5 Best Cheap Embroidery machines in 2023: Get the best value for money
Anytime you start something new, especially something like a hobby or other sideline, there is the question of whether or not you will really like it as well as you originally thought you would.
So you hesitate to put a lot of money into it for fear of wasting it.
With a hobby like doing embroidery (which can be much more than just a hobby), you may not want to get a top-of-the-line machine at first.
That’s where the very affordable embroidery machines that I’ll show you in this review come in.
These are some of the best embroidery machines for your money when you’re just getting started.
Some may call them cheap embroidery machines, but I think you’ll see that “cheap” has a connotation that really doesn’t fit here-Except for one machine, more on that later in this article.
Consider them more like budget machines that won’t strain your finances but will still let you see what machine embroidery is all about.
Here's the quick rundown of my top picks. Further down the article, you'll find more information about these machines.
- If you want the best affordable embroidery machine that can also sew, then take the SE600.
- If you want the best cheap brother embroidery machine that doesn't sew, then PE800 is your by far the best option.
If you’re in a hurry and just want to check the pricing and availability of the models I’ll discuss in this article; you can click the Amazon links in the list below.
Note that the three machines in the middle of the list are embroidery-only units. The first and the last are also sewing machines.
- Click here to buy Brother SE600. Best budget combo machine.
- Brother PE525. There's a new model for this "PE535".
- Brother PE540D. There's also a latest model for this "PE550D".
- Click here to get the Brother PE800 at Amazon. Best economical embroidery only machine
- Singer Futura XL-400. It's not Recommended. Update: It's not even available now for sale and may not likely to make a comeback.
Best affordable embroidery machines of 2023:
Here're the reviews and comparisons of the top inexpensive embroidery machines of 2023.
The first of our inexpensive embroidery machines is Brother SE600.
Keep in mind that this is also a regular, full-featured, sewing machine that includes 103 different stitches and eight buttonhole styles.
For embroidery, you have a 6.4"(W) x 4.1"(H) workspace, which is plenty of space when you're just getting started.
Brother includes one 4x4 hoop. Working with multiple designs requires re-hooping and continuous alignment. It's always one of the most tedious tasks on 4 x4 embroidery machines.
SE600 offers you the built-in alignment that makes re-hooping hassle-free.
Despite being a budget machine, you can edit curved text, and move your designs around on the screen.
You can also preview your design edits before stitching on the 3.7 inches smart, color, touchscreen.
This model includes 80 non-licensed, decorative designs, and six lettering fonts.
That's more than enough for a beginner. But if that isn't enough, you can import PES designs from your computer via the built-in USB port on your machine.
You get an adjustable embroidery stitch speed of up to 400 stitches per minute. (When sewing, you can do a maximum of 710 stitches per minute.)
That may not be the fastest, but you don't necessarily want to be a speed demon when you're just getting started.
Buy Brother SE600 sewing and embroidery machine at Amazon today.
Brother PE525, PE540D, and PE800
Based on their main features, the Brother PE525 and the Brother PE540D look like the same machines.
The only real difference is that, with the PE540D, you get 35 licensed Disney designs with your purchase. (The “D” in the model name likely stands for “Disney.”)
You can see how they compare in the table below. You can also see here that the Brother PE800 is the largest, fastest, and brightest model of these three embroidery-only machines.
It's even better than the PE535 and PE550D, which are latest models of the PE525 and PE540D respectively.
Click here to buy the Brother PE800 from Amazon.
It’s not in the table, but if you compare especially the PE800 to the SE600 above, you’ll also find both have the latest color screens. The main thing is that PE800 is a dedicated embroidery machine with a bigger area.
|Embroidery area size||4 in. x 4 in.||4 in. x 4 in.||5 in. x 7 in.|
|Frame pattern combinations||120||120||140|
|Embroidery speed (stitches per minute)||400||400||650|
|Lighting||1 LED||1 LED||2 LEDs|
Each of these machines has an LCD touchscreen display on which you can watch tutorials and work with the designs.
All models allow you to rotate a pattern 1, 10, or 90 degrees from the original.
Computer connectivity is the same from the PE525 to the PE540D. Each of these two models also has a memory card.
The PE800 handles these things a little differently. It has the built-in memory where you can store designs. You use a memory stick (thumb drive) port to transfer information instead of a USB cable.
Singer Futura XL-400-Not Recommended
The Singer Futura XL-400 is the other sewing and embroidery machine we’ll look at.
First, take a look at its features, then I'll tell you why it's a gamble to invest in this machine.
You get 30 basic, stretch, decorative, and buttonhole stitches to work with. That’s plenty for the beginner.
For embroidery, you get two hoops. One is considered extra large at 10 by 6 inches. The other is the fairly standard smaller size at 4 by 4 inches.
125 embroidery designs and five lettering fonts are built-in. You can also print out designs and use them as placement templates.
Your machine can read many embroidery design file formats using the USB cable which you can connect to a Windows computer.
Some of the formats are PES, FHE, DST, CHE, PCS, PEC, EXP and more.
Instead of iBroidery.com, here you work with myembroideries.com when downloading more designs.
You can do basic editing of designs - rotate, flip, resize - plus much more with the included software, which has thread charts with color numbers for easy reference.
An extra-bright work area, lit by 6 LEDs, lets you fashion your designs with ease.
There is even a 3D view of your work, so you can see exactly how it will look when finished.
There is more to this machine than described here in this overview.
As you can see above, it has the features to die for; however, you shouldn't judge this machine by its features. Unless people are satisfied, it's useless to have so many features.
According to the overwhelming majority of owners, it has many problems. You can read my full review of XL-400 here. Update: It's not even available now.
View Singer Futura XL-400 on Amazon.
What's the best budget embroidery machine?
I think that any of these five embroidery machines (except XL-400) would suit you quite well, especially if you are just getting started with machine embroidery.
If you really don’t care for it as much as you thought you would originally, you won’t have broken your bank to find that out-XL-400 is an exception to this case.
On the other hand, if you really love this kind of needlework, you will have a machine that should serve you well for a good while.
Maybe someday you’ll upgrade to a heftier machine, or maybe you’ll just stick with your first love in one of these.
That said, if I were looking to get the best embroidery machine for the money, I would pick SE600 (Via Amazon.)
Although XL-400 seems to have slightly better features than the Brother SE600, I would not take the gamble of investing in XL-400 as it has lots of negative reviews. Futura XL-400 is also slightly more expensive than SE600.
If you want the best value cheapest embroidery machine and also love to have sewing features, then SE600 is your best bet (via Amazon.) It's the best budget embroidery machine for beginners and intermediates.
If you don’t care about or don’t need the sewing machine features and want the best affordable machine for embroidery only, take the Brother PE800 (via Amazon.)
It has a larger and brighter work area, more built-in designs, and is faster.