What is Embroidery?
Embroidery is a stunning craft form involving needles and distinctive threads that are employed to produce stitched adornments on fabrics. This activity can be done manually or by using a machine.
Embroidery stitches are used to describe the stitches used in this craft. The most-used stitches in embroidery include the back stitch, the satin stitch, the chain stitch, and cross stitch. Embroidery can decorate pieces like clothing, pillows or pillow cases, linens, and tablecloths. It can also be done to place logos or monograms. The whole procedure makes use of a thread called embroidery floss which is available in a wide selection of colors and textures.
Stitches, in this pursuit, are produced by a distinctive method of placing the threaded needle in, and out of the material. Every kind of stitch used in the procedure features a distinctive look once the work is done.
The cross stitch is executed by way of making a sequence of Xs in big clusters of closely gathered stitches. The satin stitch is produced by motions that resemble sewing in order to insert a number of threads together.
Simple ones, like the back stitch and the chain stitch, can be done by beginners. More complicated stitches like the feather stitch, the French knot, and the buttonhole stitch, will take more time to master.
Benefits of Embroidery Machines
If you want a faster job, you can seek the help of an embroidery machine. The embroidery machine is actually capable of performing the procedure since it can shorten the amount of time used when embroidering by hand. Machines can also duplicate a chosen stitch to provide highlights on a particular item.
Since embroidery is a craft that takes a while embroidery machines are able to save a lot of time and reduce the amount of mistakes.
Contemporary machine models have the same appearance as a traditional sewing machine, and in a sense, they work in the same manner. Lots of embroidery machines can also tackle sewing jobs other than their intended function.
Individuals who are into the craft, but are not too crazy with the amount of time spent on manual embroidery, should try out this kind of machine. The best embroidery machine offers computer connectivity, and programmable models are proficient in terms of output quality.
Because so many people appreciate such features, plenty of sewing machine companies now provide models in a wide range of prices that come with accessible options. People can also buy used models, but they have to be more careful choosing secondhand models compared to brand new ones.
There are also industrial models available if you want mass production of certain products like baseball caps, team-related items, and uniforms. These industrial models are typically bigger than standard embroidery machines, can change threads colors mechanically, and are capable of finishing bigger batches in a timely fashion. Business owners usually invest in industrial models because of the larger output they provide.
They are more expensive though so if you are just doing it as a hobby then these are a bit overkill.
For those who are into embroidery as a hobby, they can opt for standard models. Picking the right model that will work for you should not be that difficult, however. If you learn the fundamentals of this particular mechanism and compare the features of each model available, you will ultimately make an informed, balanced, and worthy buying decision.
I have suggested my favorite embroidery machines, but what is good for me might not be good for you. Because of this, I encourage you to check out our buying suggestions / guide so that you may find the best one for YOU.
Just because a model is expensive, doesn’t mean that it will provide you with perfect results and a seamless performance. In addition, a great number of features are also nice—if you are going to use them. Buying a model that has the ability to create plenty of different stitches is useless if you do not have any intentions to make use of them.
Before coming down to a decision, you first have to look at your needs. You must first consider the amount of time you are willing to spend on the craft. You should also consider whether you want to make items for personal use only, or if you want to make a number of things for your friends and family.
Furthermore, you should also consider models that are capable of finishing plenty of output in a shorter amount of time if you intend on making embroidery a business. Naturally, industrial embroidery machines are better for this use.
A product’s price is also something you have to take into account. Prices at many stores embroidery machines often start at $150, while the most expensive can go beyond the $12,000 mark for industrial models.
There is a lot of variance of price, and embroidery machines are not cheap! Some non industrial, specialty can ring in the thousands. Hence you have to do some research first and compare at least 2-3 models before making a decision.
Single Needle vs Multi Needle
Single needle embroidery machines are very similar in appearance to typical sewing machines. They only have one head (made up of the bobbin, thread, needle, and other metal parts). When the machine is active, the needle doesn't move while the embroidery "arm" navigates across the fabric to match the design.
These type of embroidery machines have only a single point of hoop attachment and typically can't handle larger hoop capabilities. The largest hoop size is normally around 8" by 12" and can normally do around three hundred to one thousand stitches per minute.
A single needle machine will get the job done, but if you're really looking to step up production and want to do it professionally then you'll need a more powerful machine with more capabilities, better speed, and improved efficiency.
Multi needle embroidery machines typically have around four to ten needles. One of the best things about having multiple needs is that each needle can hold a different thread color so you can hold many more colors than single needle embroidery machines. This way, you won't have to continuously stop and change the thread colors.
This makes a huge difference. Instead of having to switch threads during the embroidery process, multi needle machines make it as easy as
1) Selecting thread color
2)Hooping the fabric
3) Pressing start
These more efficient machines will have 2 points for hoop attachment (whereas single needle machines have 1) and can also have much larger hoop sizes - typically up to 14" x 14". Although the speeds are around the same, there is a lot of time saved from having multiple needles.
The Little Things to Know
At times, there are video tapes that accompany some models, and they can show you a basic demo of the model’s features and operations. It is crucial that the model that you purchase includes a display screen as well as controls. Be certain that the layout and buttons of the model will suit your preferences.
Do not forget to examine the warranty that a model provides. You have to check out how the company ensures the model that you are after. Look for models, not only in brick and mortar stores, but online as well. Don’t forget to check out trade shows, and as a bonus, sellers at trade shows often include demos on their products.
Embroidery Machine Maintenance Tips
One crucial aspect of embroidery machines that you have to keep track of is maintenance. Inspecting, and doing basic maintenance procedures on your embroidery machine, is needed so you can keep it around for a while and sustain the unit’s quality performance. Inspect your unit every now and then, and it will help extend the machine’s lifespan.
- Remove all of the thread from the thread path. Clean or dust its rack and examine whether there’s dust or grime accumulating on the tensioners.
- Shine a light beneath the needle where the O-ring is positioned. Be certain that all traces of dirt are removed so replacement needles will not ensnare foreign objects as they make their way to the shaft.
- Take the bobbin plate away and inspect the item for dirt and surplus threads. At times, thread can coil itself all over the shaft at the back of the hook assembly. These excess threads can drive the hook’s point near the needle’s eye, which can cause problems with machine operations.
- Let your fingers go over certain parts like the bobbin case, the tensions disks, the positioning finger, the hook, the throat place and needles, and rub any stresses or grooves you encounter carefully with a crocus cloth or any sandpaper with finer grit.
- By means of a magnifier, inspect the throat plate’s hole where the thread and needle comes by. Nicks can cause shreds on the thread and will disrupt proper machine performance.
- Inspect the filters and motor. Dust and thread buildup can make the machine overheat.
Embroidery machines are must-haves that any avid seamstress and tailor needs in his or her workplace. If you want faster, seamless results, it is a great decision to invest in one.
Best Embroidery Machine Reviews - Top Embroidery Machines
Here are some of the better embroidery machines available today.
Brother SE400 Combination Computerized Sewing and 4x4 Embroidery Machine with 67 Built-in Stitches, 70 Built-in Designs, 5 Lettering Fonts
- Includes 67 integrated stitches, 98 stitching functions, and 70 integrated embroidery designs
- User-friendly computerized sewing model
- Includes 5 monogramming fonts
- Includes 120 frame pattern arrangements
- Includes onscreen manual, available in 16 languages
- Includes 4-inch x 4-inch embroidery layout
- Includes LCD touch screen display
- Includes bobbin and automated needle threader
- Can connect to a computer
- Can import plenty of designs
- Features sufficiently lit embroidery area
- Includes buttonhole, zipper, accessory feet, zigzag, monogramming, blind stitch, and button fitting
- Includes USB cable, machine cover, and power cable
The Brother SE400 is definitely the best embroidery machine for the money.
If you have a limited budget and are not sure whether there is an affordable model that will not cut you short in terms of performance, look no further than Brother’s SE400. It gives user versatility and practicality, and is basically a 2-in1 unit so you can hit two birds with one stone.
It's great for beginners - easy to use and affordable. It doesn't have a lot of storage for designs, but its simplicity and lower price point makes it a great first model to have.
It does require regular cleanings. This is fairly typical of embroidery machines since you'll want to maintain it well, but if there is too much dust in the machine then it can stop working. Fortunately, cleaning is pretty easy.
It combines embroidery and sewing functions, has a backlit LCD touch screen panel, and it can connect to your computer by way of its USB cable so you can gain access to thousands more designs online.
Customers also loved that the unit’s bobbin system is quick to operate and dependable since it is produced to prevent jamming. Also, the bobbin is not that complicated to wind.
Its needle threader is automatic as well, so you won’t have to deal with so many hassles while changing threads. Lastly, it includes a total of 7 point feed dogs so you can work on tougher fabrics. Unfortunately, it's not great if there is a lot of thick material. It is beginner, cheaper model after all.
The automatic thread cutting is a little finicky (it doesn't work all the time) so it is hard to really depend on it. However, it definitely delivers beautiful work and a smooth performance.
So is it worth buying?
It's definitely worth a buy if you're on a budget or are relatively new to embroidering. It is at a low price point great for beginners, but has a good set of features and is easy to use.
Brother PE770 5x7 inch Embroidery-only machine with built-in memory, USB port, 6 lettering fonts and 136 built-in designs
- Includes 136 integrated embroidery designs and 6 integrated embroidery fonts
- Includes 10 frame styles with 12 border designs
- Features 5-inch x 7-inch hoop size
- Includes touch screen LCD display
- Features memory function to let users save their designs
- Allows operators to add their own designs
- Allows for onscreen embroidery editing
- Includes USB memory stick for design downloads
- Includes integrated card slot (embroidery cards not included)
- Features simply bobbin winding system with quick-set, drop-in bobbin
- Includes dust cover and embroidery arm
- Includes accessory bag with needle set, cleaning brush, 2 screwdrivers, seam ripper, 3 spool caps, 3 bobbins, scissors, and touch pen
- Comes with 25-year limited warranty
Another model from Brother, Brother’s PE770, as most customers agree, is worth the purchase. It definitely isn't as affordable as the SE440, but it also comes in with more features, higher quality, work, and more efficient work. If you have some embroidery experience the PE770 is a great choice (while the SE440 is great for beginners).
The model provides a larger area for operators to work on while monogramming big pieces. It also provides users the capability to combine their work with minimal re-hooping procedures.
Complicated designs are also easier to decipher thanks to its brightly lit LCD panel. Its preloaded designs range from quilt patterns, floral designs, frame shapes, and even border styles.
It has computer connectivity features too so you can access additional designs online by way of its USB stick or Brother memory card. It has an ample amount of energy so you can store your downloads or own designs. Its integrated software is user-friendly, lets users edit their work, and also includes the benefits of an automatic threader.
One thing that was annoying was the included hoop was finicky at best. I would suggest ordering a new hoop the same time as ordering the PE770 so that you can reliably use it.
Fortunately, it still makes up for this minor annoyance. The stitch quality is really good and clean despite it being able to do 450-650 stitches per minute. It's a very good speed and other machines in this price range don't usually have that high of a stitches per minute with high quality.
One of the most amazing things is it is actually really quiet too. Other embroidery machines can be loud and I have a cousin who will put in noise canceling head phones just to stop the noise. However, the Brother PE770 is pretty quiet and you won't get headaches using it like you can other other embroidery machines.
Is it Worth Buying?
good quality embroidery machine for a medium price point. It's not as great a bang for your buck as the SE440, but if this isn't going to be your first embroidery machine and you want richer features and higher stitch quality then the PE770 is a GREAT choice from one of the most reliable brands. If you're a beginner just go with the SE440.
Brother LB-6800PRW Project Runway Computerized Sewing Embroidery Machine w/ USB Port and Grand Slam Package
- Includes 70 integrated embroidery designs, 5 monogram fonts. 120 frame pattern combos, 67 integrated sewing stitches and 98 stitch functions
- Allows users to import designs from their computers
- Includes integrated push-button thread cutter
- Includes high-tech needle-threading system
- Features a backlit, touch screen LCD panel
- Includes a reference guide onscreen, available in 16 languages
- Includes quick automated bobbin winding, and quick-set drop-in bobbin
- Includes free arm and flatbed convertible sewing area
- Includes presser foot
- Features 4-inch x 4-inch embroidery area
- Features electronic adjustable sewing speed control, stitch width, length control, and variable thread tension control
- Features single-touch Start, Stop, and Reverse functions
- Has bright LED working area
Brother’s LB-6800PRW is probably the overall best embroidery machine. It's definitely more expensive than the other models we have reviewed thus far, but it is easily worth the extra price. Although it is no bargain, its quality is on par with many pricier machines.
Features like computer connectivity allow for additional designs to be stored later in the computer. It includes a range of sewing patterns, 98 stitching functions, and a selection of up to 70 designs for embroidery work.
The model also includes 5 fonts and 12p frame combinations. More features come in the form of back lighting, touch screen LCD display, first-rate needle and thread system, and a computerized thread cutter. For easier transport, the machine comes with a Project Runway rolling bag so you can take the nifty device with you wherever you go.
It comes with great instructions which makes it all the easier to get started. It delivers fast, clean, stitches that will leave you satisfied and wondering why you would ever want to go with a pricier model if you're a hobbyist (if you're looking for an industrial machine this isn't for you). It easily gets the job done with rougher material like jeans and things with many layers like quilts.
Is it Worth It?
It's a great model for a good price. It's not the cheapest on the market, but it is very high quality, easy to use, and easy to set up. People who have had previous embroidery machines will truly appreciate the price point for the quality. It's okay for beginners, but it does have a steep learning curve. If you're a beginner and okay with that then you can purchase the LB-6800PRW with confidence.
- Includes 70 built-in designs, 5 monogramming/lettering fonts, and 120 frame combinations
- Allows users to import thousands of designs at iBroidery.com
- Features 4-inch x 4-inch embroidery area
- Features 1.4-inch x 2.7-inch backlit LCD panel for editing and accessing designs, referencing tutorials, and a lot more
- Features high-tech needle-threading system
- Features quick bobbin winding system
- Features computer connectivity with free machine updates
- Comes with 25-year limited warranty
The Brother PE525 gives embroidery enthusiasts great value for their cash. It is a simple, user-friendly machine aimed to accommodate beginners. It includes a backlit LCD display and compute connectivity so operators can get more designs online. Its selection of embroidery patterns includes 70 preloaded designs and 5 fonts for monogramming and lettering. It also comes with a 4-inch x 4-inch working area and includes a 25-year warranty, plus free phone support for its customers.
This is a popular choice for many embroidery fans because, according to some of them, the machine was able to accomplish the same, seamless work as high end models. This is a great choice for hobbyists who plan on employing the machine for personal projects, for recreational use, or smaller embroidery projects.
It's also great for beginners. It takes some time to get used to it but is easy enough to use. It comes with over 70 free designs which makes it even more beginner friendly. Since it is easy to use (after you get work it) you'll easily be able to hand embroider various designs and even things that require a lot of detail.
Is it Worth It?
I'd say it's pretty good and a decent buy, but the previous models we reviewed are probably better (which one depends on what you want). This might be worth it if you're very artsy craftsy and are really trying to create your own designs or like unique designs. However, there are better choices if you have simple embroidery needs.
- Constructed from durable plastic and metal materials
- Comes in a white color with a glossy finish
- Includes 35 built-in Disney character designs, 70 built-in ornamental designs, 5 monogramming/lettering fonts, and 120 frame pattern combinations
- Features sizable 4-inch x 4-inch embroidery area
- Features 1.4-inch x 2.7-inch backlit LCD touch screen panel
- Includes needle-threader
- Features personal computer connectivity for importing and downloading designs from sites like iBriodery.com
The Brother PE540D is another user-friendly model from the company. However, just because this is a model that even a beginner can get around on, does not mean that it is not capable of handling complicated tasks
It has a good selection of features 70 preloaded designs, computer connectivity, 5 monogramming and lettering fonts, and a lot more. This is also the model with preloaded Disney designs, so if you like any of those film production’s characters, you will certainly enjoy putting those designs on any item of your choice.
It has garnered positive feedback from its customers because of its features and performance. Lots of beginners gave this particular model a thumbs-up because of the minimal setup it requires and it is very easy to use.
It's a lighter embroidery machine and is great for shirts, night gowns and other thinner materials. However, thick material like jeans or hats may be tough for this machine to work on. If you want to be able to embroider everything go with another model since this is a little limited.
So it is Worth It?
It's a good buy for beginners and only beginners. With a limited ability in regards to what it can embroider if you are an advanced user its limitations will hold you back. It is only good for embroidering thinner materials like the ones we mentioned and maybe some blankets. However, it's not great for heavy duty material.
Embroidery machines are perfectly able to merge functionality, creativity, versatility, and practicality in just one beneficial package. They can indeed accomplish seamless, often beautiful results. However, they are an investment.
When it comes to prices, it always helps to reference prices online, that way you will get faster results. Seek other people’s opinions, weigh your needs, and you can come to a buying decision that you will not regret.
I hope you carefully read through the buying guide to best understand how to find the top embroidery machine for you. Everybody has different needs and while I rated the embroidery machines to my standards, you might have different expectations for an embroidery machine.
Be sure to understand what it is you want out of an embroidery machine and use my reviews to help you pick one. I'm always available for comments and to answer questions.