Bernina 8 Series–The Lowdown on Prices

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ITMan really is saying I should get one of the new Bernina 8 Series machines. It’s a good thing he’s not in charge of the cash around here, or we’d be eating boxed mac & cheese for dinner daily! πŸ™‚ I just keep shaking my head at him in wonder, but I did let curiosity get the better of me last night and I called a dealer in North Carolina to find out what the price really is. My girlfriend Dawn lives in NC, and I figured if I had to get a machine from the States, NC is as good a place as any and maybe she could be persuaded to mail the sucker to me. Are you ready?

$11,990 for the 830, and $7,490 for the 820. The 820 price is not solid; the dealer said that’s what they think it will be, but the 830 price is the MSRP from Bernina. I asked about the price on the frame and they had no info about that yet, but I did see a site this morning that said $2,000 for the frame, and dropped the little tidbit that most dealers would be offering the 830 for about $2k less than the actual MSRP.

Well. Here’s my current thought process on all of this, and then I’m going to be quiet about the 8 Series machines until I can really get my hands on one if I decide I really want to take the plunge. If I do decide I’m really getting one, I probably won’t go for the 830. Why do I need another embroidery machine? I have the 440, which does what I need. I’m making quilts here, not embroidered murals, and if I ever did want to make bigger designs than the 440 does out of the box, I can get the extra hoops that are bigger and meant to be turned around or whatever it is that you have to do. I haven’t yet exhausted what the 440 can do with embroidery to need something bigger and better in that department.

So that leaves me dreaming of the 820 for the bigger throat area as well as all the other wonderful bells and whistles. I’ve often wished for a machine with a bigger throat for machine quilting and now one is available that I could really like I think. I don’t even think I’d want the machine quilting frame right away. I do just fine pushing the quilt through the machine, rather than pushing the machine on the quilting frame. If I ever change my mind on that, the frame is available and made to go with the machine, and at the moment, I even have a place to put it.

Beside that, if I bought the 830 with the embroidery and sold the 440 that I have, I’d be locking myself into one machine to do it all. Then what do I do when I need to do some piecing or embroidery, and the machine is on the quilt frame? Finish the quilt first, I’m guessing, or deal with the big PITA of taking the machine off the frame before the project is finished and then loading it back up again. And I’m sure the machine is no lightweight either so hauling it around wouldn’t be any fun. Even if I didn’t have the quilting frame, but only the one machine, what do I do at service time? Um, not sew? *shudder* I know, I’m spoiled.

I’m thinking that I would sell my Pfaff 2056, since the 820 has a dual feed which means I wouldn’t need to keep a Pfaff around just for that anymore. I’d keep the Bernina 440, since I love it and it does everything I need to do except the dual feed, including the embroidery. I loved my 2056, but I love my Bernina 440 more. I don’t really need three machines on hand and selling the Pfaff 2056 would certainly help with the price of the Bernina 820.

The 820 machines won’t be available until January, so there’s time to think and plan of course, as well as find a buyer for the Pfaff 2056 if I decide to go down this road. ITMan is certainly pushing me to go for it, for whatever crazy reason. I have no idea whether it would be better to buy one here locally, and deal with the poor value of the Dollar against the Euro (though I might not have to pay the 19% German sales tax at least), or try to get one shipped to me through a friend in the States. I’m sure the crate it comes in is huge, and might even be too big to go through the mail.

Wait and see, wait and see. Patience is not my strong point. πŸ™‚ I’m sure I’ll be thinking of the 820 with longing quite shortly here, since I have to machine quilt the Inchie quilt in the next month or so. While it’s not huge like some of the quilts I’ve quilted on a home machine, I’m sure there will be moments when I’ll be wishing I had the 820 with its 12″ throat area on my sewing table right now!

Nadine Quilting smiley from

31 thoughts on “Bernina 8 Series–The Lowdown on Prices

  1. WOW, I almost fell off my chair when I saw the price, but not really, it was expected. Too bad we just bought a house that needs total renovation. From 1969, all original was done to very high standard 40 years ago, but problem is nothing was changed. Another blog.

    Finally someone has come up with my dream machine–the 820 that is. I’ve had them all. Pfaff–I have one still because of the dual feed too, Designer 1–hated it, Bernina 180 and 150, Husqvarna Daisy, Singer, Janome a little one and the most recent one with the wide throat, 1600P? didn’t like that one either and the Pfaff Grand Quilter oh yeah a Pfaff 2044, have I forgotten any. Pobably. Oh, yeah, forgot about the Gammill I had when I was a professional quilter. Had them all for a year or two then sold them.

    What do I have now? The Bernina Anniversary edition–that one meets my needs as a sewer and quilter except it doesn’t have an auto thread cutter. Why not bernina? I would have paid the extra cash for it. Great machine except for that little thing. I hate strings. I also have a pfaff 2027?, the lower end computer machine just to have for the IDT, well I gave it to my daughter.

    Looks like I am going to have to start saving for this one. I can always give the Bernina anniversary edition to my daughter and sell the pfaff, like you said it is no longer needed. I don’t do embroidery, have in the past, but it’s just not my cup of tea. I like to quilt and sew. If I do want to embroider I can always get the embroidery module for the anniversary edition. My embroidery tastes are simple and can’t justify spending extra thousands on a machine for this.

    I live in the Netherlnads and you guys in the states always get everything well before us. I look forward to hearing more from you and being part of this blog.

    Anybody like Amy Butler? I just sewed up 2 duvet covers, 2 giant pillows and 2 poofs on my Bernina. What a great machine!

    I love Bernina, always have, always will.

    Patty in Holland

  2. Hi Patty, and Welcome! Yep, I have machines on hand that I’ll give to my daughters when they are grown as well. They are Pfaff machines, but they aren’t doing the kind of sewing and quilting that I am, and they aren’t as picky! I think I’m going to be saving for the 820 myself.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Finally someone has come up with my perfect machine, but unfortunately, not the perfect price! It even has a clock i it. I told Pfaff ten years ago they should have had one on the 7570 so I could keep track of time and not forget to pick up my kids from school. They laughed and send me an embroidery clock kit.

    Going to have to do some serious saving to get myself an 820.

    • My wife and I just bought a Bernina 820 with quilt frame, March, 2010 (I know, 19 months after this discussion started). I talked her into it, and we got it on sale at the local annual quilt show, $1500 off the MSRP for the 820, and $400 off the MSRP for the frame.

      We were told there is a control panel remote device that attaches to one of the quilt frame handles so the machine can be controlled from the front of the frame instead of the side of the machine. Can anybody tell me where to find this device? It is not on the official Bernina Web site.

      • Wow, you got a great deal George! I don’t know anything about the remote device, but maybe someone else who is still subscribed to this thread can help you out!

  4. I am eagerly waiting for the 820 to come out…I saw the 830 at our local area quilt show in Oct. /08 here, and was like “WOW”….but I am not into embroidery, but sure do like the beefy 950 race and extra big bobbin. Plus the dual feed. I have a 930 I would never part with, but it is time to step in to the modern era. How will I pay for this? I am trying to figure that one out. I too have a Pfaff that I will sell in order to put a “dent”-and like, a scratch-at the most! in the amount. I have done my research, and once the machine is at one of the dealers in my area, I am test driving it for sure. I am pretty sure I am going to take the plunge.. I could justify the purchase a million times over, as I am human, but really, it is my dream of a machine. And I have had almost every Bernina under the sun, and have loved them all, but this seems to be all my favorites all rolled into one. Plus the dual feed-byebye Pfaff…here’s to mac n’ cheese, rice and beans…and beautifully sewn things! Cheers!

  5. Hi Bea, and Welcome! Funny you should comment on this right now. I was just sitting here thinking about the Bernina 820 and 830 the other day, tossing around pros, cons, wants, needs (okay, more like justifications of the wants, rather than true needs, I’ll admit). I don’t know what I’ll do, get one or not, but for the moment I’m using my Bernina 440 and my Pfaff 2058 in about equal measure, and they’re doing the job admirably. The 820/830 would have some pretty big shoes to fill, though I guess maybe it could handle it since it is pretty huge!

  6. Ok, so this is my first time every commenting on anything online. So here goes, I am starting to look at the 820….The price tag is something to make you choke….So here is the deal…I love machine quilting….I am advancing in my work….I would love more throat space….I do not want to go to a long arm….I love moving my quilt around myself, to me it is like baking bread. So right now I have a Janome 6600 and a few smaller machines. The 6600 has the auto feed, but it drives me crazy when I dis-engage it to do free motion work because it keep moving behind the foot all of the time and causes additional vibration. However, the machine is a workhorse. So do I switch to something lie the 820 or do I look at something like the Brother 1500 which just does a straight stitch and has a deeper throat ( I think only 9 or 10 inches) and keep my Janome? Has anyone actually gotten an 820?

    • Hi Pat, and welcome! I’m still hoping to have the 820 or 830 sitting in my studio by the end of the year. (Taxes got in the way of it happening any earlier!) I’m afraid I can’t really comment on the Janome and how it might compare/contrast to the Bernina 8 Series machines for you. I used to free motion quilt with my Pfaff 1475 and 2058, both of which have the Integrated Dual Transport, and it really didn’t bug me that the IDT moved a bit even when it was disengaged, but I guess it’s different on the Janome. I’m not at all familiar with the machine lineup from Brother either.

      The best thing I can suggest is to head to your Bernina dealer, and test the machines, and really test them, doing the same kinds of projects that you would do at home if you purchased. If they’re charging you that kind of money for a machine, they’d better let you test drive it for a couple of hours if you want to!

    • Pat and Nadine,
      I have the Brother 1500S as well as the Bernina frame. I love them both. The only thing I dislike is that the throat space on the Brother is 9″, but you can only sew a 7 1/4 ” path at the very beginning. After that the sewing space decreases every time, because of the roll bar. I had been told by my dealer that the only other machine that would work on this frame was the new Bernina, which would cost me as much as a complete Tin Lizzie 18LS system. I prefer to have the metal frame, so the TL is out of the question. However, I read on another site this evening that there are plenty of machines that are compatible with this frame. I am going to try to borrow some machines with more throat space to see if they would work on this frame. Thanks for posting this site.

  7. I love the looks of the Bernina quilt frame…but I can’t even think of a way to justify paying 8-12 grand for a machine. I own (1 year) the Janome 6600 P and it is not only a workhorse but the smoothest rockingness machine I have ever owned. It quilts beautifully and sews the most exquisite dainty work you can imagine. The dual feed mechanism bothered me at first until I realized how to set it in place when not in use. Free motion sewing is wonderful and regulating your stiches comes easy with a little practice. I have enbroidered free hand designs and have done thread painting with lovely results. The thread cutter is without a doubt slick as a button, not to mention the knee lift. My sewing sidekick sat at the machine for 15 minutes and then bought her one identical. It is pure pleasure to sew on the machine and one of the bonuses is that it was less that $1600.00. Stitch quality still is foremost in evaluating a machine and the Janome has hit the mark. The machine delivers a perfect straight stitch and sings while stitching. Did I mention the extra throat space…I can’t even sit at a standard machine now without feeling crowded. I have taken it to a few quilt workshops (becasue I can’t tolerate my small portble) and it always catches quite an audience by the Benina and Pfaff owners. Unfortunately name branding means nothing anymore…Manufacturer’s part out to the lowest bidder. For instance parts of the Pfaff are built by Tin Lizzie. For instance in 1950 Singer was the most respected sewing machine name and if you bought a Singer you bought a dependable machine that would last you a lifetime. I would not give you a dollar for any Singer built today. I believe you need to test drive any machine you buy because name branding and cost does not guarantee value.

    • Deborah,
      How do you set the dual feed in place on the 6600 when you are free motion quilting? One of the things that bothers me the most about the 6600 is the constant movement of the dual feed mechanism, even when it is disengaged.

    • Hi Deborah and welcome! I completely agree with you that name branding doesn’t mean much anymore, except that perhaps familiarity with a certain brand will make it easier for you when you buy a new machine to learn the ways of it quickly. It’s not a guarantee of quality or value anymore, like you say. I was a Pfaff girl for 16 years, but I discovered that the newer Pfaff machines (those made since Pfaff was purchased by Husqvarna Viking) were not really of the same quality or value as the older models. It’s a sad but true fact that names don’t mean a dang thing anymore.

      Thanks for sharing your views; I may have to check out the Janome, and I hope that you can help Pat out with the dual feed issue she’s having! πŸ™‚

  8. Pat,
    So glad you asked because it the dual feed mechanism drove me nuts at first because it was catching and making clicking sounds from hitting the pressure foot. Found out it was my error in engaging the thing, by clicking (setting) it in place, after raising the pressure foot to the highest level. Unlike most machines the pressure foot on the 6600 has two levels. The high level is reached by using the lever on the back. You can’t raise it to the high level with the knee lift. Hope I am explaining it. Took some patience on my part to figure out what it felt like when it was in proper position. When it is properly set, it still moves but does not hit any thing or make any noise. You won’t even know it is there until you need to use it again and then you lift to the high position and gently push the dual feed up and swoop it towards the back and then place under the pressure foot. Reverse the action and it will be back in place. My friend never had this problem because she read the manual and has patience…needless to say I never read the manual and have no patience…so I had to learn out of frustration…*chuckle*

  9. I have had my new 820 for about six weeks. I absolutely love it!!! I have always been a die hard Bernina fan. There are so many features on this machine, but it is not at all difficult to learn.

    I too, was hesitant about the price (6299.00) but is really is worth it.


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  11. What is everyone’s experience with tension adjustments on the 820. I have worked on a demo model and have not been impressed with it’s ability to handle different weights thread and have a well balanced stitched. I am not sure I like the total “computer driven” tension adjustment. I use a lot of different weight thread doing embellishment and free motion quilting.

    • I’ve actually heard the same types of comments about the 8 Series other places Pat. You could check out Diane Gaudynski’s blog for some tips about that.

  12. Thanks for your comments on the Bernina 8’s. I was in a haze of family caregiving and didn’t even know it existed. Love at first sight! I was so proud to have purchased a Viking Designer 1 on Craigslist for my first dabble into embroidery. I met the seller in the parking lot of the store she bought it from and took it right in for servicing so I would have a fresh start with the machine and there was the 830………holy cow! Went to use the store’s ladies’ and once I sat down, right in front of me was a bigger than life poster of the 830. Now, that’s marketing! Watched the web intro of the machine and had a very sketchy demo at the store…..double holy cow! I’m selling the Designer 1. I told my husband that I can tell that the Bernina 830 is going to make the idea to conception so much faster that I don’t want to embroider without it. Am going to a free 3 hour 830 pillow class next week that will include light duty embroidery and stitching together of pillow. Same store has offered me free emulator classes, pre-purchase, after I asked about paying for them to see if I wanted to buy the machine. If I love it, I’m going to get it. I’m 56 and started sewing at 8. Bought a used machine in high school and a new Pfaff 1229 about 27 years ago. I choked on the price of the Pfaff 27 years ago, but the machine is still going strong on everything from airy silk chiffons to upholstery fabrics. I was trying to justify the cost, but realized that with all the money that I’ve saved over the years using the Pfaff 1229 that I don’t really have to justify the cost, besides I pointed out to my husband that I use a sewing machine more than an oven! If I can find this blog again, I’ll let you know how the pillow class goes. The dealers around me are going about 6200 for the 820 and just under 10000 for the 830. I can’t believe that I am even thinking about it, but I think my Pfaff was somewhere between 1000 to 1200 27 years ago when I was buying chicken for under 30cents a pound. Puts it into perspective.

    • Irene,
      You go girl!! You will love the 830. I do not do embroidery, but I have friends that say “there is nothing like this machine”


  13. Went to the “pillow class” last Saturday. Liked the way things are manipulated on the screen of the 830. The pillow was broken down into 3 sections of outline type embroidery with all of the components being pulled from decorative stitches on what is referred to as the “sewing side” of the machine. The stitch was fetched from the “sewing side” and brought into the file on the “embroidery side” with easy combining of stitches by going through this back and forth from the “sewing side” to the “embroidery side”. Design manipulation was easy – mind you this was a first go at embroidery for me, no matter how simply it was with one color – joining and aligning stitches on the screen was simple with a zoom feature for fine tuning. Once you’ve chosen something on the screen, the knobs pretty much function with one being assigned up and down movement and one side to side movement in most of the functions I performed. I went into the 3 hour session with a very touchy shoulder and neck from an old injury that got set off by our recent cold snap. I was no worse after the class and know that the larger machine helped with this as well as the reduction of buttons and places for buttons on the machine. It is more a machine to sit with than hunch over. The work is on a platform right in front of you with tons of visual space under the top head of the machine. The lighting is awesome and there is a feature to dim it. I thought that it was relatively quiet for what it was. The instructor said that it is noisier than any of the other Berninas. There was a lot on emphasis on the threading with a caution that owners of other Bernina models have to ‘relearn’??? their threading technique. I suppose the big difference might be that you need to be purposeful at the beginning of the threading so that the machine recognizes the thread. There was only one occasion where the tail of the bobbin had to be encouraged out a bit more due to the type of stitch we were doing. There was a minimal amount of just decorative stitching along straight seam lines. The walking foot (built in, not the attachment) was nice but did not seem as nice as the one on my old Pfaff. This really wasn’t a good test for that as the fabric was heavily interfaced. I believe I understood that the integrated walking foot on this machine has differential feed capabilities and that it has its own motor. The class was highly structured and the instructor was excellent in moving me along the intended lines. When I turned up the speed during the embroidery task, she turned it back down to less than half speed – why? I’ll be going back with my fabric swatches so I can really test out the sewing abilities of the machine, also want to know why the speed was kept low for embroidery and want to try out some of the metallic threads since I read that people have been having problems with those. First time ever with hooping and alignment and the bells and whistles (to say nothing of a very skilled instructor) made that go smoothly. Lots of talk, though, of letting the machine do the embroidery and hinting that perhaps I would be doing fabricating on another machine. I’m really excited about being able to do embroidery on the 830. I’m more excited though about the potential ergonomic benefits of this machine that might help keep me in the sewing room into my very senior years for just ordinary sewing projects. By the way, button holes were awesome. Maybe some of you machine embroiderers have already done this, but the button holes were set up, adjusted and spaced as embroidery. Whowsers! Locate the button area with the basting stitch (and oh, that was the one that required the extra little tail on the bobbin thread) on some hooped up tear away stabilizer. Pin the fabric in using the basting that outlines the button hole area as a guide. Push the button and out came 4 perfectly placed and stitched buttonholes. Of course, all of this was done with the extra $400+ super big hoop. I’ll be going back for more testing before the Superbowl weekend sale. Hope that any of you that are interested in the machine have an opportunity for the pillow class. Although it is definitely set up to showcase the machine, it was a very helpful way to explore it. Sorry this is so long, but thought that anyone interested in this big dollar machine might want to know as much as possible about it. My understanding is that it has been updated twice already and that anyone who bought early on was able to bring their ‘old’ units in for the new parts that were part of the update. Bottom line so far, seems like it would make the physical mechanics of sewing physically less taxing. Also seems like some of the mundane parts of garment construction could go a lot faster. Absolutely will encourage more artistic input on garments which I have always done even without benefit of an embroidery machine. Shoot, I would probably even make a quilt! I’ll keep any future comments short, but if the machine holds up to sewing well on my sample fabrics, and, is long-lived, it seems to be a solid and worthwhile investment.

    • My wife has an Elna Envision CE20 for embroidery, but is big into quilting and just bought the Bernina 820 and the Bernina quilt frame. Up to now she has done hand quilting, but wants to “kick it up a notch” without going all the way to a long-arm quilter. The 820 has a large 12″ throat and moves as smooth as butter on the frame. We just set it up two nights ago, so she is still experimenting with it, getting the feel of machine quilting. I know she is already loving it! The 820 is one horse of a machine, size-wise and capability-wise. It makes her Elna look like a toy. The features on it are absolutely incredible (and this from a GUY, who has a vicarious knowledge of quilting from watching my wife). I am a computer geek, and this Bernina 820 is one snazzy computer!

      Linda is making a whole-cloth quilt for her first “practice” quilt on the Bernina 820 and frame, then she has two baby quilts and a king-size quilt to do. Some of her friends have said they may even get her to quilt their quilts for them. Hey, this machine may even help pay for itself! πŸ˜‰

      • Hi George, and welcome! Congrats to both of you on the 820. Thanks for sharing the details here; it sounds like your wife will really get some good use out of the machine. πŸ™‚

        • We really did get a good deal on the price. Looking back, it’s like we got the 820 machine and quilt frame for just over the price of the machine. It’s like getting the quilt frame FREE! We done good!

  14. Loving my 830. Bernina is running a sale through this week that allows for a choice of quilt frame, software, or desk. You might want to check the Bernina website for details. I’m kind of sorry that I missed the promotion, on the other hand; it’s taken so long to squeeze this beast into my sewing area that the frame or desk may have been the final straw in testing the patience of my very sweet husband. I already had the software. Have finally taken the classes from an excellent instructor and am playing with it on my own. If you get one of these, be prepared to accommodate 42 pounds of machine ( I think without the embroidery unit) moving at a very high speed. Keep in mind that it will need to be farther away from the wall than you might think due to travel of jumbo hoop. It is critical that the work surface not sag. I was also told that the embroidery carriage and hoop should absolutely not knock into anything while it is working as it can cause misalignment. The initial classes are emulator classes which is fantastic because this machine is hard to move around. The sewing shop here had an 830 set up during the class for adding hands on experience.

    • Hi Irene, and welcome! Thanks for all the great info. It does sound like quite the large beast, and I’m sure I don’t have the room for it in my new studio (still in the unpacking/setting up phase). Glad to hear you’re enjoying the 830!

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