Best embroidery machine reviews 2018
Brother PE800 Computerized Embroidery MachineThe absolute best
A revolutionary machine ideal for professional embroiderers and passionate hobbyists.
Brother PE800 Review
The Brother PE800 is perhaps the best embroidery machine on the market, attracting with a large embroidery field that allows embroidering designs of all sizes.
Expandable memory gives you the ability to store as many designs as you like on a USB memory stick, and the machine also comes with over a hundred built-in designs and eleven lettering fonts, all selectable and visible on the larger-than-average LCD touchscreen.
Perfect to use in professional environments; this embroidery machine also impresses with its sewing speed of 650 stitches per minute. Thanks to this feature, you’ll be able to handle high-volume tasks in a breeze.
The machine can also rotate or reflect the design, which is perfect if you want to achieve a mirrored effect.
Coming with a grand slam embroidery package and highly performing, the Brother PE800 is no doubt the best embroidery machine in its class.
Brother LB6800PRW Project Runway Computerized Embroidery & Sewing MachineBest for the money
Computer connectivity and design import features ensure unlimited creative embroidery options.
Brother LB6800PRW Review
Similar to our best-in-class pick, the Brother LB6800PRW shares some of its feature with the PE800 model, but there are also some important differences between these machines.
Like the PE800, this embroidery machine comes with pre-programmed designs and lettering fonts, plus 120 frame combinations for added versatility. A memory card allows you to load other designs, and the manufacturer even gives you the possibility to purchase more designs from their website.
The embroidery area of 4×4 inches is slightly smaller than our best-in-class’ but still large enough for you to unleash your creativity.
Accessing all your designs and patterns is easy, and so is operating the machine that sews at an astonishing speed of 710 stitches per minute.
Ideal for all users, more affordable than our best-in-class and faster, the Brother LB6800PRW undoubtedly brings the best value for money.
Brother PE770 Embroidery MachineSophisticated but more expensive
A large embroidery field and built-in designs make it ideal for an embroiderer’s workshop.
Brother PE770 Review
Whether you’re an embroidery addict or a professional, the Brother PE770 could be a great choice for you. Halfway between our best-value and best-in-class pick, this embroidery machine brings the best of both worlds.
The feature that stands out is the expansive embroidery field of 5×7 inches which provides ample space for projects of all sizes.
Like our best-in-class, this machine comes with 136 built-in designs including six lettering fonts and multiple frame and border styles.
A built-in USB port gives you the possibility to use external designs, and the machine’s advanced features allow you to edit the size of your project, rotate, or reflect your design.
More expensive than our best-value but a tad more versatile, this machine is a great option for a professional.
Brother SE400 Combination Sewing and 4×4 Embroidery MachineA budget-friendly alternative
Ideal for the amateur embroiderer looking for top quality at an affordable price.
Brother SE400 Review
The Brother SE400 is a great option for the hobbyists searching an affordable embroidery machine, and the unit comes with many best-value features, including a 4×4 inches embroidery field.
Multiple built-in designs and unique sewing stitches allow the beginner to dive into the embroidery world effortlessly, while the computer connectivity allows the more experienced users to import different designs.
The large LCD screen provides easy access to models and functions, while a convenient automatic thread cutter allows you to cut the top and bobbin thread in one step.
Great for the home user or an enthusiast beginner, the Brother SE400 is a great budget pick.
2. Sewing vs. embroidery machine
Sewing and embroidery machines look similar at first glance, but they serve two different purposes.
- Sewing machines: Are designed for tailoring and are often employed in many creative activities that involve sewings, such as creating patchwork designs or fabric wall art. Most sewing machines offer multiple stitch patterns and pattern lengths that can vary from simple to decorative, but these machines are not capable of creating artistic embroidery.
- Embroidery machines: As their name suggests, are developed specifically for artistic embroidery, although some of them double as traditional sewing machines. These machines can be mechanical or computerized and can embroider intricate patterns such as letters and complex ornaments. Embroidery machines are ideal for the embroiderers who want to sew complicated models which are hard to achieve by hand.
3. Types of embroidery machines
There are three main types of embroidery machines, mechanical, electronic, and computerized.
- Mechanical embroidery machines: Are the granddaddy of them all and like the mechanical sewing machines, they are controlled by a rotating wheel. Due to the simpler technologies involved, these embroidery machines are the cheapest, but they are harder to operate than an electronic or computerized machine and offer a limited selection of stitch types.
- Electronic embroidery machines: Are the easiest to use. A bit more expensive than the mechanical machines but cheaper than the computerized ones, the electronic machines are perfect for the zealous embroiderer looking for more versatility. These machines have more stitch options and embroidery patterns, but you are in charge of creating the embroidery design.
- Computerized embroidery machines: Are perfect for the embroiderers who want to sew complex designs quickly and effortlessly. These are the best embroidery machines on the market, and the vast majority come with pre-programmed designs and connectivity functions which allow uploading new patterns. Computerized machines are developed to do all the work without human intervention, and all you have to do is select the desired settings and switch the unit on. However, the advanced technologies involved also make them the most expensive type.
Free-motion vs. computerized embroidery
Picking one type of embroidery machine over another is often a matter of embroidery preferences rather than technology. The mechanical and electronic machines are designed for free-motion embroidery, whereas the computerized machines are developed for computerized embroidery.
- Free-motion embroidery gives you full control over the needle’s direction. The machine’s only purpose is to aid you with stitching, but it is you to decide where the needle stitches. These machines are typically preferred by the amateurs who want to create their embroidery patterns but are less practical for the professional embroiderers. Since free-motion embroidery is complicated, these machines are also ideal for beginners who want to learn the secrets of this art.
- Computerized embroidery requires no intervention from your side. All you need to do is choose the embroidery design and set the parameters, and the machine will do everything else for you. While this won’t teach you embroidery, these machines are ideal for the industrial environments but also for the amateurs who want to embroider complex designs on garments or art.
4. Embroidery-only or combo machine?
Besides the technology involved, you must also decide if you want an embroidery machine designed exclusively for this purpose or a combo machine designed for both sewing and embroidery.
- Embroidery-only machines: Can be used for embroidery work only, and they are a great choice for the hobbyists and professionals interested exclusively in embroidering activities. Investing in an embroidery-only unit may also be a good choice if you already own a sewing machine and want to save some money.
- Combination machines: Can either sew or embroider, and they are a better choice in most circumstances. These machines are ideal for tailoring and quilting, arts and crafts, and all other activities that may involve a combination of sewing and stitching. Switching between the functions is typically easy, and a single machine is a more cost-effective and space-saving solution.
5. Embroidery machine head and needle
Embroidery machines come with either single head and needle or with a single head and multiple needles.
- Single head single needle machines: Look like the standard sewing machines, and many of these models are designed as combo machines. This configuration is ideal for the less complex embroidery projects, but they are rarely capable of handling too elaborated designs.
- Single head multiple needles machines: Come with a variable number of needles, typically between four and ten, and are designed specifically for elaborate embroideries. These machines are embroidery-only units capable of embroidering multicolor designs in a single step, without requiring you to change the thread. These units are often very expensive and typically used in the industries.
6. Embroidery field size
The field size determines the size of the area the embroidery machine can stitch, ultimately determining the maximum size of the embroidery design you can create. Most units have a field size of 4×4 inches, but some of the best embroidery machines boast larger field sizes, typically of 5×7 inches or larger.
While expanding the field size is impossible, you can reduce it with hoops if you want to embroider smaller designs.
7. Built-in designs and connectivity
Computerized embroidery machines come with built-in embroidery designs including embroidery patterns, alphabet fonts, frames, and border patterns. The number of built-in designs and patterns varies from machine to machine, but the best computerized embroidery machines give you the possibility to upload additional designs and patterns.
Most computerized embroidery machines come with either PC connectivity or USB ports, and most manufacturers also allow to purchase or download designs from their websites.
8. Design editing and resizing
Sometimes you will have to edit or resize the design, and most embroidery machines give you at least basic editing options, such as rotating, mirroring, enlarging or reducing the image. Most embroidery machines display all the changes on an LCD screen, so you can control they meet your needs.
Before resizing the design, it is recommended to check the producer’s recommendations, because some designs may lose quality if reduced or enlarged too much.
9. Additional features to consider
A few additional features can add all those versatile bells and whistles to your embroidery machine.
- Embellishment options: Allow you to sew beadings and sequins besides the standard embroidery options.
- Thread cutting: A great feature if you want to achieve accurate results, as these machines are capable of trimming the threads with incredible precision.
- Auto shutoff: Switches off the machine when the bobbin thread has run out.
- Automatic thread tension: Adjusts the thread tension with no effort from your side.
- Variable speed: Similar to the soft start of cordless drills and other power tools, the variable speed embroidery machines start slowly and gradually increase the speed to prevent injuries.
- Accessories: Pre-wound bobbins, hoops, scissors, needles, and other accessories are valuable additions to your embroidery machine.
- Integrated light: The best embroidery machines also have an integrated work light designed to enhance visibility.