Multi-needle machines aren’t cheap, but when you compare multi needle vs single needle machines…the benefits are undeniable. This is especially true if you’re looking to start an at home embroidery business. So, if you’re looking to upgrade your embroidery machine… but you’re still on a budget. These are the cheapest multi needle embroidery machines on the market!
Cheapest Multi Needle Embroidery Machine Top Picks
Editor’s update: Until recently the Elna 940 was on-par in price with the Janome MB4, but a recent price drop has just promoted this machine to the number one spot! The Elna 940 is now the best deal in multi-needle embroidery machines.
Elna 940 (4 Needle) –
When compared to the MB4Se… the the Elna 940 is almost identical! Janome even owns the Elna brand now, so they are likely even made in the same factories.
While you will get a few less accessories going with the Elna machine, thanks to its recent price drop – this machine is a STEAL in comparison. With what is now certainly the cheapest multi needle machine on the market, you’ll be able to load up 4 thread colors without re-threading. It also features a large 9.46″ x 7.88″ embroidery area, which is plenty big for most projects.
You’ll also get an automatic thread cutter (with programmable and jump thread trimming), upper thread sensor, monogramming functions, bobbin thread sensor, on-screen embroidery editing, and all the accessories you’ll need to get started with custom embroidery.
In short, this machine is a killer deal, and it’s a fantastic pick to start your Etsy business. However, this machine is a flat bed. That means you will be a bit more limited in terms of what items you can embroider on compared to a free arm machine like the SWF 12.
Janome MB 4Se (4 Needle) – $5,499
The Janome MB 4SE is one of the best deals in multi-needle embroidery. You’d be hard pressed to find anything else in this price range, even refurbished.
At $5,499 – it’s the cheapest multi-needle on the market. (Now the Elna 940 is the cheapest!) And while it is technically marketed as a home use multi needle embroidery machine – it’s still a great pick for a home business.
The machine has 4 needles, which means you can do a 4 color design without having to worry about changing colors. If most of your work includes pretty basic logos, this should be plenty.
You’ll also get a 9.4″ x 7.9″ embroidery area, a good size that can accommodate most projects, and the machine has adjustable speed (600-800 stitches per minute).
It also has excellent on-board computer controls, which allow you to transfer and manipulate designs via USB, or through a direct computer connection, and a time-saving automatic thread cutter, which handles jump stitches.
While this machine is very similar to the Elna 940, the MB4SE comes out slightly ahead, because you also get $550 worth of free hoops with it for hats and lettering. Though, factoring in the recent price drop of the Elna 940, the savings no longer add up here.
But, the machine is a very easy to learn multi needle for beginners and consumers rave about the quality and features for such a low price point on a multi needle. Janome is also a trusted brands and Elna not so much.
Janome MB 7 (7 Needle) – $6,799
Need more than 4 needles? The Janome MB7 offers an upgrade to 7 needles for a bit more, and it also includes a free hat hoop. Though sadly, you will not be getting an embroidery size upgrade. It still has a 9.4″ x 7.9″ embroidery are like the MB4.
Likewise, it seems that there aren’t really many additional features when compared to the MB4Se.
If you are going to be embroidering a lot of designs with more than 4 colors though, it’s certainly worth the upgrade! Especially when you start getting a lot of orders that need to be filled FAST.
Do you actually need 7 needles though? Or, will a 4 needle suffice? Think about what kind of work you’ll be doing on the machine. For logo design customizations with limited colors, a 4 needle may do just fine, but for more complex work, upgrading to a 7 needle will make things easier.
SWF MAS 12 –
Looking to do complex hat embroidery on a machine with a real cap driver? The SWF MAS 12 is the cheapest multi needle hat embroidery machine.
While previously the SWF MAS 12 was on par in price with the Tajima Sai, it’s now an even better deal! It seems the price has dropped a bit, and that’s good news for you if you need an affordable multi needle machine with a real cap driver.
This capable and feature-packed machine offers 12 needles at an unbelievable price. Not to mention the fact that it comes with everything you need to get your home embroidery business started, including a cap driver, stand, and all the frames you’ll need (All this costs EXTRA with most other machines!)
Plus, since this is a free arm machine, you can do a lot more than just cap embroidery. You’ll be able to embroider on sleeves, personalize stuffed animals or bulky bags, and make custom socks. Anything that fits under the needle is fair game!
In addition, the SWF 12 actually has a slightly bigger embroidery field than the Tajima Sai at 8″ x 13″, and it embroiders at 1,000 Stitches per minute. This machines also features automatic thread trimming, a smart system that instantly converts photos to embroidery, a free-hand stitch function that allows you to create hand drawn designs right on the LCD screen, upper and lower thread sensors, and adjustable embroidery speed.
So, what’s not great about the machine? Well, unfortunately, the documentation is a bit lacking. It’s not as popular as Tajima or Brother, so there aren’t nearly as many tutorials on YouTube either. However, if you’re willing to take the time to dig in and learn, this machine offers a ton of premium features and accessories at a price that a small business can afford. In short, it’s one of the best multi needle embroidery machines for small business there is.
Tajima Sai (8 Needle) – $9,999
While the Tajima Sai looks expensive compared to the other machines on this list, there’s a reason I am including it.
It’s because it’s the cheapest multi needle for real hat embroidery! (Thanks to the SWF12 price drop, that machine is now the cheapest cap driver machine!)
Yes, you CAN embroider hats on the the Elna and Janome machines, BUT similar to your standard home flat bed, the hats need to be smashed flat.
This means you can’t embroider on structured hats and you can’t embroider all the way around a hat! The Tajima Sai allows you to use a cap driver, and this accessory lets you do a LOT more when it comes to embroidery than just hats.
Since this machine has a free arm, no items are off limits when embroidering with the Tajima Sai. If you can fit it under the needle, you can stitch a design on it! This gives you the flexibility to offer customization for items that flat bed machine owners can only dream of.
A free arm machine like this one allows for you to do sleeve embroidery, personalize stuffed animals, embroider on shoes, customize socks, and more. In addition, the Juki Sai 8 also has a much larger 12″ x 8″ sewing field, expanding your creative options.
Want to see the Sai in action? The video above shows how the Tajima Sai 8 moves the cap driver so you can embroider across the entire face of a structured hat.
But, if that’s not enough, Tajima is also one of the most trusted names in commercial embroidery and shops rave about the quality of their machines. With the Sai, home businesses can also enjoy this quality as professional shops for a fraction of the price.
So, while it’s not the cheapest… I do think it’s the one of the best in the price range for small multi-needles. But, if you don’t embroider a lot of structured hats or other hard to do items such as sleeves or socks, then you may not need this functionality.
How to get financing on a multi-needle machine
If the machine you want is out of reach for a cash purchase – have you considered financing? Some dealers actually offer financing terms, allowing you to get started with a quality machine faster.
You could, of course, do this on your own, but it can be pretty easy to do directly through the dealer!
Sewing Machines Plus lets you apply at check out for payment terms through Synchrony. Just choose the machine you want, go through the check out process as normal, and you can apply for financing there.
Don’t forget about refurbished machines!
If you’re looking to save money and you can afford to be patient – refurbished is an option. Though, stock is scarce and it could take a while for something to come back in stock. People don’t let go of their valuable multi-needles very often!
However, it can be a solid way to make a machine that would otherwise be out of your budget – much more affordable if you can pull it off. Especially if you’re looking to get a multi needle embroidery machine for your small business.
Though, even refurbished – you can expect to pay $6,000+ for a multi-needle machine. Regardless though, this is the best way to get a low cost embroidery machine.
In closing, while a multi needle seems like it’s a small fortune compared to a cheap embroidery machine for home use. However, a multi needle comes with so many benefits that it’s definitely worth the price if you need an embroidery machine for your at home business.
Tanya, both a nurturing stay-at-home mom and a skilled crafter, is the creative force behind our blog. As the co-founder of Romney Ridge Farms & Crafts, she’s the editor and curator. She also runs the Romney Ridge Farms & Crafts social media accounts where we post new patterns for you to enjoy.