Best Home Hat and Shirt Embroidery Machines

Embroidery is a fun way to customize your own stuff, or even as a way to make money online! It’s also relatively easy to get started, that is, if you choose the right machine. That’s why in this article we’ll be talking about the BEST hat and shirt embroidery machines to help you out!


Editor’s Pick!

Brother PE800 – $849.99

The Brother PE800 is a great machine! It’s so great that we also chose it as the top pick for our “Best Embroidery Machine For Custom Designs” article! Here’s why we love it.

hat and shirt embroidery machine
The Brother PE800 is very affordable and has a 5” x7” embroidery area!

For starters, it has a very generous 5″ x 7″ embroidery area, which is hard to get on a machine in this price range. This is a great size that will give you sizeable embroidery space for t shirts.

This machine will also work on hats, but you should keep in mind that this is a flat bed machine. That means that hats need to be flattened for embroidery – which means it won’t work on structured hats.

A patch made on the Brother PE800.

The Brother PE 800 has excellent stitch quality, and it has lots of beginner friendly features which can help you to learn if you’re new to embroidery too!

This includes easy on screen editing, a USB port for uploading custom designs, a jam-resistant bobbin, and automatic needle threader. All of which are great features for a machine in this price range.

So, what’s not to love about this machine? Well, it does not come with embroidery software (though most machines don’t), and it only stitches at 650 stitches per minute, which is a bit slow.

Top 5 Features
  • 5″ x 7″ Embroidery Area
  • Can Upload Custom Designs
  • Great For Hats That Can Be Flattened (like Dad hats)
  • Good Stitch Quality
  • Automatic Needle Threader

Click here to get the best price on the Brother PE800.

PS. Looking for a Brother sewing machine that embroiders too? The SE1900 is almost the same as the PE800, but it offers sewing stitches for $150 more! Click here to check it out.

Baby Lock Alliance – $4,999

Can Embroidery Flex fit and Other Structured Hats!

While the Baby Lock Alliance is certainly an investment, it’s the best home embroidery machine for hats! That’s because, unlike other home machines, this one is NOT a flat bed!

best home embroidery machine for hats
The Baby Lock Alliance can cmbroider a LOT more stuff than other home machines.

The Alliance features an “open” arm, and that means you don’t need to smash items down flat to embroider. As you can see below, the hat hoop freely rotates, allowing you to embroider across the entire front of the hat without having to damage it.

The Alliance features a free arm – giving you more embroidery options.

However, this free arm is also really useful for stuff other than hats! Since you have so much space, anything is fair game: including bulky bags, jackets, stuffed toys, and other stuff which a home embroidery machine owner can usually only dream of.

A t shirt embroidery design stitched on the Baby Lock Alliance.

This machine can embroider up to 8″ x 8″, and it has incredible stitch quality. However, the Alliance is a lot cheaper than most multi-needle machines, and it’s more user friendly as well.

The on-screen editor is very easy to use, and includes the ability to adjust designs before stitching, swap out thread colors, check the stitch time, etc.

This machine also features a heavy-duty all steel rotary system, it works with metallic and textured threads, features a laser pin-point system for lining up designs, and it automatically snips ALL of your jump cuts for you – leaving you zero clean up to deal with.

In short, the Alliance is a FANTASTIC machine, and it would be our number 1 pick, except for the fact that its price puts it out of range for many home embroidery enthusiasts. However, it’s a GREAT pick if you want an embroidery machine for a home-business.

Top 5 Features
  • Embroider ALL Hats (and pretty much anything else!)
  • 1,000 Stitches Per Minute
  • Commercial Features For Consumer Pricing
  • Cuts All Jump Stitches (Zero clean up!)
  • Easy to Use On-Screen Editing

Click here to get the best price on the Baby Lock Alliance.

Brother NQ1600E – $1,499

Looking for a bit more of a middle ground between the Alliance and the PE800? Upgrading to the Brother NQ1600E can get you a bit more bang for your buck, including 6″ x10″ of embroidery space.

This machine also comes with a bit of a speed upgrade – 850 SPM compared to the PE800’s 650 SPM. It also comes with some valuable quality of life features which you might want to have too.

The NQ1600E automatically cuts jump stitches for you (which the PE800 does not), and it automatically adjusts the thread tension, while the PE800 requires you to adjust it manually. Thread tension can be very frustrating for beginners – so this is a very valuable feature!

The on-screen editor is the same as the PE800.

However, if you’re mainly looking for a hat embroidery machine, you should know that this machine will have the same issue as the PE800. It’s STILL a flat bed machine and all flatbeds require you to smash hats flat for embroidery.

So, if you had your heart set on doing embroidery for flex fit style hats, or something similar, then you’ll need to save up for a free arm style machine like the Baby Lock Alliance.

Top 5 Features
  • 6″ x 10″ Embroidery Area
  • Automatic Thread Tension
  • Automatic Jump Stitch Cutting
  • Faster Than PE800 (850 SPM)
  • Thread Sensor

Click here to get the best price on the Brother NQ1600E.

PS. If you are starting a business, then some places do offer financing on their machines to help you. Check out the product page at sewing machines plus and it will give you the link for financing.

By Tanya Womack

Tanya is a stay at home mom who blogs online to earn a bit of extra income from her hobbies. She also loves working on projects which she can involve her two kids in and teach them the valuable life-skill of sewing.