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Check out this in-depth Brother PE800 review to see why I think it’s one of the best Brother embroidery-only machines on the market!
This Brother PE800 embroidery machine comes jam-packed with embroidery designs, fonts, frames, and borders. With the ability to transfer designs from your computer to the machine via USB, your embroidery options are practically limitless.
The expanded 5″x7″ embroidery stitch field also assists with larger projects and decreases your need to rehoop in the middle of a project. Compared to the smaller 4″x4″ hoop size on several of the Brother sewing and embroidery machine combos, you’ll save time if you regularly embroider larger designs. I started out with a 4″x4″ hoop machine and quickly traded up for a 5″x7″ machine within my first year of embroidering. It’s been a huge time-saver.
An embroidery-only machine, the Brother PE800 does not have sewing capabilities like the Brother SE1900. (I love my SE1900, which is identical to the PE800 in embroidery features but also sews.) However, with the Brother PE800, you’ll get a dedicated machine for your home embroidery needs that will accurately and efficiently stitch your projects. It will even suffice for most small home embroidery businesses and doesn’t require too much of an initial investment.
Brother PE800 Review of Features
Here are some of the main specs of the Brother PE800 embroidery machine to give you an idea of what it can do.
- Weight: 17.64 pounds
- Dimensions: 17.5″ x 9.5″ x 11.8″
- Embroidery field size: 5″x7″
- Maximum embroidery speed: 650 stitches per minute
- Built-in embroidery designs: 138 designs total, including 10 frame shapes, 14 border styles, and 11 lettering fonts (7 English, 3 Japanese, 1 Cyrillic)
- LCD color touchscreen: edit and preview designs on the 3.2″ x 1.8″ screen
- Lighting: LED light above the workspace
- Warranty: 25-year limited warranty
What comes with the Brother PE800 embroidery machine?
The following items come in the box should you purchase the Brother PE800 embroidery machine:
- Embroidery machine and unit, power cord
- Embroidery foot and embroidery hoop (5″x7″)
- Embroidery bobbin thread (poly 90 weight)
- Needle set
- Accessories: 4 bobbins, 3 screwdrivers, 4 spool caps, scissors, cleaning brush, 3 spool caps and thread spool insert, spool net, and seam ripper
- Dust cover
- Operations manual, quick-start guide, and embroidery design guide
If you want to get started embroidering immediately, you will need more supplies. You can consider purchasing a grand-slam package that includes stabilizers and other goodies, or you can purchase these items separately. Check out my post on embroidery machine essential supplies to learn more about picking the right stabilizers, threads, software, and more for your embroidery machine.
Full Brother PE800 Review & Questions Answered
Here, I’ll showcase the more popular features and answer common questions about the Brother PE800 embroidery machine before giving you my top pros and cons.
(And if you’re new to embroidery, reading how to use an embroidery machine may help you get an idea of what learning to embroider entails.)
First, there are several convenient automatic features on the Brother PE800.
When setting up and using a new machine, it’s always nice when the machine helps you out! That’s why I love some of the automatic functions here.
Automatic Thread Cutter
While you can cut the threads manually by pressing the trim threads button or using a pair of embroidery scissors, you also have the option of enabling the automatic thread cutting function. The machine will then immediately cut the thread for you after every sewn color. It does not cut jump stitches, though, which are threads of a same color between sections of an embroidery design.
Automatic Needle Threader
The automatic needle threader facilitates threading of the needle using a small lever with a hook that will catch the thread and pull it through the needle. Since this can be difficult to learn to use for some people, you always have the option to thread the needle manually instead.
Quick-Set, Top-Drop Bobbin
The bobbin is wound easily on the top of the machine, and the bobbin is installed from the top of the embroidery workspace. The beauty of a quick-set bobbin is the Brother PE800 pulls the bobbin thread up automatically when you start sewing, so you don’t have to do that yourself!
Automatic Thread Tension
When restarted, the Brother PE800 resets each time to an automatic default thread tension setting, You’re then able to readjust the tension on the LCD screen to match the needs of your new project. After selecting the proper tension, you can save that value with your pattern. When you stitch the design again, the PE800 automatically resets the tension to the value used the first time when you retrieve that saved pattern.
What are the built-in designs on the Brother PE800 Embroidery Machine 5×7?
Brother’s downloadable embroidery design guide provides the exact list of included designs. Go ahead and take a look at the design guide, and I’ll help you navigate through it. Spoiler alert, you’ll probably need to find your own designs often. I rarely use my built-in designs!
There are 138 built-in designs, including floral, holiday, decorative designs, and more. These designs are found on pages 4 and 5 of the design guide. You’ll also notice that 26 of these designs are actual floral letters. They are ornate and pretty, but they count as a part of Brother’s boasted 138 designs. If you want in-depth information about each design, scroll to page 18. This shows you how many colors per design, when to change threads, and what the expected time to embroider the design is. To give you an idea, an Easter bunny rabbit design has 10 color changes and takes approximately 14 minutes to embroider.
11 fonts are included, only 7 of which are English letters. 3 are Japanese, and 1 is Cyrillic. Check out what Cyrillic letters and numbers look like here on Wikipedia. Page 38 of the embroidery design guide shows an overview of what the fonts look like side-by-side, but you can view them in more detail starting at the bottom of page 5. The fonts aren’t very decorative, so I almost always monogram with fonts I have within my purchased embroidery software.
There are 10 frame shapes and 14 border designs. The frame shapes start on the bottom of page 16 and include a circle, square, diamond, oval, 2 orientations of rectangles, 2 shield-like shapes (one looks like a guitar pick and the other a badge), heart, and octagon. If you look to the right of the shapes, you’ll see the 14 border designs that you can add for each of the shapes.
More Details When Embroidering
This is a single-thread embroidery machine, so you will have to manually change the thread after each color. Changing threads isn’t too difficult, but it won’t go as fast as if you purchased a multiple-needle embroidery machine. The touchscreen will guide you when to change colors and which color to thread next.
This is a computerized, embroidery-only machine, so there is no foot pedal included. You will use the buttons on the front of the sewing machine to control your stitching. There’s a start/stop button, a needle up/down button, and a thread cutter button. Settings for stitching, such as changing stitching speed, the size of the embroidery frame you’re using, and default needle position, for example, can be changed within the embroidery settings on the LCD display.
What can you select and edit with the Brother PE800’s LCD touch screen?
The color touchscreen provides you so many options! Here are a few of the things you can do with it.
When you first turn on the screen, you’ll be able to select your desired pattern. Choose from:
- A built-in embroidery pattern or floral alphabet pattern
- A built-in character pattern from one of the 11 fonts
- Or, a built-in frame pattern with fun border design
You also have the option to use your own pattern:
- One saved in the machine’s memory
- A pattern saved to a USB drive you’ve inserted into the side of the machine.
Editing the pattern can be accomplished using just the touchscreen as well! You have the option to:
- Change pattern size – enlarge or shrink both proportionally and disproportionately!
- Rotate the pattern 1, 10, or 90 degrees at a time
- Change thread colors of a design
- Combine embroidery patterns, letters, and frames together and move the parts around the area with drag and drop editing
- Make a horizontal mirror image
- Change the thread density on letter and frame patterns
- Add letters to an arc
Once you’ve selected a pattern and edited it, you can preview your pattern and check the pattern position on your hooped fabric. And if you like the way things look, go ahead and save it to the memory or your USB drive for later use!
If you have problems remembering how to use your Brother PE800, there are also built-in tutorials that can be accessed via the LCD screen.
How do you import embroidery designs on this Brother 5×7 embroidery machine?
You can find designs anywhere online, or you can create your own using embroidery digitizing software. While the Brother PE800’s default file format is .pes, you can also import .dst, .phs, and .pen files. Importing an incompatible file format runs the risk of damaging your machine, so be careful!
Once you find a design you want, simply save it to a jump drive in a compatible format. Then, plug the flash drive in the built-in USB port on the side of the machine. You are then able to access your designs from the LCD touchscreen. Easy as that!
Does the Brother PE800 come with software so you can create your own designs?
No, there is no included digitizing software with the Brother PE800. You’ll have to purchase your own if you want to design from scratch. Prices can range from free to more than the cost of the machine.
My favorite free embroidery software is Ink/Stitch, which is an extension of the free, open-source Inkscape. If you’re not familiar with vector graphics, you may be hopelessly lost learning to use it. But, if you are familiar with or are very motivated to learn vector graphics, it offers SO MUCH for free.
Other popular embroidery software options include Embrillance, Hatch Embroidery, Sew Art, and Sew What Pro. There are MANY different embroidery programs, and most offer free trials. So, try as many as you can to see which one does what you want in your price range.
If you don’t purchase your own software, you can find designs for free online from reputable sources, or you can purchase designs from Etsy, iBroidery (Brother’s online store), or other online embroidery design stores. I’ve also put together a list of my favorite places to download free embroidery machine patterns if you’d like to check it out!
Can the Brother PE800 embroider denim? What about canvas?
Yes, thick materials such as denim and canvas are all fair game for this embroidery machine. I love monogrammed initials on canvas bags, and this machine will definitely stitch that. In general, materials up to around 3mm thick are easily stitched and up to 6mm stitched with fairly good outcomes.
Make sure to select the right thread and needle as well as stabilizer for your project, though, to ensure success.
Is it easy to thread and use the Brother PE800? Is it a good embroidery machine for a beginner?
Setting up and threading the Brother PE800 is VERY easy! In general, Brother sewing and embroidery machines are some of the simplest to thread out there. Instructions are found in your user manual, the quick-start guide, and on the body of the machine.
The bobbin is wound on the top of the machine and is a quick-set bobbin, meaning you don’t have to draw the bobbin thread up yourself. Hints and reminders for how to thread and set the bobbin are located on the top and bottom of the machine in case you forget. Threading the upper thread involves following thread guides and imprinted numbers on the machine.
The manual is very informative, and there are countless YouTube tutorials for this popular Brother PE800 embroidery machine. In the beginning, there’s a bit of a learning curve for beginners, and many issues you have may be user error. Make sure to educate yourself before and while using your machine!
I don’t hesitate at all to recommend the Brother PE800 to beginners! However, if you’re not sure embroidery is going to be your thing, this is a big financial investment. As an alternative, consider checking out the Brother PE535, which is usually half the price. It’s got a 4″x4″ embroidery area, which will mean more rehooping, but it’s a much smaller investment.
Brother PE 800 Pros and Advantages
- Fast, reliable Brother computerized embroidery machine
- Combine and edit patterns on the touchscreen – monogram at the same time a design is stitched!
- A fairly inexpensive embroidery machine with accurate stitching
- Perfect for small home embroidery businesses
- Easy and uncomplicated to use
What problems do Brother PE 800 users experience?
I combed through many, many Brother PE800 embroidery machine reviews to find the cons that other users experienced.
First of all, the Brother PE800 is a dedicated embroidery-only machine. Meaning, if you embroider a monogram on a dress and then want to stitch some rick-rack on the bottom, you’ll have to switch to a sewing machine. This will take up more space in your craft room.
One user pointed out that the machine will only work well with certain threads. This is true for most embroidery machines and sewing machines. Selecting an appropriate needle and thread weight and type compatible with your fabric to be embroidered is very important! So is picking the appropriate machine embroidery stabilizer and making sure to hoop the fabric in the frame correctly.
The advanced needle threader isn’t always reliable. Every once in awhile, I have to turn on and off my machine and play with the presser foot lever to get the needle aligned in the correct orientation.
You do have to rethread after every color change. However, unless you invest a significantly larger amount of money into a multi-needle embroidery machine, changing threads is going to be standard on all machines under $1000.
And lastly, some users wish that the Brother PE800 5×7 embroidery machine had a larger embroidery field. Just know that even though the area is smaller than commercial embroidery machines, you can still split embroidery patterns and rehoop in between, stitching multiple sections to make one large design.
Brother PE770 vs PE800: Comparison
If you loved your Brother PE770, you’ll probably love the Brother PE800 even more. The Brother PE770 has been discontinued and replaced by this more advanced Brother PE800 embroidery machine. Specifically, in comparing Brother PE770 vs PE800, you’ll find the PE800 has a color LCD touch display compared to the black-and-white Brother PE770 display, and it comes with a few more design editing capabilities.
Furthermore, instead of the 138 designs and 11 lettering fonts on the Brother PE800, the Brother PE770 has only 135 designs and 6 lettering fonts. There are still 10 frame shapes on both, but the Brother PE800 has 2 more frame border designs.
Both machines operate similarly and have the same 5″x7″ maximum embroidery field size. Both also allow you to import your own designs via USB flash drive.
Brother PE800 vs SE600: Comparison
Comparing the Brother PE800 vs Brother SE600, you’ll find several key differences. Here’s a handy chart comparing the two machines:
|Brother PE800||Brother SE600|
|Sewing/Embroidery?||Embroidery-only machine||Sewing and embroidery machine|
|Maximum embroidery area||5"x7"||4"x4"|
|Built-in designs||138, plus 11 fonts||80, plus 6 fonts|
As you can see, the Brother SE600 is a sewing and embroidery machine, whereas the Brother PE800 is an embroidery-only machine. The Brother PE800 also has more built-in features, a larger hoop size, and is a more expensive machine. Both machines do allow for pattern transfer on a USB, and using the machine and color LCD touch display is very similar between the two.
Read my full Brother SE600 review for more in-depth information! I started learning to embroider on the Brother SE625, which is very similar to the SE600.
Brother PE800 vs SE1900: Comparison
When comparing the Brother PE800 vs SE1900, you’ll find the SE1900 offers more but at a much higher price.
While the Brother PE800 is a dedicated embroidery-only machine, the Brother SE1900 is a sewing and embroidery machine. As such, the SE1900 includes 240 stitches and 8 sewing feet, allowing you to sew and quilt with it.
In terms of embroidery, you still get a 5″x7″ field with both and the exact same 138 built-in designs, 11 fonts (7 English), and 10 frame shapes. You access machine features through the color LCD display and can edit your pattern on the screen. Both machines also provide the ability to import whatever designs you want via USB. I’ve owned this machine for a while now, and I love it!
Read my full Brother SE1900 review!
Brother PE800 Review – Conclusion
As I mentioned at the beginning of this Brother PE800 embroidery machine review, this is my pick for the best computerized embroidery-only machine by Brother.
It comes packed with designs, fonts, and frames, and allows you to import your own designs. Editing is easily done on the color touchscreen.
It’s also easy to set up and use, even for beginners. Very affordable as well, the Brother PE800 will be a dependable machine for your home business or craft corner.
I hope this Brother PE800 review answers all your questions and helps you pick the right embroidery machine for your needs! Let me know if there’s any other way I can help, and happy embroidering!