Are you a professional seamstress or a fashion designer? Do you work on various sewing projects that require all kinds of designs and decorations?
If your answer is yes to what is asked above, you will most likely own a serger machine. Or maybe you are planning to buy one. If you are a newbie, you would be wondering what on earth we are talking about, isn’t it?
Well, we are discussing overlocking sewing machines, also called a serger in the US. Okay, so what is it? What does it do?
In simple terms, a serger trims the edges/ seam of fabric and encloses it inside a thread casing or stitch design. It is the process of locking the edges of a fabric to prevent the threads come off and ruin the dress. The overlocking stitch will firmly seal the edges of the fabric while also giving it a pretty appearance.
You would have seen the overlocking stitch on the inside of your dresses, at the end of the sleeves, at cuffs, or at the hem of the pants. This stitch cannot be done using a regular sewing machine. You can’t get it even on embroidery or a quilting machine.
The serger machine’s exclusive purpose is to seal the seam and overlock it with tight and secure stitches. This is done in various ways. Depending on the model and the price, a serger can have 2 threads, 3 threads, or 5 threads overlocking the seam. The higher the price of the machine, the more features it has to offer.
Not everyone needs a serger. Professionals have it to work on certain projects and to add some creative seam designs. Some users take up only overlocking jobs. In either case, a serger is a must.
If you plan to join either group, you will need to know more about these sewing machines. And before you worry, let us assure you that you are in the right place. Continue reading, and you’ll find a detailed list of the top 5 best overlock sewing machines in the market. This is followed by a buying guide where we discuss the factors you will need to consider before investing in a serger.
All your doubts would be cleared by the end of this article. Shall we get going then?
Table of Contents
The Best Overlock Sewing Machines For The Money
#1 Brother 1034D Serger, Heavy-Duty Metal Frame Overlock Machine - EDITOR'S CHOICE
The first serger on our list is by Brother. 1034D has been declared as one of the best serger machines in the market. Users find it affordable, highly efficient and call it a workhorse for the kind of output it delivers. It has many useful features and accessories and can be used to overlock even the thinnest and most delicate fabrics with the utmost ease. This serger can do a lot more than overlocking the seam. Let’s take a look at the features and benefits in detail.
Features & Benefits
The serger weighs just 8 pounds and is the most lightweight model on our list. It comes with a color-coded thread system that is super easy to understand. The stitching speed of 1300 SPM is highly suitable for most professionals.
The serger comes with 22 built-in stitch designs, a differential feed system, easy snap-on presser feet, a free arm, a retractable knife to avoid accidentally cutting through the fabric, and various other features.
This model comes with 2 needles and 3-4 threads. The performance of this serger cannot be questioned. It always lived up to the expectation of most users. From linen to stretchy fabrics to knits to jerseys, you can overlock the seam of most fabrics using this model.
Some users did mention that working on denim is not easy, but it can be done. A few others said that the unit was noisy, but since sergers are not used every day, it shouldn’t be much of an issue. Moreover, it is not so loud that you’ll not be able to work on it.
Ease of Use
Make it a point to read the user manual thoroughly before starting the machine. And yes, oil it immediately after unpacking. Even the instructions say the same. Take your time in understanding the machine. For any questions, you can call the customer support team and ask them your queries.
Being a budget-friendly model, it doesn’t have the cover stitch design. However, users don’t seem to be feeling sad about it. One thing we do love about this machine is that it uses traditional needles. If it breaks midway, you can replace it with what you already have with other sewing machines.
#2 JUKI MO644D Portable Serger - Best Safe Serger Machine
MOD644D is yet another famous serger machine in the market. It may not have too many accessories, but it sure has enough features to provide good results. And it is known as one of the safest serger models thanks to the safety features it possesses. It is smooth, efficient, and highly productive. What more do we need from a serger? Why not see and find out what more it can offer?
Features & Benefits
Despite weighing around 18 pounds, Juki markets this model as a portable unit. If you are wondering about the truth of the statement, let us assure you that you can easily take it from one place to another.
The unit is compact and small. All you need to do is take care not to knock off the thread stand at the top. With a small work area and four knobs neatly arranged on the side, this is a cute little serger machine that packs a punch.
Durability is not an issue with this unit. Well, it would never be with Juki machines. The machine is sturdy and doesn’t vibrate in the least, even when you are sewing at the highest speed of 1500 SPM. Not just that, the machine doesn’t make much noise either.
The model comes with 2 needles and 3-4 threads (2/3/4 thread system) and has an automatic rolled hem. The thread tension is amazingly perfect. The retractable knife does its job when required and stays out of the way the rest of the time.
Ease of Use
MOD644D is best suited for domestic use. The capacity, the features, and the price have been set to help home professionals deliver high-quality results to their customers. You can easily snap on the presser feet within a few seconds. The color-coded threading system is easy, but threading through the tower can be annoying. Be patient, and you’ll learn it faster.
Overlocking multiple layers of thicker fabrics is not easy, so that’s something you’ll need to keep in mind. The LED lights are bright enough for you to work even during the night. The differential feed creates no problems whatsoever.
#3 SINGER | Professional 14T968DC Serger - Best High-end Model
It’s time to take a look at one of the best high-end serger models in the market. It belongs to none other than Singer. Be it the automatic thread tension or the 5-thread overlocking system, this is an out and out professional serger with advanced features. Despite being a 5-thread system, you can easily use it as a 4-thread, 3-thread, and 2-thread system, without compromising the quality of the stitches.
Features & Benefits
This is the heaviest model on our list, but it still weighs 20 pounds only. The size is bigger, which is understandable, as it comes with a 5-thread system that is neatly spread out on the body frame.
The frame is made of metal to absorb the vibrations and reduce noise while sewing. That said, some users complained about a few plastic components inside the machine. These seem to be a bit delicate and breakable.
The serger runs at 1300 SPM, which can be adjusted as per your requirements. It is possible to change the length and width of the stitch based on the type of fabric you are working on. The brand provides a whole lot of accessories. The foot pedal works great and is receptive to touch.
And hey, this one comes with an attachable waste pocket that catches all the trimmed edges of the fabric. You just need to remove it, throw away the collected trash, and put it back in place. Another advantage is the extra-high presser feet. You can work on thicker fabric with ease. It also has a differential feed system.
Ease of Use
Singer provides a detailed instruction manual with this one. Professionals find it quite easy to use this model. In fact, they love the extensive features it has to offer (and don’t forget the built-in stitches or the 4 rolled hems).
However, if you are a beginner, you might face some difficulty in understanding the operations. Threading the machine is not easy if you are a newbie. Also, considering the price of the model, we say let professionals use this one.
#4 SINGER | ProFinish 14CG754 Serger - Best for Beginners
We have another Singer serger on our list, and this one is a commercial-grade machine that works like a charm. While the model is expensive, it is worth the price you pay for it. And guess what, even a beginner can easily use this machine. It has a lot to offer to the users. Professionals and beginners equally love this model. Yeah, it does have a few issues, but which one doesn’t? Time to check out the details, shall we?
Features & Benefits
The serger is a portable and lightweight machine weighing less than 14 pounds. It scores points for its appearance and its performance. The color-coded thread system, the other knobs, and levers are neatly arranged on the machine.
You will need to be a little heedful, though. Don’t ever drop this unit. The parts will break, and you’ll have to take the machine directly to the service center. It also requires regular maintenance and cleaning. Don’t ignore that.
The serger has the standard 2 needles and 3-4 thread system. It can work on any fabric, be it linen, knits, or denim. Stretchy fabrics are not an issue either. The machine runs at 1300 SPM and comes with an adjustable controller for the stitch length and width.
Be it the attractive built-in designs or the 4 built-in rolled hems, you can create some absolutely wonderful borders using this serger. The thread tension needs manual adjustment, so that’s something you’ll have to learn.
Ease of Use
As we mentioned earlier, ProFinish 14CG754 is a serger for beginners. The instruction manual is detailed and will take you on a step by step guide to understand how to use and operate the model.
Threading a serger is not easy, so be patient and practice as much as you can. Follow the instructions and check out the tutorials on the internet. Soon, you’ll come up with your own ways to easily thread the machine.
#5 Janome 8002D Serger - Best Affordable Serger
The last serger on our list is 8002D by Janome. The brand has been in the market for a long time and is famous for some of the best sewing machines it has ever produced. This model gets much love from newbies and home professionals who have a limited budget and yet, want to use a reliable and sturdy serger machine. Here’s why this model has entered our list.
Features & Benefits
This is a cute serger weighing around 17 pounds. It is portable and can handle many types of fabrics without a peep. The differential feed system works perfectly. Not once did the material get struck or pucker when sewing.
With a sewing speed of 1300 SPM, the serger runs steadily to finish the projects well within the time limit. The quality of the finish is just stupefying. It delivers professional-level quality.
Be it the thread cutter (which can be adjusted) or the adjustable stitch length and width, this one offers many features despite being an entry-level model. This is the kind of serger you would carry to your sewing classes.
The machine can be used with 2 needles and 3/ 4 threads. You can adjust the specifications based on the fabric and the type of overlocking stitch you want. However, remember that you cannot use regular needles. You will need to use only HA-ISP #11 to #14 needles with this one.
Ease of Use
The serger has a ¾ thread system. It can be a little complex to learn, but that shouldn’t stop you. With some practice, you’ll get used to threading it. Apart from that, this one is totally a user-friendly model.
You don’t need to worry too much about maintenance either. It requires only minimum care to last for a long time. Janome provides a 25-year limited warranty on this model. That should say something, right?
Best Overlock Sewing Machine Buying Guide
We saw some wonderful serger machines, right? These are fast, efficient, and always deliver the results. A serger will give your project the perfect finish as no other sewing machine can. Sure, you can get similar results using a double-needle machine. But hey, it is easy to spot the difference in quality.
But not all sergers are the same. It is essential to understand the differences to invest in the model that is the best choice for your sewing requirements. Check out the following factors to compare and contrast the serger machines and understand them even better.
Stitching Speed of the Machine and Control
A serger machine is fast compared to a regular sewing machine. The stitching speed is usually above 1000 SPM and goes higher as the price increases. Professionals tend to prefer models with a range of 1300-1500 SPM. This is a comfortable sewing speed for many users. At the same time, having a serger that allows you to adjust the speed is important. You will not always run at the highest speed. A speed controller will help you bring down the pace and set it at a convenient range.
Experience and Requirements
A beginner may not be able to differentiate between two or more serger machines. The features will look alike with little or no difference. But a professional will know if a feature is useful to them or not. Since learning a serger is not easy, you should invest in a model that suits your experience level rather than buy something complex. You can always buy another model once you master the craft. In fact, that’s what a lot of professionals do. They don’t directly start with the high-end version at the beginner of their career.
Thread Capacity- 2, 3, 4 and 5
Sergers can have 2/3/4, 3/4, 2/3/4/5 thread capability options, depending on the model and the price range. A serger with a 5-thread capacity is expensive and termed as a high-end model. Most sergers have 3/4 thread capacity, where the machine has 2 needles and 3-4 threads. This overlocking is strong and durable and works great for most projects.
Well, serger machines also come with an automatic threading feature. But these are very expensive and can be beyond your budget, especially if you are a beginner. But, there is another easy way to thread the overlocking machine. Sergers come with a color-coded thread guide that easily explains how to thread the needles. Many prefer to use these jet serger machines as they are cost-effective, and one can also learn the machine. This will help you with the ability to work on any serger.
Cover Stitch- Yes or No
A cover stitch has two rows of top-stitching with a serged look on the inside. That’s how the cuffs and sleeves of some dresses look, don’t they? You can get the same look on the outside by using a dual needle sewing machine, though it cannot compete with a serger. Not all overlocking machines have the cover stitch option. Only the high-end models do. It is dependent on your choice if you want this feature or not.
Differential Feed System
Just about every serger machine has this feature. The differential feed lets you work on all kinds of fabrics and prevents them from stretching, pulling, or puckering. And what’s more? You can you this to give some cute-looking ruffles and frills to the dress while overlocking the seam.
Adjustable Thread Tension
Sergers either have an automatic thread tension adjuster or provide a knob for you to manually do it. While the automated version is easy, it might cause some trouble when you are using decorative stitches. The machine will take some time to understand the exact thread tension required for the fabric and the design. The manual model requires you to set it yourself. But with a little practice, you can
Adjustable Stitch Length and Width
This is a must-have feature for every sewing machine. A serger is no exception to this rule. The length and width of the stitches vary according to the fabric and the project (dress, tablecloth, pant, décor, etc.,). A tighter overlocking stitch will keep the edges smooth and also suit the best for delicate fabrics. A looser seam will give the fabric more space to stretch and expand.
Weight, Dimensions, and Portability
Sergers come in different weights, though a lot of them can be carried from one place to another. Some could be heavy but can still be moved with a bit of help. Sergers are compact and do not have large work areas. However, they have extended thread holders at the top that need to be handled with care. You don’t want to end up bending or breaking those, right?
Cost of the Machine
Sergers are costly machines. While you can still find inexpensive models in the market, most professionals prefer to buy a second-hand high-end model and then save money to invest in a good quality serger. Of course, choosing a well-known brand is the best choice.
Accessories will again depend on the brand and model of the serger machine. An LED light should be a common feature, but it is still better to confirm that the machine has it. A serger with a big lower loop might help with easy threading. And yeah, a waste catcher will save you time and energy by collecting the trimmed edges of the fabric in one place. Lastly, don’t forget the instructional manual. You will need a detailed manual (or a DVD) to understand the serger machine.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
So, have you decided on the serger machine you want to buy? Are you still confused and unable to decide? That’s alright. We would recommend Brother 1034D Serger Overlock Machine for the features and benefits it offers.
Since we already saw the specifications in detail, you will know that Brother 1034D is budget-friendly, user-friendly, comes with traditional needles, and has almost all the features an overlocking sewing machine should have.
Brother 1034D Serger Overlock Machine is one worthy serger machine to invest in and get high-quality results.