Let me help you find the best serger machine for your money. I’m sure you want a serger (also known as an overlock machine) that will last you a long time and give you professional results with very little trouble.
Common and important features of serger machines include differential feed, color-coded thread guides, and small knives to trim excess fabric as it sews. Other features you may want to look for are bright LED lighting, cover stitch sewing, and automatic thread tension. A serger makes chain stitches and cannot sew backwards. It will not replace your traditional sewing machine, but it can perform other tasks to enhance and speed up your sewing projects – especially home decor and garment sewing!
You have many different serger brands to choose from, but in this post I have narrowed it down to my three favorite: Babylock, Juki, and Brother. All three of these companies offer great features like color coded threading, easy to use tension controls, fast seam finishing and rolled hems! You can’t go wrong with any one of these sergers so I suggest you consider your budget and which features are most important to you. If you have already asked yourself the question ‘do I need a serger?‘ and the answer is yes, let’s find the right one for you.
Babylock brand sergers are the gold standard. If you have money to spend and you want the very best, that’s what I would suggest. Babylock was the first company to come out with Jet Air Threading, which is a fancy way to say super fast and fun to watch automatic threading of the serger’s bottom and top loopers. Babylock sergers usually come with an automatic threader for the needles as well. Juki also has the technology for air threaded loopers and automatic needle threading now, see below for more about that.
Top of the line Babylock sergers have an amazing (and unique) selection of stitch types as well as letting your easily adjust stitch length and stitch width. They also have more advanced features such as fully automatic tension adjustment, up to 8 different threads at one time for lots of stitch options including coverstitching, and up to 5” to the right of the needles (at least that’s the biggest one as I write this!).
Unless you are willing to shop secondhand machines, you can only buy Babylock sergers from a dealer. Some people love buying sewing machines from a dealer because of the classes and personal support. If you are an avid sewist who wants the best possible serger then I suggest you visit your local Babylock dealer and ask for a demonstration. I currently own an older model that was nearly the best when it came out (the Evolution) and it is a joy to use.
Just a note about overstitching: my Babylock Evolution is a combination machine that can be set up to do the same job as a coverstitch machine in addition to 3 and 4 thread serging. I bought a separate Janome coverstitch machine anyway because some clothing patterns (especially for knit fabrics) require switching back and forth between the two types of stitches and I didn’t like having to re-thread my serger to do cover stitching and then back to serging just to make a pair of leggings.
Juki sewing machine company is based in Japan and has been around since 1953. Their industrial and home sewing machines are known for their durability, reliability, and long service life. I love my Juki TL2010Q straight stitch sewing machine!
Before I bought my Babylock serger, I owned a Juki serger: the MO-1000 and used it to sew on lots of different fabrics. It has amazing features at a much lower price point than the Babylock machines. This serger machine also has semi-automatic threading for the needles and air threading for the loopers.
One thing I really liked about my Juki serger is the fact that I could thread the needles and loopers in any order. Just like most sergers, it has color-coded guides for threading. This machine has a beautiful stitch and very solid feel. It will stand up to heavy-duty use. Here’s my Juki serger review.
Looking back, I probably didn’t need to buy a Babylock serger. The Juki could already do everything I needed and wanted!
If your budget doesn’t permit you to buy a serger with air threading for the loopers or more than 4 threads, don’t worry! Brother makes a very good entry level sergers that are great for sewing professional looking garments and finished seams. You can even find them on Amazon, which means you won’t have the same level of support as at a sewing dealership, but you also won’t have to leave your house!
The most common stitch you will use your serger for is the overcast stitch that only requires 4 threads, or a rolled hem that requires 3. My sister has been using a Brother 1034D with four-thread capacity to sew clothes for her family for many years now. I’ve tried it out at her house and it easily sews knit fabrics, finishes curtain seams, and more!
You’ll need to expend a little more effort threading this machine, but there are color-coded guides to help you.
Here’s a tip: with a serger you don’t have to re-thread completely every time you want to change colors. Just cut the old thread spool off at the top, leaving about 18-20” of extra thread. Then tie on the new color and pull the thread through from the front of the machine until the new color comes out. Make sure to tie the new thread securely so the knot doesn’t come undone. And speaking of the knot – it may not go through the eye of the needles, but you can cut off the old thread at that point and thread the needles manually.
I hope this post has been informative and helped you find the perfect serger for your needs and budget. Don’t miss my post about my 7 favorite sewing machines for all budgets too!
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. 🙂