Embroidery is a fun way to personalize your projects. However, while there are a good number of machines that can do this, not all of them make it easy, or even make it possible to use your own custom designs!
That’s why in this article, we’ll be giving you our top picks for best embroidery machine for custom designs to help you start customizing hats, shirts, bags, and more in no time. Here are our top picks.
Brother Innov-Is NQ1600e
Our top pick is for the Brother Innov-Is NQ1600e. This fantastic machine not only has a lot to offer feature-wise, but unlike other machines, it actually comes with digitization software!
If you purchase this machine, you’ll get the excellent Stitch Express Digitization software included ($139 separately!) This software allows you to easily convert your own line art into custom embroidery designs.
Embroidery machines with USB port, like the Brother Innov-Is NQ1600e, allow you to quickly upload designs you’ve created in the included Stitch Express Software, or those which you’ve purchased from other embroidery sites into your machine so you can quickly get started on your projects.
Of course, there’s plenty more to love about the Innov-Is NQ1600E. For starters, it offers a generous embroidery area of 6″ x 10″, which is large enough for most crafters and hobbyists to be happy. It will also hum along at an impressive 850 stitches per minute, making quick work of whatever tasks you set it to.
It’s other features include on-screen editing, automatic needle threading, an automatic thread cutter, and lots of included accessories. You’ll also get 98 built-in embroidery designs, 140 frame patterns, and 11 embroidery fonts to get you started. Click here to check prices and availability for this machine.
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Best For: Large Designs On A Budget
Bernette 70 DECO
While most embroidery machines offer very small embroidery areas, this machine offers a huge 10.24″ x 6.39″ embroidery space!
However, there’s even more to love about this machine, because it also features the very easy to use Bernina Toolbox, the company’s own embroidery software.
The large LCD screen allows you to edit the existing designs on the machine itself, or you can import your own designs into the machine with the USB functionality. This, combined with the large embroidery space, allows you to customize pretty much anything to your heart’s content.
In addition, this machine also offers many excellent quality of life features, including: multiple hoops and automatic hoop size detection, automatic thread cutter, programmable foot controls, thread sensors, and it moves a long at an impressive 850 stitches per minute. Click here to read more reviews, check prices, and see availability for this machine.
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Best For: Affordable Multi-Purpose Machine
Looking for a more affordable machine that can both sew and embroider custom designs?
The Babylock Verve may be just what you’re looking for. While the allotted embroidery space for this machine is much smaller (4×4), it is also half the price of our top pick, and it can work as a dual-purpose machine.
Plus, while the Verve does have 95 built-in designs, you can also import your own designs via USB, in a manner similar to our first pick. This makes the Verve a great choice for smaller embroidery work like customizing shirts, or sewing patches to sell online, or to be used on your jackets and bags.
If you’re a fan of quilting, then you’ll also be happy to know that the Verve comes with an extension table, which gives you a large work area of (18-1/4” x 11′). This is great for working on larger projects that can be frustrating on less accommodating machines.
However, the Verve has a plethora of other great quality of life features as well including speed control, needle up/down, start/stop buttons, quick set top-loading bobbin, thread cutter button, and lots more. Click here to read reviews, check prices, and see availability for this multi-purpose machine.
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Best For: Starting A Small Home Craft Business
Janome Memory Craft 14000
Looking for a machine that’s a little more serious for your Etsy business? In that case, the Memory Craft 14000 is worth a look. This machine is certainly not cheap, but it has a ton of awesome features, including a maximum speed of 1,000 stitches per minute to help you fulfill orders more quickly.
In addition, the the Memory Craft 14000 makes it easy to create and import custom designs. This machine includes the excellent Janome Horizon Link Suite program. Using this software, you can directly transfer designs from your PC to the machine (or via USB if you prefer), which provides a much more convenient and faster work flow.
This program offers editing capabilities as well, and it has an embroidery simulator which lets you preview how the designs will be stitched to make sure they are correct before sending the job to the machine.
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The Memory Craft 14000 also offers a very generous embroidery area (11.8″ x 9.1″) for your designs, and a 7.7 inch touch screen. You can use this touch screen for on-screen editing of designs, and the setup is very user friendly, making it a joy to use, even if you’re not very experienced with embroidery yet.
However, this is also a multi-purpose machine. So, in addition to large embroidery projects, you can also use this machine for sewing, and even quilting. Sewing machines with large throat space are tough to find, but the MC14000 offers a whopping 11 inches of throat space! In addition to other quilter friendly features like free motion, variable zig zag, and width adjustment options.
Other features of the Memory Craft 14000 include: free arm, 400 built-in sewing stitches, speed control, top loading bobbin, automatic thread tension, automatic needle threader, automatic thread cutter, 350 built-in embroidery designs, monogramming, and lots more premium features. Click here to read reviews and check availability for this excellent machine.
Best For: No Budget Projects and Personal Customization
Okay, but what if you need a good custom embroidery machine but you’re on a REALLY tight budget?
Fortunately, we have a good pick for you as well, one that can be had for as little as $320!
Of course, you’re going to have to go for a refurbished machine to fit this budget, but that’s not a big deal.
The Brother SE625 is an affordable machine in its own right, but it gets even more affordable if you can pick up a factory refurbished one as seen here! This great little machine is dual-purpose sewing and embroidery machine with 80 built-in designs, and you can edit them on the included touch screen. Of course, you can also use the included USB functionality to import your own custom designs as well.
In the above video, you can see some patches made using this machine. However, the Brother SE625 is capable of much more than that. You’ll also get variable speed controls, needle up/down, free motion sewing capabilities, and tons of other features.
So, what’s not to like about the Brother SE625? Well, while the machine does create fantastic custom embroidery, the space for doing so is rather small. You’ll be capped at creating 4×4 designs. It’s also a bit slower than our other machines at 710 stitches per minute. Click here to check prices and availability for this machine.
It can also be a bit difficult to find an SE625, and if you’d prefer a new machine, but you have your heart set on a Brother, then you might try our article about brother sewing machines that embroider.
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Best For: Small Business Professional Embroidery
Melco Amaya Bravo
Okay, our final entry in this article is a not a machine for most people who are probably reading this, but if you have a growing small business…
Are you looking to add embroidery to your line up of custom products? This machine may be for you.
The pricey, yet capable Melco Amaya Bravo is a 16 needle professional embroidery machine. This machine has a lot of great professional features, including the ability to network it with up to 4 machines for big orders. However, one of its best features is likely the included custom design software.
Melco’s Pro+ software offers a ton of great features that allow you to edit, create, and upload professional level embroidery designs for hats, shirts, jackets, and more. This software also offers the auto-digitizing feature to help you turn photos or vector images into professional embroidery designs.
It also offers huge sewing fields, up to (17.25 X 11.25) in size for the backs of jackets or other large projects which consumer targeted machines just don’t offer. This allows you to embroider high-dollar items like custom jackets that hobby crafters can’t with their smaller machines.
While this machine is certainly an investment, it’s a serious piece of equipment. If you have aspirations of growing your business, then a machine like this will help you scale and save time. Click here to read reviews and check availability for this machine.