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If you’re looking for a cheap embroidery machine within your budget, these affordable embroidery machines won’t cost more than your mortgage!
Purchasing an inexpensive (but still reliable) embroidery machine is a great idea for beginners. Especially if you’re not sure embroidery is going to be your new favorite hobby. Even more advanced embroidery enthusiasts don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on an expensive embroidery machine if they’re not going to use the added features.
All the budget machines listed here are new and as such come with manufacturer warranties, which is something you might not get purchasing a used machine. Even though you’re looking to purchase a cheap embroidery machine, be sure not to waste your money on a machine that won’t last.
Read on for more in-depth reviews and comparisons of the best affordable embroidery machines available!
Considerations Before Selecting a Machine
Make sure that choosing the cheapest embroidery machine doesn’t get in the way of your embroidery goals, though. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before making a purchase.
1. Do you want your machine to be a combination sewing and embroidery machine? Meaning, not only can you embroider designs, but you can also sew on buttons, quilt, and add decorative stitches to projects.
2. What hoop size do you want for your designs? The hoop size will correspond to the maximum embroidery area your machine can handle in one stitching session. While it’s possible to split designs and embroider in phases on machines with smaller hoop sizes, it might be worth your time to invest in an embroidery machine with a larger hoop size. However, the best embroidery machine hoop size for you is the one you can afford!
3. Are you tech-savvy enough to find and import your own designs? All the budget embroidery machines here do include built-in designs but also allow for design import. If you aren’t sure you’ll be able to find and add your own designs, make sure to choose an embroidery machine that includes a larger number of built-in designs and fonts that appeal to you. If you are tech-savvy, here’s a post with my favorite sites with free embroidery machine designs for download!
In general, the cheapest embroidery machines are going to be made by Brother. If you don’t want a Brother embroidery machine, the next cheapest embroidery machine brands are usually Singer and Eversewn. It’s generally agreed upon that Singer embroidery machines are not what they used to be, so be careful purchasing a Singer. (Although the Singer Futura XL400 is one of their more highly-reviewed embroidery machines.) If you’re interested in Eversewn, I’d recommend checking out the Eversewn Sparrow X sewing and embroidery machine.
Best Cheap Embroidery Machines
Here are 10 of the cheapest embroidery machines on the market in 2021.
In general, the Brother PE535 is one of the cheapest embroidery machines available that is also easy to use. Just note that it’s an embroidery-only machine, not a combination sewing and embroidery machine. Consider purchasing an affordable sewing machine like the Brother XM2701 if you’re wanting to sew also and don’t already own a sewing machine.
Even though it’s a budget embroidery machine, the Brother PE535 will not disappoint with its embroidery capabilities.
It comes with a 4″x4″ embroidery hoop and 80 built-in designs, although additional designs are easily imported to the machine via a USB port on the side of the machine. There are also 9 built-in fonts, 6 of which are in English. If you’re concerned about the small hoop size, check out my post: What can you embroider with a 4″x4″ hoop?
It boasts a color touchscreen where you can edit thread colors and preview design changes before setting your machine to stitch. In addition to changing thread colors for designs, you can further edit the size, angle, letter spacing, and even put letters on arcs using the LCD SmartScreen.
Fun automatic features like the automatic needle threader make changing threads on multi-colored designs faster and simpler. Especially for users with poor eyesight or shaky hands!
The Brother SE600 is the best cheap sewing and embroidery machine that you can find. It replaced its predecessor the Brother SE400 and is a big improvement in user-friendliness.
The Brother SE600 is a combination machine, meaning not only can you embroider, but you can also sew with it. And if you want to have it act as a faux serger, you can purchase a Brother side cutter presser foot to have it cut fabric while it seams.
Featuring 7 presser feet and 103 stitches, it sews at a maximum speed of 710 stitches per minute. As a sewing machine, it’s pretty impressive with some quilting perks and a nice-sized work area. Not to mention, it’s computerized, so sewing can happen foot-free with the use of controls rather than the foot pedal.
There are 80 included embroidery designs, but don’t worry if you don’t like them. Additional designs can be imported via USB on the side of the machine. You can find free or paid designs online or design your own with embroidery software.
Editing happens on the color SmartScreen where you can alter designs and preview the pattern. If you read my full review of the Brother SE600 combination machine, you’ll learn more about how to use the embroidery features of this combination machine.
Since this is a budget sewing and embroidery machine, the maximum embroidery area is going to be 4″x4.” Large designs will require splitting and rehooping between sections.
The Brother SE625 is the near-identical twin of the Brother SE600. It’s a different color and includes an additional 200 embroidery designs on a CD, however. Read the full Brother SE625 review to learn more about the machine and get an idea of what those additional 200 designs are!
Besides the color and extra designs, these two machines have identical specs. Prices can fluctuate a bit for the Brother SE626 vs SE600, so if you like the idea of a combination sewing and embroidery machine, make sure to check which is the cheapest embroidery machine that day. Usually, the Brother SE600 is more popular on Amazon whereas the Brother SE625 is more popular on Walmart.
The Brother PE800 embroidery-only machine is more of a splurge than the other machines I’ve covered here. And, because of the pandemic, its availability and price wildly fluctuate. Sometimes the embroidery and sewing combo of this machine, the Brother SE1900, is actually less expensive, so check that out also.
The main reason the Brother PE800 is more expensive than the others, though, is its maximum embroidery area is 5″x7.” This larger field size cuts out the time you’ll have to spend splitting large designs and rehooping in between if you decide on one of the 4″x4″ hoop-size machines.
If you’re trying to start a home business and plan to embroider larger designs more frequently, choosing a larger hoop size will save time. Time is money sometimes!
The Brother PE800 includes an impressive 138 total built-in embroidery designs and 11 fonts, although only 7 of these fonts are English characters. Import additional designs to the machine via jump drive.
As with most other premium small embroidery machines, you can edit and combine designs on the LCD color touchscreen.
It’s jam-packed with automatic features including an automatic thread cutter, advanced needle threader, automatic default tension, and a quick-set top-drop bobbin.
Since it only embroiders, you will need to have a separate sewing machine to add any decorative stitching to projects. If you’re wanting a sewing and embroidery combination machine that has a 5″x7″ hoop size, check out the Brother SE1900. It’s usually more expensive, but it’s a fully-featured machine.
Find more details in my review on the Brother PE800!
Very similar to the Brother PE535, the Brother PE550D embroidery machine differs in its extra 45 built-in Disney designs for lovers of all things Disney. Choose from Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, and more of the gang.
Like the Brother PE535, you’ll be getting an embroidery-only machine with a 4″x4″ hoop size and 9 built-in fonts. Additional designs are imported without having to connect your computer to the machine. Just use a jump drive!
Edit designs on the 3.2″ colored touchscreen to personalize your embroidery projects even further! Something else helpful about the Brother touchscreen is that built-in tutorials will remind you how to thread the machine, set it up for embroidery, etc. Very helpful and easy to learn to use for beginners!
If you’re into character-themed embroidery machines, you can also check out the Brother LB5000M or LB5000S, which are Marvel- and Star Wars-themed combination embroidery machines, respectively. They do cost a bit more because they sew as well.
Just know that Disney files and trademarked characters on Brother embroidery machines are for personal, non-commercial use.
New vs Used Embroidery Machine – Which is Better?
If you are on a very tight budget, you can find a used cheap embroidery machine at a local sewing store or online on eBay, Amazon, or Facebook, for example. While purchasing used from third-party sellers (a sewing shop is an exception) decreases your expenses, you are not getting the assurance that it is a good embroidery machine. Most used embroidery machines will no longer be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. And, you have no way of knowing how the machine was treated by its previous owner. If it was not maintained properly, there’s a chance it may fail after you purchase it.
My general recommendation when deciding new vs used is unless the deal is a steal, only buy it if you can try it out before purchasing or are given a very lenient return period. Meaning, if you find a great deal on craigslist, make sure the seller allows you to take the machine for a test drive before handing over money. Or, if you decide to purchase a preowned embroidery machine from your local retailer, ensure that there is a return period and a warranty if you discover you received a lemon.
How Much Is an Embroidery Machine?
Embroidery machines are much more expensive than sewing machines and start several hundred dollars new, depending on the retailer or promotions, of course. The larger the hoop size and more functions you have, the more your embroidery machine will cost. Many of the snazziest computerized embroidery machines and commercial embroidery machines, though, are 5 figures!
Embroidery is not an inexpensive hobby. In addition to purchasing a machine, you’ll also need thread, stabilizer, needles, and the materials you’re embroidering. Not to mention digitizing software if you’re looking to create your own embroidery designs from scratch. If you’re lost and don’t know where to start with all of this, check out my post on embroidery machine supplies for beginners to help you find exactly what you need.
Nonetheless, it’s totally understandable that you’re looking for a cheap embroidery machine that’s not going to break the bank! That way you can have some money left over to spend on awesome accessories to get you started designing and embroidering new projects.