The 5 Best Embroidery Machines of 2023 for Every Skill Level

Our top pick is the Brother SE1900 Sewing and Embroidery Machine for its versatility.

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The 5 Best Embroidery Machines of 2022 for Every Skill Level

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Embroidery machines help you add a unique flare to your clothing and accessories, from monograms on your favorite tote to embellished designs on your trusty denim jacket. If you’ve ever considered dabbling in embroidery, you probably know that selecting the best machine is no easy feat. 

We researched various embroidery machines and compared their features, sizes, prices, and types. We also spoke with Amanda Autrey, a sewing and embroidery expert for Baby Lock, and Natalie Moore, chief e-commerce officer and embroidery expert at Katie Kime. They shared their expert tips and recommendations for people at varying skill levels and broke down the qualities to look for while shopping for an embroidery machine. 

Embroidery machines are generally for detail work like “making monograms, patches, and appliqués,” says Moore. To start, Moore and Autrey both suggest heading to your local sewing machine dealer for some classes. If you don’t have those resources available, Moore says that “you can also check YouTube for videos on how to embroider, troubleshoot, and maintain your machines.” 

Our top pick is the Brother SE1900 Sewing and Embroidery Machine for its ability to take on any project with its range of convenient features. See below for more of our favorites. 

Best Overall Embroidery Machine

Brother SE1900 Sewing and Embroidery Machine

Brother SE1900

Brother

Who it’s for: People who want a versatile machine that can handle thick fabric. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want an affordable embroidery machine. 

This embroidery-meets-sewing machine is a versatile and quality investment for anyone who wants to take their craft to the next level. While it’s a pricey option, it offers luxe features like 138 built-in designs and 11 embroidery fonts. You can preview your design on the 3.2-inch LCD touchscreen and easily edit or add things as you see fit. It also has a jam-resistant top bobbin that pushes through even the thickest fabrics.

The Brother SE1900 also offers 10 styles of auto-sized buttonholes, so you can be creative without the hassle of redundant tasks. The 5-by-7-inch embroidery field can accommodate larger designs and projects, plus the advanced needle threader will keep you from running up against friction as you work. If you’re serious about embroidery, this machine is the pick for you.

Price at time of publish: $1,100

Product Details: 

  • Type: Computerized sewing and embroidery 
  • Power Source: Corded electric
  • Size: 23.19 x 13.43 x 11.54 inches; 22.05 pounds
  • Included Designs: 138 designs with 11 fonts

Best Budget Embroidery Machine

Brother PE535 Embroidery Machine

Brother PE535 Embroidery Machine

Brother

Who it’s for: People who want a small machine without a high price tag. 

Who it isn’t for: People who work with thick or rugged fabrics. 

The Brother PE535 Embroidery Machine is the perfect compact choice for those who don’t have the luxury of space but still want a quality, high-impact machine. This machine has 80 built-in embroidery designs and nine fonts, plus a USB port that allows you to upload and store your own designs, which you can see on the LCD screen. You can also browse through other designs to plan your next project. It includes a 4-by-4-inch embroidery field and a hoop, which is the perfect amount of space for smaller projects or monogramming. 

Price at time of publish: $380

Product Details: 

  • Type: Embroidery 
  • Power Source: Corded electric
  • Size: 7.8 x 16.5 x 12 inches; 15 pounds
  • Features: LCD screen, 80 built-in designs, 9 built-in fonts

Best Embroidery Machine for Beginners

Brother PE800 Embroidery Machine

4.8
Brother PE800 Embroidery Machine

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want an easy-to-use machine that can handle most projects. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want to create complicated patterns. 

The Brother PE800 Embroidery Machine is easy to use and can handle a variety of fabrics, making it ideal for beginners. While this machine might be simpler than other options, it still has the features you need to get creative and progress your skills past the first phase. Easy-to-use dials allow you to adjust the speed and adjustable needle positions help you find your comfort zone. 

It includes 138 built-in designs, 11 font styles, and a USB port to upload your creations. The hoop area is 5-by-7 inches, giving you plenty of space to hone in on the details of your project. It also has a 3.2-inch LCD touchscreen, so you can browse through the library of designs. 

Price at time of publish: $900

Product Details: 

  • Type: Embroidery
  • Power Source: Corded electric
  • Size: 9.8 x 17.48 x 11.81 inches; 17.64 pounds
  • Features: 138 designs, 11 font styles

Best Embroidery Machine for Thick Fabrics

Baby Lock Jazz II Sewing and Quilting Machine

Baby Lock Jazz II Sewing and Quilting Machine

Sewing Machines Plus

Who it’s for: People who want a powerful machine.

Who it isn’t for: People who primarily do intricate work. 

If you want to embroider detailing onto your favorite quilt, this is the best machine for the task. Autrey describes it as an “absolute beast at sewing through the thickest of fabrics,” thanks to its powerful motor that can sew up to 1,000 stitches per minute. This model also includes a hands-free presser foot which you can adjust to find the pressure that suits your next project. 

The Baby Lock Jazz II features 28 built-in patterns, a one-step buttonhole, and a 12-inch workspace that can accommodate thick fabrics and large projects. This machine also offers convenient features for easy use, like LED lights that illuminate the needlework area, a built-in bobbin-winder, color-coded stretch stitch settings, and a reverse sewing lever. 

Price at time of publish: $799

Product Details: 

  • Type: Quilting and sewing 
  • Power Source: Corded electric
  • Size: 25.2 x 9.45 x 12.2 inches; 27.5 pounds
  • Features: LED lights, 28 stitches, 1,000 stitches per minute

Best Small Embroidery Machine

Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9850 Embroidery and Sewing Machine

Who it’s for: People who prioritize power and details. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want to embroider thick fabrics. 

This machine has plenty of easy-to-use features, including 175 built-in embroidery patterns and a powerful motor that can embroider at 60-800 stitches per minute. It is ideal for embellishments and has a 6.7-by-7.9-inch hoop, so you don’t feel crunched for space. 

The touchscreen shows off full color, which can help you choose and edit patterns until perfection. It also makes it easy to adjust thread tension based on the type and thickness of different fabrics. This machine can also double as a sewing machine and has 200 built-in stitches set aside for those projects. Overall, this workhorse machine will allow you to take on any project. 

Price at time of publish: $1,899

Product Details: 

  • Type: Embroidery and sewing 
  • Power Source: Corded electric
  • Size: 9 x 19 x 12.5 inches; 23 pounds
  • Features: 175 built-in designs, 60-800 stitches per minute

Final Verdict

Overall, we recommend the Brother SE1900 Sewing and Embroidery Machine, a versatile machine that stands out for its 138 built-in designs and 11 embroidery fonts. The 3.2-inch LCD touchscreen allows you to preview your design and easily edit or add things as you see fit, and it can handle thicker fabrics. 

How to Shop for Embroidery Machines Like a Pro

Type

While most machines allow you to embroider details and sew larger projects, some are better suited to handling large projects than others. Consider what type of machine will be most functional for your purposes. If you already have a reliable sewing machine, then opt for a standalone embroidery machine. But for craft enthusiasts who are just getting started, a combination machine will allow you to tackle embroidery and sewing projects in one fell swoop. One of the most popular brands is Brother, which Moore recommends: “They are good value, easy to operate, and reliable,” she says.

Use

Before buying a machine, consider what projects you plan on embroidering and sewing. Moore explains that you can use an embroidery machine primarily to “monogram, make patches, and add appliqués.” Review the manufacturer specs to see what functionality your machine offers, as some might have more limited features than others. 

Size

Consider your embroidery machine's size before purchasing, especially if you have limited space or want a portable option. If you deal in large projects, then make sure you choose a machine with plenty of work space. For those with limited space, opt for a compact machine with a smaller work space. In addition to dimensions, consider the machine's weight, as some of them can be heavy and challenging to maneuver. 

Features

The best embroidery machines include features that make achieving your next project or creation attainable and fun. When selecting your machine, look at the available designs, font patterns, and speed settings. Also, consider how easy it will be to toggle between settings if you are starting on ornate projects—some machines offer LED screens where you can select from a bevy of design choices.

Questions You Might Ask 

What’s the difference between an embroidery and sewing machine?

There are a few, according to Autrey, but she says that people will notice the greatest difference in versatility, technology, and capabilities. “With a sewing machine, you are the driver,” explains Autrey, referring to the amount of control allowed by sewing machines. “With embroidery, the software and designs are the drivers—it's almost like plug and play.”

To make it simple, Moore explains that “sewing machines are for the construction of items, whereas embroidery machines are used to add decorative stitches to an item.” In addition, “sewing machines have a foot that guides the fabric straight forward, and embroidery machines utilize a hoop to move the fabric around in all directions.” 

What can you do with an embroidery machine?

According to Autrey, the options are nearly endless. She names appliqué work, freestanding lace, and even 3D projects as examples. Because most embroidery machines double as sewing machines, you can also use them for quick fixes on buttons or hemlines. “It’s really all about the digitizing (meaning the patterns available on the individual machine) and your imagination,” says Autrey.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Brittany Loggins, a contributing writer for Real Simple who specializes in lifestyle and beauty content. To come up with this list, she thoroughly researched the best embroidery machines on the market and narrowed down the options based on factors like ease of use, special features, and more. For expert tips, we spoke to Amanda Autrey, a sewing and embroidery expert for Baby Lock, and Natalie Moore, the chief E-commerce officer and embroidery expert at Katie Kime.

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