Best embroidery machine comparison: Charts, videos and reviews!

A comprehensive break down of the key industry knowledge thousands of professional apparel decorators have used to start and scale their businesses

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If you’re anything like most people looking for an embroidery machine, you’ve probably asked this question at one point:

“What is the best professional embroidery machine for home use?”

or…

“Which company makes the best industrial embroidery machine?”

Sounds familiar, right? Whether you’re looking for a home or commercial embroidery machine, you’ve come to the right place – because we’re about to tell you what the embroidery machine reviews fail to tell you.

The truth is: There is no “best industrial embroidery machine” or “best professional embroidery machine.” What’s best for one business or individual may not suit another. Just because one brand may be backed by its name doesn’t mean it carries the best professional embroidery machine for your specific needs. In fact, many times, the top brands that appear in embroidery machine reviews don’t even carry machines that are suitable for business purposes. Other times, the best industrial embroidery machine brand is not always going to carry a home embroidery machine for your needs. For that reason, you need to be clear about what you’re looking for before checking out embroidery machine reviews.

  1. Are you thinking about starting an embroidery machine business?
  2. Are you a home-based entrepreneur looking for an embroidery machine for home business?
  3. Do you just want a professional embroidery machine for crafts?

Whether you’re looking for an embroidery machine for business purposes or a home embroidery machine, we’ve taken an in-depth look at the two main embroidery machine types, and given you comparisons of each.

The two types of embroidery machines

  1. Single-head embroidery machines
  2. Multihead embroidery machines

Single-head embroidery machine

Single-head embroidery machines are available in two categories:

  1. Home embroidery machine
  2. Commercial embroidery machine

What classifies as a home embroidery machine?

Let’s start by taking a look at the home embroidery machine, which usually tends to pop up more in embroidery machine reviews (simply because they’re used by a wider audience.)

There are two types of home embroidery machines: the single-needle embroidery machine, and the multi-needle embroidery machine.

Single-needle embroidery machines are designed for crafters or hobbyists who plan to use their embroidery machine every now and then.

Multi-needle embroidery machines are designed for crafters and hobbyists who plan to use their machine frequently – and possibly even produce a side income.

If you’re a hobbyist or crafter who wants to embroider a few projects here and there, and you know you won’t have the time to embroider very often, you should opt for a single-needle embroidery machine.

However, because these machines only have one needle and a slower stitching speed, it will take longer to complete projects, and you’ll have to swap the thread every time you need to switch colors. Although at times more affordable, some hobbyists steer away from the single-needle machine solely due to the fact that it’s not designed to handle frequent use. Many embroiderers have spent $1,000 on a single-needle machine that ends up worn out and needs to be switched. You can even purchase a cheap embroidery machine from several well-known brands for less than $1,000.

However, if you’re looking for a new, high-tech single-needle machine, it can cost about the same as a multi-needle home embroidery machine depending on which brands you’re looking at. Usually, these can retail for up to $9,999 (the price of a more efficient, multi-needle embroidery machine.)

Unless you’re planning on running a small project or two a month, you’ll benefit most from a multi-needle home embroidery machine. Commercial grade functions are standard in this category of machines. Designed for hobbyists who want to embroider more frequently and efficiently, multi-needle home embroidery machines have larger sewing fields, faster sewing speeds, and save the time of changing threads each time you need to embroider a different color. Most of these machines are also suitable for cap embroidery. Machine price varies depending on the brand, but the range is typically from $9,000 to $15,500.

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Example: EM-1010 Home Embroidery Machine

Home-based entrepreneurs and hobbyists love the EM because…

  • It’s lightweight and portable
  • It’s sleek and easy-to-use
  • It packs industrial capabilities that other home embroidery machines lack
  • It has 10 needles for automatic color change and high efficiency
  • It includes ALL the necessary attachments to run your machine – giving users the highest value in the market

What classifies as a commercial embroidery machine?

Commercial embroidery machines are designed for business use and are built to run for long periods of time. Here are a few of the main features that distinguish commercial embroidery machines from home embroidery machines.

  1. The number of needles
  2. Whether or not the machine is suitable for caps
  3. The size of the sewing field
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A single-head commercial embroidery machine is usually the starting point for people who are looking to start a small business with embroidery.

While single-head commercial embroidery machines are designed for businesses that are just starting up or people who want to start an embroidery business, many hobbyists transition to single-head embroidery machines after they realize how much money they can make with embroidery. Single-head commercial embroidery machines also have some appeal to hobbyists who don’t necessarily want to start a business but have the extra income to spend on a machine that does it all in minutes.

Others who have never used an embroidery machine purchase single-head embroidery machines with the sole purpose of starting a small business. Embroidery machine features are pretty similar across the board for new single-head commercial machines. Many are equipped with 15 needles and have touch-screen functionalities and one-step functions, making it the easiest and most efficient choice for a business’s first or second embroidery machine. Machine price for single-head commercial embroidery machines typically varies from $12,000 to up to $20,000. Many of these machines are computerized, but some still aren’t. A computerized embroidery machine has an internal computer and, therefore, can run on its own without the use of a computer. These machines are typically very user-friendly, and can easily be used by people who have never owned an embroidery machine in the past.

The upshot: If you’re looking to start an embroidery business, or add embroidery to your existing small decorated apparel business, you should opt for a single-head commercial embroidery machine.

Example: RCM-1501TC Commercial Embroidery Machine

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Startups and entrepreneurs love the TC because…

  • It’s sleek, up-to-date and easy-to-use
  • It boasts the industrial capabilities of a commercial machine while compact enough to fit in a home-based business
  • It has 15 needles for automatic color change and high efficiency
  • It includes ALL the necessary attachments to run your machine – giving users the highest value in the market
“Within the first 2 weeks, following the training seminar, I accomplished 4 embroidery orders totaling 200 t-shirts and 150 hats. My Ricoma machine performed without a problem. Everything went better than I ever imagined. I attribute this to the support and training I received from your sales and technical departments. As of today, I have logged a few million stitches on my machine and have embroidered over 1000s of garments. I have not had a single issue with my Ricoma machine. Matter of fact, as I mentioned, I am extremely pleased with both the training and support that Ricoma has provided me with. Your staff has been very knowledgeable and professional. I am very happy and excited about my new embroidery business and the confidence I have with my new machine and the support from Ricoma.”
Dawn Shaw, Shaw Embroidery

If you think a single-head embroidery machine is for you, your next question may be something like:

“What’s the best priced embroidery machine?”

If you’re searching for the best priced, embroidery machine packages from Ricoma will give you the highest value.

Check out this chart that compares the single-head Ricoma embroidery machines to see which one is best for you.

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Want to see more? Schedule a free virtual demo to view our machines running in real time and get all your questions answered by an embroidery specialist.

Multihead embroidery machine

The second type of embroidery machine is the multihead embroidery machine. A multihead embroidery machine is best for people with growing embroidery businesses. If your small embroidery business is growing, it may be time to upgrade to a two-head for faster turnaround times. Some startups also invest in two-heads or even six-heads if they plan to partner with an existing decorated apparel shop with a steady flow of business that wants to add embroidery to the mix. While two-head embroidery machines will work for both established businesses and startups, six-head equipment is best for businesses that have a steady flow of work that want to increase turnaround times and scale production. If you’re looking for a multihead embroidery machine, chances are, you’re probably already familiar with this information and just want to see what specifications meet your needs. In some cases, however, people start immediately with a six-head embroidery machine and experience success. That is true for Alban Tullumi, who purchased a six-head Ricoma machine right off the bat. Now, Alban frequently takes large orders and knows his machine inside and out.

Example: CHT-1506 Commercial Embroidery Machine

Embroidery business owners love the CHT because…

  • It’s sleek, up-to-date and easy-to-use
  • It produces more profit in less time
  • It has 15 needles for automatic color change and high efficiency
  • It has a user-friendly 10-inch LCD touch-screen that makes operation a breeze
  • It includes ALL the necessary attachments to run your machine – giving users the highest value in the market
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“The six-head Ricoma, I call it the Beast. It is a very good one. It is fast productive and unstoppable. It helped me a lot because the mass of productivity I can make is huge.”
Alban Tullumi, Dream Design

If you think a multihead embroidery machine is for you, check out this chart that compares the multihead Ricoma embroidery machines to see which one is best for your needs.

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Want to see more? Schedule a free virtual demo to view our machines running in real time and get all your questions answered by an embroidery specialist.

The top 5 factors to consider when purchasing an embroidery machine

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If you’ve been researching what the best professional embroidery machine is, you should take a step back and make sure you’ve been paying attention to these deciding factors.

  1. Support: Make sure the company offers 7-day customer support. Many embroiderers start their business as side gigs, so technical support needs to be included on Saturdays and Sundays in the event you have a question or technical issue over the weekend. When you’re starting off, you’re likely running your machine during the weekends if you have other commitments during the workweek. Even if you already have a small business, embroidery machine companies should be there to address your technical issues in the event you’re meeting a strict deadline. Because embroidery is something you have to learn, the company’s technical support must always be running to make sure you can keep your embroidery machine running.
  2. Manufacturing: This one may not seem as important to you, but it’s actually fundamental in this field. It’s very rare to find an embroidery machine business that manufactures and sell its own products. Whether or not the company manufactures its own products ties back to the company’s support. A company that manufactures its own parts knows exactly how their machines operate. For that reason, its staff is better equipped to assist you when you need a hand. In such a niche field, this is essential, because you need a special skillset to know the ins and outs of an embroidery machine.
  3. Communication: Pay attention to how well this company communicates with you from day one. If they’re not good at communicating with you during the sales process, they definitely won’t be there once the sale has been closed. How many avenues of communication have they opened up for you? Do they offer virtual demos on your time? Are they active on various social media platforms? If they’re not taking the time to talk to you through various channels before you’re their customer, they’ll do so even less after.
  4. Value and resources: As far as which company has the best priced embroidery machine depends not as much on the price, but on the value you get from each. For instance, some companies provide all-inclusive packages with the purchase of the machine, while other players charge additional for attachments. Let’s face it. Price is a deciding factor in any purchase, so always look for what best fits your budget. When starting out, the money you save on the cost of the embroidery machine each month can be the difference between making a sizable profit or not. However, it’s important to note while embroidery machine price is important, you should look at the resources and benefits that you get included in that price.
  5. Financing: If you finance, embroidery machine payments will be low while you make money. While most companies will give buyers the option to finance, embroidery machine payment plans will vary by the company you go with. Pay attention to how flexible or sensible the financing options are. Most companies will offer financing but very few companies will offer 0% financing, which does two things:
    • Eliminates the risk of interest summing up to thousands
    • Eliminates up-front costs
    • Generates ROI from day one

So now that you’re aware of what to look for in an embroidery machine, the next logical step is to take your research to the next level and request a free virtual demo. In it, you’ll be able to see exactly how our embroidery machines operate in real time and get all your questions answered by an embroidery specialist. Most importantly, remember to keep these five factors in mind. This is how you’ll get the perfect combination of resources, equipment and support to get you moving toward your ultimate goal… making a killer profit with embroidery (or just having a fully capable home embroidery machine with all the perks and support commercial buyers get.)

Want to learn more? View some more details about our machines vs. competitors in these blogs: