You need a good serger machine to finish your ambitious projects. If you want your homemade apparels to have a professional finish to them, you’ll need a serger machine. If you work on ambitious projects such as curtains and drapes, you’ll need a serger machine. For someone who has never used a serger, choosing the best and right one for your needs can be confusing. Thankfully, I do have a lot of experience in using this type of machine. I’m going to combine my experience and research to bring you the best serger sewing machines for your needs. You can find my top picks a bit further down this article but first, let me take a look at a few aspects of a serger sewing machine for the benefit of the novices.
Note: My serger machine reviews are little further down this page. Click here If are only interested in the reviews
Note: If you are new to serging and would like to learn how to serge or just want to know more about it, I highly recommend that you get “The Serger’s Technique Bible: The Complete Guide to Serging and Decorative Stitching.”
What is a Serger Sewing Machine?
A serger sewing machine is a complex machine that can be used for a variety of sewing projects such as edging fabrics, finishing a seam and hemming clothing. The machine also trims excess fabric from the edge as it sews. In countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, the word “overlock” machine is used widely in place of a serger machine. Overlock is also the name giving to the type of stitches produced by a serger machine. In professional circles, this type of stitch is also referred to as a “merrow.”
A serger basically trims the edges of fabrics and encase it in thread. The edges are stitched with overlocking stitches to make them look beautiful as well as prevent them from unraveling and fraying. The machine can also be used to sew actual seams. The machine uses multiple spools of thread at a time to sew the overlock stitches. As a general rule of thumb, the more threads the machine uses, the tighter the stitches.
What type of Serger Sewing Machine Should I Buy?
Sergers are typically classified by the number of threads they come with. They can use 2,3,4, and 5 threads at a time. You generally use the 2 and 3 thread to overcast the edges of a single ply fabric before folding the edge back to sew a traditional hem. If you have a baby onesie at home, this is usually the type of stitching you’ll find on the sleeves. So if you are sewing a type of clothing that is not going to be overly stressed or pulled apart, this is the type of stitching you should get.
For other types of projects such as shirts, you’ll need a four thread or five thread serger. This can be used to make seams and makes the most durable edges. If you are wearing a shirt at this very moment, you’ll notice that the sides are often sewn with a four or five thread serger. You’ll see this if you look at the inside of the side seams. Please note that not all higher thread machines can sew with a lower number of threads. For example, some four thread sergers might not be able to sew with two threads. You’ll want a machine that is adaptive if you want to work with a varying number of threads.
If you are someone who wants to sew as a source of income, you need to invest in a five thread serger machine. If you are a crafter or casual sewer, a four-thread serger should be enough to give you the same effect as a five-thread unit.
Who Should Buy A Serger Sewing Machine?
Before deciding to buy this type of sewing machine, please note that a serger is not a replacement for your regular sewing machine (see my best sewing machines list over here). But if you sew projects such as curtains and drapes, you’ll most likely need a serger. Those who sew commercially also often need a serger. For the casual hobbyist or home sewer, a serger is not essential but adds a professional finish to your projects if you have one.
Features of a Serger Sewing Machine
Sergers are often separated by the number of threads they can sew simultaneously. Apart from this, sergers also come with some basic features. These include speed, feed differential and a slew of user-friendly features.
Feed Differential of a Serger Sewing Machine
This mechanism smoothly pushes the fabric into the cutting and sewing part of the machine. The differential feed is often found on newer models. When shopping for a serger machine, look this feature as it makes feeding the fabric through the machine much more straightforward. This feature will have ratios that range from 0.6 mm to 2.0 mm. This is the rate at which the fabric is pushed through the machine. A higher ratio means that the machine will push more fabric through than it will pull.
It is essential that you pick a machine with a differential feed feature because you can then adjust the mechanism to sew through different types of fabrics. This also helps to prevent the material from puckering or rippling. The adjustable nature of the feed also makes it easier for you to gather fabrics to make ruffles.
The best serger sewing machines will sew through your fabric faster than a traditional sewing machine will. When considering sergers to buy, look for one that can sew at a speed of at least 1,500 stitches per minute (SPM). Some machines record this speed as revolutions per minute (RPM). Just know that both of these terms refer to the same thing. A faster machine means a more efficient use of your time as you sew quicker and with less effort than a slower machine. But keep in mind that generally, the faster the machine, the more expensive it is.
User-Friendly Features of a Serger Sewing Machine.
Some convenient, user-friendly features to look out for in a serger machine include a threading guide, easy access to threading section, a basic stitch to roll hem conversion feature, an easy way to unfasten the cutting knife, and an easy way to change the stitch width and length.
Accessories of a Serger Sewing Machine
Sergers often come with a range of accessories which make it easier for you to complete your projects. Some of these accessories to look out for include
- Tweezers – In some sergers, there are small interior threading areas which are not easily accessible. You’ll use the tweezers to grab the thread and easily wind it through the machine.
- Padding and Trim Catcher – A serger can bounce around and vibrate during sewing. This can cause damage to the surface of the sewing table. Also, the excess fabric trimmed by the machine will fall to the floor. With a padding and trim catcher, you slide it underneath the machine, and it will catch the trimmed off fabrics and serve as a cushion between the machine and the table. It also keeps the machine in place during sewing.
- Foot Variations – A good serger machine will come with a variety of foot attachments to help you accomplish various sewing tasks easily. Some of the foot attachments include elastic, lace, beading, shirring, and cording.
- Mat – Some machines will come with a mat that can be placed underneath the machine. This will reduce the amount of noise the machine makes during sewing and also help keep the machine in place.
What Are The Best Serger Sewing Machines?
I have personally used a few of these machines and the others I’ve chosen based on research and talking to friends and other sewers. For the price, features, build quality, and user-friendliness, I’ve concluded that the best serger is the Brother 1034D. Does this mean I believe it is the best serger out there? No, you can buy better sergers than this but those will be very expensive and out of the average user’s range. And I want to make this list about the average user, so I’ve excluded machines that cost more than $500. If you have the money and want to consider machines costing more than $500, please click here to compare and read reviews on those machines.
My List of The Four Best Serger Machines in 2017
#1 Brother 1034D
This machine has a perfect balance between price and performance. I bought this almost 10 years ago, and it’s still running like it was when I first took it out of the both. No wonder it is one of the best selling sergers on the market and has garnered thousands of positive five-star feedbacks.
It is easy to use even for those who have never used a serger before. You will be able to set up the machine on your own. You just have to read the manual and get yourself familiarized with the machine. At most, you will know how to use every feature of the machine within a couple of days of getting it. And if there is anything you can’t figure out, there are many video tutorials about the machine on youtube. It also comes with its own how-to videos that guide you through various tasks. The user manual is very detailed with illustrated instructions.
One thing I like about this machine is how easy it was to thread. The machine comes with how-to videos to guide you through doing various things with the machine. One of the videos is about how to thread the machine. There is also a color-coded and a numbered step-by-step diagram on the machine you can follow to thread it. Watch the video and follow the diagram and you’ll be able to thread the machine in just 5 minutes. It’s super easy to thread, and you need not worry about it at all. If you’ve heard scary stories about threading this machine, disregard them. If you can follow instructions, threading this machine is a piece of cake.
It is a 3,4 thread serger that delivers outstanding professional looking edge finishing. It comes with two extra feet in addition to the all-purpose foot that comes installed on the machine. The feet are snap-on which makes them very easy to install. The feet are mainly made of metal and designed to last a long time. You can buy additional feet if you need to but the included feet are enough to complete almost any project.
The machine can make four-thread or three-thread overlock stitches, rolled hem, narrow hem, blind hem, and ribbon lock stitches. This allows you to finish projects from upholstery to the edges of napkins and pajama bottoms.
There are a few extra convenient features I like on this machine. These include the ability to use regular thread spools if you don’t want to buy larger serger threads of 1000 yards or more. I also love that you can use regular sewing machine needles. So you can swap the needles between your traditional sewing machine and the serger. The foot pedal is very responsive and easy to use which makes it easy for you to control the sewing speed. The free-arm allows you to sew cuffs and sleeves. The retractable knife can be disabled with the flick of a lever. This is helpful in preventing accidental trimming of your fabric when sewing close to the edge of rolled hems. Remember the differential feed I talked about earlier in this article? The Brother 1034D comes with a differential feed that allows you to sew on different thickness of fabrics.
Unless you are a commercial sewer with specific needs not met by this machine, This serger should be all you need. The quality is great, it sews awesomely, and is easy to use. If you buy it, you won’t regret it and will be happily singing its praises. Ignore any negative feedbacks you read about this machine and just get it. You’ll be thankful you did.
- Two needles
- Three or four thread serger
- Differential feed
- Color-coded and numbered threading diagram
- Dial to adjust the presser foot tension
- Stitch width adjuster
- Knife on/off lever to turn the knife off if you don’t want the machine to trim the edges of your fabric
- Built-in storage
- Free arm for sewing cuffs and sleeves
- Light to illuminate the work area
#2 Juki MO644D Portable Serger Machine
The MO644 is a 2,3,4 thread model capable of sewing through some pretty tough fabrics such as layers of denim. It is an excellent serger or overlock machine for the avid sewer. It is quiet during sewing, easy to use, great build quality and does a remarkable job of sewing.
I first purchased this Serger in 2012 for a sewing buddy of mine and had a fair go on it. I was very impressed with the features and how strongly built the machine was. And I will like to report that in all those times she’s had it, she’s never needed repairs or encountered any problems with the machine. It still sews like it was new.
I love the words of one user who said, this machine is like the pickup truck of cars. A Ferrari might be a better car, but when you need to get the job done, you park the Ferrari and grab your truck. That is precisely how I feel about this machine. It is fast, quiet, gets the job done, easy to use and will not break down.
This machine sews comfortably through several layers of fabrics. It even sewed through multiple layers of denim with ease. It comes with a differential feed which makes this possible.
The best part is that it is easy to use and, therefore, an ideal machine for beginners. Even if you’ve never used a serger before and want to learn, this will be a perfect machine for you. If you are taking classes, it is portable and easy to carry to your classes. The instruction manual details everything you need to know about the machine.
The machine sews the following stitches
- 4-thread overlock stitches
- 3-thread flatlock stitches
- 3-thread overlock stitches
- 2-thread overcast
- 3-thread narrow overlock (4mm)
- 3-thread rolled hem stitches
- 2-thread rolled hem
These stitches are enough to satisfy all of your needs.
And for those of you scared of threading a machine, lay those fears to rest. This machine is so easy to thread. The threading diagram is color-coded with numbered steps to guide you through. It will make you feel like an expert threader in minutes. It comes with a thread tweezer which you’ll use to get one of the threads through a tight space. Other than that, you won’t have any issues threading the Juki MO644D.
One thing I was disappointed in with this machine was that it did not come with extra presser feet. The presser foot that comes with the machine is multi-purpose, allowing you to sew overlock stitches, add tape, elastic and ribbons to your work. However, additional presser feet are easily available for purchase, and swapping presser feet is easy. If you need extra presser feet, check out this original 8-pack deluxe feet for the MO644D. It includes an elasticator, cording, gathering, piping, blind stitch foot, beading, curved pearl and universal blind stitch feet.
- Easy threading with color-coded numbered threading guide
- Easy to use thread tension dial for adjusting the tension on your threads. It is well labeled to make it easy to understand
- Snap-on presser feet makes for easy swapping
- Easily switch from 2, 3, and 4 thread sewing.
- Built-in seam guide helps you create precision seams with little effort.
- Adjustable cutting knife. Use a dial to control the width of material the machine should trim from your edges.
- Work area light gives extra brightness to the sewing area in low light settings
- Automatic rolled hemming. When you want to create rolled hems, there is no need to swap needle plate or foot. All you need is a flip of a lever, and you are good to go.
- Differential feed with a ratio of 0.7 mm to 2.0 mm.
- A dial to easily adjust the length of your stitches.
Sergers are notorious for being a little too loud but not this machine. It is very quiet even when compared to traditional sewing machines. The Juki is an amazing serger that is sure to make you enjoy sewing a lot more. I highly recommend this machine and even wish I could offer you a personal guarantee.
#3 Brother Designio DZ1234 Serger
Another one of my favorite sergers is the Brother Designio DZ1234. It is a 4-thread maximum serger machine that uses two needles. Most users of this machine only have positive things to say about it, and I’m no different. I love this machine.
It seems the only negative feedback I saw all had to do with the threading. I cannot for the life of me understand how some people find it difficult to follow simple step-by-step instructions to thread the machine. If you come across such feedbacks, I urge you to disregard them. Threading this machine is a breeze. The instructions are clear, well-illustrated, and color-coded to make it easy for you to thread. The only negative is that the machine comes with an inadequate set of threads. I’ll advise you to get rid of those threads and purchase a good quality set of threads for the machine and save yourself a headache.
The machine sews through most types of fabrics, from light curtains to four layers of denim, without any issues. The differential feed has a range of 0.2 mm to 2.0 mm. It means you can sew through any material without puckering and stretching. The ability to adjust stitch length & width, thread tension and presser foot pressure contributes to beautiful, straight and clean stitching.
It comes with retractable knife feature that lets you disengage the knife with the flick of a lever. This allows you to make decorative stitching without trimming the edges of your fabric.
This machine also comes with three additional presser feet. A piping foot, a gathering foot, and a blind hem stitch foot for hemming. The machine sews the following types of stitches; a four-thread and three-thread overlock stitch, narrow & rolled hem stitches, and ribbon lock stitches.
When it comes to sewing, the machine is very quiet during operation. It sews smoothly and is easy to operate even for someone who has never used a serger in their life. The seams and stitches come out looking like a professional finish.
If you are looking to add professional looking features to your projects and make them last longer by preventing the edges from fraying, there is absolutely no reason not to get this machine or any of the ones reviewed above. It does an excellent job and is made to last. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a serger to add to their collection.
- Differential Feed
- Retractable cutting knife
- Three additional presser feet
- 1,300 stitches per minute speed
- Stitch width adjuster that selects widths between 3.00mm to 7.0 mm.
- Free arm lets you sew cuffs and sleeves
- Instructional Disc allows you to watch video guides
- Removable trim trap for collecting trimmed off fabrics.
#4 Janome Magnolia 7034D Serger Machine
If you’ve read my sewing machine review, you’d know that I’m a big fan of the Janome Magnolia machines. And the Janome Magnolia Sergers do not disappoint either.
The 7034D is a 3 & 4 thread model capable of sewing through a variety of fabrics including layers. It is very quiet and compact, which won’t take up a lot of space in your sewing room.
Again I’ve seen some users complaining about threading this machine. I promise it’s not that difficult to thread. There is a color-coded diagram with simple step-by-step instructions on how to thread the machine. Simply follow the instructions, and you will have the machine threaded and ready to go within a few minutes.
Some of the key features include;
- Color-coded threading and thread guide
- Differential feed with ratio from 0.5 mm to 2.2 mm allows you to sew on almost any type of fabric
- Snap-on presser feet
- Quick rolled hem
- 1,300 Stitches Per Minute sewing speed
- Electronic foot pedal with speed control
- Presser foot tension adjuster
- Stitch length & width adjuster
- Retractable upper cutting knife
One downer for me is that the machine does not come with extra presser feet beside the standard one included. However, if you do decide to buy this particular one, it comes with a bonus package that includes a blind hem foot and a beading attachment.
I highly recommend this serger sewing machine to anyone looking for a utility serger to compliment their traditional sewing machine. Click the links below to read more about the machine and find out what other users are saying about it.