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Brother CS6000i Review

This is a great inexpensive machine for those just starting out, though more advanced users might require a higher-performing model
Brother CS6000i
Credit: Brother
Best Buy Award
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Price:   $180 List | $224.94 at Amazon
Pros:  Economical, easy to use
Cons:  Average sewing performance
Manufacturer:   Brother
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Oct 25, 2016
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62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 11
  • Sewing - 40% 5
  • Ease Of Use - 30% 8
  • Ease Of Set-Up - 20% 6
  • Buttonholes - 10% 6

Our Verdict

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 the best, it still gave a very strong performance and is a good option if you are shopping on a budget for a computerized option.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Brother CS6000i
This Product
Brother CS6000i
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award   
Price $180 List$450 List
$449.99 at Amazon
$220 List$650 List$190 List
$190 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Economical, easy to useLarge library of stitches, tied for best sewing performanceGreat value, excellent buttonholes, easy to useEasy to use, alright sewing skillsEasy to use, solid buttonholes
Cons Average sewing performanceIntimidating for new users, can be expensive if not on saleStitches are slightly inferior to the top models, built-in light could be betterCan be expensive, subpar buttonholesLackluster stitching quality, pricey
Bottom Line This is a great inexpensive machine for those just starting out, though more advanced users might require a higher-performing modelThe best of the best, this is the model we'd recommend for experienced usersThis user-friendly model is great for beginners and features above-average performance across the boardThis is a machine to look at if it deeply discounted from its list priceThis bare-bones computerized sewing machine failed to wow us, even though it is very easy to use
Rating Categories Brother CS6000i Singer 9960... Brother XR9550PRW Janome 8077 Brother HC1850
Sewing (40%)
5
7
6
6
4
Ease Of Use (30%)
8
8
8
7
8
Ease Of Set Up (20%)
6
6
7
6
6
Buttonholes (10%)
6
6
7
4
6
Specs Brother CS6000i Singer 9960... Brother XR9550PRW Janome 8077 Brother HC1850
Sewing Speed 850 850 800 820 850
Built in Stitches 60 600 110 30 130
Buttonhole Styles 7 13 8 6 8
Buttonhole Sewing (how many steps) 1-Step 1-Step 1-Step 1-Step 1-Step
Maximum Stitch Width 7mm 7mm 7mm 7mm 7mm
Maximum Stitch Length 5mm 5mm 5mm 5mm 5mm
Thread Cutter Built-in Automatic/Built-in Built-in Built-in Built-in
Automatic Bobbin Winder Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Twin Needle Capability Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Weight 9.4 lbs. 19.7 lbs. 10.3 lbs. 16.6 lbs. 10.8 lbs.

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.

Performance Comparison


The CS6000i is extremely easy to use.
The CS6000i is extremely easy to use.
Credit: Kat Elliott

Sewing


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.

One of the long, straight stitch comparisons.
One of the long, straight stitch comparisons.
Credit: Kat Elliott

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.

The CS6000i could be an attractive option for beginners.
The CS6000i could be an attractive option for beginners.
Credit: Kat Elliott

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.

The display will recommend a presser foot to match each stitch.
The display will recommend a presser foot to match each stitch.
Credit: Kat Elliott

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.

Button work


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 buttonhole presser foot on the CS6000i.
The buttonhole presser foot on the CS6000i.
Credit: Kat Elliott

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.

Value


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.

Conclusion


All in all, if this product's price is the maximum budget that you have to spend, this is a great introduction to the world of sewing.

David Wise and Austin Palmer