Has long been a teacher of English Literature, after the retirement focused on freelance copywriting. She’s now our full-time writer since our website allows her to know more about the hobby of her lifetime – sewing.
A professional fashion designer and seamstress. Isabel has her own video blog where she shares her experience about all the aspects of sewing – from choosing suitable materials to step-by-step instructions on how to sew a summer skirt.
Last updated: February 28, 2021
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For many people, embroidery is an excellent way to give their crafting projects an additional creative touch. Whether you are looking to add a bit of flair to a pair of jeans you love or finish off those pillowcases you sew yourself, an embroidery machine offers you endless possibilities for expressing your creativity. But finding the best embroidery machine for your needs can be tricky, mostly due to the wide amount of options available and the complexity of many of these machines.
There is, of course, an embroidery machine for every budget and purpose, so no matter the reason you might be looking for one it is important to keep in mind the type of use you are interested in as well as your budget. For our review, we considered the most important features you need to take into account when looking for the best embroidery machine for home or business use. These include the type of embroidery machine, the embroidery field area, the number of built in designs, USB connectivity, warranty and more. Our editor’s choice was the Brother SE1900 because it has everything an advanced user might want in an embroidery machine, but you’ll also find models suitable for beginner and intermediate users as well.
We spent days researching the best embroidery machines on the market, speaking to home and business users to find the top models that would suit just about any need and budget. Our research allowed us to compile a comparison table with all the information you need to make the best choice. You will also find in-detail reviews of each of the machines we selected for our top, together with a buying guide detailing everything there is to know about buying the best embroidery machine.
Our editor’s choice is the Brother SE1900 Computerized Sewing and Embroidery Machine, which we believe to be one the best embroidery machines for a home business because it combines a wealth of features with ease of use and a reasonable price tag (for what you get). An upgraded version of the Brother SE1800, this embroidery machine combines embroidery and sewing functionality in a multi-purpose machine that would suit both home business users and embroidery enthusiasts alike. The Brother SE1900 is a suitable choice for intermediate and advanced users.
This is the one of the best sewing and embroidery machines currently available on the market and it comes with a large 5 x 7 embroidery field, which allows you to create projects of all sizes. It also includes 240 built-in embroidery designs, 10 different frame shapes, and 11 fonts for monogramming. Just like you would expect from a high-end Brother embroidery and sewing machine, this one comes with an inbuilt USB port for easy access to upgrades and downloadable design. The pre-installed software makes it possible to transfer any design to the embroidery machine, and the process is a very intuitive one. This versatile Brother embroidery machine has an LCD screen, so you can easily see the settings and make any changes you want with ease.
What many users liked about the Brother SE1900 Computerized Sewing and Embroidery Machine is the wide variety of built-in stitches that allow you to express your creativity with ease. There are 138 built-in embroidery designs in the machine, more than enough for lots of experimentation. Moreover, thanks to the create your own stitch function, you can create an endless amount of your personal stitches that you can then easily store in the memory of the machine. The Brother SE1900 Computerized Sewing and Embroidery Machine comes complete with multiple accessories, including foot control, knee lifter, pack of needles, embroidery bobbin thread spool and more.
If you are looking for a multi-needle embroidery machine , the Brother PE800 could be a great choice. This embroidery machine from well-known company Brother sports a 3.2-inch LCD touch screen display for easy operation, which is great for both beginners and professionals. It also has a large embroidery field, so you can use it for anything ranging from small projects to more complex ones.
The Brother PE800 comes with 138 embroidery designs, 11 built-in fonts and 10 frame designs to boost your creativity. The design editing function of the embroidery machine allows you to customize your project to your heart’s desire, with some of the things you can do including increasing and decreasing the size of your designs, mirror-imaging and rotating so you can see how your design will look before actually stitching it.
Many of the users who tested the Brother PE800 liked that the machine is very user-friendly even though it is not intended for complete beginners. It comes with a comprehensive instructions manual, and you can actually create large designs in a few easy steps. Thanks to the built-in USB flash drive port, you can transfer up to 15,000 designs to the embroidery machine without the need of any additional software. You can either transfer compatible Brother designs you have downloaded from the Internet, or your own creations you made with the help of digitizing software. The Brother PE800 is compatible with both Windows and Mac computers.
Another thing we really loved about the Brother PE800 is the fact that it comes with an automatic needle threader, which makes using it a breeze.
An embroidery-only commercial-grade embroidery machine that boasts an incredible number of features suitable for both home businesses and commercial ventures, the Janome MB-4S works well for professional sewers who have a couple of years of experience under their belt. This embroidery machine is commercial-grade, but you can also use it for home projects, keeping in mind that it is suitable for crafters who are an intermediate or advanced level.
The Janome MB-4S comes complete with a 5.7-inch remote computer screen that allows you to see the design before actually embroidering it, as well as other perks such as automatic thread cutter, a stitch counter, and the possibility to transfer designs via USB port. What we liked most about this commercial grade embroidery machine are the intricate editing options that allow users to edit their designs directly by using the remote-control screen. Some of the editing functions that you can expect to find in this machine include 90° increments for rotation, drag-and-drop, flipping horizontally and vertically, combining designs, and resizing by 80 and 120%. Moreover, you can actually design without any limitations thanks to the existence of up to 65,536 colors that you can edit right on the screen.
While this is of course an expensive embroidery machine, you can expect high quality features and design that will allow you to produce professional results so you can start a home business or use the machine for your existent commercial venture. Many of the users who tested it agreed that the large amount of built in designs and the ease of navigation thanks to the remote-control screen make the Janome MB-4S an excellent choice for professional users.
The Brother PE770 is an embroidery machine that can make your embroidery experience a fun task, mostly because it is very intuitive and easy to learn how to use even if you are a beginner. Right from the start, this embroidery machine offers a lot more features than you might from a model in this price range. These features include a quick-set bobbin, backlit LCD screen, and built-in memory so you can import your own designs from a USB drive.
With an embroidery speed of 650 stitches per minute and auto thread cutter, the Brother PE770 can stitch proficiently and the entire operation is less time-consuming than with other embroidery machines in this price range. We like that the Brother PE770 is very much user friendly and easy to learn how to use even if you haven’t owned an embroidery machine before. A comprehensive manual is included, and many users liked that it guides you through every feature properly so you can get started right away.
The large embroidery area of 5 x 7 inches is much larger than that of other similar embroidery machines and it gives you ample space to create larger projects such as quilts, jacket belts, and larger monograms. A printed number chart on the machine itself helps to make sure that you thread easily, even though some users mentioned that it may take a while to get acquainted with it. The backlit LCD touchscreen display makes threading even easier, because it allows you to navigate through the features of the embroidery machine in a very intuitive way.
The Brother PE770 comes with built-in memory and you can also import any images you have downloaded from the Internet or creative yourself using embroidery software via the USB port. As you would expect, the embroidery machine is compatible with all the designs available from Brother.
The Brother PE550D is a well built machine with 125 built-in designs and these include 45 Disney designs for extra fun. The is a very versatile embroidery machine that is affordable and dependable. There is an automatic needle threader, 6 lettering fonts and a built-in memory system that allows you to import other embroidery designs. A large LCD screen allows you to edit any of the on-board designs before you even make a single stitch! Editing features include: rotating, mirroring, resizing, moving, letter arching and two-line printing.
The 4”x4” embroidery field is quite large for an embroidery machine at this price point. This makes it easier to work on slightly larger projects which is ideal for beginners that want to tackle more complex projects. The aforementioned storage for your designs is helpful but I always felt that I needed a little more space. However, the Brother PE550D does have a USB port so you can store your designs elsewhere and import them as needed. This can be a little fiddly but it is a solution that is workable with a little advance planning.
The CamFIVE Double Head Commercial Embroidery Machine is the ideal machine for any small business that has a focus on promotions and personalization. This embroidery machine will work on flat surfaces, including: towels, blankets, fabrics and clothing pieces. But, you can embroider some wonderful designs on items, such as: T-shirts, jackets, hats and other clothing items too. The control surface is an 8” HD LCD touch screen that is optimized for the perfect embroidery experience.
This is an amazing machine, it can store up to 100 million stitches, with instant punch to recall embroidery names, numbers, words and letters. Simply type in what you need on the LCD touch screen, choose the font, size, special effects and you’re ready to start. This pattern will repeat cyclically and the embroidery will continue until you want to stop. The definition is excellent, the repetitions are orderly in the X and Y making this a perfect machine for coats and pants pockets and emblems.
On the panel you can edit, separate and combine your designs and preview them before you begin. Before you start a brand new design you can perform a motion test without performing a single stitch on the machine. This will help you to ensure that you design will be embroidered in the exact location that you’ve specified. Another useful application is that the design size can be verified to ensure that it is not too large for the hoop or frame selection.
What we liked:
The preview features save a lot of lost time and help to prevent damage
This is an excellent embroidery machine for a small business
What could be better:
This embroidery machine may be too complex for casual users
Our budget choice is the Brother PE535, an embroidery machine that might look a bit basic at first, until you discover some of is excellent features suitable for beginner and intermediate users alike. This embroidery machine comes with an LCD touchscreen, a feature that you won’t actually expect from a machine in this price range. The clean-cut design features just a couple of buttons, but the machine comes with 80 built in designs, including various fonts, florals, borders, and holiday designs. Moreover, you will also get access to Brother’s website, iBroidery, from where you can download a wide variety of designs.
The easy-to-use LCD display of this embroidery machine allows you to see your design in detail before actually embroidering it. What we liked about the touchscreen LCD is that it is full color, so you can edit your design in great detail before sending it to the machine. The Brother PE535 allows you to plug in a USB drive so you can send your designs for embroidering without any effort.
An automatic needle threader is something that most users want for their embroidery machines because it makes the entire embroidering process so much easier. All you need to do to use it with this Brother embroidery machine is raise the presser foot and then raise the needle to pass the thread. There are multiple tutorials available for this embroidery machine both on the website of the manufacturer and online, so you can easily set up the machine and get started quickly, even if you are a complete beginner. Users who tested the machine and reviewed it raved about how easy it is to move and transport it because it is so compact and portable, thus being suitable for classes.
The Brother SE600 is a popular sewing and embroidery machine that is suitable for beginners, intermediate sewers and professionals alike. This is a computerized model with plenty of advanced features to spark your creativity. This machine allows you to change and preview your thread colors, move designs on the LCD screen, place the lettering on arcs and much more. The embroidery field is a generous 4” x 4” and you get an embroidery foot, loop and arm included in the box. The LCD screen is large, clear and easy to use, it’s a touch screen unit and this makes editing simple.
The SE600 has a built-in hard drive and a USB port which allows you to import other designs that you have. This is helpful but for beginners you have 103 built-in sewing stitches and 6 embroidery lettering fonts to keep you busy until you find more designs. This really is a user-friendly machine and it would make a suitable sewing and embroidery workhouse for any sewing enthusiast.
What we liked:
An LCD touch screen that’s easy to sue
103 built-in sewing stitches
6 embroidery lettering fonts
A USB port to import other embroidery designs
An excellent combination sewing and embroidery machine
The Bernette B70 Deco is an affordable embroidery machine with a color touch screen for easier editing. The position of the 5” touch screen is optimized for the sewer and you have a set of multi-function knobs for even more control. This makes it easy to carry out fine tuning of the positioning, sizing, stitch selection and much more. It is true that this can be a complex machine to learn but there are many tips and tutorials available online to help you get the most out of your machine. The embroidery module has 3 different sized hoops and auto hoop detection to help you find the exact hoop to match your embroidery design. It’s possible to embroider a motif up to 260 x 160 mm with no need to hoop your project. The hoops operate with a quick release system, the embroidery area is set with the touch screen and this allows you to adapt your embroidery design as desired.
The B70 Deco comes with a large number of creative options right out of the box. The machine comes with 208 embroidery designs, 7 embroidery fonts and a huge selection of motifs. All the motifs can be edited with the touch screen with common functions, such as: move, rotate, filip and combine. This machine comes with a USB port so you can easily upload your own designs with the Bernina Toolbox software. The B70 Decon is compatible with a wide variety of embroidery design formats so you won’t need to convert your files in software. However, the Bernina Toolbox software adds a great deal to the package, with 300 extra embroidery designs and another 100 embroidery fonts included.
There are upper and lower thread sensors to detect when a bobbin runs empty and stop the machine. This allows you to continue your embroidery project once the bobbin has refilled. The presser foot pressure and thread tension can be adjusted to suit the material that you are working with. As an example: If you’re working with a thin or lightweight fabrice you may want to adjust the thread tension and foot presser foot pressure individually to get the optimal results. The Bernette B70 Deco is packed with useful features, the stitches are precise and beautiful and this would be a good purchase for any embroidery enthusiast.
What we liked:
The is a feature rich embroidery machine
The Bernina Toolbox software adds a great deal
A lot of accessories are included
What could be better:
This is a complex machine that does have a steep learning curve
There isn’t a better tool of trade out there befitting monogrammers, embroiders and regular sewists all at once like the Janome 9850. This dual-function computerized sewing machine is your best bet if you want to be original in your designs.
The machine features a presser foot, a darning foot, a double feeder foot and an embroidery foot which normally have to be bought separately. With the 3MB storage space on the machine, you can upload the online designs you love via USB allowing you to create the most original and unique stuff.
What’s more, there is a full-color LCD screen on which you can edit and preview the designs.
If you are into logo monogramming this is your prime choice. The machine features 2 logo monogramming fonts and 2 embroidery hoops. Imagine being able to embroider the initials of your name after sewing the edges of a shirt.
Another plus for this Janome is that it is a multi-needle machine. This means you don’t have to go through the hassle of changing threads as you can easily switch needles.
As if that’s enough, the machine has an automatic buttonhole opener that allows you to sew buttonholes at once without having to rotate the fabric or change the dial.
You will also love that the machine has a foot pedal that is sensitive to pressure. This makes maneuvering through different fabrics such a breeze, allowing you to make flawless stitches.
What we liked: The machine is packed with top-notch features that offer great convenience and allow you to be seamlessly creative. Its multi-functionality is what sets it apart from the rest. You can sew, mend and embroider your initials on your favorite shirts with it.
What could be better: the machine is not suitable for beginners as it is somewhat complex. Plus, it costs a pretty penny.
Things to Consider
When shopping for an embroidery machine, you need to consider many factors, ranging from your skill level to your budget, and everything in between. Before purchasing an embroidery machine, you might want to consider how you want to use the machine, but also keep in mind that your skills might improve quickly, in which case a basic model may be something you will soon outgrow. Below you will find a buying guide with all the details you need to know to make an informed choice when buying the best embroidery machine for your needs.
Advantages of having a top-quality embroidery machine
A few hundred dollars buys a basic, often solid, embroidery machine that can handle most crafts or clothing projects but spending even more can get you a wealth of automated functions that can make your job easier. With a top-quality embroidery machine, there is no need to spend hours trying to embroider by hand, not to mention the wide range of design options. With an embroidery machine, you can easily create your own designs, customize your clothing, develop a new hobby and even improve the creativity of your children. Moreover, this machine may allow you to start a small business working from home, or even a larger-scale embroidery enterprise.
Features to consider when choosing an embroidery machine
When shopping for an embroidery machine, there are lots of factors to consider in order to make sure you make the right decision for your skill level and type of projects you intend to use the machine for. It is always a good idea to look into an embroidery machine with multipurpose features. Begin by checking whether the machine comes with an embroidery unit that is separate from the machine, because if that is the case, you can actually use the machine for embroidery, sewing, and even quilting.
Moreover, you should look for an embroidery machine that sports a large selection of fonts and built-in designs because these can easily boost your creativity. Other features such as multiple LED lights and LCD screens are up to personal choice, as they are not essential, but can definitely improve your embroidery experience.
Type of embroidery machine and what you need it for
The type of embroidery you intend to create is a vital criterion to consider, because it determines some of the features that you cannot do without. A computerized embroidery machine, for example, would be an excellent choice for those who are looking for a commercial embroidery machine, because it allows you to create your own designs or import designs created by your customers into the machine for truly personalized results. If all you need is some basic embroidery for home use, you don’t need to spend too much on a machine that comes with all the bells and whistles.
Built-in designs and fonts
All the embroidery machines we reviewed come complete with a wide range of built-in designs and fonts, which is an essential feature for creating different projects for home or commercial use. The number of available designs varies from one model to another, with the Brother SE1900 Computerized Sewing and Embroidery Machine, our editor’s choice, sporting 138 designs, for example. With an embroidery machine with lots of fonts and editing features, the creative possibilities are truly endless.
The size of the embroidery area is important because it determines the overall dimensions of the projects you can tackle with the machine. If you want to work on larger projects, like jacket backs or blankets, for examples, you need a machine with an embroidery size that is larger than average. For instance, the CAMFive Double Head Commercial Embroidery Machine has an embroidery area of 19.6 x 16.5 inches, which is bigger than most of the machines we reviewed.
USB and PC connectivity
If you want to import your own designs to the embroidery machine, or are managing a business that involves getting designs from customers to embroider on various garments, it’s essential to go for a machine that has a USB connection and allows you to upload designs in a variety of formats. Some models can even connect directly to your PC, so you don’t have to use a USB flash drive to import your designs.
Some of the embroidery machines we reviewed, such as the Janome MB-4S, come with LED lights, so you can get a better view of the work you’re doing regardless of the lightning arrangements you have in the room. Embroidery machines with LED lights are an excellent choice for those who want to work in the evenings and for those interested in having a high degree of accuracy for their projects.
Embroidery machine dimensions
The dimensions of your new embroidery machine matter especially if you don’t have enough room in your home to keep the machine on display at all times and you need to store it away when not in use. Make sure the machine you purchase fits in the designated space you intend to have for it and that it is easy to transport if you need to do so.
Accessories and extras
It’s important to find an embroidery machine that comes with various accessories and attachments that are useful for the projects you intend to tackle. Useful accessories that many top-quality embroidery machines come with include a quilting table and presser feet. Extras may include various hoops and extra software for creating your own designs.
As with any machines used for crafts, different embroidery machine models are available for different budgets, but as a rule of thumb, a quality machine is very difficult to be found under $300. When deciding how much you want to spend on an embroidery machine, consider the features you intend to use, because it’s not worth paying more for features that you’re not actually going to use.
All top-quality embroidery machines come with extended warranties of up to 25 years, which cover parts and repairs, such as the Brother PE535, for example. Models with a lower price tag only have a warranty of one to five years, so it depends on how important durability and peace of mind are for you when making your choice.
Tips on getting started with machine embroidery
Machine embroidery is very different from hand embroidery, not only when it comes to speed, but also the variety of options you get and the overall accuracy of the final product. When starting with machine embroidery, it’s important to be ready to learn, as there is of course a learning curve associated with these machines, particularly high-end models that are designed for semi-professional or professional use. It is always a good idea to start small with a project rated for beginners if you have never used an embroidery machine again, then progress to more challenging techniques.
Some embroidery machines are suitable for quilting, but this depends on the model, its features and size. As a rule of thumb, an embroidery machine that is also suitable for quilting should be no less than $300, as at this price point you can find a model that is durable and won’t let you down.
Choosing the correct type of embroidery thread for your projects depends on the fabric you are using and the stich speeds. Rayon is one of the most popular machine embroidery threads and the good news is that it is readily available in hundreds of different colors. This type of thread is made of organic cellulose and has a soft touch coupled with a luxurious sheen, but it may fade over time. Cotton is a good option for thread if you want to obtain that hand-stitched look with a machine, while polyester works well for those who are looking for a strong and durable type of thread.
The vast majority of embroidery machines available on the market can handle just about any type of fabric, ranging from cotton to denim, but sometimes budget models may not do that great of a job when it comes to tougher fabrics. If you plan on working with thicker and tougher fabrics, it’s worth it to invest in a high-quality machine, even if that means paying a bit more for it.
If you want to be able to embroider hats using your embroidery machine, you need to make sure it comes with a compatible hat hoop. Some models don’t come with it, but you may still buy a compatible one separately for them. Although, there a certain embroidery machines for hats that are easier to use with this type of apparel.
Monogramming is a very popular type of embroidery, which consists of letters and/or numbers to form a custom design with a special meaning. Examples of monogramming include initials and dates, such as a date of birth or that of an anniversary. This kind of embroidery works well on a wide variety of items, ranging from towels and handkerchiefs to caps. Most embroidery machines can monogram, so you don’t actually need a model that specifies it comes with this particular feature.
Whether you are looking for an embroidery machine to use for home projects or in a commercial way, there is a model out there for all needs, so it’s important to look for the features you want before parting with your money. We picked the Brother SE1900 Computerized Sewing and Embroidery Machine as our editor’s choice because it is a complete piece of machinery that works for both embroidery and sewing and comes loaded with just about any feature you may want from this kind of machine. If you are looking for the best embroidery machine that features intuitive controls, so you don’t have to spend time looking for extra accessories, the Brother PE800 is worth a look. Finally, if an embroidery machine for a small business is what you are after, have a look at the Janome MB-4S, which works well for commercial purposes.