As seen in:
Brother
Embroidery
SINGER
ProFinish
Tacony
American Home
Janome
8002D
JUKI
Portable
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Good

22 different stitch types. Threading is comparatively easy on this machine.

2-3-4 thread option. Differential feed minimizes puckering/stretching. Helpful threading chart.

Multiple pre-set finishing options and accessories. Differential feed promotes uniform results.

1,300 stitches per minute. Includes differential feed and other helpful features.

1,500 stitches per minute. Includes a separate drive system for easy cutting.

Bad

Rare complaints about build quality.

Occasional problems with threading, tension, and breakdowns.

Slower stitch-per-minute rate than competitors. Non-removable stitch finger makes changing stitches more difficult.

Offers a smaller variety of stitches than some competitors.

Expensive. Stitch selection is smaller than some competitors, and warranty is shorter.

Bottom Line

Easy to learn and fun to operate, this deluxe machine appeals to users of all levels. Great quality and superior value.

Popular among beginners, this serger is both affordable and user-friendly. A terrific deal.

A capable machine with a challenging set-up process.

Reliable, consistent, and easy to maintain, this product arrives with few accessories.

A fast, expensive machine from a manufacturer that makes high-quality industrial sergers.

How we decide
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Products received from manufacturers
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Models Considered
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Hours Spent
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Experts Interviewed
214
Consumers Consulted

Best Sergers

Whether you're a beginner or a pro, finding the right serger (also called an “overlock machine”) is not easy. There are lots of models to choose from, each with its own set of tempting functions. Should you buy a serger that hails from the same manufacturer as your favorite sewing machine? Should you choose the one that offers the most features? Do you really get what you pay for? Our in-depth serger review is designed to answer these questions and more. Each machine on our shortlist delivers benefits that will suit a particular individual, so a quick read of the following should identify which of our top five is best for you:

Products we Considered

Brother
Embroidery
SINGER
ProFinish
Tacony
American Home
Janome
8002D
JUKI
Portable

Considerations

Capabilities

Today's sergers offer a multitude of capabilities in the realm of thread count, stitch variation, tension control, and stitches per minute. We discuss the performance potential of each product in this part of our ratings.

Features & Accessories

In addition to actual sewing function, a top serger might include features like a presser foot (with various options) or retractable blades. Accessories such as tweezers and cleaning brushes are often available, too. In this part of the ratings, we compare what each manufacturer provides.

Ease of Use & Performance

With several threads to deal with, sergers aren't always easy to set up. A quality manufacturer takes this into account and makes the process as easy as possible. When it comes to how each machine performs, we discuss actual owner feedback in this section of our ratings.

Price

In this part of our review, we don't just look at dollars and cents. We also compare the benefits of each machine to get a view of the overall value each serger represents. Do you always get what you pay for? Are there bargains to be had?

Considerations

Capabilities

SINGER 14CG754 ProFinish 2-3-4 Thread Serger

As you might guess from the name, the SINGER 14CG754 ProFinish 2-3-4 Thread Serger offers a choice of stitches created with two, three, or four threads at a time. (This is sometimes denoted as a "2-3-4" machine.) This feature gives it a potentially greater range than that of 3-4 machines. The SINGER races along at up to 1,300 stitches per minute, automatically cutting waste fabric away as it goes. Different options ("rolled hem" and "flat", to name a few) are built in. In addition, a differential feed allows you to handle all kinds of fabric without stretching or puckering. This benefit is further enhanced by the SINGER's adjustable stitch length and width.

American Home Serger Sewing Machine

In terms of its capabilities, there are a number of similarities between the SINGER and the American Home Serger Sewing Machine AH100 by Tacony. The American Home is another 2-3-4 machine, and as with all sergers, it has the ability to cut away leftover material as you sew. At 1,100 stitches per minute, it's not quite as fast as its competitors. However, it offers a differential feed to help you produce uniform results in various materials, and it has a number of pre-set finishing options (rolled-edge hems, flatlock seaming, gathering, and decorative chaining). There are nine stitch options in all, and the user can adjust for stitch length and width.

Janome 8002D Serger

As a 3-4 thread overlock machine, the Janome 8002D Serger has a smaller range of stitches than some (six in total), but our research has turned up no major complaints. With a speed of 1,300 stitches per minute, it's as fast as most of its competitors, and it incorporates a differential feed for a wrinkle-free finish. Conveniently, it offers a converter for doing rolled hems that can be attached and removed without needing to remove the needle plate! The Janome also features adjustable cutting width and stitch length.

JUKI MO644D Portable Serger

The JUKI name may not be familiar to some, but this is a company with a strong reputation for industrial sergers. The MO644D Portable Serger is a 2-3-4 model, and although it is the fastest in our review at up to 1,500 stitches per minute, it produces only seven different stitch varieties. Nevertheless, owners tell us that all of the important stitches are included. Differential feed allows the JUKI to cope well with a variety of fabrics, and stitch length is adjustable. (Potential buyers should note that stitch width is not adjustable.)

Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger

Working at a maximum of 1,300 stitches per minute, the Brother can produce a total of 22 different stitch types. As such, it is far and away the most versatile machine in our ratings. As expected, users enjoy adjustable stitch width and differential feed to keep material from puckering during work. Brother is keen to point out that this machine can accommodate stretchy or thin fabric and is also able to create ruffles and gathers as needed.

The Brother 1034D is far and away the most versatile serger in our ratings. Working at a maximum speed of 1,300 stitches per minute, it can produce a total of 22 different stitch types.
Considerations

Features & Accessories

A useful (but often overlooked) feature of an overlock serger like the SINGER is a free arm that allows you to sew things like collars and sleeves with ease. Adjustable thread tension – also vital – is set manually on this machine. The SINGER doesn't come with a huge range of accessories, but you do get the basic necessities: a set of needles, an all-purpose guide foot, screwdriver, tweezers, and a spreader.

American Home Serger Sewing Machine

The American Home serger benefits from a free arm (a feature that can be removed completely to allow access to the lower looper) and thread tension control very similar to that of the SINGER. The cutting blades can be disengaged, and instead of one foot, you get three: one for general purposes, one for blind hems, and one for elastic. The American Home serger also includes some items you would routinely expect: needles, tweezers, a screwdriver, an extra lower blade, an oiler, a cleaning brush, an Allen wrench, thread nets, caps, and a rolled hem needle plate. All of these accessories are stored in one convenient case.

Janome 8002D Serger

The Janome serger is a good machine, and it comes from a manufacturer with a quality reputation. However, it has received some criticism for its lack of accessories. Aside from a retractable blade, stitch finger, and adjustable presser foot, the only extras it offers are a pack of needles, screwdriver, and tweezers. Most people would consider these to be the absolute minimum requirements! Surprisingly, you don't get a free arm with this package. Some consumers think that's a serious omission. The Janome's tension controls are slightly different visually, but they operate in much the same way as our other finalists.

JUKI MO644D Portable Serger

Cutting can be a problem with budget sergers, but not for the JUKI, which has a separate drive system specifically for its blades. Like the Janome, the JUKI's stitch finger and knife blade are retractable. Tension controls are also very similar. There's no free arm – an omission that, in the opinion of many, limits this machine's versatility. However, when it comes to accessories, you get all you need, including the standards: needles, tweezers, screwdriver, cleaning brush, oil, thread nets, spool caps, and a looper threader. While the presser foot supplied is adjustable, additional feet can be purchased separately for specific tasks.

The tension setting on the Brother serger is much like that of the SINGER and American Home. Like all of our machines, this function is color-coded for clarity, but the Brother's bold approach is clearer than most. This machine boasts the all-important free arm option, and unlike many competitors, it can accommodate many kinds of standard sewing machine needles. There's an on/off knife lever, removable stitch finger, multi-purpose foot, and gathering foot. (A special foot for elastic and tape is available for an additional cost.) The accessory set is quite comprehensive, too, with needles, tweezers, spool nets, a cleaning brush, a trim trap, and a hex wrench.

The Brother 1034D includes the all-important free arm option, and unlike many competitors, it can accommodate many kinds of standard sewing machine needles.
Bill
Expert Consultant
Bill
Engineer, Do-It-Yourself Guru

Bill has been a hardware store owner, locksmith, and general home repair guru for over 40 years. His ability to solve problems and repair every item in every situation is a true gift. In his spare time, you may find Bill working in his garden, tending to his perfectly manicured lawn, or riding his bike.

Considerations

Ease of Use & Performance

SINGER 14CG754 ProFinish 2-3-4 Thread Serger

Even on the best sergers, threading can be a chore. Because of this, potential buyers want to know how easy a serger is to thread. The SINGER includes a color coding system with explanatory charts; the manufacturer claims that these charts make threading quick and easy. Usefully, the machine arrives pre-threaded, giving you the opportunity to study its set-up before you threading it yourself. Nevertheless, difficult threading is a criticism of the SINGER serger. (It is also a criticism of many other sergers on today's market!) This model is particularly popular among beginners. Many comment that, with the help of the manual and instructional DVD, the machine is fairly easy to use. More experienced owners think it performs well for the price, although some have had trouble getting the tension right, and a few have reported breakdowns.

American Home Serger Sewing Machine

Customer feedback on the American Home serger's performance is mixed. A threading chart is supplied, but it is rather small. One owner referred to the machine's set-up as "challenging.” Others weren't nearly as polite! That said, we found one owner who was perfectly happy with the machine, claiming that it took only 15 minutes to get everything set up. Because the stitch finger isn't removable, some people find that changing the stitch is more complex than necessary. Overall, however, most owners consider this serger to be a capable machine with a good instructional video.

Janome 8002D Serger

Janome claims that threading their serger is a “breeze.” The manufacturer attributes this to the color-coded chart included with the package. Unfortunately, quite a few owners disagree – especially when it comes to the lower looper. Many think it's easy to set up (it takes about an hour the first time) and that the instructional DVD is very good. The company's website includes additional learning materials that are quite helpful. Overall, the number of complaints about this machine is relatively low. Most owners agree that it's reliable, consistent, and easy to maintain.

JUKI MO644D Portable Serger

Instead of the usual color chart, the JUKI serger offers a color-coded thread path for you to follow through the machine. One or two people complained that it was still hard to set up, but most find threading to be relatively straightforward when the provided tools are used. Threading the JUKI is time-consuming – as it is with all sergers, unless you can afford a self-threading machine – but it's comparatively trouble-free. In use, it gets very high ratings. Both beginners and experienced users say it's smooth, fast, and easy to learn. (In addition to the manual, online videos and tutorials are available.) Coming from a background of industrial sergers, you would expect the JUKI to be robust and durable. Indeed, our research found almost no incidents of breakdown or other material faults.

Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger

All manufacturers claim their machines are simple to thread, but with the Brother serger, those claims are actually true! While it's common to find several people who say threading is a pain, the Brother's color-coded paths, instruction manual, and DVD ensure threading ease. Owner feedback (from both experienced and novice users) indicates that the Brother is easy to learn and a pleasure to use. Not surprisingly, it's also very popular. It's fair to say that the Brother's build quality isn't as good as some, but negative comments from consumers are far outweighed by owners who call it "amazing," "awesome," and "fun."

The SINGER 14CG754 arrives pre-threaded. This gives new owners the opportunity to study the threading set-up before attempting it on their own.
Considerations

Price

SINGER 14CG754 ProFinish 2-3-4 Thread Serger

The SINGER 14CG754 ProFinish 2-3-4 Thread Serger, at $176, is more than just a cheap serger for beginners. It doesn't feature a huge range of stitches, but it does offer plenty of flexibility and competitive speed. Many owners think the free arm is vital. It's not the easiest machine to thread, and there have been some complaints of tension problems and breakdowns, but owner feedback is generally positive. Warranty is 25 years against manufacturer defects, two years on electronic parts, and 90 days for parts and labor.

American Home Serger Sewing Machine

The American Home Serger Sewing Machine AH100 costs $239. Its middle-of-the-road price is definitely in line with its capacities and performance. It's a little slower than the SINGER, but it offers more stitching options. It has plenty of useful accessories, though ease of threading – and ease of use – produce mixed reactions from consumers. Some aren't keen on the American Home; others are. It's fair to say that the American Home Serger Sewing Machine does most things well, but it's not “exceptional” at anything. The warranty is even more confusing than that of the SINGER, with 25 years on the casings, 10 years on mechanical parts, one year on electricals, and 90 days on labor.

Janome 8002D Serger

As a 3-4 machine (rather than a 2-3-4 machine), the $249 Janome produces a smaller range of stitches than its similarly priced competitor, the American Home. And yet, with a speed of 1,300 stitches per minute, it's as fast as most. Owners find it quite simple to operate, thanks in large part to the high standard of the Janome's learning material. Few experience problems, although several say they wish that more accessories were included. The warranty covers five years on mechanicals, two years on electricals, and one year on labor.

JUKI MO644D Portable Serger

At a cost of $284, the JUKI MO644D Portable Serger is one of the most expensive sergers on our shortlist. Is it worth the money? It's certainly smooth, reliable, and put together well. At 1,500 stitches per minute, it's also very fast. Only seven stitches are available, which could be a drawback for some, but the JUKI does include a host of useful accessories and a dedicated cutter drive. Surprisingly, the JUKI doesn't come with the 25-year warranty that seems to be standard on higher-end sergers. You do get five years on parts and two years on electricals, which is in line with competitors.

Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger

When you look at the specification of the Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger, you might be amazed at the current price of $199. After all, this is a 2-3-4 machine that can produce 22 different stitches – far more than any other serger in our ratings – and it will fire them off at a rapid 1,300 stitches per minute. It's the easiest to thread, and you also get plenty of accessories, so why is the Brother so inexpensive? We think it's reasonable to say that savings have been made in the quality of some of the materials. It's not badly put together, and it's certainly not unreliable, but it is possible that less-expensive components were used in the construction of this machine. Nevertheless, it's an extremely popular serger with many satisfied customers. Warranty is 25 years on the chassis, five years on electricals, and one year on parts, labor, and accessories.

Whether you're a beginner or an advanced user, you simply can't go wrong with the SINGER 14CG754.

Best of the Best

Each of our finalists is a quality machine, and each might have specific advantages that suit you. However, the winner of our Best of the Best award is the Brother 1034D.

As a 2-3-4 thread machine, the Brother offers as many feeds as any of its non-industrial competitors. In addition, it delivers up to twice as many stitches, for a total of 22! To that impressive range it adds adjustable stitch width and a differential feed that allows you to sew a wide variety of fabrics without fear of stretching or bunching. There's also a facility to create ruffles and gathers. All of this can be executed at up to 1,300 stitches per minute; only the commercially developed JUKI is faster.

A straightforward lever lets you get the cutting blades out of the way if you don't need them, and the stitch finger is removable. Two feet are included; others are available for separate purchase. Just about all of the accessories a person could need come with this package, including needles, tweezers, spool nets, a cleaning brush, a trim trap, and a hex wrench.

In terms of threading, the Brother is the best of the models on our shortlist. Even those who are new to this kind of sewing have said that the Brother's clear and informative instructions make the process much easier than expected. Threading is often a challenge with sergers, so this is a major selling point.

The Brother is not without its faults. In particular, its build quality has received some criticism. You could argue that the Janome and JUKI are made with better components, and that could be true, but no other machine on our shortlist has the combination of capability, flexibility, and value that the Brother provides. For a welcome price of just $199, this is a great all-rounder and the Best of the Best.
Best of the Best
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No other machine offers the combination of capability, flexibility, and value that the Brother 1034D provides.

Best Bang for your Buck

Our Best of the Best contender, the Brother 1034D, sells for an enticingly low price – and it's terrific. However, the SINGER 14CG754 is also a stellar contender, and at a similar price of $176, it's the Best Bang for Your Buck.

With the SINGER, you get tremendous value. This is especially true if you're looking for your first serger and don't want to spend an arm and a leg. The SINGER is a 2-3-4 machine, and while it offers only six pre-set stitch patterns, you still get the benefits of width and length adjustability and a fabric-taming differential feed. It runs at a competitive maximum speed of 1,3000 stitches per minute, and while it doesn't have a huge set of features or accessories, it does afford the free arm option that so many serger owners think is vital.

Threading the SINGER is thought by some to be a difficult process. Others disagree, and they point out that the SINGER's manual and DVD are quite helpful with this task. Although tension problems and breakdowns aren't unknown, experienced users tell us that the performance is amazing for the price. Beginners in particular are pleased with their purchase.

The contest between the SINGER and Brother is a tough one. Choosing between these two top-notch sergers poses somewhat of a dilemma. Both are excellent machines, and both are priced to sell. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced user, you certainly can't go wrong with the SINGER 14CG754.
Best Bang for your Buck
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The SINGER 14CG754 offers width and length adjustability, a fabric-taming differential feed, and the free arm option that so many serger owners think is vital.
The team that worked on this review
  • Bob
    Bob
    Writer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Editor
  • Jess
    Jess
    Researcher
  • Jimi
    Jimi
    Product Analyst
  • Kriti
    Kriti
    Data Scientist

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