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Brother ST371HD Review

An average mechanical machine, that requires a little more dexterity to operate than its competitors
Brother ST371HD
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Price:   $200 List | $180 at Amazon
Pros:  Inexpensive
Cons:  Mediocre sewing, below average buttonholes
Manufacturer:   Brother
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Oct 25, 2016
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45
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 13
  • Sewing - 40% 4
  • Ease Of Use - 30% 5
  • Ease Of Set-Up - 20% 5
  • Buttonholes - 10% 4

Our Verdict

The Brother ST371HD was one of the lowest scoring machines in our testing process. This machine essentially scored average in our three largest metrics, earning it a score of 49 out of 100. Based on its performance in our tests, we would recommend looking at a different model, as a handful of the ones we looked at scored significantly better at a comparable price.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Brother ST371HD
This Product
Brother ST371HD
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award  
Price $200 List
$179.99 at Amazon
$300 List
$299.00 at Amazon
$200 List
$172.76 at Amazon
$220 List
$149.16 at Amazon
$190 List
$149.99 at Amazon
Star Rating
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Pros InexpensiveLarge library of stitches, tied for best sewing performanceGreat sewing performance, easy to useGreat value, excellent buttonholes, easy to useEconomical, easy to use
Cons Mediocre sewing, below average buttonholesIntimidating for new users, can be expensive if not on saleA bit harder to set upStitches are slightly inferior to the top models, built-in light could be betterAverage sewing performance
Bottom Line An average mechanical machine, that requires a little more dexterity to operate than its competitorsThe best of the best, but it might be too much machine for those just starting outA fantastic machine for the price and a good bet for the serious userIf you want a solid budget model for starting out or a super easy to use model, then this is your best betA great machine for a beginner, but a more advanced user may require better sewing performance
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Rating Categories Brother ST371HD Singer 9960... Singer 7258 Stylist Brother XR9550PRW Brother CS6000i
Sewing (40%)
10
0
4
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
5
Ease Of Use (30%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
Ease Of Set Up (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
6
Buttonholes (10%)
10
0
4
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
6
Specs Brother ST371HD Singer 9960... Singer 7258 Stylist Brother XR9550PRW Brother CS6000i
Sewing Speed 800 850 750 800 850
Built in Stitches 37 600 100 110 60
Buttonhole Styles 1 13 7 8 7
Buttonhole Sewing (how many steps) 1-Step 1-Step 1-Step 1-Step 1-Step
Maximum Stitch Width 7mm 7mm 6.5mm 7mm 7mm
Maximum Stitch Length 4mm 5mm 4.8mm 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 Yes Yes
Weight 15.1 lbs. 19.7 lbs. 14.8 lbs. 10.3 lbs. 9.4 lbs.

Our Analysis and Test Results

The ST371HD is a low cost machineā€¦.and a low scoring one. Nothing really jumped out as spectacular, and this machine's performance was mediocre across the board.

Performance Comparison



The ST371HD scored below average in our tests.
The ST371HD scored below average in our tests.

Sewing


The ST371HD did average in our sewing test earning a 5 out of 10. To test the sewing aptitude of this machine, we compared the quality of the long straight stitch, zigzag, scallop and sewing on a zipper produced by this machine against the others in our review. While this machine completed each of these stitches, we found them to be lackluster.

The long straight stitch bunched up the majority of the fabrics we tested, leading to an aesthetically displeasing appearance. However, this machine did excel at a long straight stitch on jersey knit cotton, actually doing the best out of all the machines that we tested.

Surprisingly  this machine performed the best overall on jersey knit fabrics. This machine was stitch number 3 on this test swatch.
Surprisingly, this machine performed the best overall on jersey knit fabrics. This machine was stitch number 3 on this test swatch.

We also noticed a few flaws on the zigzag stitch, with the bottom thread being much too tight to allow the stitch to stretch at all, effectively defeating one of the major points of using a zigzag stitch.

This product was average when it came to scalloped stitches, as well as sewing on a zipper, though it did leave some off stitches around the zipper stop

Ease of Use


The ST371HD continued its trend of mediocrity, earning a 5 out of 10 in this metric. The directions on this machine were clear and easy to understand for simple tasks, and the average tension is noted. This product does not mark the average stitch length and width like some of the other models we looked at, but it was the only one that labeled which direction to turn the thread tension knob to adjust it up or down.

This machine had better labeling than some of its competition.
This machine had better labeling than some of its competition.

The light provided by this machine cast a somewhat annoying shadow, and was definitely a little too dim to be the only source of light when sewing. The thread cutter on the ST371HD is the typical, shielded blade on the side of the machine. This machine does have the capability for automatic sewing, and the needle will always stop in the down position.

Ease of Setup


As with the above metrics, this sewing machine earned a 5 out of 10 for ease of setup. This category looked at all of the task required before you actually start sewing, and how difficult they were. This machine was easy enough to thread, and even excelled slightly when it came to threading the needle. This style of needle threader was slightly easier to use than the one on some of the other Brother machines.

It was easy to set up and thread the machine to wind a bobbin, but the wound bobbin was slightly irregular, with the thread not moving up and down in a perfectly consistent way. It was also difficult to install the wound bobbin, requiring you to fit in in the notch in the bobbin housing, with it being unclear where to thread it. This would be especially hard for those with limited eyesight or dexterity.

The notch that you have to route the thread through makes it a little more difficult to install the bobbin on the ST371HD than some of the other machines.
The notch that you have to route the thread through makes it a little more difficult to install the bobbin on the ST371HD than some of the other machines.

Button work


The ST371HD lacked when it came to button work, earning a 4 out of 10 on this metric. We initially had a little trouble setting up the machine, with the directions being a little hard to follow on what to do. This product makes a 1-step buttonhole, but it will not stop automatically on the final step, making the final step prone to human errors.

The buttonhole presser foot and some buttonholes on the ST371HD. (3rd column)
The buttonhole presser foot and some buttonholes on the ST371HD. (3rd column)

We did like that the buttonhole presser did not unintentionally catch on the fibers of the fabric, making it less prone to bunching, but that's about it. The quality of the buttonhole produced was subpar when we compared to its competition, and we found it amazingly difficult to line up the buttonhole in the desired spot

Value


While being an economical option, the ST371HD fell short on performance. There are other options out there that offer substantially more value that we would recommend.

Conclusion


Offering low cost, but low performance, this machine did not really live up to our expectations, and we would hesitate on recommending it. Instead, we would suggest looking at our Best Buy award winners — machines that cost less than this one and outperformed it, or at our Editors' Choice award winner, if you want the very best, but at a premium.


David Wise and Austin Palmer