Embroidery is not something your grandmother does by the light of a kerosene lamp anymore. On the contrary, embroidery has become a hot industry and today, everyone and their grandmother are itching to get stitching.
That’s the reason we decided to start this website. Our goal is to create a safe gathering place, a virtual home dedicated to the world of embroidery.
Product reviews, buying guides, tips and tricks and more – you’ll find it all right here. Beginners, experienced embroidery enthusiasts and thriving home business owners – you are all welcome here.
- If you’re a beginner wondering how to choose an embroidery machine, feel free to scroll down to our buying guide.
- If you’re looking for a combination embroidery and sewing machine, here’s our top picks.
- If you want to cut to the chase, what follows is a list of the best embroidery machines money can buy.
The Best Cheap Embroidery Machine (Under $500)
1st Choice – Brother PE 540D
- Embellish your creations with Disney Mickey Mouse & Friends embroidery! Easy to learn and use embroidery-only model from Brother, with 4x4...
- Includes 35 built-in Disney embroidery designs, 70 decorative designs, 5 embroidery lettering fonts, 120 frame pattern combinations
- Easy-to-view back-lit touch screen LCD display to view your designs and built-in tutorials
Brother’s PE 540D is one of the best, if not the best, beginner-friendly embroidery machine money can buy. Apart from being a very budget friendly best-seller, the PE 540D is a light, unique, compact device packing a punch.
Child-friendly features, tons of accessories, over a hundred built-in designs, USB connectivity, efficiency and ease of use – the PE 540D has it all. If you’re a beginner or someone who wants to dip their toes in the world of embroidery, this machine is perfect for you.
Runner up – Brother SE400
- Sew, quilt, embroider. If you can imagine it, you can create it! Enjoy comprehensive sewing functions, plus 4 inch by 4 inch embroidery...
- Easy to view back lit touch screen LCD display accesses 67 unique sewing stitches and 70 built in embroidery designs, with 5 lettering...
- Computer connectivity for importing thousands of embroidery designs purchased from iBroidery and other sites, and for updating your machine...
Another affordable, beginner-friendly model, the SE400 is a beautiful, highly functional little machine. You can sew, quilt and embroider with the SE400 at the same time, which means this is essentially a multi-functional combination machine.
The easy-to-view back-lit touch screen LCD display, 67 unique sewing stitches and 70 built- in embroidery designs, 5 lettering fonts, computer connectivity and a wide variety of accessories – the SE400 is a beginner-friendly combination machine with a twist.
The Best Value for Money Embroidery Machine (Under $1000)
1st Choice – Janome Memory Craft 200E
- Bonus Kit Includes: 1 Pack Prewound White Bobbins, 1 Pack Prewound Black Bobbins, 2 - 10 Pack Bobbins
- 73 Built-in Designs, 3 Alphabet Fonts for Lettering, On Screen Editing Capability
- Maximum Embroidery Area 5"x5", USB Port, Embroidery Format: .jef
If you’re a budget-conscious hobbyist, looking to have an almost professional experience, the Memory Craft 200E will fulfil all your needs. And if you’re thinking of starting your own home-based business, but you haven’t got too much money to invest the 200E is certainly worth considering.
A large embroidery area perfect for working on bigger projects, embroidery speed of up to 650 stitches per minute, great design, tons of accessories and features – you cannot go wrong with this Janome model.
Runner up – Brother PE770
- EXPANSIVE 5 inch x 7 inch FIELD: The Brother PE770 embroidery machine provides ample space for larger designs and lettering projects
- 136 BUILT IN EMBROIDERY DESIGNS: Access 10 frame shapes, 6 lettering fonts, and 12 border styles that can help you design elegant quilt...
- BUILT IN MEMORY: The PE770 embroidery machine allows you to import designs from your USB memory stick thanks to a built in USB port
An eclectic combination of cutting edge modern technology and traditional embroidery machine features, Brother PE770 is a lightweight, functional, portable model that doesn’t cost too much and has just about everything a good embroidery machine is supposed to have.
It works great, it’s fast, it has many pre-programmed functions and designs and included accessories. Simply put, this is a well-thought out product that every embroidery enthusiast is bound to fall in love with.
The Best Feature-Rich Embroidery Machine (Under $1500)
1st Choice – Brother SE1800
- Expansive 5x7 inch embroidery field provides space for larger designs, along with a 5x12 inch multi-position frame allows you to combine...
- Includes 136 built-in embroidery designs and 6 embroidery lettering fonts. Designs include beautiful scrollwork, florals and quilt patterns,...
- 184 built-in sewing stitches, with 10 buttonhole styles and an extensive array of decorative stitches such as scallop, smocking, shell tuck,...
The Brother SE1800 is a sewing and embroidery machine perfect for home business owners and, perhaps, intermediate hobbyists. This is a modern, professional combination machine with a large embroidery area, 136 built-in designs, 184 stitches and countless useful accessories and features.
The SE1800 may not be for every budget, but it certainly over-delivers in almost all departments and it is one of the best combination machines available today.
Runner up– Brother Designio Series DZ820E
- The DZ820E includes two extra embroidery hoops (4x4 inch and 2.5x1 inch), a starter kit and 200 additional embroidery designs on a CD....
- Customize in style with 136 built-in embroidery designs for the designer in you. Including 6 lettering fonts and 120 frame pattern...
- View built-in tutorials and design editing features right on the easy-to-use back-lit LCD touch screen LCD display.
The DZ820E is another brilliant Brother machine, cheaper than SE1800, but almost equally as good. This is a stable, sturdy device that’s perfect for hobbyists and beginners who feel the need to try a more sophisticated machine with more options and features, that is user-friendly at the same time.
The DZ820E features an extra-large embroidery area, 136 built-in designs, a great speed of 650 stitches per minute and dozens of exciting accessories.
How to Choose an Embroidery Machine – Buying Guide
If you’re a beginner, picking a good embroidery machine can seem like a daunting task. Even intermediate users struggle with this part.
Like we said in the beginning, the world of embroidery has experienced a renaissance of sorts and the market is absolutely flooded with different kinds of embroidery machines.
User reviews and websites like ours are a great place to start, but it can all seem a bit overwhelming at times. After all, there is a sea of information out there, so it can be hard to digest all of it at once.
This is the main reason we’ve decided to make a short buying guide – we want to assist our readers and help them pick the best possible embroidery machine, one that suits their individual needs and preferences.
Here are some things to consider.
- Is it for Home or Business Use?
The first question you need to ask yourself, when buying an embroidery machine, is: Do I need it for home or business use?
A home machine doesn’t need to be as fast or as heavy-duty as a business machine and therefore it probably doesn’t cost as much. However, since there are hundreds of different machines out there, it’s difficult to place them all in only two categories.
Some machines are suitable for business owners and hobbyists alike, but generally professional machines cost more and are specifically built for mass production. Naturally, devices made for beginners are typically a lot easier to use than high-end machines.
- What’s My Hoop Size and Embroidery Area?
Do you plan on working on larger designs or do you perhaps just want to work on smaller ones and then maybe switch to bigger designs? Hoop size, field size, throat width, embroidery area size – these terms are used to describe just that, on which projects will you be able to comfortably work on.
Most cheaper embroidery machines are meant for hobbyists and typically include 4×4 inches hoops and have no multi-hooping capabilities. This is often what determines the price of a machine, more than anything else.
- What’s My Budget?
Embroidery machines can be a considerable investment. Business owners are probably aware of this, but many inexperienced hobbyists fall into the trap of buying a large, elaborate, expensive embroidery machine that they end up selling for half the price in the end.
Make sure to find a machine that offers good value for the money, regardless of how much you’re willing to spend. Reviews on our website are definitely a good place to start.
Every now and again, a no-name company produces a great embroidery machine that gets endlessly praised online and elsewhere, but these are exceptions to the rule. Most of the time, well-established brands produce the best machines.
As you may have noticed, companies like Brother, Singer and Janome, to name a few, are household names and it’s always best to stick with their products.
- Sewing and Embroidery
We have mentioned a few combination (sewing and embroidery) machines above, but these can sometimes be a double-edged sword. Even though it sounds great to get two machines in one, the reality is much different.
Designers often produce below average sewing and embroidery machines and advertise them as brilliant 2 in 1 devices, while they’re in fact not good enough for neither embroidery nor sewing. This doesn’t mean there aren’t good combination machines out there, but that’s usually reflected in the price.
Most embroidery machines nowadays come with a large selection of accessories – dozens of them. While most of them can be useful, it’s perhaps best you carefully consider your own needs and preferences before making the final decision.
For example, some machines come with great carrying cases, so if you travel a lot that can be a great thing. On the other hand, some devices come with different presser feet or attachments of special techniques.
The point is – always carefully read the list of included accessories (and not “optional” accessories).
- Designs and Computer Connectivity
The number of built-in designs is perhaps one of the most important things to consider when it comes to embroidery machines, especially for beginners. Hobbyists aren’t willing to purchase designs or able to make them themselves.
Most machines nowadays have built-in software and computer connectivity too – usually an USB port. Even though this allows you to import as many different designs as you like, they’re often expensive, so the number of built-in designs is something to pay attention to.
- Warranty and Customer Service
This often goes under the radar, but warranty and customer service are incredibly important. In our experience, Brother has the best warranty program, but most other big brands have decent warranty services too.
Yes, there is a sea of, often contradictory, information on the world wide web but it’s always best to do you research before reaching for the wallet. Expert reviews, like those on our website and Amazon user reviews are a good place to start.
If there is a consensus regarding a certain machine, between the customers and the experts both, that’s probably a good indication of the machine’s quality.
- User Manuals and Instructions
If you’re a complete beginner, a well-written, concise user manual can go a long way. Make sure to pay attention to do your research about user manuals and instructions that come with the machine that you decide to buy.
We encourage you to explore different sections of our website. There is an embroidery machine out there waiting for you to use it and we have probably already reviewed it. If we haven’t, we most certainly soon will.
Consider our website a window into the world of embroidery. Whether you’re an experienced professional or an amateur beginner, you will find compelling, interesting content here and we will do our best to keep producing it.
The Right Combination
If you are not focusing purely on embroidery, but you do want to have it as an option in your craft room arsenal, then a combination sewing and embroidery machine is what you need. Combination machines are useful if you want to liven up or customize smaller sewing projects, or add a stylish monogram to items of clothing.
A combination sewing and embroidery machine is also useful if you’re looking to create embroidered hats and baseball caps.
When you try and embroider something like a baseball cap as a complete item, it is often difficult to get the embroidery right down to the bill of the cap.
You can use your combo machine’s embroidery function on the front piece of your baseball cap, and then stitch on the bill. This gives you a smart, professional flush finish, and also allows you a larger embroidery area.
The Top 5 Combination Machines
1. Brother SE400
The Brother SE400 Combination offers comprehensive sewing functions, alongside monogramming embroidery ability. As Brother themselves say of this machine – “If you can imagine it, you can create it”, whether that’s a quick and simple repair job on a shirt, or a set of napkins, lovingly monogrammed as a useful and thoughtful wedding gift.
Offering 67 unique stitches, and 70 pre-set embroidery designs, including five lettering fonts, the SE400 Combination is a versatile machine, ideal for the experienced hobbyist and semi-professional sewist, and more than capable of creating stylish, customized embroidery pieces alongside standard sewing functions.
There is a backlit LCD display, which makes it easy to see your designs as you’re working on them. Computer connectivity means you can create your own designs, and easily transfer them to the machine. This means you can create products that are truly unique, and makes this machine ideal for those with creative flair and fertile imaginations.
The SE400 is well-designed, with a high end finish that goes right down to the pedals.
It comes with a range of accessories, although sadly not the larger embroidery hoop that would be useful for those doing a lot of embroidery work.
The SE400 can be difficult to understand at first, especially if you have limited experience with machine sewing. However, there are several good sewing websites where experienced machinists offer advice, as well as YouTube videos showing how it should be done. In today’s ever-connected world, you are never truly alone!
2. Futura XL-400
The Singer Futura XL-400 offers the largest work surface among domestic embroidery machines, with a 10” x 6” embroidery hoop included, and multihooping capability. This allows you to complete much larger designs than most standard machines.
The large work surface is also a plus for those who regularly make their own clothes, offering greater comfort and flexibility when working on larger garments such as jackets or long skirts and dresses.
The Futura XL-400 features 125 built in designs and five fonts, with USB cabling for easy file transfer. However, it is important to note that this machine is NOT compatible with Mac computers, or with Windows 10 (at the time of writing).
In a departure from most embroidery machines, there is no screen on the Futura XL-400. This means you are not easily able to view your designs as you are working on them. Because of this, the Futura XL-400 is definitely not recommended for beginners looking to get into embroidery, although it is less of an issue for those who will be primarily focusing on sewing.
If you are confident in your embroidery, the lack of a screen shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.
3. Project Runway
Another offering from Brother, the Brother LB6800PRW Project Runway has all the functionality of the SE400 Combination, but includes a rolling carry bag.
This machine is not compatible with Mac computers (few computerized machines are, at present). It also struggles to handle heavier fabrics. In addition, our reviewers found that the machine doesn’t seem to recognize imported designs, such as those created on a computer.
For those who are primarily looking for a sewing machine, and might only do occasional embroidery, this won’t matter, as it is more relevant to those for whom embroidery is their main focus.
The rolling carry bag makes this a useful machine for those attending classes, as it is very easy to transport.
4. Futura XL-550
The Singer Futura XL-550 is a treasure trove of stitch design for the sewing enthusiast, with 215 built in stitches. It also includes an automatic needle threader, so getting started is completely hassle-free. Its extra large sewing space has bright LED lighting, so you can easily see your stitches as you’re working.
This means you should be able to spot. any stitching inaccuracies or mistakes quickly, saving you valuable time – and a lot of tears and frustration! – later in your project.
Those who are buying the Futura XL-550 for embroidery purposes have not been left out, either. With an extra large 10” x 6” embroidery hoop, and multihooping capability, you should have plenty of space for any project. And the selection of 125 embroidery designs will leave you spoiled for choice!
You can also purchase dedicated, machine-specific embroidery design software to enhance your embroidery experience.
The Futura XL-550 is not compatible with Mac computers. This is only really relevant to the embroidery function, but is nonetheless important to point out. It is not recommended as a beginners’ machine, although it would be fine for more experienced sewists. It can also be somewhat noisy when in use.
5. Brother SE350
Finally, the Brother SE350 offers 67 built in stitches, and 98 stitch functions. It has an automatic needle threader, as you would expect, and a touch screen control, making getting on with your project truly effortless.
For embroiderers, there is an on-screen editing function, meaning a simple mistake needn’t hold up your entire project.
While the SE350 isn’t suitable for monogram embroidery, it does have a zig zag stitch function, allowing sewists to create basic yet functional hems.
This is not a machine for large projects or embroidery designs. However, if you’re mostly looking to create small, customized gift items, the SE350 could be the perfect fit.