Last updated: August 6, 2021

Welcome to our big overlock sewing machine test 2021. Here we present all the overlock sewing machines we have tested. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best overlock sewing machine for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should pay attention to if you want to buy an overlock sewing machine.




Summary

  • An overlock machine can make sewing clothes a lot easier: it sews the fabric together, serges it and cuts off the excess seam allowance at the same time.
  • An inexpensive overlock costs around 200 €. But there are also combination machines that you can use as a coverlock and overlock. You should budget about 1,000 € for these.
  • There are overlocks with colour coding, lay-in threading system or jet-air threading system to help you thread the yarn.

The Best Overlock Sewing Machine: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an overlock sewing machine

What is an overlock sewing machine?

The overlock machine can only be used as a supplement and cannot replace a sewing machine. With an overlock you can't sew in the middle of the fabric, sew in bias tape or zips, or sew buttonholes. Nevertheless, it is quite practical because it does three things in one step.

It sews the fabric together, serges it and trims the excess seam allowance at the same time. The overlock sewing machine uses several threads and two needles and stitches around the edges of the fabric with the so-called overlock stitch. Next to the needle is a small knife that directly cuts back the excess seam allowance. This protects your seam from fraying and gives you a neat stitch pattern.

If you sew a lot or sew a lot of clothes, an overlock can be a real advantage. Not only does it sew faster than conventional sewing machines, it also saves a lot of time by combining several work steps. In addition, most machines offer differential feed and are therefore particularly suitable for stretch fabrics.

However, handling an overlock machine is not quite as easy and requires some practice. Just threading the up to eight threads correctly and adjusting the thread tension can be a challenge. So if you decide to buy an overlock machine, you should have a lot of patience or a lot of money.

The manufacturer Baby Lock offers extra beginner models that thread themselves automatically. But these overlock sewing machines come at a price.

An overlock machine is an addition to a sewing machine. It sews the fabric together, serges it and cuts off the excess seam allowance at the same time. (Photo: nickelbabe / pixabay.com)

How does an overlock work?

Quite practical: an overlock does three things in one step. It sews the fabric together, finishes it and cuts off the excess seam allowance at the same time. As a further development of the industrial sewing machine, the overlock also offers hobby tailors the opportunity to create professional works.

The term "overlock" in this context means something like "to block over an edge". The seam is therefore blocked by the bobbin thread and can no longer come loose.

The overlock sewing machine uses several threads and two needles and stitches around the edges of the fabric with the so-called overlock stitch. Next to the needle is a small knife that directly cuts back the excess seam allowance. This protects your seam from fraying and gives you a neat stitch pattern.

In addition to the overlock stitch, many machines also offer the following stitches: Overlock, Flatlock, rolled hem and chain stitch. These stitches also vary depending on the number of threads required.

Some overlock sewing machines have an electronic sewing speed control function.

Did you know that you can achieve very different results with the number of thread spools you use on the overlock sewing machine?

Overlock sewing machines use up to 5 spools of thread at a time. Depending on how many spools of thread you use, the result of the seam will be completely different. You can keep the seam simple by using 1 spool of thread or make it more decorative by using, for example, 4 spools of thread.

For whom is an overlock sewing machine the right choice?

An overlock is especially suitable for ambitious hobby sewers and frequent sewers. However, an overlock cannot replace a normal sewing machine. An overlock is not a replacement for a sewing machine because it:

  • does not sew buttonholes,
  • can't darn,
  • doesn't have a zig-zag stitch,
  • can't sew without serging at the same time,
  • cannot sew in a zip,
  • cannot sew borders, bias tape, etc,
  • cannot sew a seam in the middle of the fabric.

If you sew a lot or sew a particularly large amount of clothing, an overlock can be a real advantage. Because it not only sews faster than conventional sewing machines, but also saves a lot of time by combining several work steps. In addition, most machines offer differential feed and are therefore particularly suitable for stretch fabrics.

Sewing beginners should first try sewing on an overlock before buying. If you are already confused by your sewing machine, an overlock can make you even more desperate. With some machines, even threading the up to eight threads can be a test of patience. The manufacturer Babylock also offers overlock machines for beginners that thread themselves automatically.

The thread tension must also be set for each thread. It is also a little more difficult to sew around corners and curves with an overlock. The seams are also more difficult to unravel. Especially if things go wrong at the beginning, unravelling the seams can quickly become a pain. Therefore, with an overlock you need a lot of practice or a long thread of patience.

How much does an overlock machine cost?

For a good overlock sewing machine you should invest 200 € to 350 €. Inexpensive models can be purchased for as little as €180. However, threading can be a challenge, especially here. The most popular overlock machines cost between €200 and €350. They usually have a threading aid. The more you invest in your overlock, the easier it is to use. Machines with an automatic threading system start at €400 and can run into four figures.

The ability to turn off the separating function increases the flexibility of the overlock sewing machine. Cheap overlock sewing machines do not have this function. It is worth spending more money.

What help do you need with threading?

Once you have managed to thread your overlock correctly, you can simply knot the end of the old thread to the new thread when changing threads in the future. Then just pull it through to the needle - and you're done. To avoid unnecessary frustration when sewing with your overlock, make sure it is easy to use and easy to thread.

For example, a colour code can help you thread your overlock, showing you which thread to thread in which order and which way to thread it. Some manufacturers also offer their own threading systems to make threading easier. Bernina, for example, equips its machines with a lay-in threading system.

It's really easy with Babylock's Jet-Air threading system. All you have to do is place the yarn in the designated looper channel and press a lever. The overlock is then automatically threaded correctly by air pressure.

Should the knife be able to be switched off?

The knife switch-off function gives you more flexibility when sewing. To make your work easier, the integrated knives cut back your seam allowance at the same time. With some inexpensive machines, this cutting function cannot be switched off.

However, you will not be able to apply flatlock or decorative seams or rolled hems. With most overlock sewing machines, the knife can simply be folded away so that you have all the freedom you need.

Decision: What types of overlock sewing machines are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between two types of overlock sewing machines:

  • Classic overlock sewing machines
  • Overlock/coverlock combinations

With an overlock machine, fabric edges can be sewn together quickly and easily. The edge is serged and trimmed in the same operation, which distinguishes it from a conventional sewing machine. With an overlock, the self-sewn garments look like professionally sewn ready-made garments, both from the inside and the outside.

In the following sections we will introduce you to the two different types. We will also briefly explain the differences between them to help you find out which overlock sewing machine is right for you. The advantages and disadvantages of each type are clearly presented for comparison.

How does a classic overlock sewing machine work and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Compared to conventional sewing machines, which interlace the upper thread with the lower thread to adhere to each other, overlock sewing machines sew over the edges. Both the classic version and overlock coverlock sewing machines use the same method.

In addition to saving time by binding several steps in one operation, difficult fabrics such as jersey can be processed neatly thanks to the so-called differential feed. This function can prevent unwanted stretching and wavy hems.

Advantages
  • Cheaper to buy
  • No need to move machines
Disadvantages
  • A lot of space is needed when using several machines
  • Coverlock functions cannot be implemented with overlock

If you need an overlock and a coverlock machine in addition to a sewing machine, you can quickly need a lot of storage space, which is often not available. However, a classic overlock sewing machine is cheaper to buy and you also save unnecessary time by switching the machine from overlock to coverlock. However, functions of the coverlock machine cannot be used with the classic model.

How does an overlock/coverlock combination work and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

The functioning of the overlock-coverlock combination machine is the same as the classic version. To convert the machine from coverlock to overlock, the cutter must be opened and the presser foot and needle must also be replaced. Then the thread must be threaded again and the serging of the seam can begin.

In addition, the coverlock functions not only allow you to sew fabric edges together, but also to work in the centre of the fabric and sew decorative stitches. This is especially helpful when sewing the double seam at the hem of shirts or other garments, as it is elastic and therefore does not gather at the sides.

Advantages
  • Space-saving, as only one machine is needed
  • Some have more functions than classic models
Disadvantages
  • More time needed to change the machine
  • More expensive to buy

Since it can take up to fifteen minutes to change the machine, it makes sense to buy two separate machines if you frequently use both overlock and coverlock functions. Due to the many integrated functions, a combination machine is usually more expensive to buy than a classic overlock sewing machine.

What speaks in favour of the combi version, however, is the space saved by having only one machine, as not everyone has room for three machines at home. In addition, many models have more functions than classic overlock sewing machines, as they can also perform those of the coverlock machine.

Did you know that besides overlock sewing machines, there are also sergers?

If you type the term "serger" into a dictionary, you will often see the term "overlock sewing machine" as a translation. In reality, however, there are small differences between an overlock sewing machine and a serger. A serger uses many more spools of thread than an overlock sewing machine, so the seam is much tighter, denser and more stable. This is particularly suitable for sturdier fabrics, such as denim.

Image source: pixabay.com / venturaartist

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