Serger Vs Sewing Machine: What You Need To Know

serger vs sewing machine

In this article, we will compare a serger vs sewing machine and cover all of their differences as well as similarities. Many people can't tell a difference and use those two concepts interchangeably. Maybe some of you haven't even heard of a serger, let alone know how is it different from a sewing machine, so we will try to amend this and tell you everything you need to know about those two machines.

We will also show you the difference between a serger and a coverstitch machine, even though there are many sergers that can serve as a coverstitch machine.

Even though a regular sewing machine will be more than enough for an average user, it's good to learn about sergers and what they can do so you can decide if it is something that's necessary for your sewing needs.

What Is a Serger and Why Should You Own One?

 serger vs sewing machine

A serger is a type of sewing machines that trims, sews, and finishes seams in one step, making it a great time saver, as those are usually separate steps on a regular sewing machine. While technically they are not the same, the difference between a serger and an overlock machine is so minuscule that it can be used interchangeably. The only relevant difference is that an overlock machine almost never has more than 4 spools of thread, while a serger can have up to 8 spools, but the majority of affordable sergers have 4 or 5 and are therefore identified with overlock machines.

Some seamstresses who are used to a regular sewing machine are reluctant to buy a serger because it looks different and can be complicated to operate. That's okay because most recreational seamstresses that just do simple repairs and alterations will do just fine with a conventional sewing machine.

However, if you want to go to the next level and work on large projects that take many hours to finish, you will definitely appreciate quality sergers and their possibilities. Now let's learn what separates sergers from regular sewing machines.

The Difference Between a Serger and a Sewing Machine

difference between serger and a sewing machine

Every experienced seamstress who spends hours and hours per week, creating a large volume of various garments or upholstery, knows that a serger is a must have. But, it's also a fact that a serger can't replace a regular sewing machine as it can't do a lot of things a sewing machine can. They are meant to complement, rather than replace each other.


Commercial sergers can reach up to 1500 stitches per minute, although, the usual speed for a low-budget serger is 1300. The speed of a regular sewing machine in the same price range is usually no more than 1100 stitches per minute, while lots of models have less than 1000. Higher speed saves your time and makes the final result look more professional.


We already mentioned that a serger can trim, sew, and finish a seam in one step and that is its main power and the reason why people use them. Another advantage of a serger is that stitches created with it are more flexible and don't tear apart when stretched.

However, you can't make a buttonhole or insert a zipper with it, which is usually needed for making pants and anything that has buttons and zippers, so this is where a sewing machine is needed. You also can't quilt with a serger.


This is where a sewing machine shines. If your projects include lots of ornaments, letters, and other decorations, a serger won't do you much good. For that, you need a computerized sewing machine with lots of built-in decorative stitches. Along with that, a top stitch can also be done only on a sewing machine. However, a serger has an ability to do a popular stitch that a sewing machine can't do. If you are an experienced seamstress, you might have found a need for a coverstitch. A sewing machine can

If you are an experienced seamstress, you might have found a need for a coverstitch. A sewing machine can't do it, and neither can some types of sergers. There are special, coverstitch available, which is a good option if you already own a serger that can't do a coverstitch. But if you plan to buy a new serger, you can buy one that has a coverstitch option. This usually means a minimum of 5 spools of thread. When you compare a coverstitch machine vs a serger with a coverstitch option, you will see that they are pretty much the same, even though it's more practical to have all three if you are a serious seamstress.


We covered everything that separates sergers from sewing machines and discussed why a serger is necessary for many seamstresses, and why would some of them own not only a regular sewing machine and a serger, but also a coverstitch machine. If you are serious about sewing, you too will find all three useful and essential for your sewing needs.

We hope that after reading this article where we compared a serger vs sewing machine, you will know the difference between them and maybe you'll consider getting a serger. Just like with sewing machines, look for popular sergers that come from known brands, such as Singer, Brother, or Janome.


About the author

Hannah Stitch

Hannah is a crafts enthusiast with a passion for sewing and creating cool things. She has a huge interest in fashion and enjoys spending time with her friends and family.

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