How much electricity do you need to power a sewing machine properly? That’s good to know if you have lost the converter, or maybe you want to use the machine during travels.
How many Watts does a sewing machine use? A sewing machine usually uses 100 Watts. Some older models only 85 and some large industry models might use up to 180 Watts. You will have around 120 or 220 Volts and then the number of Amps will vary. Here’s what you need to know.
But there are some caveats of course. A few aspects you need to consider when we are looking for adapters for sewing machines. Or if you want to power your machine with electricity from a generator or battery.
Let’s take a closer look.
How much power does a sewing machine consume?
To know how much power your machine consumes, you need to find the number of Watts.
Most sewing, overlock, quilters, embroidery and those types of machines use 90-110 Watts. Some industry models will use more power and get closer to 160 or 180 Watts. But that would not be the case for your typical household sewing machine.
Some older machines will use less Watts.
We found an old Bernina sewing machine from around 1970 that would only draw 80 Watts. But let’s stick with the 100 Watts number, and look at some math, to calculate the number of kWh and the cost of sewing on the machine.
If you sew 3 hours per day 5 days per week, that will be 15 hours of sewing per week. That will be around 65 hours per month. And let’s assume your machine uses 100 Watts. Then you will use 65 x 100 Watts per month = 6,500 Watts. That’s the same as 6.5 kWh.
1 kWh cost 12 cents on average in the United States (find your state here), so the cost is 6.5 x 12 cents = 78 cents. A typical U.S. household uses about 908 kWh a month of electricity, so the sewing machine is not a problem when it comes to power consumption.
Watts = Volts * Ampere
Kilowatt (kW)= 1,000 watt, so 100 Watt equals 0.1 kW.
What if I cannot find the Watt number?
You can usually find the number of Watts listed on the little sticker on the back of the machine (scroll down for an example). It will tell you things like Watts, Volts, and Ampere. These are the number we want in order to know (or calculate) the power consumption.
If you cannot find the number of Watts on the back, maybe you can find the Ampere number. When you multiply the number of Ampere by the number of Volts (usually 120 for U.S and 220-240 for Europe), you will have the number of Watts.
The motor uses most of the power
The motor in the sewing machine uses most of the power. So the numbers (Watts, Volts, and Ampere) you see on the back of the machine is actually just the specs for the motor. The
The little lamp on the machine is another story. It will only use around 10-15 Watts. The machine will have a built-in system to take care of that, so you don’t have to take that into consideration. That’s a very small amount of Watts and not something that will ever be a problem.
Using a sewing machine on boats, in RVs etc.
If you want to use your sewing machine on a boat or in an RV, or anywhere else you are off the power grid, that should be an easy thing. It doesn’t require much power, and it’s a nice item to be able to bring whether you need to hem a curtain or just like to relax with a little sewing project.
You can connect the machine to your batteries, inverter, generator or what you use. You can use your sewing machine on the go if you are able to power other electrical machines and appliances.
As we looked at, the sewing machines only use 100 Watts. That’s a lot less than many other machines we often bring in the RV or on the boat:
- Sewing machine: 100 Watts
- TV or flatscreen: 50-1000 Watts (This depends solely on the size of the screen.)
- Microwave ovens: 800-1200 Watts
- Light bulbs: 40- 100 Watts
- Food blender: 300 Watts)
So the micro oven will consume 8-12 times the amount of power than your sewing machine will use. But be aware that the sewing machine will take up more power than the microwave eventually because you will use it for a longer period of time.
You need to take the amount of time it will be running into account as well. So if you are sewing for hours you might end up draining your batteries anyway.
So make sure you take that into account before you start planning a long trip in front of the sewing machine (in your RV or on your boat).
How to choose the correct adaptor for your machine
If you are using the sewing machine indoor, and have access to plug it in, you just need the right adaptor. You don’t have to use the original adaptor, as long as the numbers match. So if you have lost your adaptor you can use another. But be aware that the warranty may not cover any damage from use of unoriginal adaptors.
So if you can find a new original adaptor that will always be the best option.
It that’s not possible, let’s look at what you can do instead, to get that machine going as quickly as possible.
When you look at the back of the machine it will say something like this:
These stickers are from the back of our Pfaff sewing machine and Bernina overlocker. It says 90 Watts and 105 watts. It also says that if you have 220-240 Volts you will need 0,5 Ampere.
(You might remember that when you multiply the number of Volts and Ampere you have the number of Watts.)
Find the sticker on the back of the machine, and find these numbers.
So as long as you choose an adaptor that delivers at least 100 Watts you should be good to go. The adaptor is often built into the pedal, and our adaptor actually provides 150 Watts and not 100.
It can be a little tricky to power the machine with a different type of adaptor, as it will probably not fit into the socket on the machine.
Be careful about changing the plug of the electrical cord, because you need to know exactly what you are doing. If you are not connecting everything properly, it might be a fire-trap. You don’t want cords laying around which are not sealed correctly, because they may spark a fire.
Always consult a professional or take your sewing machine to a certified repair shop, if you are not experienced with these types of things.
What about Volts and Ampere?
Your sewing machine is plugged into 110-240 Volts, and now we know that it requires 100 Watts, we can calculate the correct amount of Ampere.
Let’s look at an example.
We know that your sewing machine needs around 100 Watts. If you have 120 Volts you will need 0.86 Ampere. If you have 220- 240 Volts you will only need 0.43 Ampere.
Because of the number of Volts * Ampere = Watt.
(120 Volts x 0.83 Ampere = 100 Watts)
That’s how you calculate the power consumption of any electronic device. The sewing machine is a light-weight when it comes to power consumption but it does need to be plugged in. You can not run it with standard batteries.