5 Things to Consider When Buying an Embroidery Machine

By Teresa Giltner, Owner of MT Needleworks, Manassas, VA

If you’re just getting started in the world of embroidery or have some experience under your belt, maybe you’re deciding now is the time to treat yourself to a brand new embroidery machine. With so many options out there, how do you pick the one that’s perfect for you? Ask yourself the following questions when shopping for a new embroidery machine.

1. What are you using the machine for? If you’re planning to embroider mainly as a hobby, you can choose a more basic model embroidery machine and purchase one for a much smaller cost. If you plan to use your machine for business, you’re going to need to invest more money for a machine that stitches very quickly that will last for a long time. If you try to use a machine designed for home use for an embroidery business, you will quickly burn out your machine. If you get into embroidery and love it so much that you want to turn it into a business, you can always upgrade later.

2. What size embroidery projects will you work on? Most home machines can handle a project on a 4 by 4 inch hoop, without the need to rehoop to complete the project. Rehooping is one way to accomplish a larger project, but it does leave room to make an error and have to start your project over. Commercial machines can typically embroider the back of a jacket in one hooping. The smaller your projects are, the smaller your cost for a machine will typically be.

3. What is your budget? New embroidery machines designed for home use will run you between $500 to about $7,000. A commercial machine can run anywhere from a few thousand up to tens of thousands of dollars. Do your research before investing in a commercial machine by reading embroidery blogs, online reviews and consumer reports.

4. Will you use existing designs or do you want to design your own? Many machines now have the capability of downloading designs from your computer using a USB cable. If you want to create your own designs, you may need to purchase separate digitizing software. Digitizing software is not as intuitive as you might think and usually takes some special training to understand. If you’re using your machine for business purposes, you will need this capability to do custom designs for customers.

5. Where will you shop for your machine? A good, old fashioned brick-and-mortar sewing machine dealer can show you the different features of various embroidery machines and let you actually try before you buy. This can be a major advantage to buying in the store. Ask about different product warranties, service options and return policies. You want to make sure you get a good quality machine and the support you may need if it needs to be repaired, which a physical store will often do on site (they may do upgrades there, as well). If you’re purchasing online, make sure you buy from a reputable dealer, do plenty of research and make sure you have a plan for service should something happen with your machine in the future.

If you do decide to purchase a machine, I’d love to hear about your experiences. Feel free to contact me. You know I love to chat all things embroidery!

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