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Forum > Sewing Machines > Bernina vs. Pfaff - Which is better? ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Bernina vs. Pfaff - Which is better?
Letterwoman

Letterwoman
Advanced Beginner
Iowa USA
Member since 5/22/05
Posts: 36
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Date: 9/20/08 2:14 PM

I'm trying to decide between several models: Bernina 440, Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 and Viking Sapphire 870. (See my previous posting here about it: http://sewing.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/sewingclasses/board.pl?t=34013&pn=2#625705) I think I'm going to eliminate the Sapphire from my choices because I've read quite a few negative reviews about it on this site. Anyone have any opinions about this model?

So now I'm wondering which machine (between the Bernina and Pfaff) is going to hold up longer without breaking down and will keep its value the best. Almost every quilter I know uses a Bernina and I've always thought that was the top of the line in sewing machines, but I've also heard a few good things about Pfaffs and the IDT technology.

The thing that worries me about the Pfaff model is that it's all computerized and I have no manual control over anything, from the tension, sewing speed or lifting the presser foot up and down. And I think the warranty doesn't cover the electronics part of the machine after the first two years. That doesn't seem right. Have any of you Pfaff owners with completely computerized sewing machines had any problems with the electronics after a long period of time? While I love all the features that the Pfaff machine has, I'm just worried about whether it's going to last. I read somewhere that Pfaffs aren't made in Germany anymore, either, and the Berninas are still made in Switzerland. I definitely don't want anything made in China if I'm paying that much money.

I love the Bernina 440, but it's almost $1000 more than the Pfaff. I'd like to think that it has better quality than the Pfaff for such an extra cost, but I don't think its warranty covers the electronics after the first year. Does anyone know more about this or have you had any problems with your machine? I kind of wish this machine had some of the features that the Pfaff has, but I like that you can manually control the presser foot.

I'm just wondering what the general consensus is among Bernina and Pfaff users. I'm sure it's similar to cars in that it's a matter of your own preference and what you're used to, but before I plunk down all that money, I'd like some opinions. I should mention that I'm a quilter, but I'd also like to sew garments and crafts projects with the machine I buy.
-- Edited on 9/20/08 2:26 PM --

FlyGuy2
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FlyGuy2
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Illinois USA
Member since 9/26/05
Posts: 636
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In reply to Letterwoman


Date: 9/20/08 3:00 PM

I have the Bernina 440 and love it. I also have 2 pfaff's one is a serger and the other is a old model which sews wonderfully. I would go towards the Bernina because with the 440 you get the BSR with the machine. It also comes with the Knee lifter. I too am a quilter and there isn't a better machine in my eye's


Joel

------
Joel Richter Former Flight attendant with a Major US Carrier.
Sewing Machines, Baby Lock Nancy Zieman Ellegante, Baby Lock Ellure Plus, Viking Platinum 730 and a Singer Serger. My new Serger is a Pfaff 4764 and it runs nicely. Added a new Machine today a really beauty Pfaff 130. Newest Addition a Baby Lock Coverstitch only machine. Newest addition Bernina 440QEE. Now A Viking Designer Diamond :) Now a new Viking Huskylock 936 Combo Serger. Sold machine the Viking Platinum 730 and the PFAFF 4764.

muffin1

muffin1
Intermediate
Connecticut USA
Member since 7/31/05
Posts: 39
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Date: 9/20/08 8:33 PM

I have a pfaff cv and just got the bernina 440 and am very happy with it. It winds the bobbin beautifully and is great for dressmaking. I made a knit top without even using the serger for seams. No my creative vision is sitting in the corner.

marymary86
marymary86
Intermediate
Georgia USA
Member since 7/20/08
Posts: 3154
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In reply to FlyGuy2


Date: 9/20/08 8:35 PM

Joel - what is BSR?

------
Mary


ccris
ccris
Intermediate
Member since 10/27/05
Posts: 5002
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Date: 9/20/08 9:26 PM

It's Bernina Stitch Regulator. Click here.

I don't have a Bernina so can't answer any questions about it. Sorry.

JanyceR
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JanyceR  Friend of PR
Colorado USA
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Posts: 1624
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In reply to Letterwoman


Date: 9/20/08 9:31 PM

Another difference is that the Pfaff is a 9mm machine, and the Bernina 440 is a 5mm machine. You might prefer one or the other for quilting. I have both 9mm and 5mm machines (Berninas) and I like them equally well, but I know many quilters prefer the 5mm for piecing.

I am a dedicated Bernina person but I did try the Pfaff 4.0 as I was intrigued by the wider throat and the IDT. After several hours of test sewing on the Pfaff and trying to get used to the way the presser foot works, and an electronic knee lift, I knew it was not for me. The IDT was nice, but after I took in my sample fabric from home, I really did not see a benefit to it over my Berninas. The other thing I really did not like was the drop in bobbin. I much prefer the vertical, it seems so much easier to get to while sewing. I also did not like the Pfaff feet at all. They did not seem nearly as sturdy as the Bernina feet. And they were very awkward for me. I am sure it is all in what you are used to though!

And as Joel said, the Bernina 440 comes with the BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) which a lot of people love for free motion work. It also comes with a walking foot.

If you like the 9mm stitch, the Bernina anniversary edition (450) is a 9mm. It does not come with the BSR or walking foot so its price is closer to the Pfaff. It is a very nice machine, I love mine.

The Bernina has two year warranty on electrical parts, 5 years on printed circuit boards, and 20 years on mechanical parts.

Good luck, this is a tough search. I love my Berninas, I just can't seem to find anything I like as well or better. They are so solid and smooth, the stitch quality is wonderful. And they are reliable.

------
Pfaff Creative Sensation Pro, Bernina 780,
B350SE,other Berninas, Pfaff Performance 5, several vintage - multiple manufacturers.
Love all my machines!

ccris
ccris
Intermediate
Member since 10/27/05
Posts: 5002
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In reply to Letterwoman
thumbsup 1 member likes this.


Date: 9/20/08 9:34 PM

Thirty years ago Pfaff was considered the RR of sewing machines. I think Bernina came in next.

I have a 30 year old fully computerized Pfaff (their first) that was made in Germany and has never needed servicing.

From what I've read, Bernina owners swear Bernina is top of the line, but I think Pfaff owners feel the same way. It's probably a good idea to visit both dealers and try both machines. You'll probably bond more with one than the other.

Doris W. in TN
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Doris W. in TN  Friend of PR
Intermediate
Tennessee USA
Member since 2/9/04
Posts: 7812
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In reply to Letterwoman


Date: 9/20/08 10:16 PM

Quote:
I'm just wondering what the general consensus is among Bernina and Pfaff users.


As you can see from the posts, we all think "our" brand is best.

What is really & truly important is your dealer and the amount of support you will get from him/her. Talk with other sewers & quilters in your area about their machines, the dealers, etc. Dealer support is very important, IMO, no matter which brand you buy.
FlyGuy2
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FlyGuy2
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Illinois USA
Member since 9/26/05
Posts: 636
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In reply to marymary86


Date: 9/20/08 10:59 PM

Its called the Bernina Stitch Regulator and it does just that it keeps all the stitches the same length which is great when doing a quilt and free motion.

------
Joel Richter Former Flight attendant with a Major US Carrier.
Sewing Machines, Baby Lock Nancy Zieman Ellegante, Baby Lock Ellure Plus, Viking Platinum 730 and a Singer Serger. My new Serger is a Pfaff 4764 and it runs nicely. Added a new Machine today a really beauty Pfaff 130. Newest Addition a Baby Lock Coverstitch only machine. Newest addition Bernina 440QEE. Now A Viking Designer Diamond :) Now a new Viking Huskylock 936 Combo Serger. Sold machine the Viking Platinum 730 and the PFAFF 4764.

Dagmar

Dagmar
Advanced Beginner
AUSTRALIA
Member since 4/16/05
Posts: 39
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Date: 9/21/08 8:26 AM

Hi Letterwoman, I am looking for a new machine for quilting and dressmaking. I looked at Sapphire 870 but there were too many bad reviews and the local dealers could not discount them, just said the machines were set up for stippling which does not sound right too me. Then I looked at the Bernina and it is a very good machine but has not got a lot of the features of other quilt machines which makes it very expensive for what you get. BSR is very nice but like thousands of other women you can get along very well without. Then after a long time I looked at Brother which I always thought of as a poor cousin in sewing machines. Their QC1000 has lots of features that the others have plus more. There are 4 good reviews and no bad reviews on this site but I am going to look into it a bit more but it seems to be what I am looking for. I think it is worth considering and test driving. I have always been a Viking girl and if the reviews were any good I would get an 870 but not any more.

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