the Brother CS6000i is an attractively priced, lower-end computerized machine that would be a great fit for an entry-level or novice sewer. While not an award winner, it still gave a very strong performance, only scoring 7 points below our Editors' Choice. This model doesn't quite offer the same value that our Best Buy award winner does, but an argument could be easily made if this product was found on sale or for some other discounted price.
Brother CS6000i ReviewPrice: $190 List | $149.99 at Amazon
Pros: Economical, easy to use
Cons: Average sewing performance
Bottom line: A great machine for a beginner, but a more advanced user may require better sewing performance
Built in Stitches: 60
Buttonhole Styles: 7
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This machine delivered an average to above average score in every metric that we analyzed, performing exceptionally well in ease of use, tying for the top overall score. This reinforces the point that this would be a great model for beginners, and in all fairness, is essentially the runner-up for the Best Buy award.
The CS6000i earned a decent score when it came to stitch quality, earning a 5 out of 10 in our tests in this crucial metric. Making up 40% of the total score, this is obviously an incredibly important rating category, as sewing is the entire reason that you would purchase one of these machines. We particularly compared the sewing performance at 4 tasks: long, straight stitch, zigzag, scallop, and sewing on a zipper.
While this model excelled at the zigzag and scalloped stitch, it struggled at the long- straight stitch and attaching the zipper. Both zigzag and scallop stitches had a good level of evenness and consistency, with the correct amount of tension. However, we found that this product had a tendency to have a much tighter long, straight stitch than the other models, to the point where it was undesirable and causing the fabric to bunch up.
We also ran into some difficulties when using the zipper-specific presser foot to attach the zipper, as the presser foot got hung up on the zipper hard stop, causing some uneven stitching in that area.
Ease of Use
The CS6000i gave a great showing when we looked at ease of use, earning an 8 out of 10, and tying with both the Best Buy and Editors' Choice award winning sewing machines in this metric. We looked for machines that had clear directions and other features that made it easier to use — things like automatic thread cutters, work light, or other things that just made it more convenient to sew.
This model had very simple and easy to understand labels printed on the machine, giving good direction on how to thread the machine, as well as how to install and wind the bobbin. One feature that we particularly found useful, especially for novice users, was the recommendation that would appear on the display for which presser foot to use when a stitch was selected.
Some drawbacks we found were that It was necessary to consult the manual if there was an error, as the screen would only display an error code with no description, the workspace light was a little on the dim side and cast a shadow over the works, and the screen lacked a backlight. Lacking an automatic thread cutter, the CS6000i does have a manual cutter tucked away on the side of the machine. This machine will also do automatic (without the foot pedal) sewing, and will always stop the needle in the down position, piercing the fabric. While we scored the models that let you adjust the stop position higher, it is convenient for the needle to stop in the down position for applications like piecing together the top of a quilt. This ensures that you will never accidentally shift the fabric when pivoting.
Ease of Setup
The CS6000i is slightly above average when it came to setting up to get ready to sew, with a score of 6 out of 10. We didn't find any awesome features that made it more convenient — but we didn't find any parts that were difficult. Threading the machine was even across the board with the other models we looked at, as was the needle threading system. The needle threader uses a similar drop-down hook that twists to hook the thread and pull it through the eye of the needle. We did like that the hook automatically rotated the correct amount, making it significantly easier to use compared to some other styles that we looked at.
Threading to wind the bobbin was easy, with clear directions, but we found that it had a tendency to wind a little bottom heavy.
The final scoring metric that we looked at was button work, or how adept each machine did at creating a button hole, its quality, and how easy it was to create the button hole in the desired location.
The CS6000i has a 1-step buttonhole, meaning that the entire process is automatic once set up correctly. The size of the buttonhole is determined by inserting the button into the buttonhole presser foot, and it is then ready to go. One little drawback that we found was the buttonhole presser foot had the tendency to grip on certain fabrics, causing the finished buttonhole to be slightly askew. The finished products had even and consistent stitches, and we found that they were not prone to unraveling. It was also fairly easy to line up the buttonhole in the desired location.
This machine gives a solid performance for its price, and is all in all a good value. However, we have machines that performed better, especially in sewing performance, for a very similar price. We think the CS6000i offers good value, but not the best out there.
All in all, this is a fantastic entry-level machine. It got edged out of the award winning categories, but only slightly. As we have seen our award winners selling at major retailers for a slightly higher price, we would recommend spending just a little more for one of those machines or waiting until they are on sale. However, if this product's price is the maximum budget that you have to spend, this is a great introduction to the world of sewing.