If you’re in the market for an embroidery machine, you may be wondering whether it makes more sense to invest in a commercial or home model. While both have their advantages and disadvantages, choosing the right one for your needs can be a daunting task. In this post, we’ll compare some popular commercial and home embroidery machines, and help you determine which type of embroidery machine is the best fit for your business or personal projects. Whether you’re a professional embroiderer or a hobbyist, read on to learn more about getting started with an embroidery machine.
The first, and possibly most crucial factor to consider, is cost. Generally speaking, a home embroidery machine is going to cost significantly less than a commercial machine. At time of publishing, the Brother PE800 home embroidery machine averages around the $750 mark, while the Butterfly B-1501B/T commercial embroidery machine is just over $12,000 after web discounts.
If you’re coming in as a hobbyist, or just looking to start embroidering on personal garments, you may not need (or want) to spend thousands of dollars on a commercial machine. If you’re planning to start an embroidery business full-time, however, you’ll want to carefully consider whether saving money by buying a home machine is worth the extra production time you’ll need to spend operating a less capable machine. This leads us to the next factor.
If you’re looking to start an embroidery business, there’s a high chance you’re doing it because other embroidery companies aren’t meeting your market’s quality needs or deadlines. If this is the case, you’ll want to make sure the machine you purchase is going to be capable of keeping up with demand.
Most home embroidery machines are single-needle, meaning that you will need to change thread spools during every color change in your design. This can be extremely time-consuming and stressful if you’re working with a deadline. You will also be limited to lower stitching speeds, with most home embroidery machines maxing out at 650 stitches per minute (SPM).
Conversely, commercial embroidery machines typically have anywhere from 6 to 20 separate needles, allowing you to complete colorful designs without needing to stop and change theads. Commercial machines will also offer faster stitching – for example, the TEWH BC-1501 can run at a maximum speed of 1200 SPM, almost doubling the production of a home machine.
If you plan on producing embroidered pieces at a professional level, you should avoid buying a home embroidery machine if at all possible.
It goes without saying that every embroidery job is different, which is why so many embroidery companies end up specializing in a specific niche. When choosing between a home and commercial embroidery machine, you’ll want to think about the types of garments you plan on embroidering.
Most home embroidery machines are only capable of running flat hoops, which are used for shirts, sweaters, and other thin materials. If you want to embroider on a hat, you’ll either need to be incredibly crafty and patient, or be ready to outsource the job to another company. You’ll also be limited to relatively small sewing fields, so keep that in mind if you plan on taking custom orders or large embroidery designs.
Commercial embroidery machines will usually include a flat system, cap system, and a number of different hoops to accommodate a variety of embroidery jobs. Although this can increase the time it takes to learn how to use your machine, it will greatly reduce your turnaround time and prevent you from having to outsource your work. You’ll also have options for a larger sewing field, with some commercial embroidery machines (like the Butterfly SUMO) capable of embroidery areas up to 23 by 51’ inches, making large designs and patches much easier and more profitable to produce.
Most home embroidery machines will be capable of keeping up with basic embroidery tasks. Even with limits in needle count, stitching speed, and embroidery area, the simplicity of a home embroidery machine can make it a better fit for people looking to learn the craft or just express creativity. You should expect to see basic features like a digital display and USB capability on pretty much every modern embroidery machine, making small jobs relatively easy and fun.
Commercial embroidery machines are a lot more likely to include cutting-edge technology like on-device monogramming, design scaling and adjustment, pattern repeating, laser tracing, automatic color changing, and automatic stitching speed adjustments. If any of these features sound like they would make your work easier, it’s a good idea to consider spending the extra money to get a commercial embroidery machine. When used to their fullest, these features can make a huge impact on the quality of your embroidery and the rate at which they are produced.
Remember that buying an embroidery machine is a lot like buying a car; if you just need something to get from point A to point B, there are a ton of great value options on the market. If you’re a professional or enthusiast, however, make sure that you dial in on a machine that both meets your needs, and gives you the opportunity to hone and improve your craft.