What Needles Can Be Used With a Serger?

October 20, 2023
Serger Needles
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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, 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!

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