How to choose an embroidery machine for home use
Whether you’re interested in fashion or want to expand your sewing skills, an embroidery machine offers you a way to live it up. To get you started on your new project, this article offers you an overview of the best embroidery machines, gives you helpful tips, and tells you what to look for when buying an embroidery machine. In this article, we would also like to dedicate ourselves to current embroidery machine tests.
The most important in a nutshell
- Not all embroidery machines are the same. There are different models and features that you should look for when buying your embroidery machine.
- In general, the purchase of an embroidery machine is not necessarily cheap. Prices start from about $450.
- Combination models of embroidery machines and sewing machines as a good, often cheaper alternative for pure embroidery machines.
Make sure you always have the right and sufficient accessories for your embroidery machine!
- Always use embroidery floss and stabilizer to get a nice result.
- Most embroidery machines work with programs and software. Look at which software and programs make the most sense for you.
Embroidery machine buying guide
In our guide, we’ll tell you what to look for when buying an embroidery machine. From the various models to the most useful accessories to essential tips and tricks, we have covered everything to prepare you perfectly for the purchase of your dream knitting machine.
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What is an embroidery machine?
Embroidery machines are used to produce embroidery of various shapes by machine. In the process, textiles are embellished by either sewing threads on or sewing threads into them. It is important to know that there is not one embroidery machine, but several variants with different functions.
In general, a distinction is made between single-needle embroidery machines or multi-needle embroidery machines, single-head embroidery machines or multi-head embroidery machines and free-arm embroidery machines, flatbed embroidery machines, or special embroidery machines. Furthermore, there are combination models of embroidery and sewing machines that combine the functions of both machines.
The single-needle embroidery machine uses the so-called chain stitch, in which several pieces of fabric are joined together. By repeatedly stitching into the previous stitching out points, loops are created that ultimately form an embroidery.
The multi-needle embroidery machine, today mostly used as a shuttle embroidery machine, has the same mode of operation as a sewing machine. For each needle, there is a shuttle on the other side of the fabric, which picks up the embroidery thread and guides it back for the next stitch.
The single-head embroidery machine has only one head, so it can only work on one fabric at a time. The multi-head embroidery machine can therefore embroider several fabrics at the same time due to its higher number of heads.
The free-arm embroidery machine has an arm under its embroidery frame, which contains the lower thread of the machine. This allows it to work on almost all types of fabric. The flatbed embroidery machine, on the other hand, does not have an arm and thus can only embroider certain fabrics.
The special embroidery machines are used to process certain materials such as sequins or chains.
In a nutshell, as you can see, there are many shapes and models of embroidery machines. It can be difficult to find the most suitable machine for you. That’s why we help you with your search!
How is an embroidery machine constructed?
As you have already learned, not all embroidery machines are the same. So, the construction of an embroidery machine differs depending on the model. Basically, simple single-needle embroidery machines are similar in construction to sewing machines.
However, since it is difficult to describe the structure of the individual models of embroidery machines, which in turn can be expanded by many accessories, we explain the most important functions and components in this guide.
So you can distinguish without doubt good embroidery machines from bad ones and know what you should look for when buying.
How does an embroidery machine work?
Essential for the functioning of an embroidery machine is the electronic embroidery arm as well as the embroidery hoop, in which you clamp the textiles together with the embroidery stabilizer. Similar to the sewing machine, the needle can only move up and down, but the embroidery machine’s hoop has unlimited movement.
Next, you select your embroidery design file and place your chosen colors on the matching thread spools. Before turning on the machine, all you have to do is feed the thread ends through the needles, and you’re ready to go. The machine will only stop again when a thread spool is empty or a new color has to be inserted.
The embroidery software and programs are particularly helpful in this regard so that you can implement your embroidery as accurately as possible. Many specifications are inserted via a touch screen or a program and then automatically implemented by the embroidery machine.
Important: As mentioned above, depending on the model, attention must be paid to the type of fabric. Not every model can handle any type of fabric.
How Does an Embroidery Machine Work? – Video
For whom is an embroidery machine suitable?
Embroidery machines are basically suitable for everyone. If you’re creative, like to customize, are interested in fashion and clothing, or want to add another craft to your sewing skills, you’ll love embroidery machines. Even for people with visual impairments or other physical disabilities, there are embroidery machines that are easy to operate. So don’t let that scare you away.
Caution: Embroidery machines are not toys for children. So if you want to embroider with children, always make sure that you are in a safe environment and that embroidery is done only under supervision. For a very safe introduction of children to embroidery and sewing, you should definitely consider children’s sewing machines.
Best Embroidery Machines
Brother SE600 Sewing and Embroidery Machine
- 4″ x 4″ embroidery field, with an included 4″ x 4″ hoop, embroidery arm and embroidery foot.
- 80 embroidery designs.
Best Design Embroidery Machine
Brother PE800 Embroidery Machine
- 138 built-in designs.
- 5″ x 7″ embroidery field for larger designs and lettering.
Best Embroidery Machine with Big Hoop Area
Brother SE1900 Sewing and Embroidery Machine
- 138 built-In designs.
- Large 5″x7″ embroidery field.
Best Embroidery Machine for Monogramming
Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9850 Embroidery and Sewing Machine
- 175 built-in embroidery designs.
- Embroidery sewing speed: 60 – 800 spm.
Best Portable Embroidery Machine
Uten Computerized Embroidery Sewing Machine
- 200 unique built-in stitches.
- Quick-set drop-in top bobbin system.
What are the most important buying criteria for embroidery machines?
To find the perfect embroidery machine, you should pay attention to certain criteria when buying your machine. We have summarized the most important criteria for you below.
Most embroidery machines have the same basic equipment. However, they can differ in their features. The basic features and subtle differences are listed below.
Always pay attention to the strength of the built-in motor of your embroidery machine. The stronger the motor is, the faster you can embroider and the more diverse you can choose your textiles for embroidery.
You always need a hoop to work with fabrics. Specific materials, embroidery, and the size of your motifs determine the type and size of the frame. So always make sure you have several frame options.
- Thread cutter
The thread cutter is used to cut the upper and lower threads of your embroidery. In the newer models, this is usually built-in as an automatic thread cutter, which makes the operation of the embroidery machine very easy. However, this is not the case with all models. So when buying, make sure you have an automatic thread cutter.
- Embroidery area
The larger the embroidery area of your embroidery machine, the more varied your patterns and the sizes of the designs can be. The embroidery area can vary from machine to machine and is always given in cm.
The embroidery area should be at least 4″ x 4″ so that you can connect it to most modern computers.
However, embroidery machines with larger embroidery areas are usually more expensive.
- Needle threader
The needle threader is also a very practical accessory for your embroidery machine. Similar to the thread cutter, many newer models have a built-in automatic needle threader. Some only have a semi-automatic threader. If you would like to have this handy tool on your machine, make sure to look for it when purchasing your machine.
- Thread tension
Like the thread trimmer and needle threader, the thread tensioner also makes working with your machine easier. Especially, the automatic thread tensioner ensures an optimal experience. Most modern models nowadays have this feature.
- Embroidery foot
Depending on what you want to embroider, you will need certain embroidery feet. Simple presser feet give you a very good view, embroidery feet allow you to do more complicated work. Embroidery feet with LED pointers are especially practical. So when buying your machine, make sure you choose your favorite embroidery foot.
The embroidery needle has a larger eye than the sewing needle. Always use an embroidery needle with your embroidery machine so that the thread has enough room to move. Especially with a combination machine, you should always change the needle.
- Supported file formats (DST, EPS, EXP …)
The choice of file formats always depends on the brand and model of your embroidery machine. Here you will find shortly the common file formats of the most important embroidery machine brands:
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Nowadays, modern embroidery machines should have certain accessories that will make your work with an embroidery machine easier. The most important ones are listed below.
Every modern embroidery machine should have a modern display and ideally be operable with a touchscreen. This facilitates the handling of your machine enormously and should not be missing with your machine.
Equipping embroidery machines with a WLAN function can also be useful to be able to access files wirelessly. However, these machines are usually very expensive. A machine with a USB port is usually sufficient.
Very important for the use of your embroidery machine, is the presence of a USB port. This allows you to transfer the patterns created on the computer to your machine. This function must be available on your machine. But don’t worry, almost all modern models are equipped with this function.
- Programs/embroidery software
The embroidery software is installed on your computer. You need at least Windows 7.
Note: Most software will not work on a Mac. However, some brands offer software that you can install on your Mac. However, these cost extra.
Each embroidery machine offers a variety of embroidery designs, fonts, and alphabets. You should always look at the selection of your favorite embroidery machines to know if the selection of the machine meets your expectations.
In addition, you can often find programs and designs to download on the Internet. Make sure that these are supported by your embroidery machine. In addition, you can access design platforms and collections of the respective brands.
Also, some embroidery machines allow you to create or insert your own designs.
You should also adjust the dimensions of your embroidery machine to your needs. Embroidery machines are available in almost all sizes and weight classes. So always check the product description to see whether the size and weight of the machine fit your environment and your circumstances.
Important accessories for the embroidery machine
Even with embroidery machines, you should make sure that all that you need for optimal use of your machine is available. Many machines already come with the most important accessories. So what you have to pay attention to, we explain here.
- Spare parts
Spare parts are supplied with some machines and can be replaced directly in the event of a defect. However, if you need a specific spare part, contact a specialty store or check the website of the brand of your machine. There you should be able to find the spare parts you need for your machine.
- Embroidery Thread
Embroidery thread is of course essential for using your machine. Many machines already come with the first threads. However, if you need a different color, strength, or want to replenish your thread supply, you can find a variety of threads in craft stores, fabric stores, and specialty stores, as well as on the Internet.
If you decide on a combination model, a sewing kit that includes scissors, thread and needles can also be a useful addition.
You should also use the embroidery stabilizer when using your embroidery machine. It prevents the slipping of your embroidery and prevents the breakage of needles. Often the embroidery stabilizer is supplied with your machine. However, certain textiles also require certain embroidery stabilizers. You can often find these on the pages of the machine brands, in specialty stores.
As you’ve already learned, most embroidery machines today have a built-in light, which makes it extremely easy to see while working with sewing and embroidery machines. However, if your machine does not have a built-in light or you want to create other lighting conditions that are not possible with your machine, then you should think about purchasing a suitable one.
In our FAQ section, we answer the most frequently asked questions about embroidery machines.
Can I sew with an embroidery machine?
You cannot sew with an embroidery machine alone. However, there are some combination models that allow you to sew as well as embroider.
Are embroidery designs, fonts, alphabets already integrated into the embroidery machine?
Most embroidery machine models today already have fonts, embroidery designs, and alphabets integrated. However, these differ depending on the brand and model. So before choosing your embroidery machine, take a look at which model offers your favorite features.
How to use an embroidery machine?
Using an embroidery machine is actually quite simple. After you follow a few steps, the embroidery machine will do the rest of the work automatically.
All you have to do is hoop your chosen material together with the stabilizer and select your embroidery file. Then you need to place the appropriate threads and colors on the thread spools and insert the thread ends into the needles. Once you have followed all of this, turn on the machine and it will do the embroidery work for you.
What do I need for an embroidery machine?
As already described in the guide, you need some accessories for your embroidery machine to be able to work perfectly. If you pay attention to our tips and the presence of the accessories in the scope of delivery of your machine, you can immediately begin with the supply.
How to embroider very small motifs?
If you want to embroider very small motifs, you should make sure that you use a very small embroidery hoop so that the material used can be stretched well. Very small hoops are often not included with embroidery machines. However, you can order them on the website of your embroidery machine.
How childproof are embroidery machines?
Embroidery machines are not childproof per se. Especially the needles or the thread cutter can pose a risk of injury. So always make sure that children cannot play with your embroidery machine and that you provide a safe environment.
If you want to introduce your children to sewing or embroidery or learn to embroider together with children, you should consider working with a children’s sewing machine first.