10 Tips to Buy Used Sewing Machine (Honest Tips 2022)

Stitching Machine

You can buy used sewing machine and save a lot of money. You must keep a few tips in mind while finalizing on a used sewing machine so you don't end up being at a loss.

I used my mom's sewing machine and much later my first sewing machine was also a used one. But I enjoyed and learned sewing without making a hole in my pockets.

Most importantly, I didn't have to worry about machine problems. I didn't have fears because I knew that machine had already been serving well. And it was repairable.

My first car was also a used second hand model and it helped me learn driving fearlessly. 

Therefore, I don't hesitate testing an already loved product but yes you must be clear about some basic technical issues to save yourself heartache later.

I bought a sewing machine about twenty years back and it's running better than any new machine.

I didn't stop there.

After sometime, I bought a couple of used sewing machines for my boutique and they were also earned me more money than I spent on them.

But most people are apprehensive before buying a used machine because you never know if the used machine would be worth your money.

Don't be afraid to buy a used machine because most of the sewing machine brands make machines that last more than a lifetime.

There's a reason why your grandmother's old sewing machine still works so good. 

Some people think that it's so tough to buy a used sewing machine because it may lend you in trouble.

I have seen that if you have to be in trouble, you can be even with your new machine. Hence, before I share you my experience of buying and using an old sewing machine, check these used sewing machine myths :-

1. Buy from reputable sources only

Yes, a reputable source would be good but I remember one of my neighbor had an USHA Janome sewing machine. 

It was a good brand but the machine's internal parts were melted. It was in a bad shape and a totally waste.

Whereas, I bought a locally made umbrella sewing machine (industrial machine) which is serving me till date without any complaints.

I bought about four different sewing machines for my boutique from people, I didn't know directly. And machines were good.

One tip here, that you must check the machine well before buying.

2. Never buy a refurbished sewing machine

It's better to buy a machine in original condition but a sewing machine does not require much denting and painting. 

At the most, some internal parts would have been replaced or changed. If the machine is working fine, that should not be a big concern. 

Anyways, most machine parts can be replaced.

3. Check the return policy

If you buy locally or from some reference, you may ask for return within a week or so. But I am not sure if the seller would really agree to that. 

It all depends on your negotiating skills. 

I always test  and sew with the machine before buying. After that I got nothing to do with the seller or any company whatsoever.

But of course, if you are buying online and you get a return policy then it's an added advantage.

4. Check the warranty

Some refurbished sewing machines are sold from the dealer, factory or the company itself.

Those machines are “factory certified.”  They also provide warranty with the machine that could be a good thing for you.

Ultimately, it's always better to sew with your machine and then pay the money. Don't really buy to return or get it serviced free. If the machine works well, you don't really need any servicing.

5. You can’t afford a new machine

This is such a nonsense of a notion. So many people think that if they buy a used sewing machine it would mean that they can't afford a new one.

This may be true in some rare cases but in most of the cases you get a good deal and you grab it. 

Besides, you get a good hold of a machine which is tested and works well.

You already know it's working capacity and the productive output. There's no harm in trusting it further.

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1. Have time and patience to try the machine

If it's a new model or you never sewed earlier, you will need some support for learning to sew and deal with your machine.

Whether you buy a used machine from a shop or from a person, check that machine is working well. 

Check it is stitching on different types of fabrics. Take your own fabric pieces. Seller may not provide it.

Check stitch quality on multiple layers of fabrics.

If it's an automatic machine and has many stitch features, take your time to try each of them. No need to hurry. You don't need to make haste at the time of buying and repent in leisure. 

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2. Buy Branded Sewing Machine

It is a good idea to buy a branded sewing machine but don't reply too much on this premise.

The advantage of buying a branded machine is that you can trust the longevity of machine and the make.

But still you much check the machine for wear and tear. heavy use and abuse. Machine should be in good working condition with original parts.

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3. Prefer To Buy From Sewing Lover

A sewing company would definitely take care of it's products. Likewise, a sewing lover takes care of a machine like its partner.

If you get a sewing machine in working condition with original cover, pat yourself on the back.

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4. Understand Sewing Machine Parts And Maintenance

If you research and learn a little bit about the brand, model, type of machine, features, price etc. you will be confident at the time of buying. 

Depending on the model, you can ask for the accessories and check the in-built features.

If machine has a light bulb, check how it is taken out  and put back.

Stitches should be smooth and without tangles.

Learn cleaning and oiling a machine so that you could negotiate for a sturdier, smoother, quieter, longer lasting machine for a lower price.

5. Understand Sewing Machine Maintenance

When you buy a new machine, you can have the luxury to buy machine first and wait for company demonstration. 

Whereas, when you buy a used machine, the seller can show you the machine's working right there.

Whatever is the case, be prepared and learn sewing machine maintenance even before you buy it.

There are a number of good online resources to equip you with sewing machine maintenance, oiling, repairs and everyday upkeep.

6. Focus On Quality Of The Machine

Sewing machines come in all kinds of brands, and so all kinds of qualities.

I would much rather spend what money I had on a good, used machine of higher quality, than a cheaper made new one.

A metal body machine is sturdier but in recent times some plastic made machines are good too.

Basically, if you are going for an industrial model machine, it's best to go for a heavy duty metal machine.

If you are not paying through your sewing machine repair shop, you can trust them for advice.

7. Consult a sewing machine expert

If you don't have adequate knowledge about sewing machines, take it to a sewing machine mechanic to get it checked. 

It is easier to fix manual and electronic sewing machines.  But if you are buying a computerized machine, make sure you get it checked from an authorized service person.

8. Get it set as per your sewing needs

A used manual sewing machine should be set as per your sewing requirement. Get a trusted sewing machine repair mechanic do the job for you if you are not sure about it.

Whatever machine you buy, get or access a users manual and understand it well before buying.

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9. Check for rust, cracks and worn out parts

If the machine has rust in more than 10% of parts, don't buy it before checking with your machine mechanic.

More than 20% rust is a red signal and you should think of buying that machine. 

Most dangerous is CRACKS on or inside the machine. Use your looking glasses or magnifying glass to check even for small cracks. 

There is not shame to that.

Motor should be in good condition and run smoothly without noise. If it has an external motor, it can be replaced if faulty.

In that case, you should bargain further on the price.

You can unscrew the feed dog and check if it is worn out. Also check needle bar placement. If it's bent, broken or worn out, get it replaced at seller's cost..

In short, stitches should be smooth. Machine should run without noise. And it should be a pleasure to sew.

10. How much a used sewing machine should cost you

Be Willing To Get A Good Deal Of A Bargain. Don't hesitate to negotiate the price to 30% - 40% of its original cost. At last you'll get it for 50% less if not more.

Most of the people price their used sewing machines around the original cost to them.

Check the market price of the machine online and offline (if possible). Be an aware buyer. Don't give in to the temptation to buy at the first offer (until and unless it's really good to grab).

Don't show too much enthusiasm. Evaluate the need of the seller and the expected price. 

See if you can pin point any negative feature in the machine that could be a negotiating point, (but don't do it, when there is no real issue with the machine).

Above all, make it a win-win bargain for both of you. Don't try to exploit seller but still try to get a good bargain.


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