Steven Kelley

Juki 441 Clone Versus Adler 205-370

35 posts in this topic

I've had a Juki 441 clone for about 8 months. Late last year, I made the decision to purchase a 2nd machine to speed things up a bit (aka - get my wife to help me stitch things!). So I was going to buy another Cowboy 4500. I love the Cowboy 4500 by the way. It's been absolutely fantastic. The stitch quality is great. It's a very well built machine, and Bob's customer service can't be beat. I also had a itch for an Adler 205, but didn't want to pay twice the price for the Adler when the Cowboy would make the same quality of stitch.

So one night I'm searching Craigslist and run upon a local guy selling a used Adler 205-370. To make a long story short, he inherited it from his father, who was a saddle maker and purchased the machine very shortly before passing away. It had been used a total of 2 times. It looked brand new. I bought it for roughly 1/2 the price of a new one. Obviously, I couldn't pass that up. So I've been using it for a few weeks now trying to get it all dialed in, which I now have.

So after using both side by side, this is my comparison for any of you trying to decide between a 441 clone machine or an authentic Adler 205.

The only issue I've had with the Cowboy has been with the servo motor. It starting acting up a bit and Bob sent out a new motor. The Adler, not being setup for holsters, took some tweaking.

The Adler is a more "polished" machine. You can tell the attention to detail of all the parts is a little better. The machining is nicer, paint is nicer, knobs are nicer, etc. It's 2x the price new, so it should be, right? But when it actually comes down to stitching, I can't tell a difference. They stitch virtually the same.

One neat feature of the Adler is that when you press the pedal to lift the presser foot, it relieves tension on the top thread so you can easily pull your piece out. Not a big deal, but neat.

I like the harness feet on the Cowboy better. They are a little smaller and smoother, so it's easier to see exactly where your stitch is going, and a little easier to go around corners with.

Tension control is the same.

Threading the machines is totally different, but very easy on both.

The area in the machine where the stitching happens is more "open" in the Cowboy, which I like. That makes it easier to see everything.

The stand that comes with the Adler (from Weaver's) is a little heavier duty, but doesn't lift high enough to stand and sew. The Cowboy stand is plenty heavy and has a much broader range of height adjustment, from sitting to standing.

The bobbin winder on the Cowboy is a part of the machine, and it works very well. The bobbin winder on the Adler is an separate piece that is mounted to the table. It has a wheel that contacts the drive belt when engaged. Both work well, but the winder on the Cowboy gives me a more consistently full bobbin than the Adler winder. I cannot adjust the Adler winder to fill the bobbin more full, so I need to modify it a bit.

One small nit picky item is the door covering the bobbin/shuttle area. I hate the hinged door on the Adler. There is a spring wire that holds the door closed. You have to use a screwdriver to pry the spring back and open the door. I hate it. I love the cover on the Cowboy. Just turn it one way and it pops right off. Turn it back the other way and it's locked in place.

The Cowboy will sew thicker leather than the Adler. I don't know the exact thicknesses off hand, but the presser foot lifts quite a bit higher with the Cowboy, if that's a concern for anyone. I don't sew anything near the max thickness for either one, so it's not a big deal for me.

They are both extremely well built and very heavy duty. I can't imagine either one being "under built" for anything you want to run through them. Obviously, the Cowboy being a Chinese built clone, isn't going to be as nicely fit and finished as an authentic Juki or an Adler, but it is very nicely built and finished nonetheless. Having both and using both side by side, now I am very confident in saying that unless you find a screaming deal on a more expensive machine (Juki or Adler), don't waste your money. The Cowboy will stitch just as well, it's built like a tank, and you'll get customer service to last a lifetime. I'm sure Cobra, Techsew, etc. are probably equally as good. I've only used the Cowboy so that's all I can speak to. Bob is great to work with. Steve has lots of great reviews, as does Ronnie from Techsew. I have had to deal with Weaver's for a few small things for the Adler, and they have been very helpful as well.

Now back to work.

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If your Adler isn't over 10 years old it is made in China.

I've had a Juki 441 clone for about 8 months. Late last year, I made the decision to purchase a 2nd machine to speed things up a bit (aka - get my wife to help me stitch things!). So I was going to buy another Cowboy 4500. I love the Cowboy 4500 by the way. It's been absolutely fantastic. The stitch quality is great. It's a very well built machine, and Bob's customer service can't be beat. I also had a itch for an Adler 205, but didn't want to pay twice the price for the Adler when the Cowboy would make the same quality of stitch.

So one night I'm searching Craigslist and run upon a local guy selling a used Adler 205-370. To make a long story short, he inherited it from his father, who was a saddle maker and purchased the machine very shortly before passing away. It had been used a total of 2 times. It looked brand new. I bought it for roughly 1/2 the price of a new one. Obviously, I couldn't pass that up. So I've been using it for a few weeks now trying to get it all dialed in, which I now have.

So after using both side by side, this is my comparison for any of you trying to decide between a 441 clone machine or an authentic Adler 205.

The only issue I've had with the Cowboy has been with the servo motor. It starting acting up a bit and Bob sent out a new motor. The Adler, not being setup for holsters, took some tweaking.

The Adler is a more "polished" machine. You can tell the attention to detail of all the parts is a little better. The machining is nicer, paint is nicer, knobs are nicer, etc. It's 2x the price new, so it should be, right? But when it actually comes down to stitching, I can't tell a difference. They stitch virtually the same.

One neat feature of the Adler is that when you press the pedal to lift the presser foot, it relieves tension on the top thread so you can easily pull your piece out. Not a big deal, but neat.

I like the harness feet on the Cowboy better. They are a little smaller and smoother, so it's easier to see exactly where your stitch is going, and a little easier to go around corners with.

Tension control is the same.

Threading the machines is totally different, but very easy on both.

The area in the machine where the stitching happens is more "open" in the Cowboy, which I like. That makes it easier to see everything.

The stand that comes with the Adler (from Weaver's) is a little heavier duty, but doesn't lift high enough to stand and sew. The Cowboy stand is plenty heavy and has a much broader range of height adjustment, from sitting to standing.

The bobbin winder on the Cowboy is a part of the machine, and it works very well. The bobbin winder on the Adler is an separate piece that is mounted to the table. It has a wheel that contacts the drive belt when engaged. Both work well, but the winder on the Cowboy gives me a more consistently full bobbin than the Adler winder. I cannot adjust the Adler winder to fill the bobbin more full, so I need to modify it a bit.

One small nit picky item is the door covering the bobbin/shuttle area. I hate the hinged door on the Adler. There is a spring wire that holds the door closed. You have to use a screwdriver to pry the spring back and open the door. I hate it. I love the cover on the Cowboy. Just turn it one way and it pops right off. Turn it back the other way and it's locked in place.

The Cowboy will sew thicker leather than the Adler. I don't know the exact thicknesses off hand, but the presser foot lifts quite a bit higher with the Cowboy, if that's a concern for anyone. I don't sew anything near the max thickness for either one, so it's not a big deal for me.

They are both extremely well built and very heavy duty. I can't imagine either one being "under built" for anything you want to run through them. Obviously, the Cowboy being a Chinese built clone, isn't going to be as nicely fit and finished as an authentic Juki or an Adler, but it is very nicely built and finished nonetheless. Having both and using both side by side, now I am very confident in saying that unless you find a screaming deal on a more expensive machine (Juki or Adler), don't waste your money. The Cowboy will stitch just as well, it's built like a tank, and you'll get customer service to last a lifetime. I'm sure Cobra, Techsew, etc. are probably equally as good. I've only used the Cowboy so that's all I can speak to. Bob is great to work with. Steve has lots of great reviews, as does Ronnie from Techsew. I have had to deal with Weaver's for a few small things for the Adler, and they have been very helpful as well.

Now back to work.

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If your Adler isn't over 10 years old it is made in China.

It's less than 10 years old. Plate says made in Czech Republic, but a large percentage of it could be from China.

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Steve,

Sounds like a good deal.Years ago when we sold Adlers we had a big problem with the Amish,when they sewed the heavy work tugs the needle would pull out.So what they did was grind a flat spot on the shank to hold it in.That screw just is to small to get it tight enough to hold.I've heard the newer machines have 2-screws on them,does yours?

That's about the only fault on them but we always felt bad when we told people to put a flat spot on the needle to hold it in(Were ta;lking a $5,000.00 machine).We used to sell alot of those needle set screws too as they stripped out real easy.I could never understand why they couldn't put a larger screw on it like the 441's.

We also would drill a 3/8" in the plastic @ the top of the takeup lever so you can see when the takeup lever is all the way up.

Bob

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It's less than 10 years old. Plate says made in , but a large percentage of it could be from China.

No Adler 205 is made in China. They are all made in the Czech Republic !

/ knut

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Steve,

Sounds like a good deal.Years ago when we sold Adlers we had a big problem with the Amish,when they sewed the heavy work tugs the needle would pull out.So what they did was grind a flat spot on the shank to hold it in.That screw just is to small to get it tight enough to hold.I've heard the newer machines have 2-screws on them,does yours?

That's about the only fault on them but we always felt bad when we told people to put a flat spot on the needle to hold it in(Were ta;lking a $5,000.00 machine).We used to sell alot of those needle set screws too as they stripped out real easy.I could never understand why they couldn't put a larger screw on it like the 441's.

We also would drill a 3/8" in the plastic @ the top of the takeup lever so you can see when the takeup lever is all the way up.

Bob

Bob,

Mine only has one screw holding the needle. And you are right about the take up lever. Being able to see it would be nice, but since the tension is released when the presser foot is raised, at least you don't need access to it. I'm glad to have it, and also very happy that the quality and performance of the Cowboy is on par with the Adler. Its not that the Adler is lower quality than I expected, but that the Cowboy is exceptional, and for half the price new.

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One neat feature of the Adler is that when you press the pedal to lift the presser foot, it relieves tension on the top thread so you can easily pull your piece out. Not a big deal, but neat.

The Cowboy should have this too. My Hightex 7441AE, which is the same machine from the same factory, has a part connected to the foot lift mechanism that spreads the top tension plates.

Have a look at this post on my thread about the machine about midway through the post there are pictures of the mechanism. it doesn't disengage the lower 'wrap-around' tension mechanism though.

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I would agree! I had an adler 204 flat bed and Ive had chinese 441 copies, the adler was a lot better built, but when push came to shove that Chinese machine just works! and works and works! and the 441 should release the top tensioniers when you kick down the presser foot lift...

-Andrew

The Cowboy should have this too. My Hightex 7441AE, which is the same machine from the same factory, has a part connected to the foot lift mechanism that spreads the top tension plates.

Have a look at this post on my thread about the machine about midway through the post there are pictures of the mechanism. it doesn't disengage the lower 'wrap-around' tension mechanism though.

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Yes,I forgot to mention he's correct the Cowboy has a tension release too.It's right underneath the first tension umit & is activated when you pickup the foot,it's a black lever.

When you take off the end cover plate to oil the parts inside you need to make sure you line the pin up when you put in back on.

Bob

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No Adler 205 is made in China. They are all made in the Czech Republic !

/ knut

A thousand apologies to the fine Czeck Republic manufacturing capabilities.

Edited by busted

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Yes,I forgot to mention he's correct the Cowboy has a tension release too.It's right underneath the first tension umit & is activated when you pickup the foot,it's a black lever.

When you take off the end cover plate to oil the parts inside you need to make sure you line the pin up when you put in back on.

Bob

Yes, mine does have that and it is working properly. It just does not release enough tension so the piece can be easily pulled out of the machine, without pulling thread by hand from the take up lever. It does release some tension, but not enough. It's really not a big deal at all. Maybe it's the way I have the tensions adjusted on the machine. The Adler releases quite a bit more of the tension, so that you can just pull the piece out.

I have white thread in one and black in the other. After using the Adler a few days exclusively, I needed to use the Cowboy yesterday. Overall, I actually like stitching on the Cowboy more than the Adler.

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Yes, mine does have that and it is working properly. It just does not release enough tension so the piece can be easily pulled out of the machine, without pulling thread by hand from the take up lever. It does release some tension, but not enough. It's really not a big deal at all. Maybe it's the way I have the tensions adjusted on the machine. The Adler releases quite a bit more of the tension, so that you can just pull the piece out.

I have white thread in one and black in the other. After using the Adler a few days exclusively, I needed to use the Cowboy yesterday. Overall, I actually like stitching on the Cowboy more than the Adler.

You know that's a great idea that everyone should do..have a machine for each color.

Sounds like you still need another machine for the brown??

Bob

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You know that's a great idea that everyone should do..have a machine for each color.

Sounds like you still need another machine for the brown??

Bob

Bob,

When I get ready for a third machine, you'll be getting an order for another Cowboy. No doubt about that.

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Steven;

I find that using a single wrap around the bottom tension disk (not really a tension disk per say) allows the thread to feed much easier than a double wrap. I set the required tensions between the bobbin spring and first tension disk set. When I release the work with the foot lifter, I can pull the threads out very easily. Double wrapping the bottom disk makes it harder to pull the thread out.

Furthermore, if you go through two holes in the top post, it is harder to pull the thread out.

Black thread is springier than white thread and needs more TLC in the feed path.

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Just wondering if anyone has a 20 year old Chinese machine that sews like my 30 year old Adler 205?

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No they don't. China could not have made a 441 clone 20 years ago. I do have a 27 year old Juki that will give it a run for it's money though, might be better too.

Art

Just wondering if anyone has a 20 year old Chinese machine that sews like my 30 year old Adler 205?

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No they don't. China could not have made a 441 clone 20 years ago. I do have a 27 year old Juki that will give it a run for it's money though, might be better too.

Art

I'm sure it's sweet. I have a couple old Consews that are tight. I'm not questioning stitch quality, just machine longevity. If I spend $5000 on an Adler and it last 30 years, does $3000 on a clone get me 20 years? (I'm not sure a brand new Adler gets you 30 years). I am just throwing the $/year out there. (I have no affiliation with Adler or any machine sales). What I do like is that the clones make it more affordable for the crafter - but is it only short term? Will the specs change such that parts become unavailable ? Do leatherworkers have the economic muscle to make sure parts are available? After all, building mediocre, even low end products, that need to be replaced, is how the Chinese have taken over the world's manufacturing. 'If it fails, they'll have to buy a new one".

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As long as you get a machine from a good quality factory, and maintain the machine, it should last 30 years or more, even on a production floor, they just need proper maintenance. I have seen machines from the late '90s that run every bit as good as when new. I wouldn't worry too much about parts availability as the Chinese are careful to copy classic machines, where there are gazillions of them and parts will be available. If the manufacturer deviates from the norm, like bringing out a new arm length, then you will have to depend on that distributor until there are enough of them in service to get the notice of parts manufacturers. Today's clones are in some ways better then their ancestors, they are manufactured to tighter tolerance, and use robotics for drilling and milling.

Art

I'm sure it's sweet. I have a couple old Consews that are tight. I'm not questioning stitch quality, just machine longevity. If I spend $5000 on an Adler and it last 30 years, does $3000 on a clone get me 20 years? (I'm not sure a brand new Adler gets you 30 years). I am just throwing the $/year out there. (I have no affiliation with Adler or any machine sales). What I do like is that the clones make it more affordable for the crafter - but is it only short term? Will the specs change such that parts become unavailable ? Do leatherworkers have the economic muscle to make sure parts are available? After all, building mediocre, even low end products, that need to be replaced, is how the Chinese have taken over the world's manufacturing. 'If it fails, they'll have to buy a new one".

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As long as you get a machine from a good quality factory, and maintain the machine, it should last 30 years or more, even on a production floor, they just need proper maintenance. I have seen machines from the late '90s that run every bit as good as when new. I wouldn't worry too much about parts availability as the Chinese are careful to copy classic machines, where there are gazillions of them and parts will be available. If the manufacturer deviates from the norm, like bringing out a new arm length, then you will have to depend on that distributor until there are enough of them in service to get the notice of parts manufacturers. Today's clones are in some ways better then their ancestors, they are manufactured to tighter tolerance, and use robotics for drilling and milling.

Art

I'm not sold but you make good points. I'm guessing that when I need another machine I'll try a Cobra, Cowboy, or ? because I do read good things about them.

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Ok,I guess I'll have to add my 2-cents,Art makes a very good point these machines are much better than years ago.We do not see abnormal parts breakage or flaws in these machinea.If we did we wouldn't be selling them.

The best part with either the 205 or 441 type of machine made in China is if needed you can buy the parts from either Juki or Adler since they interchange.So you'll never have to worry abnout parts not being available.

Bob

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I agree with Bob. We have not had to replace 1 part due to a manufacturing defect. We also have a lifetime warranty on them as well. Thanks, Steve

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I agree with Bob. We have not had to replace 1 part due to a manufacturing defect. We also have a lifetime warranty on them as well. Thanks, Steve

Some of the top saddlemakers in the industry use machines from the dealers at the top of the page. They don't have to use them or endorse them, they like them or they would not use them.. My self, I have had a Tippman Boss, Champion narrow throat, luberto's classic, Landis 3, Artisan toro 3000 and a Cobra Class 4. I have also used an Adler 205-370 where I once worked. I currently own a Cobra Class 4 and a luberto's Classic. The only heavy machine in use in the shop right now is the Class 4 and have yet to let anyone sew on it that DID NOT LIKE IT!! In fact several people have bought Class 4's after sewing on mine. Pretty hard to beat and at a great price. Call the Adler dealers I know and I DOUBT, you will get the kind of personal service Steve and Bob will give you. My 2 cents worth. Ken

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Like I said in my original post. I have both a 205-370 and a Cowboy 4500. I've used both side by side, and do so every day. I actually use the Cowboy more, because I like sewing on it more, so it is setup for my higher volume items. The Adler is nice. It is finished better. The machining and polishing I would say are better in some areas. But as far as functionality goes, I prefer the Cowboy, so I use it more. I'm sure a Cobra Class 4 would be the same, since it's basically the same as a Cowboy. The Adler has some very nice features, but when I weigh them against the Cowboy, I prefer the Cowboy. They are both built like a tank and I can't imagine any part on either one being worn out in my lifetime. The lifetime warranty is worth a lot. You won't get that with the Adler. I'm not going to complain if my machine breaks down after 20 years and needs to be replaced. It paid for itself the first month I had it, so if it lasts 20 years I'm going to be very happy, and will gladly buy another or three if needed. Unless you find an Adler at a very good price, like I did, I would not recommend it over a Cowboy or Cobra.

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Like I said in my original post. I have both a 205-370 and a Cowboy 4500. I've used both side by side, and do so every day. I actually use the Cowboy more, because I like sewing on it more, so it is setup for my higher volume items. The Adler is nice. It is finished better. The machining and polishing I would say are better in some areas. But as far as functionality goes, I prefer the Cowboy, so I use it more. I'm sure a Cobra Class 4 would be the same, since it's basically the same as a Cowboy. The Adler has some very nice features, but when I weigh them against the Cowboy, I prefer the Cowboy. They are both built like a tank and I can't imagine any part on either one being worn out in my lifetime. The lifetime warranty is worth a lot. You won't get that with the Adler. I'm not going to complain if my machine breaks down after 20 years and needs to be replaced. It paid for itself the first month I had it, so if it lasts 20 years I'm going to be very happy, and will gladly buy another or three if needed. Unless you find an Adler at a very good price, like I did, I would not recommend it over a Cowboy or Cobra.

Say I'm convinced. How do I decide which clone? Must be cylinder arm. Rarely sew over 20oz total, 277 or 346 thread.

Like I said in my original post. I have both a 205-370 and a Cowboy 4500. I've used both side by side, and do so every day. I actually use the Cowboy more, because I like sewing on it more, so it is setup for my higher volume items. The Adler is nice. It is finished better. The machining and polishing I would say are better in some areas. But as far as functionality goes, I prefer the Cowboy, so I use it more. I'm sure a Cobra Class 4 would be the same, since it's basically the same as a Cowboy. The Adler has some very nice features, but when I weigh them against the Cowboy, I prefer the Cowboy. They are both built like a tank and I can't imagine any part on either one being worn out in my lifetime. The lifetime warranty is worth a lot. You won't get that with the Adler. I'm not going to complain if my machine breaks down after 20 years and needs to be replaced. It paid for itself the first month I had it, so if it lasts 20 years I'm going to be very happy, and will gladly buy another or three if needed. Unless you find an Adler at a very good price, like I did, I would not recommend it over a Cowboy or Cobra.

Say I'm convinced. How do I decide which clone? Must be cylinder arm. Rarely sew over 20oz total, 277 or 346 thread.

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Say I'm convinced. How do I decide which clone? Must be cylinder arm. Rarely sew over 20oz total, 277 or 346 thread.

I would call and talk to Bob and Steve. If you need one now, find out which one has a machine in stock. I purchased from Bob and his customer service is fantastic. My machine came ready to sew with 277 thread. It took about an hour to get it unpacked and mount the head to the stand. It sewed like a dream from the first stitch. I can vouch for Bob's CS, and there are others who do the same for Steve. I don't think you can go wrong with either one. Steve is in California and Bob is in Ohio. That might make a difference on shipping cost.

I'm glad I bought the Adler, first because I got a really good deal on it, but mostly because it confirms in my mind how good the clones really are. I don't have to wonder if a machine that costs twice as much is really that much better. It's not. Oh, and if you like the Adler style of machine, Cowboy makes a clone of it too. You can talk to Bob about that. Honestly, having used both, I prefer the 441 overall.

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