Reviews You Can Rely On

Singer Simple 3232 Review

Finishing at the back of the pack, the 3232 by Singer is far from our favorite machine
Singer Simple 3232
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:   $180 List
Pros:  Inexpensive, moderately easy to use
Cons:  Difficult to set up, subpar buttonholes
Manufacturer:   Singer
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Mar 20, 2019
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
  • Sewing - 40% 5.0
  • Ease Of Use - 30% 5.0
  • Ease Of Set-Up - 20% 3.0
  • Buttonholes - 10% 4.0

Our Verdict

All in all, we weren't terribly impressed with the performance of the Singer Simple 3232. We didn't find this simple sewing machine to be particularly easy to use and actually to found it to be a bit difficult to set up. The stitch quality is far from amazing and the buttonholes are definitely below average. It isn't terribly expensive, but you can get a far better sewing machine for the same price.

Our Analysis and Test Results

This sewing machine finished right at the back of the pack, tying with the Brother ST371HD. Both of these are about the same difficulty to use, but the Simple 3232 is quite a bit harder to set up. However, Simple 3232 does make better quality stitches and costs quite a bit less.

the singer simple 3232 sewing machine.
The Singer Simple 3232 sewing machine.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Performance Comparison

To pick out which sewing machine is truly the best appliance on the market, we started off by comparing the specifications and capabilities of dozens of different machines, then bought all the most compelling and tested them out head-to-head. We rated and scored their performance in tons of different tests, grouped into four weighted rating metrics, with the Simple's subpar results described below.

the simple 3232 was average at sewing.
The Simple 3232 was average at sewing.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman


Constituting 40% of the final score for each product, our stitch and sewing quality metric is the most important aspect of our review. For this tests, we compared the quality of a long straight stitch, a zigzag stitch, and a scallop stitch, as well as used the zipper-specific presser foot to attach a zipper. An experienced user created the sample stitches on a variety of different fabrics, then had a panel of expert judges compare and rate the stitches. The Simple 3232 did about average overall, earning it a 5 out of 10.

The Simple did quite well with the straight stitch on most of the fabrics, but it struggled a ton with the silk or the polyester chiffon, bunching up the fabric a ton. It actually did even better with the zigzag stitch, doing well with the silk and the chiffon, in addition to all the other products as well.

we had trouble with bunching on the lighter fabrics.
We had trouble with bunching on the lighter fabrics.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

This machine did struggle a bit with the scallop stitch, bunching up a handful of our test fabrics no matter what we did to adjust the tension. It did finish with an average showing when it came to attaching a zipper. Aside from our four main evaluation stitches, we did notice that the diamond stitch is absolutely awful across the board, but this machine could sew through six layers of denim without too much of an issue.

the simple 3232 didn't have any features that set it apart making it...
The Simple 3232 didn't have any features that set it apart making it easier to use.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Ease of Use

Next, we moved on to ranking and comparing how easy it is to use the machine on a daily basis. For this series of tests, we looked at how clear and easy to understand the directions on the machine are, the amount of light provided by the machine, and if there is a built-in thread cutter. Additionally, we also awarded points if you can set the needle stop position, if the machine has automatic (pedal-free) sewing, and how easy it is to pick between different stitches. The Singer Simple 3232 again gave a run-of-the-mill performance, earning a 5 out of 10 in this set of tests, which is responsible for 30% of the final score.

The labels and instructions are fairly easy to understand if you have used a sewing machine before, but you may have to spend a little time looking through the manual to figure out what some of the symbols mean if you are a complete novice.

the tension adjustment wheels.
The tension adjustment wheels.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

This machine has the standard side thread cutter and has a dial you turn to select the different stitches, similar to most of the other mechanical models that we have tested.

the stitch selection wheel on the simple 3232.
The stitch selection wheel on the Simple 3232.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

However, it can be a little difficult to get the stitch length and width dialed in, as it doesn't automatically show you the defaults. This machine doesn't have push-button sewing and the needle won't automatically stop in the up or down position — it just freezes as soon as you let off the pedal.

an "automatic" needle threader is another really nice feature to...
An "automatic" needle threader is another really nice feature to have, though be aware there are different kinds.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Ease of Set Up

This next group of assessments dealt with how much effort is required to get the 3232 ready each time you want to sew, such as threading the needle or winding and installing a bobbin, which constitute 20% of the total score. Unfortunately, the Simple 3232 isn't all that simple to set up, earning a 3 out of 10.

This machine is about average to thread, but the needle threader gave us a bit of difficulty, being a bit more difficult to use than some of the other models. It's also very easy to thread the bobbin for winding, but it tends to come out very bottom heavy

the bobbin compartment on the simple 3232.
The bobbin compartment on the Simple 3232.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

However, it was installing the bobbin that really dropped the score of this product. We found the directions to be hard to follow and it requires a tool to get the bobbing out of the chamber. It also can be a bit difficult to thread the shuttle.

buttonholes are very important to a nicely finished piece.
Buttonholes are very important to a nicely finished piece.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman


For our last test, we scored the quality of buttonholes created by the Singer 3232, which accounts for the remaining 10% of its total score. This machine did a little better than the last metric but still scored below average overall, earning a 4 out of 10 for its efforts.


This machine isn't a great value, as there are comparably priced models that scored significantly better.


We aren't huge fans of the 3232 and vastly preferred other machines.

David Wise and Austin Palmer
You Might Also Like

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More