Types of Embroidery Machines

Embroidery is an art that is used to create beautiful and intricate patterns on fabric by putting hundreds of colorful stitches together. Embroidery machines are the modern tools used to create these beautiful patterns on varying textile and fashion industry products.

Various types of embroidery machines have been invented and introduced in the market. These machines are the backbone of small-scale to large scale embroidery-businesses, fashion brands, and professional embroidery studios.

Although in this modern world, computer technology has replaced many old, manual sewing and embroidery techniques, still you will find antique freehand embroidery machines in many big fashion boutiques and embroidery studios. It is because these machines have their own strength and abilities, making them useful for many professionals.

Types of Embroidery Machines

Free Hand/Motion or Mechanical Embroidery Machine

As the name indicated, a free hand embroidery machine is a manually controlled machine, that provides entire control to the user. You will have complete control over the size and type of needle, the direction of the machine, and the stitching style. We can say it is like drawing thread patterns over the fabric with a machine.

Free motion embroidery machines are a critical part of embroidery training. For instance, if you are new to embroidery you cannot jump directly to a technologically advanced computerized machine without learning the basics of machine embroidery. Using this type of machine you will be able to learn basic skills like thread painting and quilting.

These types of machines hold the fabric in the frame and you need to guide the fabric by using both of your hands while operating the machines with foot pedals.


  • Provides more control to the users, and lets your creativity to shine out
  • These machines are ideal for learning the basics of embroidery
  • These machines are inexpensive


  • You cannot sore or upload designs
  • Not ideal for decorative embroidery
  • Takes more time to complete the project as compared to computerized designs

Computerized Embroidery Machines

Computerized embroidery machines are technologically-advanced modern embroidery machines. these machines are fast, accurate, and specialized for decorative embroidery and are usually found in professional embroidery studios.

These machines take pride in the versatility, utility, fast speed, and precision they offer. Computerized or digital embroidery machines have automated functions that save your time energy. These functions include bobbin winder, tension adjustment, thread cutter, and speed control.

Another standout feature of digital or computerized embroidery machines is their accuracy and precision. These machines have specialized programs for specific embroidery projects.

You just need to program the machine according to the requirement of projects like stitch size and speed. This feature will help you get precise and desired results. Digital or computerized embroidery machines are versatile and are capable of dealing with complex and heavy-duty applications like multilayer fabric embroidery or quilting.

Moreover, these machines also have built-in designs and can also store your designs for later use. These machines also support USB and external memory devices, so you can upload additional designs in the machine.

Furthermore, these machines feature cloured or digital screens, that display your stitching speed, design, and a preview of your work. This feature makes it easier to work on professional and complex embroidery projects.

Also, these machines are faster than mechanical machines and can handle a lot of work and bulk projects.


  • Computerized embroidery machines are more versatile and precise than mechanical embroidery machines
  • They can complete bulk work in a short time
  • LCD support
  • Built-in designs and monogram fonts
  • Access to external memory for more designs and patterns
  • Easy to use ad learn
  • Ideal for heavy-duty applications


  • Computerized embroidery machines are very expensive
  • Not ideal for beginners

Depending upon what they are offering, embroidery machines are further divided into three major types:

Single-Head and Single Needle Machine

Single head or single needle machines are inexpensive, simple, and straightforward embroidery machines. These machines look like traditional embroidery or sewing machines. They have a flat-bed and a single head consisting of a needle and bobbin and embroidery units.

These machines are user-friendly and are ideal for beginners. These machines work on computerized programs where the needle remains stationary and the embroidery arm moves as per instructions by the digitized design.

This type of embroidery machine supports a single hoop attachment. Common hoop areas are 4×4-inch, 5×7-inch, and 8×12-inch.


  • Affordable
  • Easily available
  • No complex operation
  • Software support
  • Perfect for home use


  • Not ideal for multi-color embroidery
  • Slow speeds
  • Single hoop attachments

Single Head Multi-Needle Embroidery Machines

Single-head multi-needle embroidery machines offer more complex and advanced features for commercial applications. These machines can hold between 4 to 10 needles. Each needle uses a thread of different colours. It means you don’t need to replace the thread for every different sequence.

This feature makes this type of machine ideal for professional boutiques and professional embroidery enthusiasts. These machines are inexpensive than multi-head machines. Therefore smaller business and commercial settings can easily afford them.

This type of machine feature two hoop attachment points that have relatively large hoop areas. These machines can be used to embroider on a stitched pocket, back of the jackets, the back pocket of the jeans, and stitched pants.


  • Ideal for multi-colour designs
  • Faster and accurate
  • Impressive precision in multi-colour projects
  • The additional hooping system makes them perfect for embroidery on various surfaces like arms, back pockets, jackets, and pants


  • Expensive
  • You need to learn its programmings like colour stops and design requirements

Multi-Head Embroidery Machine

This is the most advanced type of embroidery machine. These machines are the most upgraded, technologically advanced, and have expensive embroidery tools. These machines can have more than one head and each head can hold up to 15 needles.

Multi-head machines can handle multi-color embroidery projects in bulk with impressive precision and quality. These machines have smart features like software support, computer connectivity, and external memory access.

Multi-Head machines are useful for embroidering a number of items simultaneously. Large-scale embroidery businesses, garment factories, and fashion boutiques use this type of machine to grow their business.


  • Fast speed
  • Precise and accurate
  • Smart features
  • Can handle bulk work


  • Very expensive

Embroidery machines are also divided into two major categories depending upon the type of stitching they are offering; dedicated embroidery machines and Combo sewing-embroidery machines.

Dedicated Embroidery Machines

This type of embroidery machine does not support general sewing mode. They have specialized functions and parts to fulfil the requirements of varying embroidery types and forms. Usually, these machines have larger hoops, built-in designs, monogram fonts, and jump-stitch cutters.

These machines are highly recommended if you are into an embroidery business. These machines will work better than the combo sewing and embroidery machines, as they have dedicated features for embroidery projects.

Combo Embroidery Sewing Machines

Many famous brands like Brother and Singer have introduced many Combo Sewing and Embroider (SE) models. These machines work in two different modes. The major advantage of getting a Cobo Machine is that it will save you money.

However, if you already have a sewing machine, you should go for a dedicated embroidery machine. Dedicated embroidery machines are more professional, have advanced features, and guarantee precision and accuracy in your embroidery work.


Computerized embroidery machines are the major requirement of any embroidery business today. These embroidery machines are easy to implement, versatile, precise, accurate, and take less time in project completion.

Although these machines are expensive, you can still find some basic models that are affordable for small business owners or home users.

Multi-head and multi-needle machines are expensive and can be categorized as commercial embroidery machines. These Machines will help you grow your business and allow you to keep up with the latest fashion trend.

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