How to Choose an Embroidery Machine

Are you looking for an Embroidery Machine? Wondering how to choose an embroidery machine that fits your needs? Here is what 25 fellow crafters recommended when:

Tiara asked: “Brother PE770, Husqvarna Viking 300 or Singer Futura XL400?? (First-Time Embroidery Machine Purchase/User). Help!”

Melody asked: “I know this has been asked over and over, but i can’t find it on the page… I need an embroidery machine for a home based business, mostly doing shirts and scrubs for businesses. I want something sturdy but don’t have thousands to spend. Also need to learn it fairly quickly (already an experienced sewer). Any suggestions for an appropriate machine?” 

This post is compiled from two facebook threads here and here.

How to Choose an Embroidery Machine

how to choose an embroidery machine

1. “I love my Pfaff embroidery machine. My dealer in mid-Missouri has several preowned machines for sale and when you buy a machine from her, you get free lessons. Maybe your local dealer offers a similar program.” – Vicki W.
2. “Honestly, I had a Singer once that started out well, but died quickly and was too temperamental and I ruined a lot of items when it did not function correctly. Either pay up for a higher quality one (thousands) or find someone local you can bargain with to do it professionally for you. Just my 2 cents.” Janet B.
3. “Had a Babylock that didn’t last long and had a very poor local service experience!!!” – Eydie G.
4. “I have a Pfaff Creative Vision. I’ve been really happy with it!” – Danielle B.
5. “I have a Viking. Excellent customer service and excellent results for shirts.” – Kristina G.
6. “You will hear that a lot of machines are great. But you need to decide how big of a sewing field you want. If you’re only doing lettering on jackets a 4×4 might be enough but if you plan on doing larger designs you would want a larger sewing field. You can do larger on the smaller size machines but you must do another hooping and lining up the designs on the item you are embroidering. Some 4×4 machines will let you use a 5×7 or larger hoop but you still need to split the design to be able to do it. I also was given very good advice from a dealer. He stated home embroidery machines are just that for home use and they are not made to stitch all day like commercial machines. (I got told this after my complaints of the machine goofing up after sewing for a few hours) At the time I was only stitching for family and friends. You also want to make sure you have a person who can work on your machine. To have a machine and no one to fix it close and you trust would mean you could have to ship the machine to a repair shop.” – Michele M.
7. “I have a Singer Quantum XL 6000. Had it for a long time and no trouble with it, I love it!” – Frances W.
8. “I would have said Husqvarna.” – Coleen M.
9. “Husqvarna! Or Babylock or really high end Brother (so user friendly!)” – Jessica B.
10. “Look on Just Keep Sewing blog. She does a lot of business using her embroidery machine. I am sure she would have a lot of advice!” – Beth B.
11. “I have a Brother that I bought at HSN I believe (or maybe QVC) for under $600. It came with everything I needed to start right out of the box embroidering designs and different fonts. It is also a really good sewing machine. I can only load one color thread at a time, but for what I do it’s great.” – Cathy M.
12. “Brother PE-770 embroidery only machine or a Baby Lock Ellure Plus combo.” – Jordan N.
13.”I have a Futura Singer I bought in December off HSN with full software package like Hyperfont and such if you would like to buy it it is very user friendly and has 2 size hoops.” – Sarah T.
14. “I don’t have an embroidery machine, but I have 3 Husqvarna machines (a regular E20, a serger, and the sapphire quilter). I love the brand and wouldn’t hesitate to grab up the Husqvarna embroidery machine. Good Luck!” – Angie O.
15. “I have the Brother PE-780D and had a major repair in the first year. Still gives me some trouble but it is easy to use and I love having a 5×7 hoop. Wish I had a bigger hoop though.” – Sandra S.
16. “The Brother! Great machine for the money. I have a Janome and I prefer the Brother. Try them out before you buy.” – Joan L.
17. “I’d get the Husqvarna before the brother and wouldn’t touch the singer with a stick.” – Celesa J.
18. “I have the Viking and love it because you can merge designs easily on the program they give you, it has a 5×7 hoop (don’t buy a machine that only has a smaller size), and the salespeople give me lots of support, help, and advice.” – Kristina G.
19. “I am looking into the same thing right now! I have read terrible things about the XL400 and talked to a few people who all ended up sending them back to Singer. My local sewing machine store said they have quit selling all Singers because the quality of the brand has gone downhill and they have had to refund many customers because the machines could not be fixed. I don’t know anything about Husqvarna, but I have heard they are good. The Brother machines are amazing! I have 2 and LOVE them! I really want the Innovis 1500 but it is so expensive! I think I will end up getting the PE770 on Amazon since you can buy the larger multi-positional hoop to do designs up to 5×12 without rehooping (just moving the placement of the hoop on the hooks. I do this with my SE-350 (4×4 field) and I have embroidered large 5×7 applique designs. You just have to split your design into pieces in a software like Sew What Pro.” – Jennifer C.
20. “I just got the Brother 780-D. It seems like a nice machine for what things I have done so far and I think it’s similar to the 770.” – Melody C.
21. “As a sewing machine mechanic I have to say that the best machine is the Singer, then the Brother.” – Indigo Guidance and Healing
22. “I have the Singer Futura and love it. I am a beginner embroiderer and I can easily figure it out. Doesn’t come with many designs but im not concerned with that yet. It does have 2 hoops sizes!” – Danielle D.
23. “I just got the Brother 770 online through Walmart in case I have issues I can return it to a store. But so far, although I’ve only done three simple projects, all is good!” – Despina B.
24. “I love love love my Viking. The only issue is the price of the software. I’ve had mine for over 7 years and have never had a problem.” – Jeanette R.
25. “Love my Brother PE770. I have had it for 3 years and not one problem with it!” – Ashley H.

Do you have any tips or suggestions on how to choose an embroidery machine? We’d love to hear!

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  1. 1
    Marcie Jones

    I was already computer savvy and understood most things related to files, directory, copying and moving files etc. Those skills are a MUST if you are going to purchase a new embroidery machine. Your computer will “DRIVE” your embroidery machine. I decided to bite the proverbial financial bullet and go for the gold. I purchased a Melco Amaya XTS, 16 needle machine, the frames and some additional flat frames.

    It isn’t just the machine you invest in either. There is the thread, the maintenance items, the frames, stabilizers, some tools, proper lighting, canned air, oil and all the little items. I leased my machine for 5 yrs interest free, but all the rest is an immediate out of pocket. I also knew I had to insure my new machine. That is $160 per quarter on that value.

    So, sit and ask yourself what do you expect the machine to be able to do.
    Ask yourself if you are willing to stick with it to learn (and learning never stops).
    Do you have the space to adequately enjoy using the machine, the space needed to work and not have to pack everything away daily?
    Do you plan on starting a business at some point? There are added expenses there you should consider – business license, federal ID number, name approved by the state you are in, limited liability corporation setup, taxes etc.
    Do you want a Facebook business page, a web site (blog)?
    Do you have your pricing lists? Brochure? Order form?
    Will you do craft shows? You’ll need to prepare to set up a booth and pay for those fees too.

    I’ve had my machine for about 18 months. I have spent the time building out my workspace, gathering all of my supplies, designs, learning how to use the machine and the maintenance. I am almost ready to launch myself. I opted to go big on the machine, go slow on the learning and prep to launch a business and what would work for me at my age, stamina and location.

    Find some mentors online. Find some great sites with tutorials. Find some great Facebook pages to follow with an engaged community. Bookmark it all and spend time daily learning, watching videos and using your machine.

    1. 1.1

      What websites are you looking at for info?

  2. 2
    Carolyn J. Allen

    I have a Bernina 830, which is a fantastic machine, but very sensitive — you have to learn the machine, which is no easy task. I paid a fortune for it, and though it sews beautifully and embroiders beautifully (once you get it figured out), it has only a one-needle embroidery system. If I were to do it over, I’d do more research and probably end up buying a larger (maybe Babylock) embroidery machine which has 6-12 needles and which can program the threads to be used. I don’t like having to stop for all the thread changes in complex designs, with my Bernina.

  3. 3

    hi there,

    except the embroidery sewing machine, what else i need to buy with it so ill be able to produce projects? i saw many things in amazon, like programs with fonts, printing programs etcx

  4. 4
    Lila Hester

    I’ve bought a Husqvarna Orchidea about 15 years or more ago. At the time of purchase it was a very expensive machine, not quite top of the line but a relatively new, dealer in my home town also were on hand for lessons, advice and any repairs.

    Over the 15 years I have never had to take the machine in for repairs. The button holes were perfect as was the blind hem (something I need to make sure my next machine can do!) very neat applique satin stich and decorative stitches for wing needle work and so easy to use. I have always wanted to ‘play’ with my machines by creating individual trims and creating embroideries rather than using designs available.
    I am a home dressmaker and have made everything from Bra’s to wedding dresses, repaired my Dad’s work pants to making veils, made to measure garments for ladies unable to purchase off the rack. I have even done embroideries for community groups, schools and small business. I loved my Husquvarna, I didn’t realise how much until it developed problems! The technician told me it required a replacement mother board!! Urghhhh Unfortunately the parts are no longer made for my machine (apparently its that old!!) A reconditioned part was ordered and installed but the machine would not work!
    I am now contemplating whether I buy a machine to do all I need it to do or will I buy a machine to play with embroidery!?! My husband reminds me of my age and suggest I should give up (translation;- I’m not giving you $1000’s for another machine).
    I feel like I am still grieving!! I am also extremly dissappointed that the bobbins, machine feet and embroidery hoops will likely not fit a newer Husqvarna model. This means I can look at any brand of machine. I vcisited my local (and only sewing machine store in town) to my surprise it maybe appropriate if I purchase two machines one machine to do all my sewing needs and another specifically for embroidery (Ididn’t even know they produced solely embroidery machines!!). This will take some time to investigate further, I am not in a hurry to spend my savings, the embroidery machines have come such a long way (technically) from my Husqvarna I fear there maybe some relearning involved.
    I appreciate other comments certainly gives me something to think about.

  5. 5

    I would like to purchase a home embroidery machine. I want it to have the capability to embroider my logo on shirts and jackets, but I will mainly be using it for gifts and things. I’ve looked into them and there is a lot to them. My biggest concern is quality. I don’t want to have a lot of repairs. Can anyone give me some advice on the best machines between bernina 560, brother series, and Viking ruby? Thanks!

    1. 5.1

      As far as quality goes I’ve found that Brother are an excellent machine for small home use but the Janome are a lot more robust and flexible.

      1. bethj

        This is the one we use — The ButterFly B-1501B/T. It is very ideal for most embroidery jobs and we can attest to its quality! This is high quality and can tackle almost any job.

    2. 5.2

      have you purchased one yet? if so, what did you get? i am interested in the same thing

  6. 6
    Vivian Y

    I am also looking to buy an embroidery machine. I don’t want to spend more than 700.00. I really only want it for monograms and lettering. The Husqvarna Viking salesperson really talked me out of the Singer Futura XL-420. I thought that might be a good beginning machine for me at a good price. I’m not going to be doing anything complicated. Does anyone have any suggestions? I would really appreciate your input.

  7. 7

    Thank you for sharing. I also love Brother PE770 Embroidery machine.

  8. 8

    There are a lot of great suggestions here. I often get asked my opinion on what embroidery machine someone should buy. I like to suggest the Brother 770. It is easy to use and performs well.

  9. 9

    Hello, hope you good, I am actually in search of an embroidery machine, that can give me the same quality result on Baseball caps such as Newera and Mitchell&Ness . please i would kindly appreciate if you could recommend or suggest any embroidery machine that can render such quality. Have a Fab day.

  10. 10

    Can anyone tell me of an embroider machine that will do seat covers?

  11. 11

    Thank you for sharing. It’s so fantastic. I also like Singer Futura XL-400 Computerized Sewing and Embroidery Machine!!

  12. 12

    You’ve certainly given some great recommendations here about embroidery machines. I personally use the PE770 and its great.

  13. 13

    I’ve had my machine for about 18 months. I have spent the time building out my workspace, gathering all of my supplies, designs, learning how to use the machine and the maintenance. I am almost ready to launch myself. I opted to go big on the machine, go slow on the learning and prep to launch a business and what would work for me at my age, stamina and location.If any one share their experience here i would be glad to here.

    thanks in advance