Comparing the Singer 15-91 and the 201-2 Sewing Machines
What’s the difference between a Singer 15-91 and a 201-2? I am asked this so often, that I felt it deserved it’s own article.
Here is a brief comparison between the Singer 15-91 and the 201-2 with explanations of what these similarities and differences really mean in practical application.
Here is how they are the same:
Cast iron body
All metal innards
Gear drive, potted motor. - In fact they use the exact same motor.
They use the same needle and on both machines the needle is inserted with the flat side to the left and threads from right to left.
Straight Stitch only with true reverse feed
Feed dogs drop
Use low shank, screw-on feet and attachments
Tons of room around the needle bar to see the work at hand.
The weight about the same (30 lbs.)
The machines are of the same quality. There is no difference in stitch quality.
A Visual comparison:
(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)
|Here is the 15-91 and a page from a Singer brochure.||And here is the 201-2 and it's section on of that same, vintage Singer brochure.|
Here is how they differ:
The hook type:
The 201-2 has a full rotary, horizontal hook with a drop in bobbin
The 15-91 has a vertical, side loading oscillating hook.
Yeah so? What does that matter??
The thread on the horizontal hook must make a 90 degree turn in the stitch process that is not required by the vertical hook orientation. This makes the 15-91 a bit easier to set up for heavier threads and more suited to free motion work, such as free motion quilting. In my opinion the hook design on the 15-91 is one of the most forgiving units ever designed.
The horizontal hook on the 201-2 means that you can just drop the bobbin in from the top. The rotary hook is a little quieter and smoother than the oscillating hook.
With the rotary hook, there are a series of gears that transfer the movement from the main shaft to the workings underneath. These gears create a bit more friction (by design) than the linkages used in the 15-91 oscillating hook set up. So, I find that the 15-91’s are, by virtue of their design, a slightly “freer” machine. In theory, this would suggest that they might provide more piercing power, but I have not noticed a difference in application.
The 201-2 uses a class 66 bobbin, and the 15-91 uses a class 15. Both are very common and easy to find. The class 15 bobbin holds more thread.
On the 201-2 the light is at the front of the machine and for the 15-91 the light is at the back.
The 201-2 has a slightly larger harp by a little bit. I have sewn some bulky items with both, and didn’t notice any real difference in practical application.
Usually, the 15-91’s can be purchased for less than the 201-2’s. When these machines were sold new, the 15-91’s were also priced just a bit below the 201-2’s. The 15-91 was nick named the “farmers wife’s machine” and the 201-2 was tagged the “dressmaker’s machine”.
Looking for more details and information about either model? How about a free instruction book or user's manual to download? Here ya go!
Singer 15-91 Review on the Sew-Classic Blog
Singer 201-2 REview on the Sew-Classic Blog
More info on an INSTANT marked needle plate for any vintage machine!