sewing machines in this price range.
The only other accessory of note is the hard cover. Although rather unattractive, it will do the job!
It is impressive how much Singer have managed to pack into the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960. You certainly get a lot for your money with this machine compared to others in a similar price range. It has 600 stitches, and a host of features including needle up/down button, automatic thread cutter and an extension table. Not to mention the 13 presser which come with it.
There are a few minor issues with it, including reports of defective machines (likely to due issues with quality control), but I would definitely recommend the 9960 for those looking for an advanced computerised sewing machine with all the bells and whistles, but who don't want to spend a fortune!
As always I'm keen to hear what you all think about this machine. Leave a message in the comments section below!