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If you want to enjoy making beautiful patterns, elegant monograms, or stunning tapestry, it is not enough to have an ordinary sewing machine. You need a good embroidery one. There are many options from low-cost models with little more than forward and reverse to high-quality commercial embroidery machines with a wide variety of amazing features. Here, we gathered all you need to know to choose the best embroidery machine for your needs.
In our research, we got a closer look at the most important features that affect the quality of embroidering. We focused on the difference between commercial and home-use types of embroidery machines and between embroidery-only and 2-in-1 devices. We also covered the size of the embroidery area, the number of available designs, and many other features important for a perfect pick.
We analyzed hundreds of customer reviews and made a comparison table based on the gathered information, highlighting the qualities of our top seven embroidery machines on the market. The detailed reviews of each machine provide a summary of customer experience and contain the pros and cons of each product. We continue with a buying guide presenting you essential factors of choice. In the end, we announced our overall top-rated embroidery machine.
"The Brother PE550D is our Editor’s Choice because it has many features that make it stand out. 4 x 4 embroidery field, grid sheet, and built-in alignment tools. 125 designs, including 45 Disney designs."
More features: touchscreen display, built-in alignment tools, comes with an instructional DVD
Brother is a sewing machine brand that needs no introduction. The brand brings Disney’s magic to you with the Brother PE550D embroidery machine. It is packed with numerous incredible features that make it easy to use. Both beginners and seasoned sewists can make the most of the embroidery machine as it has a friendly learning scope. Plus, it comes with an instructional DVD and bilingual user manual.
Besides coming from a popular brand, the Brother PE550D tops our list because of its multiple distinguishing features. Its 4 x 4 embroidery field, grid sheet, and built-in alignment tools help you align your design and needle position for accurate placement on your fabric. Further, the embroidery machine comes with 125 built-in decorative designs that include 45 Disney designs. You also get 9 fonts, six in English and three in Japanese for personalization and monogramming.
The Brother PE550D compares favorably with other embroidery machines on this list, like the Brother PE770. It has an ample embroidery area, a built-in automatic threader, and an additional editing feature that makes embroidery an easy and enjoyable task. The editing feature allows you to resize, move, mirror images, and rotate before getting started on your project.
What makes it stand out?
Easy to use
Multiple decorative design options
Ample embroidery area
Excellent customer service
Built-in memory and USB port allow you to upload your own designs
Offers excellent value for money
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
You have to buy software to be able to use your own designs
More features: 3MB memory capability, 400–800 spm embroidery speed, 2 fonts for monogramming, full intensity lighting system, built-in needle threader, 25-year limited warranty
The Janome Memory Craft 9900 is a 2-in-1 sewing and embroidering machine built for creating one-of-a-kind crafts, gifts, and home décor. It was made by a company known for making high-quality products. This machine performs really fast stitching, cutwork, fabric cutting, heat transfer, and appliqué. It has 175 built-in embroidery designs, including intricate florals, classic quilt, holiday and kids designs, and many other fabulous compositions.
For unique design lovers, there are powerful tools. The Memory Craft 9900 has almost every editing function. It can resize, drag and drop, change the color of the image, zoom, flip, arc, duplicate, combine, trace and so on. The device also supports lettering and monogramming with any of True Type Fonts. These fonts are the same as you use in your Mac OS or Windows PC. To create a brand-new design, you can insert three characters and easily edit the True Type font shape with a Node Editor. Before stitching, you can view your design on an LCD full-color touchscreen. The screen displays a bright and vivid image in 65 thousand colors. The high-resolution LCD includes five bright LED lamps.
The MC9900 has two large embroidery hoops – 5.5″ x 5.5″ and 6.7″ x 7.9″. This feature allows embellishing such things as curtains, dresses and T-shirts, blankets and tablecloths. It is also compatible with the Free Arm hoop FA10a 1.6″ x 4″. With smart onscreen editing and top-of-the-line stitch speed and quality, it is easy to get excellent results even for newbies. However, this artistic premium machine is a little bit pricey. It is recommended for more accomplish passionate sewers, who will use the feature-rich device for creating many stunning items. The MC9900 comes with a 25-year limited warranty.
More features: 10 frame shapes, 6 lettering fonts, 12 border styles, auto thread trimmer, 25-year limited warranty
The Brother PE770 is an embroidery machine loved by so many people. Either you are looking for an embroidery machine for beginners or for more accomplished users – this model is a combination of the affordable price and high performance. The embroidery-only computerized machine is great for hobbyists and professionals.
The device has 136 built-in decorative designs – including classic patterns, splendid florals, wonderful scrollwork, and cute compositions to embellish child’s belongings. The PE770 provides 12 border styles and 10 frame patterns, ideal for home décor items in various styles. The embroidery area allows customizing T-shirts, decorative pillowcases, and kitchen curtains. For a lettering project, you can choose from six elegant fonts. With this machine, you can easily change your design for creating one-of-a-kind masterpieces. To download new decorative patterns or fonts to a built-in memory card, you can use USD memory stick. Extensive design editing includes size edits, making a mirror image, and rotation.
Unfortunately, this model is discontinued, but still available online. The Brother company replaced the machine with a pricier one, the Brother PE800. The new model has plus two built-in designs, plus five lettering fonts, and color LCD display. The embroidery area remains the same – 4″ x 7″. Sewers admit that a color touchscreen makes the editing process easier. However, the difference between these two models is almost $300, which is not affordable for some budget-conscious buyers.
The Brother PE770 is backed by a 25-year limited warranty and a free support hotline for the life of the product.
More features: Embroidery Pattern Drag and Drop function, 6 English lettering fonts (+ 3 Japanese), 25-year limited warranty
The Brother PE535 embroidery machine was made for embroidery only. The product has 80 built-in designs, including floral, holiday and kids styles, elegant alphabet for lettering, and 10 nice frame patterns. There is a variety of 6 English lettering fonts and 3 Japanese. And a built-in memory allows you to import custom designs from a USB memory stick. The full-color LCD touchscreen is large (3.2″), and you can view your designs in color before stitching them out.
The Brother PE535 has Embroidery Pattern Drag and Drop function. Using this function, you can create your own unique design with just the touch of your finger! Click on a desired design, move it to another one to make a combination, and drop it. The Sew Smart color LCD touchscreen will show your new creative project, which you can embroider in no time.
Built-in LED light illuminates the workspace around the needle area. The lights are bright and all the details are clear. Many sewers feel that LED bulbs are more comfortable for their eyes than other bulbs.
The needle threading system has intuitive handling so it is easy to get started. Bobbin thread sensor shows alerts when the machine is low or out of thread. This will make embroidering easier for beginners. They will also appreciate detailed video tutorials included with the machine.
The device provides fast professional stitching but has rather small space for embroidering. The embroidery area is only 4″ x 4″. This size limits your options to create patterns on a wide piece of cloth like tablecloth, curtains, or bed sets. However, every cloud has silver lining. We think this model can surely lay claim to being one of the best embroidery machines for monogramming out there. With it, you can easily personalize your clothes, decorate child’s belongings with stunning designs or lettering, and make unique gifts for family members and friends.
The product comes with a 25-year limited warranty. Also, Brother Industries Ltd provides a free hotline for customer support and online technical help.
More features: 5 lettering fonts, 120 frame combinations, automatic thread cutter, rolling carrying case, 25-year limited warranty
The Brother company is well known for easy-to-use sewing machines with great performance that truly shine with smart design and high-quality stitching. Its LB6800PRW Project Runway combo includes a 2-in-1 sewing and embroidery machine and a bag for transportation. This 2-in-1 combination is better for ones who do not have a sewing machine or want a backup. With the transportation wheeled bag, this is an easily portable sewing machine, and you can easily take it for a journey and enjoy embroidering wherever you want. The thick nylon bag is sturdy and comes with six removable padded pieces for creating storage sections, sides, and bottom. When not in use, it can be easily folded and put in a closet or under a bed.
The Brother LB6800PRW has such amazing features as the automatic needle threading and thread cutter. The machine makes sewing and embroidering an absolute breeze to use for novices. It also provides 120 stunning frame combinations for decorating borders, 5 stylish calligraphy embroidery fonts for monogramming, and 70 fabulous embroidery designs. Moreover, a sewer can edit and download custom designs with a USB cable. The embroidery area is not large (4″ x 4″) but that is enough to embellish hankies, child’s belongings, and other small things like decorative pillowcases. The backlit LCD touchscreen is comfortable for the eyes.
The device goes with a 25-years limited warranty, and the company provides a customer-friendly phone support.
More features: automatic needle threader, 6 lettering fonts, LED-lit work area, 25-year limited warranty
The Brother SE600 is a 2-in-1 combo machine, performing both sewing and embroidering. The SE600 comes with features that make embroidery easy and exciting. Built-in to this machine are 80 designs, including delicate scrollwork, classic quilt patterns, and fabulous florals. For monogramming and lettering, there are six elegant fonts. Accomplish sewers appreciate the variety of choice in sewing stitches. You can choose from 103 built-in sewing stitches, including auto-sized buttonholes, awesome decorative stitches, and eight styles of one-step. The built-in USB port allows you to easily import custom design. Editing possibilities are mirroring, rotation, increasing or decreasing the size of your designs. Before stitching, you can see how your edited design looks like at the large LCD full-color touchscreen. Novices like automatic needle threading system that helps them to get started. The LED-lit work area is comfortable for the eyes; the light is bright yet not annoying.
The only downside of this machine is that the embroidery field is not large, 4″ x 4″, which considerably limits the scale of your projects. However, this size is just perfect for embellishing hankies with monograms, children clothes with funny kids designs and creating other unique small décor items.
Included with the SE600 are a 25-year limited warranty, online technical support for the life of the product, and a free customer hotline.
More features: automatic needle threader, upper needle and bobbin thread level monitoring, 400+ utility, decorative and alphabet pattern stitches, limited 1/1/10-year warranty
The affordable EverSewn Hero is a combination of both sewing and embroidery machines. It is user-friendly and easy to learn, so even beginners can quickly start embellishing hankies with monograms, decorative pillowcases with florals, and child’s clothes with holiday and cute designs. You can make so many unique gifts for family and friends with this device.
The machine has a relatively large embroidery field (4.3″ x 6.7″) that gives you an ample space for creative projects. You can decorate small and large things with stunning 40 built-in designs, including alphabet stitching. There is no editing possibility, and some sewers consider this as a minus. The EverSewn Hero display is back-lit monochromic LCD, so you cannot view your design in full color before stitching.
However, the embroidery machine offers some features typically found on more expensive models – smart needle threading system, upper needle and bobbin thread monitoring. The features help novices to get successfully started then they can move forward to more feature-rich embroidery machines.
The EverSewn Hero comes with a 10-year limited warranty.
More features: 800 stitches per minute, needle thread monitoring, bobbin thread checking, semi-automatic threader, 7 mm stitch width, 10-year warranty on internal metal cast
The Bernina Bernette Chicago 7 is a 2-in-1 computerized sewing machine made by a famous Swiss company Bernina. Due to the Swiss machinery standards, the machine is top of the line when it comes to performance. Both beginners and professionals can use this model.
Novices need three things for practice: straight stitch, zigzag stitch, and reverse mode. They also appreciate needle thread monitoring that makes embroidering much easier. If you are fully sure, that embroidery is your passion then you can choose Bernette Chicago 7, which has much more options than an average beginner needs. Advanced users enjoy high speed of stitching (up to 800 stitches per minute), which makes it possible to create more masterpieces in a shorter time. A hundred patterns are available, including directs and utility stitches, decorative, cross, and quilt stitches. There are two styles of lettering – block and script.
Thanks to this myriad of features, making wonderful patterns, frames, and monograms is really a pleasure. With a 0.2-inch stitch width, it is easy to sew decorative elements, to create appliqué and trimming. The embroidery area is large for a combo machine – 4.3″ x 6.7″. With it, you can embellish pillowcases, tablecloth, blankets, and curtains. We found that the black and white LCD display is wide and clear, and a text is easy to read. However, most of sewers do not like black and white screens because such displays do not show colors of a custom design, so you’ll have to decide if it’s important for you.
Bernina gives a 10-year warranty on a metal cast and provides free technical support. But according to some users, this machine will serve you for over 15 years. Your creativity will truly flourish with the Bernette Chicago 7 opportunities.
Why are we impressed?
100 built-in designs
Large embroidery area
Fast speed of stitching great for experienced users
With a top-notch embroidery machine, you have plenty of possibilities to adorn almost anything made of fabric with an exquisite embroidery or place your monograms on it. But if you get the wrong machine, your creative process will be greatly hampered. To help you choose between multiple options available, we prepared this guide that contains all the vital things you need to know before making a purchase.
Why get a superior embroidery machine?
An embroidery machine helps to embellish décor items more quickly. For example, the Janome Memory Craft 9900 maximum stitching speed is up to 314 inches per minute, which is impossibly fast for hand embroidery. The second reason why all accomplish sewers want to own an embroidery machine is stitching accuracy that encourages creating more and more perfect-looking masterpieces. Choosing the right embroidery machine is not just making a good investment in your hobby or business, it is also meeting a new helpful and supportive friend that can easily do what almost no one else could do. This friend will be next to you for a very long time, so choose wisely and enjoy the fabulous creating process. Our buying guide will help you to decide on what is best for you.
Can just any sewing machine embroider?
In general, there are two types of embroidery machines. The first type is embroidery-only devices; they are suitable for those people who already have a sewing machine and do not want a backup one. The second type is a 2-in-1 combination; such machines can perform both sewing and embroidering. Those customers who don’t have a sewing machine appreciate the extended functionality and buy the combo. Unfortunately, 2-in-1 machines often lag behind their embroidery-only competitors by many parameters. They cannot stitch fast enough, have small embroidery field and just a few built-in designs. However, there are some pleasant exceptions. The Swiss company Bernina and the Japanese company Brother produce outstanding and affordable 2-in-1 machines. By all features, these machines are equal to embroidery-only or even better. In addition, they perform professional sewing.
What are your specific needs?
Some hobbyists like monogramming and lettering. They want to own embroidery machines with a wide variety of lettering fonts and choose models like Brother PE535. Some sewers prefer embellishing large pieces of cloth like bed sets or kitchen curtains. They need to own a machine with an ample embroidery area. There are even special embroidery machines for hats. If you don’t know yet what type of décor items you’d like to embellish, it is better to choose a machine with two embroidery hoops, like some of the models on our list.
Personal needs are the second essential choice factor after quality of an embroidery machine. So, think about what do you want to decorate, what styles of embroidery do you prefer, and base your choice on it.
What to look for in an ideal embroidery machine?
An ideal embroidery machine for every sewer has five major qualities:
It is made by a well-known company with a good reputation like Brother or Bernina.
It is high-performing.
It suits your personal needs and fills the bill.
The manufacturer offers free customer service and technical.
It comes with a 20 or 25-year warranty on mechanic parts and at least 5-year warranty on electric parts.
You can add to this list your must-have features, write down suitable models, and compare prices.
The type of a machine
Here, you should take into account your reason to own an embroidery machine. Semi-commercial machines like the Janome Memory Craft 9900 are built specifically for continuous hours of operation. The devices have full functionality, including high-quality fast stitching, more than 60 variations of embroidery designs, several font styles for monogramming and lettering, and many frame patterns. You also can easily download and edit your design. This is a good choice for start-ups, home business, sewing and embroidering classes and studios.
Home-use embroidery machines like the EverSewn Hero are good for hobbyists who embellish home décor items occasionally.
The number of embroidery designs and fonts
Built-in designs and fonts for monogramming and lettering inspire to create your own one-of-a-kind masterpieces. The average number of available designs is 50 and up. With the editing possibilities, it gives you a wide variety of choice.
Embroidery area and hoops
An embroidery area is a field below the needle. The area defines the largest size a machine can embroider at once. With a small field, you can embellish only things like hankies or toddler’s belongings. With a larger one, you can decorate blankets, curtains, and bed sets. An embroidery field ranges from 4″ x 4″ to 6.7″ x 7.9″ and up. Sewing and embroidery machines usually have smaller areas, whereas specialized embroidery-only devices have larger. For example, The Bernette Chicago 7 has the 4.3″ x 6.7″ embroidery area. With the Brother PE770, you can embroider on the 4″ x 7″ field. The choice of an embroidery machine depends on your preferences in décor items.
If you have not detailed plans for future creations, choose the biggest embroidery area you can afford. A hoop fixes fabric in place in the machine while embroidering it. For many machines, you can buy an additional hoop (Giga Hoop, Mega Hoop) that are larger than the machine’s embroidery area. However, such things cannot change the size that the machine can embroider at one shot. They just allow you to embroider multiple areas without re-hooping.
Screen and editing possibility
Embroidery machines have LCD, LED, or FTF touchscreens. The difference between these technologies is almost irrelevant to a user experience. However, full-color and detailed screens are better than back-lit monochromes. For sure, you want to view the color of your design before stitching. Touchscreens allow personalizing designs and fonts. The editing possibilities usually include resizing, mirroring, rotation, and combining. Large and easy-to-view displays prevent your eyes from getting tired after hours of continuous work.
USB and PC compatibility
You can buy online or download for free many stunning designs to increase your creative possibilities. Some machines have USB compatibility and can read information from USB memory sticks. Some have PC compatibility – they can be connected directly to your PC with a USB cable. The second option is easier-to-use. You also should pay attention to a built-in memory capacity. A large amount of memory means that you can download many high-quality designs into your machine and edit them before stitching out.
Warranty and customer support
Choosing an embroidery machine, a budget-conscious buyer considers the purchase as an investment and prefers models with a long-term warranty. Such major companies as Brother, Bernina, or Janome provide a 20 or 25-year limited warranty and a customer service for the life of the product. They always welcome new customers and have a friendly hotline staff. The latter is of huge importance, as there are so many important features of embroidery machines and you may feel overwhelmed by all new information. On top of all, good embroidery machines come with the tutorials for beginners and technical documentation for advanced users. Feel free to ask more questions by custom hotline of your desired product.
The overall best embroidery machine in our roundup is the Brother PE550D. This model has an excellent price-quality ratio and provides high-speed accurate stitching, offers a large embroidery area and a wide variety of awesome designs and lettering fonts. The upgrade pick is the advanced Janome Memory Craft 9900 with a large area for embroidery, plenty of embroidery designs, and a full set of editing possibilities. In case you need an embroidery-only machine, the Brother PE770 would be a perfect choice at a reasonable price.