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Best Embroidery Machine: The Ultimate Buying Guide

When I first started sewing all my projects seemed the same. You know what I mean? They looked alike and it was pretty dull! I mean, pants are pants; a T-shirt is a T-shirt only in a different color!

That’s why I started thinking what could I change there. I talked to my loving grandma who was once a professional seamstress and I got great advice – embroidery. She explained me that embroidery will change everything; things won’t look the same or boring. This was the perfect way to add a personal touch to every project.

I threw myself to work. First, I started learning what embroidery is. Next thing I needed was to know what the best embroidery machines are, especially those for home use (I didn’t have a crochet work at that time). It was a huge step forward for me but the best I’ve ever made!

What do our reviews say and how we test?

Before I decide which sewing, embroidery, quilting or any other machine is worth my attention, I convey thorough research. For that purpose, I’ve formed an entire team and we are all working together!

Every project carries some demands. It is highly important to find a machine that fits those needs and possibly offers more. BEST EMBROIDERY MACHINE measuring tape

Let’s say I’m into sewing, basic sewing, but I have a special order. For example someone wants his or her name embroidered on a new pair of jeans. What do I need? An embroidery machine, or a machine that has a possibility to support embroidery besides regular sewing.

If you only want to sew so you could earn some additional income a combined sewing and embroidery machine will do the work; or any home embroidery sewing machine. This means you won’t have to buy two separate machines.

But, if you are into making this your prime business, then I suggest some investments. To keep up all the orders and your clients’ wishes take a separate embroidery machine!

How we choose and how we test?

We take a little bit of both – good and bad.

We choose machines of different size, weight, accessories, and manufacturer and of course a different price.

Testing can’t be done quickly. It usually takes several weeks to do this.

I’ve already told you how we choose (what are our main factors). After picking up several different sewing machines we perform tests.

There are some features that are fundamental such as bobbin, needles, how to thread and so on.

If we are testing machines that beginners will use we pay attention to how easy is to set up the machine, thread it and if the person who had never sewn before will manage to do bobbin winding itself. Besides the directions on the machine itself, it is very important to us that the manual is good with as much as possible details. Of course, customer support is also important.

If, on the other hand, we’re testing a sewing machine tended to be used by a professional we pay much attention to the quality of the needles, how large working space is and definitely the speed.

Most sewing machines offer two different sewing speeds. This is good for both groups – rookies and professionals. Having in mind that kids are often among beginners this feature is very important.

And of course – the accessories. People don’t like when there isn’t a necessary screwdriver or an extra pair of needles. As someone who sews every day I have to agree with them.

An automatic needle threader is also very important because it speeds up the threading process.

We all agree that if someone offers us an easy-portable machine we expect a lightweight sewing machine that’s really easy to transport.

Each machine has its good and bad sides. The trick is to find the one which good sides beat bad ones.

If we test an embroidery machine we need to be sure that it has adequate working area. Light is also important, you never know what color the fabric will be. Embroidery machines need to come with hoops. We double check that!

And the price! This is the biggest concern people have: How to choose a good sewing machine without spending a fortune on it?

This is where we jump in.

After we’ve tested everything that’s essential we make a list.

One side of that list consists of machines and their pros and cons. The other side is for the price.

When we compare the quality and the price, we make a selection of the best sewing machines and present them to you through our reviews!

So let’s get on it!!

 

Our Top Picks:

Best of all: Singer Futura XL-580

“Perfect for everything that comes to your mind-a true workhorse”

Best for beginners: Brother PE770

“Everything you need to learn how to embroider and expand your creativity”

Best budget: Brother LB6800PRW

“Sew curtains, embroider jeans, make T-shirts, do anything you want for more than a decent price”

 

Brother Computerized Sewing and Embroidery Machine SE1900

My advice is that if you’ve already decided to buy a combined sewing and embroidery machine, you should choose the one that’s easy to use and definitely easy to place.

Brother SE1900 sewing and embroidery machine is one of those. You can buy it online (as we did) or see with your dealer to get one for you. Either way, I know you’ll love it!

What I especially love about this machine is a color LCD touchscreen that’s highly responsive.

It sews beautifully making stitching flawless.

You can combine sewing and embroidery in the same project with almost zero conversion time when switching modes.

Also works great on thin fabric where sewing machines almost always cause troubles.

You can do hundreds of fancy stitches on Brother SE1900. What’s also great is that there are dozens of built-in embroidery designs and for each, you can choose a different color combination.

The USB port allows you to add some extra pattern designs. It is one of the top embroidery machines definitely great for both professional and home embroidery.

The one thing we can say it’s a con when it comes to this model is that it comes with 5” x 7” hoop and one of the most commonly used is 4” x 4”. So, this you’ll have to buy separately.

Brother LB6800PRW Project Runway Computerized Embroidery and Sewing Machine

If you want a good computerized machine that joins sewing and embroidery that’s more than affordable than I suggest a Brother LB6800PRW model.

You’ll absolutely love sewing with this machine because it’s so easy. This makes it a great embroidery machine for beginners.

In the package, you’ll get 4” x 4” hoop which is great because this is one the most commonly used hoop sizes.

There are 68 built-in stitches with 70 built-in designs, 120 frame combinations and 5 lettering fonts.

What to do with it? Well, you can sew curtains, pillows, aprons, change zippers, shorten something and make great embroidery designs. It sews 710 stitches per minute which is some medium speed perfect for beginners.

I was thrilled with the speed I needed to finish some basic test projects.

I’ve noticed people complained about this Brother Sewing and Embroidery machine and its quality.

This is a great product for the price but only if you follow the Instructional manual. You have to read it from cover to cover or otherwise you’ll break it.

There are some things you need to take care of. I’m not sure it can be defined as a flaw but you have to regularly maintain your Brother LB6800PRW sewing and embroidery machine. And, you need to be careful when buying needles and threads. If they are of low quality it’s possible your machine won’t work properly.

What I personally love about this model is a designer rolling bag which is absolutely great and the fact that it has an easy-to-view back-lit LCD touchscreen which is highly responsive (this I find necessary).

Singer Futura XL-580 Embroidery and Sewing Machine

If you need a workhorse let me suggest Singer Futura XL-580 Embroidery and Sewing Machine!

My team was absolutely thrilled with the features this model has.

The first thing we all liked was a large sewing area and an endless embroidery hoop. Since there is a large working area, fabrics don’t shift and seams are straight.

The automatic threader and thread cutter are awesome.

With 250 built-in embroidery designs and 50 endless designs (you can add some extra designs if you need), this machine is one of the top-rated embroidery machines.

Singer Futura XL-580 model is a monster machine. If you want to have it, provide enough space to work without limits.

Just make sure to read the entire manual carefully from the beginning to the very end before you start working on it. This way you’ll avoid any possible mistakes. And trust me, it’s much easier to set it up and use it after you have read the manual!

Singer Superb EM200 Embroidery Sewing Machine

What makes Singer Superb EM200 Sewing and embroidery machine is first of all its simplicity.

It is very easy to use so I feel free to recommend it not only to professionals but also sewing and embroidery beginners.

It has 200 built-in embroidery designs you can preview on LCD touchscreen with ease. I always enjoy this feature (when I can easily and clearly see everything I want).

Because of an extra-large embroidery area, you won’t have troubles working on all types of fabric.

You can sew quickly (700 stitches per minute) but you don’t have to worry about the stitches.

A large and a small embroidery hoop come in the same package so all you need is to set your creativity free.

As long as you’re following instructions, you won’t have problems.

But, what sometimes appears to be a problem is a thread breaking. This happens sometimes so please do everything by the book and don’t just buy a thread. Make sure it’s good to avoid this type of a problem!

Brother PE540D 4×4 Embroidery Machine

When you just look at this model you won’t be able to resist it!

I mean look at them: Mickey, Minnie and Friends. I fell in love. I would buy it just for the looks.

But, I know, looks don’t sew. Let’s see what does? Well, 35 built-in Disney designs, 70 decorative designs, 120 frame pattern combinations and 5 embroidery lettering fonts do.

I would especially recommend this machine for home embroidery and sewing because it’s great for smaller projects.

It’s not only interesting but also easy to use so you can get it to your kid if you want.

It’s not too fast (400 stitches per minute) but for small projects, you don’t need more. With it, you’ll get 4” x 4” hoop.

No need to point out the quality of Brother sewing machines but I’ll just accent the LCD touchscreen (which my team adores) and computer connectivity make Brother PE540D even better.

You need to go through manual and be aware that for quality work you’ll need quality material. This means to carefully choose threads and you’ll have no troubles working on this embroidery machine.

Janome Memory Craft 400E Embroidery Machine

If you, my dear are into bigger project Janome Memory Craft 400E Embroidery machine is the thing you need.

Embroidery field with a size of 7.9” x 7.9” will fit any large project.

It offers you endless possibilities. I mean you can’t be disappointed with Janome.

You have 160 built-in stitches and even letters for monogramming. It’s not for sewing but it’s perfect for embroidery and monogramming.

Fully colored LCD touchscreen gives a great preview of everything you need. When you want to change the stitch you’ll do it no time since it’s done directly without stopping. This is tremendously important, especially if you are working on more than one project and you are in a hurry.

The hoop I’ve mentioned is standard but you can use optional hoops: RE2Ob-5.5” x 7.9”, SQ14b-5.5” x .5” or RE10b-4.3” x 5”.

On the screen, you can rotate, flip, drag and drop, enlarge and reduce, copy, paste and so on.

Brother Embroidery Machine PE770

Great for hobbyists and professionals.

As you know, before we write any embroidery and sewing machine review we do tests. Let me tell you that we fell in love with this Brother model.

Personally, I am a big fan of embroidery so I recommended if from the bottom of my heart.

With 5” x 7” embroidery hoop you have the flexibility to stitch larger designs. Use it on jackets, bags or home décor designs. If you are out of ideas you can choose between 136 different designs, 10 frame shapes and 12 border styles.

It really is amazing what you can do. While I was testing I’ve used it to finish several projects and I was thrilled I could see everything on LCD touchscreen before I’ve even started.

If you want to add anything you can do it through the USB port.

A wonderful booklet with pictures we call Instructional Manual has everything you need to know to properly work on this Brother PE770 model.

It is easy to carry because it’s lightweight and you won’t have any troubles learning to embroider or embroider professionally on it!

 

BUYER’S GUIDE

With the right knowledge and tools for learning, choosing the right embroidery machine can be very rewarding and fun. Our buying guide is a summary of all the essential factors of your choice.

What Is an Embroidery Machine and Why Do I Need It?

As the name says – embroidery machines are used for machine embroidery. They are used to create different patterns on the fabric and add details that serve as decorations.

There are machines used only for embroidery but you can also buy sewing machines that combine regular sewing with embroidery or some other type of sewing like quilting for example. These machines have a removable unit which you replace depending on the project and needs.

There are some things you need to get to know if you are planning on buying an embroidery machine:

  • A hoop – Every embroidery sewing machine comes with a hoop. You use this to hold the fabric tightly in one position so you could embroider. Hand embroidery (just like hand sewing) is different; you’ll use your hand to act as a hoop but for machine embroidery, a hoop is very important.
  • A stabilizer – Since embroidery machines use a darning foot there aren’t feed dog to hold the fabric. Instead, you’ll use a stabilizer together with a hoop to hold the fabric tightened. There are many types of stabilizers: those that go on top of the fabric or below the fabric. Water-soluble stabilizers are very popular. One tip – with these stabilizers use waterproof pens!

If you are planning on sewing seriously embroidery is something you need to learn. It gives a special effect to everything you sew. This makes embroidery perfect for clothes. It doesn’t really matter whether you are going to seam for yourself or professionally, embroidery will give every piece of work effective ending.

And it’s a great way to show your creativity!

Embroidery Machine: What To Consider When Buying?

How to pick up the best embroidery machine? This process demands thorough research and attention.

Sure there are things that you should particularly pay attention to. Let’s see what are they?

Firstly, you need to make a distinction between professional and home embroidery machines!

There is a difference between a machine that’s going to be used in a factory or in a big crochet workshop and the one that you’re going to use in the comfort of your home for finishing some home projects.

What makes choosing the right embroidery machine harder is a dizzying variety of models and manufacturers with numerous possibilities and accessories.

Before I started writing this guide I thought it would be a good idea to consult a professional. I’ve included two, my grandma (whom I often mention and who was a professional seamstress all her life) and Mrs. Jones, a professional dealer working in my town.

They gave me a lot of good advice which I gathered and presented here!

What to consider?

  • Only embroidery or a combined machine
  • Design possibilities
  • Working area and hoops
  • What ways you use for connecting
  • Display
  • Additional features
  • Money

What Type Of Machine Do You Need?

Embroidery or combined machines?

A tuff one!

This is somehow always hard to decide. It was hard for me, too. Here’s what to do.

If you (like me) already have a sewing machine and you’ve overcome basics of sewing why wouldn’t you get an embroidery-only machine. This is good especially if you are in sewing business or planning on starting one.  One seamstress can deal with ordinary sewing and the other one with embroidery.

At first, it will look like a big investment but trust me it will pay off.

On the other hand, combined sewing and embroidery machines have some advantages compared to only embroidery machines.

Firstly, on this machine you can sew, embroider, and quilt and so on. So, they are multi-function. This is especially great if you work at home because one machine will take less space than two!

Next, combined machines offer a larger working area since they are tended for embroidery not only sewing. These machines combine needles, design patterns and other features meant for different purposes.

Both choices are good, you just need to consider what your plans are and for what you are going to use these machines for.

Is The Machine Easy To Use?

Most modern embroidery and sewing machines are easy to use.

They come with DVD instructions, manuals written in several languages where you can find all you need to be written in details.

The best part is that every serious manufacturer has its customer support. You can contact the support team and they will help with every problem.

It’s hard to say precisely if it’s easy or hard to use an embroidery machine. After all, you won’t know until you try!

How Big Is The Embroidery Area (Hoop Size)?

How to decide which embroidery hoop is the right one for your project? What is a hoop anyway? And what is the sewing area?

These are just some of the questions my readers often ask.

First, for all of you who are new to embroidery let’s first determine the difference between the sewing (embroidery) area and the hoop size.

The embroider area is the area you are using to actually embroider. It is smaller than the hoop size. It is important to understand that whichever embroidery hoop you use, embroidery area is smaller. Remember this is a very important fact to avoid mistakes.


Everything you want to do on the embroidery machine depends on a hoop. Now, if you buy cheaper embroidery machine it’s likely it’ll have one smaller hoop size. More expensive embroidery machines will offer a wider range of hoop sizes and this is great because this way you’ll be able to carry out a variety of embroidery designs.

The physical size of the embroidery hoop won’t match the actual sewing space. Every embroidery comes with an Instruction Manual. In this manual, you’ll find the list of hoop sizes that machine supports.

Pay attention to three different sizes you can get. For example, a hoop size 4 x 4 inches have a sewing area of 3.94 x 3.94 inches. Why? Well, because a needle can’t sew too close to the edges of the hoop. And physically measured outside borders of this embroidery hoop will be 5.3 x 5 inches.

To clear things out, it’s not a physical measure of the hoop border that counts, but the internal area. Bear in mind that sewing area will be smaller and that you have to count the approximate size of your project before you start to embroider in order to choose the right hoop.

To make things a bit easier let’s see what some of the most common hoop sizes are.

They are: 4 x 4 inches, 5 x 7 inches, and 6 x 10 inches. What is their sewing area?

  • 4 x 4 inches hoop size-3.94 x 3.94 inches sewing area
  • 5 x 7 inches hoop size-5.12 x 7.09 inches sewing area
  • 6 x 10 inches hoop size-6.30 x 10.24 inches sewing area.

Machines With Connectivity

One of the best things modern embroidery machines offer is the internet connection.

I rate this as the best possibility.

Besides having a variety of built-in stitches and embroidery designs, they offer the possibility of importing designs from the internet. This way your creativity goes behind borders. It’s amazing what you can do with it.

If you are, and eventually we all are sometimes, without an idea of what to embroider, you can use this connection possibility to keep on working.

It is also great if one of your customers wants something to be embroidered on a new pair of jeans (a bird maybe) and you are not sure how to do it, find a pattern online and add it to your machine. Pretty amazing, don’t you think?

When you buy your embroidery machine you’ll probably get it with some software (e.g. Happy Link software for Happy Embroidery Machine) and you’ll need a Connection Manager.

If, on the other hand, you have a serial port but no software, you’ll have to configure your embroidery machine in EmbroideryStudio/DecoStudio. Why this? Because it will allow you to change your embroidery machine settings the way it fits you.

This also gives you an alternative means for sending a design to the machine. Depending on the software, you’ll either use Machine Manager or Stitch Manager.

Stitch Speed

Different embroidery machines offer different speeds.

The best is to use the maximum speed of your embroidery machine to achieve the greatest effect. But, if you are a beginner you should adjust the speed to your skill until you are well trained.

Today, most commonly used machines for embroidery are those with one head and one needle and one head and more needles.

A machine with one head and a single needle is the one which head comprises of the needle, bobbin, thread and other parts. Here the needle stays stationary and what moves is the embroidery arm. Most common sizes of hoops of these machines are 4 x 4 inches, 5 x7 inches, 6 x 10 inches and 8 x 12 inches. These machines can sew between 300 and 1000 stitches per minute.

Multi-needle embroidery machines contain up to 10 needles. This is great if you are working on a project that requires different colors. Besides the hoop sizes we’ve already talked about, these embroidery machines use and 8” x 14” and 14” x 14” hoops. The speed is between 400 and 1000 stitches per minute.

You see that approximate maximum speed is 1000 stitches per minute. I have to mention that there are embroidery machines that make more, up to 1600 stitches per minute, but those are machines tended for professionals and mass production. If you are focusing on home embroidery, you won’t need embroidery machines that embroider this fast. They are, as expected, more expensive.

A small tip – Don’t rush to use the maximum sewing or embroidery speed. I know it’s most effective to use your machine this way but it’s always better to adjust the speed to fit you. This way you’ll make fewer mistakes. As time passes and you develop your embroidery skills you’ll increase the speed.

Is The Touchscreen Highly Responsive?

Touchscreens are something we can’t run away from. They appear everywhere. The same is in the sewing industry.

Most nowadays machines have touch screens that make using these machines simpler and easier. But how responsive are they?

We’ve run some tests and let me tell you that we were actually thrilled how fast these screens are.

According to Brother Industries, their machines have highly responsive touchscreens and we decided to check that. But even them sometimes have some issues.

We’ve tested a few models and they were right. All of them had a clear LCD touchscreen. We could see the designs clearly and change patterns in no time. Their LCD touchscreens are very responsive, functional and make embroidery a piece of cake.

But what about other models and brands?

Well, you get what you pay for. This doesn’t mean that you’ll get a good responsive touchscreen only if you spend a fortune on your embroidery machine. But, you need to be careful.

If some issue appears, the first thing you should do is to turn off the screen and then turn it on again. This appeared to be a great solution, at least with the machines we’ve tested. Even the most expensive embroidery machine can have this problem.

Budget

We all know that one of the most important things about every shopping is our budget.

Before you decide which embroidery machine you’re going to buy, you need to plan your budget.

Decide how much money you can spend on your embroidery machine and then start searching. Make the upper limit. Predict that there can be some unexpected costs.

In order to avoid wasting time on searching, check our embroidery and sewing machine reviews. We always choose the best but affordable sewing and embroidery machines. The best part is we had already tested all of them so you needn’t worry.

If you’re planning on embroidering, besides a good machine you’ll need some additional accessories that don’t come with the machine such as thread and fabric.

You can buy an embroidery machine for 400$ or for 2000$. This depends on your possibilities.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that the one that costs 300 or 400 dollars is useless. These machines appeared to have been great for home embroidery. If you are opening a crochet work or maybe a factory, you’ll need to invest more.

Just make sure to check all the prices three times. Check the machines features, additional accessories and count how much money you’ll need after you buy a machine. After that, decide which one suits you best!

Extra Features

What else to pay attention to?

  • Brand – Some of the best sewing machine brands are Brother, Janome and Singer.
  • Throat width – This is the distance between the needle and the fabric you’re working on. The wider this space is the easier to embroider is.
  • Design editing – You can add design patterns and expand your creativity.
  • Auto functions – Automatic needle threader, automatic winding, autopilot… Some machines come with automatic functions which make everything much easier.
  • Accessories – Your machine maybe allows adding additional accessories like quilting table, presser feet and so. Check, this is a great advantage.
  • LED lighting – Nothing better than well-lit working space. Consider models that come with a LED light!

 

That’s all folks! Talk to you later!

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