Swiss-made Bernina has a reputation for quality, and the Bernina Activa 220 computerized sewing machine lives up to that. Reviewers look to Bernina machines for superb tension control and versatility with heavier fabric. Solidly built and easy to use, the Bernina Activa 220 sewing machine includes a one-step automatic buttonholer. The Bernina Activa 220 offers more than 100 stitch types, an automatic needle threader and an automatic needle up/down function. Experts say Bernina stitches are the best, hands down. If cost is your main concern, we found very good reviews for the Singer Confidence 7470 (*Est. $500), a much cheaper and simpler machine.
Insightful reviews for models in the Bernina Activa line (which are identical mechanically but vary in features) are found at ConsumerReports.org and Australia's Choice magazine. Editors at Craft magazine review the Activa 220 among other computerized machines, and detailed user ratings are shared at PatternReview.com. All of these reviews are written by experienced sewers.
ConsumerReports.org conducts its usual thorough testing of sewing machines, compiling a ratings chart that compares the models on performance, ease of use and features. ConsumerReports.org tests the Bernina Activa 220 against other computerized models on various types of fabrics.
Review: Sewing Machines, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, April 2009
2. Choice magazine
This older review speaks to the quality of Bernina. An expert with 30 years of sewing experience tests seven machines and the Bernina Activa 125 (an older version of the Activa line) comes out on top.
Review: Sewing Machines, Editors of Choice magazine, Nov. 2002
3. Craft Magazine
This comparison of four entry-level sewing machines includes the Bernina Activa 220. Hope Meng falls in love with this machine after another "standard" sewing machine choked on a challenging vinyl and chiffon costume. (The other machine isn't identified.)
Review: Stitch Lounge Recommends Beginner Sewing Machines, Hope Meng, Dec. 2006
There are a handful of detailed user reviews here for the Bernina Activa 220, as well as reviews for other models in the Activa series. You need to register (free) to read the raves here for Bernina.
Review: Bernina Sewing Machines, Contributors to PatternReview.com