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Picking the best computerized embroidery machine for your needs is the first step in starting (or continuing) your embroidery journey.
Whether you want to embroider t-shirts for grandkids or start a home embroidery business, a good-quality computerized embroidery machine should work with you, not against you.
If you’re overwhelmed with options, I’ll first walk you through some of the things you should consider before choosing a computerized embroidery machine. Then I’ll suggest my favorite picks.
I hope you’ll leave feeling equipped to choose your new addition!
What Computerized Can Mean to Embroiderers
When referencing embroidery machines, the term “computerized” can mean different things to different users.
Now, if you’re an experienced embroiderer, this might be old news.
But for interested newbies first investigating purchasing a machine, these insights will give you more information about how embroidery machines work and what to expect with a computerized option.
1. An Embroidery Machine with a Computerized Interface
All modern embroidery machines have built-in computers, and most have LCD touchscreens on the front of the machine. (My biggest machine has an almost iPad-sized screen!)
The built-in computer technology is what directs the embroidery machine to stitch designs using encoded information from embroidery files. Without it, the machine would have no idea how to create the complicated stitches required for embroidery.
Some users also use the term digital embroidery machine to refer to this type of machine.
Now, if you’re looking for an “automatic” embroidery machine that does all the work for you, even the most advanced machines still require users to set up embroidered items, load designs, and even set needles and threads first.
Thus, even though the machines stitch designs automatically once you push start, you still need to be able to guide the machine up until that point.
2. An Embroidery Machine that Connects to a Computer via Cable
You can often connect most embroidery machines from the last decade to a computer using the old-school way cable.
This allows users to transfer embroidery designs from computer to embroidery machine.
Now, most machines from the last 3-5 years also have USB ports on the side of the machine so that you can transfer designs and software updates from your computer via jump drive instead of cable.
3. Wireless Embroidery Machines
The last definition of a computerized embroidery machine is one that connects via Wi-Fi to your computer, tablet, or phone.
My current embroidery machine, the Brother Luminaire, connects to my house’s wireless internet, meaning I can interact with it from my phone, tablet, and computer. It also connects to my wireless Brother ScanNCut.
Thankfully, if this is the type of computerized embroidery machine you’re searching for, you’re in luck, as the Brother and Baby Lock Fall 2022 line of new sewing and embroidery combos and embroidery-only machines all offer wireless LAN compatibility.
As an example, new Brother machines now connect to a computer via their Design Database Transfer program and work with their newest embroidery app, Artspira, which contains free designs and offers users very entry-level design digitizing options.
The top-tier Brother embroidery machines can also use My Design Snap and My Stitch Monitor. Top-of-the-line Baby Lock machines have Baby Lock equivalent apps.
As for other embroidery machine brands like Bernina and Janome, their higher-end machines have wireless connectivity but not their more entry-level machines yet.
Things to Consider When Selecting a Computerized Embroidery Machine
Now, here’s a short list of differentiating features between embroidery machines.
It’s worth deciding what your must-haves are before you start seriously searching for a machine so you don’t have buyer’s remorse later.
1. Function: Combo or Embroidery Only
If you’re looking for an embroidery-only machine, this will be a computerized machine that allows you to do only machine embroidery.
It does not have sewing functions, so you will need a second sewing machine to sew stitches.
Embroidery-only machines are very powerful and typically less expensive than combination machines with comparable embroidery features.
On the other hand, if you want to also sew and don’t have room for two separate machines, consider a combination sewing and embroidery machine. Combo machines allow you to both sew and embroider within one machine. Switching between these two functions is easily done.
2. Hoop Size
Each machine has a max hoop size and thus a maximum embroidery area.
Some of the older computerized embroidery machines offer as small as a 2″x2″ hoop size, and sizes go up from there.
For small sewing projects like adding logos to shirts or putting small monograms on towels, a 4″x4″ embroidery machine might be all you need.
However, a larger hoop may be beneficial if you want to embroider larger areas like pillow cases or the back of a denim jacket.
While you can still create larger designs on a machine with a small hoop size, you do have to split your design and embroider in sections, which takes more time.
3. Built-In Designs
Another consideration before purchasing is looking at the built-in embroidery designs and fonts.
If you’re tech-savvy and plan to design your own embroidery patterns or purchase them online, you may not need many built-in designs.
If you’re not looking to import designs often, consider a machine preloaded with designs.
Some of the best Brother embroidery machines are character-themed also, so you might find that a Disney, Star Wars, or Marvel embroidery machine is just what you want!
The larger the hoop size and the more features present, the more expensive the embroidery machine will be.
Typically, prices for new embroidery machines run from the $300’s to five figures for commercial embroidery machines!
If you’re a beginner and want to tinker with embroidery, I recommend choosing a less expensive machine with basic features and upgrading later.
If you already have a business plan and are ready to go, splurge for the machine that will save you time and hassle.
In these reviews, I’ve stuck to the more affordable embroidery machines within each line, as you won’t be able to purchase the pricier options without a trip to your local sewing machine dealer’s shop.
Best Computerized Embroidery Machines
Here are what I consider to be some of the top digital embroidery machines with a computer or with wireless capabilities.
|Embroidery Designs||193 designs|
|Maximum Embroidery Speed||650 stitches per minute|
|Design Transfer||Wi-Fi or USB|
As a computerized embroidery-only machine, the Brother PE900 offers users the reliability and affordability of the Brother name.
It also works wirelessly with your computer, and it is compatible with Brother’s Artspira app.
There are also a total of 193 built-in designs, which is an improvement over its predecessor, the well-loved Brother PE800 embroidery-only machine. One other improvement is the inclusion of automatic jump stitch trimming, a huge time saver.
Also, with a 5″x7″ embroidery area, you’ll be able to stitch larger designs, which saves time with rehooping if using a smaller 4″x4″ hoop machine.
Being a computerized machine, the Brother PE900 also has a decently-sized color LCD display.
Having a smart touchscreen is awesome! In addition to using it to choose a pattern, it allows you to perform basic edits onscreen without leaving your machine to head to your computer:
- Change pattern size and rotate it
- Switch thread colors
- Combine patterns, letters, and frames and change thread density
- Make a mirror image
- Add letters to an arc
Also, several automatic features such as a thread trimmer, advanced needle threader, and automatic thread tension increase ease of use.
Furthermore, the Brother PE900 features Brother’s top-drop, quick-set bobbin, which is simpler to set up, in my opinion, than front-load bobbins.
Read about the PE900’s predecessor in my Brother PE800 review, where I’ll walk you through the included designs and give you more information about the machine.
And, if you like the idea of this machine but want a larger hoop size, check out the Brother NQ1700E, which has the 6″x10″ hoop and similar automatic features.
|Embroidery Designs||135 built-in|
|Design Transfer||Wi-Fi or USB|
The Brother PE545 is the least expensive digital embroidery-only machine with a built-in computerized interface. It also has wireless connectivity.
However, it’s still a great quality embroidery machine that’s beginner-friendly.
It features 135 embroidery designs and includes a 4″x4″ hoop. (This is an improvement over the PE535, which only had 80 designs and no wireless possibilities.)
It’s very similar in usage to the Brother PE900 with its color LCD Smartscreen where patterns can be selected and edited.
The main difference between the PE900 and PE545 machines is the increased hoop size of the Brother PE900 and the ability to turn on automatic jump stitch trimming on the PE900.
There’s also the Brother 550D embroidery machine, which is the same as the Brother PE535, except it comes with Disney embroidery designs. If you want to sell your designs, just know that you cannot do this with licensed Disney designs.
Eversewn isn’t as much of an embroidery machine “giant” as Brother, it still produces reliable and technologically-advanced sewing and embroidery machines.
The Eversewn Sparrow X2 is no exception!
A “next-generation” machine, the Eversewn Sparrow X2 and its predecessor, the Sparrow X, beat Brother to the punch by first adding wireless connectivity to their entry-level embroidery machines.
The Sparrow X2 does away with mandatory USB import of designs and uses the free EverSewn Pro app to edit and transfer devices using a phone, tablet, or computer. (I love how you can control your device’s embroidery without sitting next to your machine.)
The Eversewn Sparrow X2 contains 100 embroidery designs and a 4.75″ x 7″ hoop size, which is comparable to the Brother PE900.
However, as an embroidery and sewing combo machine, it also boasts 120 stitch options!
Automatic thread trimming (including jump threads), automatic tension adjustment, and automatic needle threading are also perks of this machine.
Just remember, sometimes with great technology…comes great potential for a mess for the not-tech-savvy.
This machine really leans into the need for a compatible device and reliable Wi-Fi, as it does not have a large computerized touchscreen for design editing on the machine. You must rely on the app for that.
|Embroidery Designs||135 built-in|
|Stitch Options||103 stitches, 10 buttonhole options|
|Maximum Sewing Speed||710 stitches per minute|
|Design Transfer||Wi-Fi or USB|
The Brother SE700 computerized sewing and embroidery machine is one of the best Brother sewing and embroidery machines for beginners.
It’s at an attractive price point, is an update to the Brother SE600, and has all the features you need to start your new hobby.
Like the Brother PE900 and PE545, it’s Wi-Fi enabled for use with a computer, but editing and pattern selection can still both happen on the built-in color LCD touchscreen.
As with the PE545, the Brother SE700 also has a 4″x4″ maximum embroidery area. You can split any large designs and rehoop, but the largest section you can stitch at once is 4″x4″.
A combo machine, it is more fully equipped for sewing than some of the best Brother sewing machines on the market.
It contains 103 stitches (10 automatic one-step buttonholes) and includes 7 presser feet.
Because this is a computerized machine, sewing (or even quilting!) can happen with a foot pedal or with the buttons and slider on the front of the machine.
Read my full Brother SE600 review to learn more about the SE700’s predecessor’s features.
|Embroidery Designs||193 designs and 13 fonts|
|Stitch Options||241 stitches, 10 buttonhole options|
|Maximum Sewing Speed||850 stitches per minute|
|Design Transfer||Wi-Fi or USB|
The Brother SE2000 computerized sewing and embroidery machine is another wirelessly-enabled embroidery machine with a 5×7 hoop size and one I recently purchased.
In terms of embroidery features, the Brother SE2000 has similar embroidery designs, fonts, and touchscreen capabilities to the Brother PE900. It also cuts jump stitches.
However, because the SE2000 is a combo machine, you can also sew with it. It includes a whopping 241 stitches, 10 buttonholes, and 7 presser feet!
One extra nifty feature is the knee lifter. With this, you use your knee to lift the presser foot rather than having to remove your hands from your project.
Other nice features are the advanced needle threader, automatic default tension, and automatic reinforcement/reverse stitching.
The SE2000’s predecessor, the Brother SE1900, was my primary home embroidery machine for several years. I loved it but eventually upgraded to the Brother Luminaire XP2 (with XP3) upgrade to get a larger hoop size and kept the SE1900 as my backup machine.
You can learn more in my Brother SE2000 sewing and embroidery machine review.
I regularly embroider with a Janome MC200E machine at our library. It’s been around for a long time and is still stitching great!
As such, I can recommend the Janome MC400E, the more full-featured version.
The Janome Memory Craft 400E is an embroidery-only machine that impresses with its 7.9″x7.9″ hoop size.
In terms of built-in designs, you’ll find 160 patterns, including 6 fonts for monogramming.
Depending on stitching parameters, the embroidery sewing speed can range from 400 up to 860 spm.
Like the older Brother embroidery machines, design transfer happens via USB on the side of the sewing speed. But while the MC400E has a built-in computer interface, it does not connect wirelessly to your network.
There are still also a ton of editing options within the machine, including:
- Change sizing and rotate patterns
- Mirror image
- Drag and drop, group, and combine designs
- Add text to an arc
- And more!
A few of the automatic features include programmable jump stitch trimming, advanced needle threading, and an automatic thread cutter.
The Janome MC400E is a bigger investment than many of the other computerized embroidery machines I’ve reviewed here. However, Janome is a very well-known brand that produces quality machines that will last a long time!
If you’re comparing prices, I’d also recommend checking out Sewing Machines Plus. I’ve found their prices to be very comparable to Amazon and Walmart, especially since they offer a 10% coupon for first-time email signups.
Best Computerized Embroidery Machines – Final Notes
I hope these reviews have helped narrow down your selection of computerized embroidery machines!
Once you’ve picked your machine, don’t forget to ensure you’re covered with all the supplies for embroidery machines you’ll need to get started.