Bernina vs Janome: Consider These 15 Things Before Buying a Sewing Machine

|

If you are looking to buy a new sewing machine, two brands will likely pop up in your search: Bernina and Janome. These two sewing machine brands have great reputations in the sewing world because they provide a quality and diverse range of machines suitable for both beginners and seasoned sewists. As you compare these two, you’ll notice that they have many features in common and other features that are unique to one brand.

I’ve owned four different Bernina sewing machines and two Janomes. Let me share a few things I know to help you decide.

Bernina B770

Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

Bernina, known for its Swiss precision, tends to focus on high-end machines that offer durability and an array of features for precision sewing.

Janome Horizon Memory Craft 14,000

Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

On the other hand, Janome, a Japanese brand, offers a broad selection of machines that often come with a more attractive price tag without compromising on quality.

As you look closer, you’ll see that both brands boast innovative technology, such as computerized sewing options and a variety of stitches, but each has its unique characteristics that cater to specific sewing needs and preferences.

Bernina’s Origin

Photo credit: Taljat David / Shutterstock.com

Bernina was founded in 1893 in Steckborn, Switzerland, by Fritz Gegauf. The brand has since been renowned for its innovation and quality. Bernina initially gained fame for the creation of its hemstitch sewing machine, which was a global success. Over the years, the company has remained family-owned and continues to emphasize precision Swiss engineering in its sewing machines.

Janome’s Evolution

Photo credit: Hakase_420 / Shutterstock.com

Originating in Japan, Janome started its journey in 1921 as The Pine Sewing Machine Factory and later adopted the name Janome in 1954, which means “eye of the snake” in Japanese. This name was chosen because the latest technology of the time featured a round metal bobbin system that resembled a snake’s eye. Janome has grown to become one of the largest sewing machine manufacturers in the world, known for its technological advancements and varied product offerings.

Sewing Machine Types

Photo credit: Bernina.com

Both Bernina and Janome offer an extensive range of machines, from basic mechanical models perfect for beginners to high-end computerized machines equipped with the latest features for experienced sewers.

Mechanical Machines

Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

Ideal for simple sewing tasks, Janome offers a wide range of mechanical sewing machines for sewers just starting out.

Bernette Mechanical Sewing Machine

Editorial credit: Svetlyachock / Shutterstock.com

The last all-mechanical sewing machine that Bernina sold was Model 1008, which was discontinued in 2020. Now, Bernina only offers mechanical sewing machines under their sister brand, Bernette.

Computerized Machines

Photo credit: mokjc / Shutterstock.com

Both Janome and Bernina offer a range of computerized sewing machines that feature complex stitching patterns and ease of use.

Machine embroidery features can be included on the high-end sewing machine models from both companies if you are willing to pay more.

Embroidery-Only Machines

Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

Crafters interested in machine embroidery will find dedicated machines from both Bernina and Janome.

Sewing Machines for Quilters

Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

Quilters can choose from a range of regular sewing machines with extended work areas from both manufacturers.

Quality and Durability

Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

Bernina and Janome both have reputations for manufacturing durable sewing machines that last.

  • Materials: Use of high-quality materials in construction.
  • Longevity: Machines built to last, retaining functionality over years of use.
  • Warranty: Both offer warranties, ensuring peace of mind with your investment.

Key Differences

Remove the Stitch Plate
Image Credit: SewCanShe.com

When comparing Bernina and Janome sewing machines, you’ll notice that they cater to different segments of the sewing community through their pricing, innovative features, available models, and distribution channels.

Price Point

Photo credit: ALPA PROD / Shutterstock.com

Bernina is often considered a premium brand, and their machines typically come with a higher price tag. You can expect Bernina machines to be more expensive due to their robust build and advanced features. In contrast, Janome offers a wider range of options that includes budget-friendly models, making them more accessible to beginners or those on a tighter budget.

Availability and Distribution

Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

Bernina typically distributes its products through authorized dealers and boutique stores, ensuring personalized customer service and support. Janome machines are more widely available; you can purchase them through a variety of retailers, including big-box stores and online marketplaces, which may provide you with more convenience and, sometimes, better deals.

Embroidery Capabilities

Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

Bernina and Janome are both renowned for their high-quality embroidery features. Each offers unique capabilities that cater to various embroidering needs.

Built-In Designs

Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

All of the Bernina and Janome embroidery machines come with more built-in designs than you will ever need or use.

Most people

  • Bernina 770: Over 275 designs
  • Janome Memory Craft 14,000: 350 designs

Pro advice: do not let the number of embroidery designs included on a sewing machine sway your decision. Machine embroidery designs are very inexpensive compared to the cost of the embroidery machine itself. Most people forget about the designs included on their machine as they build up a collection of purchased designs that are more to their taste.

Maximum Embroidery Area

9.1” x 11.8” Embroidery Field on Janome MC 14,000 Photo credit SewCanShe.com

The maximum embroidery area is a crucial factor that dictates the size of projects you can undertake. Bernina models such as the Bernina 7 Series have an embroidery area of up to 400 x 210 mm. Janome’s comparable machines, like the Janome MC 14,000, offer an embroidery area of 400 x 230 mm, which is more square-shaped than the long and narrow Bernina 7 Series largest hoop.

I found that I enjoyed embroidery more on my Janome MC 14,000 than my Bernina B770 because the hoops were a more convenient size, and the embroidery performance was virtually trouble-free.

Quilting Features

Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

When quilting on a home sewing machine, one important factor is the throat space: the amount of room between the needle and the body of the machine.

Bernina: Throat space varies by model, but high-end machines like the Bernina 7 and 8 series offer 10 to 12 inches, which is plenty of room for throw-size and smaller quilts. A larger top of the Bernina sewing machine is expected to be released this year.

Janome: Offers models even more generous throat space, such as the Janome Horizon Memory Craft, which provides up to 11 inches of space. The new Janome Continental M17 has 13 inches to the right of the needle.

Free Motion Quilting

Bernina Stitch Regulator on B770 Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

Both brands allow you to adjust stitch width and length, ensuring you can customize your quilting to your exact specifications.

Janome and Bernina’s high-end machines all have feed dogs that can be dropped to enable free-motion quilting and free-motion ruler quilting.

For many years, Bernina home sewing machines were the only ones that could use a stitch regulator (the BSR or Bernina Stitch Regulator). Other sewing machine brands, including Janome, have developed their own technology and now offer stitch regulators on their top-of-the-line machines. The Janome stitch regulator on the Continental M17 is called the Accurate Stitch Regulator (ASR).

Maintenance and Support

Photo credit: Stanislav71 / Shutterstock.com

When choosing between Bernina and Janome’s sewing machines, consider their maintenance and support options. They both offer resources to help you keep your machine in top condition.

Purchasing a sewing machine from an authorized dealer of either brand may entitle you to classes and one or more service appointments free of charge. Be sure to ask your dealer what is offered.

Current sewing machine warranties are presented below. Be sure to verify this information at the time of purchase.

Bernina:

  • Warranty: Your Bernina machine comes with a limited 2-year warranty for electrical parts, a 5-year warranty for printed circuit boards, and a 20-year warranty for mechanical parts.
  • Services: Authorized Bernina dealers offer maintenance and repair services to ensure your machine operates correctly.

Janome:

  • Warranty: Janome provides a 1-year warranty for labor and parts, a 5-year warranty on electrical components, and a 25-year warranty on mechanical parts.
  • Services: Access to Janome’s certified service centers nationwide for repairs and regular service checks.

Accessories

When choosing between Bernina and Janome sewing machines, you’ll find that both offer a variety of accessories to enhance your sewing experience. In general, the more you pay for a sewing machine, the more accessories you will receive.

Pro tip: You will inevitably find additional accessories you’d like to use. In my experience, Bernina accessories are more expensive than Janome brand accessories.

Consider Your Needs and Budget

Photo credit: Dean Drobot / Shutterstock.com

Your choice between Bernina and Janome should align with your sewing needs and budget. Remember to factor in each machine’s after-sales support and warranty options, as service and support can be crucial in the long term.

More from SewCanShe

Photo credit: thetattooedquilter.com

35 Free Ideas for Turning Your Fabric Scraps into Adorable Projects!

Photo credit: Amy Smart / Diary of a Quilter

15 Free Sewing Patterns for Mother’s Day Gifts She’ll Love

Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

45 Free Tote Patterns: the Ultimate Bag Pattern Collection

Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂