Design - 94%
Functionality - 97%
Price - 100%
Features - 95%
It has had a fantastic run, being one of the best machines of the past decade but Brother have upgraded the Brother XL2600i to the Brother XM2701. Improving on the XL2600i and still being hugely affordable it’s a warm welcome. All links below will take you to the XM2701 on amazon.
The Brother XL2600i offers fantastic value for money, often costing less than $100. While there are other machines around this price point none of them can compete with the XL2600i for features and functionality. When you buy a Brother machine you know that you getting a quality product from a company that is the market leader in affordable sewing machines. It is in my best sewing machine and deserves to be there.
With enough stitches for most users and 1-step buttonholes it is my recommendation for anyone looking for a cheap sewing mechanical sewing machine that will last years. If you are beginner this is type of machine that you are looking for. It is easy to setup, easy to use and has many features not usually found on machines in this price range. For other machines that are great for beginners check out my pick for best sewing machines for beginners.
- 25 built in stitches. Offers a good range of possibilities.
- Free arm. Great for cuffs and sleeves
- 5 Presser feet. Good range of feet are included.
- Somewhere to store you bits.
- Auto needle threader. Makes life much easier and treat for such an affordable machine.
- Auto bobbin winding. So simple to use and a huge time saver.
- 1-step buttonholes. Super simpler auto-sized buttonholes.
- Top loaded bobbin. Reliable and easy to use.
- Great Accessories. Brother have included everything that you will need to get started.
- Light weight. At only 11lbs it is super easy to transport.
- 25 year warranty. As standard with Brother you get a huge warranty.
25 built in stitches.
While the 25 built in stitches is not as much as on other machines, for this price it is a very respectable number. Brother have done a great job at giving you exactly what you need for almost any job. It includes 15 standard sewing stitches, such as the straight stitch and zigzag stitch that are great for home decoration and making clothes. There are also 3 heirloom stitches that are great for join fabrics. If you want to quilt then you will have 2 dedicated quilting stitches and 4 decorative stitches, including a teddy bear great for children’s clothes. Finally there is a buttonhole stitch. This is a 1-step process, so the machine does all the work. No other machine at this price point has this feature and is a standout of this machine. Most of the other machines at this price offer a 4-step buttonhole which takes much longer and does not give the same professional finish.
This is great range and offers versatility that you will not get from other machines at a similar price. If you are new to sewing and looking for your first machine the ability to undertake a range of projects is important however, you do not want to get overwhelmed by a huge library of stitches and stitch options. Brother have included exactly what you will need, whether you are making clothes, quilting and much more. Selecting the stitch that you want is easily done using the dial on the machine. The stitches are neatly labelled on the front of the machine. To select the stitches on the bottom row of the diagram make sure the flip the switch to SS.
Setup and Performance
When buying a machine around this price you normal have to give up many features which make your life easier. The Brother XL2600i is the exception. It comes with an auto needle threader and auto bobbin winding, which is rare at such an affordable price.
If this is going to be your first machine these features will save you so much time, hassle and pricked fingers! Threading a needle is a tedious, and for some a very difficult task. It is super easy to use, you pull down the threader, hook the thread in and let go. You will have a loop that is threaded through the needle. Simply pull the loop through and you are done.
Bobbin winding is no problem. Set the tread, place the bobbin on the winder and press the button. So quick and easy. What makes this so great for beginners is how forgiving it is. You will not have to worry that you will break the machine when you make a mistake. It is a Brother machine so you can count on it being sturdy and durable.
Making use even easier is the top load bobbin which is much easy to handle and more reliable than a front loaded bobbin. The XL2600i also features a transparent plastic cover over the bobbin which is great since it allows you to see how much thread you have left.
What surprised me the most during my use of the XL2600i is how well it performed. At only 11lbs it is a very light machine but had no trouble with denims and light leathers. I didn’t have any tension issues and the fabric feed through the machine really smoothly. To control the amount of tension that you have there is a tension dial to help you get the tension just right for your project.
The Brother XL2600i is capable of twin need sewing and comes with everything you will need to get started. While most machines have this possibility, not many at this price come with the twin needles and pins needed to get started.
Weighing in at only 11lbs it is super light and great for those who sew in more than one location. For example if you attend a sewing class being lightweight is really important – no one want to carry round a heavy machine. One notable absence is a case. While transport shouldn’t be too much of a problem with one I would recommend purchasing a hard case if you plan on travelling with it often. Brother sell a universal case for their machines available at amazon for an incredibly reasonable price. If you are used to a computerized machine with a stop/start button keep in mind that you will need to use a foot pedal with the XL2600i. This is also how speed is controlled so may be a learning curve for some. However if you are a beginner learning to use a foot pedal is a really useful skill.
Brother have included 6 presser feet with the XL2600i. For such an affordable having so many presser feet included is brilliant, with additional feet often costing about $30. The feet that you get with the Xl2600i are: a general purpose foot used for the majority of the stitches, a zipper foot, a buttonhole foot for creating buttonholes, a button foot for attaching buttons, a narrow hem foot that allows you to make beautiful hems simply and a blind stitch foot.
As standard on Brother sewing machines the feet are attached by simply snapping them on and off. This is fair simpler than having to screw them on.
I have mentioned the presser feet and twin needle accessories that are included but there is more that you will receive when purchasing the XL2600i. Brother also include a screwdriver, 3 bobbins (class 15), darning plate and needle set. This sets you up with everything that you need to get started. The daring plate is a great inclusion as it allows for some limited embroidery. Built in is a free arm that is super handy when working on sleeves.
It is difficult not to overlook any minor issues considering how much you get for the price but no machine is perfect. The first thing that I noticed was how poorly the guide manual is organised. It follows on from English to Spanish after each section making it a bit of a pain to read. However, I do recommend that you bear with it and read it in full. When I tried to push the limits with heavier fabric at high speed I did break a needle. If you want to work on layers of denim or thicker leather make sure you go slowly. Also it is only compatible with small spools.
Pros and Cons
- Packed with feature reserved for more expensive machines
- Comes with a good range of accessorises
- 1-step buttonhole
- Auto threading and bobbin winding.
- Top loaded bobbin.
- 800 stitches per minute
- User guide is not well written
- No case is included
A topic that is always important when buying a sewing machine is value for money. How much am I getting for every dollar that I spend? The Brother XL2600i is definitely one of the best value machines on the market if not the best. Sewing can be an expensive pass time. For those on a budget or a beginner not wanting to invest too much before they know it will be for them, this is a top pick. Packed with features that no other machine at this price has and a really smooth sewing experience it has something for everyone.
If you would like to purchase the Brother XL2600i then click below to see it on amazon. It has the best price, fast delivery and fantastic customer service.
It has had a fantastic run, being one of the best machines of the past decade but Brother have upgraded the Brother XL2600i to the Brother XM2701. Improving on the XL2600i and still being hugely affordable it’s a warm welcome. Click below to see it on amazon.
I’m a true sewing enthusiast and have spent almost the entirety of my adult life practicing this age old art. Sewing genuinely has a special place in my heart and I’m glad to be able to share all of my experiences with each of you.