Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist Review
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Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist
$449.99 at Amazon
$201.71 at Amazon
$229.99 at Amazon
|$210 List||$160 List|
$159.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Automatic thread cutter, tons of stitch options||Good sewing performance, easy to use, high value||Easy to use, notably good zigzag stitching, free-foot sewing option||Excellent lighting, clear and easy stitch selection, very easy buttonhole set-up||Excellent straight stitching on cotton jersey, very easy to get stitches set up|
|Cons||Big learning curve||A bit harder to set up||Buttonholes on light to medium fabrics aren't ideal, subpar bobbin winding||Trouble with the bottom of zippers, basic side-mounted manual thread cutter||Lacks a needle up/down button, no presser foot lock, trouble with bottom strap of average zipper|
|Bottom Line||An all-around great machine with more than enough stitches for even the pickiest sewer||A great machine for the price and a good bet for both beginning and seasoned users||A great machine that leaves something to be desired in creating buttonholes on lighter fabrics but overall provides excellent features for the price||Good for those starting out, but advanced users will get better performance out of other machines||Great machine for a beginning sewer, but lacking a few helpful computerized features|
|Rating Categories||Singer 9960 Quantum...||Singer 7258 Stylist||Brother XR9550||Brother CS6000i||Brother CS5055|
|Ease of use (35%)|
|Specs||Singer 9960 Quantum...||Singer 7258 Stylist||Brother XR9550||Brother CS6000i||Brother CS5055|
|# of Built-in Stitches||600||100||165||60||60|
|# of Buttonhole Styles||13||6||8||7||7|
|Measured Weight||19.7 lbs||14.6 lbs||12. 1 Ibs||9.4 lbs||10.8 lbs|
|Maximum Sewing Speed (stitches per minute)||850||750||850||850||750|
|Buttonhole Sewing (number of steps)||1-Step||1-Step||1-Step||1-Step||1-Step|
|Maximum Stitch Width||7mm||6mm||7mm||7mm||7mm|
|Maximum Stitch Length||5mm||4.8mm||5mm||5mm||5mm|
|Automatic Bobbin Winder?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist is the sewing machine for those who want the absolute best while still saving a bit of cash. Equipped with an enormous library of 600 built-in stitches, this machine delivered a standout performance throughout our testing process. Despite its overpowering number of stitches, it really is very easy to set up and use, but it may be far too much sewing machine for the casual or novice sewer.
Unsurprisingly, sewing performance makes up the largest portion of our scores, and the 9960 Quantum Stylist ranked very close to the top for this metric. While it has the largest library of built-in stitches by far of any machine that we looked at, we didn't score based on the number of stitches available but by the performance of specific ones. We made test swatches with each machine on a variety of different thicknesses and textures of fabrics and directly compared their performance using the zigzag stitch, blind hem stitch, and straight stitch, and — maybe most difficult of all functions — attaching a zipper. These four tests best highlighted the differences across our tested machines.
The 9960 Quantum Stylist scored highest of all the sewing machines at the blind hem, something that is used far more than many people realize. This model did a great job even on harder to sew slick fabrics like silk and chiffon.
The Quantum also scored highest at attaching a zipper, the bane of many a sewer. Far too many garments or projects have been ruined by a poorly installed or bunched-up zipper. It really is one of those things that either makes or breaks a project, and this machine received a perfect score. Read that again — a perfect score with a zipper. That means that this sewing machine can easily go across the bottom stays without any crooked lines and without needing help. For some of our reviewers, that in itself was enough to have it win an award. Impressively, the Quantum also received a perfect score for multi-layer denim where we folded up 12 ounces of denim until we had eight layers and sewed through them all with the longest stitch length offered by the machine.
The Quantum also took a high score for a long straight stitch and basting stitches, both of which can have problems with tension. Many sewing machines struggled with the long straight stitch, and while the 9960 Quantum received one of the highest scores, we still felt the quality was only slightly above average. This machine also performed somewhat poorly with scallop stitches on cotton jersey and chiffon, creating stitches that either got caught or were too loose. With other fabrics it fared just fine.
The Quantum Stylist also faltered a little with zigzag stitches, producing one that was only a little better than average quality. However, after extensive fiddling with the tension adjustments and deviating from the default settings, we were able to achieve a higher quality.
To sum up, the Quantum has the largest library of built-in stitches out of any that we tested, allowing you to add plenty of decorative elements to personalize your projects.
Ease of Use
Even the most complex and complicated home sewing machine should be approachable and easy to use. The Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist let us down a bit in this respect, particularly for a premium machine. Although it has good labeling for the stitches, they aren't easy to read because the markings are molded into the machine. Selecting a stitch is confusing at first too, but becomes easier as you learn the machine — as with most things. You'll just have to spend some time with the instruction manual, learning where to go to find what you need.
The instructions for winding and loading the bobbin are embedded into the plastic, making them difficult to see unless the light is right and you are at the correct angle. Overall, we were disappointed with how the bobbin was wound as it was uneven each of the three times we tried it, and the loading was clunky because the bobbin cover kept getting in the way.
A couple of the features we really like about the Quantum are the fully automatic thread cutter inside the base of the machine and the automatic needle stop. The thread cutter is a fantastic feature for saving thread and minimizing the mess created by the long thread ends when sewing — you know, the ones that the vacuum cleaner doesn't like to pick up. This feature couples well with the set needle stop position. While this model lacks the adjustability of other models, the needle will always stop in the down position, then automatically raise up when the thread cutter is activated.
Like all the sewing machines we tested, the 9960 Quantum has a free arm for those difficult-to-get-around places like sleeves and trousers. You may not realize how important a free arm is until you try to hem a pair of trousers without one and end up having to hand sew the hems. This model also comes with a hard plastic carrying case, which can protect your investment from accidents.
The last rating category we used to test our sewing machines was buttonholes. This was the lowest weighted out of all the categories, comprising only 20% of the final scores, although anyone who has had to throw out an otherwise beautiful garment due to ruined buttonholes will tell you otherwise.
The Quantum Stylist has a pretty easy one-step set-up that is slightly better than the other machines we tested. We observed that the stitches on the left side of the finished buttonhole weren't as close together as on the right side, but that is admittedly being very picky.
The Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist is not the most expensive sewing machine we tested, and though we found it discounted a substantial amount at various retailers throughout our testing, it still would represent a considerable investment for most people. Overall, this machine isn't really a great value — while it is an award winner and one of our top performers, there are much better options for the beginner sewer and those that are budget-oriented.
This Singer sewing machine is a good option for those more experienced sewists who will be able to make use of all the stitches and functions available. Definitely not for the beginner or the occasional sewer, the 600 stitches can be overwhelming to look at, much less learn how to use. We think that there are better options for the vast majority of sewers, but if you have experience and know you want a large stitch library, the 9960 Quantum Stylist is definitley one to seriously consider.
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