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Thread: Bernina 820 - to buy, or not to buy

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    I am in a quandry. I own a Bernina 440QE that I adore. My problem is that I bought the Bernina quilt frame, loaded a quilt, and when I went to quilt, I only have about 4.5 inches in which to quilt.

    I have always wanted the 820, and test drove it today. I always invesigate, sometimes oo much, but in reading the reviews, I see more negative comments than positive ones.

    My reason for wanting the 820, besides the bells & whistles, is the bigger throat. I really don't want to get a long arm, as I love the stitch regulator. I am not that confident with free mothion, and really want the regulator.

    I am looking for some honest reviews from anyone who has an 820. I am looking to make my decision by Sat., as the are offering 36 months no intrest.

    I don't want to make a costly mistake, especially in this economy.

    Thanks, for any replies.

    Laura in Maryland :-)

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Lucky you! I have the Bernina 430 with the BSR. I agree, the bigger throat would be wonderful.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Are they taking your 440 in on trade? If not, you shouldn't ahve any problems selling it, I have the Bernina QE440 and absolutely love it and doubt I will ever part with it. But, like you, I wish it had a bout a 12' throat! But, I am dreaming and tryign to make a stash to eventually get a long arm machine. Good luck with your decision.

  4. #4
    Super Member RkayD's Avatar
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    I have the 830 with the quilt frame. While it has some issues..I think some of mine were/are learning curve issues. But I am so in love with this machine. It does so much that I don't even know yet! The only down side I have came across is you can't take the whole bobbin housing out if you get a bad nest. It must be taken to the sewing Dr. Other than that it sews like a dream and I LOVE it on the frame. I can finish a quilt in a few hours. I never have been able to get the BSR to work right with mine though. I know its me and not the machine. I end up using the embroidery foot to do my quilting. I hope this helps you. The only diff between the 820/830 is the embroidery function...right?

  5. #5
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    I have the 820 with the quilting frame and so far I love it! I, too, was having trouble with the BSR until I found out that there is BSR1 and BSR2. Use the BSR2 for quilting as that stops sewing when you quit moving the machine. Good luck.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
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    wow i am thinking the same thing. I have the 440 and was about ready to get the quilter.. hm didn't realize only 4.,5 inches. I do know they are coming out with a new and improved quilter. let me know what do and how it works out.

  7. #7
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I've got the 830 and love it. But, I would hate loading it and unloading it on a quilt frame. If I had to do that more than once or twice a month, that would not be fun at all. It's a heavy beast. I would also want to try it out at a dealer's on a frame before purchasing. Have you been able to try it?

    If you are able to, I'd say keep your 440 too. You can use it to piece if you have the 820 busy on the frame. Also, you'll need a back-up while the other machine is being serviced.

    There is a steep learning curve as this machine is unlike any on the market and can be a challenge to some to learn. I took to it like a fish in water, but I'm pretty computer savy. ;)

  8. #8
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    I think the main issue you will have with the 820 or 830 is the running speed will tend to break the cheaper embroidery threads as they can't take the friction. If you are using cotton for quilting, you should not encounter too many difficulties.Also you need to be careful not to knot up the bobbin casing. Other than that, I think they are dream machines and I wish I could afford one.

  9. #9
    Senior Member so-sew's Avatar
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    Hi Laura in Maryland. I'm curious if you ever chose to buy the 820, and if you did, do you like it? Also, if I may be so bold, can I ask what you paid? I'm debating whether I should buy an 820 and I would love to hear your opinion. Thanks for your time.

  10. #10
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    You're not going to get much more space to quilt with a 12in throat-you'll soon be wishing you bought a longarm. For the money you can buy a longarm-they have stitch regulators as well- and still have your 440 to sew with. That way you won't have to move around a heavy, probably delicate machine (which honestly has had some unfavorable reviews. Even my local S+V told me to stay away from the 820/830s)

  11. #11
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by midwifehc
    You're not going to get much more space to quilt with a 12in throat-you'll soon be wishing you bought a longarm. For the money you can buy a longarm-they have stitch regulators as well- and still have your 440 to sew with. That way you won't have to move around a heavy, probably delicate machine (which honestly has had some unfavorable reviews. Even my local S+V told me to stay away from the 820/830s)
    If you have a Singer and Viking dealer, I would expect them to tell you to stay away from a Bernina. Or do you mean sewing and vacuum?

    the 820 and 830 aren't for everyone. You can't just turn one on and sew. It's called a sewing computer for a reason.

  12. #12
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    No, my local sew and vac sells the Berninas, as well as every other model. They really don't encourage you to buy the highest priced machines, they really give their honest opinion.

  13. #13
    Super Member callen's Avatar
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    I live in Canada & have had the 820 for almost a year. I was scared to death of it at first & wanted to return it to the dealer. Luckily she made the effort to help me feel comfortable with the machine & boy I am NOT sorry. The problem I had with it was the bobbin. It is so different from anything I had in the past it scared me. I now do regular sewing, quilting & with the 12" throat quilts are easier to move around (not perfect) but easier. Make sure you clean out the bobbin area often & close the bobbin door slowly & things should be alright. You can have problems with anything so you can't always be sure but I LOVE my machine, now that I gave it a (learning) chance.
    Carol Allen
    Timmins, Ontario

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    I first owned a 440 QEE and like you, loved it. Then I got the 820 with the frame because I wanted to FMQ more and wanted the throat room. BUT, I agree that you should just buy a long arm. IN the end that's what I did because the 820 just doesn't have the speed for free form designs, you can't see the needle when you are standing up in front of the frame because of the "box" that occludes the view. This box is where the workings of the machine are always over the needle. The visibility with a long arm is sooo much better...the speed is awesome and the price point on some of them like the Innova or the Tin Lizzie are in the ball park. I thought lifting the 820 to the frame was going to kill me and there was no way I wanted to horse it on and off all the time. I used my 440 on the frame too..same issues, slow, couldn't handle the manoevering and you can't see around the " box". Save yourself some money in the long run and get a long arm...Just sayin'...Good Luck

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