A Review of the Pfaff Passport 2.0 / 3.0 Sewing Machine

The Pfaff Passport 2.0 and 3.0 Sewing Machines

The Pfaff Passport Sewing Machines are two of the most popular sewing machines in the Pfaff range. They are great quality sewing machines with all the stitches you need. They also have a hard case and the Pfaff IDT function (a permanent walking foot). Being computerised sewing machines that have all the benefits of needle up/down, one step buttonholes and a tie-off function for the neatest way to catch and hold your threads.

I want to start by saying that we are an agent for Pfaff Sewing Machines, but that this is not going to be a ‘fluff piece’ I want to write an honest review of these two machines.

1. Why is it called the Pfaff Passport

Why Passport? Pfaff have designed both of these machines to be easy to move around – taking them to a class for example, so passport means having the  ‘license to venture out in the world and discover new ways and new places to sew’ (straight from the brochure!).

Review of the Pfaff Passport 2.0 and 3.0 by More Sewing
Passport 3.0 (left) / Passport 2.0 (right)

2. What are the differences between the 2.0 and the 3.0?

The difference between the Pfaff Passport 2.0 and 3.0 is quite simple, the 2.0 has a black facia, the 3.0 is white. In addition to all of the features of the 2.0, the 3.0 has 30 extra decorative stitches and thread snips (i.e. you press the button and both threads are pulled under the fabric and cut off – great if you are working on a large project as you can just pull the fabric away from the machine).

Selection buttons on the Passport

The main features of both machines are:

  • IDT (more of this later!)
  • 70 stitches (2.0) / 100 stitches (3.0)
  • Start/stop button – you don’t have to use your foot pedal
  • Speed slider – you can set your top sewing speed (we find new sewers like to start slow and build the speed up over a few weeks)
  • One-step buttonhole
  • Needle threader
  • Adjustable foot pressure
  • Feed Dog drop – for free-motion quilting
  • Needle up/down – you can set your machine to stop with the needle down
  • Immediate tie-off – set the machine to stitch in the same place three times instead of having to reverse stitch to catch your threads, this gives you a really neat tie-off
  • LED lights – bright light that does not get hot
  • Thread snips (3.0) – draws both threads under your sewing and snips them off

It is worth saying that both machines are not heavy (6.3kgs or so) and come with a hard case with a slot for your foot pedal and power lead – a really nice touch and not one we have seen much elsewhere.

Hard case with a slot for the footpedal & power lead

3. What Is IDT?

IDT stands for (Integrated Dual Feed), in normal language it is a permanent walking foot, which can be engaged and disengaged in a couple of seconds. Having this gives you controlled, no-slip sewing because the fabric is fed evenly from both top and bottom. Brilliant for patchwork and for dressmaking (really neat seams!). You can also use IDT with a number of feet (e.g. the standard zip foot). It is one of the main reasons we wanted to be an agent for Pfaff in the first place.

IDT on (left) / IDT off (right)

4. What do we think of the Pfaff Passport?

Enough of the background – how does the Pfaff Passport feel in use. Overall, really good, the Passport is a computerised machine so stitch lengths and widths can be easily adjusted, and replicated exactly time and again. We have used the Passport for patchwork, free-motion quiting, sewing with jersey and stretch fabrics, denim skirts, dressmaking with cotton, viscose, linen and silk (and others) and apart from making sure we are using the right needle and adjusting the foot pressure when needed, the Passport has handled them all with ease.

The IDT is not a gimmick, it is really useful, helping you to sew great, flat seams and an even feed – no matter how slippery the fabric! Threading up is easy with the built in needle threader and the fact you don’t have to pull up the bottom thread – just thread up top and bottom and away you go. The immediate tie-off gives a really tidy finish to your sewing, no more hitting the reverse button to catch your thread.

What can be an issue? Not much to be honest, we run classes just about every day and we have 4 Passport machines in use all the time. it is our workhorse and gets used by people of all abilities. What we have noticed is that the Passport is a top loading machine and, as with all top loading machines, the bobbin case can jump out of alignment, but this is easily fixed when you know what to do. Also (and this is not an issue with the machine as such) because of the IDT feature you cannot use feet from other machines, you have to use feet designed for an IDT machine. This could be a pain if you have built up a collection of feet from a previous machine but once you have used feet like the standard zip foot and the invisible zip foot on a Pfaff Passport, I don’t think you will want to go back!

Overall, I think the Pfaff Passport is a great machine for someone who is getting serious about sewing, it has enough features to keep you happy for years of dressmaking, patchwork or crafting.

Enjoy More Sewing!

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69 thoughts on “A Review of the Pfaff Passport 2.0 / 3.0 Sewing Machine

  1. Mr More Sewing says:

    Hi, no it does not – nor does it have a knee lift (in case you were wondering!).

  2. Ms New to sewing says:

    How well does it handle multiple layers of thick fabric? Like 3 layers of terry, 2 layers of flannel and 1 layer of fleece all together? Or 5 layers of polar fleece? Thanks!!!

  3. Mr More Sewing says:

    The IDT really helps with these types of fabrics. We have sewn with terry a few times and never had a problem. Just want to mention that you will also need to use the right needle (realise you might know this!) as this have an impact on working with these fabrics. Also, terry produces a lot of fluff so you need to be aware that you should keep the machine clean otherwise this will affect performance in time.

  4. Gloria McMorran says:

    Thank you so much for the review of the 2.0 and 3.0. I’ve been in a quandary as to which to purchase. Think it will be the 3.0 now. Love the built-in dual feed of the Pfaff. My reason for sticking to Pfaff.

  5. Mr More Sewing says:

    Glad you liked the review – just a (gentle!) reminder we do sell these machines and we are happy to offer phone and email support on machines that we sell.

  6. Donna Gardiner says:

    Having a problem with the 3.0 quarter end foot falling off when the presser foot it lifted . How can this be corrected.

  7. Mr More Sewing says:

    Are both the pins that hold the presser foot on still in place? I have seen a problem with one foot where one of the pins had fallen off and it meant the presser foot kept falling off.

  8. Victoria D Cloud says:

    I have a 3.0 and the 1/4 inch foot pops off when the presser foot is raised. Can you help? Also, what letter designation is correct for attachments? Thanks😆

  9. Mr More Sewing says:

    Hi, not sure why foot keeps popping off – can only think the pins that hold the presser foot on are bent, loose or missing – where did you get it from – contact them for replacement. You want to look for feet with the code K for use on a Passport.

  10. salina esmail says:

    I am trying to decide which pfaff to get 2.0 or 3.0 passport the difference in price is $200
    any recommendations thanks
    also I am looking at creative 4.5 Pfaff i dont do embroidery but thinking is it a good option to have?

  11. Mr More Sewing says:

    Passport 3 has 30 more stitches and thread snips. Great machine but might be worth waiting for a deal. The Creative 4.5 is a fab machine bt you are paying a lot for the embroidery set up (which you probably won’t use). We sell a lot of machines in the Expression range – the Quilt Ambition 630 is a great machine for the price.

  12. Deb says:

    Is the neck opening the same on both machines? It appears the space may be a bit wider on the Passport 2.0

  13. Deb says:

    Is the opening to the right of the needle the same on both machines? It appears the space may be a bit wider on the Passport 2.0

  14. Louise Morin says:

    I have a PFAFF passeport 3.0 since october 2017. I use it practically every day.
    I do have an issue with the bobbin case that pops out of position.
    I have replaced the bobbin case 2 times in the past year. It pops, turns, gets stuck and then the needle punctures holes in it. It broke both times the same way: a piece of the black plastic .5cm by .5cm chips off.
    I have a picture. How do I post the picture?

  15. Mr More Sewing says:

    Hi, Sorry for the delay in getting back to you – you can send a picture to hello@moresewing.co.uk. I suspect however that the spring that holds the bobbin case in place has moved out of alignment, meaning the case keeps moving.

  16. Jean F says:

    The Pfaff 1/4 inch foot with guide does fall off under certain circumstances. If you have that specific foot on and you first put the needle down in the fabric, and then lower the foot, it will fall off. Pfaff is aware of the issue in Passports and also some of the Ambition line—it falls off because the edge guide is raised and lowering the needle bar will cause it to fall off. The plain 1/4 inch foot works fine.

  17. Andreaa says:

    Hi, thank you for this review. Just got the 3.0 type which I love but since it is my first electronic machine, I still have to get used to it. The only issue I have with this machine is a tangled lower thread when back stitching. Have you also experienced this issue? Otherwise, the sewing machine works smoothly but the back stitch is really messed up and I do not know what to do with it. Thank you.

  18. Illa says:

    I am looking at a pfaff passport 3. Brand new but used in the store and it has a deterioation on the front casing around the buttons. Store owner says they have had this before on the passport 2 and that it will not affect the usability of the buttons. But around the buttons you can see the plastic cover has broken and turned black here and there. Im thinking this will get worse but am wondering if anyone else has heard of this problem?

  19. Mr More Sewing says:

    hi, sorry for the delay in replying. This should not be happening and does not happen on our machines. suggest you get in touch with the seller and get them to repair it.

  20. Mr More Sewing says:

    Not had this problem on our machines (used every day for teaching) – never heard about it anywhere else either. Is the seller a pfaff dealer? If yes they can buy a replacement part and fix this. If not , I suggest you should look elsewhere for a better condition machine.

  21. Illa says:

    Thank you for your quick answer. I will pass on this machine. I think it must have been damaged somehow. Thanks again!

  22. Wanda says:

    I have a Passport 2 at home in Canada and at our winter place in Florida. I have never had any issues with it. But my friend who bought a Passport 3 had such terrible issues with the bobbin case popping out all the time, that she sold it and bought a Bernina instead. My Passport 2 was supposed to be just for going to classes with. But I like it so much that it is now my every day machine.

  23. Helen says:

    I’m looking at buying a new/replacement machine. I’m comparing options; possibly Pfaff passport 3 or Janome M200QDC. I sew most days. I make clothes but also a lot of leather handbags. I currently use a vintage Singer 201k for leather and it copes ok. Would the Pfaff passport sew leather layers please?

  24. Mr More Sewing says:

    You should not have a problem with the same sort of leather you have used on the 201k – assuming you are using a leather needle of course! Additionally the IDT on the Pfaff should help with an even feed and reduce the possibility of the leather sticking to the presser foot.

  25. Laura says:

    I wonder if you can help me. I have a passport 3.0 machine. Since changing my bobbin, I was finding it really difficult to correct the tension, it feels like the bobbin was wound too tightly but dont know how to control that! Today, I turned my machine on to use… it makes a noise, lights are on but the needle refuses to move! I have the foot down and have tried: pressing the needle button, pressing the play button, pressing the foot peddle, and manually winding the needle in to get it going… nothing! No movement! Am I missing something obvious?! My machine is not that old and has barely been used. A v frustrating experience from a competent machine sewer…

  26. Mr More Sewing says:

    Hi, a couple of things – you cannot wind a bobbin too tightly (only too loosely) so don’t worry about that. The noise and judder is deliberate and is designed to protect the motor. It happens when something is jamming the machine. This could be a number of things – thread jammed around the take up lever, thread jammed around the bobbin or something like that. Try taking the bulb cover and needle plate off and see if there are any trapped threads in either place. Is the bobbin in correctly? It’s hard to tell without looking at the machine – I think I am right in saying the machine should still be under warranty – perhaps get the shop you bought it from to look at it?

  27. Steven says:

    Could a Passport 2.0 be a suitable and strong enough machine sewing canvas for different projects on my sailing boat?

  28. Mr More Sewing says:

    Hard to tell – with the right needle I wuould have thought so – we have sewn through heavy denim with no problem.

  29. Thompson says:

    I have a 5 year old Passport 2. I think it’s a Friday afternoon machine as I’ve had lots of problems with it . When it works well it’s all I could want in a sewing machine but much of the time the bobbin sounds like it’s knocking on the plastic case and that’s when it plays up. Straight stitching skips stitches and for all other stitches it produces stitches that are furry with thread or the stitch is askew . It suggests the tension needs adjusting however I’ve done this but it makes no difference in fact the tension, which I run at 4.1 doesn’t really change when moved to 5 or down to 3 . The machine has been back to the shop twice where she changes the needle (again) and it works but then reverts to it’s problematic ways. I took it to an independent engineer who said he’d sorted it but it was the same. The machine has had so many new needles ( my old sewing machine , a New Home , hardly had any new needles but didn’t play up). It’s cleaned regularly but at the moment I’m having very few good days and want to change to a new machine unless someone can suggest what’s wrong with it! I’m considering a Pfaff Select 4.2 as I use it for dressmaking not quilting.

  30. Mr More Sewing says:

    Hi, sorry to hear you are having a problem. You sent it to an engineer? Did they talk about the timing at all? It could be that the timing is slightly off (not enough to stop it sewing at all but just enough to make it skip every now and then. Set it on the widest zig zag and do a test – do you get any skipped stitches then? If the bobbin is knocking there could be hardened fluff trapped under the bobbin – this can make it lift and cause all sorts of problems – may account for the the furry stitches as well. Are you local to me (Worthing, West Sussex) I would be happy to look at your machine and give you an idea of what I think might be wrong – I don’t charge for looking!

  31. Thompson says:

    Thank you for such a prompt reply. I have cleaned the bobbin area regularly but doesn’t make a difference that lasts more than a short sew.
    Unfortunately I live in Devon though I’d be tempted in non lockdown circumstances to bring it up to you to help. I’m considering a change to the Passport 3 or Select 4.2 but unsure which would be the better work horse for me.

  32. Carrie says:

    Hi, My 5 year old Passport 2.0 is also a bit of a diva. Following advice on a forum, I only run it on the three original bobbins and it works fine now. The originals have a little number embossed on the top. It won’t run properly on the new Pfaff bobbins made by Singer, but will run perfectly on the original bobbins for a Husqvarna E10 that’s about 4 years old. I find I always have to hold both threads when I start stitching, otherwise it produces a bird’s nest of thread underneath. It also has issues winding bobbins, but again on advice, I take the thread twice around the tension capstan, before putting it on the bobbin and it now winds perfect bobbins. It’s a lovely machine, with so many features, so it’s worth preserving. If I’m ever in the Worthing area, I’ll bring her in to More Sewing for a service. I hope you find a way to overcome your problems.

  33. Mr More Sewing says:

    I would be happy to service it if you want. I’ve not had bobbin issues before.

  34. Diane Snow says:

    I’m deciding between a 2.0 and 3.0 but after reading about the bobbins popping up I’m leaning toward the 2.0. My question is do we have to hold the 2 threads when starting to sew?

  35. Mr More Sewing says:

    It is always a good idea to hold the thread when you start sewing (for all machines) as it puts tension into the stitches and stops the thread being pulled back into the machine. However the bottom thread is held in the threading setting up and pulled up by the top thread when you start sewing on the Passport machine so you should only need to hold the top thread. Btw not sure what you mean about the bobbins popping out but we have not had an issue with either machine.

  36. Susie says:

    Hi I have a passport 2.0
    The bobbin is being a pain. The bobbin holder was loose. But the silver holder underneath moves. Not sure how/ which way round that is supposed to go. Will send photo if can. Help please so frustrating.

  37. Mara says:

    Are these heavy duty machines that can easily handle thick fabrics? I sew with fleeces a lot, and occasionally need to be able to sew through 3-4 layers. Could these handle that? If not, do you know what pfaffs could?

  38. Mr More Sewing says:

    The best Pfaff machines for your needs are the Select range – they are designed primarily for soft furnishing sewing and are very robust.

  39. Chrissie says:

    I bought the Pfaff 3.0 two months ago. I continually have problems with the bottom thread tension. It bunches up a lot. Have tried everything. Even the stitching is not always uniform. Very sad because I was so excited to get a new machine and now am very sorry I bought this one. Many commented that the bobbin seems to jump around also.

  40. Mr More Sewing says:

    Hi sorry to hear that – all top loading machines can potentially have a problem with jumping bobbins – I service and repair all makes and I have seen the problem on pretty much all makes of machine. Regarding tension – when you thread up the bottom thread, pull the thread before you sew – if you feel resistance as you pull the tension could be too tight, if you feel no resistance and the thread runs freely, the tension could be too loose. You can adjust the tension by turning the screw in the bobbin case that is coloured in with paint (you may have to scrape some of the paint off with a pin to get the screwdriver to fit). If you think the tension is too loose do a quarter turn of the screw to right and test – if it is too tight then a quarter turn to the left. If the stitch looks better but is still not right then you can do another quarter turn and test again. It might take a couple of attempts but you should get there – but please quarter turns only, particularly if you are loosening off – the last thing you want is the screw to come out.

    Really the shop you bought the machine from should be supporting you – this can be fixed easily – have you tried contacting them? If the machine is only a couple of months old you are covered under the warranty. I am happy to help if I can, if you are near to us (we are in Worthing, West Sussex) I would be happy to look at your machine for you.

  41. Yolanda says:

    I purchased the Pfaff 2.0 having previously used Janome. I’ve been using the machine a lot in the last months, especially during Covid lockdown times. The Pfaff was the most expensive machine I’ve ever purchased and by far the worst. It is so temperamental to a degree that you can only use a certain cotton. The bobbin case constantly slips – I have broken so many needles and damaged fabric as the thread catches constantly under the plate. it’s by no means powerful, and the so called wonderful IDT system really does not make much of a difference at all. I’ve nothing good to say about this machine, and I’ve spent months trying to find a Pfaff contact to discuss these issues. To no avail! You might say go back to where I purchased the machine? Equally poor response – they don’t want to know. Their response: one of the best selling machine – well they only sell Pfaff so how do they compare?!

  42. Mr More Sewing says:

    Hi, sorry to hear you are unhappy. It sounds like the spring that holds the bobbin case in place has moved and needs to be realigned. This is why the case keeps moving and is common in all top loading sewing machines, whatever the make. Anyone that services sewing machines should be able to sort this out. It is possible also that the case itself has marks from where the needle has hit it and these will need to be fixed as well. I can only say that we have sold a great number of these machines and used them just about every day in the shop and don’t have a problem with using a range of threads. Are you local to us (we are based in Worthing) I would be happy to look at your machine and at least give you a better idea of any issues.

    I am disappointed that you are not getting help from the seller – I can only say that not all of us are like that. You really should be getting support from the agent who sold you the machine but if you are not – contact Pfaff directly via their website (they have a contact form). We have found that they are always very helpful and have a great repair team.

  43. Julie FitzPatrick says:

    I’m having a nightmare with Passport 3, it is running the full gamut of things that can go wrong: uneven straight stitching, bottom thread showing on top (not rectified however much I fiddle with the tension) looping on the back (it’s particularly adept at this) and sewing repeatedly in the same place until the motor complains and stops. The machine is only a couple of years old and I’ve not used it a lot. It seemed OK at first and even now the faults are intermittent . Lockdown has delayed my taking it back to the shop to see if they can do anything.

  44. Mr More Sewing says:

    Sorry you are having an issue – it does sounds like the tension is an issue – just adjusting the top tension is not enough, there is a tension screw on the bobbin case but I suggest you need a service engineer to look at this to get it right. I don’t understand why the machine is sewing in the same place – it sounds like an issue with the feed dogs (perhaps they are not clearing the plate properly). The motor complaining suggests something is catching and jamming the motor. I’ve not had this problem on any of the passport machines I have serviced but I am sure a good engineer can sort this out for you.

  45. S Herath says:

    Which these two machine can compare to my very old machine Pfaff 1222e .Is any Pfaff similar to 1222e

  46. Mr More Sewing says:

    The 1222e is a great machine – if you are happy with it, stick with it. There really isn’t a modern Pfaff that compares in terms of stitch selection and features.

  47. Chris says:

    I am buying a passport 3 for my girlfriend who is beginner but a smart learner. I am now concerned about the bobbin case. I just want her to have a solid tool that will last so she can rely on it without issues. Is it really complex to keep the top loading machine issue free? Or will a basic understanding of the mechanics suffice? Thanks for all your help

  48. Mr More Sewing says:

    It’s not complex at all. Both top loading and front loading machines can have problems occasionally but they are easily fixed. We have sold a great deal of top loading machines over the years and only very rarely do we have to help with bobbin issues (and when we do it is almost always because the use has not set the machine up properly for what they are looking to sew). A basic understanding will be enough. Where are you getting your machine from? It really is best to get it from somewhere local that can support you and help with any questions you might have.

  49. Marion Lewis says:

    I have just bought passport 3.0. I was using outdoor dec thread and the bobbin thread comes away from the bobbin guides so that the thread is loose. At one time it was working okay but it pops out from now on. How can I rectify this as I will be using this type of thicker thread very often.

  50. Mr More Sewing says:

    Hi, without seeing it I can only suggest you press down on the bobbin and make sure the thread goes in the guides – as it is thicker the thread needs to be helped into the guides. To be certain take it back to where you got the machine and get them to check your threading for you.

  51. J Muir says:

    Hi, I have a passport 3.0 and the bobbin case constantly pops out. It is driving me mad. I have looked online for advice and have tried everything suggested e.g. thorough cleaning, new needle, rethread, refill bobbin. Nothing has worked. I also sometimes get a knocking noise when it is running. I am so disappointed in this machine as it has not been used much but is unfortunately out of warranty. I have started using my much older, more basic sewing machine which gives me no problems. I would be grateful for any help you can give me.

  52. Mr More Sewing says:

    Without seeing it I can’t be certain but it sounds like the spring that holds the bobbin case in place needs to be adjusted. It’s a bit hard to explain but it is under the needle plate and held in place with two screws. It sits on the bottom right of the bobbin case. If it is too loose the bobbin case will move past it but too tight and the thread will catch. Try loosening the screws just a bit and moving it slightly to the left (to tighten it). Tighten the screws and stitch off – if the thread catches, loosen the screws and move it to the right. If the bobbin case still jumps the spring needs to move a little more to the left. Keep trying it until the bobbin stays in place and the thread does not catch. Hope that helps.

  53. Rose Pethybridge says:

    Hi. I have recently had a problem with a Pfaff passport 3! The clamp which holds the needle into the shaft by turning the screw to tighten no longer does this and the needle keeps falling out! The clamp appears slightly higher on the shaft but cannot see a way to drop it down so that the screw would then hold needle in place. Any suggestions?

  54. Mr More Sewing says:

    The screw holds the clamp in place – if you loosen it off enough the clamp will come away from the bar. then all you need to do is line the clamp back up with the slot in the bar and tighten the screw to put the clamp back in the right place.

  55. Chris Sharp says:

    Does the Passport 2 have mirror stitching facility? And if so, how do I do it?


  56. J Fagerland says:

    I purchased a Passport 3.0 in January 2021. I use it daily and am very disappointed in the bobbin. I have replaced the bobbin case at a cost of $50 and it worked fine for about a month. It keeps popping out and breaks the needle. It seems to be a manufacturing defect. Has Pfaff addressed this issue? For the price of this machine I feel it should hold up better.

  57. Mr More Sewing says:

    Sorry to hear you are having a problem. I have seen this happen with Pfaff machines but to be honest I have also seen it with Singer, Toyota, Janome and others. When you replaced the bobbin case, did you realign the clip that holds it in place. Most of the time I see this issue with a sewing machine the clip will have been forced (or bent) out of alignment when the bobbin case ‘jumped’ out of place. The clip needs to be reset to hold the bobbin case in place but not too tightly or it can catch the thread – it can take a couple of times to get that right. Whenever I have had to replace the bobbin I always check that the clip is in the right place.

  58. RoseMary Mazza says:

    My needle threader doesn’t work. It looks like it does not go low enough to feed thread into needle. Is there an adjustment on the threader? I have a Passport 2.0

  59. Mr More Sewing says:

    It sounds to me like the needle bar is not at the right height. Try pressing the needle up/down button twice – the fist time will take the needle to the lowest point – the second time takes it to the highest point. This is the right height for the threader. Assuming you have not bent the needle threader hook our of place, it should work.

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