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Message Board > Sewing Machines > 550 QE or 710? ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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550 QE or 710?
What are the tradeoffs?
rgrogan
rgrogan
Member since 12/20/12
Posts: 12
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thumbsup 1 member likes this.
Date: 4/3/13 5:12 PM

I recently purchased a 200E upgraded to a 730E and had to return it to my dealer because of it locking up. My dealer has totally stood by me in this and is giving me a full refund to apply to another machine.

I am primarily a garment sewer, and occassinally may do a home dec project (no quilting or embroidery) I like all the bells and whistles of the newer machines but don't want to pay for the embroidery unit for something that I would only use once or twice a year. That being said, I am looking at a 550QE or 710. I am trying to justify the additional 800 it would cost me to go into the 710, but like having the BSR ability on the 550 in order to do thread painting.

Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Clareew
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Clareew  Friend of PR
Intermediate
UNITED KINGDOM
Member since 5/10/06
Posts: 1054
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Date: 4/3/13 5:48 PM

I have the 550 and love it. I bought it for free motion embroidery but love it so much I use it for my garment sewing in preference to my Juki.

------
Clare

Machines: Juki F600, Juki 654 serger, Bernina 550 for art work, Janome Coverpro 1000cp barely used
A Singer Featherweight Centennial and an old Necci in the loft waiting for TLC

http://art-by-clare.blogspot.co.uk/

SewEverlasting
SewEverlasting
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MO
Member since 9/12/11
Posts: 54
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In reply to rgrogan <<


Date: 4/3/13 8:49 PM

I have had a very similar debate/discussion with myself in the last few weeks.

I went to the closest Bernina dealer (1 hour away) to test drive the 550QE. I talked with the saleswoman first about it and then did some test sewing. Then, I test drove the 710 and discussed it with her.

The 550QE is a great machine. But, compared to the 710:

A. The harp space is smaller.
B. The lighting is not as bright or plentiful.
C. The interface screen not as user friendly and as intuitive.
D. I don't believe it has as many stitches.
E. I believe the stitches are 5.5mm (whereas the 710s are 9 mm).
F. The 550 comes with the BSR (whereas the 710 can use the BSR but does not include it)
G. The 550 comes with more Bernina feet.

Also, the 710 has the new Bernina bobbin which holds much more thread. But the new 7 series has also had some problems. There is a great, current thread here under the sewing machines topic where some new 7 series owners have talked about the stitch quality on the new 7 series, etc., and what they have endured through their dealers to get it fixed.

I think it really comes down to thinking carefully about what you want to use a Bernina machine for now and in the future. You also have to consider other features that you already have on any other machines you may own. For me, the 710 probably makes more sense because I would really like to add a 9mm machine to my sewing space. But, the 550QE might make more sense for you if using large decorative stitches (which the 9mms are great for) is not something you see yourself doing.

Be sure to test drive both machines! They are wonderful but you can see and feel the differences in their design and performance when you sew on them.
-- Edited on 4/3/13 8:50 PM --

------
Dreamweaver VQ3000, Babylock Ellisimo, Bernina 350SE (Dragonfly), Juki 2010Q, Brother 5234PRW Serger

lelliebunny
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lelliebunny  Friend of PR
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WA USA
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Date: 4/3/13 8:58 PM

Before anything else, I'd ask if you would want to take the machine to classes and such. If yes, I'd say the 550 hands down. If no, I would consider the dual feed and the beautiful color screen on the 710. The 710 also has a lot more space for quilting, but the 550 includes the BSR and has been around long enough to have the major bugs worked out. Does your dealer offer any sort of trade up program? I know many dealers in my area will allow you to trade up for a more expensive model within a year of purchase.

------
i'm a PFAFF girl at heart that has an occasional affair with other brands.

http://thetruthaboutsewing.blogspot.com

SouthernStitch
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SouthernStitch  Friend of PR
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LA
Member since 8/24/02
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Date: 4/3/13 9:04 PM

The 710 would give you the much larger bobbin, dual feed, and larger sewing bed. Probably more stitches on the 710 as well. But only you can be the judge weather the extra $ is worth it.
But, that said, I LOVE my 530, which is basically the same machine as the 550.

------
Bernina 780, and 530
Juki TL2010
Babylock Evolution
Singer 403a

When life gives you green velvet curtains, make a green velvet dress.

Kathryn73
Kathryn73  Friend of PR
Intermediate
ND USA
Member since 12/5/11
Posts: 16
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In reply to rgrogan <<


Date: 4/3/13 10:49 PM

I had narrowed it down to these two machines as well because I didn't want to buy an embroidery unit. I decided on the 710. It's heavy but it stays on my sewing table! I do like the extra free-arm space and the good lighting.

About the 710: Check out the max stitch width at 9 instead of 5.5. You can modify the decorative stitches on the 710 in many ways, and you can link them together to create your own patterns. I have used these decorative stitches more than I thought I would, mostly on kids' clothes and baby gifts.

The 710 has the dual feed and also an automatic thread cutter. I liked the computer interface slightly better on the 710. The bobbins are larger but that wasn't a factor for me. I probably didn't need the BSR but I bought one anyway!

Honestly, I think I would have been happy with either machine. Try them both and see which one seems right for you.

ADDED: The embroidery unit is a tempting purchase, but, like you, I wouldn't use it enough to justify buying it. With the BSR for thread painting and 710's decorative stitches for embellishments, I feel like I have all that I need.

Also to consider - Will this be your only sewing machine? If so, be sure to decide on which machine fits your priorities best. I can't believe how many people on these threads have several machines! -- Edited on 4/4/13 11:48 AM --
-- Edited on 4/4/13 11:49 AM --

Artsewer
Artsewer  Friend of PR
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NY USA
Member since 3/2/11
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Date: 4/4/13 2:09 AM

If the BSR is a major factor to you, check the price and total it against the 750 which comes with the bsr and the possibility for embroidery if at some point you chose to add it. I think you find the price becomes nearly the same. Then you have to ask yourself how much more are you willing to spend.
I love having the extra harp space especially with threa painting. The extra 2.5 inches is great to have. The duel feed is excellent.

------
Bernina 750Q, 635E, 380, Serger 1100DC

lgrande
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lgrande  Friend of PR
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Posts: 1532
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thumbsup 1 member likes this.
Date: 4/4/13 9:15 AM

I recently was trying to decide between the 710 and the 530 (I didn't need embroidery capability or BSR and I already have a 9mm Bernina).
I opted for the 530 because I wanted the 5.5 feed dogs and I wanted a machine that was more portable.
I did have to give up the Dual Feed and the thread cutter.
The 530 turned out to be just what I wanted.

------
Linda

Bernina 830LE
Brother Dreamweaver VQ3000
Bernina B530
Janome 6600P
Pfaff 1209
Babylock Evolution
Janome 644D

Renee' S
Renee' S
Intermediate
ID USA
Member since 8/24/02
Posts: 477
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In reply to rgrogan <<
thumbsup 1 member likes this.


Date: 4/4/13 12:07 PM

I just went through this same decision a few weeks ago. I was pretty sure I wanted either the 710 or a 530. I went to the dealer with all kinds of fabrics in hand and sat and sewed on both machines. The 710 was really noisy and when I asked about it the dealer said it probably needed to be serviced. It had been used in a Speed Dating event and lots of people had been playing with it. Hmmm made me wonder if it's a little temperamental. It was ok to sew on but it wasn't anything spectacular. I have a Pfaff with dual feed and 9mm stitches and it still sews beautifully so those features were not a necessity. Then I sat down at a 530 and it felt so comfortable. The 530 - for me - was easy to navigate, it sewed smooth and quiet and it can share bobbins with my Bernina 230. While I was there I was just playing with the different machines and I sewed on a Bernina 350. Beware they're addictive! The 350 sewed really nice and I loved both the dragon fly and the flower faceplate. I decided the 530 was the machine I wanted and for almost the same price as a 710 I could have a 530 and a 350SE. So I bought 'em both and I'm all set for sewing machines for now.

------
Bernina 560, Pfaff 7550, Pfaff 1171, Babylock Imagine, Singer 221 & the big girl Gammill Classic

Learn To Sew
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Learn To Sew  Friend of PR
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WA USA
Member since 4/12/05
Posts: 10813
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In reply to Renee' S <<


Date: 4/4/13 12:33 PM

It is hard to find THE machine that is idea for each of us. I see you went the smart way and bought two instead. (LOL) I think you did great. I am glad you decided siince you already had the Pfaff with 9mm, you did not need the710. Better to go with ones you know you will be happy with and not have the stress problems others have had to deal with. I'm not sure that new bobbin system is working the way they thought it would. In time, yes, it will be perfect. I feel sorry for those who have to go through the stress with them to get them perfect. It should be perfect from the time you open the box or have the machine sewed in.

Am I Bernina bashing? No. I have a 630 that I love. I am just glad when my dealer tried to talk me into waiting for the 750 to pass it up and buy what *I* wanted. It is not easy to find the right machine for each of us. Glad you accomplished it and bought your machines.

I've not seen the Flower or Dragonfly ones, and it is a good thing I have not! I don't know if I could pass them by either.

------
I am a Quilter at heart. I love to play with fabrics, patterns and colors. Recently I have discovered I enjoy doing applique. I love making pictures. Using a sewing machine is much easier than counted cross stitch or oil painting for me. I enjoy landscape quilting as well. I am working on my first applique project in the spring of 2014.
Bernina 630, my main machine
Pfaff 2036, my class machine
Babylock Molly
Bernina 1200DA serger
Unique Sewing Cabinet 450L

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