T-shirt embroidery businesses are incredibly popular ventures for small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. By creating new and fresh designs, you can ensure that your shirt business succeeds. And you don’t need an extensive list of skills or equipment to start your business, either! All you need is the best embroidery machine on the market.
Based on my personal experience, we will go over my picks for the best embroidery machine for shirts.
What is the Best Embroidery Machine for Home Business for Shirt Embroidery?
The best embroidery machine for home based business include the Brother SE1900, Singer Futura XL580, Brother SE600, Janome Memory Craft 500E, and the EverSewn Sparrow X Next-Generation embroidery machines. These machines all have advanced features and are beginner-friendly.
|Features||Brother SE1900||Singer Legacy SE300||Brother SE600||Janome Memory Craft 500E||EverSewn Sparrow X2|
|Embroidery Area||5″x7″||10.25″ x 6″||4″x4″||7.9″ x 11″||4.75″ x 7″|
|Built-in Sewing Stitches||240||250||103||NA||120|
|Included Presser Feet||7||10||8||1||NA|
|LCD Display||Color LCD Touch Screen||Touch Screen||Color LCD Touch Screen||Touch Screen||TABLET|
|Warranty||25 Years||25 Years||25 Years||25 Years||10 Years|
|View Now||View Now||View Now||View Now||View Now||View Now|
Shirt embroidery is a fun and easy way to transfer your customized designs onto t-shirts, and the quality of an embroidered t-shirt versus a printed t-shirt is unmatched. So, if you’re interested in getting your t-shirt business off the ground, I have listed our top picks for the best embroidery machine for a home business here.
I do recommend that you continue reading so that you know what you are looking for in an embroidery machine.
What Type of Embroidery Machine Should I Buy?
To determine which is the best embroidery machine for shirts, you must first understand the key terms when it comes to shirt embroidery and how to embroider shirts by machine.
Combo vs Embroidery Only Machines
When focusing on shirt embroidery, you have to decide between a combo machine (that can both sew and embroider) and an embroidery-only machine.
A combo machine is versatile and allows for both regular sewing and embroidery. It’s a convenient choice for individuals or businesses that need both functionalities in a compact space.
However, embroidery-only machines are often built with more advanced embroidery features, better precision, and higher durability due to their specialization. They are usually more efficient at large-scale or frequent embroidery tasks, such as shirt embroidery, where a higher level of performance is required.
Having a combo embroidery machine is great, but it shouldn’t be the deciding factor when buying an embroidery machine. In my experience, when a machine does only one thing, it does it well.
Embroidery Area and Hoop Size
The maximum embroidery area and hoop size play a significant role in shirt embroidery. A larger embroidery area gives you more room for creative designs and enables the machine to handle larger, more intricate embroidery tasks without needing to reposition the hoop.
The hoop size also determines the scale of designs you can work on. For shirts, a hoop that is too small may limit the design capabilities and would require rehooping and realignment, adding to the project’s complexity.
When selecting a machine for shirt embroidery, consider a machine that offers a reasonably large maximum embroidery area and a variety of hoop sizes.
Single Needle vs. Multi-Needle Embroidery Machines
Manual thread changes can be time-consuming and require focused attention, especially when dealing with multi-colored designs.
In contrast, a multi-needle commercial embroidery machine allows for automated color changes, significantly speeding up the process. This automation enables you to complete shirt embroidery projects quickly and efficiently.
The automated thread change feature is especially useful in a production setting, where time efficiency is crucial. If you get an embroidery machine that has only one needle or is not able to change threads automatically, you will need to pause between each color!
Stitching speed is a key factor to consider for shirt embroidery. A machine with a higher stitching speed can complete tasks more quickly, contributing to higher productivity, especially in a commercial setting.
However, it’s important to note that very high speeds may compromise the quality of embroidery if the machine doesn’t have excellent motion control.
A balance between speed and control ensures efficient operation without compromising the embroidery’s precision and quality.
Jump Stitch Trimming: Manual vs. Automatic
Jump stitches are the threads that ‘jump’ across different sections of an embroidery design. In manual jump stitch trimming, the user has to pause the machine and trim these stitches by hand. This process can be time-consuming and disruptive, especially in complex designs.
An automatic jump stitch trimming feature trims these threads automatically, significantly improving efficiency and giving a cleaner finish to the embroidery. For shirt embroidery, an automatic trimmer is beneficial, reducing manual intervention and enhancing the overall look of the final product.
Top 5 Embroidery Machines
Now that you know what to look for when choosing the right embroidery machine, take a look at my top 5 picks. These were hand-selected based on previous experience.
1. Brother SE1900 Sewing And Embroidery Machine
The Brother SE1900 is a two-in-one sewing and embroidery machine that may just become one of your biggest assets as a small business owner. One of the many things we love about it is that Brother is a well-known and trendy brand among embroidery enthusiasts. And for a good reason!
Brother has top-notch quality and is worth investing in if you want a machine that will last for a long time.
With over 138 built-in designs and 11 embroidery fonts, this handy machine is excellent for beginners. If you aren’t familiar with how to embroider on a t-shirt, you can always practice with one of the existing designs and a scrap piece of fabric.
It’s also simple for business owners who aren’t familiar with design. All you need to do is pick an existing design and let your machine do the rest! In my opinion, the Brother SE1900 is the best embroidery machine for beginners.
But, if you want to create your own designs or have bought a couple of pre-made designs that you love, don’t worry! The SE1900 has a built-in USB port, making it quick and easy to upload your customized designs.
Before you start embroidering on your t-shirt, you can also get a preview of your design on the 3.2-inch LCD touchscreen. You can also use this screen to edit any of your designs effortlessly.
The editing tool is easy to use and allows you to change the color of your designs, adjust the lettering, and even rotate, flip, or resize the design.
The embroidery field is also large enough for bigger designs and measures 5 x 7 inches. The SE1900 comes with an embroidery hoop and seven different sewing feet, so you don’t have to worry about buying any other embroidery accessories.
Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, threading the needle of your embroidery machine can be a time-consuming task. We all know it can be a huge hassle sometimes! But, with the Brother SE1900, you can rest easy. This device is designed with an automatic threader, which means that the machine pushes the thread through the needle of the device with a simple one-touch lever.
This makes it even easier to thread your needle and quickly change color when your design calls for it.
You can also make any design come to life with 240 different types of stitches. Plus, at 22 pounds, this machine is lightweight enough to be portable and storable.
- Good for beginners
- 138 built-in designs
- 11 embroidery fonts
- 240 stitch types
- Built-in USB port for custom design uploads
- Automatic threader
- Lightweight, portable, and storable
- Easy to edit designs
- Includes embroidery hoop and seven sewing feet
- It can be a bit too pricey for a start-up business
2. Singer Legacy SE300 Sewing And Embroidery Machine
The SE300 has 200 built-in designs, six font types, and 250 stitches programmed into the machine, so you can get to work as soon as you take your new embroidery machine out of its box!
Not only is the SE300 an embroidery machine, but it is also made to work as a sewing and quilting machine. Talk about value for money!
The embroidery surface includes an LED option to help illuminate your work area and prevent eye strain. As an entrepreneur or small t-shirt business owner, you’ll know that there is no such thing as office hours. So whether you’re fulfilling an order during the day or in the middle of a sleepless night, you’ll be able to see your design perfectly.
Like the Brother SE1900, the SE300 also includes an automatic threader and built-in USB port for uploading your custom designs. The Singer also includes an extra-large sewing space, an electronic thread trimmer and bobbin winder, and an endless hoop for longer, more intricate designs.
The machine includes Hyperfont and AutoPunch software to make designing and uploading your designs more efficient. Similarly, the SE300 can read a range of different file formats. These include formats such as SEW, FHE, CHE, XXX, JEF, and PSW.
- 200 built-in designs
- Six embroidery fonts
- 250 stitch types
- LED options for work surface
- 3-in-1 machine
- Includes endless hoop for more design freedom
- XL embroidery surface
- Electronic thread trimmer
- Automatic threader
- Built-in USB
- No LED display screen
- No built-in editing options
3. Brother SE600 Sewing And Embroidery Machine
While we have already mentioned the SE600’S big brother – the SE1900 – this smaller machine is much more budget and beginner-friendly.
If you’re new to the world of t-shirt embroidery, you may be reluctant to spend over a thousand dollars on an embroidery machine. And we hear you! While these machines are beneficial and long-lasting, not everyone can afford an expensive machine to start off with. The Brother SE600 is a great cheap embroidery machine for beginners.
Cue the Brother SE600. At under a thousand dollars, this baby is super affordable!
And just because it is less expensive and slightly smaller than the SE1900, this handy little machine shouldn’t be under-estimated!
The SE600 comes with 80 built-in design templates and six embroidery fonts. It also has 103 built-in stitches. Although this may seem like a limited range compared to the SE1900, they are more than you’ll need to get started.
The SE600 also has a built-in USB, so you can always purchase or design more templates and fonts and quickly and easily upload them to your machine. It also has an automatic needle threader, so you won’t have to spend ages on rethreading when you swap out your colors.
This machine comes with an embroidery hoop, embroidery arm, and seven sewing feet, so you won’t have to worry about additional purchases when you buy the SE600. Much like its premium counterpart, the SE600 also had built-in editing features, so it’s great for beginners!
The preview screen is a 3.2-inch LED display, so you can adjust and correct your designs before putting them onto your t-shirt.
The SE600 has a 4 x 4-inch embroidery space, so this machine is better for smaller projects or designs. While it is big enough for most t-shirt designs, you may have to purchase a bigger machine if you wish to scale your business.
Despite its small size limitations, this is a great starting machine for any small t-shirt business to get off the ground.
- 103 stitch types
- 80 built-in designs
- Six embroidery fonts
- LED display screen
- Editing functionality
- Accessories included
- Built-in USB port
- 4” x 4” embroidery space
4. Janome Memory Craft 500E Embroidery Machine
The Janome 500E is a fantastic stand-alone embroidery machine. So, if you’re looking for a device that is dedicated solely to embroidery, this is one of the best!
One of our favorite features of the 500E – and the big selling point of this machine – is that you can digitize your designs on the embroidery machine itself. This can save you a reasonable amount of time that may otherwise be spent fussing over a design on your computer. And, as any small business owner knows: Time is money.
Another great advantage of this embroidery machine is its speed. This machine is both quick and quiet and gives off some of the most intricate stitches in the shortest amount of time that we have seen. Choose from 160 built-in designs!
Not only is this machine incredibly detailed, but it also has one of the largest embroidery spaces among its competitors. The biggest space on the 500E is a whopping 7.9 x 11 inches. So, no matter how big your design is, you can make it happen! This is fantastic for creating designs that cover the entire back of a t-shirt.
Although this machine is relatively affordable, you will need to purchase its accessories separately.
While this may be a slight drawback, it’s important to note that the accessories are all long-lasting and durable, so they will not have to be replaced all that often. It’s also totally worth it to have a machine that has functionality solely dedicated to embroidery!
The 500E also includes an automatic thread cutter and needle threader, so it is much easier for beginners to get started with this machine. The editing options are also incredibly versatile and include options like size alteration, rotating, flipping, zooming, copy and paste, arcing, combining images, single color sewing, and corner layout.
- Good for beginners
- Dedicated embroidery-only machine
- Editing capabilities
- 6 Font Types
- Automatic thread cutter
- Automatic needle threader
- Quick and quiet
- Large embroidery space
- It can be expensive for start-up businesses
- Accessories not included
5. EverSewn Sparrow X2 Next-Generation Sewing And Embroidery Machine
If you want to invest in one of the most technologically savvy embroidery machines on the market, the EverSewn Sparrow X2 is the machine for you. This amazing machine can be controlled remotely from any smartphone or device, so you can monitor your projects wherever and whenever!
But, before we get into the fantastic wireless capabilities the Sparrow X2 has to offer, let’s take a look at a couple of the other great features this machine has to offer. The Sparrow X2 has 100 built-in designs, as well as 120 stitch types, and comes with four hoop sizes.
Additionally, the Sparrow X2 has an excellent embroidery space, measuring 4.75 x 7 inches. That means that you will be able to achieve most mid-sized t-shirt designs without any hassle.
The machine is also great for beginners and comes with a built-in thread cutter. This thread-away technology automatically trims any jump stitches from your design, which means that your design is perfect as soon as you take it off the machine.
Because there is no more time wasted on removing pesky jump stitches once your design has finished, this machine is excellent for saving time.
Now, let’s get into the other innovative features of this device!
With the EverSewn Pro application, you can control and monitor the device, no matter where you are. You can also customize your designs using the free editing tools on the app.
Instead of a built-in USB to upload your new designs, the Sparrow X lets you upload your customized designs straight from the app!
By being able to use a phone or tablet to create new designs and with an easy-to-use app with some incredible features, the Sparrow X2 is one of the top machines that a small business owner can buy. As an additional bonus, the EverSewn Pro app is free! So no more paying an excessive amount of money on design or editing software!
- Good for beginners
- Good embroidery space
- 100 designs
- 120 stitches
- Four hoop sizes included
- Easy to use application
- Easy to connect to the device using a smartphone or tablet
- Built-in thread cutter
- No fonts included
- Smart capabilities may not work for everyone
So, there you have it. Those are our top picks for the best embroidery machines for an at-home or small t-shirt business. We based all of our choices on the machines that had the best capabilities and their ability to be beginner-friendly.
No matter what your skill set is, these machines will help you on your way to making your business a huge success. By investing in one of these embroidery machines, you can use it to grow your business without having to upgrade your machine.
Bryan E. Robinson is the former owner of TshirtGrowth. He has sold t-shirts since 2006 through dropshipping, screen printing, vinyl printing, DTG, Print on Demand, and more. Bryan has created his own t-shirt designs through Photoshop, Canva, and other platforms, as well as worked with freelancers to create many of his designs. Besides t-shirts, Bryan has over 18 years of experience in online marketing with eCommerce, B2B SaaS, B2C products, and more.