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cheapest embroidery machine for hats

Cheap Embroidery Machine For Hats

Hats are one of the hardest things to embroider, and many people who are new to the embroidery hobby quickly find that their machine is just not up to the task. So, before we proceed, what KIND of hats do you want to embroider?

Structured vs Unstructured Hats

Pretty much ANY home embroidery machine can embroider on unstructured hats. That’s because these hats can be smash down flat and placed in the hoop. This definition applies to things like baseball caps, dad hats, etc.

Flatbed machines can ONLY embroider hats that can be flattened.

A structured hat needs to be embroidered without it being flattened, otherwise you just won’t be able to make it turn out right. This includes flex fit hats, and other high-profile hats that require reinforcement inside of them for them to be shaped correctly.

How Do You Embroider On Structured Hats?

If you want to embroider on structured hats, then you will need a machine which has a free arm setup rather than a flatbed one. Unfortunately, these machines are made for heavy production and are always more expensive than flat bed machines.

On one of these machines, the free arm will allow you to have complete control of the embroidery. You’ll be able to embroider all the way across the front of the hat, creating a professional result.

OKAY, now that we’ve got that out of the way. Here are our top picks for both kinds of machines!

Flatbed Machine

Brother PE800 – $849.99

The Brother PE800 is a great little machine, but ONLY if you want to embroider on unstructured hats! It offers a generous 5″ x7″ embroidery area, it’s very easy to use, and there are tons and tons of tutorials for it on Youtube, because it’s one of the most popular models!

hat and shirt embroidery machine
The Brother PE800 is cheap embroidery machine for hats – as long as they are unstructured.

It’s also very affordable for everything that it offers, has great stitch quality, an the on-screen editor is very easy to use for swapping thread colors, rotating designs, etc.

It also includes excellent premium features: like an automatic needle threader, USB port for uploading custom designs, 138 built-in designs, 7 embroidery fonts, and a jam-resistant bobbin.

On the negative side, it doesn’t come with digitization software (for making designs), and it’s a tad slower than pricier machines at 650 stitches per minute, but should be fine for most people.

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.

Baby Lock Alliance – $4,999

While the Baby Lock Alliance doesn’t look affordable at first glance, it really is for a machine in its class. This is one of the only home machine you’ll find that truly allows you to embroider on hats the way a professional machine would for a fraction of the price.

home embroidery machine for structured hats

A professional machine for free arm hat embroidery would run you $10,000 or more, but the Baby Lock Alliance is a single-needle machine aimed at consumers, or people who want to run a small Etsy-style embroidery business out of their home.

home hat embroidery machines

The free arm you saw in the first part of the article is from this machine! As you can see, it rotates freely across the entire front of the hat – giving you coverage options a flatbed machine simply can’t.

The Alliance Has An 8” x 8” Embroidery Area.

This machine also not only allows for hats, but it also embroiders on pretty much anything else you can imagine like bulky bags, jackets, etc. Because you’re not limited by the hoop like flatbeds are.

The Baby Lock Alliance also stitches at 1,100 stitches per minute, and it automatically cuts all of your jump cuts – so there’s no clean up work for you to do like with most flatbed machines.

In short, if you’re looking to start a home-business, the Alliance is a fantastic machine, that’s actually a good deal for everything it does. However, if you’re looking for a personal use machine, it’s probably out of the price range you’re looking for.

TOP 5 Features
  • Can Embroider STRUCTURED HATS!
  • 1,100 Stitches Per Minute
  • Exceptional Stitch Quality
  • Commercial Features For Consumer Pricing
  • Cuts All Jump Stitches (Zero Clean Up)

Click here to get the best price on the Babylock Alliance.

Brother SE625 – $319 (Refurbished)

Okay, but what if you need a REALLY cheap embroidery machine for hats. Well, the Brother SE625 is probably the cheapest embroidery machine you’re going to find. BUT, it also only works on unstructured hats, AND you will be limited to 4″ x 4″ designs only.

While it may take some patience, if you find a refurbished machine, you can get one of these for as little as $320 or so. That’s a steal if you can live with the limitations that the machine has.

Patches made on the Brother SE625.

BUT, the quality of the machine is great, especially for the price. It’s also a sewing AND embroidery machine, so if you’re keen to learn how to do some sewing alterations – this machine has you covered!

Unfortunately, the 4″ x 4″ design cap is rather limiting, but it’s big enough to do some small hat designs, patch making, or as a t shirt embroidery machine for pocket logos too.

TOP 5 Features
  • Cheapest Embroidery Machine For Hats You’ll Find
  • Works On UNSTRUCTURED Hats
  • Good Stitch Quality
  • 4″ x 4″ Designs
  • Sews & Embroiders

Click here to check for used Brother SE625 Machines.

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