Looking for a new embroidery machine for clothes customization? Whether you need an embroidery machine for sweatshirts and hoodies or a cheap hat embroidery machine – these are the best ones for the job!
Janome Memory Craft 400E – $1,349
My top pick is for the Janome Memory Craft 400E, because this machine offers excellent features for its price. It features a large 8″ x 8″ embroidery area, which is large enough to impressive do custom embroidery on sweatshirts, hoodies, and jackets.
Plus, it has a large 11″ throat space, which if you don’t know, is the space under the arm of the machine. Having more space here makes it easier to maneuver bulky items under the needle and the large work area makes using the machine more pleasant.
However, it also has a ton of other great features for an entry level machine! This includes adjustable speed of 400-860 stitches per minute, which allows you to both complete projects quickly, or slow the machine down for detail work or specialty threads, like metallic.
You’ll get your standard features, such as on-screen editing for changing thread colors or resizing and rotating designs, and a USB port for uploading your own custom embroidery designs to the machine. However, this machine also has automatic jump stitch trimming, a feature which is not present on most machines in this price range!
All in all, the Janome 400E is an excellent value for the money, and it’s a great large design embroidery machine for the money. With this machine you’ll be able to easily do jacket back embroidery, t-shirts, hoodies, dad hats, and even larger projects like costumes for cosplay.
So, what is this machine NOT good for? Well, since this is a flat bed machine, it will be very difficult to embroider on things like sleeves or socks if you plan to do projects like that, and it also won’t be a good choice for structured hats that can’t be smashed flat in the hoop. (Keep reading if you need a machine that can do those things!)
Brother PRS100 – $4,999
Looking for a embroidery machine for clothes that works more like an industrial machine without the $10,000 price tag? In that case, you may want to have a look at the Brother PRS100. This machine offers advanced embroidery capabilities at home business machine prices.
Unlike the Janome 400e, this machine is not a flatbed. Instead, it has a free arm, which basically means that the room you have underneath the needle is ‘unlimited’.
This allows you to shove bulky things under it like large bags, but it also allows you to embroider on things which a flat bed machine could never do! Suddenly, embroidering on sleeves, pockets, socks, and even shoes is now possible.
However, a machine like this one also allows you to do advanced hat embroidery. By using a cap driver, you can embroider on hats without having to smash them in a hoop, and you can embroider all the way around the hat! That’s because the cap driver spins, giving you more embroidery coverage and a more professional result.
In addition, this machine offers an 8″ x 8″ embroidery area, which is perfect for nearly any project, and it’s quite fast at 1,000 stitches per minute, allowing you to complete projects quickly.
That makes this a fantastic machine to consider if you’re planning to start a small clothing brand, or if you are doing one off customization for customers on Etsy. However, this is NOT a multi-needle machine, and if you’d prefer a machine that can load up multiple thread colors to save time in the same price range, I’d recommend the Janome MB4 instead. (But keep in mind the MB4 can NOT use a cap driver if you need to do hats!)
Janome MB4 – $5,499
If you’re planning to mass produce garments for customer orders, then a multi-needle machine will save you a lot of time. (Read more about multi vs single needle machines here.) But, in short, a multi-needle machine allows you to have multiple thread colors loaded and ready to stitch. This means the machine does not have to stop and wait for you to manually change it out when a new color is needed!
Owning a multi-needle machine obviously saves a lot of time, but they can be quite expensive. However, the Janome MB is one of the cheapest multi needle machines available, and it does a fantastic job for both home use and for a small home business or brand!
This is a 4 needle embroidery machine, which means you can have 4 thread colors loaded and ready to go at all times. The machine also has a generous 9.4″ x 7.9″ embroidery area, allowing you to customize a wide variety of clothing items.
It’s a great choice for a lot of items, like hoodies, sweatshirts, and even some hats, but you should be aware that unlike the Brother PRS100, this machine is not a free arm! That means you can only embroider things which you can hoop, and its ability to embroider on items like hats or sleeves will be limiting and a bit frustrating.
Though, it does still work well for a lot of items if you choose what you embroider wisely! Above, you can see a 3D puff embroidery job done on this machine for a trucker hat. In short, it’s a great machine, especially for the price. That is, as long as you know what its capabilities are and understand its limitations compared to a more expensive machine, like the Tajima Sai.
In short, the Janome MB4 is a great embroidery machine for t shirts, sweatshirts, and other flat items you need to produce in larger quantities quickly, but not the best choice if you need to do more advanced embroidery on hats or bulky items that can’t be hooped.
Let’s get crafting!