Overlock sewing machines are specialist machines used to finish the hems, seams, and edges of clothing and other textile items. This means that despite being expert machines, Sergers, once purely commercial, are now widely available. While no one needs one, they make finishing clothing, curtains, and other textiles much easier.
Finding the best overlock sewing machine for you can be difficult for those who have no previous experience. Choosing a machine with the right features and capabilities is key.
The Secrets of the Best Overlock Machine: A Savvy Guide
If you are looking for an overlock sewing machine to take your dressmaking to the next level, there are some things you should keep in mind. Getting a good overlock is not hard. Most second-hand machines will be just as efficient as new ones if you check independent reviews and buy from a reputable source.
The difficulty is in getting the right overlock for your needs. It’s very easy to get more than you need when buying such a specialized piece of equipment. If you want to get the right sewing machine for you, you need to think about how often you will use it, what tasks you’re going to use it for, and what kind of space you have available as well as the brand and your budget.
Here are the essential considerations for anyone looking to buy.
If you’re mostly going to work with light to medium fabrics, you will only need a mid-range machine. Very heavy textiles such as those used to make curtains, or very light and delicate fabrics like silk, will require a machine with automatic pressure adjustment to avoid puckering, stretching, or catching on the materials. Choose the machine which you will get the most use out of.
Size and Weight
Think about where you aim to keep your cloth, Will it be beside your main machine, or do you want to tuck it away when not in use? Will it be a replacement for your old sewing machine? If you want to keep your machine out and you have ample space, size and weight should not be a concern. If, however, you aim to take it with you when you travel, or if you need to bring it out and put it away frequently, a smaller, lighter machine should be your first choice.
Number of Threads
One of the overlock machine’s main functions is to finish edges and hems by cutting and creating a locked stitch at the same time. They accomplish this with anywhere from 2 to 12 threads. Of course, 12-thread machines can be used to undertake the most complicated tasks, while two-thread machines are best for simpler tasks.
There is also the complexity of set-up; beginners may be best served by a machine with 2 to 3 threads, while professionals who undertake a wide variety of designs may need more threads.
If you are going to be completing work that requires rolled hems and the use of chain stitches frequently, the ease of converting to these models should be a key concern for you. Some models need you to unhook a thread, while others make it easy for you by having a button or dial, which makes the conversion automatic. You should also consider how the blades are disengaged.
Attachments and Extras
If you need to do intricate or specialist work or you’re getting your very first overlock sewing machine, you should consider the whole package. Many machines will come with starter kits, which include thread, carry cases, needles, tweezers, instructions OVOs or books, and many other accessories. These may not be of huge interest to a seasoned veteran, but they are a boon to the beginner.
So, these are 10 of the best overlock sewing machines on the market right now.
10 Best Overlock Machines
All of these machines are durable and have been made by reputable brands; all you need to consider is which one suits you best.
1. Brother 1034D Serger Overlock Machine
To be honest, I find this machine an anomaly in the Brother brand; it’s quite dainty, for a start, and it doesn’t look too impressive. That’s unusual for Brother However; this overlock machine punches above its weight grade literally; it weighs only 8lbs.
For a start, it produces a mind-boggling number of stitches; I’ve rarely worked with non-commercial machines that can outdo this model for delicate edging and finishing. It also has a convenient LCD to light up your workspace, and that is a godsend for small, detailed pieces.
All of this is so impressive, but on the flip side, it’s really quite difficult to thread, and my machine certainly jumped stitches once or twice when first put to use.
Despite that, I’d still recommend it to anyone who dips into delicate and detailed finishing, because you really can’t do much more useful unless you consider industrial models.
- 11×11.7×13.2 inches
- 3/4 threaded
- 22 stitches in-built.
- You can fit this machine almost anywhere
- It’s convenient and has multiple language options for its display.
- Threading can be tiresome.
- The quality is high, but not consistent.
2. Juki Pearl Line MO-654DE Overlock Serger Machine
The Juki Pearl is, without a doubt one of the most reliable overlock sewing machines I have had the privilege of using. It’s a heavy-duty machine that makes light of even a large workload and always runs smoothly.
More than this, however, it’s a versatile machine with a range of features. While a beginner will be able to learn using this machine, it also offers enough to allow for growth and experimentation. In short, you’re not going to grow beyond this machine too quickly.
The Pearl 654DE is also a particularly durable model, which rarely, if ever, breaks down. In fact, it’s one of the few household sergers that I would class as being frustration-free, though there are some exceptions.
It works best on light to medium materials and is perfect for dressmaking, but you can tackle heavier materials and projects without too much hassle (you might just need to switch to a thicker needle.
- 20.1x19x14 .5 inches
- 25.8 lbs
- Snap-on presser feet.
- 2/3/4 threading options
- In-built sewing gauge
- Comes with a starter kit
- A durable and reliable machine
- The in-built sewing gauge and disengaging loopers make it easy to use, especially for beginners
- It’s easy to switch to rolled hems.
- Threading is done manually, which can be frustrating.
3. SINGER | ProFinish 14CG754 Overlock Machine
The first impression of this machine is that it’s very pretty. Like the Singer brand itself, however, I think this machine is often underestimated. For example, despite being quite small, I found this outperformed any heavy, impressive-looking machines when it came to sewing multi-layer projects and thick, tough fabrics.
Plus, the upper knife is an exciting and really useful feature that takes a lot of the fussiness out of some intricate works by cutting both the fabric and the threads neatly and precisely. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the automatic threader made my day.
For that alone, I’d say this is the best overlock machine for people who have trouble with their eyesight or the steadiness of their hands; actually, it’s just great for anyone who hates threading.
The one objection I have is that the stitch quality is not entirely professional. It’s certainly good, and no-one could say otherwise. It’s just not as good as I was expecting, but considering how the ProFinish blew away all my other expectations, this might just be a side-effect of its over-performance in other areas.
- 14x11x11.5 inches
- Free arm
- Color-coded, automatic threading.
- It’s a high-quality portable machine that over-performs in many areas.
- It’s very user-friendly, especially because of its automatic threading.
- It works really well on light fabrics; I never had a snag or pulled with this one.
- It’s really noisy
- It doesn’t cope well at all with thick fabric; if you want to work with them at all, I will invest in a more cumbersome machine.
4. Juki MO-623 Overlock Machine
Juki machines are well-known for their powerful cutting systems, which usually have dedicated drives, but their real value is in their dynamic features. It’s hard to find a job that a Juki overlock can’t tackle. Furthermore, they run smoothly, rarely breakdown, and make it easy to switch from one piece of work to the next.
Switching from finishing intricate edges and detailing to finishing rolled hems is really easy with this machine. In particular, it’s really fast, however, and so many people find it a little intimidating to begin with. Taking it slowly and running a test piece before graduating to an essential bit of work is something I would firmly recommend to anyone who has never used this machine before.
- 13.7 x 14.5 x 15.7 inches
- 3-Thread overlock machine
- Automatic rolled hemming
- Up to 1500 stitches per minute speed
- Very user-friendly, I would recommend this machine to anyone; it’s particularly suited for teaching.
- It has a safety switch to prevent the machine from running when the swing cover is open.
- It makes beautiful bunched, gathered, and pleated seams.
- This machine can unthread itself after prolonged use. I’m not sure why it occurs, but it’s easy to rectify.
5. Juki Industrial 4-Thread Overlock Sewing Machine
This is the best industrial overlock sewing machine for those who already know what they’re doing. I can’t stress this enough; this is a specialist model of a specialist machine. But it is incomparable for cover stitching and working with fine, stretchy fabrics.
The complexity of this machine might be why so many reviews contradict each other, I’ve had people tell me it changed their lives (really) and that they want to throw it out of a moving train (really really).
I’ve worked with a lot of machines, and I can say without question that this is the one that needs the most coddling. It produces beautiful edges and cover stitches but only, and this is key if you know exactly what you’re doing. It’s very easy to and up with snarls, tugs, pulls, even rips if you don’t give this machine its dues.
- Very good on delicate fabrics
- Beautiful, intricate results
- In the hands of a professional, this is the best machine for any kind of detailed work.
- I do not doubt that this machine will fight beginners tooth and nail; I suggest you turn away if you’re looking for your first overlock or sewing machine.
6. SINGER | Professional 14T968DC Overlock Machine
I love Singer as a brand, but I have to say that this isn’t their best offering. Professional 5 or 14T968DC is pushed as top-of-the-line, and it certainly has the right capabilities, but it underperforms in a lot of ways.
It’s capable of producing lovely cover stitching and deals well with bulky, heavy, or multilayered fabrics, but it’s apt to catch delicate ones. The loopers are strangely located, too, which threw me off, and threading isn’t easy. With that said, once you find a rhythm with this machine, it becomes very useful, but you have to stick with it
- 13.5×10.3×11 inches
- Four, built-in rolled hems
- Extra-high foot presser for bulky or multilayered fabrics
- Self-adjusting tension
- It can produce several cover stitches, which is unusual
- Making rolled hems is a breeze when your know how.
- Threading is super tricky with this machine
- Some of the parts are very weak and break quickly.
7. Brother DZ1234 Overlock Machine
Any sewing enthusiast knows the Brother brand of machine. They’re great value, reliable, durable, and generally offer excellent professional-grade features. This one is no different.
It’s incredibly powerful and makes working on weighty fabrics and projects, for example, lined winter curtains, quite effortless. I found the color-coded threading system and particularly useful, and the manual it comes with is detailed.
Despite looking intimidating, this is an excellent machine for beginners, and while the set-up process can be a little long, the payoff is worth it. Most people say it takes about 30 minutes to set it up and start working, but it might take a little longer for raw newbies. The results it produces, however, can’t be argued with; this is the kind of machine that makes you feel more talented than you are, and that’s just a great feeling.
- 15.2x13x13.2 inches
- Blind hem, piping, and gathering feet are included
- Color-coded threading system.
- Easy to a thread thanks to the color-coding
- Very fast and efficient
- Included accessories are great for those new to overlock
- The process of setting up for the first time can be tricky
- This machine isn’t recommended for use in countries without 120-volt mains.
8. Janome 8002D Serger
Janome has a niche when it comes to sergers. If I had to specify, I’d say Janome builds the best overlock sewing machine for basic projects and young learners.
The 8002D is no exception to this; it’s strong, durable, easy to manipulate, and it does all the basics. It can cope with most fabrics, and it’s surprisingly good with light, stretchy fabrics, but it can’t handle the tough or thick textiles that professional works with.
With that said, I taught my niece to make dresses and jeans using this model and she found it approachable and reliable. However, when she started to get ambitious, she had to upgrade her machine.
- 16.3×16.1×16 inches
- 3/4 thread capacity
- In-built rolled hemming.
- What it does it does very well
- Reliable and durable enough for teaching
- Threading is comparatively easy
- The built-in hem rolling makes finishing clothes easy.
- It’s limited in function and can’t handle thick fabrics.
9. JUKI MO644D Portable Machine
Rather like a workhorse, this machine just keeps going. Unlike a workhorse, it goes super-fast at 1500 SPM. This is one of the fastest sergers lye used personally. The upside of this is that it makes a heavy workload disappear quickly if you’re confident.
The downside is that it can give beginners and those who lack confidence a scare at first and, as a result, need a few tests runs before being set loose on essential pieces.
With that said, it makes many things, not least rolled hems, easy as pie. The foot attachment is multi-purpose, which cuts time when switching jobs, but that time is swallowed up by the need to thread manually, which, as you may have gathered, I loathe.
- 2/3/4 specification capability
- Rolled hemming
- It’s a speedy machine; you can make light work of, well, a lot of work with this.
- Rolled hemming is easy with this.
- The dials make it easy to adjust tension, cutting width, differential feed, and tension.
- Threading is all manual which is a real pain
10. Janome MOD-8933 Overlock Machine
Like most Janome machines, this is a beginner’s dream. If someone asked me to describe it, I’d say easy to use, easy to use, and, yep, easy to use, it’s so user-friendly, but of course, it’s also limited. If complex, professional-grade machines were this easy to use, a legion of sewists would be weeping with joy.
As it is, they’re not, which means that this is great for those starting or for undertaking simple tasks, but anyone who wants to push themselves will probably outgrow it quickly. The retractable upper cutting knife adds a little bit of glamour and fun to it, or I think so at least.
- 11x12x10.7 inches
- 3/4 threading capability
- Color-coded threading
- Quick-change to rolled hemming (very useful)
- Retractable upper blade
- Easy to use
- This produces neat, even rolled hems.
- It comes with comprehensive instructions, making it perfect for beginners.
- None of the features is automatic.
- Limited in use
- The Verdict
Which is the Best Overlock Sewing Machine?
Each of these machines shines in a specific situation, so it wouldn’t be fair to pick just one. Instead, we’ve laid out the best machines for particular roles and individuals to help you choose the right overlock for you.
Best for Beginners: Juki Pearl 654DE
This machine is a perfect offering for those who have no previous experience with overlock sewing machines. The instructional DVD is detailed and informative, and the added accessories are incredibly useful for those just getting started. The disadvantage, of course, is that you’ll need to upgrade once you wish to undertake delicate and intricate work you’ll.
Best for Travelling Professionals: Juki M0644D Portable
The Juki MO644D is perfect for those who work on the go. It can complete all the basic jobs that a professional will require while still being small and light enough to carry. Though it’s limited in some ways, this machine has been designed for a specific person; the traveling seamstress. To that person, it offers everything that is truly necessary.
Best for Intricate Work: Brother 10340
The 22 stitch functions of this machine alone mark it out as the dream machine for those looking to undertake complex projects. However, this is also a phenomenally durable, reliable, and effective machine that does simple jobs, like buttonholing, in a complete breeze.
Best for Small Spaces: Janome MOD-8933
It might not be overly light, but this is a space-saving machine that performs all the basic tasks that overlock is expected to with efficient and consistent flair. It is not suited for the most complicated of roles, but perfect for most light to medium materials and capable of taking on all but the most specialists of projects.
When choosing your overlock sewing machine, you should choose a machine that suits your current needs. However, if sewing is a passion or hobby of yours, it might be prudent to consider a machine that lets you learn and grow a little as well.
If I had all day, I could tell you how each of these is the best overlock sewing machine for something or other, but as I don’t, I’ll stick to favoritism (with one side-note).
Despite its finicky and troublesome nature, the Brother 2340CV is my clear winner. It might need coddling, but there’s a no better machine for someone who already knows what they’re doing; like a wild mustang, it’s worth the trouble it takes to break this machine in With that said, my side-note is this; beginners feeling brave should skip the Janome models and take on the Juki Pearl. You won’t regret it.