Best Embroidery Machine for Small Business

Best embroidery machine for small business

With the best embroidery machine on the market, you could start a small business of your own or grow your company into something even more rewarding. There’s money to be made in the embroidery business, and getting started is a lot easier than you might think.

You don’t have to learn the painstaking process of hand-embroidering minuscule stitches onto delicate fabrics until your fingers ache. The best embroidery machines can quickly bring to life personalized creations while you watch—often requiring little more from you than selecting and customizing a design and hitting a few buttons.

BP’s Picks for Best Embroidery Machine for Small Businesses

How to Choose an Embroidery Machine for Your Small Business Needs

While it’s always a good idea to check out embroidery and sewing machine reviews prior to purchasing, keep in mind that selecting the best embroidery machine for your small business takes more than glancing over the pros and cons. Different businesses have different needs. What you need to launch a brand-new home embroidery business is different from what a commercial embroidery company would need to ramp up its production.

Some of the most important factors to consider when selecting the best embroidery machine for your small business include:

  • Production and Efficiency Needs: Will you be using your embroidery machine just a few hours a day, or will it get heavy-duty use for eight, 12, even 24 hours continuously? If you have a home business with a lower volume, you won’t need the same embroidery speed and heavy-duty performance that a commercial embroidery machine requires.
  • Space: An embroidery machine can be as small and portable as a sewing machine, or it may weigh thousands of pounds. Deciding where you’re going to keep your embroidery machine and how much space your business can devote to it before you start shopping is a must.
  • Ease of Use: Some of the best embroidery and sewing machines are made for simplicity and have built-in tutorials to help novices get their home embroidery business up and running in no time. Others require more skill and knowledge to operate. The closer to commercial grade, the more complex an embroidery machine’s features and functions.
  • Cost and Value: Embroidery machines aren’t cheap. The very least you can expect to spend on a good budget embroidery machine is a few hundred dollars, and higher-end models cost thousands—sometimes tens of thousands. Look at not only the price but also the value an embroidery machine offers. Faster speeds and convenient features cost more but may be worth paying for if they help your embroidery business work more productively.
  • Desired Features: Do you want a machine that comes with hundreds of built-in stitches and embroidery designs? How about smart technology that pairs with your phone or tablet? The best embroidery machines offer an array of features that help you preview and edit your designs, streamline the embroidery process, and more.

Best Overall: Brother PE800 Embroidery Machine

Brother PE800 Embroidery Machine

For a small or home business, the Brother PE800 packs the most important features and technologies into one impressive—yet modestly-sized—embroidery machine, all at a great price point. New features, like the extra-large full-color LCD touch screen display, make the PE800 model superior to the Brother PE770, a popular but now-discontinued model from which the PE800 kept (and built on) many of its users’ favorite features.

What Makes It the Best?

The Brother PE800 is a single-needle model with a maximum embroidery size of 5 x 7 inches. We love that this embroidery machine comes with functions like an advanced automatic needle threader, a built-in LED light to illuminate the needle area, and the company’s special jam-resistant quick-set drop-in bobbin system to keep your projects running smoothly.

The Brother PE800 embroidery machine is the size of a sewing machine, at 17.48  x 9.48  x 11.81 inches and 17.64 pounds. That’s ideal for small businesses where space is at a premium, like a home-based embroidery business or a company with only a small commercial space.

Get to work right away with one of the 138 built-in embroidery designs, or use the built-in USB port to easily import your own designs right to the machine. Ten frame shapes, 14 stitch patterns, and 11 built-in fonts enhance your ability to easily customize and create just about anything with this embroidery machine. The maximum embroidery speed is 650 stitches per minute.

The 3.2-inch color backlit LCD touchscreen is more than a novelty. One of the best features Brother embroidery machines have to offer, this screen adds a lot of function, including the ability to view a full-color preview of your designs. Use this preview to see what your project will look like when you combine preset designs. 

Need to swap out colors? Use the built-in color palette to select and edit the design colors directly from the machine’s touch screen.  The touch screen allows you to change the size of designs as well as rotate them by increments of 1, 10, and 90 degrees or easily create a mirror image.

At a list price of $729, the Brother PE800 won’t break the bank. Brother also includes free phone support and stands behind the machine with a 25-year limited warranty. All in all, this embroidery machine is so easy to use that beginners can learn to embroider with no trouble, but it also performs well enough that most home businesses and small businesses won’t feel limited.

What’s Missing?

If you’re looking for an embroidery machine of truly industrial size and power, you should pass on this single-head and single-needle model, which offers versatile all-around features and benefits rather than heavy-duty capabilities.

The machine’s small size may be underwhelming if you need to do big embroidery projects or if your company provides embroidery services on a mass scale. The 5 x 7 embroidery area may be a bit too small if you routinely embroider large designs or large items.

Despite looking like a sewing machine, the PE800 is an embroidery-only machine that doesn’t have basic sewing capabilities. If you buy this model thinking that it will do double-duty, you will end up disappointed and have to shell out more money (and more space in your office or store) to purchase a separate sewing machine.

Finally, although the cost of this embroidery machine is well under $1,000, fans of the discontinued PE770 model have expressed frustration with the considerable price jump from that machine to this one. The extra bells and whistles raise the cost of this machine by a few hundred dollars compared to the old model, which can price the embroidery machine out of the budget of new small embroidery businesses that are launching on a shoestring budget.


Best Multi-Needle Embroidery Machine: Janome MB-4S Four-Needle Embroidery Machine

Janome MB-4S Four-Needle Embroidery Machine

If you want a good embroidery machine with a lot more oomph, you’re going to want to invest in a multi-needle machine. We recommend the Janome MB-4S Four-Needle Embroidery Machine. A strong contender for the best commercial embroidery machine with a single head, this model allows you to run four needles—with four different colors of thread—at a time.

What Makes It the Best?

When it comes to speed and efficiency, four needles are better than one. The Janome MB-4S embroidery machine operates at 800 stitches per minute and doesn’t require you to stop and rethread needles each time you need to change thread colors.

The Janome MB-4S may well be the best commercial embroidery machine on the market. Besides its 50 built-in designs and its capability for design transfer via USB, this embroidery machine comes ready to easily create monograms with two or three letters. Choose from 10 fonts for monogramming and embroidering letters.

The embroidery area is considerably larger on this bigger commercial-grade machine than on the Brother PE800. This one measures 9.4 x 7.9 inches. Also larger is the remote computer screen, a 5.7-inch display that distinguishes between 65,536 different colors and is capable of operating numerous machines (in case your business grows so big that you need to purchase more). 

Use the remote computer screen to control the size and rotation of your design as well as combining designs, zooming in, and using drag-and-drop controls to achieve the look you want.

Other features of the Janome MB-4S include the time-saving automatic thread cutter, extra-large bobbins for less hassle, and an overachieving system of four LED lights over the needle. If you’re in the market for a machine at this price point and with this needle count, we think the Janome MB-4S will exceed your expectations.

What’s Missing?

The commercial-grade performance of a four-needle embroidery machine comes with a commercial-level price tag, too. The Janome MB-4S Four-Needle model is listed at $7,999, an expense that home businesses and small start-ups might not be able to justify despite the increased power and efficiency.

This four-needle embroidery machine also takes up more space than a typical one-needle model, at 14.4 x 25.2 x 20.5 inches. Weighing more than 45 pounds—more than 2.5 times what the Brother PE800 weighs—it’s also a lot less portable.

Although the Janome MB-4S Four-Needle Embroidery Machine is impressive on a number of fronts, it comes with a much smaller library of built-in designs than the Brother PE800 (50 compared to 138). Considering that you’re spending 10 times as much to get this commercial-grade embroidery machine, you might feel a little cheated at the comparative shortage of built-in embroidery designs.


Best All-in-One Sewing and Embroidery Machines: Brother SE1900 and EverSewn Sparrow X

Brother SE1900 and EverSewn Sparrow X

Being able to sew is an important part of succeeding in the embroidery business. Fortunately, some of the best embroidery machines double as some of the best sewing machines, too. If you’re looking for an all-in-one embroidery and sewing machine, consider two options under $1,000: the EverSewn Sparrow X Next-Generation Sewing and Embroidery Machine and the Brother SE1900 Sewing and Embroidery Machine

The EverSewn Sparrow X Next-Generation Sewing and Embroidery Machine

One of the best embroidery sewing machines on the market has to be the EverSewn Sparrow X. This all-in-one model stands out as the best sewing machine for home-business use because—in addition to its impressive embroidery capabilities—it can sew at speeds up to 850 rpm and comes with a built-in thread cutter and 120 stitch patterns.

What Makes It the Best?

As an embroidery machine, the EverSewn Sparrow X has a lot to offer. The machine comes with 100 built-in designs and an advanced automatic needle threader function. The way every component of the machine connects makes the embroidery function super easy to use without fear of misaligning the hoop or fabric and ending up with an imperfect result.

The downside of a combined sewing machine and embroidery machine is that you have to make some adjustments to change the machine’s function. Fortunately, transitioning the EverSewn Sparrow X sewing machine into an embroidery machine is easy and quick—so quick, in fact, that you can do it in just two to three minutes. Just swap out the needle, foot, and stitch plate and then replace the sewing table with the included embroidery unit.

There’s a reason EverSewn advertises the Sparrow X as a “next-generation” machine. This smart machine pairs with your Apple or Android phone, tablet, or other device via Wi-Fi. The included EverSewn Pro App allows you to use your device to create and edit designs from the device of your choice, which means you have a large, full-color display screen that’s more convenient to use because it isn’t attached to the machine. 

Although the EverSewn Sparrow is a single-needle embroidery machine, its next-generation technology makes it easy to change thread colors by letting you know, via app notification, when to change your thread and what color to use at what time. You can also walk away from the machine while it works, checking its progress on your smartphone even from the next room.

Listed on Amazon for $799, this double-duty embroidery sewing machine is a great value that’s particularly affordable for home use, such as selling your creations online or launching a full-fledged home-based embroidery business.

What’s Missing?

The biggest downside of this high-tech sewing machine is that it relies a little too much on technology. Without a Wi-Fi connection or a phone or tablet, the embroidery functions are basically nonexistent. The same goes for anytime the app is glitchy. 

Of course, this model is still a powerful sewing machine even when the internet is down, but you’re not spending nearly $800 on just a sewing machine. These technical difficulties can cost you a lot of money if they get in the way of getting your work done. 

If you often have trouble with a spotty Wi-Fi connection or you don’t have a dependable device, steer clear of this option. Its most cutting-edge features won’t work well for you, and you’ll just end up with a lot of headaches instead.

Another drawback of combination embroidery sewing machines, in general, is that they tend to be less powerful than machines that do embroidery only. Although the sewing speed of the EverSewn Sparrow X is listed at 850 rpm, the embroidery speed is only 650 stitches per minute, making it one of the slowest and least efficient embroidery machines on our list.

Finally, the EverSewn Sparrow X’s maximum embroidery area of 4.75 x 7 inches makes it just a hair too small to work with standard 5 x 7-inch embroidery designs. You can still work with standard 4 x 4-inch designs or combine smaller design elements into your own 4.75 x 7-inch layout. However, it’s frustrating for users to be so close to being able to use these larger design templates—but still so far.


The Brother SE1900 Sewing and Embroidery Machine

The Brother SE1900 embroidery and sewing machine isn’t as cutting-edge technology-wise. However, this model is sure to impress as both a sewing machine and an embroidery machine, whether you’re buying it for home use or in a completely commercial space.

What Makes It the Best?

Features like 240 built-in stitches, 10 styles of automatic buttonholes, and a free-motion sewing function make the Brother SE1900 a top contender for the best sewing machine. We really like the “My Custom Stitch” feature that you can use to design your own stitch combinations and save them into the sewing machine’s built-in memory for future use. This sewing machine can sew at an impressive speed of up to 850 stitches per minute.

This model includes a lot of the popular features that you’ll find in the best embroidery machines Brother has to offer. The 3.2-inch LCD color touch screen and its advanced editing features appear in the SE1900 model, along with 138 built-in designs and 11 fonts. The USB port allows you to easily import your own designs. 

With a maximum embroidery area of 5 x 7 inches, the Brother SE19000 embroidery and sewing machine avoids the sizing problem found in the EverSewn Sparrow X model. Features like an automatic needle threader, Brother’s jam-resistant bobbin system, and the built-in LED light over the needle make this $999 sewing and embroidery machine feel high-end without the extravagant price tag.

What’s Missing?

This model fits somewhere in the middle between home embroidery business and industrial operation. Some beginners struggle with learning how to use this combination embroidery and sewing machine, so it may not be your best option if you’re looking to start an embroidery business from scratch with little experience. 

The slightly higher price tag, too, can make the embroidery machine a little too pricey for home use and home-business needs, unless you have a considerable volume of work already.

On the flip side, this sewing machine also isn’t meant for heavy-duty production that keeps it running all day, every day, on industrial-grade materials. 

If you fit into this sweet spot of having the work volume to sustain your home embroidery business without needing truly industrial capabilities, the Brother SE1900 is the best sewing machine/embroidery machine combination you’re going to find. Otherwise, you may find that this embroidery machine misses the mark, less because of any real deficits in the unit than because it doesn’t meet the unique needs of your embroidery business.


Best Value Embroidery Machine: Brother PE535 Embroidery Machine

Brother PE535 Embroidery Machine

High-end industrial embroidery machines can easily run in the tens of thousands of dollars. In comparison, the $7,999 list price of the Janome MB-4S isn’t bad at all, for a commercial machine. 

In case you can’t afford to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars, what is the cheapest embroidery machine a small-business owner should consider? Our budget pick for the best embroidery machine is the Brother PE535 Embroidery Machine, which will run you only a few hundred bucks and still includes some nifty features.

What Makes It the Best?

Listed on Amazon for just $349.99, the Brother PE535 model is an unbeatable value.

The library of built-in embroidery designs is surprisingly robust for this price point, including 80 different designs. The machine’s built-in memory allows you to import your own designs via USB and store them directly in the machine. You can also take advantage of nine different fonts and 10 frames to make your own designs.

You’ll find some surprising higher-end features on this low-end embroidery machine, including an automatic thread-cutter function and easy adjustment of text angles, arcs, and spacing.  Most impressive of all, this affordable embroidery machine still includes the 3.2-inch color LCD touchscreen that makes the PE800 model so user friendly.

If you’re just getting started in the field of embroidery, the Brother PE535 machine is an awesome place to start—and not only because of the price. The machine comes with built-in tutorials that will turn newbies into pros in no time and includes access to the external iBroidery.com library, where you’ll find designs that include licensed characters from the most popular franchises (available for purchase).  

Like other Brother embroidery machines, this model comes with a 25-year limited warranty and free technical support.

What’s Missing?

The biggest drawback to Brother’s PE535 machine is the size of the embroidery area. At just 4 x 4 inches, this size limits your ability to embroider large designs.

Beyond that, the machine isn’t as powerful or efficient as more expensive options. With a maximum embroidery speed of 400 stitches per minute, the PE535 will take longer to complete the same project than any other embroidery machine on this list. This model also isn’t an all-in-one machine and can’t perform traditional sewing functions, only embroidery.

The takeaway is that this model is best for home businesses, new companies, or growing companies that need an extra machine to handle a little bit of overflow work. Companies that require maximum speed to keep up with orders will need to spend quite a bit more.


Best High-End Embroidery Machines for Home Business: Janome Horizon Memory Craft Line

Janome Horizon Memory Craft Line

If your needs fall somewhere in between a side hustle and a full-on industrial production line, you need a high-end machine that’s bursting with features but won’t take up too much of your budget or your real estate. Depending on your needs, there are two embroidery machines from the Janome Horizon Memory Craft Line that fit the bill: the Janome Memory Craft 14000 Sewing and Embroidery Machine and the Janome Memory Craft 550E.

What Makes It the Best?

The Janome Horizon Memory Craft Line is a mid-priced product line that runs in the thousands-of-dollars range. The lower-end 550E model is listed at $3,999 and the higher-end 14000 model costs $9,999, with other price points in between.

Both the 550E and the 14000 Memory Craft embroidery machines have plenty to offer in the way of built-in embroidery designs (180 and 350, respectively) and fonts (six and 11). They both feature a color touch screen with advanced digital editing capabilities that include rotating, shrinking, magnifying, synthesizing, grouping, and zooming in on designs. 

Both machines are fast and efficient. The 550E boasts a top speed of 860 stitches per minute, and the 14000 is capable of completing 1,000 stitches per minute.

The Janome Memory Craft 14000 model is a powerful workhorse of a home-business embroidery machine, replacing the much-loved, now-discontinued, Horizon Memory Craft 12000. You can use it to embroider areas as large as 9.1 x 11.8 inches. 

The Memory Craft 14000 is a high-end machine that includes 400 built-in stitches and advanced features like an automatic built-in needle threader and thread cutter. Janome’s AcuFeed Flex technology allows you to feed multiple layers of fabric through the embroidery area with control and precision.

What really sets the Memory Craft 550E apart is the generous size of its embroidery area. Embroider spaces as large as 7.9 x 14.2 inches with an extra-wide extension table—all in a machine that weighs just 20 pounds.

What’s Missing?

For both of these high-performing Janome Horizon Memory Craft models, the higher price point may be an obstacle for new entrepreneurs looking to start an embroidery business. These models are better suited for an established home embroidery business with a steady volume of work—for which the features and efficiency of these machines can help you get more embroidering done faster—than a brand-new home-based business venture.

If you’re new to embroidery, the extensive features found in these Memory Craft models may be overwhelming—perhaps more than you really want in an embroidery machine for home-business needs. Novices in the embroidery business might be better off starting out with a simpler embroidery machine for home use and graduating to one of these models once they gain the skills to use it and the capital to afford it.


Best Commercial-Grade Multi-Head Embroidery Machine: CAMFive EMB Industrial-Professional Line

CAMFive EMB Industrial-Professional Line

For small businesses that handle big volumes of work, the single-head embroidery machines that make up most of this list aren’t going to cut it. You need an industrial-grade multi-head embroidery machine that can zip through even large, complex, multicolor projects at lighting speed. 

We recommend the CAMFive EMB line of Industrial-Professional Multi-Head embroidery machines, the best commercial embroidery machine line if you need a multi-head solution for greater efficiency.

What Makes It the Best?

CAMFive’s multi-head embroidery machines include models with two, four, six, or eight heads. These efficient machines can hum along at a top speed of 1,000 to 1,200 stitches per minute, depending on the model you choose.

These are heavy-duty machines capable of continuous 24/7 use, so they’re durable enough to withstand the demands of your business year-round. The enormous embroidery area—15.7 x 17.7 inches or 22 by 14 inches, depending on the specific model in this product line—gives you plenty of space to work, even on larger or more complex creations.

The 8-inch and 10-inch display screens that come with the CAMFive EMB multi-head models allow for easy previewing and design editing. Once you import your design via the USB port, you can store it directly in the unit, which has the memory capacity to hold up to 100 million stitches. 

Unsurprisingly, these high-end CAMFive models also feature automatic thread detectors and safety features, including break detectors, emergency stop buttons, and other forms of safety sensors and controls. 

What’s Missing?

The cost is, by far, the biggest con associated with the CAMFive EMB models of embroidery machines. The double-head machine has a list price of $12,870, climbing to $21,999 for a machine with four heads, $24,799 for the six-head model, and $27,999 for the eight-head model.

An embroidery machine this powerful takes up a lot of space. We’re talking dimensions as large as 178 x 63 x 71 inches and a unit weight of up to 2,160 pounds. It’s definitely not an option for a home business, and it can quickly consume the space of a small commercial office or retail store.

If your needs aren’t heavy duty and 24/7 operations aren’t even on your radar, a machine like the CAMFive EMB multi-head model is probably overkill. For very small businesses, especially home businesses, you don’t need to sacrifice this much space or spend tens of thousands of dollars to get a good embroidery machine.


Conclusion

Adding an embroidery machine to your repertoire can help you start a home business or take your commercial operations to the next level.

Whether you’re looking for the best embroidery machines for home-business use or for a commercial embroidery machine that works as hard as you do, there are excellent options at every price point from manufacturers like Brother, Janome, EverSewn, and CAMFive.

Written by Krystle Dodge

Krystle Dodge

Krystle Dodge is a freelance writer from South Jersey. Since she launched her freelance writing business in 2011, she has written on topics in business, education, the legal industry, and more.