Here is a honest and impartial list of 8 best embroidery machines you can buy for well under $1000. I hope it will help you make a decision.

 

Here our Top 7 Best Embroidery Machines Under $600. That is the price range where most people look for.

 

You need to be really careful while choosing an embroidery machine as it involves a huge investment. Your embroidery machine must serve you for at least 5 years to get your investment back. Quality must be the top priority among your selection criteria. If quality is there, everything else comes into place one by one. Quality machines might cost more, but it will prove its worth in the long run (life is not about money all the time, isn’t it? it is about the experiences).

Here, I have formulated a list of 8 quality embroidery machines you can get for well under $1000. These machines will be more than enough for home and small-medium businesses.

Brother SE400 (Combo Machine)

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SE400 was on top last year, it still remains on the top. A competitor is yet to come for this machine. This is the most popular embroidery machine in US. What made SE400 popular? It is the affordability, excellent performance and variety of features that made this machine popular. It is the best entry level embroidery machine you can get in US, which is the reason why it features in our list of ‘Machines You Can Buy With Your Eyes Shut’.

Another important point to note is that, SE400 is not just an embroidery machine, it is a sewing & embroidery combo machine. Which means, you don’t need to buy a separate sewing machine for regular sewing tasks other than embroidery.

Features

  • 4″x4″ embroidery area
  • 67 sewing stitches and 70 embroidery designs
  • USB Connectivity
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Automatic thread cutter
  • Programmable needle up/down
  • Top drop-in bobbin
  • Start/stop button and variable speed control

The best thing about SE400 is that, even though the machine has only 70 built-in embroidery designs, you can download more from the internet as there is USB connectivity. Beginners will find this machine very easy to use. There are no complicated controls, everything is easy to figure out.

Limitations

The power cord looks a little bit flimsy. It comes with a medium hoop only, you will require a large embroidery hoop for sure. So you will have to buy it separately. There is no case as well.

Pros
  • Very easy to use
  • Quite a lot of features and customization
  • Automatic needle threader and thread cutter
  • Affordable
  • Portable
Cons
  • While 4″x4″ embroidery area is enough for most projects, you will have difficulty in accommodating large projects.

If you sew, quilt and do embroidery, then this machine is one to consider. It is very nicely priced as well. Overall, Brother SE400 is a great choice for those who want to start out on their embroidery projects.

Brother PE770 (Embroidery Only)

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If you are looking for a larger embroidery area, PE770 will be a good choice. PE770 offers 5″x7″ hoop. PE770 is the most popular embroidery only machine in the segment. It performs admirably well, there is a professional quality in the end results. There is USB connectivity and it is feature packed.

Features

  • 5″x7″ embroidery area
  • 136 built-in embroidery designs
  • USB connectivity
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Automatic thread cutter
  • Programmable needle up/down

Usability

Starting out on Brother PE770 is very easy. It requires little effort to set this machine up. However it is better to read the user manual completely, before starting out. There has been some thread tension issues reported by some customers, so you must read the manual to know how to deal with it. Stitches from this machine look great.
The LCD touch screen is very easy to use. You can use the screen for design selection and editing. You can also see some help tutorials on the screen itself. This embroidery machine can stitch at 650 stitches per minute.
Computer connectivity is a great feature as you can download designs online. You just need to connect the USB stick to the port provided on Brother PE770. You can download designs from iBroidery.com (which is Brother’s official embroidery design store) or you can import designs from a USB stick. You can also use the embroidery cards from Brother (separate purchase) and stick it in the embroidery-card slot. With the built-in memory, you can customize your work as well.
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Nicely priced
  • Computer connectivity
Cons
  • LCD display is black and white
  • Embroidery machine only
Overall, Brother PE770 is a perfect embroidery machine for people who are just starting out. It is well priced as well. Another good thing is that, buyers have rated this machine higher than its competitors.

Brother LB6800PRW (Combo Machine)

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There is no point in talking about the pros and cons of LB6800PRW, because it is the same Brother SE400 (which is the first machine in this list). Brother just changed the model number and added Project Runway branding along with a rolling bag. Currently LB6800PRW is more expensive than SE400 (the price gap is quite big at least for now). You are paying the extra dollars for the rolling bag alone, so if you don’t need a rolling bag, SE400 is always the better deal.

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The best thing about this combo machine is that it has sewing and embroidery capabilities. If you are having an embroidery only machine, you will have to buy another machine for regular sewing. Why spend money on two separate machines, when you can get both functions in a single machine?

This machine comes with a very well written user manual. It is very easy to read and understand the instructions.Another point is that you can connect this machine to your computer and download any design you like. It gives you a lot of room for creativity. It comes with a standard 4″x4″ embroidery hoop, but you can buy larger hoops and it will work just fine.

This machine handles multiple layers of denim without a hitch. You needle little fabric adjustment while sewing on this machine as the fabric is consistently fed straight. The automatic needle threader works perfect. It is a flawless machine.

You will have to use the stabilizer while working with thin fabrics. Brother recommends using a stabilizer but I think, it is a must.

Limitations

One limitation I could spot is that it is priced high for just a rolling bag.

Pros
  • Flawless operation
  • Lot of accessories
  • Stunning performance
  • Ability to import designs from internet
  • Quite a lot of features
Cons
  • Priced high for just a bag and couple of accessories

Verdict

Overall, Brother LB6800PRW is an excellent machine. I couldn’t find any issue with the performance of this machine. It is one of the best embroidery machines you can get in U.S under $400. But one thing I didn’t like about this machine is its price. This machine is the same as Brother SE400 except that LB6800PRW comes with a rolling bag. Brother is charging more for just the bag. Compare the prices of both machines before you buy. My advice to you is, if you are not really bothered about the bag, buy SE400 if it is cheaper and then spend the remaining money to buy larger embroidery hoops. SE400 is also listed in ‘Machines You Can Buy With Your Eyes Shut’. Read full review here

Brother DZ820E  (Embroidery Only)

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In terms of features, Brother DZ820E is the same as Brother PE770 (the 2nd machine in this list). The difference is in the color and the accessories you get. I am not talking about the features of DZ820E to avoid repetition as it is the same as PE770. DZ820E has always been the expensive of the two.

You will get a lot of accessories along with this machine. It comes with 2 extra hoops, embroidery starter kit and a CD full of designs when compared to Brother PE770. Considering the value of the accessories, you can pay around $100 more for DZ820E, in comparison with the price of PE770. Anything more than that is not worth it, in my honest opinion. So compare the prices before you make any decision.

This machine is very easy to set up. If you follow the directions correctly, threading is a walk in the park. Customizing the settings and selecting stitches is very easy, thanks to the user-friendly LCD touch screen. The screen will tell you if something is wrong. The included CD doesn’t contain any attractive design, pretty basic stuffs only.

I think you will be better of downloading designs from the website. When it comes to the embroidery area, it is large enough for designers do their creative works.The machine is sturdy with a very good motor inside. It sews beautifully.In addition to the USB port, Brother Designio DZ820E also has a slot for the old fashion Brother embroidery cards.

Limitations

Some may find automatic needle threader to be slightly tricky for the first few attempts. It isn’t an issue once you get used to it.

Pros
  • Very easy to use
  • Quality stitching
  • Sturdy machine
  • Quite a lot of accessories
Cons
  • Slightly tricky automatic needle threader

Verdict

It is an excellent embroidery machine. This machine has all the features that a designer will look for.

Brother Designio DZ820E is the same as Brother PE-770 feature wise, except that you get bonus accessories and starter kit which Brother says is worth $200. As I said earlier, I really don’t think that the bonus accessories are worth $200, to me its real value is around $100. PE-770 is cheaper, but the price difference almost evens out when you consider the value of bonus accessories you get with DZ820E.

READ  Brother SE400 Vs SE425 – Ultimate Comparison

Virtually there is nothing that separates these two models. The only difference I can spot is that Brother PE-770 is way ahead of Designio DZ820E in sales volume.

If you ask me which model I would buy, I will go with Brother Designio DZ820E. The reason is, I can save the pain of searching and buying the right accessories that suits the machine. And that is the only reason.

Brother PE500 (Embroidery Only)

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PE500 is a quality embroidery only machine. The quality lies in its roots, as it is based on the SE400 platform (1st machine in this list). If you take out the sewing features of SE400, you will get PE500. So the stitch quality and performance is identical to SE400.

Features

  • 4″x4″ embroidery area
  • 70 built-in embroidery designs
  • USB connectivity
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Automatic thread cutter
  • Programmable needle up/down
  • Top drop-in bobbin

Brother PE500 is a lightweight and easy to use embroidery machine.  It is capable of doing embroidery on delicate fabrics to denim. The ability to customize designs is the best feature of this embroidery machine. It is a great tool for creative people for sure. Even though this machine comes with only 70 built-in embroidery designs, you can download more either using embroidery cards or via ibroidery website.  It also comes with medium-sized embroidery hoop and other standard accessories.

Another good feature of Brother PE500 is that the tutorials are included in the machine itself, so you don’t need to check the user manual each time you want to do something new. The automatic needle threader is one of the best I have ever seen. The ease of use is something that really attracts more people into buying this machine. The embroidery quality of this machine is excellent.

Limitations

This machine has an embroidery area of 4″ x 4″ which is enough for beginners but it is small when compared to professional embroidery machines. But you can’t ask more for the price either. Brother PE500 memory can only store up to 12 downloaded designs, which means you will have to delete some to load new ones.

Pros
  • User friendly
  • Low price
  • Tons of features
  • Highly rated by users
  • Computer connectivity
  • Workhorse
Cons
  • 4″ x 4″ embroidery area is slightly small for professionals
  • Embroidery only

Verdict

Brother PE500 is the cheapest (price can change according to shopping seasons) of all embroidery machines available in U.S. Low price doesn’t mean that this is a low quality product. Most users have rated this machine pretty high. For the price, you can’t get a better feature packed workhorse.

SINGER Futura XL-400 Portable Sewing and Embroidery Machine (Combo Machine)

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Futura XL-400 is a sewing and embroidery combo machine, but it focuses more on embroidery. Unlike other embroidery machines, XL-400 doesn’t have on board LCD screen, instead you will have to do the editing and stuffs on a laptop with the help of an included software. Now, this can work both ways. Some might find it easy to work on a bigger computer screen while others will find it annoying to keep both the machine and laptop ON while working on a project. The embroidery area is large 10″x6″.

Features

  • 10″x6″ embroidery area
  • Multihooping ability
  • 125 built-in embroidery designs and 30 sewing stitches
  • USB connectivity
  • Top drop-in bobbin
  • Programmable needle up/down
  • Locking stitch button
  • Sewing start/stop and variable speed control
  • Automatic needle threader

The best thing about Futura XL-400 is the multihooping ability. Multihooping enables us to work on projects that are bigger than the original hoop size. If you go by features, this is the most feature rich machine in this list.

Limitations

Singer didn’t include auto punch software in the box. You will have to buy it separately. The machine is louder compared to its competitors, more so when operating high speeds.
Pros
  • Can be used as a sewing and embroidery machine
  • Variety of built-in designs
  • Multihooping
  • Snap on hoops
Cons
  • 4″ x 4″ embroidery area is slightly small for professionals
  • Embroidery only
With the features SINGER Futura XL-400 provides, it is nicely priced I think. Overall, it is a good entry level embroidery machine. But if you want embroidery feature only, you can consider Brother PE770 which comes in the same price range in U.S and has more versatility as far as embroidery is concerned.

Singer S10 Studio (Embroidery Only)

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S10 Studio is an entry level embroidery machine. This has a slightly larger embroidery area than Brother SE400. Unlike Futura XL-400, this one can be operated independently without the help of a PC or laptop. USB connectivity lets you download designs from the internet, along with the 2800 designs available in the included CD. Two hoops come included with the machine and the largest is the 5.5″x5.5″. The performance of the machine is quite good.

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Features

  • 55 built-in embroidery designs
  • 5.5″x5.5″ and 2″x2″ embroidery hoops
  • USB connectivity
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Top drop-in bobbin

Usability

The first thing you need to look at before buying an embroidery machine is its hoop size. Make sure that the S10’s 5.5×5.5 inches and 2×2 inches hoops are right for you. If you are looking for a really large embroidery area, then you might have to go with something like the Futura XL-580 (It is really expensive, trust me). With the included software on S10, you can convert pictures or drawings into embroidery design. A certain level of expertise is required to do that.

Threading the machine is quite easy. Still beginners will need to practice how to use the automatic needle threader. In order to have that perfect finish, you must use a stabilizer. The first attempt, must be done on some scrap material. This will get you rolling and cut out any issues on the way. Some patience while setting up the machine will do real good. Even though the quick start guide is good enough to get you started, it is better to read the detailed instructions. The designs come out looking good and it works on all kinds of fabric.

Limitations

The editing software that comes in the box won’t work with Mac computers, it is compatible with Windows only. I really don’t understand the thinking behind this, as we all know most people in US use Mac computers. And Singer being such a big player in sewing machine industry, should have done something about it long ago, it is overdue now.

Pros
  • No need of a computer
  • 3 lettering fonts
  • Two hoop sizes
  • Lot of customization
  • Built-in memory and USB compatibility
Cons
  • No Mac support

Is It Worth Buying ?

When you consider the price and features on offer, Singer S10 studio looks like a very good deal. And never forget the accessory kit that comes with it. Overall a very good embroidery only machine to consider.

Brother PE540D

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PE540D is the upgraded version of PE500 (5th machine in the list). In addition to the 70 built-in embroidery designs that PE500 had, PE540D has extra 35 Disney designs. Other than this, both machines are the same. Consider this machine, if those Disney designs are important for you.

Features

  • 4″x4″ embroidery area
  • 105 built-in embroidery designs
  • USB connectivity
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Automatic thread cutter
  • Programmable needle up/down
  • Top drop-in bobbin

Usability

Setting up Brother PE540D would be easy, if you have some experience with computerized sewing machines. If you are a complete beginner, read the user manual completely before starting out. The user manual does need some improvement, but it is okay. It could have been more diagram based. Threading is easy. The LCD touchscreen is easy to navigate. The thread color recommendation feature is absolutely wonderful. While importing designs, make sure that you select and save them, otherwise the patterns will disappear once you turn off the machine. This machine is not super heavy, but it is very solid.

You won’t feel any vibrations while this machine is in operation. All the patterns come out good. The machine will beep an alarm once it is finished. There is nothing to worry about the performance of PE540D as it is built on the platform of good old PE500, which on itself was a wonderful embroidery machine.

Limitations

The embroidery area of 4″x4″ may not appeal to hardcore embroidery professionals. The area is good enough for beginners but if your objective is to do large projects, then you might need embroidery machines with bigger embroidery area, like the Brother PE770.

Some of the designs available at iBroidery.com are costly. However, you can use .pes design files from other websites as well.

Pros
  • Disney patterns
  • Easy to use
  • Lot of features
  • Wonderful LCD display
Cons
  • Embroidery area is good for beginners but not ideal for hardcore professionals
  • User manual needs some improvement

Is It Worth Buying ?

There are two ways to look at it. If you compare Brother PE540D with Brother SE400, both machines have similar embroidery features (don’t forget that SE400 is a sewing & embroidery combo machine). Moreover SE400 is a lot cheaper than PE540D (according to the current price. Compare the prices before you buy). SE400 also features in our list of ‘Machines You Can Buy With Your Eyes Shut’, it is that good a machine. But SE400 lacks built-in Disney designs, so you will have to purchase them separately.

So my recommendation will be to go for Brother PE540D, if you want those 35 Disney designs. Because if you purchase them separately, it would cost almost double the price difference between PE540D and SE400. If you don’t want Mickey Mouse designs, then Brother SE400 will always be a better option.
Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Brother SE400
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