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It’s no secret that embroidery machines are expensive. I used my library’s embroidery machine for years before purchasing my own home embroidery machine.
But, what’s the cost of an embroidery machine, and what features can you expect within different price ranges?
Well, there’s no simple answer about price of an embroidery machine, as it wildly depends on many factors. However, I’ll walk you through the range of prices for different machines and what features are typical for each budget.
So, if you’re interested in purchasing an embroidery machine for your craft space or your business, here’s what you need to know about how much an embroidery machine costs.
What is an embroidery machine, and what does it do?
Embroidery machines are computerized machines that use information contained in an embroidery design file to direct a needle and thread to stitch a design on an embroidery blank.
Commercial industrial embroidery businesses use these machines every day to embroider logos and designs on shirts, hoodies, hats, and other gear.
Home-based embroidery business owners do the same on a smaller scale from their homes, and hobbyist embroiderers like me embroider for the sheer joy of it.
How much is an embroidery machine? (The Short Answer)
The price varies GREATLY.
You can snag a used, old-technology embroidery machine for less than $100 at a garage sale or on craigslist.
Or, you can purchase a new embroidery machine, which can cost as little as $400 or considerably more than $20,000 for a multi-needle or multi-head embroidery machine.
Add in supply and demand isses, and the price of a specific machine can even vary greatly from month to month.
Embroidery Machine Cost: The Long Answer
I know, not enough information before, right?! Now, here are several factors that influence the cost of an embroidery machine to explain why the price range is so large.
1. Type of Embroidery Machine
A home embroidery machine for a hobbyist will differ significantly in price from a machine for a home-based embroidery business owner as well as an embroidery machine for an industrial embroidery business.
Here are different types of machines and how they can affect cost.
A. Single-Needle Embroidery Machines
The least expensive embroidery machines, and most common machines for home use for embroidery hobbyists, are single-needle home embroidery machines.
Most single-needle embroidery machines are flatbed machines, meaning the embroidery surface is flat and requires you to isolate the item to be embroidered in a single layer.
This is in opposition to embroidery machines with a free arm, which is an open space under the embroidery area allowing extra layers to hang underneath in free space. This makes embroidering shirts, onesies, pockets, and other tubular items much easier.
Single-needle embroidery machines have only one needle. As such, the user has to switch threads at each color change manually. Furthermore, the maximum stitching speed is usually slower than commercial embroidery machines.
Prices still vary within this subset of machines, though. One of the least expensive single-needle machines (the Brother PE535) cost around $350 before pandemic inflation when stock was not so spotty.
In contrast, the more expensive, large-hoop embroidery machines cost $10,000 or more!
B. Multi-Needle, Single-Head Embroidery Machines
A big step up in price and function, multi-needle embroidery machines have anywhere from 4 to 18+ needles.
The most basic multi-needle embroidery machines (usually the Janome MB-4S series) start around $5,000, and the price increases per needle. One general rule of thumb is each extra needle costs an extra $1000 or more.
Multi-needle machines are tailored especially for embroidering circular items because they have that tubular free arm that holds excess fabric out of the way of the embroidery space.
They’re also better-suited for embroidery business owners.
Having multiple needles means you don’t have to sit and change threads after every color change; the machine does that automatically and at a faster speed than a single-needle machine!
C. Multi-Head, Multi-Needle Embroidery Machines
Industrial machines, commonly multi-head, multi-needle machines, are basically an assembly line of multi-needle machines used in factories and other bulk-production industrial applications requiring efficiency.
Instead of setting up one multi-needle machine and resetting it after embroidery is done, you go down the line of these machines, setting up embroidery blanks and embroidering the same design on each.
These are the most expensive embroidery machines, and cost increases with the number of heads.
2. Hoop Size
For home-based embroidery machines especially, the larger the hoop, or embroidery area, of an embroidery machine, the more expensive it is.
The most miniature embroidery machines with 4″x4″ hoops (like the Brother PE535, SE600, or even SE625) are usually the least expensive and range anywhere from $350 to $650, depending on the retailer, stock, and time of year.
Moving up to a 5″x7″ hoop machine will add several hundred dollars to the base price. Inexpensive options are the Brother PE800 or Brother SE1900, the combination version and also what I own.
The largest hoop embroidery machines cost easily 5 figures when purchased new.
3. Embroidery Only vs. Combination Machines
If you are a home embroiderer who also wants to use your embroidery machine for sewing, expect to pay more for a combination machine.
Combination machines, also known as sewing and embroidery machines, have many great features but can cost up to double the price of the embroidery-only machine.
I love my combination machine because the larger embroidery area correlates to a larger throat space, which is helpful when quilting. And, having two functions in one machine saves space.
4. Added Features
The more features the embroidery machine has, the more expensive.
Here are features on home embroidery machines that correlate with an increase in price with each feature added.
- Automatic jump stitch trimming (when the machine jumps from one portion of a design to another that’s the same color.)
- Automatic thread cutting at the end of a thread color (standard on new machines now)
- Automatic needle threader (this is standard on most new embroidery machines, but ease of use varies between machines.)
- Extra built-in designs, especially if they are Disney or trademarked designs, or extra lettering fonts
- Included software for your computer or basic auto-digitizing and built-in editing features on the machine
- Large LCD touchscreen
- Lasers for placement help and automatic sensors for perfect stitch quality
- Extra attachments (for example, a specialized hat hoop for a multi-needle embroidery machine.)
- Method of design transfer to the machine (WiFi is more expensive than USB or plugging into a computer.)
- Embroidery speed (the most basic machines start at 400 stitches per minute, and commercial machines are well over 1,000 spm.)
- Warranty period (You can sometimes add on an extended warranty for a fee.)
5. Used vs. New Machines
Used embroidery machines are less expensive than new embroidery machines.
However, many sewing and embroidery shops offer fair warranties on pre-loved or refurbished machines, and the percentage price decrease can be a HUGE saving on top-of-the-line machines.
If you want to purchase a pre-owned embroidery machine, make sure the software isn’t outdated and replacement parts are still available.
Take care purchasing from Facebook Marketplace or that random eBay seller. Be wary if you can’t try out the machine first or if there isn’t a return option or warranty!
6. Purchase Location and Other Discounts
Less expensive embroidery machines produced for retail sale often cost less online or at big box stores like Walmart, Amazon, Costco, or JoAnn, for example. I bought my first two embroidery machines on Amazon on great deals and have loved them!
Purchasing a comparable machine at a local store would have cost me almost $200 more. (I checked!) However, with online purchases, you do not get one-on-one support or lessons from the shop.
I recommend visiting your local store to browse and compare prices if you are clueless about embroidery (and will definitely need those lessons!) Also, you will need to visit a store if you are looking for a higher-end machine, as those are often not available for purchase online.
Certain times of the year like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the release of a new line of machines by a brand often correspond with price decreases on some machines as well. I still regret not upgrading my embroidery machine when I found a deal at our local Sewing and Quilting Expo last year!
Also, some dealers are willing to negotiate on floor model machines, and while they may not be able to cut prices on new machines, they can still throw in extra free lessons, accessories, or supplies at your request.
Other things to look for in terms of discounts include seasonal financing promotions and manufacturer incentives.
Additional Costs of an Embroidery Machine
I remember purchasing my first embroidery machine and realizing the huge costs that added up shortly after purchasing the proper embroidery supplies.
Here are the necessary supplies and their expected costs.
1. Software or Designs
Embroidery digitizing software is the most significant cost for machine embroidery after the machine. If you plan to create designs from scratch, you must have digitizing software.
Some high-end machines include basic auto-digitizing software with purchase, and while this may work for a hobbyist, it won’t fly if you create designs for clients.
Professional digitizing software for commercial embroiderers costs thousands, and even full-fledged digitizing software for home embroidery enthusiasts costs $500 or more. (My Hatch 2 digitizing software cost around $1000.)
Your other option is to purchase pre-made embroidery designs or send images to a digitizing service to have them done for you.
Pre-created embroidery designs range from less than a dollar to more than $50, depending on the design or project. (Intricate in-the-hoop designs, FSL designs, quilt patterns, etc., are very pricey!)
One other option is to download designs for free. Here’s where to download free embroidery designs, although these designs are rarely for commercial use.
Now, custom design digitizing costs of an image range from $5 to $75+ per design, depending on complexity.
One of the more popular digitizing services, Apex Embroidery, creates designs at a flat rate of $25. Other companies, like Absolute Digitizing, set a price per number of stitches like $1 per thousand stitches, with a minimum base price.
Stabilizer is the paper- or even film-like backing that goes on the back of an embroidery blank to stabilize it for embroidery.
Different types of stabilizers are necessary for different projects, so you need to purchase a variety of types.
The more specialized types of stabilizer (like sticky, self-adhesive tear-away or sticky, self-adhesive wash-away stabilizer) are more expensive than regular cut-away or tear-away stabilizers, around 1.5x the price the last time I purchased.
To save money on stabilizer, purchase rolls rather than pre-cut sheets, and pay attention to the width of the roll so you won’t be wasting extra when embroidering with a small hoop.
Embroidery machines use a specialized threads that differ in qualities from sewing thread. (Read more about the types of embroidery thread!)
Embroidery thread goes fast, and the costs can add up. Prices start as inexpensive as 2$ per 1000m spool cone and increase based on the length, type, and brand of thread. Speciality threads, like metallic threads and glow-in-the-dark threads, are more expensive.
In addition to colored threads for design fronts, you must consider the cost of bobbin thread, which creates the backside of a design.
4. Other Essentials
Add in costs for specialized scissors, marking and measuring tools, and devices like hooping aids hooping mats, and that makes for another $50-$100 in costs.
Is owning an embroidery machine worth it?
Yes, it is! This post on the cost of an embroidery machine is meant to be an honest and fair assessment of the expected and unexpected costs of owning an embroidery machine. That way you won’t be blindsided when you decide to take on this new hobby.
I know it might seem discouraging since prices are not cheap.
However, I absolutely love my Brother embroidery machine, and it’s been worth every penny thanks to the fun and stress relief it’s provided!
How Much Is An Embroidery Machine? Final Notes
And that’s the breakdown of the prices of an embroidery machine and the costs associated with machine embroidery.
So, want to get one? Here are some great embroidery machines for beginners who aren’t ready to spend a mortgage on their first machine!