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Brother CS5055 Review

Great machine for a beginning sewer, but lacking a few helpful computerized features
Brother CS5055
Credit: Brother
Best Buy Award
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Price:   $160 List | $159.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Excellent straight stitching on cotton jersey, very easy to get stitches set up
Cons:  Lacks a needle up/down button, no presser foot lock, trouble with bottom strap of average zipper
Manufacturer:   Brother
By Austin Palmer and Ruth Bruckbauer  ⋅  Jun 9, 2022
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 10
  • Sewing - 45% 6.8
  • Ease of use - 35% 8.0
  • Buttonholes - 20% 6.6

Our Verdict

Our verdict of the Brother CS5055 is that it's a great sewing machine for beginners. The stitch set-up is very easy and straightforward, with the average tension settings highlighted. On top of that, it has a handy label telling you which presser foot to use with the stitch selected. With a top-loading bobbin, you can always see what you are doing and how much thread is left on the bobbin, and the automatic needle-threader can be a lifesaver. Even the buttonhole set-up is easy, and best of all, the machine stops sewing when the end of the buttonhole is reached.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Brother CS5055
This Product
Brother CS5055
Awards Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award   
Price $160 List
$159.99 at Amazon
$600 List
$449.99 at Amazon
$230 List
$229.99 at Amazon
Check Price at Amazon$180 List
$179.99 at Amazon
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Pros Excellent straight stitching on cotton jersey, very easy to get stitches set upAutomatic thread cutter, tons of stitch optionsGood sewing performance, easy to use, high valueExcellent lighting, clear and easy stitch selection, very easy buttonhole set-upBobbin quality and winding, simple, great at scallop stitches across multiple fabric types
Cons Lacks a needle up/down button, no presser foot lock, trouble with bottom strap of average zipperBig learning curveA bit harder to set upTrouble with the bottom of zippers, basic side-mounted manual thread cutterNot computerized, trouble with our 8-layer denim test
Bottom Line Great machine for a beginning sewer, but lacking a few helpful computerized featuresAn all-around great machine with more than enough stitches for even the pickiest sewerA great machine for the price and a good bet for both beginning and seasoned usersGood for those starting out, but advanced users will get better performance out of other machinesA solid, non-computerized model that leaves more to be desired with buttonholes and lighting
Rating Categories Brother CS5055 Singer 9960 Quantum... Singer 7258 Stylist Brother CS6000i Brother GX37
Sewing (45%)
6.8
7.8
7.5
6.7
6.8
Ease of use (35%)
8.0
8.2
7.8
9.3
6.8
Buttonholes (20%)
6.6
7.4
7.4
6.2
4.6
Specs Brother CS5055 Singer 9960 Quantum... Singer 7258 Stylist Brother CS6000i Brother GX37
# of Built-in Stitches 60 600 100 60 37
# of Buttonhole Styles 7 13 6 7 1
Measured Weight 10.8 lbs 19.7 lbs 14.6 lbs 9.4 lbs 12.5 lbs
Maximum Sewing Speed (stitches per minute) 750 850 750 850 850
Buttonhole Sewing (number of steps) 1-Step 1-Step 1-Step 1-Step 1-Step
Maximum Stitch Width 7mm 7mm 6mm 7mm 7mm
Maximum Stitch Length 5mm 5mm 4.8mm 5mm 5mm
Thread Cutter Built-in Automatic Built-in Built-in Built-in
Automatic Bobbin Winder? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Twin Needle Capability? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cover? No Hard Soft Hard Soft
Free Arm? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Brother CS5055, with its 60 built-in stitches and 7 buttonhole stitches, has enough variety for an experienced seamstress or tailor but still has an easy set-up and use that is good for a beginner. This machine is high value and won an award for its many qualities, ease of use, and low price tag.

Performance Comparison


Brother CS5055 sewing machine - easy to use and set up, this sewing machine earned our prestigious...
Easy to use and set up, this sewing machine earned our prestigious Best Buy award.
Credit: Laura Casner

Sewing


Scoring above average in our sewing tests, this Brother CS5055 showed great results on most fabrics using the straight, zig-zag, and blind hem stitches. The top stitches looked nice, but sometimes the lower tension was funky, which we'll get into in a bit. We were particularly impressed with how easily this machine sewed through thicker test swatches, like quilting and multi-layer denim, particularly the quilting. Denim didn't score quite as high, though that score was still above average and even outscored far more expensive sewing machines in our lineup.


The CS5055 did have some trouble with our zipper test, though. The presser foot felt like it barely held on and was lopsided, which we thought very odd. It had a lot of trouble making it over the bottom strap of the zipper and displayed uneven stitching and tension from one side to the other.

Brother CS5055 sewing machine - we had some problems with tension, but nothing that a little time...
We had some problems with tension, but nothing that a little time and patience couldn't fix.
Credit: Laura Casner

In fact, uneven tension was something we experienced quite a bit with this sewing machine. A particular problem area was the scallop stitch — we struggled no matter which fabric we were using. This and diamond-patterned stitches had the biggest problems with tensioning, with the bottom or bobbin tension consistently being tight. We actually had consistent tension trouble with most stitches on most fabrics. That said, we do not view this as a dealbreaker since it can be worked on and adjusted with some time and patience as you learn your machine.

Brother CS5055 sewing machine - we really like how this machine gave us even and consistent zig-zag...
We really like how this machine gave us even and consistent zig-zag and straight stitches.
Credit: Laura Casner

Ease of Use


Scoring very high in our stitch set-up test, the Brother CS5055 will make life simple for someone new to the craft. Since all the stitches are printed right on the machine, you simply look above the stitch you want for the number, then use the +/- buttons to move to that stitch. Making stitch adjustments is also super simple since you use the same +/- concept to get to your preferred width and length. Everything is clearly marked and very easy to read, and by using the +/- system, you get exactly what you want with no guessing. Best of all, the most common stitch lengths and widths have a circle around them in the panel — a huge plus, especially for beginners or for someone who hasn't sewn for a while.


Another great plus for the CS5055 is the ease of winding and loading the bobbin. Our test team always appreciates a top-loading bobbin since bending down to the table height to see if you're putting the bobbin in correctly is a pain in the neck. Literally. But this machine has a sticker for the bobbin with clear labeling for inserting and threading, which we consider a giant plus. Since the bobbin is usually out of sight in the sewing process, it can be somewhat mysterious, especially for a beginner. But this bobbin set-up is easy and clear.

Brother CS5055 sewing machine - it's easy to see and load the bobbin, and the top-load and clear...
It's easy to see and load the bobbin, and the top-load and clear bobbin make it easy to see how much thread is left.
Credit: Laura Casner

This machine also earned an above-average score for threading the needle with a semi-automatic needle threader. However, it didn't score as well with the needle stop position, which you have to find each time for yourself. This is not a dealbreaker but can be frustrating until you get used to it.

The light on the CS5055 is adequate, but our reviewers remarked that, though it's bright enough, the position of the light creates a shadow just where the needle enters the fabric. The light is bright on the right side, but there are dark shadows on the left which may be distracting for some.

Brother CS5055 sewing machine - though the light was bright enough, its position created a shadow on...
Though the light was bright enough, its position created a shadow on the left side of the presser foot.
Credit: Laura Casner

One of the other features that the Brother CS5055 has is a detachable free arm for sewing smaller things, like the hem of trousers or around a sleeve. This makes life much simpler since it cuts out a lot of awkward maneuvering to complete those smaller circumferences. Even if you won't sew clothing, the free arm is a great thing to have.


Buttonholes


Ah, buttonholes. Many an otherwise beautiful project has died at the feet of a poorly-executed buttonhole, speaks the voice of experience. The CS5055 scored okay overall, but our testers still found the buttonholes to be somewhat lacking.


The buttonhole process is simple to set up as it has the typical Brother colored lines on the presser foot, making it easy to line everything up. And, once it's all set and the fabric is in place, you just push down on the pedal and go. Adjusting the length of the buttonhole is also easy as the buttonhole attachment has a slider that opens — you put your button in place, and the machine does the rest. No need to worry about the machine not stopping at the end of the buttonhole, as the CS5055 stops automatically. But hang onto that top thread, for this is what caused us to lower the score for this metric. If you forget about holding tightly to the top thread, it will slip out of the needle, and you have to do everything all over again. It's frustrating until you can train yourself to hold on to the thread, but if this is your dedicated machine, you will soon get used to it.

Brother CS5055 sewing machine - you'll need to hang on to the top thread as you begin sewing your...
You'll need to hang on to the top thread as you begin sewing your buttonhole on the CS5055.
Credit: Laura Casner

Value


The Brother CS5055 scored very well in our review, despite the small things we found that caused some problems. Overall, this machine is solid, dependable, easy to set up and use, and one that would be great for a beginner. But seasoned sewists will like this sewing machine too as it has 60 built-in stitches and carries with it the quality of the Brother brand of sewing machines.

Conclusion


The lowest-priced of all the sewing machines we tested, our reviewers found the Brother CS5055 to be a very good product. With enough fun things like an automatic thread cutter, semi-automatic needle threader, great display of stitches, and easy stitch selection to make life and sewing simpler, this is a very nice sewing machine. If you don't want or require a lot of fancy gadgets on your machine or you are new to sewing in general, this is a great choice.

Brother CS5055 sewing machine - this brother machine has super-simple stitch selection and a free arm.
This Brother machine has super-simple stitch selection and a free arm.
Credit: Laura Casner

Austin Palmer and Ruth Bruckbauer
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