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When I purchased my first serger, I was on a strict budget and chose a model based on what I could afford–which was not much!
After paying off student loans and working for several years, I later had more financial flexibility to purchase a nicer machine. However, I paid ten times the cost of my first serger for the new one, and only a small portion of that increase was due to inflation!
All this to say, serger prices can vary widely depending on multiple factors.
How much does a serger cost?
You can expect to pay as little as $200 or as much as $8000 for a top-of-the-line serger model in the US. Quite simply, the more features a serger has, the higher the price.
Factors Affecting Price Range
Here’s a breakdown of common features that affect pricing. This should help you decide if the added cost of a feature is worth the added value on your next serger!
1. Air Threading
One big feature that correlates with a significant serger price increase is the presence of air threading.
Serger looper threads are notoriously frustrating to thread by hand, and most serger manufacturers now have top-of-the-line models with air-threading technology, which Baby Lock pioneered.
To model the difference, above is the looper threading process for my manually-threaded Brother 1034D serger. (Pardon the fuzz.)
In contrast, on my air-threading serger, all you have to do is place thread ends in air-suctioned holes, and the threading is done for you!
I owned two relatively cheap sergers for years–one with black and one with white thread–simply to decrease the number of times I had to switch threads. I hated it that much!
Coupled with decreased dexterity in my right hand, purchasing an air-threading overlocker was a no-brainer for my sewing room. Unfortunately, air-threading technology on a serger adds at least ~$1000 or more to the price of the serger.
2. Automatic Tension Settings
While learning to adjust serger tension depending on fabric type, thread selection, and stitch preference isn’t too difficult, having to make this adjustment is just one more step of potential frustration for me.
So, consider auto tensions if you, too, hate adjusting thread tension on your serger!
With most auto-tension sergers, you will still have to adjust the differential feed, stitch length, and stitch width, although some high-end sergers create presets of these values for you.
3. Combo Machines
Most sergers have four threads and can create your typical serger stitches like a 4-thread overlock, 3-thread overlock, and rolled hem.
However, if you want to create a chainstitch or coverstitch, purchasing a combination serger-coverstitch machine with more threads can give you that added ability.
A chainstitch looks like a straight stitch on top of the fabric but is looped on the bottom, allowing it to stretch. I use mine mostly for top stitching knit fabrics.
A coverstitch is the gold standard for hemming knit garments and looks like a double or triple parallel straight stitch on top and a knitted overlock stitch on the back.
While combination machines save space and are less expensive than two separate machines, I get major procrastination when it comes to converting from one function to another.
The conversion takes ten minutes max, but I prefer having a separate coverstitch machine for creating hem stitches. I have the Brother 2340CV coverstitch, which I only bought because it was cheap. I’m looking to sell it and replace it with a less frustrating option soon!
4. Digital Screens and Computerized Components
Adding computerized features on sergers also increases the price. For example, my Juki serger has a small LCD screen to allow stitch selection using buttons rather than knobs.
Also, some top-of-the-line sergers like the Bernina L 860 and Husqvarna Amber Air S|600 have color touchscreens. If you see a serger with a touchscreen, expect it to cost much more!
5. Max Stitch Speed
The maximum stitching speed of a serger is measured in stitches per minute. More expensive sergers can stitch at faster speeds, which means projects take less time to complete.
(Note: you need a very steady table for high-speed sergers!)
6. Home vs. Industrial Overlock Machine
Home sergers are not made for heavy-duty, mass production, which is where industrial sergers step in.
Entry-level industrial overlock machines cost more than entry-level home sergers. And, heavy-duty home sergers cost more than their standard home counterparts.
7. New vs. Used Sergers
Purchasing a serger used is a great way to save a portion of the price.
While you can purchase from a random user on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, your safest bet is an authorized dealer offering a warranty and support for the serger.
Or, you could buy certified refurbished from an online retailer like Amazon, eBay, Sewing Machines Plus, Ken’s Sewing Center, AllBrands, or the manufacturer’s website. These options also come with a warranty.
I purchased my Brother 1034DX serger refurbished for 60% of the price I paid for my new Brother 1034D serger. It came with a 1-year warranty and worked like a champ for years before I sold it to upgrade.
8. Overlocker Brands
Sergers from brands like Bernina and Baby Lock are typically more expensive than those from brands like Brother, Janome, Bernette, or Singer. And, they’re often only available from dealers and not mass-produced for online purchase. (I’m a Brother and Juki loyalist, but everyone has their own preferences for their own reasons!)
However, research before purchasing–you’ll discover that not all brands make their sergers in their own factories, and there are many similar-looking machines.
For example, Elna sergers are made by Janome, and the word on the street (according to my dealer, at least) is some Baby Lock sergers are made in Juki factories.
Also, within brands, there’s a huge difference in prices. For example, Baby Lock’s entry-level serger, the Baby Lock Vibrant, retails around $400, whereas the premier combo machine, the Baby Lock Triumph, is well into the mid-four figures.
9. Purchase Location
When I purchased my Juki MO-3000QVP serger, I caught a dealer special and saved several hundred dollars off the everyday price.
If there’s not a local dealer that has your undying loyalty, shop around for a deal!
I also bought both my entry-level sergers on Amazon, which was a much better deal than shopping locally. Yes, we need to support local businesses, but it’s also important to save your own money when possible.
In conclusion: Sergers can cost from a few hundred dollars to multiple thousands. Overlock models like the Brother 1034D, Janome MOD-8933, and Singer S0230 are some of the most affordable entry-level sergers, whereas the Bernina L 860, Baby Lock Triumph, and Pfaff Admire Air 7000 are some of the most expensive.
It’s also important to say that there’s nothing wrong with a less expensive serger–my two entry-level sergers were workhorses for YEARS with no complaints.
After all, at the end of the day, an overlock stitch is an overlock stitch. The main difference is how easy it is to make that stitch:
- Did you have to thread the machine and set tensions yourself? Or did the machine practically do it for you?
- How much troubleshooting did you do, and how much did the machine do?
Eventually, I wanted a machine with less setup and less troubleshooting on my part, so I splurged more.
However, deciding which overlock machine to buy is up to you: think of your ideal serging process and decide if the added cost of premium sergers is worth the features they correlate with.
Just don’t forget to add the cost of serger supplies when making your budget!