Performance - 75%
Stitch Quality - 76%
Speed - 65%
Ease of Use - 82%
Maintenance - 67%
Though pricier than other models from the same generation, the Bernina Aurora 440 QE is an exceptional sewing machine worth every penny
The Bernina Aurora 440 QE (Quilter’s Edition) is a classic sewing machine that enjoys a lot of popularity, especially advanced users who are also interested in quilting. When it came out, it gained instant recognition for free motion quilting, a feature that not many machines had at the time. Today, it’s a model that many sewing enthusiasts swear by and an absolute classic for everyone who loves quilting. But, as you will find out in this Bernina Aurora 440 QE Sewing Machine Review, the model has several other tricks up its sleeve, including benefits that were missed in advertising campaigns.
Manual and automated features
To please both the classic and the modern, the Bernina Aurora 440 QE comes with a nicely though out blend of manual and computerized features.
- 8 feet included
- Front loading bobbin
- Manual wheel for adjusting the needle and foot pressure
- Computerized needle adjustment settings
- BSR button with various BSR modes
- Pattern buttons for decorative stitches
- Can memorize up to 180 stitches + stitches combinations
- Sews up to 1000 stitches/minute
- Free motion quilting
- Accessory box included
Pros for Bernina Aurora 440 QE
The build quality on the Aurora 440 QE is excellent and you can see just from a quick glance that it was made for heavy-duty sewing. Although not displeasing to the eyes, it was designed to work well, not to look pretty. The machine is very resistant and you can sew tougher materials with it without breaking anything.
Bernina have made changing bobbins on the Aurora 440 QE a piece of cake, because you no longer have to remove the quilt. The spool holder is also great, because it allows the user to wind the bobbin without unthreading. By default, it comes with metal bobbins, which are really great quality.
The prevalence of computerized features on this sewing machine might seem alarming for fans of manual sewing machines, but, surprisingly, getting around the 440 QE is not difficult at all, not even for someone who hasn’t used an automated sewing machine before. The large display is very easy to understand and visual instructions on the screen can even make it possible for you to operate the machine without learning the manual by heart.
If you love stitches, then this is definitely the sewing machine for you. With 180 stitches to choose from (including zigzags, decorative patterns and the alphabet), you will be able to bring your most creative projects to life. Best of all, the machine can memorize stitch combinations, so you don’t have to input them every time. You can keep these combinations in the machine’s memory for however long you want, they will stay there until you delete them yourself.
Walking foot quality
The Bernina Aurora 440 QE has one of the most silent walking foots. It doesn’t vibrate, it doesn’t cause puckers and if you’re a pro you can use it at full speed without worrying that something will go wrong. In manual mode, the pressure can be easily adjusted depending on the thickness of the material. You can even use it at night and it will not wake anybody up.
Depending on where you buy it, the Bernina Aurora 440 QE can be anywhere from $1500 to $3000. Of course, it’s not a small price and you’ll probably end up spending more if you’re not from the US. However, if you write down the numbers, you are actually making a really good deal. This model is part of Bernina’s 4th generation of sewing machines and it’s currently out of production (it was replaced with a modern version), but it gives newer machines a run for their money. If you can find a second hand one, buy it. There isn’t a huge quality gap between this model and new ones, but there is a huge price gap, so you can stick to the 4th generation. This model really deserves its good reputation and even if you spend more on it, you will be using it for decades without problems.
Cons for Bernina Aurora 440 QE
- You cannot buy spare components, so if you have a problem with the machine, you will have to ship it to the manufacturer to fix it, which can cost you a lot. There are some independent shops selling spare parts, but they are overpriced.
- The throat space is a bit small. Not too small to cause problems, but, considering that the sewing machine was made for quilting, it should have been bigger. Newer models have a big enough throat space, but they are also very pricey.
Is the Bernina Aurora 440 QE good for beginners?
For beginners to quilting, yes, it is a great sewing machine to start on, because it has a useful and intuitive display and just the right combination between basic and advanced features. However, if you don’t plan on quilting or don’t do this very often, you’ll find that the 440 QE has too many features that you can’t use. If you pay more than $2000 on a sewing machine, you probably want to get your money’s worth and be able to use all its features. Bernina has many other models, including for beginners, so have a look at those if you’re not particularly interested in quilting.
Final verdict – an exceptional sewing machine with great features that any quilting enthusiast needs. It loses points in the price and maintenance departments because it is not the most affordable option, but if you have a bigger budget, go for it!