Overlockers are a fantastic tool to have in your sewing studio, especially if you’re producing costumes or wearable items, as they require more attention and may help prevent materials from fraying over time. However, they may be rather costly to purchase.
Due to a variety of factors, overlockers are sometimes more expensive to purchase, despite their limitations. The major reason is that they employ twin needles, a cutting mechanism, and merge three to four threads into a single stitch.
In this post, I’ll explain why overlockers are so costly, what to look for, and how to save money when purchasing one.
Table of Contents
What Factors Contribute to the High Cost of Overlockers?
Overlockers aren’t cheap, and that’s no secret. They have the potential to be! They can cost as little as £150 when purchased at a discount supermarket’s random section, but they can cost as much as a thousand pounds.
However, it should be noted that the more costly overlockers maybe commercial models, which you are probably definitely not interested in.
If you’re reading this and thinking about buying an overlocker, you’re presumably looking for a domestic model.
That’s fantastic! Domestic overlockers are usually less costly than commercial overlockers, but they are just as durable. The only variation is in size and speed.
Commercial overlockers can generally finish a larger number of clothes in a shorter amount of time, resulting in higher profit margins in the long run – this is why even the most basic commercial versions are so costly.
Three major factors contribute to the high cost of overlockers.
Internal processes are complicated, part turnover is high, and the number of fundamental components is high.
Complex Internal Mechanisms
An overlocker’s complicated internal mechanism is what drives up the price.
But first, let’s go back to sewing machines to better understand what’s going on.
Every sewing machine in the world operates on the same fundamental principle: a needle and a bobbin work together to form a complicated knot that will not come undone even under extreme wear and tear.
An overlocker is essentially the same thing as an overlocker, except it’s a lot more complicated.
An overlocker combines four threads into one cohesive stitch, whereas a sewing machine combines two threads.
This added complexity necessitates a large number of small, selective components. Those tiny, finicky components will never be inexpensive, no matter how you slice them.
All of the little, particular pieces have the unfortunate side effect of occasionally breaking.
We’ve all been three: you’re halfway through a sewing job when your needle hits a machine component that isn’t properly aligned, snaps in half, and you have to replace it. It’s a hassle, and it can be downright aggravating at times.
Overlockers, however, have an even more complicated mechanism than sewing machines, which means a lot of parts mesh and entangle with each motor cycle.
After a while, two or more components will inevitably collide, resulting in some form of breakage – that’s simply the way things go.
This means you’ll probably need to seek down an unusual needle or cog at some time or take it to someone who can fix it.
Unfortunately, neither of these alternatives is inexpensive.
Increased Part Turnover
Another factor to consider is how much it costs to operate overlockers in terms of materials.
Overlockers utilize four distinct spools of thread at the same time, which means you’re using nearly twice as much thread as you would with a sewing machine.
While this is a little expense in the grand scheme of things, it may build up over time and is worth considering.
While we’re on the subject of the thread, it’s worth noting that overlockers utilize a different type of thread than sewing machines. Overlocker thread, on the other hand, maybe fairly inexpensive.
In the same supermarkets where you occasionally find an overlocker, you can frequently get a cone of overlocker thread for a pound or less – which is excellent value.
Finally, the sheer number of fundamental components is the most significant reason why even the most basic overlockers are extremely costly.
This is the most amazing aspect of an overlocker; they’re usually crammed with items.
The equipment is various and sophisticated, and none of them are the type of appliance you can open to find large swaths of space.
We’re accustomed to picking up a speaker, radio, or other similar device and not realizing there’s a lot of real stuff inside.
But overlockers are quite dense. On the most basic level, this raises the cost by increasing the steel and plastic required to produce one.
What To Look For When Purchasing An Overlocker
Because overlockers are such sophisticated devices, even at their most basic level, there are several aspects to consider.
So, let’s break things down so we can start thinking about what you need to make sure you receive.
The total number of threads
First and foremost, you must think about the number of threads.
Although four threads are ideal, we have seen machines with only three threads that work fine. However, in reality, four threads are required.
Adjustable Stitch Length
You’ll also need a machine with stitch length adjustment. The length of a stitch controls several factors, but the most important is the amount of tension in the cloth.
The greater the tension in the cloth, the longer the stitch. As a result, low-tensile-strength textiles (such as very thin ones) will require short stitches to avoid becoming deformed.
Adjustable Pressure Foot
You might also want to consider investing in a machine with a pressure foot that adjusts to different cloth thicknesses.
This is especially important when working with heavier materials, as a machine with a foot that can push down with a lot of power will ensure equal tension and stitching.
A differential feed is another fantastic feature to look for when purchasing an overlocker.
These are similar to walking feet in that they assist in uniformly feeding the material through the machine.
Differential feeders, on the other hand, work to feed thread rather than fabric equally.
Finally, it’s always worthwhile to search for minor supplementary features that might save you time and money in the long run.
A retractable knife and a stitching light are two fantastic added features to look for.
Several overlockers include a tiny blade built inside the machine that may be used to swiftly and efficiently cut threads.
It’s critical to get a machine with a retractable blade since an exposed blade can create difficulties for both your fingers and the cloth you’re working with.
A sewing light is also useful, especially when working with overlockers, which is tedious work.
Because overlockers operate to cleanly and effectively seal seams, you want to be sure you’re sewing right onto the seam.
As a result, having a sewing light might assist you in seeing and positioning everything as planned.
How To Save Money On An Overlocker
Overlockers, on the other hand, are all mechanically quite similar. This implies that there isn’t much difference between the cheapest one and the most costly one – the difference will most likely be in build quality rather than what the machine can perform.
As a result, you may shop around for a less costly overlocker with confidence, knowing that even the cheapest machines will perform the same work as the more expensive ones.
With costly overlockers, you’re paying for longevity.
The middle aisle at cheap grocers like Aldi and Lidl is a fantastic spot to look for savings on overlockers.
In the middle aisle of these stores, they frequently feature odd machines and appliances for sale.
These machines can be used for as little as £150, which is great for something like an overlocker, which can rapidly become costly. As a result, before you shop online, go to your local grocer!
If you decide that going online is the best option for you, you may look for an old overlocker in need of extra parts or otherwise in need of some TLC.
People may sell outdated equipment without fully appreciating its value or the extent to which it is damaged.
In many situations, you may buy an inexpensive machine and have it repaired for less than the cost of purchasing a new one. Of course, the decision is yours to make.