Choosing an Embroidery Machine: Nine Options to Consider

Buying a machine? These tips will help you purchase the right machine the first time.

Last time, we discussed the most important thing to any embroidery or sewing machine purchase--the dealer. Now we will talk about some of the things that you should think about before choosing a machine.

1. How do you plan to use the machine?

Is it for home or business use? Business embroidery is best done on commercial machines that are built specifically for mass production and continuous hours of operation.

2. What options are most important to you?

Consider which things are a must-have, such as an automatic needle threader or a camera.

3. What is the throat width?

Some newer models have throat widths (the amount of space between the needle and machine body) that rival long-arm machines. It gives you more room to move around, allows use of larger hoops, and is ideal for machine quilting of any kind.

4. Is the embroidery unit separate from the sewing machine?

If it is, you can use the machine for sewing and quilting as well as embroidery. It is a good way to buy a sewing machine to which you can add embroidery capabilities later. If space is a consideration, then having sewing/embroidery combined might fit your needs better.

5. What hoop sizes are available?

Hoop sizes range from 4x4 inches to 14x14 inches and beyond. If your largest hoop size is 4x4, it limits the size of embroidery designs that can be stitched. Make sure you're shopping for what the machine can embroider in one hooping, not a "repositionable hoop" that would require design splitting to get the job done.

6. What optional accessories are available?

Find out extras you can add on later such as different presser feet, a quilting table, or attachments for special techniques. Buy a machine you can grow into.

7. Are the embroidery designs built in or are they separate?

Some embroidery machines only have designs built into the memory. To access as many design files as possible, machines should connect directly to a computer or load files from a thumb drive.

8. Are owner’s classes included in the purchase of the machine?

Most dealers provide at least one owner’s class and offer refresher classes on basic machine functions.

9. What warranty and service is included?

Dealers have trained technicians on site or under contract, which saves a lot of time and worry when your machine needs cleaned or serviced. Otherwise, you would ship it off to the manufacturer for repair which is timely, costly, and risky.

A little bit of research is time well spent when investing in an embroidery system. The last thing you want is to buy one machine and then find out you’d rather have another.

What machine options are most important to you?

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