Are you ready for a serger? You have your traditional sewing machine and you’re pretty comfortable with it. Still, you’ve been sewing for a long time and perusing what could be if you had more advanced machines for clothing, embroidery, or quilting. A serger machine (or overlock machine as it’s called overseas) is very important if you’re serious about sewing clothing - especially stretchy fabrics. Sewing with a serger is generally faster, and smoother, and gives you better, more durable seams. Your clothes and sewing projects will look professionally done and last longer.
You can buy most of these sergers from either a local sewing machine shop or online. If you’re shopping online, take a look at SewingMachinesPlus.com. Their prices are generally the same as Amazon, they have amazing product pages with all the info you could want on each machine, and they have a massive selection of machines that you can compare and contrast. Peek-a-Boo Pages is an affiliate.
The list of the top 10 best sergers comes from my own experience, research, and a search through our Facebook Group to see what our sewists are frequently recommending to other members of our group.
Can a beginner use a serger, or is it better for more experienced sewers?
A beginner can use a serger! While it may have a bit of a learning curve, with practice and patience, anyone can master using a serger. In fact, many beginners find that using a serger simplifies the sewing process and produces professional-looking results.
Our List of Top Srgers or Overlock Machines
The Brother 1034D Serger is probably the most popular serger right now and if you look through the Facebook Group you’ll see that it’s also probably the most recommended serger for sewing clothing. On Amazon alone, they’ve sold over 10,000 units of this serger. The Brother 1034 sews at 1300 stitches per minute, has a metal frame, and an easy-to-thread color-coded system. Types of stitches include 4-thread overlock, 3-thread overlock, narrow hem, rolled hem, and ribbon lock stitches.
Some complaints are the long-term durability of the machine if you’re using it daily for heavy-duty use, and it is a little louder than some of the other machines listed below. Some have also found issues with thicker fabrics. Still, at around $280 at the time of this writing, it’s hard to beat the Brother 1034D as a beginner.
The Juki 654 is probably the second most recommended serger in our Facebook Group and the Serger I use. It’s a nice step up from the Brother 1034D for not much more money. It’s relatively easy to thread, adjust, and use and is quieter than the Brother. It’s a bit faster, too at 1500 stitches per minute. Some have even compared the Juki to an industrial machine at a low price point. It’s well-built and highly recommended by many group members. One member said “quieter, easier to use, and better quality!” You can sew through a variety of fabrics. This machine is a great way to get professional results.
OK – now we’ll stray from some of the popular inexpensive models and go to the top of the line – the Baby Lock Accolade. Baby Lock is known for their high quality sewing machines, sergers, and coverstitch machines. They have multiple machines that run thousands of dollars. The Accolade actually combines the serger and coverstitch into one machine.
Even at their price tag, there are many sewists, including members of our Group that swear by their Baby Lock machines and make the investment. One of the features they love is the “Air Threading.” Basically, you put the threads into a small hole at the top of the machine, press a button, and the machine is threaded. One of the biggest complaints you’ll find on most of these sergers is the difficulty in threading the machine so this feature is worth its weight in gold.
The Baby Lock Accolade comes with 87 stitches, and 8 thread stitching. This basically means that it can do both serging (seams) and coverstitching (finished hems) at once. The auto tension feature allows you to use the machine without constantly worrying about and adjusting the tension.
Janome is one of the most popular brands for sewing machines and sergers. There are several members of our Facebook Group that have been sewing with Janome sewing machines since they started decades ago and love them. The Janome 8933 is comparable to the Brother 1034D listed above and retails for around $300.
Like the Brother 1034D, it has a color-coded thread guide, differential feed, and lots of 5-star reviews. It has a four-thread capacity and will give you great professional-looking hems. Some have also found this machine easier to thread than other comparable models.
If you’re really on a budget for your serger you might take a look at the Singer SO230. It’s currently the cheapest Serger I could find on Amazon and still has many features and sports the reputable Singer Sewing Brand. It’s comparable to the Brother 1034D serger in that it stitches 1300 stitches per minute. Reviews claim that it’s relatively quiet and smooth, although it does have some trouble with heavy-duty fabrics. Others have complained that it was difficult to find parts to repair it.
Another Singer machine!!! The Singer ProFinish Serger sewing machine is another machine comparable to the Brother 1034D and Janome 8933 above at a similar price point of around $318 at this article was published. It has 2,3,4 thread capability, adjustable stitch length, and free arm, allowing you to sew cuffs or sleeves easily. It stitches at a comparable 1300 stitches per minute, has adjustable stitch length & width, and a color coded threading system to help get the machine threaded every time. It’s a bit more advanced then the Singer SO230 above so if Singer is your brand for different machines then you might give the Singer ProFinish Serger a hard look.
If you’re impressed by the Juki 654 but want a few more features then you might look at the Juki MO-1000. The MO-1000 includes Juki’s version of “air threading” like noted in the Baby Lock Accolade above. Customers say the “auto threader is worth all the money.”
Apart from the auto-thread feature, the Juki MO-1000 has an increased workspace size and is noted for its durability, quietness, and low vibration while sewing. The MO-1000 also includes a DVD to explain the machine and its features. If you’re looking for something above a beginner model but don’t quite want a Baby Lock Accolade Serger and Combo Machine above, the Juki MO-1000 might be the right machine for you.
The Baby Lock Celebrate is comparable in features (and price) to the Juki MO-1000 above. It still has the all-important air threading feature for the loopers and an easy needle threading system. This is no regular sewing machine.
One difference between the Baby Lock Celebrate and the Baby Lock Accolade above is that the Celebrate does not have auto-adjusting tension. However, it does have easily adjustable dials at the front of the machine to make adjustments.
The Bernina Textile Group designs the Bernette Funlock 44. They’re known for their high-quality Swiss-designed sewing machines and sergers. One of our group members said she has had her Bernina sewing machine “for 49 years without an ounce of trouble."
The Funlock 44 is easy to operate, with a simple knob to change stitches and color-coded threading. It works well with thicker fabric, has built in storage space for accessories, and (like many of the other sergers listed) has a differential feed that helps make smooth seems through knits and crimp-free seams with fine fabrics. It stitches up to 1300 stitches per minute and comes complete with a 10-year warranty!
If you’re doing something akin to assembly line clothes production and want something that will take that kind of hard use then you might consider a small industrial-grade serger or overlock machine. If that’s the case, the Juki MO-6814S might fit the bill. This machine does 2-needle overlock and stitches at speeds of up to 7000 stitches per minute! If you want to combine your garments quickly, you can beat the Juki MO-6814S serger.
This industrial-grade serger also comes with an assembled sewing table, a built-in presser foot, and a 1/2 HP motor. The table has adjustable height, heavy-duty wheels, and strong construction.
What Other Machines Do I Need for Sewing Clothing
I hope this article on the top 10 sergers has helped you gain some knowledge to help you decide which is right for you. Especially if you’re sewing clothing, a serger is a really important piece of your arsenal that will help you to create professional-looking, ready-to-wear, clothing.