Whether you’re looking to get started with a home embroidery business, or you’re looking to level up your production – investing in a quality machine with the right features is the key to success. In today’s article, I’ve hand-picked 5 best embroidery machine for at home business.
Doing hours of research on different machines, I’ve identified which ones offer the best bang for your buck when it comes to features, efficiency, and price. But first, know these things before buying any machine!
What to know before buying an embroidery machine for your home business
Know the features you’ll need
Make sure you know exactly what features you’re sacrificing when comparing prices. Cheaper machines are often lacking in important quality of life features! Really think about what you’re willing to sacrifice before you buy.
- Do you need a multi-needle embroidery machine or will a single needle do for now?
- Do you need to embroider on structured hats or sleeves? (This requires a machine with specialty attachments!)
- How big of an embroidery area will you need for type of work you do?
Make sure you’re choosing a reliable brand
You should always be careful of knock offs on cheap market places, but even if you’re choosing to go with an off-brand – buyer beware! It can be near impossible to find somebody to service them when they break, and selling it later is much harder. Many used machine dealers refuse to take these knock off machines due to their poor reputation.
Know how many colors you’ll need for a design
A multi-needle machine is pricey, but it saves you a lot of time when you have a lot of orders to fill. If you mostly plan to do one color logos for shirts, or other items – then you can likely get away with a single needle. However, if you plan to do a lot of complicated designs will multiple colors, you’ll be spending your entire day changing out threads. So, think carefully about your future needs!
Top 5 best embroidery machine for at home business use
Janome MB4SE (4 Needle) – $5,499
If you’ve got your heart set on a multi-needle embroidery machine, the Janome MB4SE is about the best deal you’ll find. This is a 4-needle machine that offers a ton of commercial grade features for a price tag that a small business can afford.
With this machine, you’ll be able to load up 4 thread colors simultaneously without the need to re-thread, which is great if you’re looking for a machine that can quickly spit out custom logos in bulk for client orders rather than doing one-off custom projects.
You’ll get a large 9.4″ x 7.9″ embroidery area, which is a good size for doing many different custom items which you can sell to your clients, and the machine offers an adjustable speed setting of 600-800 stitches per minute. Perfect for running a small Etsy store!
You’ll also get a lot of valuable accessories for free with this machine, including $550 of free hoops you can use for making custom hats and doing lettering projects. If you’re unfamiliar with multi-needle machines, this is a pretty good deal. Most similar machines are over $10,000, AND they make you buy all the accessories too!!
However, be aware that the Janome MB4 is a flat bed machine. That means it can’t use a cap driver. This is the accessory you fit on to the machine that allows you to embroider all the way around the hat. However, you can get crafty with it and use it to do hat embroidery, as the machine owner in this video shows!
But, it’s still not a free-arm machine, and that can make embroidering things like structured hats, sleeves, and other non-flat items a challenge… or even outright impossible. So, if you want to offer these items, you may need to consider a different machine.
But, the MB4 is a reliable, easy to use muti needle embroidery machine that’s packed with features, and it doesn’t cost a fortune. For most items you’ll want to sell to your customers, this machine will do an excellent job.
In short, if you need to do bulk orders of items that can be laid flat and will require 4 or less colors, the Janome MB4 is perfect for your business and will make order production very efficient for you.
Janome Memory Craft 400E – $1,340
Can’t afford a pricey multi-needle but still looking to get started on your at home embroidery business? If you can make due with a single-needle machine for now, the Janome Memory Craft 400E is an exceptional machine.
While it’s obviously no multi-needle, it does come with a ton of great features and it’s a reliable, popular machine that will be easy to re-sell later when you expand.
It features a very generous 8″ x 8″ embroidery area, which is a great size for doing custom shirts, hoodies, sweaters, and more. This machine also has a large throat space of 11 inches, which makes it so you don’t have to wrestle with bulky items when trying to position them for embroidery.
It has a variable speed setting of 400-860 stitches per minute, which allows you to speed through projects or slow down to work on detail work and for use with specialty threads like metallic, which can be a nice upgrade to offer when selling one-off custom items on Etsy.
Overall, the machine is an excellent value when it comes to embroidery machine pricing, and there’s no shame in starting small with your home business!
However, keep in mind that this is a flat-bed machine, and it won’t work well for things like structured hats and sleeves. If you need an affordable and reliable embroidery machine for t shirts, tote bags, hoodies, onesies, and other flat items – it’s a great buy!
Tajima Sai 8 – $9,999
Need a multi-needle machine that can install a dedicated cap driver? The Tajima Sai 8 is a fantastic machine that offers commercial features for an at-home embroidery price tag.
It’s likely the cheapest multi-needle machine out there that offers real free-arm embroidery, with competitors costing several thousand dollars more. This machine can embroider all the way around the hat, giving you an edge over competitors with cheaper machines who don’t have that kind of custom functionality. You can see the Tajima Sai in action in the video below.
However, you can also do a lot of other stuff with this machine that a flat bed machine just can’t handle. The free arm is not just for hats. It allows you to embroider on almost anything.
That means you can set your Etsy or Ebay store apart by filling your shop with customization options that other store owners can’t offer due to the limitations of their cheaper machines. This includes embroidering on hoodie sleeves, offering custom socks, and being able to embroider on big jackets and huge bags thanks to the added space under the needle!
Important note: This machine does NOT come with the cap driver. You need to buy it as a separate accessory.
You’ll also get a much larger 12″ x 8″ sewing field, which will allow you to sell premium items like large-scale custom jacket embroidery easily, and it’s an 8 needle rather than a 4, meaning you can have a lot more colors ready to go for project customization.
Tajima is also one of the most trusted brands in commercial embroidery, and shops everywhere rave about their quality. That means you can easily walk into any repair shop and get service, or even trade/sell this machine quickly if your business needs change later. In short, if you can afford it, this is a fantastic machine.
SWF MAS 12 – $9,999
While not quite as well known as the Tajima, the SWF MAS 12 is an equally capable multi-needle machine. It’s compact, weighing 85 pounds, which is very convenient for a home business or small shop without a lot of room. It also has 12 needles to the Tajima’s 8 for the same price, and a slightly bigger embroidery field at 8″ x 13″.
This machine operates at a speedy 1,000 stitches per minute, and it even comes with pretty much all the accessories you’ll need, including a cap driver, stand, and 10 hoops to get your at home embroidery business started off right. Many other machines charge extra for these things! (The Tajima Sai does NOT come with the cap driver, it’s extra.)
The SWF MAS also has some pretty unique features I’ve not seen on other machines. This includes a “photo stitch” feature and hand stitch abilities. Photo stich allows you to upload a photo and instantly convert it to embroidery, and the other feature allows you to doodle designs on the touch-pad which is pretty interesting. The below video shows the “photo stitch” feature in action.
There is one negative about the SWF MAS. It’s not quite as easy to use as some other machines. There’s a definite learning curve, and their documentation is a bit thin.
There are also less online tutorials for this brand than for something more popular like a Tajima Sai or a Brother embroidery machine, so be aware of that. However, it’s a great machine with many premium features if you’re not afraid to jump in and learn how it works.
In short the SWF MAS 12 is a great commercial embroidery machine for hats, sleeves, socks, and any other specialty items you may need to use it on. It includes every accessory you need to get started, and at a great price.
Brother PRS100 – $4,999
The Brother PRS100 is a good compromise between features and functions if you have very specific needs. This is a free-arm machine, which allows you to embroider on a ton of stuff, including hats, socks, sleeves, bulky bags, big jackets, and most any other thing you can dream up.
However, this is NOT a multi-needle machine. That means you will have to spend a good deal of time changing out threads, so be sure to think long and hard about that if you plan to use a lot of thread colors in the designs you sell.
This machines does allow you to use a cap driver though and embroider all the way around a hat, and it can do it for about half the price of similar multi-needle machines with this kind of capability.
It’s also quite fast at 1,000 stitches per minute, and it comes with an 8″ x 8″ embroidery area, which is a great size for doing most embroidery customization projects.
In short, if you need to do custom embroidery on odd-shaped items like structured hats, socks, sleeves, stuffed animals, or bulky items, this machine is a great deal! You can do a lot of more niche items that other competing sellers may not be offering, but it’s not a great choice if you need to use a lot of colors, because you’ll need to re-thread it for every single one of them.
In closing, while embroidery seems saturated as a business, the market is worth $1.2 billion, and it’s estimated that it will grow at a rate of 12% through the year 2028! That’s good news for home embroidery businesses, and there’s always room to thrive if you can identify a niche market where you can set yourself apart from competitors, offering something that they can’t.
Let’s get crafting!