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Recently there has been an uptick in artists and crafters buying embroidery machines. With a plethora of options, and prices ranging from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, picking the right machine for you can be overwhelming. When making your decision there are a few things you should keep in mind: what the largest sewing field or hoop size is for the machine, how fast it can sew, and how many needles it has. Let’s break it down and look at some of the best options out there for custom tees, hats, bags, and more.
How we pick each product:
Our mission is to recommend the most appropriate artists’ tool or supply for your needs. Whether you are looking for top-of-the line equipment or beginners’ basics, we’ll make sure that you get good value for your money by doing the research for you. We scour the Internet for information on how art supplies are used and read customer reviews by real users; we ask experts for their advice; and of course, we rely on our own accumulated expertise as artists, teachers, and craftspeople.
Best for Beginners
The Brother SE600 is a good fit for the beginner sewist who is brand new to embroidery. The 4”x4” embroidery hoop is small, but it is enough room for small projects. You will have no problem with onesies, logos on shirts and other small scale projects. This machine is a sewing and embroidery combination machine, making it great for those who also want to sew, but don’t have space for two machines. It has 80 built in embroidery designs, 103 sewing stitches, and 10 buttonhole styles. The SE600 can sew 400 stitches per minute when embroidering. This makes it a great starter embroidery machine, and you can have a lot of fun sewing with it too.
The Brother PE800 is one of the most recommended embroidery machines out there. It has a 5”x7” embroidery hoop that gives you a bit more space to work with. It has 138 preloaded designs making it very easy to jump right into embroidery. The PE800 can sew 650 stitches per minute, and has a USB port that allows for you to easily upload your unique designs. Like the SE600, the PE 800 only has one needle. This means if you stitch an embroidery with multiple colors, you have to be there to change the thread color. Unlike the SE600, this machine only does embroidery.
Best for Quilters
For quilters the Bernette B79 is the way to go. Like the Brother SE600, it can sew and embroider. It has a large 10.25”x5.11” embroidery hoop, more features, and an overall better sewing experience. This single needle machine has an automatic thread cutter, dual feed for a smoother experience, and an automatic back kick function that ties off your thread by kicking your heel back on the pedal. It can stitch 850 stitches per minute. The Bernette collection is the more affordable line of machines made by Bernina, giving you access to the Bernina support team. The Bernette machines can be bought online, but if you’re the type of person who learns better in person you can find a local dealer who offers classes and a personal support experience.
Best for Multi-Color Designs
A multi-needle machine allows you to thread more than one needle at a time and your machine will automatically switch colors while you do other things and stay productive. If you are looking to embroider designs with more than one color, and don’t have the time to change the thread for each color the Janome MB-4SE ($5,500) is a great fit for you. It has 4 needles and its largest hoop size is 9.46”x7.88”. It also has 50 built in designs, 10 different fonts, USB port, auto thread cutter, and can sew 800 stitches per minute.
Best Non-Commercial Machine
If you are looking for more needles and not quite ready for a commercial machine try the Janome MB-7 with 7 needles. It has all all the same great features as the MB-4SE, but with 3 more needles.
Best Commercial-Grade Machine
Schools, small businesses and artists looking to really ramp up production will need a commercial machine. The Melco Bravo has 16 needles, a 12.6”x10.25” sewing field, 1000 stitches per minute, patented auto-tensioning and laser alignment. The Bravo easily sews through leather, vinyl and denim. It can run all day long and is built to last. This machine has all the bells and whistles you could dream of, making your embroidery go faster, smoother, and more efficiently. (Pro Tip: Melco regularly offers deals and special financing. If you are looking to buy one of these machines, wait until they run a good deal.)