(119 of 119 customers found this review helpful)
Reliable, sturdy little workhorse!
Can Withstand Use
Easy To Use
Many great features
Actually, I own the Activa 240, but the 230 is almost identical (according to Bernina's own literature), with variations in the number of stitches (240=256 stitches; 230=204 stitches) and standard vs. optional inclusion of some accessories (the Free Hand System lever for lifting the presser foot is standard on the 240, as is the fluorescent bar light; these are optional for the 230).<br />I acquired my Bernina Actiiva as a replacement for a Husqvarna 1+, which had been stolen. I debated between another Husqvarna (the Sapphire) but I'm delighted to have chosen the Bernina. <br />It's the best dressmaking machine I've ever used (and I've been making dresses for about 50 years!) The wealth of features is astounding--Consumer Reports ratings only touch on ta few of them. For instance, needle up/needle down is standard; it's a time-saver and quality assurance feature I wouldn't want to do without. The controls for stitch length and width are easily understood and used; the needle position is adjustable with the touch of a button, for zippers, edgestitching and other applications. <br />This sturdy little machine is made largely of METAL (imagine!), as opposed to the largely plastic construction of most other machines, including the top-of-the-line models. The Activas are compact and quite portable. I am using mine primarily for theatrical costume construction, so I periodically pack her up and tote her around town. She came with a smart-looking canvas cover, and the cleverest little accessory cabinet I've ever seen on any machine--there are little racks to hold bobbins and presser feet and drawers for needles, etc. This attaches to the machine when not in use, but readily converts to a free standing cabinet (about 8 inches tall) that fits nicely behind the machine for ready access to presser feet.<br />Bernina's presser feet are worth noting: their sturdy one-piece design lends greater stability and makes them easier to change. Even the walking foot is simple--no unscrewing the ankle; just pop it on!<br />The stitch memories are lovely; I like to stitch name tags for the actors and with the alphabets plus memory features, this is very simple.<br />Another dandy feature is the short-term memory for the standard stitches. Let's say you want a longer stitch length for the basic straight stitch, which the machine has programmed at a default of about 2.5 mm. When you adjust the length to your own preference, the machine will remember your change until you switch it off--even if you are using other stitches. <br />I love the extra-capacity metal bobbins (I think this is another Bernina standard). I have had many machines with plastic bobbins and, not only do they not hold as much thread, they occasionally have problems with backlash thread tangling and breaking (both the bobbin and the thread). <br />It's hard to find something I don't like about the Bernina Activa, but I would recommend two modifications:<br />First, what Pfaff calls integrated dual feed--an upper-level feed dog that eliminates the need to use a walking foot;; it can be used with any presser foot! (I understand Bernina's newest top-of-the-line machine has incorporated this). My second recommendaton would be the ability to toggle needle-up/needle-down with a tap of the foot pedal. I just learned from the Bernina website that this is an option for the Activa 230 and 240. <br />Maintenance is quite simple; dust out the bobbin case and occasionally put a drop of oil, as instructed in the manual. Repairs? I don't know; in the year that I have been using this machine, it's been totally reliable. Even the needle-threader is still working!<br />Bottom line: if you are looking for an excellent machine with up-to-date features, reliability, portability, and overall quality, the Bernina Activas will suit you well.
How long have you owned it:
More than six months
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend.