Comparison Bernina L850 vs Bernina L860 – What are the differences

The Bernina L Series is a line of high-end sewing machines with cutting-edge features and performance. The Bernina L850 and L 860 are two excellent choices for those looking for top-of-the-line machines. What are the differences between these two Bernina models? This article will compare the features and performance of both machines so that you can determine which is best for you.

Similarities L 850 vs L 860

The Bernina L 850 and L 860 sewing machines are the most recent additions to the popular Bernina overlocker line. Both are high-end models with a variety of features for sewers of all levels.

Both of these machines will be four-thread machines capable of four-thread, three-thread, and two-thread overlocking stitches.

They both have the ability to thread air. Instead of going through all of the different loops and hoops to thread the machine, it’s literally as simple as pressing your foot control and it’s done.

Both the L 850 and L 860 have built-in needle threaders that can thread both the right and left needles. Another nice feature of both of these machines is the ability to have a free arm, which is not something that every overlocker has.

Main Differences L850 vs L860

The L 850 and L 860 are very similar in terms of most features and functions. Both have the same engine, stitches, sewing speed, sewing space, and work height. The main distinction between these two machines is that one has a screen and the other does not. The Bernina L 850 is a standard mechanical overlocker that requires you to adjust the tensions and get everything ready to go yourself.

The Bernina L 860 comes with a new color touchscreen that the L850 does not have. Switching from a four thread overlock to a rolled hem, for example, is now very simple by pressing a button on the screen. The L860 now includes guided and expert modes. Expert Mode is for advanced users and allows them to directly, quickly, and individually apply all desired settings. Sewists will receive step-by-step instructions for stitch selection, machine settings, and stitch optimisation in Guided Mode. Along with the stitch selection, both modes automatically set the thread tension, stitch length, and differential feed.

The manual and instructions are also available directly on the screen with the L 860 and the included LCD screen, eliminating the need to look for the booklet. On the L 850, speed is controlled by a switch, whereas on the L860, speed is controlled by the new touch screen. The comparison table at the bottom of the page displays the complete list of features included with each machine.

Differences Bernina L850 Vs Bernina L860 1
Differences Bernina L 850 vs Bernina L 860

Price Comparison: Bernina L850 vs Bernina L860

The primary distinction between these two machines is their price. The Bernina L850 has an MSRP of £2,495 and the slightly more advanced L860 has an MSRP of £2,995. Although it is more expensive, the extra features on this model, such as the screen and guided mode, may be worth considering.


If you’re looking for and overclocking, both of these machines are excellent choices. The main difference is the additional screen on the L860, which gives the model a few advantages over the L850. This, however, comes at a higher cost.

Personally, I would choose the touchscreen model of the L860. Mostly because I disliked having to consult the L850’s paper manual. The guided mode and included videos that remind you exactly how to set up each stitch are also very useful. They are extremely useful and significantly reduce the number of errors when establishing a less-frequently used stitch.

Comparison Table

Stitch VariationsL 850L 860
Total number of stitches1818
4-thread overlock11
3-thread overlock (wide/narrow)22
3-thread super-stretch11
3-thread flatlock (wide/narrow)22
3-thread narrow seam11
3-thread rolled hem11
3-thread picot stitch11
2-thread overlock (wide/narrow)22
2-thread flatlock (wide/narrow)22
2-thread rolled hem11
2-thread wrapped overlock (wide/narrow)22
2-thread blanket stitch (wide/narrow)22
Comfort FeaturesL 850L 860
One-step BERNINA Air Threader (for looper threads)
Color touch screen4.3"
Expert Mode and Guided Mode
Stitch selection / Settings on the screen
Personal Memory for 100 individual stitches
Built-in tutorials and helpful animation
Creative Sewing Consultant
Stitch Optimizer
Sewing space to the right of the needle55∕8" (143 mm)55∕8" (143 mm)
Workspace height33∕8" (86 mm)33∕8" (86 mm)
BERNINA Free Hand System (FHS) with knee lifter
Swing-out presser foot with auto swing back
2-step presser foot lifter with front-foot-lift (FFL)
Built-in needle threader
Automatic needle stop up
Needle stop up/down programmable
Needle up/down with BERNINA Foot Control
Stitch-by-stitch sewing
Color-coded One-path Threading
Thread tension adjustable while sewing
Thread tension release when presser foot raised
Micro Thread Control (mtc)
Adjustable stitch length while sewing
Adjustable differential feed while sewing
Adjustable cutting width while sewing
Rolled hem lever integrated under stitch plate
Stitch length fine tuning for rolled hem
Easy to engage and disengage the knife from outside
Integrated upper looper converter
LED sewing light
Thread cutter
Speed control via touch screen
Speed selection switch
Safety switch for open cover and raised presser foot
Accessories in the threader cover
Technical SpecificationsL 850L 860
Stitch width 3–9mm
6-step presser foot pressure
DC Motor
Maximum sewing speed (stitches per minute)1,5001,500
Weight of machine27.1 lbs/12.3 kg28.8 lbs/13.1 kg
Standard AccessoriesL 850L 860
Standard Overlock Foot #L10 (with Tape Guide)
Slide-on extension table
Freearm cover
Cut-offs bin
BERNINA foot control
Right seam guide
Manual needle threader/inserter
Set of ELX705 CF needles, assorted
Touch pen
CS Lock Tool
Accessories boxes
Dust cover

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