So, what’s the cheapest embroidery machine for hats you ask? The truth is, almost every embroidery machine can embroider on hats… IF they can be laid flat. This works perfectly fine for beanies and dad hats usually, but it does not work so well for structured hats, unfortunately.
Smashing the hat causes it to lose its shape and the machine can’t embroider around the hat to give the nice full-face designs you’ve seen on flex fit type hats and baseball caps at the mall.
SO, in order to pick the embroidery machine that’s right for your needs, it’s important to know what products you want to make first. If you NEED to embroider on structured hats for your Etsy business, then you’ll need to spend a lot more, unfortunately. (However, a heat press is a more affordable way to get started and can make a great companion for customizing stuff!)
Here are our top picks in each category and a couple of price ranges!
If you can be content with a smaller embroidery area (4″x4″) and the hats you want to embroider on can be laid flat, the Brother SE625 is the best budget embroidery machine on the market.
A refurbished machine can be had for a little over $300 and the embroidery quality is top-notch. Though it’s a bit harder to find them new, if you prefer a new machine the Brother SE600 is almost identical and can be found easier if refurbished is out of stock.
The SE625 is a combo embroidery and sewing machine, giving you access to tons of great features. You can also use this machine to embroider on almost anything, including making patches which you can then sew or iron onto other items, giving you more options.
The only thing bad about the SE625 is that if you decide to expand into other embroidery products later, like jackets the 4″x4″ embroidery area will be very limiting.
Need a machine with a little bigger embroidery space? The Brother PE800 is a great machine, and it’s also a great choice for flat hat embroidery. This is an embroidery-only machine though, so it does not have sewing features like the SE625 and SE600.
This machine has a 5″x7″ embroidery area compared to the Brother SE625’s 4″x4″ space.
It’s a great machine, but it’s twice as much money as the SE625. So, if you don’t need that much embroidery space, stick with the first machine. The features are mostly the same and you’re really paying for the extra space.
However, it’s a great pick if you plan to expand beyond hats and get into larger embroidery for shirts and jackets. Click here to check prices and availability for PE800.
BUT, what if you need to embroider all the way around your hats? What if you need to embroider on structured hats without crushing them? Well, that’s not cheap, unfortunately.
Machines that can embroider all the way around a hat are expensive, and the Brother PRS100 is probably your best bet if you’re trying to get into this kind of customization. However, it brings your spend up into the thousands of dollars range.
So, what are your alternatives? Well, if you can make patches on a cheaper machine, then you could use a hat heat press to press them on. This is much cheaper but still gives a nice look, and these presses are rounded, so you can give the full-embroidery look, or even use really nice leather patches, rhinestones, etc.
In closing, when you’re working on a tight budget, you may need to make some sacrifices when it comes to machines or get creative!
Bob learned about farming from his grand dad. So, the decision to leave the city and start homesteading was not a difficult transition. He now lives with his wife and two kids on their 30 acre property in Ohio.