Janome 500E vs 550E

Wondering whether you should buy the Janome 500E vs 550E? Both are nice embroidery machines, but the 550E comes at a serious premium over the 500E. Is it truly worth the extra money? In this article, we explain the differences between these two machines and help you break down the value of each. Let’s get started!

Janome 500E vs 550E

janome 500e vs 550e

A few more built-in embroidery designs

The 550E has about 20 more built-in embroidery designs. But, with how many free machine embroidery designs there are online, that’s not much of a selling point, honestly.

Dual Voltage

The 550E is dual voltage while the 500E is not. This could be a useful feature if you live somewhere it’s hard to find compatible machines, but likely not important for most of our readers in the United States.

Extended Embroidery Formats

The 550E can also use extended embroidery formats like JEF+ and JPX. These files store more information than standard JEF files, and can be created using Janome’s embroidery software.

If you digitize your own designs, this could be useful. However, if you mostly use designs you’ve purchased or downloaded for free on the internet, you’re unlikely to make use of this feature.

Embroidery Area

Of course, the biggest difference between the Janome 500E vs the 550E is embroidery area. The Janome 500E has an 8″ x 11″ embroidery area and the Janome 550E has an 8″ x 14″ embroidery area.

However, those extra inches are costly, and while it’s annoyingly hard to compare prices on the 550E, because dealers make you visit the store and ask them about it, you can expect to pay at least an additional $700 for this machine.

But, are those 3 inches worth $700 more?

Other Features

While I feel the above bullet points cover the most important differences between the two machines, the 550E does have a few quality of life features that the cheaper 500E is missing. This includes programmable jump thread trimming, an additional setting for stitch traveling, and a bobbin thread sensor.

So, Which Should You Buy?

Okay, so which embroidery machine should you buy then? In our opinion, the 550E simply doesn’t offer enough for it to be worth the additional $700 or so premium. While you do get a few more inches of embroidery space, for a bit more money you could upgrade to a cheaper multi needle embroidery machine instead, which has more capabilities.

However, an 8″ x 11″ embroidery area is plenty big for most projects, so there’s not really a need to upgrade unless you need the 550E for a very specific purpose in my opinion.

Full features comparison for Janome 500E vs 550E

Janome 500E

Janome 550E

  • Full color touch screen w/ onscreen editing
  • 160 built-in designs
  • Automatic thread cutter
  • Advanced needle threader
  • 7.9″ x 11″ embroidery area
  • 6 fonts for monogramming
  • 2 and 3 letter monogramming
  • 400-860 adjustable sewing speed
  • Flexible stitch traveling (1,10,100 units)
  • Auto return post thread break
  • Includes 6 hoops
  • Top loading full rotary hook bobbin
  • 180 built-in designs
  • 6 fonts for monogramming
  • 2 and 3 letter mongramming
  • 7.9″ x 14″ embroidery area
  • USB and direct PC connection design transfer
  • 400-860 adjustable sewing speed
  • Expanded embroidery formats (JEF, JEF+, JPX)
  • On-screen editing functions
  • Programmable jump thread trimming
  • Flexible stitch traveling (1,10,100, 500 units)
  • Direct jump to desired stitch point
  • Auto return post thread break
  • Adjustable hoop positioning
  • Built-in advanced needle threader
  • Easy set bobbin
  • Bobbin winding plate with cutter
  • Bobbin thread sensor
  • Includes 6 hoops

In closing, both machines are great, but I feel that the 550E does not offer enough for price increase. What do you think? Do you feel these features of the 550E are worth a premium?