6 Tips for buying a second-hand sewing machine
I often get asked where to buy a sewing machine, and what brand to buy. I'm a massive proponent of buying second hand. I've found some beautiful gems out there, so naturally, my advice is to take a look at second-hand machines when you're in the market, especially if you're on a budget.
Here are 6 tips on buying a second-hand machine:
1: I love older machines because generally, the parts are better quality (metal vs. plastic). This means that it will work harder and last longer. If a machine is built right, it will last the test of time. A good sewing machine may merely need a tune-up to work correctly, but it likely still saves you money over buying a new one. I'd rather spend $150-$200 on an excellent second-hand machine than the same price on a new, lightweight plastic machine.
That being said, always be sure to test before you buy.
2: If you need to get your machine tuned up, ask around for references since some mechanics are more thorough than others. In Toronto, I highly recommend Armondo at Canadian Steam Iron on Camden St. Also, keep in mind, digital machines will likely cost more for a tune-up.
3: Search online on sites like Craigslist or Kijiji, and keep an eye out at garage sales.
4: Don't get hung up on the brand. From my experience, any brand can have good machines and economy (not good) machines in their line. That being said, brands that I've had good experience with are Janome, Juki, Brother, Husqvarna, Bernina, Pfaff, Elna. There's probably plenty more, but that's my experience.
5: Think about what you need your machine to do for you, and don't pay for the bells and whistles if you don't need them, especially if you're new to sewing.
6: Look into the cost of feet/accessories for the brand you are interested in buying. While my used Bernina was $500 used, which was a steal for this particular machine, the feet are costly. Make sure you know the cost of accessories, and that you're ok with that before buying a specific brand.
I hope that helps!