Embroidery machines can be a great way of customising those old clothes you have lying in a wardrobe or even for a spot of quilt making. But when you want a machine that will help you to expand your home business you need to look for one specific to your business needs that won’t bankrupt the business before it’s even started.
There’s a huge range of machines available and the difference in the prices can make it difficult to determine which are worth buying. Here’s a comparison of the top 4 models if you’re in a hurry. That’s followed by a few factors you should consider before looking at our reviews of the best, in our opinion, embroidery machines for a home business.
- Buying Guide for a Home Business Machine
- The Top 4 Embroidery Machines for a Home Business Reviewed
- Our Choice
Buying Guide for a Home Business Machine
When looking at a business embroidery machine, one of the most important factors is the hoop size. Some lower-priced machines will feature an extremely limited hoop. Monogramming may only need a 4 by 4 inch hoop but if you intend to embroider something larger, like the back of a shirt, you need a more substantial hoop size like a 7 by 12 inch at least.
Decide what type of projects you are most likely to be working on and choose the biggest hoop you can afford. You can always do smaller designs with a larger hoop but unfortunately not vice versa.
Items You Will Embroider
Many of the machines you look at will not be able to embroider stiff hats like a baseball cap or the increasingly popular snapback caps.
All machines can usually do a flat garment but it may require a more specialised machine to embroider something that can’t be opened flat. Baby jumpers are something which many people like to have embroidered but they unfortunately cannot be opened flat.
Also consider what types of fabric you are going to offer embroidery on. Some cheaper embroidery machines may struggle with heavy fabrics like denim or thicker more plush items like towels.
Most quality models now come with a USB port which allows you to import other designs to use. At the very least ensure your machine has a USB port but machines with an SD card socket or PC connectivity are much more useful.
Some of your customers will walk in with a specialised design which can be difficult to recreate on your own. A computerized machine with some form of file reading capability will offer more versatility to your business and save time. Many of the better machines will have a direct PC link which allows you to create real time alterations and will make the different files formats easier to work with.
LCD Screen Size
If your eyesight isn’t what it used to be, pay attention to the size of the screen on your machine. Screen sizes vary and a larger one will make it easier for you to place designs exactly where they should be. Smaller screens will bring down the cost of the machine significantly but can be very difficult to use especially if littered with touchscreen control options.
We’ve got an article about the best lighted magnifying glasses if your vision isn’t what it was.
The Number of Needles and Stitches Per Minute
Time is money and nowhere is that more important than when starting your own home business. When you were sewing or embroidering for yourself, it probably didn’t matter that you had to change colors manually by hand each time. But your business could save much time and energy from a multi-needle machine which changes color by itself. You can use this time and energy to concentrate on other orders while that one is completing itself.
The stitching speed of a machine will also affect how fast you complete orders. Many of the faster machines will be like having a small production line in your home. You can always slow down the speed of a machine but you can’t speed up a slower machine.
When you are running your own business, one of the last things you need is for your main machine to be sent away for repair for long periods. Most of the machines you buy come with a long warranty but this requires services or repairs to be performed by a certified shop.
Every manufacturer has its own certification systems so check around your local town to see where the nearest certified agent is. Sometimes you may have to take it to the shop for repair itself but others may offer a home service where they can repair or service the machine on site.
The Top 4 Embroidery Machines for a Home Business Reviewed
Now we know what we are looking for it’s time to take a look at our recommendations.
1: Janome MB-4S Four Needle Embroidery Machine (Best Overall)
The Janome MB-4S is one of the more expensive machines we have looked at but is one of the best embroidery machines available for a home business. This falls directly on the cusp of a home machine and more powerful commercial machine. It’s the first home machine that uses four needles which allows you to set up one project and then move to another job while the machine completes the first itself.
A large embroidery field of 9.4 by 9.7 inches is compatible with six industry standard hoops as well as the four which are available from Janome to offer the widest choice of embroidery options. Computer connectivity allows you to import your own designs via a USB port and Janome software while a clear 5 inch LCD allows you to see what’s happening. With an 880 stitches per minute speed it’s almost like having your own sweatshop, minus the inhumane conditions.
- This machine can do stiff hats, items which aren’t flat or can’t be opened up and about anything you can throw at it.
- 50 built in designs with USB port for importing your own. 10 built-in fonts.
- 4 needle design means fewer thread changes.
- Expensive for new business. Ideal upgrade if you already have a small business looking to expand.
- Larger than similar home/small business machines and will require its own dedicated space. Also very heavy, will need a sturdy surface.
- More complicated to use, a 4 needle machine requires more knowledge to run and means some degree of trial and error as you learn.
- Remote Computer Screen (RCS): The Remote Computer Screen (RCS) gives you total set-up and editing control with up to 65,536 colors. One RCS...
- LED Light: The LED Light offers precise lighting for outstanding results | On Board Control: The MB-4S includes an on-board sub-control...
- Automatic Thread Cutter: The MB-4S automatically cuts jump threads - even between letters - saving you time and hassle.
Last update on 2018-10-17 at 12:31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / More info
2: Singer Futura XL-580 Sewing and Embroidery Machine (Affordable)
The Singer XL-580 is a very good starter machine for home businesses which features a large hoop and a string of features you will struggle to find on other machines in its price range. Multi-hooping capabilities for larger jobs, a knee lifter and variable speed control make it an ideal choice.
What we really loved about this machine was the endless hoop which means you can work for longer on your borders of your projects without the fear of them ever going blank like on more traditional machines. A hands-free presser foot lifter ensures your hands aren’t all over the material too. With 250 designs, 215 stitches, 3 extra hoops and 20 fonts it’s easy to add more with the included AutoPunch and Hyperfont software. These allow you to convert your own, or customer images to embroidery designs or monogramming fonts on your PC. Six LED work lights on the machine ensure your end design goes in the right place at all times.
- Affordable machine with quality motor and a dedicated on for bobbin winding.
- Included software is incredibly versatile and reads most file formats including FHE, XXX, JEF, CHE, PSW, SEW and more. A USB key allows you to design on your computer without being connected to the machine.
- No LCD screen.
- Needs experience using a computer for the more complex processes.
- Issues with power supply if used outside of the US 120V system.
- SINGER EMBROIDERY SEWING MACHINE: The SINGER Futura XL-580 sewing and embroidery machine has 215 popular built-in sewing stitches with two...
- SEWING MACHINE WITH LED OPTIONS: Fills the sewing surface with light, making it easier to view your work and eliminating eye strain....
- AUTOMATIC NEEDLE THREADER: Simply guide the thread directly from the spool to the needle area through a single groove and thread the needle...
Last update on 2018-10-17 at 14:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / More info
3: Janome Horizon Memory Craft 1200 Embroidery and Sewing Machine
The Janome Horizon Memory Craft are a series of large machines that any medium to large home business would be happy to own. This 1200 model has the largest workspace of any of their machines with a 15 inch long surface ample for many larger projects. The Acufeed system helps with the movement of multiple layers of fabric with precision.
A large touchscreen display is ideal for easier operation with real time PC connectivity also included for a straightforward way of editing and creating designs. This is a combination sewing and embroidery machine which also allows you to sew or quilt. The system also allows more creative sewing enthusiasts to design their own decorative stitches.
- Full color LCD touchscreen and PC connectivity allows you to edit designs and create your own on the go.
- Large hoop size is capable of working on all types of fabrics.
- LCD screen controls can be complex–easier to use on PC.
- Only a single needle with manual thread changes needed.
- With a 15" embossed stainless steel plate in the bed and 11" to the right of the needle, the Janome 12000 has the most workspace of any...
- The Janome Horizon 12000 has the largest, most stable embroidery system ever developed by Janome.
- It's easy to create and edit designs on the touchscreen. But it's even easier when you can do the same thing in real time on your computer.
Last update on 2018-10-17 at 12:31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / More info
4: Brother PE770 Embroidery Machine (Great for Beginners)
The Brother PE770 is a computerized embroidery only machine which in our opinion is one of the best for somebody starting a new home embroidery business. The embroidery only feature means many people often choose it as a second machine especially given its extremely low price.
The Brother includes 136 built in designs, 6 fonts and has USB port for importing new designs. No computer is needed, simply download from the web or use a service that turns your own designs into a compatible embroidery file. A reasonably sized LCD screen allow for editing on the machine too including mirror imaging, rotating and size edits. An automatic thread cutter, a large included hoop with more available to order and a reasonable 650 stitches per minute make this an easy machine to use.
- Inexpensive reliable embroidery only machine.
- Offers extra functionality for more intermediate users and room for a business to grow.
- Embroidery area of 5 by 7 inches can be limiting for some home business users. Can’t embroider stiff hats or objects that can’t be opened flat.
- Only a single needle will slow down operation with thread changes.
- Easy-to-use, 2.7 x 1.4 Inches backlit LCD touch screen display
- Built-In USB Flash Drive Port - Uses USB Memory Stick. Built-in Frame Designs - 10 Shapes x 12 Stitch Patterns
- Easily Transfer Embroidery Designs to the Machine without Additional Software
Last update on 2018-10-17 at 12:21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / More info
Your main outlay in any home embroidery business is going to be your machinery. In our opinion, although it may be expensive, you are getting a commercial quality machine if you choose the Janome MB-4S which offers many of the features of larger machines at half the price. If you want to open a little shop embroidering caps or socks, monogramming pockets or t-shirts, the Janome MB-4S can do it all.
If your demands are not so great, any of the other machines would make a valuable addition to a home business. Starting a home embroidery or online business can be challenging but lucrative too. On average the right embroidery machine will cost anywhere from 500 to 10,000 dollars. Invest in a great low budget machine to start off and as the business takes off, you can upgrade it too more advanced equipment.