Hand embroidery or sewing is a thing of the past. But that doesn’t mean that you can no longer enjoy quirky, embroidered designs, right? Because technology has already made it possible to apply intricate stitching to fabric with minimal sewing skills. With a quality embroidery machine just like with the right sewing machines, you can personalize your decor, clothes, and accessories using whatever design you choose. But before you start stitching your dream designs, you’ll need to find an embroidery machine that suits your needs. Well, we’ve rounded up the best embroidery machines on the market today to help reduce the time and guesswork you’ll have to do. If you’re ready to pick, check out our list below.
Top 8 Embroidery Machines of 2018 Reviewed
- Top 8 Embroidery Machines of 2018 Reviewed
- Embroidery Machine Buying Guide
- Types of Embroidery Machines
- Which type is best for you?
- What is the maximum embroidery design size that the machine can handle?
- How many hoops do you get with the machine?
- What is the throat width?
- How many stitches per minute can the machine do?
- How many designs and fonts are pre-programmed in the machine?
- How do you add more fonts and designs?
- What’s the digital display like?
- Can the embroidery machine sew too?
- What accessories are available for your machine?
- Does the seller/dealer have an onsite repair center?
- Are there classes offered with the machine?
1. Brother SE400Best Embroidery Machine For Beginners
The Brother SE400 is our number one pick because it will give you the most bang for your buck. This is a combination sewing and embroidery machine which means that you’ll be able to have one machine to do all your quirky crafting on – sewing, quilting, and embroidery. This machine features a backlit touch screen LCD display, 67 unique sewing stitches, 70 built-in embroidery designs, and 5 lettering fonts. If that’s not enough design for you, you can buy embroidery designs from iBroidery.com or other sites and upload them to your machine via a USB cable.
The SE400 also comes with 1 hoop (4″ x 4″), a buttonhole foot, an overcasting foot, a monogramming foot, a zipper foot, a blind stitch foot, a button fitting foot, and an embroidery foot. Even better, the machine comes with built-in tutorials that you can easily access through the LCD touchscreen. So, what’s the problem? Well, scrolling through 12 pages of stitches can get irritating over time. In addition, some owners have reported breaking their needles when using this machine. Also, the maximum embroidery design size is 4″ x 4″ so you’ll have to do a bit of maneuvering and/or split any designs that are larger than that.
- Combination sewing and embroidery machine
- Built-in tutorials
- USB connectivity
- Small embroidery design size
- May break your needles from time to time
- Requires you to scroll through 12 pages of stitches
2. Singer 7258Best Embroidery Machine For Clothes
To be honest, the Singer 7258 is really a sewing machine. One of the best in the market, actually. It can be used by both beginner sewers and intermediate ones. It has a lot of automatic features that make it convenient to use such as automatic stitch length, width, and tension plus an automatic needle threader (who doesn’t like that one, right?). This machine comes with 100 stitches, 76 of which are decorative. So, why is this on our list? Because it comes with a darning and embroidery foot that allows you to do free-motion embroidery.
What that means is that you can create your own design and use the machine to make it come alive by finding the balance between the speed of your needle and the movement of your fabric. The beauty of free-motion machine embroidery is that you are in control; it’s all about experimenting and having fun. If you’re a beginner who wants to learn sewing and embroidery at the same time, this is the perfect way to become adept at both. And the Singer 7258 can definitely help with that.
However, the machine isn’t without faults. Its built-in light is dim so any experimenting you want to be done should be under a brighter light. It doesn’t come with an automatic thread cutter which is inconvenient but not a deal-breaker. And the throat width is pretty small (only 5 inches wide) so you may be limited to the size of your embroidery design.
- Allows you to practice free-motion embroidery
- Automatic needle threader
- Easy to use
- No automatic thread cutter
- Dim light
- Narrow throat width
3. Singer Quantum Stylist 9960
If you’re a tech-savvy sewer, the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 may be more your style. Like the previous pick, this isn’t a combination sewing and embroidery machine. While it does have 5 built-in Alphanumeric Fonts, it doesn’t include any embroidery designs. What it does have is a darning and embroidery foot that you can utilize for some free-motion embroidery. What makes this particular sewing machine stand out is the fact that it is a high-end machine that will grow with you as you become more adept at sewing, quilting, and embroidery.
It has a lot of easy-to-use features such as a built-in needle threader and electronic autopilot. It even has mirror imaging and stitches elongation to add to your creativity. With so many features and accessories (18 presser feet and 15 other accessories), it’s not any wonder that this machine costs a lot. And it’s also quite heavy; at 20 pounds, this isn’t something that you’d gladly lug around to embroidery classes in your community. You might have to stick with online ones.
- Mirror image of stitches & stitch elongation
- Many accessories
- Intuitive design
- Heavy (not portable)
4. Brother Embroidery Machine PE770Best Embroidery Machine For Home Business
If you want an embroidery machine that allows you to grow your skills as well as your designs, then, the Brother PE770 is just the thing. This machine allows you to create larger embroidery designs comes with a 5″ x 7″ embroidery field which means you can easily place your desired decors on bags, jackets, and other large projects. You’ll also have more space to combine designs, rotate them, etc. to create truly customized decor according to your style.
This machine comes with 136 built-in designs, 6 lettering fonts, and the ability to import more designs from the web through the built-in USB port. The backlit LCD screen is another reason why we love this machine. You can easily rotate, resize, and edit your designs right on the screen and even see how it will look on your cloth before the machine starts stitching. Even better, you can save your one-of-a-kind designs to a memory card (purchased separately) using the built-in card slot.
Other standout features are a quick-set bobbin, an automatic needle threader, an auto thread trimmer, and a speed of 650 stitches per minute. We haven’t even gotten to the 25-year warranty and the numerous accessories included. So, what’s the catch? Well, it’s not ideal for beginners because it isn’t intuitive. Also, the hoop isn’t so easy to attach.
- Editing features of the LCD screen
- Large embroidery design size
- 650 stitches per minute
- Not intuitive
- The hoop is sometimes hard to attach
5. Brother LB6800PRWBest Embroidery Machine For Monograms
Another combination sewing and embroidery machine from Brother, the LB6800PRW is one of our favorites because it is easy to use for both beginner and intermediate stitchers who wish to play around in both the sewing and embroidery worlds. This machine comes with 67 sewing stitches with 98 sewing stitch functions, 70 embroidery designs, 120 frame pattern combinations, and 5 lettering fonts. If that’s not enough for your creative juices, you can connect the machine directly to your computer to upload designs you’ve found online or created yourself.
Like the SE400, this also comes with built-in tutorials you can access from the LCD touchscreen display. You also get design editing features such as the ability to rotate designs, mirror-image, and resizing them to customize the look. Aside from the built-in features, you also get various accessories such as the 4″ x 4″ embroidery hoop, blind stitch foot, and the buttonhole foot, to name a few. Plus, this machine comes with a Project Runway embroidered rolling bag so you can easily lug it from one sewing/embroidery class to another.
And because threading a needle can be a pain, this machine also features an advanced needle threader. However, it has a limited design size; it can only accommodate a 4″x4″ hoop. Also, it is quite heavy. If you don’t buy from Amazon, you may not get the rolling cart that makes it transportable. In addition, you may find that the machine doesn’t always work seamlessly with Mac computers.
- Built-in tutorials
- Comes with a rolling bag
- Advanced needle threader
- Doesn’t always work well with Mac
- Small embroidery design size
6. Brother Designio Series DZ820EBest Embroidery Machine For Custom Designs
The Brother Designio Series DZ820E is a dedicated embroidery machine that comes with a lot of extras such as a starter kit, 2 extra embroidery hoops, and a CD that has 200 additional embroidery designs. On its own, the machine already has 136 built-in designs for you to choose from with 6 lettering fonts and 120 frame pattern combinations. To help you customize your design, even more, you can import designs you got from online into your machine.
Like most other Brother machines on our list, this one also features built-in tutorials. Unlike a lot of the others, this can accommodate up to a 5” x 7” hoop so you can get larger designs done as well. Convenient features such as automatic threading and automatic thread cutting are also included. One standout feature you’ll love is the presence of two LEDs that will provide you with bright enough lighting so you never get your eyes and stitches crossed. However, some users found the black and white screen a bit hard to read. Some also reported having a problem with the bobbin tension.
- Easy to use
- Large embroidery design area
- Bright lighting
- Some felt that the LED screen is hard to read
- May have problems with the tension settings
7. Brother SE600
The Brother SE600 is the slightly upgraded, more expensive version of the SE400. It has a larger touch screen which is colored, not black and white. It allows you to connect a USB stick directly instead of a cable. It doesn’t have an embroidery card slot. Naturally, it offers more built-in stitches and designs – 103 stitches, 80 embroidery designs, and 6 lettering fonts. The SE600 also comes with a convertible free arm so you can sew jeans, sleeves, and cuffs. However, it still does not allow you to make larger embroidery designs. Also, horizontal threading may not be easy.
- An upgraded version of SE400
- Convertible free arm
- Colored LCD screen
- Small embroidery design size
- Horizontal threading may be difficult
8. EverSewn Hero – 400 Stitch
The EverSewn Hero is a combination sewing and embroidery machine that is best for intermediate stitchers. It features more than 400 stitches and 40 built-in embroidery designs. It can produce 650 stitches per minute. And the LCD interface is one of the best (read that: easiest) we’ve navigated. Another thing we loved about this machine is that it features a bobbin monitoring system, stopping when the thread breaks and alerting you when the thread is running low.
Like other computerized machines, the EverSewn Hero also has USB connectivity so you can add more designs. However, it was slightly annoying to learn that you’ll need to convert files you find online to the same format that is used by EverSewn. It’s not a dealbreaker but it’s an extra step that could have been done away with. Compared to other machines, the EverSewn Hero is only 26 pounds so you can easily transport it to and from your embroidery classes. Just take note that it is a bit on the long side. Also, for the price, we expected the machine to include an automatic thread cutter – a feature you normally see in lower-priced models. Unfortunately, it isn’t part of the package.
- Bobbin monitoring system
- More than 400 stitches available
- Easy to use
- No automatic thread cutter
- Requires you to convert files to the format EverSewn uses
Embroidery Machine Buying Guide
So you want to embroider. And we don’t mean doing it by hand just like your grandma did in the good old days. In today’s world, embroidery isn’t just for decorating pillows or monogramming your stuff. It can be used to embellish gift items, decorate your quilting projects, and enhance your clothes.
It can be used to create quirky accessories like handbags, pot holders, luggage tags, zipper pouches, and more. With an embroidery machine, it “seams” like the only limit is your imagination. Of course, that presupposes you already have a machine.
Whether you’re new to the world of embroidery or a regular Martha Stewart, you will need to make sure that whatever machine you buy suits your needs perfectly. An embroidery machine is an investment so buying one should never be taken lightly. After all, you’ll be spending at least $200 for a decent machine. What this means is that you should take the time to do your research. Which is exactly what our guide is for – to help you figure out just exactly what YOU need in an embroidery machine.
Types of Embroidery Machines
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, let’s first differentiate the different types of embroidery machines that you’ll come across.
Single Needle Embroidery Machines
Just like what the name says, these machines only feature one needle on the head just like what you’d see with a regular sewing machine. Aside from a single needle, these machines also only have one point of attachment for the hoop and typically comes with a smaller range of hoop capabilities. On average, these machines can sew around 300 to 1000 stitches per minute.
The best thing about single-needle machines is that they’re easy to use whether you’re using it for general stitching or decorative stitching. You can also find them in most online and local sewing shops. Compared to other types of embroidery machines, these are more affordable with a decent machine costing between $200 to $300.
However, single needle machines take more time to finish complex designs that feature multiple colors. This is because you’ll need to manually change the thread each time you need to sew on a different color.
Multi-needle Embroidery Machines
Like the name suggests, this type of machine features several needles, typically 4 to 10 on the head. A multi-needle machine is perfect for complex or intricately patterned embroidery designs. Each needle will be able to hold a thread of one color, allowing you to complete a project without having to change colored threads along the way. Unlike single-needle machines, these come with 2 points of attachment for the hoop and has a larger range of embroidering capabilities. On average, this type of machine can create 400 to 1000 stitches per minute.
One benefit of using this type of machine is that projects are completed faster. Another is the fact that these are more precise than single needle machines. Plus, you can more easily hoop bags, accessories, and readymade clothes with this type of machine. You can even do free arm embroidery easily with a multi-needle machine.
However, multi-needle embroidery machines are very expensive – ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. In addition, there are lesser models available and you’ll be hard-pressed to find this type of machine in most stores.
Which type is best for you?
It actually depends on a number of factors which we will be discussing in more detail through a series of questions. However, one of the best ways to determine what type of embroidery machine works best for you is to try out an embroidery machine through an embroidery class or embroidery event.
Not only will you get firsthand experience on how the machine feels and works, you’ll be able to talk with other embroiderers regarding their experiences. In addition, you’ll get a better idea of what exactly you’re looking for. If you aren’t able to test a machine, we’ve listed down several questions that will help you figure out which machine will suit you best.
What is the maximum embroidery design size that the machine can handle?
This is the most important question you need to ask because it will allow you to see the limitations of what you can create with the machine. Obviously, basic embroidery machines will have a smaller embroidery area compared to higher-end models.
Check what is the maximum hoop size of the machine. The sizes range from 100mm x 100mm to 360mm x 350mm. Small projects will only require small hoops. Larger projects will require larger hoops. The most common hoop sizes are 4” x 4”, 5” x 7”, 6” x 10”, and 8” x 12”. However, not all machines can accommodate all these sizes. The Brother Designio Series DZ820E is just one of a few on our list that can accommodate hoops as large as 5” x 7”.
How many hoops do you get with the machine?
Speaking of hoops, an embroidery machine will typically include an embroidery hoop or several along with accessories. The Brother Designio Series DZ820E, for example, comes with 2 extra hoops of different sizes. Check if the hoop size is something that you can use for your project. If not, check to see what additional hoops are available from the manufacturer and how much they cost.
What is the throat width?
The throat width of an embroidery machine is the distance between the needle and the body of the machine. The bigger the throat width, the more room you have for your project. A small throat width will limit the size of your embroidery design. It may also be frustrating to use because you’ll need to constantly maneuver the cloth in order to make it fit.
How many stitches per minute can the machine do?
Stitches per minute are the speed of the embroidery machine. Obviously, the higher the number, the faster the machine can work which, in turn, means the quicker your project will get done. While the speed can range from 300 to 1,000 stitches per minute, only models with speeds at 650 stitches per minute and above like the EverSewn Hero – 400 Stitch are considered high speed.
How many designs and fonts are pre-programmed in the machine?
All embroidery machines will have built-in designs and fonts that you can use. Most basic models will only have less than 50 built-in designs for you to choose from and very few fonts. Higher-end models like the Brother Embroidery Machine PE770 can have as many as 100 or more designs installed as well as 10 to 12 fonts.
How do you add more fonts and designs?
While some people will prefer a large selection, other crafty stitchers would prefer the option to add more to what’s already there. If that’s you, you’ll need to find out how you can add more designs. Some models will allow you to transfer downloaded designs through a USB stick or cable while others will be able to connect directly to the internet. Make sure to choose the option that you’re most familiar with.
What’s the digital display like?
The most important thing you need to consider regarding the digital display screen is if it’s easy to use/navigate. This is because this is where you’ll be scrolling and selecting designs. In some models like the Brother SE600, you can even edit designs through the digital display. You might want to look for a machine that has a relatively large screen so you can see more detail and edit more easily. Also, you might want to check if the machine will allow you to combine two designs on the screen. This is an important consideration if you plan on combining different designs in the fabric and wish to have the machine do them all in one pass. If your preferred embroidery machine lacks this function, you will need to buy embroidery software that will allow you to do this.
Can the embroidery machine sew too?
A lot of embroidery machines are actually a sewing machine and embroidery machine in one. While this is an important consideration, having a versatile machine is cheaper than owning one of each. Even if you already have a sewing machine for your other crafting projects, a “combo” machine like the Brother SE400 can be an alternative if your regular machine requires maintenance or repair.
What accessories are available for your machine?
While most embroidery machines are sold with accessories such as a needle set, cleaning brush, spool caps, and bobbins, it’s still important to know what else is available. Think of your project and what attachments you’ll need such as presser feet. You may want to be able to do some quilting so check if you can add a quilting table to your machine. Knowing what options are available can help you check the machine’s future versatility and ability to grow with you as you get to advance your skills. With the case of the Singer 7258, this is a sewing machine that comes with an accessory that allows you to embroider designs using the machine – the darning/embroidery foot.
Does the seller/dealer have an onsite repair center?
Dealers typically have knowledgeable sales staff AND full-time trained technicians who can clean or service your machine whenever necessary. For this reason, most experts recommend buying from a reputable dealer. Buying directly from the manufacturer means shipping it off to them every time you require a repair which can be very costly and can take quite a bit of time.
Are there classes offered with the machine?
A lot of dealers offer embroidery classes that will teach or refresh your memory on the basic functions of the machine. Some will even offer regular technique classes that you can take to grow your skills. This is a great way to learn the different embroidery capabilities of your machine.
Remember, a lot of research is required if you want to buy an embroidery machine. You don’t want to end up with one machine and wish you’d chosen another. Time well-spent in learning the ins and outs of an embroidery machine will result in money well-spent.