Which Embroidery Machine Do I Buy?

Someone used to say: “Never ask a life insurance salesman if you need more life insurance”. We mention this because your first contact with a sewing or embroidery machine dealer could be an expensive mistake! Read this BEFORE contacting or visiting dealers.

For obvious reasons, dealers might be more biased toward their own products and would like to make sale, instead of finding out what your particular sewing or embroidery needs are. This makes it difficult for you, right? How do you know which a particular brand is suitable for what you would like to do? That’s where we come in.

Dealers know their products, but to a lesser extent know their competition’s products.

We’re different. We keep ourselves educated with all brands sewing and embroidery machines out there, in order to advise you on what machine would work best for you and your pocket without adding a CENT extra!

Besides being a multi-dealership, including RiCOMA, Brother and Pfaff dealers, we have special agreements with select dealers of most brands all over South Africa. Rest assured that what you pay for a machine through a dealer, is what you’ll pay through us.

For expert advice on which embroidery or sewing machine would suit YOU & YOUR pocket, connect with us.
Or complete the request a quote form, and we’ll get back to you asap!

Some Tips

In the meantime, here are some tips which might help you if you’re new to the embroidery world. There are three questions you need to know the answers of before you decide on which embroidery machine to buy:

1. Is this for a hobby or a business?
Start-Embroidery-Business1 If it’s for hobby use, there are lots of options, starting rock bottom and going up… way up!

For a business, you will need an industrial machine that can embroider pretty quickly in order to get through your projects fast and make profit.

A home machine does not need to be as fast or heavy-duty as an industrial machine.

2. What size do you want to embroider?
framing The more expensive or industrial embroidery machines (mainly for business use) will stitch designs larger than 4″x4″ without needing to reframe your design to continue. (Framing is putting the fabric into an embroidery machine frame.)

While reframing is an option, it is an extra step. And another opportunity for error…

Almost all the designs we make, fit in a 4″x4″ frame. But there are plenty of designs available that won’t. Home embroidery machines can manage an area of up to 10″x16″.

Industrial embroidery machines can do the back of a jacket with one frame. If you are happy with a 4″x4″ frame, you can save quite a bit of money on the cost of the machine.

3. How much are you willing/able to spend?
You can consider purchasing second-hand, but BEWARE! First do your homework on prices of new embroidery machines and different models, BEFORE looking for a used machine.

Or contact us if you are rather looking for a second-hand embroidery machine. As we are in the business, we come across good deals quite often!

Besides The Embroidery Machine, You Also Need…

Machine Embroidery Digitizing Software
drawings-6-pro-featuredYou cannot operate your embroidery machine without digitizing software. Though almost every major brand has its accompanying digitizing software, it can be limited – most can only digitize the brand’s specific format. Also, most digitizing software are costly, ranging between R15 000 – R50 000.

Which Embroidery Machine Brand Should I Buy?

There are three types of embroidery machines:

  • purely embroidery
  • combination (sew and embroider on the same machine)
  • industrial (offering multiple needles and multiple heads for faster productions)

No matter which embroidery machine you choose, you’ll need to think about all the features you will need. Some features to look for are:

  • bobbins (the thread which sew underneath the fabric) that are easily changeable
  • automatic needle threaders embroidery hoops (keeps fabric steady)
  • mirror-image capability (provides balance and symmetry when doing patterns)
  • scanner – great for turning your designs into stitches you can embroider
  • presser foot – holds the fabric steady while you are embroidering or sewing
  • walking presser foot – much like the presser foot, but moves with the embroidery machine so that satin and silk (fine fabrics) stay in place
  • computerized embroidery machines – these come with a huge collection of embroidery designs already programmed into the machine. Some computerized machines allow you to create new patterns/designs on your computer and transfer them. Embroidery software is the accessory that will allow the transfer of patterns from your computer to the computerized embroidery machine.

Beginners should look into buying an embroidery book on the basics.

Popular brands of home embroidery machines include Brother, Bernina, Husqvarna, Janome, Pfaff and Viking. And popular brands of industrial embroidery machines include Brother, Feiya and RiCOMA. Each brand and each machine has features that makes them different.


The most popular design format for home machines is .PES (Brother’s format) and for industrial machines, .DST. Just like a word processor document from Microsoft Word has a file extension of .doc and a spreadsheet from Excel has a .xls, the software for your sewing machine has its own file extension.

  • Over 50% of home machines use PES designs.
  • Second most popular (20%) is .hus (Husqvarna).
  • .dst is used in industrial machines. The other popular formats are PCS, SEW and JEF.
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