10 Best Embroidery Machines in 2020

Best Embroidery Machines
Image by Chatri Attanatwong / Canva

You know what hasn’t gone out of style since pre-revolution France? The monogram. The sun king loved to put his initials on things, and frankly, so do we! But getting monograms onto fabric is hard without one of the best embroidery machines.

Specialized embroidery machines have lots of design options, are intuitive to use, and give you lots of features for a reasonable price. The Brother PE800 checks all these boxes, and that’s why it’s our top pick! We’ve also identified the best options for custom designs, traveling, affordability, and more.

Our Top Picks: Best Embroidery Machines

Here’s a rundown of our top seven embroidery machines at a glance:

  • Best Overall: Brother PE800 Embroidery MachineWhat is the best embroidery machine? The Brother PE800 is a great all-around machine packed with awesome features, including 138 built-in designs, 11 unique fonts, and a big embroidery area for larger projects  all at a very reasonable price.
  • Best Runner-Up: Janome Memory Craft 500E Embroidery MachineThis machine has a large, color LCD screen with advanced editing capabilities. It’s a bit pricier than other options, but its features make it a great buy.
  • Best Budget: Brother PE535 Embroidery MachineAt under $400, this machine is the best affordable embroidery machine on the market. It doesn’t sacrifice quality or usability for price, and it’s a great option for both beginners and experienced users.
  • Best for Beginners: Singer Futura XL-400 Sewing and Embroidery MachineIf you’re new to embroidery, this is an excellent option. With an easy-to-use automatic threader and lots of built-in designs, this machine is ideal for beginners.
  • Best for Custom Designs: Brother SE600 Embroidery MachineWith the ability to download and edit your own unique designs, this machine is great for those looking to get creative.
  • Best for Complex Projects: Brother DZ820E Embroidery MachineWith a larger work area and some great built-in tutorials, this machine is a good option for those working on complicated or detailed projects.
  • Best for Home BusinessesJanome MB-7 Embroidery MachineThis seven-needle machine is smooth and speedy and produces professional-looking results. At over $6,000, it’s much pricier than the other options on this list.
  • Best for Travel: Brother Project Runway Embroidery MachineThis machine is pretty affordable, comes with plenty of built-in designs, and includes a travel case.
  • Best for Speed: Singer Superb EM200 Embroidery MachineThis machine can complete 700 stitches per minute! With an automatic needle threader and lots of built-in designs, you don’t have to sacrifice features for speed.
  • Best Decorative: Brother Disney Theme Embroidery MachineWith 35 built-in Disney designs, this machine is perfect for Disney lovers and anyone wanting to create detailed, decorative pieces.

1. Brother PE800 Embroidery Machine

The best embroidery machine overall

Brother PE800 Embroidery Machine

Brand: Brother | Built-in Designs: 138 | Hoop Size: 5’’ x 7’’ | Weight: 13.74 lbs | Price: 💰💰💰

Beloved by both beginners and experts, the PE800 takes our top spot for the best embroidery machine overall. It offers 138 beautiful built-in designs and 11 fonts for lettering. This machine also has a colorized LCD touchscreen and a built-in USB port so you can import your own embroidery designs to add to its built-in memory.

Users love the big embroidery field and how intuitive this machine is to use. It also retails for a relatively affordable price compared to other customizable computerized machines. While the learning curve is pretty short for those who’ve used sewing or embroidery machines before, the manual is worth reading before you start on more complicated projects.

  • Large LCD touchscreen
  • Pretty big embroidery area and hoop size
  • USB port lets you add to the built-in memory

  • Not the best for thick fabrics
  • Some say it’s difficult to thread

2. Janome Memory Craft 500E Embroidery Machine

The best embroidery machine runner-up

Janome Memory Craft 500E Embroidery Machine

Brand: Janome | Built-in Designs: 160 | Hoop Size: 7.9’’ x 11’’ | Weight: 20 lbs | Price: 💰💰💰💰

With 160 built-in designs, a maximum embroidery size of 7.9” by 11”, and advanced on-screen editing capabilities, the Janome Memory Craft 500E packs a punch. Users can easily import designs via USB and edit them on the machine’s large color LCD screen.

With a price tag of over $2,000, this machine is definitely pricier than other options on this list. Still, its versatility, ease of use, big embroidery area, and first-class editing functions earned it the title of best runner-up on our list. Reviewers say it produces beautiful items, and they love how well-built and straightforward it is to use.

  • Big, color LCD screen
  • Easy to use and learn on
  • Advanced editing functionality

  • On the pricier side
  • Hoop size is not standard

3. Brother PE535 Embroidery Machine

The best budget embroidery machine

Brother PE535 Embroidery Machine

Brand: Brother | Built-in Designs: 80 | Hoop Size: 4’’ x 4’’ | Weight: 15 lbs | Price: 💰

The Brother PE535 is a fantastic option for both beginners and more experienced users, and at under $400, the price is right. It’s packed with helpful features that make lettering and editing designs simple and easy.

This machine’s on-screen, step-by-step instructions make it ideal for those who are new to embroidering. But its 80 built-in designs, 10 frame patterns, and ten fonts have more advanced users singing its praises too. One thing to keep in mind with this machine is that it doesn’t come with many accessories. You’ll have to buy your thread, thread stand, embroidery scissors, and stabilizer(s) separately.

  • Great bang for your buck
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Nine unique built-in font styles

  • Not many accessories included
  • The four-inch embroidery area limits you to small projects

4. Singer Futura XL-400 Sewing and Embroidery Machine

The best embroidery machine for beginners

Singer Futura XL-400 Sewing and Embroidery Machine

Brand: Singer | Built-in Designs: 125 | Hoop Size: 18.5’’ x 11’’ | Weight: 23 lbs | Price: 💰💰

The Singer Futura XL-400 takes the top spot when it comes to the best starter embroidery machine. It’s super easy to learn on, even if you’ve never sewed or embroidered on a machine before. That’s because it has lots of built-in features that make the more notoriously challenging aspects of embroidery much simpler.

For example, the “SwiftSmart” threading system has an automatic needle threader that makes getting started pretty quick and convenient, especially for new and non-nimble sewers. It’s also nice to have if you’re working with a design that changes colors frequently.

Speaking of designs, this machine comes with 125 built in, along with 30 stitch types and five fonts. It’s more affordable than some of the pricer machines on this list, but it’s not the cheapest. There’s no downloading extra designs though, so if you’re a business owner or want to get super creative, this probably isn’t the choice for you.

  • Automatic needle threader
  • Computerized embroidery system
  • Great for both sewing and embroidery

  • No LCD screen
  • There’s no way to add extra designs

5. Brother SE600 Embroidery Machine

The best embroidery machine for custom designs

Brother SE600 Embroidery Machine

Brand: Brother | Built-in Designs: 80 | Hoop Size: 4’’ x 4’’ | Weight: 11.82 lbs | Price: 💰💰

If you’re looking for something that allows you to get super creative without the insane price tag, this is the machine for you. It has 80 built-in designs, 103 stitch options, and six lettering fonts. It also has 10 styles of auto-sized buttonholes.

The great thing about this machine, though, is how easy it is to add and work with your own designs. It has an easy-to-use USB port, allowing you to download new designs. It also has a good-sized LCD screen, and the machine’s programming allows you to edit the images you download, which is rare. 

We recommend the Brother SE600 to the serious craft person who already has a sewing machine. This is a great choice for avid sewers, embroiderers, quilters, and creatives. For beginners, there are better options on this list.

  • Very quiet
  • Large color touchscreen
  • USB port to add and edit your own designs

  • Smaller hoop size
  • Not super easy to thread

6. Brother DZ820E Embroidery Machine

The best embroidery machine for complex projects

Brother DZ820E Embroidery Machine

Brand: Brother | Built-in Designs: 136 | Hoop Size: 4’’ x 4’’ | Weight: 20.7 lbs | Price: 💰💰💰

Brother has a lot of players in the game, including this machine, which is designed for the more serious embroiders among us. It has a fairly large work area, which is great for people who like to work on complex or super-detailed projects. It has lots of built-in design options and also allows you to add your own. One of the best parts about the machine is that it has built-in tutorials that you can view on the LCD screen.

We can’t tell you how many needles we’ve broken just trying to figure out the initial use of an embroidery machine. With this one, you won’t need to sacrifice another needle to the graveyard. Although it’s on the pricier side for a hobby machine, it comes with enough capabilities and accessories to make it feel worth the investment.

  • Built-in USB port
  • Comes with helpful built-in tutorials
  • Great automatic needle threading system

  • Prone to tension issues
  • Some users had trouble with the thread cutter

7. Janome MB-7 Embroidery Machine

The best embroidery machine for home businesses

Janome MB-7 Embroidery Machine

Brand: Janome | Built-in Designs: 50 | Hoop Size: 9.4” x 7.9” | Weight: 50 lbs | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰

The Janome MB-7 is our recommendation for experienced users who want to take their embroidery to the next level and our pick for the best commercial embroidery machine. Whether you plan to start a home business or just want more options and a professional quality machine for personal use, this Janome machine’s got you covered. With its seven-needle design, it’s faster and smoother than hobbyist machines and is designed to accommodate embroidery formats used by professionals.

At over $6,000, this is by far the most expensive machine on our list, but if you want speed, advanced features, professional-looking results, and one of the best multi-needle embroidery machines, it’s a great option. It also comes with a cabinet to keep your workspace tidy and organized. Keep in mind that, at 50 pounds, it’s a hefty machine, so it’s not very portable compared to other options.

  • Smooth and fast
  • Large color touchscreen
  • Extremely customizable and versatile

  • Heavy
  • Much more expensive than hobbyist machines

8. Brother Project Runway Embroidery Machine

The best embroidery machine for travel

Brother Project Runway Embroidery Machine

Brand: Brother | Built-in Designs: 70 | Hoop Size: 4” x 4” | Weight: 36.6 lbs | Price: 💰💰

If you want to take your embroidery machine with you when you travel, this is the one for you! It comes with its own travel case that includes rolling wheels! It’s super highly rated on both Amazon and Walmart, with lots of user reviews. Say if you were looking for the best embroidery machine for hats, this wouldn’t be a bad option!

The LCD touchscreen on the machine is nice, and it comes with 70 built-in designs, 120 frame combinations, and five fonts for lettering. You can also download more through the USB port, but they’d better be small, since the embroidery area on this machine is only four by four inches. If you’re someone who likes to work on bigger projects, this probably isn’t the choice for you.

That said, it’s relatively affordable compared to some of the other machines on this list, and it travels easily.

  • LCD touchscreen
  • Travel case included
  • USB port for adding designs

  • Smaller embroidery area
  • A bit heavy given that it’s made for travel

9. Singer Superb EM200 Embroidery Machine

The best embroidery machine for speed

Singer Superb EM200 Embroidery Machine

Brand: Singer | Built-in Designs: 200 | Hoop Size: 10.25” x 6” | Weight: 23 lbs | Price: 💰💰💰

Another great machine from Singer, this one comes with a bigger embroidery area than many other choices. It’s also incredibly fast, capable of handling a whopping 700 stitches per minute! That speed alone propelled this machine to our pick for the best embroidery machine for small businesses.

With 200 built-in designs and six lettering fonts, you don’t have to sacrifice other features for speed, either. This machine also has an automatic needle threader, which is pretty easy to use, according to most users. One of our favorite things about this Singer is that it self-monitors thread levels and connections and will alert you if your feeder thread is running low.

  • LCD touchscreen
  • Automatic thread tension
  • Up to 700 stitches per minute

  • Some users ran into issues with the motor
  • Downloading your own designs requires extra software

10. Brother Disney Theme Embroidery Machine

The best embroidery machine for decorative pieces

Brother Disney Theme Embroidery Machine

Brand: Brother | Built-in Designs: 70 | Hoop Size: 4” x 4” | Weight: 22.3 lbs | Price: 💰

Are you a Disney fan? Want to make your own Disney-themed clothes for your next trip to the theme park? If so, this is the machine for you. Brother paired up with Disney to provide you with 35 preloaded Disney character patterns so you can make your own Disney items from home! This is our pick for the best embroidery machine for monogramming.

Skill-wise, this machine is an intermediate option, but a beginner could figure it out with some extra effort or a good teacher. It’s pretty fast at about 400 stitches a minute, but the workspace isn’t very big. You’re looking at a four-inch hoop. If you want something fun and a little more advanced, though, give this Brother a look!

  • Portable and lightweight
  • Faster than other options
  • 35 built-in Disney designs are fun and great for making gifts for kids

  • Can be finicky with thread
  • Small workspace limits you to smaller projects

What to Look for in a Embroidery Machine

One of the Best Embroidery Machines in Action
Image by Chatri Attanatwong / Canva

Embroidery machines aren’t cheap. When you buy one, you’re making an investment in a tool you’ll use to express your creativity and add beautiful designs to items you and your loved ones will wear and use. It’s worth doing your research and making sure you find the right machine for your specific skill level and purposes.

Here are some things we recommend you look for:

1. Built-In Designs

Most machines on our list have designs built into them. Especially if you’re new to embroidery or working with a machine, it’s nice to have plenty of designs at your fingertips, at least while you get the hang of embroidery.

Machines with built-in patterns generally come with a booklet showing each design and the associated code you can punch in. A machine with a good number of built-in patterns offers an excellent jumping-off point.

2. USB Port

Some embroidery machines have a USB port so you can download patterns of your own and add to the machine’s built-in memory. If you’re an intermediate or advanced user, this is a must-have feature. It means you’re not limited to working with the machine’s built-in designs and gives you the ability to be creative and experiment.

3. Work Area

Another factor to look at when choosing an embroidery machine for home use is the size of the embroidery area. Some machines, like the Brother PE535, restrict you to small projects. Others, like the Futura XL-400, allow you to work with larger hoop sizes.

If you know you want to make larger pieces, you’ll need to narrow down your search to machines with larger embroidery areas. On the other hand, if you’re more interested in small yet detailed work, a machine with a smaller work area might be the way to go.

4. Price

Embroidery machines range from just a few hundred dollars all the way up to around $10,000 (the most expensive one on our list retails for more than $6,000). How much you decide to spend will obviously depend on how serious of an embroiderer you are.

For beginners and average users, a hobbyist machine like our top pick, the Brother PE800, will have more than enough features and options. However, if you own your own embroidery business, you’re going to need to spend a bit more to get the speed, functionality, and customization you need.

Embroidery Machines vs. Sewing Machines

A common question asked by newcomers is, “what’s the difference between a sewing machine and an embroidery machine? Don’t they basically do the same thing?”

Well, yes and no. Both have fast-moving needles and mechanical parts, so there are some definite similarities. But each serves a different purpose. An embroidery machine is used to make designs on already put-together fabric, whereas a sewing machine takes two (or more) pieces of fabric and sews them together.

People who get tired of stitching patches onto their clothing or ironing decals onto fabric often turn to embroidery machines. They’re also great for creating beautiful designs on quilt squares, cushion covers, and more!

Our Process

For this guide on embroidery machines, our team spent 4 hours researching the most popular options from over 25 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about one hundred and twenty-five user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each machine. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 10 embroidery machines on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.

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