I’m looking at replacing my sewing machine shortly. The choice is between Brother vs Babylock. Although I’ve heard of both, I don’t know which is best. So, my question today is, Brother vs Babylock: which is better?
Brother and Babylock are both well-known brands of sewing machines. Both are market leaders with a long history in the sewing machine industry. There are many similarities between the two companies and a few differences. This is because Babylock machines are made by Brother using Babylock specifications. Meaning, the better one is down to personal choice.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the history of the Brother and Babylock brands. Read on as we compare the pros and cons to help you choose between Brother vs Babylock.
Brother Sewing MachinesThe Brother International Corporation has a long history with sewing machines. Founded in Japan back in 1908, the company was originally called the Yasui Sewing Machine Co. They started as a repair company servicing industrial machines made by other manufacturers.
Yasui senior died in 1925 and his sons took over the company. Rebranding as Yasui Brothers Sewing Machine co., they entered the world of sewing machine manufacture by launching their first model in 1932.
The company grew and, by the 1950s, had transformed into the Brother International Corporation. This change saw them blossom as exporters across the globe and led to the set up of company offices in both North America and Europe.
No longer limited to being a sewing machine repair service, or even a manufacturer, Brother has become one of the biggest names in technology. They now produce computerized office equipment as well as innovative sewing machines.
Brother machines can be found in the home and office settings across the globe and include a combination of 3-in-1 space-saving devices. Their forte lies in combining products into one handy item. Their laser printers that double as copiers and fax machines are world-famous. So too is their Innov-is range of embroidery machines.
Babylock Sewing Machines
As far as sewing machine companies go, Babylock is a relative newcomer. Formed in the mid to late 1960s, Babylock was the brainchild of a group of Japanese engineers. They took the design of the industrial overlockers, or sergers, available at that time and shrunk them. Their idea was to make the overlocker more manageable for the home environment.
A smaller, more compact version to the heavy industrial machine, their machine was known as a baby overlocker. Hence the name, Babylock. To begin with, their notion of a home-use serger was met with derision until a company based in America decided to take a chance on them.
Now Babylock had a foothold in the USA, and the company went from strength to strength. They became the go-to brand of the popular US-based TV sewing guru, Nancy Zieman.
The 1990s saw Babylock introduce their revolutionary air-threading sergers. A main bone of contention with the early home sergers was how difficult they were to thread. Babylock’s innovative design eliminated the learning curve and made home sergers more accessible to the masses.
Fast forward to 2009 and although the company was still known for overlocker machines, they introduced a revolutionary sewing machine. The BLQK Sashiko was the first sewing machine capable of imitating hand sewing.
One of the little-known facts about Babylock, they don’t make their own sewing machines. Instead, they outsource the manufacturing process to Brother.
Brother vs Babylock Sewing Machines: Key Points
Brother and Babylock are both fantastic sewing machine makers. Each brand has its strengths. With Brother, their expertise is computerized embroidery, while Babylock is still known for its inspirational sergers.
The two companies have a lot in common. Most obviously, both brands are made at Brother’s sewing machine factories. This means some models are very similar in design. Take the Brother Luminaire and the Babylock Solaris for instance. The main difference between those two machines is Brother has Disney designs and Babylock is backed by Nancy Zieman designs.
Let’s take a look at some general characteristics for Brother vs Babylock in the following comparison table. We’ll take a closer look at some of these properties later in the article.
|Nearly identical to Babylock
|Nearly identical to Brother
|Comparable to Babylock
|Comparable to Brother
|Depends on the model.
Entry level machines tend to be more portable
|Depends on the model.
Entry level machines tend to be more portable
|Varies by model
Brother HC1850 has 130
|Varies by model
Babylock Brilliant has 190
|Stitches per Minute
|Varies by model
Brother PQ1500Sl can stitch 1500 per minute
|Varies by model
Babylock Accomplish can stitch 1500 per minute
|Some low-end models are less durable
|High-quality production ensures durability in all models
|Depends on the model.
Low-end machines tend to be slightly lower quality
|High quality is evident in all models
|Tend to be cheaper and more budget-friendly
|More expensive and tend to use higher quality components
|Service and Warranty
|25-year limited warranty on many of their models
|25-year limited warranty on many of their models.
High-end machines also have
a Gold warranty
|A technology company that makes computerized electronics like printers, scanners, label printers, and fax machines. Although they make sewing machines, they’re not sewists
|Only sell sewing machines and sergers.
More of a sewing specific focus gives Babylock the edge on sewing expertise
Brother vs Babylock: Are They the Same Company?
Brother and Babylock are not the same company. However, Babylock does have a manufacturing agreement with Brother as they don’t have their own manufacturing plants. What this means is Brother produces many of Babylock’s sewing machines.
Another well-known sewing machine brand, Janome, also makes Babylock machines. It’s a similar practice to the car industry. Have you noticed how modern cars all seem to look the same these days? The reason is known as badging. Cars, like sewing machines, are made in a handful of factories around the world. Using the same specifications, they all look the same. The only thing that changes is the badge or company logo.
Whenever you see a Babylock that looks like a Brother or a Janome, you can almost guarantee it was built by either Brother or Janome. The external color scheme may change, and some of the beds may be longer, but essentially, they are the same machines. This practice of doubling up on factory space reduces expenditure and overheads.
Babylock is known to inspect every machine leaving either a Brother, Janome, or even a Pfaff plant for build quality. If they don’t like how it was made, it doesn’t get sent to the Babylock dealership.
Babylock sets very high standards for their machines which Brother and the other sewing machine manufacturers have to meet. Consistency, reliability, and quality are very important to the Babylock brand.
Brother vs Babylock: What Are the Similarities and Differences?
While Brother and Babylock are almost identical machines, there are some areas where one brand outshines the other. Let’s take a closer look at some of the main characteristics to see who wins in the Brother vs Babylock contest.
Ease of Use
Both Brother and Babylock have machines that are very similar in style. Because of this, there is little to distinguish one brand from the other. While both companies offer high-end machines which may confuse a beginner, they do offer models to cater to the less experienced sewist.
This section is a tie between Brother and Babylock. They are equally user-friendly and will appeal to beginners and more experienced stitchers.
Functions and FeaturesAs we’ve discovered earlier in this article, Brother makes many of Babylock’s machines. Because of this, the functions and features are near identical on both brands.
Some differences do occur, such as branding and color schemes, but on the whole, the functionality of models in the stables of either company are the same. You may find a slight difference in bed size between brands, but it’s not significant enough to alter how the machines work.
Brother vs Babylock is too close to call when it comes to functions and features. So I’m calling this one another tie.
Brother machines can be purchased from pretty much anywhere. They can be found on Amazon, in retail box stores and you can get them from dealerships. It’s the model and price range that dictates where they can be bought from. Lower-end, budget models are the ones you’ll find in box stores. In contrast, high-end machines are available from dealers.
This variation in purchasing location can have an impact on customer service. Buying from Amazon or a box store can lead to a lower level of support than purchasing from a dealership.
Brother has a company-wide tagline, “Brother by your side”, which tends to mirror their customer support. Depending on where you buy from, their support can feel a little detached.
Babylock, on the other hand, only sells its machines through registered Babylock dealerships. Regardless of the model or its price level. The dealers deal with any issues with the product.
The buying experience with Babylock is more of a community or family affair, with hands-on, instant support. Their buzz-line, “for the love of sewing”, highlights their focus and passion for sewing. This one is a win for Babylock.
It has to be said you get what you pay for and that’s very true when it comes to sewing machines. Babylock is known to be an expensive brand. They spend a lot of time and money making sure their products meet their high standards. Their goal is to be satisfied and happy with your purchase, and they don’t skimp on details.
That level of quality control doesn’t come cheap. The brand makes great sewing machines and they know it. Babylock stands for high-end reliability. So if you buy Babylock, be prepared to pay more than you would for a Brother.
Brother is a little more variable when it comes to cost. They offer entry-level budget machines at pocket-friendly prices. These lower-quality machines may only last a couple of years, but they get the job done. More importantly, they get sewists hooked on the Brother brand. Like many of Brother’s other non-sewing-related products, their price points are aimed at attracting return purchasers.
Although Brother does have high-end models with a longer lifespan, their focus is on affordability. This is one area where they beat Babylock.
When it comes to quality, Babylock is a world leader. With their machines using high-level components and incorporating a high emphasis on build quality, their reputation relies on the elegance and reliability of their sewing machines.
Babylock machines are focused at the higher end of the sewing machine market. Their hefty price tags indicate a higher level of sophistication and prowess.
Brother, in comparison, have models which, it has to be said, are made to be cheap and cheerful. Catering more for the low-end market share, Brother makes machines to fill the niche of occasional sewist or less motivated seamstress. The ones that want to sew, but it isn’t their whole life. Because of that, these are the target audience for budget machines.
There’s nothing wrong with budget or cheap machines as such. However, they do tend to be made with lower-quality materials. It’s just; these models are not built to last. While Brother does have high-quality machines, their forte for entry-level, cheap machines lowers their overall quality standards.
With Brother, the model you go for will make a difference to the quality you can expect. We have another win for Babylock.
Mechanical or Computerized
The difference between mechanical and computerized is simple. One has push-button computer-controlled features and the other hasn’t.
Brother produces both mechanical and computerized machines for themselves and Babylock. Because of this, both brands benefit from Brother’s expertise in technology. Computerization and innovative design are Brother’s strengths.
As Brother builds both brands, the machines are identical. Making it impossible to tell which one is better. This section is a draw.
As most Babylock machines are built to a higher standard than Brother, it’s anticipated they are more durable. With higher quality components, they can outlast cheaper Brother models.
However, the scales of durability are more closely balanced the more expensive Brother machines get. Brother’s high-end machines are built with better materials than their budget range.
As previously mentioned in this article, you get what you pay for. Durability for Babylock machines is on par with Brother’s high-end range. They are equally good.
Popular Budget Models: Brother vs Babylock
Brother CS7000I Sewing and Quilting Machine70 built-in stitches, an automatic needle threader, and a drop-in bobbin make the Brother CS7000I one of the easiest sewing machines to use. Capable of both sewing and quilting, the stitch range gives decorative, functional, and heirloom stitching for many projects.
This sewing machine is a budget-friendly workhorse with a hard protective case, 10 sewing feet, and a back-lit LCD screen. Whether you’re sewing a full-size quilt or a prom dress, this machine will power through your projects in no time.
- 70 built-in stitches including 7 auto-size buttonholes
- Jam resistant drop-in top bobbin
- Comes with a wide table extension for easier quilting
- 25 year limited warranty
- Easy to thread
- Variable speed control
- Free arm facility for easier cuffs
- Small selection of built-in stitches for the price
Babylock Jubilant Sewing Machine
Babylock’s Jubilant sewing machine has 80 built-in stitches, including 8 one-step buttonholes. Feed dogs can be lowered by the flip of a switch for easy free motion quilting. It has an automatic needle threader and a drop-in bobbin.
Included accessories are 7 snap-on feet for tasks like overcasting, monogramming, and zigzag. The machine has free arm capability and a scale on the needle plate for easy seam measuring.
- Clear LCD screen for easy stitch selection
- 80 Built-in stitches including 50 utility and 30 decorative
- Variable stitch width up to 7mm
- 850 stitches per minute
- Built-in thread cutter
- Twin needle stitching
- 25 year limited warranty
- Expensive compared to other popular models from other brands
Serger Models: Brother vs Babylock
Brother 1034DX SergerThe Brother 1034DX serger comes with a robust metal frame. Capable of 4-thread or 3-thread serging, this machine can sew at 1300 stitches per minute. Speed is easily controllable through the foot pedal.
With a F.A.S.T lower looper threading system you can change thread color easily and quickly. It has a differential feed system for working with stretchy or problem fabrics. Three included feet allow you to gather, stitch seams, and complete blind stitches.
- Robust metal frame
- Handles heavy fabrics like denim
- Easy color-coded threading system
- Comes with a 1, 5, and 25-year limited warranty
- Accessory bag and softcover included
- DVD Instructional manual
- It may need to be oiled before using for the first time
- Warranty coverage can be confusing
Babylock Vibrant Serger
The Babylock Vibrant Serger makes professionally finished garments possible for even novice sewists. Whether you choose 4-thread, 3-thread, or even 2-thread hems, they will look immaculate and stylish.
This model has a retractable thread cutter and easy color-coded threading. Combined with an easy-to-use differential feed, you can create gathers or handle trickier fabrics simply and efficiently.
- Choice of 4, 3, and 2 thread serging
- Lay-in tension system for the loopers
- Retractable thread cutter
- Built-in lint tray
- Multi-purpose presser foot
- Comes with a range of accessories
- 25-year warranty
- Expensive compared to other entry-level sergers
Embroidery Machines: Brother vs Babylock
Embroidery machines by both Brother and Babylock tend to be their high-end machines. As with all Babylock models, you have to purchase through a registered dealer.
Some Brother embroidery machines can be bought from retail stores. However, in the interest of a close comparison between the two brands, I chose a Brother machine only available from their authorized dealers.
Brother Luminaire 2 Innov-is XP2Revolutionary StitchVision technology and app-based features are part of the package with Brother’s Luminaire 2 Innov-is XP2. A combination sewing, quilting, and embroidery machine, the innovative features from perfect stitch positioning and directional lighting will help take your sewing light years ahead.
With over 1300 built-in embroidery designs, including 192 built-in Disney-themed options, this machine will take your embroidery to the next level and beyond. You can even preview and edit designs directly onto your fabric with the integral guideline marker and grid.
- Revolutionary StitchVison Technology
- Guideline marker and grid for precise sewing
- Large 10 ⅝-inch x 16-inch hoop size
- End point sewing function
- Echo quilting
- Built-in Tutorials
- 10.1 inch high-definition LCD display
- A large machine that needs ample tablespace
- Only available from Brother dealers
Babylock Solaris II Sewing, Quilting and Embroidery Machine
One of the first things you’ll notice when you look at the Solaris II is the sleekness of the design and the size of the display screen. Designed with the user in mind, it comes with an IQ intuition monitoring app, IQ designer, and 865 built-in designs.
A machine for the serious stitcher, the Babylock Solaris does the hard work, while you concentrate on the creation of art. There’s no need to sit with this machine as it sews your embroidery. Using the IQ Intuition app allows you to receive messages and alerts on your phone. It will tell you when the bobbin needs changing or if a thread breaks.
- IQ Designer
- IQ Intuition Monitoring App
- 865 Built-in designs
- Design Database Transfer
- 10.1-inch touchscreen display
- End point setting for sewing
- Camera detecting buttonhole foot
- Price only available on application
Brother vs Babylock: Which Is Better?
With more similarities than differences, Brother vs Babylock: which is better, is a hard question to answer. Especially as many of Babylock’s models are built by Brother using Brother’s innovative technology.
The choice comes down to personal preference. You might find you like the convenience of being able to purchase a Brother sewing machine from your local retail store. Or the lower price could be an attractive decision-maker. Especially if you are looking for a budget-friendly entry-level machine.
Babylock’s community of registered dealers can help to make you feel part of a large family. Better still, you can visit them in-store for one-on-one advice. Their machines cost slightly more than Brother, but for the extra dollars, you get higher quality products.
Either way, which is better comes down to the functions and features that matter most to you. Your sewing needs will draw you in the direction of one or the other.
Brother and Babylock brands are among the best sewing machines available today. With many of their models being identical, the brand you go for could come down to which one you like the most. Whichever it is, it will be the best one for you.
Let me know in the comments if you liked the article. Do you have a Brother or a Babylock sewing machine? Why do you like it? Has this article helped you choose between the two brands?