10 Unique Embroidery Machine Reviews - Add Adornment to Your Life in 2017

Brother PE525 Embroidery MachineLooking for a hobby or are you already a pro?

Embroidery has long been a beautiful and relatively inexpensive way to add adornment and personality to the items in your life. For centuries, this was done by hand, and the skill and stitching took a lifetime to master. In today's busy world, the ability to do this has become limited to a small subset of the world's population.

However, the demand for monogrammed towels and sheets, adorned kitchen tea towels, clothing with a personalized flourish, and more has never gone away. In fact, in today's world of personalized coffee drinks made to order, the prospect of clothing, totes, and more made to order is more appealing than ever.

Embroidery machines are a fun way to add some personalization to your sewing and to your items without the lifetime of learning perfect stitching techniques and spending hours in Victorian sitting rooms perfecting your craft.

Gone are the days when this embroidery had to be done by hand; now you can take your pick of computerized machines, upload your design of choice, and create or adorn a beautiful new item.

So how do I pick the right embroidery machine?

Choosing the best embroidery machine for you is a matter of considering several factors. Budget, skill, and the amount of time and effort that you want to spend changing spools are just some of the different things to consider.

Also, if you have a preferred computing language from which to import designs, you will need to discover whether your machine of choice supports that language. Read on to discover our top ten favorites, their specs, and who we think would love each one.

So what will your favorite embroidery machine be? Read on to discover the options!

Product NameImageEmbroidery DesignsOverall RatingDetails
Brother Designio Series DZ820E 200 10 Check price
Brother SE400 Combination Computerized Sewing and 4x4 Embroidery Machine 70 9 Check price
Brother PE770 136 9.5 Check price
Brother LB6800PRW Project Runway Computerized Embroidery and Sewing Machine 70 9.5 Check price
SINGER Futura XL-400 Portable Sewing and Embroidery Machine 125 6 Check price
SINGER XL-580 Futura Embroidery and Sewing Machine 250 8 Check price
Brother PE525 Embroidery Machine 200 8.5 Check price
Brother PE540D 4x4 Embroidery Machine 105 9 Check price
EverSewn Hero - 400-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine, Sewing or Embroidery 40 9 Check price
Brother Sewing SE600 Sewing and Embroidery Machine 103 8.5 Check price

Brother Designio Series DZ820E Embroidery Machine with bonus embroidery hoops (4x4 inch and 2.5x1 inch), a starter kit and a CD with 200 bonus embroidery designs

Brother Designio Series DZ820EThis is one step up from beginner models- is this the right machine for you?

Moving up the scale of price and complexity in the Brother series of embroidery machines is the Brother Designio Series DZ820E Embroidery Machine with bonus embroidery hoops. It offers a whopping 200 built-in designs and a series of different sizes of hoops.

A variety of hoop sizes means that you can better create any size of design without a lot of tension inconsistencies due to a hoop that is too big for the image.

What added features does this beauty have?

Features:

  • Comes with two extra embroidery hoops (4 x 4 and 2.5 x 1) and a bonus CD with 200 extra designs
  • 136 built-in embroidery designs, six fonts, 120 frame options
  • Backlit LCD touchscreen display makes it as easy as using a smartphone to set your design.
  • Can work with any embroidery design file type to make it easy to download design files
  • Easy needle threading and thread trimming
  • 21.3 x 13.7 x 17.9 inches
  • 28.4 pounds
  • Starter kit includes scissors, spool net and cap, seam ripper, screwdrivers, needle set, cleaning brush, bobbins, embroidery foot, and power cord.

Conclusion

A good choice from Brother with a lot of extras that make it even more worth it.

If you're the person who buys the $50 worth of makeup at the department store counter just to get the free gift with purchase, then you are definitely the person for this machine. The machine itself is a great piece of embroidery technology, solid and at the entry-to-middle level of sophistication. With it, you can do a wide range of work that looks like it was done by a professional.

It's easy to learn how to use, even if you don't own a smartphone or have never actually touched a sewing machine before. The extra hoops and designs and the ability to bring in and edit the designs you want to your specifications are the icings on this delicious cake of a machine.

An excellent choice for anyone looking for a versatile machine.

PROS:
  • As many designs as the Brother PE770 but with an additional 200 designs on the bonus CD and more hoops
  • 25-year warranty
  • large arm with lots of room
  • A great embroidery-only machine
  • Touchscreen is easy to use and program
  • Beginners can use this with a small learning curve

CONS:
  • On the higher price end of the beginner to mid machines
  • Need a separate spool stand if you're using large spools of thread.

Brother Designio™ Series DZ820E Embroidery Machine Overview

Brother SE400 Combination Computerized Sewing and 4x4 Embroidery Machine With 67 Built-in Stitches, 70 Built-in Designs, 5 Lettering Fonts

Brother SE400 Combination Computerized Sewing and 4x4 Embroidery MachineA great beginner machine for those looking for entry into the embroidery market.

The Brother SE400 Combination Computerized Sewing and 4x4 Embroidery Machine offers high-end computer connectivity in a functional piece that's a budget-friendly computer/machine combination.

It comes pre-loaded with images, fonts, and other files. Or design your own piece with the help of your computer and upload it straight to your machine for custom designs. Create to your heart's content with the LED-backlit display, which is as easy to use as any touchpad.

What features does this beginner's delight have?

Features:

  • Can sew, quilt, or embroider
  • Can embroider a 4 by 4-inch area
  • Controls are in a backlit touchscreen LED panel
  • Comes with 67 installed stitch patterns and 70 preinstalled embroidery patterns
  • Computer connectivity options to download online patterns
  • One-touch automatic thread cutter
  • 25-year limited warranty

Conclusion

A great, budget machine for those who are looking to discover what embroidery machines are all about.

If you're a beginner to moderate in skill in computing, sewing, or both, you will find that this machine is a great way to go. It's also a great choice for anyone looking to find a light-duty machine that can both sew and embroider. Instructions are easy to read in two languages, and downloadable embroidery patterns can be brought in from a number of different websites and file types.

An all-around strong contender in the beginner machine category.

PROS:
  • Easy for beginners to use
  • Comes with the accessories needed to sew on a variety of fabrics
  • User-friendly, easy to teach yourself on
  • Bilingual user manual
  • Don't need to be a techie or great at sewing to use.

CONS:
  • Better for light-duty jobs
  • Customer service can be tricky to navigate

Brother SE400 - First Embroidery with My Brother SE400

Brother PE770 5x7 inch Embroidery machine with built-in memory, USB port, 6 lettering fonts and 136 built-in designs

Brother PE770 5x7 inch Embroidery machineBuilding on the Brother line, here is the next size up in embroidery machine.

Unlike the previous model, the Brother PE770 5x7 inch Embroidery machine with built-in memory, USB port, 6 lettering fonts and 136 built-in designs is a larger machine that is more specifically for embroidery instead of being a hybrid.

It can hold an embroidery frame measuring up to 5 x 7 inches and comes with 136 installed embroidery designs. The backlit LED panel is smaller and less functional than that of the previous model, but it is still easy to figure out.

Check out these features!

Features:

  • 5 x 7 inch embroidery field
  • Backlit LED display
  • 136 built-in designs for embroidery and six different lettering styles
  • 10 frame and 12 border styles installed
  • USB port allows you to easily add any design you wish from online
  • Designs can be edited by rotating, flipping, and adjusting for size
  • Easy threading of both top and bottom

Conclusion

So how does this machine stack up overall?

This is a great overall embroidery machine if you want a designated machine with a lot of capability. It comes at an entry-to-mid-level price and it requires about the same amount of skill to learn how to use.

This is not a full plug-and-play machine, as it works best if you do a bit of research about how to use the machine and what to watch for when troubleshooting. Then again, this is the case for all of the embroidery machines, so this is not a large problem. Do your homework and it'll work beautifully for you on a variety of projects.

A great contender! So what's next?

PROS:
  • Easy to learn if you're computer savvy
  • Can work with the included frame and with other frames if you buy them
  • Bobbins and embroidery threads are easy to load and use
  • Can do a variety of sizes of project with the right frames

CONS:
  • Requires a learning curve to become familiar with the machine
  • Best for light projects

Brother™ PE-770 Embroidery Machine Overview

 

Brother LB6800PRW Project Runway Computerized Embroidery and Sewing Machine with Included Rolling Carrying Case

Brother LB6800PRW Project Runway Computerized Embroidery and Sewing MachineThe hybrid for those who want to "make it work!"

Inspired by the famous clothing designer reality show, Project Runway, The Brother LB6800PRW Project Runway Computerized Embroidery and Sewing Machine with Included Rolling Carrying Case is a fun nod to the show that offers the ability to sew and embroider with one machine.

It comes with a patterned carrying case that allows you to pack and roll your case to any challenging event that pops up.

What do users think are the highlights and down points of this model?

So many features to discover, too!

Features:

  • Choose from 67 different sewing stitches
  • Embroider a built-in or imported design in the included 4 x 4 frame
  • The backlit LED touchpad controls are as easy to use as a smartphone
  • 70 built-in embroidery designs, 120 frame choices, 5 fonts for lettering
  • Comes with embroidery hoop, seven sewing feet, USB cable, bobbin thread, and case
  • 25-year limited warranty

Conclusion

This is a good machine to learn the wonder of embroidery.

Brother has created an easy machine if you want to go from beginner to Project Runway All-Star in no time flat. This is a great machine to start with if you are tech-savvy, whether or not you can sew.

It's easy to learn with the included bilingual instruction manual, and the fun case and hybrid functionality make it a practical starter item.

An overall good contender with a fun twist on a favorite show.

PROS:
  • An automated machine that is easy for beginners with an instruction book to master
  • Choose between preinstalled and downloaded designs
  • Stylish bag for carrying
  • Works as both a sewing machine and an embroiderer

CONS:
  • Good for light jobs but not heavy-duty jobs
  • Customer service can be tricky to navigate

Brother LB6800PRW Sewing and Embroidery Machine

SINGER Futura XL-400 Portable Sewing and Embroidery Machine

Roll over image to zoom in Singer SINGER Futura XL-400 Portable Sewing and Embroidery MachineWhat does Singer offer the entry-level embroidery machine market?

This is the first entry in our category by the iconic sewing machine brand, Singer. This portable machine is on the smaller side, with a long arm to allow for plenty of room to stitch to your heart's content.

Create designs as large as 12 x 20 inches or use this hybrid machine to sew if you prefer. This machine is a bit simpler than the Brother machines with LED touchpads, but the series of lights indicating the stitch patterns is simple to navigate.

And check out these features!

Features:

  • 30 built-in stitches
  • 125 built-in embroidery designs
  • Includes software with built-in tutorials to help use the machine and edit designs
  • 5 built-in fonts
  • Simple, drop-and-sew bobbin

Conclusion

So how does this Singer do as a contender on our list?

This Singer machine has a lot to offer the beginner looking for a hybrid to get into the sewing market. The long arm and tall machine make it a great choice for sewing. While it's called portable, it does take some real space on the counter.

The controls are a bit simpler than the touchpads on the Brother machines, which is both good and bad. On one hand, there's a bit more of a learning curve to figure out the controls. However, they may be a bit longer lasting and easier to fix if there is a problem. It becomes a tradeoff between durability and electronic sophistication.

PROS:
  • Large sewing arm to make plenty of room for large embroidery designs
  • Simple computer tutorial for both embroidery and design editing
  • You can use a number of different embroidery hoops with it
  • Takes any computer extension for embroidery design
  • Includes everything you need- except thread and fabric- to start right away

CONS:
  • Tension settings may need to be tweaked
  • Editing software for designs is basic. You need to pay more for a more complicated program

Embroidery using the Singer XL-400 sewing machine

 

SINGER XL-580 Futura Embroidery and Sewing Machine with 250 Embroidery Designs

SINGER XL-580This second model from Singer offers even more in the range of versatility and performance. Is it the one for you?

Singer's second model on this list, the XL-580 Futura Embroidery and Sewing Machine with 250 Embroidery Designs, is essentially their luxury vehicle version of a single-needle embroidery machine.

This piece offers similar features to the other Futura, including the long arm and lots of room to embroider. It has over 200 stitches and even more built-in embroidery patterns. Though the design appears more streamlined than the other Futura, there is a lot more power to this machine.

So what does it do?

Features:

  • Comes with the 6.75 x 4-inch "Endless Hoop" is designed specially for making table runners, curtains, and other long, repeating patterns.
  • Comes with 250 built-in designs and 215 built-in sewing stitches to choose from.
  • The design comes with an extra-large arm for managing large pieces of fabric like quilts.
  • Includes all the classic conveniences of Singer sewing technology like an automatic Bobbin winder, needle threader, and thread cutter to name three.
  • Offers your choice of six automatic buttonhole designs
  • Includes a knee lifter for hands-free presser foot design
  • 50 different endless designs, perfect for borders, are included.
  • Includes USB port to import your own designs from downloads or design software
  • Bonus software that converts clip art to embroidery is also included.

Conclusion

This is one of the highest-cost machines on the list. Is it worth the price?

This large Singer machine is meant to be able to do a lot. It offers a lot of design choices plus the ability to bring in anything you want from the outside world. Again, they don't offer the touchpad functionality of the Brother, but like always, it can be a tradeoff of something that may be longer lasting (think generations instead of a decade) but that takes a bit more time to learn the controls for.

As Singer does best, they have created a machine that will be a workhorse and do much with all the things you need and nothing extraneous. But it will do it well for much longer than anything else on the market.

Which is an impressive thing to boast, of course. And how does it stack up overall?

PROS:
  • Singer has a long-standing reputation for quality in the sewing machine business
  • Great for doing endless border designs
  • This has the capability of a machine 2-5 times the price
  • It comes with a large, 6 x 10 embroidery hoop
  • The included hoops are well-made and good at keeping the fabric snug
  • One of the quietest models on the list
  • Large size is great for sheets, comforters, curtains and tablecloths

CONS:
  • The large machine doesn't lend itself to portability
  • Thread tensioning takes some work to perfect without breaking

 

 

Brother PE525 Embroidery Machine

Brother PE525 Embroidery MachineThe beautiful floral design on the outside of this entry-level model is attractive. Are the features as beautiful?

The Brother PE25 Embroidery Machine is a stripped-down version that was designed to make it possible for just about anyone to enter the world of home custom embroidery. It looks attractive from the beginning, with beautiful purple floral decor along the side.

Access to 70 built-in designs, 120 frame choices, and more make it a versatile machine, even if you don't want to download and import designs. If you want to discover what embroidery is all about without paying a fortune, this is a great way to get a powerful machine that costs only a small amount.

And check out these features!

Features:

  • Comes with 70 built-in designs, 120 frame choices, and 5 fonts
  • Accessories include 4 x 4 embroidery hoop, three pre-wound bobbins, embroidery card, touch pin, USB port, 4 spool caps, 2 screwdrivers, scissors, needle pack, cleaning brush, seam ripper, accessory bag, and dust cover.
  • Works with many different digitizing software file types
  • Dedicated embroidery-only machine
  • Easy-to-use backlit LED touchpad

Conclusion

A great tool for beginners, but not if you want room to grow

This is really the tool to discover if you like embroidery without spending a fortune. It is not, unfortunately, a tool that can grow with you if you decide you enjoy the process and you want to grow with it. Because of this, you need to consider whether you tend to sample many different hobbies and then move on or if you prefer to dig in and master a practice before trying something else.

This is definitely the tool to use to dabble without risking a lot of your budget rather than build up and master. If you are someone who is in the middle, this may be a choice that depends on your budget. If you are someone for whom money is scarce, you may be better served with a beginner hybrid rather than a beginner dedicated machine.

So how does this machine compare to the rest of the lineup?

PROS:
  • The perfect price for a beginner embroidery model- really allows almost anyone the opportunity to try home machine embroidery
  • Offers access to the library of built-in designs with a number of editing possibilities, plus the ability to import designs from websites
  • Incredibly easy to learn how to use, even if you have never sewn before
  • Comes with a 25-year limited warranty and access to a lifetime-long access to the help desk for step-by-step instructions and troubleshooting

CONS:
  • This is limited to the 4 x 4 embroidery area, even if you buy additional hoops. It cannot do bigger or longer projects.

Brother PE525 Embroidery Machine Overview

Brother PE540D 4x4 Embroidery Machine with 70 Built-in Decorative Designs, 35 Disney Designs, 5 Fonts

Brother PE540D 4x4 Embroidery Machine

This Disney-special machine is perfect for parents who want to add a bit of the Magic Kingdom to their world.

If you are a parent of young children or a Mickey Mouse-o-phile, the Brother PE540D 4x4 Embroidery Machine with 70 Built-in Decorative Designs, 35 Disney Designs, and 5 Fonts may be just the model that you want. It offers a machine with a number of the copyrighted Disney designs featuring your favorite characters pre-loaded, so there is no need to hunt them down and pay for them individually.

If you want to add a bit of Disney Princess magic to your clothing, add a little bit of Lightning McQueen to your child's backpack, or simply adorn your sheets with those iconic mouse ears, this is the way to do it without spending a fortune on additional design fees or illegally downloading copyrighted material.

The machine itself is on par with the beginner's machines that Brother offers. It is an embroidery-only dedicated machine with about the same functionality as the Brother PE525. It comes with the same 70 pre-loaded designs, plus an additional 35 Disney designs. Attractive decor with Mickey Mouse on the outside of the machine makes it a fun, whimsical addition to your sewing room.

Is this Mickey Mouse special the piece for you? Read these features and find out.

Features:

  • Comes with 35 Disney designs, 70 additional designs, 120 frame choices, and 5 fonts.
  • 4 x 4 embroidery design area
  • Easy to use backlit LED touchscreen display makes it easy to edit and display designs
  • Comes with needle pack, embroidery hoop, bobbins (pre-wound), and USB cable

Conclusion

This is really a specialized machine that has a specialized purpose.

This is a sewing machine that offers beginner functionality, dedicated, embroidery-only purpose, and a chance to have 35 Disney designs included. If you are a Disney-loving family, the cost with the specialized designs is a bargain.

If you are not sure how many of these designs you'll use, you may be better served by getting one of the other entry-level machines and downloading one or two Disney designs at cost. Dance moms, crafty grandmothers, and more will find this to be a great addition to their sewing room. The fun Mickey Mouse decor may also inspire the little ones in your family to learn a bit of machine embroidery on their own.

When you wish upon a star... this is the machine you get.

Still not sure if this is the machine for you? Consider these pros and cons

PROS:
  • 35 different Disney designs are pre-loaded, saving the cost of characters with licensing fees
  • Easy-use backlit LED display and controls
  • Attractive Disney design of the machine
  • Easily readable instruction manual in 2 languages

CONS:
  • Costs a bit more than other models with this functionality; this is worth it if you will use the designs a lot but not if you want a cheaper entry-level machine

 

EverSewn Hero - 400-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine, Sewing or Embroidery: Embroidery Module & USB port

EverSewn Hero - 400-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine, Sewing or EmbroideryHow does EverSewn do in the introductory embroidery machine market?

The EverSewn Hero - 400-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine is the only entry into this field from the EverSewn brand. From first glance, this seems to be a product that offers a hybrid of the control choices between the Singer (buttons and lights with pre-printed design options on the side) versus the Brother (LED touchscreen with instant editing capabilities) model choices.

This model offers a bit of both in this hybrid sewing machine and embroidery machine combo. The long arm offers the room needed for both ambitious sewing projects like quilts as well as large embroidery projects like borders for tablecloths, sheets, and more.

What do the features look like?

Features:

  • Includes over 400 utility and decorative stitches plus 40 built-in embroidery designs.
  • Capabilities for embroidery designs up to 110 x 170 mm
  • Built-in monitoring for thread tensions to avoid problems
  • Comes with 8 different presser feet
  • 21 x 11 x 11.5 inches
  • 26.1 pounds
  • Combination of LCD touchpad and built-in controls with stitch lights
  • 7 mm stitch width
  • 800 spm speed of sewing

Conclusion

A strong machine in the all-around category. A good hybrid between the working of a Brother vs a Singer machine.

This EverSewn tool is a great choice if you only want to have one sewing machine that can do it all. Great, clear stitch buttons and controls are easy to use for those familiar with modern sewing machines, while the backlit LED touch display gives those who want smartphone functionality and instant editing capabilities the chance to do what they do best.

While the number of built-in designs is smaller than other items, because all the machines have built-in designs, USB importing has made that more of a bells and whistles kind of amenity. That said, this machine is limited to one file type, unlike the other machines on the list.

Luckily, most editing software can convert from one file type to the next and most sellers of custom designs will provide them with multiple file types.

A strong, mid-range machine.

Not a bad lineup- and the pros and cons?

PROS:
  • Great early to mid-level machine for the price
  • USB import capabilities to add new stitches
  • Durable machine for both sewing and embroidery purposes
  • One of the best on the list if you're doing a lot of sewing plus embroidery on the same machine

CONS:
  • Not everyone likes the hoop size
  • All designs must be in the .zhs file format
  • No automatic thread cutter

 

Brother Sewing SE600 Sewing and Embroidery Machine

Brother Sewing SE600 Sewing and Embroidery MachineHow does color display improve the embroidery design? Read on to find out!

The SE600 offers the best-looking display of all the machines. Display the design in full-color, adjust the colors to your liking for a perfect preview, and use the kind of touchpad functionality that you're used to with a smartphone.

The machine offers attractive graphics on the outside of the sewing machine. Simple buttons and a small cache of built-in designs make this an inexpensive option for those who are going to download most of their designs and need a good, full-color preview.

And the features?

Features:

  • 3.2-inch color LCD touch display
  • 4 x 4 inch embroidery field capabilities
  • 80 built-in designs and 6 built-in fonts
  • USB port to easily import files
  • 103 built-in stitch patterns, up to 6.4 x 4.1-inch embroidery capabilities, 7 different sewing feet

Conclusion

A new model that has not been on the market long enough to have a large number of reviews on durability, but that has improved upon a lot of the early technology of other models.

It is hard to make a good comparison regarding functionality, quirks, and other daily use details about this model. This is because it hasn't been around long enough to have a good review series from actual owners and why they love or hate it.

That said, there are a few significant improvements on the touch screen display, the addition of color, and most notably the ability to use any USB drive to import files, rather than the large cord and memory card combination that doesn't fit well with most computers.

The biggest limitation on this looking at the features is the limited design field, which prevents you from doing larger work even with the addition of larger embroidery hoops, though this is the case for all the beginner models.

The addition of an embroidery field capability up to 8 x 10 would have easily put this over the top as the best model of all.

Great to know. What else should I know about these machines?

PROS:
  • New model with modern display capabilities
  • Can embroider many thicknesses of fabric up to that of denim
  • Can use a memory stick and not the older way of a USB cord
  • Long free arm for cuffs and sleeves

CONS:
  • Can only do up to a 4 x 4 area

How To Buy The Best Embroidery Machine

How do you choose the right embroidery machine for you?

If you're new to the embroidery game, there are a number of things you might want to consider when it comes to choosing an embroidery machine. Here is a series of questions to ask yourself when looking into the right machine for you:

  • Skill level: What is your level of skill in sewing?
  • Technology level: What is your experience with technological equipment?
  • Willingness to self-teach: The big trick on these machines is your ability to read the instructions thoroughly and work with the machine.
  • Types of designs: Are you interested in doing complicated designs that require a lot of self-editing or a few plug-and-play items based on what is built into a machine?
  • Hybrid or Dedicated: Do you want a machine that is exclusively for embroidery or something that you can use to make decorative stitches with as well?
  • Adjustments: Some of these machines work great if you're willing to tweak a few things like settings or changing out a spool holder. Is that what you want?
  • Budget: What are you willing to spend?
  • Built-in versus downloaded: Do you want to import all your designs or just work with the library of built-in designs from a machine?

Once you consider all of these pieces of information, you have enough to go forward. For example, if you know you will be downloading most of your files, you can save a little bit of money and buy a machine that has fewer built-in patterns but a computer connection to make it accessible.

Understanding whether you'd rather work with an instruction book and more complicated settings feature to get a more durable machine versus having something a bit more fragile with a responsive touchscreen is another tradeoff.

To break it down, consider your budget, goals, and willingness to learn. These details are enough to get you whatever level of the machine will work best for you.

All Types Of Embroidery Machines

What kinds of embroidery machines exist?

There are a few different kinds of embroidery machines to choose from:

  • Manual zig-zag embroidery:

This is a machine that does tight zig-zags. Embroidery stitches are manually directed by the person operating the machine.

  • Computer controlled:

This is the kind of technology that runs the embroidery portion of every one of the machines on our top ten list. This works by running a preprogrammed design with a number of different stitches on a taut piece of fabric stretched by a frame.

  • Single-needle vs multi-needle:

This is one variation on the computer-controlled embroidery machine. Single needle machines can only run one color of fabric at a time, while multi-needle machines can run several colors at once. Multi-needle machines are more likely to be large, professional machines.

  • Hybrid vs Dedicated:

Within the single-needle machines, you can choose a lower-end embroidery machine that can double as a sewing machine or you can choose a more advanced machine that is completely dedicated to embroidery.

The machines on our list are the most likely, statistically, to be used by a beginner at embroidery. Because of this, there are no manual or professional-grade multi-needle machines on the list. Single-needle computer-controlled embroidery machines are the easiest to learn how to work if you have never done machine embroidery before. A much higher skill level is needed to use either a manual or multi-needle machine.

Good to know. But where can I learn more?

Embroidery Machine Books

What kind of embroidery books exist and how can they help me use my new machine?

If you're ready to take the next steps in the embroidery game, there are a number of different kinds of books that can help you to do even more with your new machine.

While the books are numerous, they fall into a few different basic categories:

  • Books about embroidery stitches in general: These are books that teach you how to make embroidery stitches yourself the old fashioned way, using your hands, a needle, and thread. This includes books like "Leisure Arts Embroidery Pocket Guide" and "Embroidery" by DK. In both cases, these embroidery guides can help you to add the finishing touches on a machine-embroidered piece by touching it up or adding connections from one machine design to the next.
  • Machine embroidery bibles: These books are great for teaching you the basics on everything that is machine embroidery. This will expand on everything that your instruction manual covers but with a lot more detail. Anything from how to use a machine, what fabrics are best, how to get designs, tweak them, and even create new ones for download. It offers an extensive troubleshooting guide as well.
  • Machine embroidery design technology: These are books on how to create a new embroidery design from scratch.
  • Embroidery business books: This will teach you how to make your own embroidery business from home and give you advice on all the different avenues that you can go down to make money with your machine, from pattern design to making and selling crafts to personalizing items for others.

 

The library is a great way to peruse the books and see what ones will work best for you, based on your goals with this machine. While some books may have the kind of information that you can digest and pass on, other books like machine embroidery bibles and stitch guides make great reference books to hold onto and reference many times for many years.

A good book can go a long way.

Design

Embroidery designs are a big piece of the puzzle, here's what you need to know:

The embroidery design is something that is built into every machine. In addition to this, you can also download designs from a number of different websites. Some of the most common design websites include:

  • Embroiderydesigns.com: This website offers a combination of free and paid designs. Choose from thousands of options with an easy search function.
  • iBroidery: This is the site from Brother that gives you a chance to download a lot more patterns than those provided on the machine. It includes a large number of copyrighted designs from Marvel, Disney, and more.
  • Amazingdesigns.com and EmbroideryDK.com: These are sites that charge a monthly membership fee to have access to as many designs as you wish during the membership period. It's a smart way to go if you download a lot of patterns and don't want to pay a fortune.
  • Etsy and eBay: Download custom and artist-created embroidery designs, one at a time.

The right program for you depends on how many different designs you want, whether you want general or copyrighted designs, and which kinds of patterns they have. The biggest thing that you'll find as you browse these different design sites is the same thing you'll find with art- different artists create different styles and like different subjects.

Some sites will have an abundance of cute, cartoon-style images. Others will offer more realistic icons. Some will offer abstract lacy shapes while others will specialize in angels or realistic wildlife. These sites are great about offering a trial period or a look into their inventory whether you are a member or not. This can help you to find the site that best fits the kind of embroidery art you like.

Good advice! And guess what else!

Maintenance

How do I maintain my machine?

Maintaining an embroidery machine is about halfway between maintaining a computer and maintaining a sewing machine. Here are some of the things to do to keep your machine running as smoothly as possible:

A well-maintained machine can last longer, run smoothly, and prevent problems.

  • Do an inventory of the machine. Is it collecting lint or old thread? Be sure to clean and dust it thoroughly. Store it in a location and manner where it can't collect more dust. Be sure to unscrew the bobbin plate to look for hidden lint as well.
  • Keep a record of your tension settings and what works best for your machine when it's running well. A change in this is a signal to get your machine looked at by a specialist.
  • Check for updates to the computer system for your machine. If updates are available, they can help you to fix glitches and gremlins, just like on your computer.

 

FAQ

What are the common questions that people have about these embroidery machines?

What kind of bobbin will my machine take?:

Brother machines will all take the same bobbin, as will the two Singer machines on the list. All of the machines come with a starter bobbin or two that you can use to gauge size. It is recommended that you take an extra bobbin to the fabric store when shopping to make sure the right bobbin size is reached. While differences can be subtle, they also can be enough to cause the machine to not work as well as you would like.

What kind of needles does my machine use?

In addition to choosing the right needles for the machine, you must also look into the right needles for the kind of thread and the kind of fabric you are using. Heavier fabrics require a tougher needle, and finer needles are beter for finer fabrics and thinner threads.

How How do I download designs to my machine?

All machines come with an input port, typically USB. This is used to take a downloaded pattern, in a machine-compatible file format, from a USB stick or computer connection to your embroidery machine. Simply choose the program you want and open it.

How do I tweak a digital design?

In many cases, you'll want to slightly change a pattern to better fit your needs. Most embroidery machines will give you the opportunity to make small changes like flipping it to a mirror image on either plane, resizing it, and recommending different colors as you go through the machine. The instruction book for your machine can be an invaluable resource here.

When is it time to move up to a more professional machine?

If you are looking for an embroidery machine professional businesses would use, then you need to be able to have a reason to justify the price.

A business that does custom embroidery or that creates a line of embroidered fashion pieces are two reasons to make the switch to an embroidery machine 4 needles, embroidery machine 6 needles, or embroidery machine 10 needles. An embroidery machine with multi-needle capabilities is a great way to work faster and produce more items for sale. They cost several times more than a single-needle machine, so this is something to keep in mind.

You can get by with a single needle if you need an embroidery machine for hats or an embroidery machine for monograms; an embroidery machine for a t-shirt will need multiple color changes and may be worth the upgrade.

What embroidery machine accessories do I need?

There are a number of different accessories on the market. Good choices to consider include a wide color spectrum of embroidery thread, a variety of needles to fit different fabrics, and a wide range of embroidery hoop sizes to fit different designs. If you don't have a good USB connection device for your computer, this is another good choice.

Design editing software can offer the opportunity to create custom pieces that are just for you. Finally, fabric stabilizing paper to help back your design can help it to stay more cleanly on your piece of fabric.

9.5 Total Score
Our Verdict

Ready to learn our vote for the best embroidery machine of all?

Choosing a great embroidery machine means considering a few different factors. This includes the ability to learn and use the machine as quickly as possible out of the box. Next, it needs to be durable and work well with a number of different materials.

Hybrids versus dedicated machines are kind of a wash-- if you want one machine, a hybrid is a great choice. However, if you're going to be doing a lot of dedicated sewing and dedicated embroidery, no hybrid works as well as machines designed especially for the single task at hand. Finally, the ability to grow is an important factor in this.

Ultimately, you want a machine that will quickly get you up to speed with embroidery, let you do a number of easy projects well, and give you a taste of how far you want to take your hobby. What puts a machine over the top, however, is the capability to have that machine grow with you as long as possible as you improve in skill, rather than needing to replace it when you're ready to go from beginning to mid-level embroidery.

Brother Designio Series DZ820E

Our winner, based on this criteria, is the Brother Designio Series DZ820E Embroidery Machine with bonus embroidery hoops (4x4 inch and 2.5x1 inch), a starter kit and a CD with 200 bonus embroidery designs.

While many different machines had similar capabilities- dozens to hundreds of built-in designs, USB import capabilities, easy-to-learn functionality, and more-- it was the extras that put it over the top. The ability to have over 200 extra designs is highly touted, but design choices are so individualized that the USB capabilities make it less important than the other feature this has.

The big reason that this is the overall winner is a large number of included embroidery hoops and the wide variety of embroidery design size choices. This is something that only this model and the Brother PE770 have within this category (something that only more expensive models than these entry-level machines typically have) and that lets you simply do more.

The reason that this piece is better than the PE 770 is only that all the different sizes of embroidery hoops are already included, rather than having to buy them separately.

Of course, if you're into hybrids, this is not the model for you as it's a dedicated machine. But if you're looking to enter into the embroidery market and hit the ground running and don't need a sewing machine as well, this is the embroidery machine for beginner use we think you'll love.

Was this your favorite, too? Thanks for reading!

Price
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