What are you going to be sewing? Clothes? Quilts? A variety? What's your price range? Do you want to buy American or do you care?
When I was shopping for new machines, I looked at Pfaff, Babylock, Bernina and Brother. I decided on a Brother.
I also have an old Singer Futura II that is a workhorse! It's sewn many a Halloween costume, quilt, diapers
But, now that I'm finally getting to the point where I have the skill to carry out my more advanced art quilting ideas, my Singer wasn't cutting it. I wanted a new machine where I could drop the feed dogs and do some free motion work.
My new machine does everything...it's computerized, has over 200 sitches (including several overlock stitches so it does the work of a serger, too) it threads the needle, cuts the thread, etc. My family likes some of the finer bells and whistles because they no longer have to deal with a gripy mommy cursing and swearing asking God to take swift and decisive vengence on her machine when something isn't working right
I didn't think I would like the new machines, they didn't seem as sturdy as the old Singer I was used to...I was so wrong!
But really, for years and years my old Singer was the cat's pajamas and it did everything I needed it to. I do like the heavy old metal style of machines and I would love to own a 501 or a Featherweight just for fun
Oh and I agree...sew on the machine in the store and see what you think. I tried about 7 machines out in stores and the people were always helpful and encouraged me to try them out. When you get a machine, you want to make sure it's the right one.