Best embroidery machines for a home business

By on February 28th, 2022
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Best embroidery machines for a home business
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If you’re thinking of starting an embroidery business, you’ll need to invest in an embroidery machine. Fortunately, there are a lot of great options. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to decide which one to buy.  You may be wondering, which ones are the best embroidery machines for a home business?

When it comes to choosing the best embroidery machine for a home business, there are many unique factors to consider. We will take a look at some of these considerations specific to running an embroidery business out of your home and present several machines that would be suitable for a home embroidery business. Finally, we will compare the options so you can make an informed decision. 

What makes a good embroidery machine for a home-based embroidery business

A multi-needle embroidery machine

While you can start an embroidery business using a single needle home embroidery machine, you will likely want to upgrade to a multi-needle embroidery machine very quickly.

Why? A single needle home embroidery machine is limited. Not only do they (typically) have smaller embroidery hoops, but they also have a slower embroidery speed. This can really limit the size and complexity of your designs.

Multi-needle embroidery machines also embroider a lot faster than single-needle home embroidery machines. This means you can embroider larger designs in less time.

Another big of efficiency you gain working with a multi-needle embroidery machine is the multiple needles! Because you can have multiple spools of thread on the machine at once, it can dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes to embroider a design. Instead of rethreading the machine every time you want to stitch out a new thread color, you simply tell the machine to use a different spool. Many multi-needle machine owners keep popular thread colors like black and white on their machine at all times.

Multi-needle embroidery machines are built differently than single-needles, allowing for easier embroidery on hard-to-reach areas. A single needle machine has a flat bed so you need to push excess material out of the way when you are embroidering. Multi-needles have an open area underneath making tight spots like on boots and baby onesies more accessible.

Finally, I’ve heard from various sources that the embroidery created by multi-needle embroidery machines is simply “prettier.” And based on my limited experience, I have to agree.

Unique home business considerations

When you are running an embroidery business out of your home, you have some unique considerations. For example, you may have limited space, budget and support available. The machines that I’m suggesting below, consider these constraints. Keep in mind that some of these factors may or may not be relevant for you.

Portability

Many embroidery business owners take their embroidery machines to trade shows and special events to provide embroidery services on site. For example, at horse shows, some of the participants like to get their horse’s name embroidered on a blanket. If you are at the show with your embroidery machine and ready to do the job, you will have a better chance of getting that business.

Even bringing your embroidery machine to craft shows is not a bad idea. You can whip up personalized items on the spot. And – hey – if the show is slow – maybe you can even get some work done while you are manning your booth.

If on-site embroidery will be in your repertoire, you will want to get a portable embroidery machine.

Ease of use

It’s important that the machine is easy to use, so you can spend more time embroidering and less time learning how to use the machine. Quite frankly, some machines are easier to learn than others.

Price

Price is always a consideration when purchasing any type of equipment. And multi-needle embroidery machines are definitely quite pricey. I wouldn’t consider any embroidery machine over $15,000 to be a great contender for a home embroidery machine, especially if you are just getting started.

Financing

Some dealers will finance your embroidery machine. This could be a good option if you don’t have the cash to pay for the machine outright. Financing can also be a great motivator to get you out and hustle! It can feel pretty good to cover your monthly fee with the embroidery work you do.

Service Availability

What do you do when your embroidery machine breaks down? If you are lucky, your embroidery machine will come with a warranty and service agreement from the manufacturer or from a dealer if you purchased it from a store.  Nevertheless, your machine will likely to be serviced from time to time. So, before you commit to one brand, you should see if there is someone in the area who can service it.

Number of Heads

A multi-needle embroidery machine can have anywhere from 4 to 15-20 or more heads. A greater number of heads improves the likelihood that you will not have to rethread as often. But more heads usually means a higher price point.

Maximum Hoop Size

Because the hoop size is directly related to the maximum size of the embroidery design, usually a machine with a large hoop size is more expensive than ones with smaller ones.

Available Accessories

Many multi-needle machines can work with attachments like fast frames, magnetic frames or cap drivers. If these accessories are of interest to you, it’s worth checking if the machine comes with these add-ons and if any of them are available.  Also – be sure to see what is included in the purchase.  If the seller throws in a cap driver that is like a $1000 bonus! 

Factors not to consider when choosing an embroidery machine for your business

Every listing for an embroidery machine touts the number of embroidery designs that come with the machine.  But have. you seen some of these designs? They are all kind of random and (in my opinion) kind of ugly.  The likelihood that you will find a design in this collection that you will actually use is quite low.   So, it is definitely not a factor you should consider when choosing an embroidery machine for your home business. 

Another factor you should not consider is the format of the design that is read by the embroidery machine.  Different types of machines read different embroidery file formats.  Even if you own a bunch of embroidery designs in one format – it’s easy to convert them from one file format to another

The best embroidery machines for a home business

Yes, of course you can launch your embroidery business with a single needle embroidery machine. But, based on the aforementioned rationale, I will only be suggesting multi-needle machines here.  I’m also suggesting machines that are in the less expensive range for multi-needles. 

Janome MB-7 Needle Embroidery Machine

The Janome MB-7 is a great embroidery machine for home businesses. And, it is an especially good machine for someone on a tight budget. It offers more embroidery heads and the largest embroidery hoop area than any other machine at this price point (currently between $6,000 – $7,000).

The Janome MB-7 has 7 embroidery heads, so you can keep it threaded with seven different thread colors.  My friend who runs an embroidery business out of her home and owns this machine says that she hardly ever uses all 7 heads.  But, then again, she owns two of them, so if she doesn’t feel like changing thread colors, she can always use the other machine! 

For its price, this machine has a fairly large embroidery area – up to 9.4″ x 7.9″ – so you can embroider larger designs.

While (at 50 lbs), it’s not the lightest machine – it’s still pretty portable. You could definitely take it with you to embroider on-site.

The Janome MB-7 comes with a wide range of accessories, including an embroidery frame and four different types of needles. Unfortunately, you can not use a cylindrical cap drive with this machine.  So if you are serious about embroidering on a lot of hats, this may not be the right machine for you. 

Janome is not the most popular brand of embroidery machine (at least in the United States) so you may have a big of a challenge finding someone who can service it.

Amazon
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SWF MAS 12 Needle Embroidery Machine

The SWF MAS 12 is a great embroidery machine for businesses with a medium to high production volume. 

It offers the largest embroidery area and more heads than any other machine in its price range.  Because it has 12 embroidery heads, you can keep it threaded with 12 different thread colors. The large embroidery area – 13″ x 8″ allows you to embroider very large designs.

Two other large advantages this. machine offers is that it will accommodate a cap driver.  Another pro is that it is very light so it would be quite easy to transport to various shows. 

It is a bit more expensive than the Janome MB-7, (approximately $10,000). But, for the extra heads, the larger embroidery area and the cap driver, it may be worth the extra dough. it also stitches a little bit faster than the Janome MB-7 and weighs quite a bit less. 

SWF may not be a familiar brand name to you, however, the company has been around for 20+ years.

Amazon
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Juki Tajima Sai 8 Needle Embroidery Machine

The Juki Tajima Sai is a great embroidery machine for businesses with a high production volume.  It’s about the same price as the SWF MAS 12 but it has fewer embroidery heads, a smaller embroidery area (8) and weighs a lot more.  So why should you consider it? 

Juki is a very popular brand of embroidery machine. They have a wide dealer network and service centers worldwide. If you ever have a problem with your machine, you’re likely to find someone who can help you fix it.

This particular machine also has a laser positioning system.  This bit of light that shines down on your embroidery area helps you line up whatever you are about to embroider.  

Amazon
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Baby Lock Array 6 Multi Needle Embroidery Machine

Babylock Array 6 Needle Embroidery Machine

The Baby Lock Array 6 is another great embroidery machine for businesses with a medium production volume.

It has six embroidery heads, so you can keep it threaded with six different thread colors. The Baby Lock Array 6 also has a large embroidery area – up to 7.78″ x 11.75″ – so you can embroider larger designs. It also comes with a wide range of accessories including four different sized embroidery hoops.

You may be wondering why this machine has fewer heads than all the others but is more expensive. The reason is the brand. Baby Lock is a popular brand of embroidery machine. They have a wide dealer network and service centers worldwide. If you ever have a problem with your machine, you’re likely to find someone who can help you fix it.

Like the Juki, it has a laser position system to help you properly position your embroidery. Another cool feature that this machine has that the others don’t is wireless capabilities.  You can send your designs to the machine without a USB stick or a cable. 

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A comparison of the best multi-needle embroidery machines for home businesses

Model Janome MB-7 Seven Needle Embroidery Machine SWF MAS 12 Needle Embroidery Machine Tajima SAI Juki 8 Needle Embroidery Machine

Baby Lock Array 6 Multi Needle Embroidery Machine

Price range $6000 – $7000 $9000 – $10,000 $9000 – $11,000 $11,000 – $12,000
Number of heads 7 12 8 6
Maximum embroidery size 9.4″ x 7.9″ 13″ x 8″ 7.8″ x 11.8″ 7.78″ x 11.75″
Size of machine 9″ x 18.5″ x 12″ 30″ x 34″ x 32″ inches 22″ x 26″ x 23″ unlisted
Weight of machine 50-65 pounds 30 pounds 82 pounds 84 pounds
Speed 800 stitches per minute 1000 stitches per minute 800 stitches per minute 1000 stitches per minute
Screen size 5.7″ 10.4″  7″ 8″ x 5″
Available accessories hat hoop, support table cap driver cap driver cap driver
Where to buy Amazon
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Amazon
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Amazon
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Purchasing used multi-needle embroidery machine

Before you jump in and purchase a brand new embroidery machine for your business, you may want to consider purchasing a used multi-needle embroidery machine. Many individuals who are in the market for a new embroidery machine choose to go this route. It can be a great way to get a high-quality embroidery machine at a fraction of the price.

There are many great machines available on the used market. You will save yourself some headaches if you purchase from a reputable dealer who offers a warranty and guarantees the machine will be in good working order when it arrives.

You can also purchase a used multi-needle embroidery machine for your business from individuals who are looking to unload theirs. Just be sure to inspect the machine carefully, know the stitch count and number of hours in use and see the machine working before purchasing to ensure it is in good working order.

So have you decided on an embroidery machine for your embroidery business?

Embroidery machines are a necessary investment for any business that wants to offer embroidery services.

All of the embroidery machines listed in this article are great options, but it ultimately depends on your needs and budget as to which one is best for you. If you’re still undecided, be sure to contact a dealer or talk to other embroidery enthusiasts who have experience with these machines to get more information.

Good luck!

xo

Julie

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