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Which machine to buy

K1 | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

I am in the market for a good sewing machine for apparel (no embroidery) for under $1000. I’ve heard both Husquavarna/Viking and Pfaff are good. I’d appreciate any feedback from owners of these machines. Thanks.


  1. Elisabeth | | #1

    I have a 20 year old Viking which I love. It has never let me down. A friend bought a new Viking in the $700-800 range, a computerized one, last year and she is very happy with it. I shopped for her machine with her and we found that she could get more machine for the money with Viking, at least in our area.

    Pfaff is great too. With two such good brands you can let your decision be influenced by personal taste. Each brand has a "feel" and to me the Viking felt much better back when I bought it. Take samples of the types of fabrics you will sew on the machine (make sure you have samples of the heaviest to the lightest fabrics) and test drive everything. If you use specialty thread such as denim topstitching thread you could bring that too.

    See what you think of the dealer as well. A place that is friendly and knowledgeable and possibly has in house machine servicing might be important to you. Friendly staff certainly makes the shopping more pleasant.

    I hope you find a machine that fits you perfectly!


    1. K1 | | #2

      Thanks for the advice.  I've looked at both now and am leaning toward the Viking.  The Pfaff -- I am told -- doesn't hold a lot of thread on its bobbin.  I was told at one dealer that the mechanical machine (in the $550 range) is a better deal than the computerized versions in the under $1000 range.  I'll do as you suggest and give it a "test drive."  Thanks again.

      1. Bernie1 | | #3

        I also have a D1 and a Pfaff and love them both. A lot of women also swear by Janome which is less expensive. The dealer makes a difference. What will they give in support. Something to consider.

      2. Elisabeth | | #4

        My friend and I looked at the mechanical Pfaff and Elna since they were in the right price range but we felt they were really clunky to use.  The knobs that changed the stitches etc were big and hard to turn in our opinion.  The computerized models were more expensive in those brands.  I know some people really like the mechanical machines and use them with perfect results but my friend fell in love with the least expensive computerised Viking with the touch controls and needle piercing power and of course the look and feel of the machine suited her too.  I think it is called the Freesia?  It was comparable in price to Pfaff and Elna's mechanical.  Consider the defninte advantages of a computerized machine, it will do some "thinking" for you that is really nice.  Happy testing.E.

        1. Bernie1 | | #6

          My Pfaff is a mechanical 1540 and it's very easy to use and under $1,000. Some of the others take a lot more adjusting but so far I've had fun with this, especially since my D1 seems to be spending more time in the shop.

  2. Alaskagal | | #5

    Several years ago, I purchased by first Bernina, a 1260.  I was impressed by its very high stitch quality, versatility (sews everything from mountaineering equipment to lace beautifully!), and ease of use.  Although the new Berninas are priced well above your $1,000 budget, you should be able to find a well-loved used machine that will serve you well.  All of their machines have very easy to use and adjust knobs and buttons and there is a practically infinite array of specialty feet for every need.  The Bernina 12 series was electronic, but not computerized - a big step up from the clunky mechanical realm, but not into the expensive ozone of the fully computerized units.  I'm now on my second Bernina (an Artista 180) and often wish I'd hung onto the 1260 instead of trading it in, as it actually performed some tasks better than the newfangled Artista. 

    Happy shopping!

  3. SewNancy | | #7

    Dear K1

    I just bought a new Viking this summer, a little more than you want to spend , the Platinum 750, but they have a 730 that is about what you want to spend if you can get it for less than list.  I bought this after looking at the Pfaff  and a Brother.  I had a Viking for 20 years and loved it.  I also liked the new dealer that opened after my old deaer retired.  The dealer is really key to  your happiness as I have written before.  The Vikings are really user friendly and I love my new machine even more than the old one.  I had been looking for a machine that had certain features and not an excess of things that I would never use.  The Platinum series finally did that.  I was really looking multiple button hole designs that I could accurately reapeat.   Take a look at the article Threads wrote a while ago while the Viking is new,  they give a good list for how to shop for a machine.  I took my own fabrics  with me and sewed dfferent stitches on the same material on different machines.  The feel of the machine is also key.  So go sew  find a dealer you really like.


    1. K1 | | #8

      Nancy and others,

      I just both a Viking Iris. It has embroidery functions which I care less about than its other features, but I think it's a great machine. Thanks to all who replied. The Viking recommendations were encouraging.

  4. suesew | | #9

    If you haven't already purchased one, I'd vote for the Viking also. Buit first you really have to buy the dealer. He or she is the one who will really take care of you. I would suggest you consider a computerized machine over a mechanical. The difference is well worth it. Once you figure out what you need, I would buy at least the next one up on the price list. You can't expand what you can do with your machine unless you have the capability.

    1. kswolff | | #10

      I agree that the Viking was a great choice! Not only am I using a 17 year old Viking 1100 (it was top of the line computerized machine when I bought it), I also have the Viking 5 thread serger. In the last 2 years I have helped 7 (yes 7!) friends buy machines and they were all Viking machines. Happy sewing!!!!

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