86.4 The Singer 1304 Start is a basic, simple, and easy-to-use mechanical sewing machine. It is a good choice for beginners and also for those looking for a lightweight, portable machine. Consumer ratings are fairly good and owners like that the unit is affordable, easy to setup and operate, and that it has a free arm. However, it does have some issues with the thread jamming and owners sometimes struggle with threading the machine.
Consumer ratings were found at several online retail websites – see table below. A total of 300 ratings were found and when averaged these generate a score of 86.4 out of 100. This is fairly good and you can compare it to other ratings in our full list of sewing machine ratings.
|4.3 stars out of 5
|4.7 stars out of 5
|4.8 stars out of 5
|4.5 stars out of 5
|2.5 stars out of 5
Given the respectable score (86.4) it is apparent that most folks give this machine high ratings. However there are also several owners that give it low ratings and the high score is simply due to there being more high ratings than low. The 1304 does not evoke many middle of the road ratings (2 or 3 stars for example). Owners score this machine 4-5 stars or 1 star which indicates that owners either really like it or really dislike it.
A thorough review of owner comments provides the following common 1304 likes and dislikes:
- Very easy to setup
- Lightweight and compact
- Simple machine for beginners
- Has a free arm
- Vertical bobbin can be difficult to work with
- Some folks have difficulty threading the machine
- Thread sometimes jams in machine
The most common issue with this machine is the thread jamming. Quite a few owners report being frustrated by this. Some so frustrated that the machine was returned. Also, several folks have had difficulty threading the 1304, even after checking the instructions (threading diagrams are actually printed right on the machine but this still doesn’t seem to help much). However once you get it then it seems fairly straightforward.
Other common owner complaints include irregular stitches, oil leaking on fabric, and needles breaking. These are not necessarily frequent occurances but they are the most common complaints.
The Singer 1304 is lauded for its light weight and portability (it even has a fold-down carry handle). It’s a great machine for taking to classes or for travel. It is also popular with many beginners and younger sewists.
Note: If you are looking for a portable sewing machine you may want to check out our list of the best portable sewing machines. This list is dominated by Janome and Brother. If simplicity is what you are after you should see our list of the best beginner sewing machines (3 Singer machines made the top 10).
The sewing light is bright and illuminates the sewing area well and the machine is very easy to use. It also comes with most of what you need to start sewing as soon as you received it.
- 6 built-in stitches (straight, zigzag, satin, blind hem, scallop, buttonhole)
- Automatic 4-step buttonhole
- Stitch dial (for stitch selection)
- 5mm stitch width
- Sewing speed of 750 stitches per minute
- Includes 3 snap-on presser feet (buttonhole foot, zipper foot, all-purpose foot)
- Automatic front-load bobbin winding system
- Dual spool pins (for twin needle sewing)
- Removable free arm (easy access to cuffs, collar pant hems, etc.)
- Automatic tension
- LED sewing area light
- Extra high presser foot lifter
- Darning plate
- Twin needle capable
- Reverse sewing lever
- Built-in thread cutter
- Carry handle
The Singer 1304 has no start/stop button or drop feed feature. It does use a class 15 bobbin however and it is UL listed. It carries the Singer 25 year warranty. Don’t be fooled by these sewing machine warranties – they always sound better than they really are. This warranty actually means:
- Sewing machine head: 25 years
- Motors, light assembly, stitches, wiring, speed control and electronic components: 2 years
- Belts, rings, bulbs, attachments and adjustments: 90 days
This is a lightweight machine and weighs in the neighborhood of 10-11 lbs. The weight of this machine is not quoted by Singer (we could not find it) and retailers seem to provide many different figures.
A number of accessories are provided with the 1304 and can be stored in the free arm storage tray. Accessories include 3 presser feet: All-Purpose Foot, Zipper Foot, Buttonhole Foot. Also provided is a pack of needles (3), a darning plate, a seam ripper/brush, bobbins (3), a needle plate screwdriver, and spool pin felts (2). In addition, there is a power cord, a foot control, a dust cover, and a quick start guide and instruction manual.
Singer advertises that it has quite a few videos on YouTube at YouTube.com/SingerSewingCompany, and they do. However we weren’t able to find anything specific to the Singer 1304. Although it may be that some of their videos would still be helpful, depending on the issue.
Sewing Machine Manual
The manual covers things like parts of the machine, threading, operation, maintenance and troubleshooting. You can find it here: Singer 1304 Start Manual