What Needles Can Be Used With a Serger?

Sergers can be pretty intimidating and difficult to understand. One of the questions commonly asked centers around needles. Let’s dive in.

Question: Can I Use Home Sewing Machine Needles on My home Serger?

From my research, not all sewing experts agree on this and it really depends on your machine. Most people say, “Use whatever your machine recommends.” Is this true? Eh, not always. For example, my Singer ProFinish recommends only using Singer Serger Needles, but I’m a Schmetz lover and they work wonderfully with my serger. I’ve used Schmetz Universal, Ballpoint, Stretch, Topstitching, and Jean needles in my serger and all worked perfectly. I switch the needles to fit my fabric, which I have found to be beneficial and produce a better end product. Overlock machines less than 10 years old can, for the most part, be use with home sewing machine needles.

Think about it like this; have you ever gotten a new medical prescription? There’s the brand and the generic. The generic has the EXACT same active ingredient as the brand, it just had to wait so many years for the brand patent to run out. Or you buy a new frizz-control shampoo and it says only to use their frizz-control conditioner. Nothing bad will happen if you use a different brand of frizz-control conditioner. It’s all the same.

So, go ahead and install your favorite brand of sewing machine needles. When you insert the sewing needle, it should fit the same as if you were installing it in a home sewing machine. The round end of the shaft faces you and the flat side of the shaft should slide in easily.

serger needles copy

Do a few slow turns manually with the hand wheel and see if everything looks good. Anything explode?  No? Great! You’re good to go. Remember, the right needle will extend down further than the left. Completely normal.

4 thread overlock copy

Is your serger more than 10 years old? You can still test out universal home sewing machines using the above mentioned method. If the needles don’t fit easily  or  the stitches aren’t forming as they normally do, your best bet is to stick with what your manual suggests. Anything older than 20 years definitely needs to use a needle specifically suggested by the user manual.

Question: What Needles Do I Use With an Industrial Serger?

Definitely not regular home sewing needles. Home sergers have a completely different needle holder. The needle holder for an industrial machine is either completely rounded, has a notch, or other special shape specific to that machine. Industrial sergers  can reach 9500 stitches per minute, which is much faster than the average household serger of around 1500 stitches per minute. That’s a lot of heat and wear on a small piece of metal. Use what your manual recommends, such as Industrial Sewing Machine Needles, just to be safe.

We hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions about your serger, feel free to leave us a comment in the message section below and we’ll be sure to get back to you immediately!


  1. I have a problem with my serger. Only the right needle sews and not the left.
    Any idea what the problem could be?
    I have tried all kind of needles.

    But the left needle just does not stitch.

  2. I was looking everywhere online to see if someone had an experience in using regular sewing needles in a serger! Thank you for the advice this helped me out a ton!

  3. Hello, could you tell me if I can use a double needle on a 4 thread Singer serger, please? I would like to “fake” cover stitch on knit fabric… – maybe is it a silly idea?! Thanks for your help :)

      1. Thanks Sarah! I won’t but could you tell me the reason why you do not recommend a double needle on a serger? It’s just for info. Thanks for link, I will see it soon :)

  4. Hi!
    I’m new to serging and am wondering if I need to buy a new needle to serge mesh other than the needles that came with the machine? Also what kind of stitch do you recommend for mesh?

    1. Hi Jade! You’ll want to use a smaller needle size, anywhere from a size 60 – 75. Also, you might want to stabilize the seams with a light stabilizer. Either a rolled hem or 3 thread overlock will work well. Also, I recommend watching our tutorial on how to serge a rolled hem, because it shows how to use stabilizer. Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xY9tUcIoLy4 Good luck!

      1. The only schmetz needle I haven’t used on this machine it leather. Do your stitched not form correctly with other needle types? I feel like me stitches look between I used fabric specific needles.

  5. Hello I’m having a hard time finding the right needle for my serger, it’s a Brother Model 634D I know its an older machine but I’m working on my Wedding dress and my machine is not working well at all and I think if I replace the needles all will be better. The first owner of the machine made notes on the back of the book but I dont understand them so maybe you could help.. Notes: Organ 16 x 275 / size 10 – 20
    Ball Pt. 12-16-18
    Please Help

  6. Hello I have a Brother Lock 1034D Serger I am having issues finding twin needles, so I put in just normal serger needles and it isn’t working! My twin needles that were in the machine were not uneven like these are? Can you help any?

    1. Here is the link for the needles that are recommended for your machine: http://www.sewingpartsonline.com/lookup.html?keywords=SCHMETZ+130%2F705H.
      You can use regular home sewing machine needles on your serger but the B needle (AKA left needle) will always be a 1/2 mm. shorter than your A needle. It might seem strange but this is totally normal. You don’t really notice it until you change the needle. Make sure flat back of the needle faces the back of the machine. You will also have to use that tiny screwdriver to loosen the needle screws to insert the needle to make sure you get it in all the way. I hope this helps and please let me know if this doesn’t resolve the issue.

  7. I have an old baby lock protege. My manual doesn’t give me the needle to use just the sizes for different fabric. I have looked online and am getting mixed answers. Can you help?

  8. I have a serger overlook machine #14 u46, the needle is 2450, but It is hardto find that needle. Can I use other #?

  9. Hi! I have an old Singer Ultralock 14u234 (b, I think? it doesn’t say so on the machine but that’s the manual i found and use for it) and whoever sold it to me failed to include any of the accessories. I’ve been able to find everything listed in the manual in stores near me like Jo-Anns and Michaels EXCEPT for the extra 2054 #10/#14 needles….and just my luck, the tip of one of the needles decided to hit the throat plate and bend on me tonight. I’ve ordered new ones from you but I can’t afford any faster shipping than USPS Priority and I need them NOW for a project that absolutely needs to be finished by next week. Are there any other brands/styles/sizes that are found in stores that could be used as placeholder needles so I can get my work done?

    1. I’m so sorry I missed this comment. I hope it’s not too late, but you’re next best place to look would be a sewing repair shop. They’re usually listed as “Sew and Vac” in the yellow pages (or google search).

  10. I have Janome MyLock 634D serger, need needles for it I was told made sure they sp after the size having a hard finding them

  11. Bought an older Toyota 4 thread overlock serger. It only had one needle in it. When I put a needle in the left side it hits the plate/metal tab thing. Any thought on what adjustments need to be made? I am new to using a serger. The shop want $129 plus parts if it needs any to clean it up. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Liz! Give our customer service a call and ask for Dennis – he is our machine technician and will be the best source of information. Good luck!

  12. I have a Pfaff Coverlock 4772 that I purchased in 1999. My dealer has closed shop and I need to purchase needles. It requires overlock El X 705 cat. No. 2002. I like the size 14 the best.
    What can I substitute ? Thank you

    1. Hi Rocio! I’m not familiar with a serger weaving needle, but I’ll look under the needles for your machine – what is the make and model of your serger?

  13. I have an old janome my lock 234 and it’s just not sewing right it misses the entirety of one whole stitch so rather r than 4 it only sews 3. I think it’s the needles, do you know what type I should be using?

  14. I’ve been reading all the posts and your replies – I just want to say ‘thank you’ for all your advice which I have found extremely useful.

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