The 8 Best Embroidery Machines

Updated July 16, 2017

8 Best Embroidery Machines
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We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Whether you are a home hobbyist or a professional stitcher selling to stores or online, our comprehensive selection of feature-rich embroidery machines includes something for everyone. Today's models come with USB connectivity and online support to make it easy even for beginners. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best embroidery machine on Amazon.

8. Brother PE540D

The Brother PE540D features built-in Disney embroidery patterns, making it great for creating gifts for children. Thicker items, such as towels, are not well suited for this machine, but it works wonderfully with thinner items, like cotton clothing.
  • preloaded lettering fonts
  • easy to view backlit lcd screen
  • no automatic threading needle
Brand Brother
Model PE540D
Weight 22.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Janome 12000 Memory Craft

The Janome 12000 Memory Craft embroidery and sewing machine uses advanced Horizon Link technology to achieve professional, sophisticated results. A generous embroidery area easily accommodates large and complex projects, but the machine requires a fair amount of training.
  • industrial grade machine
  • ideal for quilting
  • designed and made in japan
Brand Janome
Model pending
Weight 71.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Singer Futura XL-400

While it features a massive 10 by 6 hoop for large designs, the Singer Futura XL-400 is otherwise an average model with a steep learning curve. The machine creates beautiful works, but requires frequent adjustments to the tension knob to avoid breaking thread.
  • easily adjusts speed to match design
  • extremely sturdy construction
  • only 30 stitches included
Brand Singer
Model XL-400
Weight 49.1 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Brother DZ820E

The Brother DZ820E offers a broad range of embroidery designs, patterns, and fonts. The machine's advanced threading system and its built-in "how to" tutorials make it easy to learn the ropes and get down to the embroidery.
  • multiple accessories
  • useful starter kit
  • large capacity internal memory
Brand Brother
Model DZ820E
Weight 28.7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Janome Memory Craft 200E

The Janome Memory Craft 200E is a USB driven machine that allows you to transfer designs and stitches from your computer. The big advantage to Janome is that you gain access to their professional tier software, which does not integrate with other brand's machines, though.
  • modern touchscreen controls
  • optional 2 by 2 hoop available
  • limited to five square inch areas
Brand Janome
Model pending
Weight 26.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Brother SE400

The Brother SE400 offers sewing and embroidery functions in one affordable machine that will not intimidate newcomers to the hobby. The popular machine has an extensive online community that shares tips and designs across social media.
  • simple usb connectivity
  • small and portable
  • fast and easy bobbin loading
Brand Brother
Model SE400
Weight 24.2 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Singer SE300

The great thing about the Singer SE300 is that it is easy to use and comes with an updatable USB drive that includes well over 200 designs from the start. With very little training, one can operate it, but you will still need a basic knowledge of stabilizers and thread.
  • built heavy to minimize skipping
  • long 25 year warranty
  • over 400 stitches
Brand Singer
Model SE300
Weight 36.6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Brother PE770

If you aren't sure how big your future designs will be, go with the Brother PE770, which has a large 5 x 7-inch work area to make sure you can do what you want. This model has plenty of support on YouTube to get you threaded and stabilized quickly.
  • massive built-in design library
  • automatic thread cutter
  • very quiet even at high speeds
Brand Brother
Model PE770
Weight 27.1 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Three Types Of Embroidery Machines And Their Benefits

There are three types of embroidery machines, and each is best for a specific application. Free-motion uses a standard sewing machine that operates in tiny zigzag movements. This kind of device can be wonderful or annoying depending on why you need to embroider. If you run a business that requires you to create totally unique patterns every day, such as a custom luggage store where you put terms like people’s names or birthdates on backpacks, you can benefit from a free-motion embroidery machine because you don’t necessarily need perfection so much as freedom. Manufacturers of printed clothing and luggage love embroidery because it lasts longer than screen printing. A free-motion model can be limiting however, because it usually has just one needle, meaning each time you want a new color, you have to rethread it.

In the commercial world, machines with link stitch technology or digitizing capabilities are very popular because they allow for free motion, but they also have a memory that can save patterns and automatically create them. Embroidery machines with digitizing capabilities are quite versatile because, if you need to apply both unique and repeated designs to a product each day (for example, somebody’s last name plus the image of a sunflower) you can use the manual feature to write the name, and the automatic feature to pump out the perfectly uniform sunflower.

The most modern embroidery machines are computerized. They can connect to your computer or laptop, allowing you to access virtually limitless designs and patterns. A computerized embroidery machine is capable of the most complex designs and can produce patterns with multiple heads and threads. Your favorite clothing brand with complex patterns on the jean pockets probably uses one of these because they have multiple needles. This allows them to run several colors at once and work very quickly.

The History Of The Embroidery Machine

A typical embroidery machine today might be about the size of a few desktop speakers or a small fish tank and it can definitely fit on your kitchen table. But the first embroidery machine invented took up about as much space as a big city apartment today.

The creator of this behemoth of a device was Josue Heilmann, and his invention could do the hand work of about four people. The unit consisted of a frame that held the fabric taut, a needle assembly and a handle to maneuver the needle. In order to operate it, an embroiderer would need to use both hands to manage the scribe and needle, and his foot to control the clamps that held the needle. If it sounds like an image from a great Greek legend like The Odyssey, that’s because it looks just like the one Penelope used. Surprisingly, people didn't welcome Heilmann’s invention with open arms. Companies worried that his machine would put too many hand embroiderers out of a job and he only managed to sell two products.

After the industrial revolution took hold, people no longer feared mechanisms that could do work for humans – or at least they feared them less — and several inventors came up with newer, smaller and faster versions of embroidery machines. The year 1911 saw the first multi-head model from the Singer Sewing Company, however, wartime put a halt to the use of embroidery machines for any purpose that wasn’t helping the national cause, so their sales slowed. By the 1950s there was a boom in at-home machines, and the 1980s saw the first computerized version.

Contemporary Embroidery Artists

In an age when everything old is new again, when there seem to be a burgeoning interest in vintage and resale clothing and furniture, it should come as no surprise that a few modern artists have made a name for themselves with the “old” craft of embroidery.

Inge Jacobsen has become widely appreciated because she takes famous consumer images, such as a Vogue cover or a clothing brand ad, and recreates them through embroidery, often altering the original piece slightly to evoke meaning and highlight underlying sentiments. American Express commissioned the artist to do just that with three of their classic cards.

Another fascinating artist is Kirsty Whitlock, who combines recycled materials and traditional, hand embroidery to communicate ideas of social responsibility. Through her art, she brings to light and lightly criticizes the throw away culture in which we live. One famous piece depicts a stock market professional reading an embroidered Financial Times, made from old wire and other materials, disintegrating in his lap.

Izziyana Suhaimi focuses on our current culture of instant gratification, and what better medium to use than the slow and tedious craft of embroidery. She often combines images of contemporary and traditional cultures to show their connections and usually stacks impressively immaculate stitch work over evocative drawings.

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Last updated on July 16, 2017 by multiple members of the ezvid wiki editorial staff

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