Created: 01 May 2020
82.8 The Janome Arctic Crystal is an entry-level mechanical sewing machine. It is compact, lightweight and fairly basic. It’s a sturdy unit that comes with 15 built-in stitches and it is also easy to setup and to operate. As a result, it is a popular choice with beginners. Most owners are pleased with the Arctic Crystal but some report that the lighting is too dim and that they have to deal with thread tangling issues.
Three Color Options
This Janome model can be found in three different color schemes.
- Arctic Crystal
- Blue Couture
- Pink Sorbet
These are all the same machine but you can choose a color.
Ratings provided by actual owners provide insights into how happy the owners are with their purchase. In our ratings table we have made an effort to remove owner ratings which are the result of a free product or payment (of one form or another) by the retailer. While many folks can remain impartial under such circumstances, we prefer to err on the side of caution.
We found 113 owner ratings for the Janome Arctic Crystal (see table below) and when we apply a weighted average we get an overall sewing machine ratings of 82.8 out of 100. This is fairly average
if you stack it up against other sewing machines on our site (see our list of ALL sewing machine ratings
). However if you compare it to other Janome sewing machines then it is actually a bit low.
||4.1 stars out of 5
||4.5 stars out of 5
|Bed Bath & Beyond
||4.5 stars out of 5
||4.0 stars out of 5
What Are Owners Saying?
A thorough review of owner comments has provided the following Pros and Cons:
- Feels sturdy (metal frame)
- Lightweight and portable
- Good quality stitch
- Easy to setup and easy to use
- Fairly strong (can handle denim)
- Feeds material well
- Not too loud
- Lighting is a bit weak
- Some folks don’t like the front loading bobbin
- No thread cutter
- Can’t lower feed dogs
- No automatic needle threader
- Needle positioning is LEFT or CENTER, there is no RIGHT
- Plastic spool pins seem a little fragile
- Some owners report bobbin issues (thread tangling)
Many owners feel the Arctic Crystal is a good buy. There are quite a few positive comments such as “good machine for the price”, “good bang for your buck”, and “great mechanical sewing machine”.
Folks also like that the unit feels sturdy and is still fairly lightweight. Several people have highlighted that the unit is very portable and that they like to take it to classes and/or sewing gatherings.
The machine is basic and it does not have a lot of bells and whistles. Owners also report that it is both easy to setup and easy to operate. As a result, the Arctic Crystal is often purchased by beginners and budding seamstresses.
In addition, folks like that the unit feeds material well, sews smoothly, and isn’t too loud.
On the other hand, some owners find that the front loading bobbin can be difficult to work with and would have preferred a simpler top drop-in bobbin. Also, many lament the lack of a thread cutter.
The LED lighting does not do a particularly good job of illuminating the sewing area and, while the retractable spool pins are a nice feature, they are made of plastic and a number of owners appear to be concerned about their resiliency.
While the Arctic Crystal is capable of dealing with the likes of denim, it is probably not the best choice for those who intend to sew through lots of tough fabrics or thick layers.
Finally, we have noticed that the unit gets a lot of 5 star ratings from owners, which is great, but there are also a number of 1 star ratings. The low ratings mostly seem to relate to bobbin issues and thread tangling. We also note that some folks who have had a more expensive Janome in the past seem disappointed with this one. This unit doesn't seem to match up with what they expect from the brand.
“How To” Videos
There are several very helpful videos produced by Janome that cover topics such as:
- Machine walk through
- How to change presser feet
- How to change the needle
- How to wind the bobbin
- How to thread the machine
- How to insert the bobbin
- Reverse stitching
- Zig-zag stitching
- Needle plate
These videos can be seen on the Janome site here
- 15 stitches (basic, quilting, fashion, home decor, heirloom)
- One 4-step buttonhole
- Stitch selection via a dial
- Manual thread tension control
- Free arm capable
- Max stitch length = 4mm
- Max stitch width = 5mm
- Adjustable stitch length
- Snap-on presser feet
- Extra high presser foot lift
- 3-piece feed dog
- Retractable spool pins
- Push-pull bobbin winding
- Front loading vertical oscillating hook bobbin
- Reverse lever
- Max sewing speed = 800 stitches per minute
- LED light (for illuminating sewing area)
Some Things You Won’t Get
No needle threader
No needle up/down
No thread cutter
No locking stitch button
No knee lift
No foot pressure adjustment
No drop feed
15 stitches are provided and can be chosen via a dial on the front of the machine.
Accessories & Other
The sewing machine weighs in at a fairly lightweight 13 lbs. It isn’t quite lightweight enough to make our list of the top rated portable machines
(these are typically under 12 lbs), but it is still a compact and reasonably light unit.
The workspace is not too large and those who quilt could find it a little restricting. It has a width of 6.5 inches and a height of 4.7 inches.
A number of accessories are provided including 4 presser feet: General purpose foot (on machine), blind hem foot, sliding buttonhole foot, and zipper foot. You will also get a darning plate, bobbins, a set of needles, a seam ripper, a quick start guide, and an instruction manual.
Many of the accessories can be stored on-board the machine in the removable storage compartment (when removed it turns the machine into a free arm).
The Janome Arctic Crystal / Pink Sorbet / Blue Couture carry a 25-year limited manufacturer's warranty.
Sewing Machine Manual
The manual for this machine is pretty good. It is not as detailed as many other Janome machines but then this unit is quite basic. It covers setting up and getting ready to sew, different machine features, basics of sewing, utility stitching, decorative stitching, maintenance, and troubleshooting. You can see a copy of the manual here: Janome Arctic Crystal Manual