An embroidery machine can be a huge investment costing several thousand dollars. Making the right choice when you select a new embroidery machine can mean the difference between money well spent and a constant headache. A few things a buyer must consider when selecting a new embroidery machine include whether the machine is easy to use, whether the machine has a large enough embroidery field or hoop, and whether the user wants to embroider licensed characters or images.
The first criteria to consider when selecting a new embroidery machine is ease of use. In other words, when you get the machine home will you be able to sit down and embroider a shirt or a towel right away, or is there a large learning curve? Some embroidery machines are more intuitive than others. For instance, I have found that Brother embroidery machines are generally fairly easy to use. My Brother PE-780D has several features that make it easy to use, including a touch screen LCD display and a USB port for importing designs. Janome also offers a line of embroidery machines with features that are also easy to use, such as touch screens with simple menus and lots of built-in extras and designs. Keep in mind that you will probably be finding and downloading designs from the internet. If that is the case, than you will need either a USB port or a card reader, which costs extra money.
The next thing to consider when selecting an embroidery machine is whether the machine has a large enough embroidery field or hoop for the projects you intend to embroider. If your machine is limited to a 4′ x4″ hoop, then you may feel limited by the small embroidery field. Many designs are more suitable for a 5″ x 7″ hoop. Still other projects require an extra large hoop. Decide ahead of time whether you will feel limited by the size of your embroidery machine’s embroidery field. As the hoop size increases, so does the cost of the machine. Introductory models with a 4″ x4″ embroidery field may cost a few hundred dollars. Machines with extra large hoops can cost in the thousands.
Finally, when selecting an embroidery machine, consider whether you intent to embroider licensed characters or images for home use. For instance, only a limited number of machines are compatible with Disney designs. The Brother embroidery line features embroidery machines designated with the letter “D” that come with designs of Disney characters. You can also purchase cards for use with the Brother Disney machines that allow you to stitch out additional characters. If you intend to embroider Disney characters or other licensed characters, do your research to determine what machines will allow you to purchase and embroider the designs.
Whatever your budget and needs, be sure to do your homework and buy the machine from a reputable dealer who can service your machine and who offers lessons. Having someone you can rely on to guide you through your first machine embroidery project can keep you from getting frustrated with your new machine.
Keep in mind when choosing an embroidery machine that what you intend to use the machine for will dictate your buying needs. If you are a hobbyist like I am, then finding a lower end machine that is easy to use and that has a reasonably sized embroidery field may be perfect for your needs and fit well within your budget. However, if you intend to use your machine for more complex projects or to start a home business, you may need to seek out machines with larger embroidery fields. Whatever machine you choose, have fun embroidering!