Updated: June 8, 2015
Thread Serger Reviews:Do you really need that new serger machine for your sewing projects? That all depends on what type of fabrics you are sewing with and how professional you want the seams to look when done. A serger will not replace your sewing machine as they are not capable of installing zippers, making buttonholes, sewing in reverse, embroidering, or even doing topstitch. Sewing.org described a sergers basic functions as "to clean finish a raw edge". About.com says the serger "trims the seam and encloses the seam allowance or edge of the fabric .... all in one step". We looked at the top performing sergers including the Brother 1034D, Brother 2340CV, Juki MO-735, Janome Serger 3434D, and the latest Baby Lock. Pricing ranges from $200 up to $1000's. The most popular sergers are the 2/3/4 thread although a 5 thread serger is required if you want to do coverstitching. Many people own a sewing machine and purchase a serger to help when working with stretchy fabrics (swimwear, activewear, etc.). See our buying advice below and which models stand out amongst the rest.
Choosing a Serger - There are lots of features to consider when looking for a new serger. Ideally you can take a class at your local sewing shop and get a chance to test run some of the serger machines on the market. Hands on experience is the key, that way you can learn what each machine offers and if you like their performance. If you are unable to test a machine before you buy, make sure the product comes with an instructional DVD or video and good manual. More and more videos are appearing on YouTube, so that is a great alternative source to what others using your machine and learning from that. If you are a beginner or expert user, one of the common complaints is the ability to thread the machine with ease. Look for sergers with lay-in threading and color coded thread paths. An LCD screen is a nice touch, but usually only available on the high end machines. The LCD panel provides lots of great information, but it's not necessary for all users. You will see the 2/3/4 thread sergers and those are the best for everday use. Great for basic things like seam finishing and rolled hems. If you are going to be working with stretch fabrics, look for a serger with differential feed. How about coverstitching? You need at least 5 threads to accomplish this, be forewarned. Machines that convert easily from standard serger to a chainstitch or rolled hem are coveted. You may find buttons or dials involved or perhaps having to add a conversion plate. You want the process to be simple and repeatable without problems. Manual vs auto threading? Manual threaders are common on the cheaper machines, but if you want the automatic threading feature expect to pay quite a bit more to get it (some estimates are $500+). Top Brands - Look for Brother, Singer, Juki, Yamata, Janome, and Reliable. Serger Reviews - The best sources for in depth reviews are Patternreview.com, Amazon.com, Hsn.com, Joann.com, and Sergerreviews.org. Amazon.com covers owner comments and feedback on a variety of models and brands while the Patternreview.com website listed more expert opinions from sewing shop owners and professional seamstresses. Read up on performance, features, durability, ease of use, etc. We did search Consumer Reports articles but found nothing related to sergers (only sewing machines). You can browse the best selling serger machines online here.