Singer VS Brother Part 3: Mechanical Details Comparison!!

Welcome to Part 3:  Mechanical Details Comparison, in my ongoing series comparing the Singer Pro Finish Serger to the Brother 1034d Serger!  This is the final part to this series.  It’s been a great experience for me to be comparing the Singer Pro Finish Serger to the Brother 1034d Serger.  I’ve learned so much more about this NEW Brother Serger doing this series and still have so much more to learn.  In this segment I will be including my preference for each of the features of each machine I’ve selected.  So many of you have emailed me about which machine I like more.  I definitely have my preferences about each machine.  As I share my preferred features for each machine, I will also share a photo of why I prefer it over the other.  I didn’t find any deal breakers for either one and will be using both machines going forward.

Some of this information in this part will overlap with previously shared information and pictures.  After all, since this is a mechanical machine, it would be hard not too have shared mechanical information in both Part 1 & 2.  If you missed Part 1 or Part 2, here’s how this series is broken down and you can click on both links to catch up.

Part 1:  Technical Specification Comparison

Part 2:  Stitch Quality & Threading Comparison

Part 3:  Mechanical Details Comparison


Mechanical Details & Features Comparison

Both these machines are smooth and easy to use.  They both feel like solid machines that will last for a long time if taken care of properly. Both machines stitch 1300 stitches per minute.  When purchasing any new machine, it’s always important to create good sewing maintenance habit’s.  Keeping them clean and dust free.  Change the needles often and oil them regularly are all parts of successful sewing/serger machine ownership.

There was one major mechanical difference in the Brother serger that completely surprised me, so I’m starting off with that one first.  The tension DOES NOT disengage when the presser foot is lifted or when the dials are set to -0-.  I’ve used and owned  more than my share of machinery over the years.  Both conventional and industrial machines, and to my best recollection, every single one of those machines’ tension was disengaged when the presser foot was lifted.  The only way to disengage tension on the Brother serger is to use the tension release slides on top of the machine behind each dial.  I do like having complete control when I lift the presser foot on the Singer serger and turn all the dials to -0-.  I think I favor this feature over the Brother but I also have to take into consideration that I’ve been familiar with this feature for a longer period of time.  Many people are afraid that once they set the dials to -0- that they’ll never be able to set tension properly again.  That’s nonsense.  Of course they will, providing the threads make it into the tension disks properly.  With the tension disengaged, it’s easier to be successful in threading properly.  With the Brother, you MUST remember to slide the tension release slide to the right when threading.

Singer Preference~~The Singer serger has separate needle screw sets for each needle as opposed to the Brother serger that has a single needle screw set for 2 needles.  Screw “A” holds the right needle and screw “B” holds the left needle.

Singer separate screws for the left (“B”) and right (“A”) needles.

Brother Preference~~The Brother serger has an open channel at the top of the needle so you can see where the needle hits to make sure it’s inserted properly.  The Singer has a closed channel and the stop must be felt by hand.

Brother needle channel

Equal~~Both machines have Adjustable Differential Feed.  Each has a simple lever with numerical markings for easy adjustment.

Singer Preference~~The Singer serger came with a small screwdriver for changing needles.  I feel I have more control when using the small screwdriver like the one that came with the Singer.  I didn’t like the small allen wrench to adjust the needle screws on the Brother serger.  It was awkward and difficult for me to maneuver.   

Brother Preference~~  The cone holders on the Brother serger are a little larger and hold the cones very securely.  The Singer serger cone holders are smaller and less secure. There’s a trade off with the next feature on my list.

Brother spool holder

Equal~~The carrying handle of the Singer serger is retractable and the Brother’s handle is integrated onto the back of the machine.  Just remember to put the handle back into it’s resting position when sewing on the Singer.

Singer Preference~~The Singer serger has a metal telescopic thread guide with open, elongated  guides.  When this guide is at it’s lowered position, the thread guides fit down into the cones to hold them securely from tipping over when moving the machine. The plastic telescopic thread guide on the Brother has small closed, shallow guides on top.  These are not able to hold the cones when moving the machine. 

Singer elongated thread guide on the telescopic thread stand.

Singer’s telescopic thread stand lowered into the cones for security.

Brother Preference~~The Brother serger comes with many more accessories than the Singer serger.  You all know me….I bought my Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 just to get all the extra feet that the machine came with.  I haven’t tried the 2 extra feet yet, but I will!!  More is MORE!!

Brother included accessories

Equal~~The stitch length adjustment is a simple knob on both machines.  Easy to adjust and easy to understand.

Singer Preference~~The Singer serger easily switches over to a narrow rolled hem, by sliding the integrated stitch width finger from “S” to “R” which is wonderful feature.  The Brother serger has a removable stitch finger which is easily removed and installed as needed, however I like the integrated rolled hem stitch finger better.

Singer stitch width finger set to “R” for rolled hem.

Singer stitch width finger set to “S” for standard stitch.

Brother Preference~~My favorite feature of the Brother serger is the location of the presser foot lifter lever.  It’s located on the right side of the machine for easy access. The presser foot lever is located in the traditional location behind the presser bar shaft on the Singer serger.  It can be easily left up when starting to sew and it’s a common mistake for new serger owners.

Brother presser foot lifter.

Equal~~Both machines have snap on presser feet.  The Brother however comes with more feet.  More is MORE!!

Singer Preference~~The Singer serger’s operator’s guide is easier to read than the Brother  serger because it’s divided into 3 separate guides, in 3 languages.  The Brother handbook has each page divided in half by language which I found to be confusing.  The Singer operator’s guide also offers more information on each individual stitch with a many handy charts to offer tension suggestions for a variety of fabric weights.  The Brother handbook has you work through the tension selection on your own by giving you a range of tension to start off with.

Brother Preference~~The stitch width adjustment on the Brother serger is a dial with numerical designations.  I found that my default stitches on the Brother were a little loopy, however when I increased the stitch width to 6 the loops were acceptable.  On the Singer serger, I usually just use either the left needle or the right needle to adjust the stitch width.  There’s also a small dial just below the stitch width finger that can be adjust as well.  This dial does not have numeric designations, so you need to adjust by eye and test the stitch.

Brother stitch width adjustment. Setting 6 (L), Default (R)

Equal~~I was very interested in removing and evaluating the throat plates of both machines.  I wanted to see if it was an inferior part on the Brother serger because I read about so many people breaking off parts of this item.  Yes, it can be replaced if necessary.  First of all and most importantly, neither machine included a screwdriver to remove the throat plate.  After removal, I took a good look at both parts and they both looked well made and sturdy.  I guess if you repeatedly broke needles, they could become weakened, but it would take some abuse in my opinion.

Throat plates – Brother (L) Singer (R)

Singer Preference~~The Singer serger has a movable upper knife that easily twists up and out of the way.  The Brother serger has an upper knife that is disengaged by a lever on the side of the machine.  Move the knife lever ONLY while the needle is at it’s lowest point.

Singer upper cutter

Brother Preference~~The Brother serger has an easier way to adjust presser foot pressure.  There’s mechanism to adjust the presser foot pressure by simply turning a screw on top of the machine.  The Singer serger has a depressed screw inside the top of the machine that requires a screw driver to adjust.  It’s not hard, just requires a screwdriver whereas the Brother serger doesn’t.

Brother presser foot pressure adjustment knob

Equal~~Both machines are very easy to adjust tension.  The dials are moved up on the Singer serger for a higher tension and down on the Brother for a higher tension. The Brother works in the exact opposite direction from the Singer, which seemed odd to me but nothing I couldn’t get used too.

EQUALLY FRUSTRATING~~Removing the extension tables to expose the storage area and free arm can be tricky for both the Singer and the Brother. Each are a challenge to remove if you aren’t aware of how to take them off.  Once you learn the proper way, it’s a breeze.  The Brother serger didn’t give good directions in the manual so I asked in a Facebook group and received great responses.

So there you have it!  My honest, thoughtful comparison of these two machines. I hope if you’re in the market for an entry level serger, that this series helped you make an informed decision.  I think they both represent wonderful entry level sergers and although there are features I prefer over the other, there are NO deal breakers for me. If you currently own one of these machines, I hope you’ve learned something new about your machine.

I also finished addressing all the questions I received in this post except for one.  Cost.  That was the most asked question I received over the last few weeks since I started this series.  Cost isn’t easy for me to compare.  Prices change often and also differ depending on vendor and location globally.  The best I can say is that they are affordable.  I wouldn’t have even started a comparison of these 2 machines if one was much more expensive than the other.  Rest assured that purchasing either one of these machines will enhance your sewing experience.  If you do decide to purchase, please take the time to learn how to use your new machine and create good sewing habits from the beginning. Join a Facebook group for support, take an online course or an in person class at a sewing center.  Take good care of your machines and they will serve you well!!  It makes all the difference!!   

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4 Responses to Singer VS Brother Part 3: Mechanical Details Comparison!!

  1. Diane says:

    I am very lucky, that I own both machines but my Brother is the 3034d. I love both of the machines and have to say that the Brother is the quieter of the two.
    The singer has to be repaired recently and the service was brilliant. There is a phone number in the manual. The young Lady who answered asked what had happened and organised a pick up from dpd to their premises. My machine was fixed, reset and delivered back to me within a week. Brilliant service. I purchased the Singer Overlocker from Lidl and can’t fault it. Paid £129.00 12 months ago and it comes with a 3 year Guarantee.

  2. Cindy Berend says:

    Hi Roxanne,
    I finally got some time to sit down and read your 3 part serger comparison today. I have only used my SPF twice so it is still very new to me. From your review I am satisfied that I have the right machine for me and look forward to really learning how to use it. I picked up 20 spools (5 colors) of Maxi Lock thread at the Goodwill Store, yay me!
    Thank you Roxanne, great job!
    Brookline, NH

    • RoxanneStitches says:

      Hi Cindy! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I’ve been told that my comparison is very long. LOL I know, but I wanted to make sure it was as complete as possible and kept finding more to write about. Yes, the SPF is a great choice. Both machines are great actually and there are things about both I really like. Nice score on the thread too!! Happy to own both!! Happy Sewing!!

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