what is the best embroidery machine? Read My Master Buyer's Guide Below
best embroidery sewing machine
Check out some of my top picks for best sewing machine for embroidery.
Brother’s PE800 is a mid-range model with a robust set of features and a large, color touchscreen for interacting with its controls.
However, what I really like about this machine is its built-in set of patterns. Some machines expect you to go out and find embroidery patterns, but until you have more experience, you might not know how simple or easy to use they are.
That alone makes this model an excellent choice for getting started in embroidery, but its positive sides don’t end there.
Brother’s PE800 also has additional flexibility with its designs thanks to the ability to rotate, mirror, and change the size of designs all from the embroidery machine itself. This means less time spent at a computer and more time creating the pattern you want to create.
New units include a 5″ x 7″ embroidery hoop and foot, four bobbins, needle set, several spool caps, screwdrivers, a dust cover, and a few other tools to use as needed.
This is a good set of accessories, though I do wish they would have added a few more embroidery hoops in different sizes, or at least a spare in case your first one breaks.
Brother offers a 25-year limited warranty for the PE800, as well as free phone and online technical support for the lifetime of this product. This is the best combination sewing and embroidery machine.
- Excellent features
- Built-in patterns make it easy for newcomers to plug in and start using
- Automatic needle threader makes it easy to change colors
- Built-in LED makes it easier to work with dark fabrics
- Plenty of online videos explain how to use specific features
- Light enough to bring to other places
- A color LCD screen (most sewing machines do not have this)
- Can rewind to help deal with misthreading and other common errors
- Can scan plastic bobbins to determine when it’s time to change them
- Better for smaller patterns, rather than embroidering large garments
- Customer support may not help for problems outside what the manual covers
- Only has a slot for a USB drive, not a memory card
- Requires high-end thread for best performance, rather than working well with any thread
best sewing and embroidery machine combo
Brother’s SE600 ideal for small projects. Like its larger cousin, this model is an automatic embroidery machine capable of detailed work. However, there are a few things that set it apart from other models in Brother’s lineup.
The 3.7″ color touchscreen on this model allows you to examine and modify your patterns right from your embroidery machine, down to the level of changing individual thread colors.
That’s significantly more control than many other embroidery machines offer.
The machine uses a 4″ x 4″ hoop, which Brother claims to be the most popular size for embroidery. I think this is large enough for most casual projects, and it is possible to re-hoop cloth to help create larger designs, but I also believe this is an area where they could have expanded things.
On top of its other features, this unit also comes with 103 different regular sewing stitches, as well as six fonts that are available in three sizes each. A convertible free arm helps with cylindrical sewing projects, while the quick-set bobbin makes it easier to get started.
The box includes an embroidery arm and foot, the hoop, three pre-wound bobbins, three bobbin clips, seven sewing feet, a twin needle, a darning place, a foot controller, a dust cover, and several assorted accessories.
I appreciate the fact that this unit has 80 built-in designs, although Brother could easily up this for its users. People don’t choose embroidery machines based on the number of designs they come with, so if anything, I think adding more would make it a better value proposition without noticeably changing the cost to manufacture.
- User-friendly setup with dozens of starting patterns to use
- Has an automatic needle threader
- Its color touchscreen is still relatively rare on embroidery machines
- Mainly for embroidery but also useful for different types of regular sewing
- Powerful enough to go through multiple layers of heavier materials like quilting cotton
- Relatively quiet for a sewing machine
- Good choice for beginners
- Thread cutter helpfully pulls threads to the bottom sides
- No included software for creating custom patterns, which means downloading them or buying expensive software to make your own
- The embroidery hoop is a little on the small side
- Brother does not always include the listed accessories, which is a severe defect they should have corrected by now
- Not a good choice for experienced embroiderers, or anyone who wants to create larger, more complex projects at home
best embroidery machine for beginners
The PE550D has one major feature that sets it apart from the other: The inclusion of licensed designs from Disney. While still relatively limited in number, these patterns include some of Disney’s most popular characters, making this machine a great way to sit down and start embroidering characters.
Now, I see this as both a positive and a negative. This kind of feature has minimal setup time, which makes it exceptionally beginner-friendly and an excellent way to get things done if you don’t have a lot of time and need to embroider a specific pattern quickly.
However, with the ability to transfer designs to the machine, or create your own designs, including licensed patterns isn’t much of a value proposition. Brother offers access to other Disney designs but requires additional purchases for these, and you can find different Disney designs online.
At the very least, I think storefronts should include an image showing the 45 Disney patterns included with this machine. After all, it doesn’t matter how many patterns they have if you don’t like what you see.
To be clear, I don’t think this is a bad machine, but most companies don’t do as much with its unique selling proposition as they should.
This unit is otherwise similar to my #2 entry, with a 4″ x 4″ hoop, various accessories, several built-in fonts, and an automatic needle threader.
- Decorative Disney exterior
- Can embroider letters on angles and curves
- Can also place text on multiple lines and vary the spacing between letters
- The unit can estimate the amount of time needed to finish a project
- Automatic thread cutoff when it’s finished
- Comes with both English and Japanese fonts
- Needles are prone to breaking if the tension is wrong
- The embroidery hoop is a little small for most better projects and making it larger wouldn’t be hard for Brother
- Works best with expensive embroidery thread and may have trouble using lower-quality products
- Beginners need to buy fabric samples, stabilizer samples, and various threads before using this machine
- May require additional software
best embroidery machine for home use
SINGER’s SE300 is more of a commercial model than the previous three machines we’ve discussed.
Notably, this unit only has a black-and-white touchscreen, which really isn’t enough when we consider what modern technology is capable of. That said, it does have several advantages that are worth considering.
First, this is a high-speed machine capable of up to 700 embroidery stitches per minute, which I’ve always found to be an excellent pace even for complex projects. Of course, it’s going to slow down a little if you have to change colors a lot, but that’s true of every machine short of a full-size industrial setup.
This unit also has a large 10 1/4″ x 6″ embroidery hoop, which is significantly bigger than what most other units come with. It also comes with a 4″ x 4″ hoop for smaller projects, which is quite helpful if you still want to do smaller projects.
Other features of this unit include 200 built-in designs, 250 built-in stitches, several LED lights for a bright working area, and an automatic threader. That’s an increasingly common option on sewing and embroidery machines, and personally, I love the update.
- Fast and quiet machine, ideal for producing a high volume of embroidered works
- Allows you to wind bobbins using the touchscreen, not the foot pedal
- Light enough to carry for travel or work
- Comes with an online class to learn more about how to use it
- Solid construction and typically packed well to prevent damage during transit
- Has a large assortment of sewing feet for various tasks
- Has an auto-tension system, though it may take some practice to master configuring the tension
- Does not come with access to an embroidery program for editing designs
- Needles not marked as well as they should be
- The touchscreen is not color and does not have a high enough resolution to show the most complex designs accurately
- The door on the bobbin case is plastic and easy to lose
- Replacement parts may be hard to find
- Limited warranty only covers the metal chassis, not the breakable parts
best embroidery machine for monogramming
This is by far the most advanced option on my list. This is not a machine for newcomers, but it has several features that make it notable enough to include here.
First is the amount of space between the needle and the base of the machine. The MC12000 has eleven inches here, which is significantly more than most of the competition and makes it easy to sew and embroider larger projects.
Other notable features include 338 built-in designs, ten fonts, and adjustable embroidering speed. Like most other embroidery machines, this unit has a USB slot for connecting a memory stick. However, it also has a direct PC connection option, which is particularly helpful if you want to change or edit patterns, embroider them, then set up your next pattern.
The sewing speed ranges from 400 to 1000 stitches per minute, with editing functions that include resizing, combining, duplicating, flipping, arcing, grouping, drag and dropping, zooming, tracing, and user color choices. That’s a robust set of features.
Stitch selections are all made from an extra-large touchscreen; this is a fully digital unit with no manual controls for the main part, though it does have a few buttons and levers for extra functions.
The MC12000 is also a heavy embroidery machine, with the shipping box weighing over 70 lbs. The actual machine is somewhat lighter, but it’s still heavier than many other home machines out on the market, and that can make it much harder to move around once you put it in place.
Overall, this is a solid unit, but it makes it hard to recommend unless you want to produce a lot of different designs. The only real step up from this unit is a full-on industrial machine with multiple needles and automatic color switching, but those units are outside the bounds of this article.
I think this is the best embroidery machine for small business.
- An extremely reliable unit, and unlikely to break or have many problems
- Comes with plenty of accessories and sewing feet
- The large work area is suitable for projects most other embroidery machines can’t handle
- Comes with a semi hard cover, which is a rarity for embroidery machines
- Adjustable speed settings
- Compatible with several different thread brands
- Flexible stitch traveling for more control
- The robust base plate offers various angles and measurements to help with various sewing projects
- Only 4 MB of storage, which is far too little given the incredibly low cost of modern data storage
- Cumbersome and hard to move, requiring a sturdy table
- Most people won’t use the majority of this unit’s features and options, such as its many different stitches
best embroidery machine for home business
best commercial embroidery machine
As far as quality goes, the best machine on this list is the Janome MC12000. It’s sturdy, reliable, and designed for serious production. But it is hard to recommend due to its complexity and a lot of functions.
The overall best unit is Brother PE800. It has an excellent of features, with the color touchscreen being particularly helpful for creating complex embroidery projects.
SINGER’s SE300 isn’t a bad unit overall, but the difficulty of finding some parts, it’s hard to recommend it to anyone who wants to embroider for years to come.
Embroidery machines are a great way to add your own personal touch to something, but finding the best embroidery machine can be a challenge. In this guide, we’ll go over what sets embroidery machines apart from other sewing machines, what you should know before you buy, and which machines I think are most worthy of your consideration.
How Does An Embroidery Machine Differ From A Regular Sewing Machine?
First of all, embroidery machines are not the same thing as regular sewing machines. Most sewing machines perform constructive stitching, which binds two or more pieces of fabric together to create something.
Embroidery is decorative stitching, and machines do it differently. Some machines can do both constructive and artistic sewing, but you can’t sit down with just any unit to perform embroidery.
Similarly, on machines that do both, switching modes often requires exchanging parts, adjusting tension, and various other small but necessary tasks. If you need to perform a lot of both, it might be more useful to buy two machines and dedicate one to each mode.
What Are The Advantages Of Getting An Embroidery Machine?
The main advantage of getting an embroidery machine is the speed at which you can create patterns.
The fastest machines are commercial embroidery machines that can use digital patterns to sew each piece of fabric automatically. These are the most common types of units on the market.
I wouldn’t go as far as calling commercial units cheap, but most of them have realistic prices for private owners. This hasn’t always been the case, but as the interest in embroidery has increased as a hobby or a side business from home, machines are more affordable for people like stay-at-home moms like me.
How Long Does It Take To Learn How To Use An Embroidery Machine?
That depends on how much experience you have and what kind of embroidery machine you’re using.
Most automatic machines have straightforward, easy-to-use software that will do most of the work for you. If you’re already familiar with learning to use software, it shouldn’t take more than a few hours at most to fundamentally master the machine.
If you prefer to move fabric by hand, and guide the embroidery process, expect things to take a little longer. You may need to spend several weeks practicing, though you may produce a basic design as soon as your first day.
In short, it doesn’t take very long to learn how to use an embroidery machine.
How Do I Choose The Best Embroidery Machine?
The best way to choose an embroidery machine is by considering your needs and how you plan to use it.
If you want to create a lot of embroidered material, then an automatic machine is hands-down the best choice. As much fun as it is to guide things by hand, automatic is the only way to go if you need serious output.
Outside of that, there are a few other things to consider.
First, the brand. Some sewing companies are more established than others, but if they go out of business, you could have a hard time finding replacement parts. That means what should be a $20 fix could end up becoming a whole new machine.
It’s impossible to predict any market perfectly, but you can research companies and see if they seem healthy. Notably, larger companies also have more replacement supplies on the market, so you should be fine for a while, even if they stop making new parts.
Second, the price. Most quality embroidery machines are in the mid-hundreds to low-thousands price range. Anything above that is an industrial unit. Note that higher rates don’t always mean better products, either. There is a correlation, but some products are just outright bad and are not worth your time.
Don’t forget to budget for any accessories. Many manufacturers sell additional products separately from the machine, so those could be a hidden cost if you know you’re going to want them.
Finally, consider the ease of use. Simple patterns only need one or two colors at most, but if you want to create intricate patterns, you may find yourself continually switching spools unless you get a machine designed to handle more colors at the same time.
Beginners often get simple machines and find out they needed a complex one later, which can be a pretty hefty bite into your budget.
What Accessories Should I Consider For Embroidery Machines?
Accessories can vary by machine, but here are some of the choices that I’ve found to be the most useful.
Spool Thread Stands
You know how I just mentioned that changing colors can be a problem? Spool thread stands are an easy (and typically affordable) solution to that.
In short, these stands hold many different spools of color, making it easy to get exactly the color you need and change it on your machine. Some industrial machines come with these built-in, but most people need to buy them separately.
I particularly recommend these if you plan to make intricate designs because they’ll save you a lot of time. However, if you plan to limit yourself to two or three colors, you don’t need to worry about getting one of these.
Also known as spool huggers or spool savers, these little things help to clasp down on spools you’re already using and stop them from unwinding after you take them off a machine. Unrolled spools can be a nightmare to fix, so using these can save you a lot of time and effort.
Most companies sell them in bulk, so don’t be afraid to get a larger pack.
High-Capacity Memory Card
I’m not going to lie – when I first got into embroidery, I didn’t think I’d be buying a memory card like my machine was a smartphone. If you want to make a lot of different designs, though, a high-capacity memory card compatible with your machine is a must.
Many manufacturers sell small memory cards that can transfer a few designs and patterns at a time, but this isn’t enough for most serious uses. Instead, get a card big enough to hold all of the patterns you want to use regularly and transfer other files on and off of the card as necessary.
Some machines don’t have slots for memory cards, so hold off on buying one of these until you know if your unit will be compatible.
A Proper Workstation
Embroidery projects can be time-consuming even when you’re using automated machines instead of doing it all by hand. That’s amplified by the cooldown times many machines need to avoid overheating, so having a proper workstation gives you places to maneuver fabrics and perform other tasks.
I recommend a U-shaped desk. Placing your embroidery machine just to the right of the center gives you the maximum amount of space to work with. You can set out other fabrics or projects on the left. Meanwhile, the right is good for anything you don’t want any materials to touch, such as food or needles.
If you can’t get a U-shaped desk, than an L-shaped one to your front and your right is the best option. Consider adding a few extra supports to help keep cloth up and away from the ground. You can leave the right side open if you need to, but since you need somewhere to keep all of your tools and equipment within easy reach, I don’t recommend that.
Getting the right embroidery machine is important, but if you want to do more than a handful of projects, don’t forget to think about your entire workstation.
Most Popular Questions About Embroidery Machines
I decided to start a new heading here at the end of each post. I will public and answers for the most popular questions which I get to my email every day about machines that was mention in this post.
Does Brother PE800 is a good choice for making embroidery on a big T-shirt’s size, like for a 16-years girl? Or this machine is better for baby’s cloth?
This depends not on the T-shirt’s size it depends on the size of the pattern, what you want to embroider. Brother PE800 includes 5×7 hoops, so you can put any pattern that will fit these dimensions. But if you want to put a bigger image on a big T-shirt than you can order a larger hoop.
Can you import third-party fonts from different sources to the Brother SE600 machine?
Unfortunately, you can’t. But you can use the embroidery software with different fonts, make a design that you prefer and then save the design and make embroidery as one picture.
Can I upload my own embroidery designs on the Singer Legacy SE300?
Yes, you can do this by uploading your files to a USB stick. You should save the designs in the XXX or DST formats because this machine reads only these formats.
Do these embroidery machines have every tool which I will need to start making embroideries? Or I should buy something else separately to start work?
The main tool is an embroidery machine, threads, and fabrics. If you will use other designs that stored on your PC you will need a USB drive to transfer them to your machine.
Deep Dive into Choose The Best Embroidery Machine
We’re going to talk all about different types of embroidery machines. When you go into a store and start looking at embroidery machines, there’s a lot of information to kind of take in and sift through, to determine what type of machine is going to be right for you.
Now, embroidery machines come in all different price points. They start at a little as a couple of hundred dollars and they can all go up to 15 to $20,000. Can you believe it? There’s so much to choose from when it comes to embroidery machines, so there are a few different choices to make. What type of embroidery are you looking to do? What kind of a customer do you think that you are? Are you hoping to embroider for yourself? For others? Are you looking to create a business? So really kind of pinpoint what your hopes are. Think about what you’re doing now and what you think you might like to do in the future, so that you can kind of get something that you can grow into a little bit.
There are a lot of different homes, or type of embroidery machines, so if you’re looking just to do things, projects for yourself, for your kids, for your family, you probably don’t need a big industrial type embroidery machine. You could start with something for a home sewer. And again, they come in a lot of different price points.
Some of the changes that are going to happen as you move through the line of embroidery machines, you’re going to get different features and you’ll get different hoops sizes. That’s kind of one of the biggest things I like to talk about when we’re picking out the type of embroidery machine that we want. Now I know that it can be a little bit intimidating to walk into a dealership and see that there are embroidery machines that cost $10,000 but think a little bit about how you’re going to use it and what you want to get from it.
If you start with a smaller embroidery machine, one of the lesser expensive ones, you’ll find that you probably are limited to about a four inch by four inch hoop size. So that means that when you are embroidering on a project that is going to be the maximum embroidable area for you; four inches by four inches. That’s really where the machines start. It may seem like a little bit to start with. You could do a small word or a small flower but if you want to be able to embroider quilts or do bigger designs like what you see in a lot of the samples around here, you probably want to think about stepping up to something that’s going to give you a little bit bigger hoop size.
A lot of machines will max out at a five by seven or even an eight by 10 size and that really gives you a lot more flexibility as you’re working with different embroidery designs in different projects. That’s another great idea too. Just kind of walk around your sewing machine dealership and take a peek at the embroidery designs that they have on the shelves for you to purchase. You can flip those over, look at the assortment of designs and see what hoops sizes most of them require because that’ll really help you to determine where you should start.
As you keep moving through the lines of embroidery machines like Baby Locks top of the line, the Destiny, stitches out in a nine and a half by 14 inch embroidery field without having to reposition anything. So if you really want to do big designs, we want to get into a machine that’s got a bigger hoop size.
Some of the other things that you’ll find as you move through the features will be options like basting, a jump stitch cutter. Because as you go from like a letter to another letter or an element of a design to another element, a lot of times you’ll find that there’s a little jump stitch that goes from one to the next. Some machines will cut those for you.
You’ll be looking at different types of fonts that are in the machines, different types of monograms you can do, assortment of embroidery designs and as you get into the really advanced machines, you’ll find that there are different placement tools; different tools that you can use to help you place your embroidery designs perfectly on your projects.
Like on the top of the line Baby Lock machines, you’ll even find cameras and scanners. They can do just about anything but make you a cup of coffee. So really spend a little bit of time, do a little bit of research and talk to your dealer about the different types of embroidery machines you’re looking for.
Now, if you think that you want to get into more of a business or you want to do more commercial type embroidery, then you might want to start thinking about a little bit bigger embroidery machine, like a stand alone embroidery machine or a multi-needle.
The home embroidery machines come in a couple of different assortments. Some of them are embroidery only. Some of them are for embroidery and sewing, but when you get into the multi-needle machines or the bigger units, all they do is embroider. What’s nice about those machines is that they’ve got a skinnier free arm and that can be really nice if you’re working on what we call blanks or already made projects that you just want to put a monogram on or a little design. They’ve got this real skinny free arm so that you can get into really narrow places as you’re embroidering.
Another thing that you’ll find as you work with those industrial type machines is that they have multiple needles. You can get 10 needles, even more, so you can designate each needle to a specific thread color. When I’m embroidering on my home style embroidery machine, with every element of the design, I have to change the spool of thread for each of the different places in the design. But if you’re working on a machine that has lots of needles, then you don’t necessarily have to be re-threading those needles and that can be especially nice if you stitch the same thing over and over and over again.
If you’re running a business and you stitch the same flower in the same five colors on hundreds of pieces of embroidered fabrics, then you might want an industrial machine like that, that has the multiple needles so that you can just set the machine and walk away.
A lot of those machines also allow you to get into really teeny tiny areas, so much, much smaller hoop sizes and some of them have big jumbo hoops, like the big 10 needle for Baby Lock has a large jumbo hoop that you rotate and it allows you to embroider on a much bigger field. So those are some of the things to consider as you are researching and trying to decide what type of embroidery machine you want to get.