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Comparing the Best Embroidery Machines

There’s no end to embroidery machine comparisons online. This one is different because it’s focused on business embroidery machines. To help YOU decide which one of the best embroidery machines on the market you’ll choose to launch your embroidery business.

And the one we’ll use as the benchmark, the one all others are compared TO is the brand new Avancé 1201C 12 need a commercial embroidery machine.

But don’t let that word “commercial” scare you. It just means that you mean BUSINESS.

It’s not a home machine, although many embroidery business startups run their store from home. But this latest crop of machines that either ARE designed for business use or pretend to be, is no harder than home machines to use.

And don’t think that a “commercial” embroidery machine is the same as an “expensive” embroidery machine.

Because Avancé 1201C, for example, costs far less than some of the home machines you can find in places like Joan’s Fabrics or your local sewing center.

How to Choose the Right Machine

Try not to skip down to the comparison table of embroidery machines yet!

First, let’s go over a few things that embroidery business owners know, that you should know and be looking for:

Top Embroidery Machine Features Checklist

Size of the Embroidery Field

That’s basically your sewing area, and it determines how large of a design you can embroidery. To give you an example, the very commercial Avancé 15 needle machine has a 22” x 14” field. And the 1201C version we’re comparing here has one that’s 14” x 8”.

Control Panel

That iPad-like device you see attached to the Avancé is important. It not only acts as the interface between you and what you’re sewing, it determines design memory and things like wifi capability.

Number of Colors

A 12-needle machine is how many thread colors you can have installed at one time. Have you ever changed the thread on a home machine? Not fun or quick. It’s even more involved on a multi-needle system. Changing out thread colors 8 times a day is not something a business owner has time for – so # of needles is important.

Training and Support

This might not be a “feature” you would normally consider. But if you plan on running a business and making money with a professional embroidery machine you will have to. Many of the smaller machines we’ll compare are only sold through local sewing centers.

The reason that this is important to consider is that most people think that the best support is the closest support geographically. So, your local sewing center seems ideal, right?

Actually no.

First, your local sewing center is full of people that might know the machines, although the higher-end ones you’re considering are not what they usually sell.

But they’re not specialists.

They’re retail employees that have a LOT to do and a large number of consumer customers to care for. Getting help there may be fine for family gift projects or the occasional technical question, but they’re not used to supporting someone that’s doing a 60 piece order. A much more urgent need with a LOT more at stake. A local sewing center likely doesn’t have people dedicated to support and training alone either. They’re running classes, manning the register, or otherwise engaged.

When you purchase from a company like ColDesi – who’s been selling and supporting embroidery BUSINESSES for 2 decades – you have a completely different experience.

The account managers you speak to have helped hundreds of people get started.

The trainers have been key parts of 10+ years of embroidery business startups.

And the support personnel have been in business. They’ve done large runs. They know what it means to get an order out on time.

Startup Professional Embroidery Machines

Below we’ve gathered information on the most popular and most searched for multi-needle embroidery machines.

The comparison table here is a great place to get started on choosing the best embroidery machine for you.

But the best thing you can do is study here, then either chat with or call and talk to one of our professional embroidery machine account managers – they’re professionals that know the business, know machines, and have certainly helped people just like you get started.

Avancé 1201C Monogramming Machine and Embroidery Machine

The Avancé has a few clear advantages here. The first being its status as being the newest in the lineup combined with having ColDesi embroidery machine experience behind it.

ColDesi started in the embroidery and monogramming machine business more than 20 years ago. The staff and developers have embroidery wired into their DNA – and it shows with the advent of this newest Avancé.

12 Needles

the 12-needle number did not happen by accident. The reduced needles from the 1501C allowed for a smaller, lighter weight “head”, while still leaving enough color capability for any pro embroidery shop.

There are 2 ways pro embroidery machine owners take advantage of more needles:

1. Just more colors! The more cones of thread you can put on your machine the fewer times you need to stop and rethread between jobs. That takes time. And reduces the number of potential errors.

2. Different types of needles. Some embroidery and monogramming machine pros will split their needle types so a 12 needle machine acts like having TWO 6 needles. They might have 6 Titanium Sharp Point needles for caps and 75/11 Light Ball Points for another common product they embroider.

[Don’t worry, buyers of the Avancé 1501C AND 1201C get great online embroidery training so you’ll understand the difference]

Large Embroidery Field

The almost 8” x 14” embroidery field is tied for the biggest in this comparison. To get any larger you’ll have to go up to the Avancé 1501C 15 needle machine. A larger embroidery field means you can embroider on larger items. It makes a big difference to your business because you can YES to more jobs, like jacket backs.

Easy Control Panel

10.1”, bright, clear, touch-sensitive control panel just makes this a very simple machine to use. The intuitive interface makes formerly time-consuming tasks a snap.

Tasks like:

WIFI Connectivity

Send designs to your machine from anywhere on your home or office network. Super-fast and convenient.


Design memory is surprisingly important. And the 1201C can store up to 800 designs. Since you access the design memory on the control panel, and you get a preview image, it’s simple to regular customers images on hand.

Imagine you have 20 regular customers that have a cap design and a left chest logo that they order over an over again. And your own designs that you take on the road to sell. You will never have to worry about where a design is or if that thumb drive is still working. They’re all stored on the Avancé.

Training and Support

There’s no better training staff or online curriculum than what’s offered by ColDesi. Self-paced, professional training is a huge asset because:

• Not doing caps right now? Come back and take that lesson again.

• Training a new employee? Send them to school.

And support is free for as long as you own that machine!

Brother PR1055X 10 Needle Home Embroidery Machine

There’s no question Brother makes a solid consumer product and the Entrepreneur Pro 10 needle embroidery machine is no exception.

And it does have a competitive feature set as well with onboard fonts, a nice touch screen control panel and occasionally a nice promotion on additional hoops, etc.

But there’s a reason that they do not publish their pricing online – and closely guard against their dealers doing so as well.

The Avancé 1201C 12 needle machine comes with a full compliment of hoops, including cap frame and a rolling stand. It has 4,000 off the shelf embroidery designs that come with it and 28 onboard fonts you can use. The stated price is $10,490.00 with, periodically, some promotional flexibility.

In order to get a bundle price for the Brother PR1055X you have to either visit a local sewing center dealer or call and talk them into giving you a price on the phone.

The price we were quoted for this Comparison is a startling $27,000 for the bundle described. We were so shocked we had to confirm that this Dealer was quoting just ONE MACHINE!

Your local prices will vary – and it’s hard to believe that every dealer tries to sell for this price. But with a comparable feature set, more needles and consistent bundled accessories on machine like the Avancé 1201C from ColDesi you might give that a second thought.

Babylock Venture 10 Needle Embroidery Machine

The Babylock Venture is a slightly updated version of the Babylock Valiant 10 need machine. The primary differences we could find are:

But again at such a high list price  its size, feature set and included accessories make it a poor value compared to the Avancé 1201C and some of the other systems compared here.

The Babylock Venture shares the Valiant’s deficiencies from an embroidery business startup perspective including:

There are only 4 hoops included.

Caps are probably the hottest embroidery items today and are VERY profitable. The hoops or “frames” used to embroider them are not cheap.

While it may seem attractive to have your local sewing center provide tech support, that usually does not work well for an embroidery BUSINESS. Personnel changes, expertise varies from retail employee to retail employee, and none of them know what it takes to run a business.

Babylock Valiant 10 Needle Embroidery Machine

Babylock has been a popular name in home sewing machines for decades and does have a good reputation for quality.

But at a list price of almost $19,000 and a “street price” still over $15,000 its size, feature set and included accessories make it a hard pill to swallow vs the Avancé 1201C and some of the other systems compared here.

Other than the high price, the Babylock Valiant suffers from several deficiencies from an embroidery business startup perspective:

There are only 4 hoops included, which illustrates it’s bent towards consumer use. Any embroidery business that plans on taking orders for more than one item at a time knows the importance of having 2 of every hoop! Depending on the item, hooping can take valuable time away from sewing, so pro shops have 2 of every hoop. That way while one sews, you can hoop the next item and get #2 sewing as fast as possible.

Probably the hottest embroidery item today is custom caps. And the hoops or “frames” used to embroider them are not cheap. Professional embroidery machines, like the Avancé 1201C and 1501C come with TWO.

While it may seem attractive to have your local sewing center provide tech support, that usually does not work well for an embroidery BUSINESS. Personnel changes, expertise varies from retail employee to retail employee, and none of them know what it takes to run a business.

PFAFF Creative Stylist MN110

At just under $11,000, the PFAFF was the most reasonably priced of the 10 needle “sewing center” machines. And it’s included accessories and capabilities are basically the same as the Avancé 1201C, but the differences are certainly more than the similarities.

The first one came in a comment by one of the sewing center sellers of this machine. That the center had been selling PFAFF for 20 years or more and this one is a good machine, but the owner “really didn’t like to sell commercial machines”.

Commercial machines not only operate differently than even the high end consumer ones, they are sold to someone with different needs.

Those extra 2 needles colors might mean that you can keep metallic or variegated thread, or a few specialty colors ready at all times.

The 7” control panel is bigger than the Tajima embroidery machine, but is a lot less than the Avancé. That effects design memory and advanced features in addition to useability.

While it may seem attractive to have your local sewing center provide tech support, that usually does not work well for an embroidery BUSINESS. Personnel changes, expertise varies from retail employee to retail employee, and none of them know what it takes to run a business.

Tajima SAI 8 Eight Needle Embroidery Machine

Like the name implies, the Tajima Sai 8 is an 8 needle embroidery machine. While Tajima is another old name in embroidery, this model clearly straddles the commercial vs home use line more than the others of its brand.

For an embroidery business or commercial shop, the number of needles/colors on the machine goes right to heart of productivity.

Consider that many business shops keep black and white thread along with 4-6 other basic colors on the machine at all times. Others add gold and silver metallic, and the colors that their biggest customers require on as well. Some embroidery pros prefer to use specific needles for caps or leather and assign the same colors for different needle sets. However you use them, only having 8 colors can be a real disadvantage.

The 3.5” x 6” display screen is the smallest in its class. And once you start using a larger touch panel – for design preview, menu selection and viewing stored designs – you’ll quickly notice the difference.

The price on the Tajima SAI 8 embroidery machine is definitely not the highest compared here, but it’s not the cheapest either. So including just TWO embroidery hoops with the machine really stands out. Before you purchase this particular Tajima machine make sure you budget for what you are NOT getting.

Ricoma EM1010 10 Needle Home Embroidery Machine

The Ricoma embroidery machine, the 10 needle model EM1010 is light, compact, heavily advertised machine. It’s designed to offer a low entry price for home users to get into the embroidery business.

While it shares the same number of colors/needles as some of the others in this lineup, it’s lacking in some basic comparison stats.

Keep in mind that most embroidery pricing is set by the number of stitches in the design. And the size of the embroidery field dictates the size of the designs that you can sell. So the Ricoma embroidery machines 8” x 12” is a bit small. 16% smaller than the 14”x8” on the Avancé for example.

When it comes to touch screens, looking at and working with embroidery designs will always make you want more/bigger. And the 7” screen offered on the Ricoma model is 30% smaller than the biggest offered in this machine comparison.

Once your embroidery business is up and running you’re going to have LOTS of designs you sew over and over again. They could be all returning customers, or your own designs that you’re selling retail. Either way it saves a LOT of time loading designs if you have a robust on board memory. The 200 designs memory on the EM1010 may seem like a lot, but there’s a reason owners find the 800 included in other like the 1201C from ColDesi 4X better.

Janome MB-7

The Janome MB-7 is a high-end home embroidery machine that just made this comparison list. Mostly due to its popularity because it’s available in home sewing centers around the country.

But also because it has some cross-over features that are similar to some of the larger machines.

First of all, the “7” is obviously referring to the number of needles/colors available to use on the machine at any given time. Please refer to why more is better with thread color quantity when we compared the Tajima Sai 8. Basically, MORE IS BETTER.

The 9.4” x 7.9” embroidery field is the smallest of this group. And at this size you are severely limited in the money you can make, because you’re limited in the size of the design you can sew! Large jacket backs, pillow case designs and runners may be excluded from your business before you even get started.

The 5.7” control panel is even smaller than the Ricoma EM1010. And with that comes a very small memory of just 1.5 million stitches.

This is the one feature that should be an absolute deal breaker for any embroidery business, even a startup! Multicolor designs and logos is why you’re probably looking into a multi-needle embroidery machine because most logos are 2-6 colors. Can you imagine doing a 20 piece order of company polos with a 3 color logo and having to make color changes for every one?

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