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Sergers & Overlockers

Compared: the Best Janome Overlocker (2020 Review)

Review: Find out which Janome overlocker is the best. And learn which 3 Janome overlockers I DON’T recommend buying.

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I reviewed all 5 Janome overlockers stocked in the UK today. See what the differences are between them, which are worth buying in 2020, and which to avoid!

This guide also includes:

  • The 3 (!) Janome models I do NOT recommend.
  • Advice from industry specialists like technicians and overlocker salespeople.
  • Videos of the overlockers.
  • A chart to compare the Janome overlockers with each other.

*Some machines are only sold in certain countries. This guide is for UK and European buyers.*

Let’s jump in.

best janome overlocker

I have found the best Janome overlocker to be the AirThread 2000D. It’s the easiest model to use thanks to air threaded loopers and a needle threader. It can also do 2 thread stitches. Important for those who want to experiment with different techniques.

If that’s out of your budget, the next best Janome is the 6234XL. A well made mid-range overlocker that can do 2 thread stitches. It also has a better manual threading system than the cheaper Janome overlockers. However, I don’t think it beats the Brother 4234D.

If you want a budget overlocker, I recommend looking at Brother overlocker reviews instead. I don’t love Janome’s budget versions.

Contents list:

Related: 5 Best Overlockers, According to Industry Experts

Related: How to Choose an Overlocker: 21 Factors to Consider (+ Checklist)

Related: Which Overlockers are Good Quality? (We Ask Specialists)

Related: 8 Overlocker Stitches Explained for Beginners (with lots of close-up photos!)


The best Janome overlocker

janome airthread 2000d professional overlocker

AirThread 2000D Professional

The easiest Janome to thread

It can do 2, 3 and 4 thread stitches, giving you more stitch options than a 3/4 thread overlocker. Industry specialists have said it’s well-built. It has air threading for the loopers and a needle threader; most overlockers don’t. A waste tray is included.

Price: typically £979. Check Amazon’s price.

Janome AirThread 2000D Overlocker Review:

Pros

The AirThread 2000D is a great choice for sewers who want more stitch options, really easy threading, and sturdier build quality.

2/3/4 threads

It can do 2, 3 and 4 thread stitches. This will let you create more stitches like the 2 thread overlock, 2 thread rolled hem, and 2 thread mock flatlock. Most overlockers can only use 3 or 4 threads.

(Not sure what I’m talking about? Check out my post on overlocker stitches. I talk about what these stitches look like and when they’re useful. I included lots of close-up photos too!)

Really easy threading

  • You can air thread the loopers with one push of the lever.
  • It has a built-in needle threader. No more poking a thread through the eye of a needle!

These 2 features make threading much faster. You’ll also be less scared of changing thread colours often.

Good build quality

The AirThread 2000D has better build quality than budget and mid-range overlockers. Important for regular sewers who want a more durable machine.

For example, one of its selling points is that the main shaft has been redesigned with “two ball bearings [that] provide low torque”. The product page says this makes the machine more durable and more stable at high speeds.

But is this just marketing stuff?

I asked a technician about it.

He said it’s a feature that only a few machines have, typically higher-end ones.

A shaft that goes through roller bearings will create less friction on components. It will last longer and is better quality than standard bush-driven shafts.

In simple terms, he confirmed that it does make a difference.

It can handle different fabric thicknesses

It can handle a variety of fabric thicknesses.

  • It has a high presser foot lift for overlocking thicker fabrics.
  • It has an easy to use adjustable pressure dial with 5 levels (many only have 3 levels). You’ll need this to increase or decrease the pressure when working on very thin or thick materials.
  • It has a more controlled 8 piece differential feed to feed fabrics more smoothly.

Easier to switch to 2 thread stitches

If you want to do 2 thread stitches you normally have to find your spreader gadget and attach it to the machine.

However, the AirThread 2000D is even easier because the spreader is built-in.

That’s a nice time-saving convenience. And you don’t have to worry about losing your spreader at the bottom of your sewing drawer.

Cons

The biggest con for most people is the price. It’s double to triple the cost of most overlockers.

There’s also no free arm. You can still sew tubes of fabric without it, you’ll just have to learn a different technique.

Janome AirThread 2000D Videos:

How to thread it:

How to thread it and see it stitching at the end:

Who this overlocker is best for:

  • The air threading is great if you have eyesight issues.
  • Air threading is also great if you sew a lot and the time it saves would make a big difference to you.
  • You’re willing to invest in a high-end machine.
  • You want to make 2 thread stitches.
  • You sew a lot and need a sturdy, well-built machine that can handle regular use.

The next best Janome overlocker:

janome 6234xl overlocker

Janome 6234XL

More stitch options and easier to thread

It can do 2, 3 and 4 thread stitches like the AirThread 2000D, but at half the price. Although it’s not air threaded, it has an easy to thread lower looper system that is much better than the cheaper Janome options. It also comes with a waste tray included, unlike the cheaper models. A good mid-range overlocker, but not as good as the Brother 4234D (link to my review).

Price: typically £479. Check Amazon’s price.

Janome 6234XL Overlocker Review:

Pros

2 thread stitches

Like the premium AirThread 2000D, this overlocker can make stitches using 2, 3 and 4 threads.

Most overlockers can only use 3 or 4 threads.

This will let you create extra stitches like the 2 thread overlock, 2 thread rolled hem, and 2 thread flatlock (photos here). Important for sewists who want to experiment.

Easier threading system

Apart from the premium air threaded model, the 6234XL is the easiest Janome overlocker to thread.

Improved lower looper design

Janome really improved their lower looper system. It’s much better than the system they used in their budget overlockers: the 9300DX, 9200D and 8002DG.

Their old system made you reach deep inside the overlocker to get your thread inside the fiddly, hidden lower looper.

Their new system lets you push a switch to bring the lower looper out of hiding. Now you can thread it in plain sight. It’s so much easier and faster!

I wouldn’t buy an overlocker without an easy lower looper, because it’s the hardest part of the threading process.

Improved colour-coded guides

The cheaper models have less detailed colour-coded guides.

This Janome model has stitch illustrations printed next to each tension dial.

This tells you which thread makes which part of the stitch.

It’s really useful when you’re troubleshooting why your stitches don’t look right. You can look at the illustrations to find out which thread needs a tension adjustment.

Cons

Adjustable pressure design

I don’t love the adjustable pressure dial. It’s an unlabelled screw.

Screws have no markings on them, so it’s harder to get back to normal pressure. A numbered dial would be much easier to use.

When compared to other brands, it’s not your best option

While this mid-level 6234XL is better than Janome’s cheaper overlockers, I don’t think it competes with Brother’s mid-level 4234D.

They both have:

  • 2, 3 and 4 thread stitches.
  • Easy to thread lower loopers.
  • Waste bins included.
  • High presser foot lift for overlocking thick layers of fabric.

However, the Brother 4234D has these extras:

  • Built-in needle threader.
  • Free arm for sewing tubes of fabric easily.
  • Extra foot included; the blind stitch foot for creating blind hems.
  • Large extension table available to buy separately. This will stop knit fabrics hanging down and stretching out while you overlock.
  • A user-friendly pressure dial. No unmarked screw.
  • It’s about £60 cheaper (at the time of publication).

The Janome version can sew slightly faster at 1500 stitches per minute versus Brother’s 1300 stitches per minute, but both are still very fast. You probably won’t be sewing at maximum speed a lot of the time anyway.

Janome 6234XL Videos:

How to make rolled hems and narrow hems:

See the improved looper threading system from 1:33

Who this overlocker is best for:

  • You want 2 thread stitches.
  • You sew a lot, so need a well-built and durable machine.
  • You’re willing to invest, but not at premium prices.
  • You don’t need a needle-threader. (If you do, check out the similar Brother 4234D instead).

Janome overlockers I don’t recommend

janome 9300dx, 9200d, 8002dg overlockers

Janome 9300DX, 9200D and 8002DG

Their lower looper threading system is difficult and outdated. And industry specialists I spoke to mentioned the 9300DX and 8002DG as examples of poorer quality overlockers.

Typical 8002DG price: £229. Check Amazon’s price.

Typical 9300DX price: £289. Check Amazon’s price.

Typical 9200D price: £299. Exclusive to John Lewis.

Janome 9300DX, 9200D and 8002DG Overlocker Reviews:

They’re hard to thread

Threading the lower looper is the hardest part of threading an overlocker. I highly recommend buying an overlocker that makes this easier.

These 3 machines are a good example of older models that have tricky and outdated lower looper designs.

Most modern overlockers (that aren’t air threaded) will allow the hidden lower looper to come out for easier threading.

Older models will keep it hidden deep inside the overlocker. It’s really frustrating and fiddly to find and thread.

Modern overlockers have solved this problem, so I don’t think it’s worth buying these older ones.

“Ok this does the job, which of course is the most important thing, but goodness, what a terror it is to thread…… and I’m used to threading an overlocker!”

mims11 review on the Janome 9200D at johnlewis.com (2012)

See this Youtuber threading the 9200D’s lower looper from 3:50:

My lower looper threading test

I did a test to see what difference an easy lower looper design makes.

I timed how long it took 2 people on Youtube to thread the easy lower looper design on the Brother 4234D, and an older lower looper design on a Janome. (The videos are by Ken’s Sewing Center and Syakademiet).

The results
  • It took about 3 minutes and 10 seconds to thread the lower looper on the Janome. It was very fiddly.
  • It took about 40 seconds on the Brother 4234D!

An easy to thread lower looper design really makes a difference.

Poorer quality according to industry specialists

I called overlocker salespeople and technicians to learn about good and bad quality overlockers.

They told me that poorer quality ones will have more plastic inside, weaker metals, and a weaker motor. This is because manufacturers have to produce budget machines at a low cost, so build quality suffers.

When I asked for examples of poorer quality machines, the Janome 9300DX and 8002DG were mentioned.

If you want an overlocker that will last, a technician recommended buying one that’s about £300 and up. Overlockers at this price tend to be “more substantial machines”.

*September 2020 update: this advice was given pre-pandemic. Overlocker prices have been raised recently, so this is more like £400 now.

Good alternatives

These overlockers have easy to thread lower loopers and were praised by industry specialists as better built:


Janome Overlocker Reviews Recap:

janome air thread 2000d overlocker

Best buy:
Janome AirThread 2000D

The easiest Janome to thread

It can do 2, 3 and 4 thread stitches, giving you more stitch options than a 3/4 thread overlocker. Industry specialists have said it’s well-built. It has air threading for the loopers and a needle threader; most overlockers don’t. A waste tray is included.

janome 6234xl overlocker

Next best:
Janome 6234XL

More stitch options and easier to thread

It can do 2, 3 and 4 thread stitches like the AirThread 2000D, but at half the price. Although it’s not air threaded, it has an easy to thread lower looper system that is much better than the cheaper Janome options. It also comes with a waste tray included, unlike the cheaper models. A good mid-range overlocker, but not as good as the Brother 4234D.

janome 9300dx, 9200d, 8002dg overlockers

Don’t buy:
Janome 9300DX, 9200D, 8002DG

Harder to thread & poorer quality

Their lower looper threading system is difficult and outdated. And industry specialists I spoke to mentioned the 9300DX and 8002DG as examples of poorer quality overlockers.


Compare Janome overlockers

—————Don’t buyDon’t buyDon’t buyNext BestBest Buy
8002DG9200D9300DX6234XLAirThread 2000D Pro
Check today’s priceCheck today’s priceCheck today’s priceCheck today’s price
Stitches
Stitch Ability3/4 threads3/4 threads3/4 threads2/3/4 threads2/3/4 threads
4 Thread Overlock
3 Thread Overlock
3 Thread Flatlock
(but no instructions in manual)

(but no instructions in manual)
3 Thread Rolled Hem
2 Thread Overlock
2 Thread Flatlock
2 Thread Rolled Hem
Stitch Length (mm)unknown – 41 – 41 – 41 – 51 – 5
Stitch Width (mm)unknown – 5.72 – 5.72 – 5.72 – 5.72 – 5.7
Retractable Knife
Max. Speed (stitches per minute)13001500150015001300 or 1500
Feet IncludedStandard footStandard footStandard footStandard footStandard foot
Easy to use?
Looper Air Threading
Easy to Thread Lower LooperNo. Poor and outdated looper designNo. Poor and outdated looper designNo. Poor and outdated looper designFeature not relevant. It’s air threaded.
Needle Threader
Automatic Tension
Built-in Spreader (used to make 2 thread stitches)
Colour-Coded Threading
Waste Bin
Free Arm
Easy Rolled Hem Conversion
Weight8kg7.9kg8kg8kg7.9kg
LED / Light Bulb
Extension Table
Can Handle Different Fabrics Well?
Differential Feed
(to stretch or gather fabric)
Adjustable Pressure
(unmarked screw)

(unmarked screw)

(unmarked screw)

(unmarked screw)

(5 level dial)
Max. Presser Foot HeightUnknown“extra high” claim, but no measurement“extra high” claim, but no measurement“extra high” claim, but no measurement5.5 mm

There are different stats about the speed of the AirThread 2000D on janome.co.uk. The product page says 1500 s.p.m, but the ‘full specification’ section and pdf brochure say 1300 s.p.m.



Download Free Checklist

A checklist of features to look for in a serger or overlocker.

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Now it’s your turn

I’d like to hear from you 🙂

Do you have any questions about these Janome overlockers?

Maybe I missed something you want to know?

Let me know by leaving a comment below.


Sources

janome.co.uk. ‘Model 9300DX’. [online] Available at: https://www.janome.co.uk/model-9300dx [accessed: 17 March 2020]

janome.co.uk. ‘Model 6234XL’. [online] Available at: https://www.janome.co.uk/model-6234xl [accessed: 17 March 2020]

janome.co.uk. ‘AT2000D Professional’. [online] Available at: https://www.janome.co.uk/at2000d-professional [accessed: 17 March 2020]

janome.com. ‘The AirThread 2000D: Award Winning Machine’. [online] Available at: https://www.janome.com/products/machines/AT2000D/ [accessed: 17 March 2020]

johnlewis.com. ‘Janome 9200D Overlocker Sewing Machine’. [online] Available at: https://www.johnlewis.com/janome-9200d-overlocker-sewing-machine/p231340609 [accessed: 17 March 2020]

johnlewis.com. ‘INSTRUCTION BOOK: MODEL 9200D’. [online] Available at: https://johnlewis.scene7.com/is/content/JohnLewis/231340609mnl1pdf? [accessed: 17 March 2020]

sewessential.co.uk. ‘Janome 9300DX overlocker manual’. [online] Available at: https://www.sewessential.co.uk/janome-9300dx-overlocker [accessed: 17 March 2020]

gursewingmachines.com. ‘Janome 8002DG Overlocker’. [online] Available at: https://www.gursewingmachines.com/janome-8002dg-overlocker-28096 [accessed: 17 March 2020]

Ken’s Sewing Center. (2012). ‘How to thread the Janome 8002D Serger’. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pSRH6ldom4 [accessed: 4 March 2020]

Syakademiet. (2017). ‘Hvordan tre Brother 4234D overlock’. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8DBV546nDs&t=92s [accessed: 4 March 2020]

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