The Best Embroidery Machine

Brother PE770 5x7 inch Embroidery Machine

Our Top Pick for 2016: Brother PE770 5×7 inch Embroidery Machine
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $563.12*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

Embroidery has been a long standing tradition to add character and beauty to fabric. Today, you have the option of adding embroidery without the hours of manual labor to create it. Embroidery machines give you the ability to add individuality to your creations with the touch of a button. Whether you want to embroider for fun or want to create a business, you will be able to find a machine that does quality work every time you use it.

Table of contents

amazon-available
amazon-available
amazon-available
Easy To Learn And Use Embroidery-only Model
Ample Space For Larger Designs And Lettering
Automatic Needle Threader
Includes 35 Built-in Disney Embroidery Designs
Combine Designs With Less Rehooping
Built-in Automatic Thread Cutting Button
Computer Connectivity For Importing Thousands Of Embroidery Designs
Back Lit LCD Display Screen
Built-in USB Port
Easy-to-view Back-Lit Touch Screen LCD Display
Import Designs From USB
4″ X 4″ Embroidery Field Size
Includes 4×4 Embroidery Hoop, Needle Set, Bobbins, Bobbin Thread
Extensive Design Editing
67 Built-in Sewing Stitches

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Brother PE770 5×7 inch Embroidery Machine

Brother PE770 5x7 inch Embroidery Machine Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $563.12*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerThe Brother PE770 5×7-Inch Embroidery Only Machine (PE770) gives you versatility in the designs you use and an expansive field in which to create.

With a 5×7 embroidery field, the PE770 gives you ample space to create lettering and monograms. You can do larger sizes with more creativity in the designs. A large embroidery field also saves you time and frustration because you won’t have to rehoop as often. Getting the machine set and ready to go for one area, rather than multiple areas, means you can get your embroidery done faster.

A 1.4 x 2.7-inch backlit LCD touch screen display makes setting up the machine and getting your design ready easier. Touch screen technology is intuitive and easy to use. You can quickly navigate editing features and find your favorite designs. The display is black and white which can make getting a good idea of how colors will work out a little difficult. While some users felt the design display was too small, most were happy with their ability to view designs.

The PE770 gives you a wide array of design and editing features from which to choose. You can rotate images to get the right angle for your project. Creating a mirror-image or changing the design size can be done with the click of a button. You can view any changes on the display before you begin the process of embroidering.

Getting a preview of the design is crucial to being able to alter the design before you put the final product through the machine. There is nothing more frustrating that thinking you’ve adjusted your design perfectly only to have it turn out differently than what you expected because you didn’t get a preview. The PE770 editing features keep this from happening.

The PE770 comes preloaded with 136 designs and 6 fonts. Designs range from flowered accents to sharp, crisp borders. These designs and fonts allow you start embroidering right out of the box. Some users were disappointed in the variety that was offered but the PE770 does have a USB port on the side of the machine that gives you the ability to import designs from other sources such as ibroidery.com.

Simply download designs to a memory stick and put it into the USB port. This port also allows you to download updates directly to the PE770 to keep the technology bug free and up-to-date. There is also a built-in embroidery card slot that allows you to use any of the PE770embroidery cards. Cards are sold separately but it gives you another way to use more designs on this machine.

There is a My Custom Stitch feature that allows you to create stitches of your own design. They can be saved to memory and used again. This feature allows you to think outside the box when using the PE770. It can go beyond predesigned stitches to create looks that meet your needs and add to your own personal style.

A sideways sewing feature allows you to sew in a circle or square without rotating the fabric. This unique feature can save you time and keep your designs lined up perfectly. Another time-saving feature is the automatic thread trimmer. With the push of a button, you can trim both the upper and lower threads.

An impressive assortment of accessories are included with the PE770. There are eleven feet included – buttonhole, overcasting, monogramming, zipper, zigzag, blind stitch, button fitting, stitch guide, adjustable zipper/piping, non-stick, and open foot. Purchasing additional feet for an embroidery machine can get expensive so this wide range of feet definitely saves you money in the end.

Other included accessories are:

  • A hard carrying case
  • an embroidery thread spool
  • four (4) bobbins
  • a twin needle
  • needle pack
  • kneelifter
  • 5×7 embroidery hoop
  • storage compartment
  • two (2) screwdrivers
  • three (3) spool caps
  • scissors
  • embroidery arm
  • power cord
  • operation manual

Many users enjoy the needle threading system of the PE770, with some comparing it to much more expensive machines in terms of its performance. There is a lever on the side of the machine that, once pressed, pushes the thread through the eye of the needle. If you are working on projects that require changing thread often, this kind of feature is going to save you time and frustration.

The top loading bobbin system is jam resistant. The clear cover gives you a good view of the bobbin to see when you need to reload it and if any threads are getting tangled.

Adjustable speed control let you incrementally adjust how fast you sew. For more complicated projects, you may want to slow down for greater precision. There is also a start/stop button if you want to halt sewing to make adjustments or to prevent damage to the fabric.

The PE770 performs well and many users compare the work it does to a machine that costs several times the price. It is a great model to learn to embroider on and it provides options that let you explore your own creativity. It comes with a 25-year limited warranty.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Brother PE540D 4×4 Embroidery Machine

Brother PE540D 4x4 Embroidery Machine

View it on Amazon for $363.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerThe Brother PE540D 4×4 Embroidery Machine (PE540D) provides many preloaded designs and has features that are user-friendly.

The 4×4 embroidery field gives you enough space for most projects. For projects that are larger than this area, you will need to rehoop mid-project. This isn’t difficult but it is an extra step that leaves room for errors. Most users found that the field size worked well for almost all of their projects.

The PE540D has 70 built-in decorative designs that vary from animals and sailboats to floral embellishments. You can use these designs as soon as you get the machine out of the box. This model also includes 30 built-in Disney designs. The machine allows you to make an outline pattern of designs to create an applique effect as well. This is the perfect model for someone with young children or grandchildren that can’t get enough of their favorite Disney characters. You can also use any of the five preloaded fonts.

A USB port allows you to download thousands of other designs and fonts from online sources. You can download .pes files directly to the PE540D to add to your creative choices. The PE540D does come with some memory capabilities but most users found it wasn’t enough for the number of designs they wanted to save. If this is the case, you may need to keep a separate file on your computer for your designs so that you can load them when you want. It can also accept an embroidery card but not a memory card.

Threading this machine is simple, even for a first time user. If you are going to do colorful designs, you may need to thread quite often, even for one project. There are directions in the manual but there is also color-coded threading printed on the machine to guide you will you work.

The touchscreen LCD display is easy to read and understand. On this display, you’ll see the designs that you are working on and will be able to keep track of where you are in the embroidery process. The PE540D can do 400 stitches a minute, which is a good rate for a beginning embroidery machine.

An advanced needle threading system does the work of threading the needle for you. Many users find the automatic needle threader is their favorite feature of the PE540D, especially since many found that cheap thread broke often in this machine. When using an embroidery machine, it pays off to use high-quality thread.

If threads break, the PE540D stops embroidering immediately. This gives you a chance to replace the thread before continuing. However, some users found that they had to manually go back a few stitches before they continued after a broken thread. If they did not go back, there was a slight hole in the pattern.

The PE540D has a few accessories with it. They include:

  • an embroidery foot
  • three (3) bobbins
  • cleaning brush
  • seam ripper
  • two (2) screwdrivers
  • spool caps (four small, two medium, one large)
  • spool net
  • scissors
  • touch pen
  • USB cable
  • embroidery bobbin thread
  • dust cover
  • accessory bag

An automatic thread trimmer trims the top and bottom thread with the push of a button. It also features a top loading, drop-in bobbin. The cover of the bobbin is clear, giving you the opportunity to see when the thread is almost empty or if there are any tangles or breaks.

The PE540D comes with a limited warranty.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Brother LB-6800PRW Project Runway Computerized Sewing Embroidery Machine

Brother LB-6800PRW Project Runway Computerized Sewing Embroidery Machine

View it on Amazon for $698.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardThe Brother LB-6800PRW Project Runway Computerized Sewing Embroidery Machine (PRW) is a combination sewing and embroidery machine that will allow you test your embroidery skills on an all-in-one machine.

The PRW has a 4×4 embroidery field, which is adequate for most projects. However, if you plan to use designs that require a bigger field, you will need to rehoop mid-project. Extra steps always leave more room for mistakes but many users found that rehooping wasn’t a problem.

With 70 built-in designs, 5 fonts, and 120 frame pattern combinations, the PRW has a lot of preloaded options that give you a wide variety right out the box. You can add embroidery to dish towels, handkerchiefs, and shirts for embellishments that are uniquely yours. You can also import additional designs from third-party websites if you want more designs. You can rotate or create mirror images of designs with the PRW so that it fits into the space and scope of each individual project.

Making your own clothing is a way to express your personality. The PRW gives you the opportunity to use 67 built-in stitches and 98 stitch functions. These functions give you versatility in the projects you can tackle and in the looks you can create.

A back-lit, touch screen makes selecting your options easy. The display is small but readable. Intuitive features, like the touchscreen, make work go faster as well as the 400 stitch per minute speed of the PRW. Once you learn what the icons mean, you will be able to move through projects quickly.

The quick-set drop-in bobbin makes changing your bobbin easy. You can put the bobbin in and pull the thread towards the indicator arrow. The machine then threads it through, which means there is no need to pull the thread up through the machine. The advanced needle threader works well and helps you get the needle ready for embroidering with no hassles, magnifying glasses, or tweezers.

Once you’ve completed your project there is a built-in thread cutter that cuts both the top and bottom threads. Clean cut threads are going to make your projects look more professional. It will also make it easier to remove your fabric from the machine when you are finished.

A start/stop button will stop the machine without the use of the foot pedal. You can stop more quickly when you can see mistakes starting to happen or if you need to change thread colors at a specific point in the design.

The PRW also has a good accessories package included with the purchase. It includes:

  • additional feet: buttonhole, zipper, button fitting, monogramming, embroidery, blind stitch
  • scissors
  • seam ripper
  • needle set
  • twin needle
  • eyelet punch
  • touch pen
  • cleaning brush
  • extra spool pin
  • three (3) spool caps
  • spool net
  • accessory case
  • clear embroidery bobbin thread
  • embroidery arm
  • one (1) embroidery hoop
  • USB cable
  • instructional CD
  • user manual

It also comes with an exclusive Project Runway wheeled carrying case to keep the PRW and all accessories together. If you ever plan on embroidering on the go, this is the machine for you. The PRW can also be used as a sewing machine. With the PRW, you can save space because you can use one machine for two jobs, sewing and embroidery.

The PRW comes with a 25-year limited warranty.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Brother PE525 Embroidery Machine

Brother PE525 Embroidery Machine

View it on Amazon for $270.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickThe Brother PE525 Embroidery Machine (PE525) does good work for a budget machine and would be perfect for someone that is not sure if they want to invest in a more expensive model.

It has a 4×4 embroidery field area, which is large enough for most projects. If you plan to do larger designs, you will need to rehoop mid-project. Rehooping can be done successfully but when you add more steps there is always room for error.

The PE525 has 70 built-in decorative stitches and 5 lettering fonts. This is enough designs and lettering choices to get started. If you find that you want more options, there is a USB port that allows you to transfer .pes files from third party websites. This opens up your design options immeasurably. It also allows you to easily complete software updates for the PE525. With built-in memory, you can save your designs to use later; however, there isn’t a lot of memory on this machine.

Ease of using the PE525 is enhanced with several features. A 1.4 x 2.7-inch backlit, LED touch screen display shows stitch options, design choices, and tutorials. The advanced needle threader takes the work out of getting the thread through the eye of the needle. As press a lever down, it threads the needle for you. A brightly lit workspace lets you see what you are doing, even on dark-colored fabric. The top drop-n bobbin makes it easy to reload the machine. With a clear cover, you’ll be able to see when your bobbin is low on thread. Designs can be rotated by 1, 10, or 90 degrees, giving you the option to customize your designs even more.

Included accessories are:

  • three (3) bobbins
  • needle set
  • cleaning brush
  • seam ripper
  • two (2) screwdrivers
  • spool net
  • scissors
  • touch pen
  • USB cable
  • embroidery bobbin thread
  • accessory bag
  • dust cover

The PE525 is very similar to the other Brother models but without an automatic thread cutter and it has the smaller 4×4 embroidery area. It is also less expensive because it has lfewer memory capabilities than other models.

The PE525 would make a great starter machine for some who wants to dabble in embroidery. If you find you like it, later on, you may want to invest in a more expensive machine with more memory and a larger embroidery field.

The PE525 comes with a limited warranty.


Pre-purchase considerations

Embroidery Field

The size of embroidery field that you need will depend on the purpose of your embroidery. For most home use, you would be doing a small area with monograms and decorative designs, in which case a 4×4 field would be the minimum field you would want to use. Even on this field, if you wanted to do a larger design, you can rehoop during the project. However, this always leaves room for problems lining up the fabric or stretching it in ways that will alter the stitches.

A 5×7 embroidery field doesn’t sound like much more room than a 4×4, but it makes a big difference in the size and kinds of designs you can do. If you plan to use your machine a lot, even if it is for home use only, you may want to consider spending the extra money for a machine with the larger size embroidery area.

There are commercial machines that can do the back of a jacket but they are pricey. If you are a beginner, start with a quality machine that is in your budget. Later on, you can save for a bigger, better machine if you love embroidery.

Design and Editing

Design and editing features will make a big difference in your ability to create one-of-a-kind pieces. Machines that can expand and shrink designs, rotate them, and create mirror images will give you the greatest versatility.

If you are an experienced sewist and embroiderer, you may want a machine with a lot of stitching options. This will give you greater versatility and choices for your designs.

Take note of how many designs are preloaded on the machine you are considering and if it has the ability to upload more. There are many third party websites with thousands of embroidery designs that can be purchased and downloaded. Some machines have more memory than others and can only hold so many designs at one time.

Accessories

Know what accessories are included with the embroidery machine. Machines that come with extra feet are going to save you a lot of money because, when purchased separately, feet are expensive. A protective case, USB cable, and embroidery hoops are other accessories that can save you money and give you the option of embroidering as soon as you take the machine out of the box.

Combo or Specialty Machine

There are sewing machines that have a separate embroidery unit. You can save space and money by purchasing one of these combination machines. However, they may not be the best at sewing or embroidery since they are trying to do both.

An embroidery machine that only does embroidery will be more solid and will have more options than a combo machine. The field areas are usually larger as well. Although, it is one more machine to store but if you use it frequently it might be worth it to you.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

An embroidery machine can be a great way to personalize your towels, handkerchiefs, and other items. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a machine to get one that works well and gives you a lot of options. Knowing how and what you want to use the machine for will help you narrow down your choices.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. Buying Your First Embroidery Machine Part I, ArtisticThreadWorks.com
  2. Debbie Henry, Choosing an Embroidery Machine: 12 Must-Have Tips, Craftsy.com, May 15, 2014
  3. Embroidery Library Projects, Emblibrary.com
  4. Embroidery Machine Buying Guide, eBay.com, March 3, 2016
  5. How to Choose an Embroidery Machine, CraftaholicsAnonymous.com, April 14, 2013

Pin It on Pinterest