Best cheap embroidery machines for custom designs

Embroidery is a fun hobby, but getting started can be expensive! Looking to get into making your own custom embroidery designs without spending a lot of money? These are the cheapest embroidery machines for custom designs.

ALL of the below options are machines with USB ports for custom designs. That means if you create your own designs in embroidery software, you can upload them and stitch them out!

Brother PE550D – $439.99

The Brother PE550D is THE cheapest embroidery machine you’re going to find at $439.99. Surprisingly, it’s a Disney themed machine, and it even comes with 45 free Disney embroidery designs (if you’re into those).

cheap embroidery machines
The PE550D is the best value embroidery machine you’ll find – and a great entry level machine

But, even if you don’t care about Disney stuff – this machine is an exceptional value. It includes 9 built-in fonts (including 3 Japanese fonts), and you’ll be able to quickly and easily upload custom designs you’ve made yourself or had professionally digitized.

Video: How to upload and embroidery a custom design with the Brother PE550D

You’ll also get an automatic needle threader, needle up/down, and a 3.2 inch color touch screen, and the machine is very user friendly to boot – making it a stress-free for newbies to get started with embroidery

What’s not to love about the Brother PE550D? This machine only has a 4″ x 4″ embroidery area. That’s a great size for embroidering pocket logos, monogramming, making dad hats, or patches – but it is pretty limiting otherwise!

If you’ve been dreaming of creating large-scale designs on hoodies or sweatshirts, then you may want to spend a bit more to get a machine with at least a 5″ x 7″ embroidery area so you won’t be so limited. (Keep reading for some options!)

Click here to get the best price on the Brother PE550D

Brother SE625 – $369

The Brother SE625 could be had for even cheaper than the PE550Dbut there’s a catch! This is an older model machine and you’re likely going to have to wait to get a refurbished model.

brother se625 refurbished - affordable custom design embroidery machine

While there’s nothing wrong with that, availability for this machine is kind of iffy. So, if you’re not prepared to wait it out – I’d go with the PE550D.

Just like that machine, this one is also has a 4″ x 4″ embroidery field, and as a bonus, this machine also sews! So, if you’re interested in a machine that can pull double-duty on the cheap – you’ll definitely want to look at it.

Video: Custom patches made on the Brother SE625

But, just like the 550D, the machine is great! However, the 4″ x 4″ embroidery area can be limiting. If you have your heart set on making larger custom embroidery designs – have a look at the next two models on our list.

Click here to check refurbished stock for Brother SE625

Brother PE800 – $699-899

The Brother PE800 is one of the most popular embroidery machines around, and it’s a great machine for the price! It has an upgradd 5″ x 7″ embroidery area, which is great for making larger custom design.

cheap embroidery machines for hat
The PE800’s larger 5″ x 7″ embroidery area gives you more creative freedom

And while the machine retails for $899… you could save a couple hundred dollars if you can find a refurbished one.

As a bonus, there are tons and tons of tutorials online to help you learn to use the machine. Since it’s one of the most popular models…that means there’s tons of content and tutorials for it out there!

A hat being made on the Brother PE800

The expanded embroidery area means it’s not only a great embroidery machine for custom designs, but also a great embroidery machine for patch making, creating custom dad hats, hoodies, sweaters, and more.

Click here to get the best price on the Brother PE800

Brother NS1150 – $899.99

This is a newer machine that is almost the same as the older Brother PE800. However, this machine includes more fonts, including some Japanese ones, and it has adjustable speed control. It also has an attractive $899 price tag.

affordable custom design embroidery machine
The NS1150 is easier to find than the PE800 and almost the same.

While this machine does not yet have the popularity and YouTube creator content of the Brother PE800 – it operates in a similar manner and learning to use it will be an easy task.

Video: Embroidering a hat on the Brother NS1150

Just like the PE800 machine, this one also has a 5″ x 7″ embroidery area, and you can upload custom embroidery designs via USB or through PC connectivity.

Click here to get the best price on the Brother NS1150

What makes one embroidery machine cheaper than another one?

There are a few factors which determine pricing when it comes to embroidery machines. The first is, of course, how large the sewing field is. 4″ x 4″ machines are the cheapest, but most limited, and the larger the embroidery area – the more money you’ll pay.

Second is how many needles it has. The cheapest multi-needle embroidery machines will run you $5,000+. While that seems expensive, if you’re planning on starting a business – they are a game changer! You can read more about why that is in my single needle vs multi needle embroidery machines article.

Third is the kind of functionality that the machine has. Cheaper machines are typically flat-bed. This means that if you’re looking for a cheap embroidery machine for hats – you need to be careful!

Not all machines are created equal in this department, and cheaper flat beds will not have the ability to install a cap driver. This is the part of the embroidery machine that allows you to embroider all the way around the hat, and you need this kind of functionality if you want to embroider on structured hats, like flex fits, sleeves, socks, etc.

However, this will cost you a lot more, and you should think long and hard about whether you really need this or not, because you’ll need to really up your budget to get a machine like this.