We recently had the pleasure of reviewing the new BERNINA 830 LE sewing machine, the top of the entire BERNINA line.

This machine, with its attractive burgundy colored face plate is sleek, modern looking, and can do just about everything the home sewer could imagine.

It can be used to sew, quilt and embroider; and it performs each function exceptionally well. For starters, the BERNINA 830 LE is so exclusive that the manufacturer produced only 4,000 to be distributed and sold worldwide.

As a member of this elite group of people privileged enough to own one of these machines, anyone who purchases the BERNINA 830 LE is invited to an exclusive VIP retreat at BERNINA’s US headquarters in Chicago.

The retreat will feature two full days of workshops, where they will learn new techniques, work on innovative sewing projects and get inspired to create their own fascinating original designs.

At A Glance

The BERNINA 830 LE is one of the most aesthetically pleasing sewing, quilting and embroidery machines we have ever seen. It almost literally calls you by name, inviting you to touch it.

The lush red floral motif, polished metal work space and oversized work table with a clear window, enabling the user to see the bobbin supply are among this machine’s many assets.

Oversized work table

Oversized work table

When combined with the 830LE’s ability to hold up to three large thread cones and the on easy to read high resolution color LCD touch screen, this machine is among the most user friendly sewing, embroidery and quilting machines on the market.


The BERNINA 830 LE sewing machine can sew up to 1,100 stitches in a single minute. When in the embroidery mode, it can render as many as 1,000 stitches per minute.

The 15 inch extension table and 12 inch clearance to the right of the needle make it possible to sew extremely large embroidery projects with ease.

In addition to the embroidery hoops included with the accessories the purchaser has the option of buying additional embroidery hoops as large as 260 x 400 mm.

The color touch screen brings decorative and embroidery stitches to life even before the sewing project is begun.

Color touch screen on the BERNINA 830 LE

Color touch screen

The standard stitch regulator makes sewing zigzag, quilting and embroidery stitches easy and trouble-free.

Automatic bobbin winder

Automatic bobbin winder

The oversized bobbin not saves time by holding up to 40 percent more thread, built in sensors on the bobbin itself signal you when the bobbin thread is getting low.

This feature alone is one of the most popular of all the features offered on the new BERNINA 830.

With this standard feature, the user will have to stop less often to change the bobbin; and fewer interruptions mean much more freedom to let your imagination and your creativity go unimpeded.

Other standard features on the BERNINA 830 LE include the self threading and automatic tension adjustment features on both the upper thread and the bobbin.

Taking the worry out of setting the right tension for specific fabric and thread types makes the entire sewing experience a complete joy.

For the purposes of this BERNINA 830 review, we opted to do a couple of simple embroidery projects. Theading the machine was simple.

Winding the bobbin was pretty much the same as winding any other bobbin. Its larger size and the shiny sensors were immediately obvious. In a way, the bobbin looks a little more like a shortened spool of thread than a bobbin.

The automatic bobbin winder stops itself when the bobbin is full, and you simply snap it into place beneath the needle plate. The upper thread is even simpler.

The machine threads itself with just the touch of a button. Before you know it, you are ready to select an embroidery pattern.

Our test embroidery design

Our test embroidery design

With so many to choose from, it was difficult to make a selection. The machine is capable of rendering designs with as many colors as you can imagine, but we finally settled on a simple, one thread floral design for starters.

Once we identified a pattern and made the size selection, all that was left to do was push the start button and watch the BERNINA 830 LE to its thing.

The stitching was precise and fast, producing a jumbo single color embroidery design in just under five minutes.

We learned that in the event of a power surge or in case work came to a sudden stop because the bobbin needed rewinding, the 830 LE is capable of starting right back up where it left off without missing a single stitch.

Another interesting fact is that when lettering or producing separate designs in succession, the 830 LE will automatically snip the threads between the designs for you, leaving you free to create without having to be concerned with such mundane details as going back to cut stray connecting threads.

While the BERNINA 830 LE is capable of rendering intricate multi-colored designs, it can only handle one thread color at a time. When working on a multi-colored project, it will fill in all of one color then stop.

More intricate designs can be found on the BERNINA 830 LE

More intricate designs can be found on the BERNINA 830 LE

After you change the thread color, it will complete all of the requirements for that color and stop again to wait for you to change the thread so it can go on to the next color.

When it comes to quilting, the BERNINA 830 LE has one of the largest work spaces available. The quilt arm can be removed to provide a much larger than average workspace to accommodate the most intricate of quilting projects.

But, do not think for a minute that the model 830 LE is strictly for embroidery and large quilting jobs.

The workspace can be removed altogether to reveal a free arm that enables the user to work on sleeves and other small intricate sewing projects with the same amount of ease and comfort as they have when working with those big jobs.


  • Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
  • Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
  • Knits
  • Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
  • Upholstery
  • Leather/suede
  • Fur
  • Canvas/Twill
  • Plastic/Rubber
  • Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers


The list of accessories that come standard with the BERNINA 830 LE is almost mind-boggling. Unlike other embroidery/quilting/sewing machines, the 830 LE offers the user an exclusive BERNINA alphabet collection and embroidery CD featuring 1,000 designs as a standard accessory.

If you purchase one of these exclusive machines and happen to go through all of the designs offered here, you have the option of purchasing BERNINA’s embroidery software, which will put an almost infinite number of design options at your fingertips, guaranteeing that you will have the ultimate experience in creating the perfect design each and every time you sit down to sew.

BERNINA 830 LE accessories

BERNINA 830 LE accessories

In addition to the accessories mentioned above, other standard items included with your BERNINA 830 LE include: a fabric cover; a removable extension table; an embroidery arm; an instructional DVD, 12 different presser feet; owner’s manual, operating instructions and product leaflets, including an accessory booklet and overlock brochure; a Limited Edition certificate of authenticity; a set of Limited Edition red boxes for storing manuals, presser feet, and accessories; a needle threader; a magnifying glass adapter; four bobbins; two thread nets; a pair of tweezers; seam guides; spool caps; needle plates; an oil pen; a thread lubrication kit; a hook cleaning tool; a cloth machine head cover; a USB memory stick; a touch pen; three embroidery hoops; an embroidery module; an embroidery kit and a registration card.

Optional accessories, available from the manufacturer include quilt frames; quilting and cut work software as well as ‘My Label’ software, developed to help users achieve the perfect fit that can only be achieved through customizing each garment according to your precise individual measurements.

Other items available from the manufacturer to enhance your experience with the 830 LE include cabinets and sewing tables specifically designed to accommodate this particular machine.

The BERNINA people even offer continuous inspiration and technical support over the internet through www.BERNINA8series.com.


After each useMonthly*Once Each Year**As Needed
Clean loopers and feed dogs
Wipe head with soft dry cloth
Wipe head with soft damp cloth
Service by sewing machine repair professional

* more often if the machine is used for extended periods of time or if used frequently

**more often if the machine is used heavily or if it is not operating properly


Overall, the BERNINA 830 LE is an excellent sewing machine for the avid home sewer. With such a hefty price tag, this is not a machine for the person who does not have a passion for the art of sewing.

Threads on the 830 LE

Threads on the 830 LE

If all you are interested in is a machine that help you with repairs, hemming and minor alterations, we suggest that you look at another machine. Perhaps a lower cost Bernette would be more suitable for you.

If, however, you have a passion for sewing and love to create one of a kind clothes, home accessories and quilts for yourself, your family members and friends, then by all means, this is a machine that you should give some serious consideration to.

The BERNINA 830 LE is not only one of the highest rated sewing/quilting/embroidery machines on the market it is one of the most efficient. The fact that it is capable of performing so many functions so well is a huge plus.

Having to change the thread each time an embroidery pattern calls for a different color is a minor inconvenience when you consider the quality of the finished product.

Besides, very few, if any, embroidery machines designed for home use can change thread colors on their own. This machine does so much we get spoiled and expect it to do everything for us.

With a suggest retail price of about $14,000, nobody would want to spend that kind of money on a machine and not give it the best possible care. The good news is taking care of this machine is easy.

It goes without saying that you should also make sure your BERNINA 830 LE is never exposed to moisture, or extreme hot or cold temperatures and that the accessories, especially the extra needles, the needle plates, feed dogs and presser feet are protected by storing them properly so when they come into contact with the machine, it will function properly.

Although the model 830 LE is designed to be portable and has a carrying handle, it is quite heavy for the average person to move around like one would move some portable sewing machines.

Perhaps, this is why one of the available options is a table for permanent mounting. We believe the option is definitely a very good idea that deserves serious consideration for anyone who purchases this particular machine.

The new BERNINA 830

The new BERNINA 830

The self threading and automatic tension adjustment features are also in the plus column. These features make it possible for the home sewer to forget all about the mundane tasks associated with setting up a sewing machine and allows them to concentrate on the fun part of sewing.

When compared to an automobile, threading and adjusting the tension on a BERNINA 830 LE is something like driving a car with an automatic transmission rather than one with a manual transmission that requires you to shift the gears yourself rather than let the car perform the task for you.

True, there are people who get a thrill from feeling the engine rev as they shift the gears. Even in the 21st century, there are even people who do not like the idea of power door locks or power windows on cars. But for others, all that manual labor just takes the fun out of the whole driving experience.

If you are one of those people who enjoys the ride without having to shift the gears for yourself, or expend a lot of energy cranking the windows open and shut, or locking and unlocking each car door separately, then we recommend that you step up to the top of the line and test drive an 830 LE at your local BERNINA dealer.

BERNINA 830 LE Review
Link To Official Website
Skill Level:
Needs lots of help – able to sew a straight seam but unfamiliar with most sewing techniques; needs assistance and instruction on basic sewing techniques.
Competent – can make different clothing items without assistance or guidance, but not good enough to sew intricate projects or to sew without a pattern.
Expert – can sew anything without instruction or assistance; possesses an expansive knowledge of sewing techniques and terminology.
Stitch quality
Ease of use
  • Multi directional sewing
  • Instructional DVD
  • Extra large bobbin
  • Limited availability
  • Purchase price prohibitive for most consumers
5.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (27 Votes)

11 Responses

  1. Roberta

    I’ve been trying to decide for weeks if the extra $$$ involved make the 830LE worth the $$$. I’ve tried to compare the Brother & BabyLock to of the ling machines and have gotten so overwhelmed. I’ve also been so hesitant to jump into the 830 due to all the negative things people have written on blogs about their complaints. I must say I fell in love with this machine once I saw it in person but still waivered. Your review put a whole new perspective on the decision. thanks for the time it took to write this. Very helpful.

  2. Vernelle

    Roberta – Thank you very much for the feedback. It means a lot to know that the information on this site is helpful to people who visit.

  3. Carolyne Brooks

    I purchased an 830LE in August and the time I have had to use it has been awesome. I am registered for Bernina U in December and look forward to learning all the features. I am so proud to own such a well manufactured machine. I knew I would have to purchase Bernina when upgrading my sewing machine. I already have an Artista 125 and it is such a great dependable machine to take to retreats and piece quilts. Thank you for making such an awesome machine. I have watched many of the tutorials and they are very helpful and informative.

  4. Lois McBreairty

    do you find the 830 very noisy and sounding like bobbin case will fall out when embroidering

    • Mary Taylor

      I’ve had my 830LE since Dec 2011 and truly feel it was released before completely being vetted. The mother board in my machine was replaced after only one year and the needle threader replaced. It still does not thread…misses the eye every time. It zig zags whenever I try to back stitch. It’s noisy and sounds like it wants oil. I wish I never purchased this machine…I believe I got a lemon!!!

    • Mary

      Not in the 830 but I have an 880 that would bring the house down with racket. Also prone to going wild while embroidering.

  5. Valerie Jackson

    After 5 breakdowns and very poor assistance and communication with Bernina I upgraded to a Janome 150000 which is much more reliable

  6. Calee F

    I have had the Bernina 830E for about 4 years. In that time I too have found it to be very problematic. I own a quilt shop and am not new to these type of machines. The classes offered were not specific to the 830 and were quite crammed. The machine was constantly in the shop and repairs were expensive. There was no help from the seller or factory. So with less than 100 hrs on the machine it sits on a shelf and I too went with the Janome.

  7. Linda Smith

    Previously had Janome 8000 and 10000 and loved them, but thought I had to have a Bernina. Bought 830LE. Nothing but headaches. Poor dealer support. In the shop for a month and couldn’t fix it. Told me just don’t use the auto thread cutter. Found another dealer who made it work better, but still never sure what mood it will be in when I want to sew. Finished paying it off and bought Janome 15000. I’m in love again!

  8. Phil

    I have to talk a little about my 830E experience. I am a 76 year old man. I have always loved mechanical things. I got hooked on embroidery machines after watching a friends Bernette 340 doing its job.

    The Bernette 340 is a Janome, not a Bernina. Bernina markets them in their name, but it is pretty much identical to the Janome 350 and it is made by Janome. Anyway, I bought one when I was “green” to the sewing and embroidery world. It was a great machine.

    Then I had to “upgrade”. I thought after using the “Bernina-Bernette” that I would stay with Bernina. I looked and looked and finally found what I wanted on EBAY from a shop in Pennsylvania. The story begins NOW.

    I found an 830LE with all factory attachments. It was low time and usage and was only three years old. Perfect. I gave 4100 for it delivered to So. ILL. These are heavy machines and it came in two original shipping boxes. I took it out and set it up and looked at it for a few days and started wondering if an old man had made the right decision with his money that was not real plentiful.

    I started reading reviews after I bought it, bad time to do that. I started slowly doing little embroidery projects and fixing the tangles and broken threads. In about a month, I was totally disgusted. I was in love with this big machine, but the big machine was not in love with me. Sometimes I would start a project and the thread would break or tangle and nothing was wrong. I read the book which is thick, very nicely made, pretty, and has a lot of information, but it still leaves a LOT to be desired.

    There are a lot of questions that a new user needs answers for and it simply does not address them. I would rate it about a 5 out of ten, considering it came with a $10,000 or more sewing machine. But then there is Youtube. I started spending a lot of time there and watching every video I could. I considered selling it for half of what I gave for it and buying a new Janome 500 embroidery only.

    Then one night the threader stopped threading. I couldnt sleep until 3 in the morning. I actually had many nights like that. I called a bernina shop and got it in for the threader and while there I wanted them to look into the noises it was making down inside, It sounded like something was coming apart. She told me over the phone that a new threader was about $40 and they had one in stock and it could be installed for a $60 minimum service charge. OK, so I took it down there.

    She said it didn’t need one and she showed me that a little peice had just slipped a little and it worked perfect. She started going through some stitching with it and told me that it was perfect. I asked about the noise, she said there a re a lot of things taking place down in it and they are normal. From that day on, it started running more quiet. I started paying more attention to threading it and the thread almost never breaks now.

    One lady on youtube uses several of these in her shaop and she said every morning she cleans the bobin area and gives it a drop or two of oil and she has no trouble with them. I started doing just that. I keep it clean sand oiled and I change the needles when needed. Sometimes I can hear the needles talking to me when they get dull or a burr on them. People laugh at me when I say this.

    Now it has been 9 or 10 months that I have been using this machine and I love it. I know it almost like the back of my hand. My recommendations are this. Take the Mastery Class from some shop who loves the machine. It is very challenging and it can be intimidating. Don’t let it intimidate you. Learn about it. It is complicated and the more yo use it, the more you will learn about it.

    I didn’t take the mastery class because I am too far away. But the lady who “fixed” my threader knows this machine and she gave me high hopes. She said they were great machines. Another Bernina shop lady hated them and said they had a bunch of them sitting on a shelf. Some people just didn’t have the right people showing them what to do and they traded them in. That is my story…

    • Barbara

      Oh Phil. You are the man. Thank you for your story. I just bought a lightly used machine and then read all of these horror stories. I am patient and thorough when I want to learn and I have thought that maybe these machines are a bit more sophisticated than many are willing to understand. Mine arrives this week and I plan to learn all I can before judging. My fears are quelled. Wish me luck!


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