The Brother’s are much more affordable than the other brands. They have literally every option you could imagine you would ever want on a sewing machine. They come with several different feet, an abundance of stitches, and many other features. Most, if not all, have a top load bobbin. They are lightweight but that could make the machine not as sturdy. The quality of the stitch might suffer because most if not all of the machine is plastic, which can also make for a shorter life.
There would be no dealer support with purchasing a Brother unless you were to purchase a higher end Brother which was not one of the one’s I was looking into purchasing.
The Janome’s seemed to be decent machines. They are higher priced than the Brother’s but cheaper than the Bernina’s. They have a lot of stitch options and the basic feet as well as the top load bobbin. One feature I really liked that the Janome had but the others did not was the lock stitch option on more than just a straight stitch. It would automatically lock a stitch (even a zigzag stitch) before continuing with the stitch. I think they have less plastic parts than the Brother’s but more than the Bernina’s. They were fairly loud when sewing and didn’t seem to sew the straightest. Looking at the individual stitches they seemed to jump around a little.
The local Janome dealer is smaller than the Bernina dealer and the shop was not as clean. They mainly have the machines and a few accessories and then they service the machines. The owner was nice enough but did come across as a sales guy.
I should start off by saying that I am not writing about the Bernette’s. They are at a different level than the actual Bernina’s. From all of the research that I did, I found that it was not worth purchasing a Bernette.
The Bernina machines were incredibly quiet and smooth, but much more expensive than a Brother. They range in the options that come with the machine, such as how many stitches, but do have everything that would be needed to sew. Plus, extra things such as feet can be purchased as needed. They do come with the basic feet that would be needed for most projects. They are still made of metal which means the machine should last much longer than one made of plastic. They have a front load bobbin which a lot of people seem to prefer. I never once saw a bad review about a Bernina.
Royce Quilting, the local Bernina dealer, has a very clean shop. All of the employees were incredibly friendly and helpful. If they didn’t know an answer they either tried to find out or said that they would have to find out for me. They sell fabric and other accessories as well as offer classes ranging from beginner sewing classes to quilting classes.