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Janome MOD-50 Review

A strong, easy-to-use sewing machine with good basic sewing and excellent zippering
Janome MOD-50
Credit: Janome
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Price:   $599 List | $299.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Light up screen is helpful, easy to set up
Cons:  Struggles with stretch fabrics
Manufacturer:   Janome
By Austin Palmer and Ruth Bruckbauer  ⋅  Jun 9, 2022
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 10
  • Sewing - 45% 6.5
  • Ease of use - 35% 8.1
  • Buttonholes - 20% 6.4

Our Verdict

Janome is a Japanese company with manufacturing plants in Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand. We tested two Janome machines, the 3160QDC-T, and this one, the MOD-50. Both were good machines, but the Janome MOD-50 has a beautiful light-up screen with very clear labeling and directions. However, the way this machine sews zippers made us nearly swoon with delight. It earned a perfect score in our zipper tests, better than any of the other sewing machines we tested and scored above average in our other stitching tests. That said, priced significantly higher than other comparable sewing machines, be ready to spend some dough if this is the machine you want.

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Pros Light up screen is helpful, easy to 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-upExcellent straight stitching on cotton jersey, very easy to get stitches set up
Cons Struggles with stretch fabricsBig learning curveA bit harder to set upTrouble with the bottom of zippers, basic side-mounted manual thread cutterLacks a needle up/down button, no presser foot lock, trouble with bottom strap of average zipper
Bottom Line A strong, easy-to-use sewing machine with good basic sewing and excellent zipperingAn 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 machinesGreat machine for a beginning sewer, but lacking a few helpful computerized features
Rating Categories Janome MOD-50 Singer 9960 Quantum... Singer 7258 Stylist Brother CS6000i Brother CS5055
Sewing (45%)
6.5
7.8
7.5
6.7
6.8
Ease of use (35%)
8.1
8.2
7.8
9.3
8.0
Buttonholes (20%)
6.4
7.4
7.4
6.2
6.6
Specs Janome MOD-50 Singer 9960 Quantum... Singer 7258 Stylist Brother CS6000i Brother CS5055
# of Built-in Stitches 50 600 100 60 60
# of Buttonhole Styles 3 13 6 7 7
Measured Weight 12.9 lbs 19.7 lbs 14.6 lbs 9.4 lbs 10.8 lbs
Maximum Sewing Speed (stitches per minute) 820 850 750 850 750
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? No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cover? Soft Hard Soft Hard No
Free Arm? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

This was not the first time we tested Janome sewing machines, and we were suitably impressed all over again. Easy to set up, this Janome MOD-50 delivered some solid above-average scores in many of our testing comparisons.

Performance Comparison


Janome MOD-50 sewing machine - in our testing, we used multiple stitches on each type of fabric.
In our testing, we used multiple stitches on each type of fabric.
Credit: Laura Casner

Sewing


Scoring above average in nearly every single testing metric, the Janome MOD-50 came out on the sunny side of our sewing tests. Sewing is, of course, the reason you buy a sewing machine, so we paid particular attention to each machine's ability to sew a select few stitches: straight, zig-zag, and blind hem being the top three because those are used the most in the widest array of sewing. We used the manufacturer's recommended settings for each of our tests.

While this Janome machine gave us a perfect score for sewing in a zipper, it really fell behind in the zig-zag stitch and its cousin, the scallop stitch. Both scored below average due to the bottom tension being too tight and bunching up the material, particularly with cotton jersey. In fact, this machine had difficulty sewing the cotton jersey with any of the stitches we tested. And then, amazingly, it did just fine with our multi-layer denim test, going through all the layers of the denim without a problem. Go figure.

But where the Janome MOD-50 really shone was the zipper. Where other sewing machines had a problem getting over the zipper stop, this machine went through everything as smoothly and as easily as can be.

Janome MOD-50 sewing machine - there were quite a few problems sewing on the cotton jersey.
There were quite a few problems sewing on the cotton jersey.
Credit: Laura Casner

Ease of Use


No matter how well a sewing machine sews, it's useless if it's a pain in the neck to set up and use. Good thing that the Janome MOD-50 has a very easy set-up. With the lit computerized screen telling you what to do next and giving you which presser foot to use with which stitch, the stitch set-up is far above average. The threading, too, is super-easy, with clear directions telling you how to thread the machine and insert the bobbin.

Janome MOD-50 sewing machine - very clear and easy directions for threading the sewing machine and...
Very clear and easy directions for threading the sewing machine and the bobbin.
Credit: Laura Casner

Too bad getting the bobbin wound wasn't as easy, although, to be fair, the directions were clear enough; it's just that the quality of the winding wasn't as good. Inconsistent over three separate test windings, we determined that the bobbin was consistently bottom-heavy.

Buttonholes


The MOD-50 scored solidly here, although the set-up was a little tricky. Unfortunately, you have to line up the buttonhole foot to the button as best you can eyeball because there are no colored lines, just indentations in the plastic. Sewing the buttonhole itself is a very smooth process, with good, even tension on the different fabrics we used. Cotton jersey was a bit funky, but every machine had some kind of difficulty with that fabric. As with any machine, you will get used to the quirks of this one too, and it should serve you well for many years.

Janome MOD-50 sewing machine - the dust case for the machine.
The dust case for the machine.
Credit: Laura Casner

Value


If you are looking for a quality sewing machine at a reasonable price, then you'll need to continue looking. While the Janome MOD-50 is a quality sewing machine with very good capabilities, we feel that the price is not consistent with how it performs. You can find other sewing machines that perform just or nearly as well for far less money.

Conclusion


For some, a sewing machine is as much an emotional purchase as it is an intellectual purchase. Knowing that this sewing machine is super easy to set up and then inserts a perfect zipper may be enough for some people to buy it. But for others, those points aren't enough to justify the higher than average price of the Janome MOD-50.

Janome MOD-50 sewing machine - the janome mod-50 was very easy to set up and use, but was priced...
The Janome MOD-50 was very easy to set up and use, but was priced too high for what it delivered.
Credit: Laura Casner

Austin Palmer and Ruth Bruckbauer
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