Choosing a multi-needle embroidery machine for your small business is definitely the way to go, but which one should you choose? If you’re not very experienced with embroidery or very tech savvy, choosing a machine can be a bit intimidating. Here’s what you need to know and our recommendations for multi needle machines for beginners!
What to know before choosing a machine
Will you be able to get the machine serviced?
While brand name isn’t always important in some industries, in machine embroidery it is. Choosing a less reliable or even a lesser known brand can have a lot of consequences you may not immediately realize.
For starters, even if a machine is otherwise great, if it’s a more obscure brand you may not be able to find techs in your area to service it! This is a disaster for an inexperienced embroidery machine operator, and for this reason alone I’d recommend you stick with a reliable and well-known brand such as Tajima, Brother, etc.
While it’s possible to get a multi needle embroidery machine for much cheaper going with one of these brands – when it comes to maintenance and service – you typically have to do it yourself!
Is there enough instructions and documentation?
Some brands just provide better documentation than others. This is very important for a beginner, because there’s a definite learning curve to using a multi needle embroidery machine. Choosing a brand like Tajima or Brother that offers a lot of support and has lots of online video tutorials is a good move, even if you’re spending a bit more.
Will you re-sell the machine later?
Another pitfall of purchasing a cheaper knock-off machine is that it can be very hard to sell them later if you need to upgrade. Most dealers will not buy them due to their reputation, and even the company who makes it will not buy it back in most cases.
how much machine can you realistically afford?
Multi needle embroidery machine prices start at around $5,000, but it’s easy to pay $10,000 or even $15,000 for a professional machine. Used can be cheaper, but you’ll need to pay cash, whereas you can often finance a new machine at the dealer and pay monthly.
best multi needle embroidery machine for beginners
Now that I’ve given you a bit to chew on – here’s our list of recommended beginner machines.
Janome MB4 – $5,499
Looking for a super affordable home use multi needle machine? If so, the Janome MB4 is a fantastic 4 needle machine, that can level up your personal projects or be used to start a home business!
With this machine, you’ll get a 9.4″ x 7.9″ embroidery area, and the machine has an adjustable speed of (600-800) stitches per minute – perfect for personal projects and running a small Etsy store.
In addition, the machine comes with pretty much everything you need to get started – including $550 worth of free hoops you can use with it to make hats and do lettering projects.
In short, the Janome MB4 offers a ton of features for its price point, and if you’re looking for a machine that’s easy to use, reliable, and doesn’t cost a fortune – this machine is a fantastic pic.
So, what’s NOT good about the MB4? While the MB4 is fantastic for most projects, it does not have the ability to install a cap driver. This means hats need to be smash flat, just like your regular home flat bed machine.
That means if you want to embroider on structured hats and other specialty items, this machine is not the best pick. I’d suggest the next machine on the list if this is the case for you.
PS. Love the MB4 but need more thread colors? For a bit more you can upgrade to the Janome MB7, which is nearly identical to the MB4, except it has 7 needles instead of 4!
Tajima Sai – $9,999
Need a machine that’s a little more serious? The Tajima Sai not only offers twice as many needles as the MB4, but it also offers you the ability to do more advanced embroidery for your home or small business.
With the Sai, you have the option to install a cap driver. This is the accessory that rotates on the free arm and allows you to embroider all the way across the front of a hat. In addition, you can also use the slender free arm to embroider on all kinds of items that flat beds struggle with such as gloves, socks, pockets, sleeves, etc.
This machine also offers a larger 12″ x 8″ embroidery area, allowing you to tackle more elaborate and high cost jobs. Though the speed of the machine is the same at 800 stitches per minute.
Tajima is one of the best known brands in commercial embroidery. This machine is their entry into the home and home business market, and it’s an exceptionally well made machine.
But, they also offer great support, lots of tutorials and videos to help you learn to use the machine, and pretty much any shop will be able to service a Tajima. Likewise, due to Tajima’s excellent reputation, if you ever need to upgrade your machine, selling any Tajima later will be easy.
Brother PR680W – $11,499
Brother is one of the most popular embroidery machine makers around, and for that reason, a ton of home business and hobby users trust them.
This means that in addition to the machine already being easy and familiar to those migrating from a home-use machine – there’s also a TON of tutorials online to help you use these machines.
However, the machine also has 24 video tutorials which are accessible directly from the machine from the LCD. This makes it quick and easy to learn how to use it – even with no experience.
When compared to the first two picks on our list, you’ll notice that the Brother PR680W operates quite a bit faster at 1,000 stitches per minute (adjustable down to 400 SPM). While for personal projects this may seem trivial, if you’re filling orders – even a small speed improvement can really increase production.
Also, the ability to adjust the speed DOWN is helpful for working with specialty threads, such as metallic, and more intricate projects in case you were wondering!
This machine also does have some interesting features, such as the “My Stitch Monitor app” which alerts you when it’s time to change threads, or the project is complete, precision laser alignment, and a security locking mode to limit employee access if someone else is working it for you.
However, it has 2 less needles (6 needle), and is a 12″ x 8″ embroidery area Brother machine, the same size as the Tajima Sai for more money. In short, you’re paying a lot for these fancy features.
So, while the machine is high-quality and super easy to use, you should be honest with yourself about whether you’ll actually use all the features it has.
Let’s get crafting!