If there is one thing even some beginners know about embroidery machines is that they’re not exactly the cheapest so it’s going to be a true challenge to review the best cheap embroidery machines.
Is it truly possible to find some really good embroidery machines for those on a budget?
Also, the most important question is this: just what does it mean when we’re searching for the best cheap embroidery machines? Which sums should we be prepared to spend even on affordable models?
However, we absolutely can’t expect to pay such low sums even on the cheapest embroidery machines. They don’t have that in common with regular sewing machines.
Check out my recommendations for the best embroidery machines for beginners if you want to learn more.
6 Best Cheap Embroidery Machines
While reading my reviews for affordable embroidery machines you might come to think that the only sewing machine brand I ever heard of is Brother.
That’s because this is pretty much the only manufacturer that makes decently priced embroidery machines for the masses.
Thus, we made something clear. If you’re looking for some wonderful affordable models, you’ll end up buying a Brother model. I’ll review a few of them so you can see what they offer.
The cheapest will cost close to $400. So, we’ve established another fact. When we refer to cheap embroidery machines, we should be prepared for the prices to start around $400. The word cheap is certainly relative.
The good news is that even if we view these Brother models as the cheapest embroidery machines, they’re still amazingly awesome. They’re very popular.
Of course, each model will come with its fair share of negative reviews. Make sure to read a few of the negative ones, too, to understand the full picture and to know what to potentially expect.
Overall, I’m definitely impressed with what Brother offers for prices around $400. I’ll also review a couple of more expensive models from this brand to make a comparison with the cheaper ones.
Finally, my last 2 reviews will cover a Janome and a Singer. See, I know about other brands. The bad news is that the Singer and Janome are two pretty expensive models. And they all come with a lot of negative reviews so that will be interesting to see.
1. Brother SE600 Sewing and Embroidery Machine: Overall the Best Cheap Embroidery Machine
Among a small sea of embroidery machines, the Brother SE600 is only my favorite as the best cheap embroidery machine but I also believe that it’s also the most popular among amateur embroiderers and sewers.
The price around $400 is also a welcomed sight for those on a budget who absolutely can’t spend $1,000 or more on a model.
First of all, the machine looks great. It can also be a bit hard to tell apart some Brother embroidery machines just from design alone. For example, the SE600 looks quite similar to the SE1900, which is almost 3 times more expensive. All in all, they all look great.
Besides the nice design of this machine, what truly matters is that the SE600 delivers awesome features for the money.
We get a 4 x 4 inches embroidery area with a 4 x 4 inches hoop, embroidery arm and embroidery feet. It’s certainly not the biggest but it’s the best we’ll get in this price range.
The workspace expands to 6.4 x 4.1 inches for those who need room for quilts and bulkier projects.
There’s also a 3.2 inches Sew Smart color LCD touch screen display. You’ll see your design option in full color before stitching.
I must also mention that I still find it fascinating to watch an embroidery machine do all sorts of designs. It might sound weird but it’s like magic to me even after all this time.
We have an automatic needle threader of course.
And drop-in top bobbing, which is jam resistant. After all, the SE600 is a combination of sewing and embroidery machine.
Well, there are plenty of embroidery machines that also work as sewing machines. That’s especially true for some of the models that Brother offers, which is awesome.
We can use them to make clothes or any other project and then we can embroider parts of our projects however we want.
There’s also a bright LED light to illuminate the work area.
And the SE600 can also be considered one of the best sewing machines with automatic thread cutter.
103 sewing stitches
These 103 sewing stitches are the ones you’ll use for the sewing machine part. That’s a lot of them. For most projects we use the straight stitch but it’s nice to have all those other options around.
These stitches also include 10 styles of auto-size buttonholes.
It’s capable of 710 stitches per minute. To make a comparison, the Singer Heavy Duty 4423 is capable of 1100 stitches per minute but that’s one of the best sewing machines for leather. The 710 stitches per minute are good enough.
80 embroidery designs
For this price range, getting 80 embroidery designs is a good deal. I am definitely happy with the designs we get built-in.
If you want to see what these designs look like, you can check them out here.
We don’t get a lot of colorful designs but that’s to be expected.
There are 9 built-in fonts: 6 English fonts and 3 Japanese fonts for monogramming and lettering.
Moreover, the fact that we can import our own designs is what truly matters. It’s nice that we get these built-in designs but it’s more awesome that we can search for whatever embroidery designs we want our machine to do for us.
There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube about how to download and load your machine with whatever embroidery designs you want, like this one.
Just make sure that the designs you upload in your machine work for the 4×4 field.
There are a lot of accessories for the Brother SE600 so I’m not going to list them all. You can find the entire list here.
We get 7 sewing feet: buttonhole, overcasting, monogramming, zipper, spring action zigzag, blind stick and button sewing feet. These are the most important accessories.
Are embroidery machines easy to use? Any machine will require a learning curve. You’ll need patience to master everything and you must definitely love doing various projects.
ll in all, I believe that the Brother SE600 is one of the best cheap embroidery machines and it’s also a good first model for beginners.
Where to Buy?
2. Brother PE535 Embroidery Machine
As you might have immediately noticed, the PE535 is not called a sewing and embroidery machine. It’s just called an embroidery machine.
Frankly, that’s the major difference between these two models. I prefer the SE600 because it also works as a regular sewing machine so it offers more versatility of use. We get the most for our money.
Still, I wanted to review the Brother PE535 as well because it’s very popular. And because I wanted to mention that my favorite affordable embroidery machine remains the Brother SE600.
The PE535 might look slightly different than the SE600 but they have everything in common on the embroidery side of things.
The Brother PE535 also includes 80 built-in designs and you can expand that by uploading other designs that you find online or buy online.
You can upload via the USB port, which is a feature that all embroidery machines come with nowadays, no matter their price range.
We also have a 4 x 4 inches embroidery field. You must make sure that the designs you upload can be sewed on this field.
And we have the same 3.2 inches Sew Smart color LCD touch screen display.
The thing to keep in mind is that the Brother PE535 is an embroidery machine that doesn’t function as a traditional sewing machine. If you want a combination of both types of machines for an affordable price, you’ll have to check out the Brother SE600.
Where to Buy?
3. Brother SE1900 Sewing and Embroidery Machine: Overall the Best Embroidery Machine
If you came here looking for the best cheap embroidery machines but you decided that you can afford to spend more and that you actually want one of the best models available, then the SE1900 might be what you want.
The SE1900 is a computerized sewing and embroidery machine that truly delivers everything that an embroidery machine should. But that will cost you.
We get a large 5 x 7 inches embroidery field (hoop).
This very large embroidery field is the major feature that differentiates it from the much cheaper Brother SE600. If you’re not bothered by a smaller embroidery field, you’ll be completely satisfied with the SE600.
There’s also a large 3.7 inches color touch LCD screen. It will allow us to visualize our designs.
We also get an automatic needle threader, automatic thread cutter, LED light, and all the other components that a phenomenal sewing machine comes with.
138 built-in designs
That’s an absolutely impressive number of built-in designs. You can check out the designs here.
However, the best thing remains that we can upload whatever embroidery designs we want. That’s the beauty of all embroidery machines.
This expensive Brother model also has a built-in memory for importing embroidery designs, which also comes with memory card reader.
The SE1900 also includes built-in tutorials.
In total, there are 10 frame designs and 11 built-in fonts.
240 built-in stitches
Brother decided to include an impressive number of built-in stitches. These are the ones we use for traditional sewing but the most used remains the straight stitch.
There are 10 buttonhole styles.
The maximum sewing speed is 850 stitches per minute. Heavy duty machines are usually faster than that but it’s still a very good speed.
The list for accessories is really long because this is a sewing machine and an embroidery machine in one model.
The important ones are the 8 sewing feet that are included.
We get: buttonhole foot, overcasting foot, monogramming foot, zipper foot, zigzag foot, stitch guide foot, adjustable zipper/piping foot, non-stick foot, open toe foot, embroidery foot, blindstitch foot.
If you’ll pay attention, you’ll spot the non-stick foot among all these accessories. This one is meant to be used with sticky fabrics like leather, suede and vinyl.
Thus, the SE1900 indicates that it can be used for a wide variety of sewing projects, including those that involve leather as fabric.
All in all, the Brother SE1900 offers a world of possibilities for those who can afford it. However, considering the high price, I believe that beginners would be better off with the SE600.
Where to Buy?
4. Brother PE800 Embroidery Machine
Basically, the SE1900 is a sewing and embroidery machine. Thus, we get the best of both worlds. We can do traditional sewing, quilting, and whatever other projects we want. It’s a complex and beautiful model.
On the other hand, the PE800 is just an embroidery model so it’s not a traditional sewing machine as well.
Basically, that’s the only difference between the PE800 and the SE1900. I believe that it’s worth paying more for the SE1900 if you want a combination of traditional sewing and embroidery.
However, if you want to buy the best cheap embroidery machine, my favorite recommendation remains the Brother SE600.
To make the distinction easier, you should know that the Brother models that are sewing and embroidery machines have their models’ names start with an S. The ones that are solely embroidery models start with a P.
The PE800 has all the features that the embroidery part of the SE1900 has.
We get the same large 5 x 7 inches embroidery field, which is great for larger designs.
There’s also a large color touch LCD screen to see our designs before they’re executed perfectly.
It also includes fast stitch speed.
And it allows us to do a bit of editing: rotate, mirror-image, increase and decrease the size of the designs.
Where to Buy?
5. Janome Memory Craft 400E Embroidery Machine
It’s also a bit more expensive than the Brother SE1900, while certainly not offering nearly as much.
It’s also not nearly as popular as the models from Brother.
There are also plenty of negative reviews to take into account. It seems that there are a few users who receive defective models. You wouldn’t expect that from such a reputable brand with such high prices.
While I love the heavy duty Janome HD-3000BE, which is a traditional sewing machine, I don’t love their embroidery model at all.
The manufacturer mentions that the MC400E makes it easy to personalize, embellish, and monogram home décor items, garments and accessories.
I don’t know if it’s easy to use, especially for beginners, but it’s certainly fast. It has an embroidery speed of 860 stitches per minute. That’s a powerful machine.
Another impressive feature is the embroidery field of 7.9 x 7.9 inches. That’s huge. It also includes an extra wide table for an expansive workroom.
We can import whatever designs we want via USB.
There are also 160 built-in designs with 6 fonts for monogramming.
Janome also mentions that there are many powerful features that ensure precision and accuracy: programmable hump thread trimming, adjustable speed while embroidering, flexible stitch traveling by units of 1, 10 and 100, direct jump to stitch point, auto return post thread break, and adjustable hoop positioning.
All in all, we can all say that the Janome MC400E sounds absolutely wonderful. Even if it costs a lot. And there are those negative reviews to take into account. It’s certainly not my favorite, not even close.
Where to Buy?
6. Singer Legacy SE300 Sewing and Embroidery Machine
I know that we’re here to talk about the best cheap embroidery machines that we can choose from but I also wanted to review a few more expensive models to see what sets them apart and to see if the cheaper ones are still worth it.
In my opinion, the Brother SE600, which is my favorite, is totally worth it, while the Brother SE1900 is fantastic if you have over $1,000 to spend.
The Brother SE600 is 4 times cheaper than this Singer and that says a lot. What I like is that they’re both sewing and embroidery machines so they offer a lot of versatility to their users, even if they do it from totally different price ranges.
We get 200 embroidery designs. And 6 font options. We also get a USB embroidery stick.
The available software lets us access even more designs (Windows compatibility only).
And also 250 sewing stitches. On both fronts, the numbers are impressive.
There are 13 buttonhole styles: bartack, round end, keyhole, stretch, etc.
Once we select the stitch, the machine automatically sets the optimal length, width, balance, pressure and tension. I love these features.
The sewing space measures 7.25 inches with a 3.9 inches height. We can do some wonderful quilts or larger projects without inconveniences.
Moreover, there are 2 hoops. These are meant to accommodate from small to extra-large embroidery designs. I absolutely love that.
Singer promises buyers endless embroidery capability to make end-to-end creations.
There are 4 individual memories for saving unique sequences for sewing later, even after turning off the machine.
The whole list of accessories is huge. But it’s not more impressive than the ones that come with the Brother SE1900.
Where to Buy?
On paper, we could say that the Singer Legacy SE300 is perfect, until you go through some negative reviews. Then, your opinion might change and you might understand that the best cheap embroidery machines that I reviewed first are totally worth it.