Marilyn knows how to present the dullest topic in an interesting and easy-to-read way. When she’s not teaching English Literature at a local school or writing for our site, Marylin loves to knit and bake for her two grandchildren.
Julie owns a shop specializing in sewing equipment and accessories. No wonder she knows everything when it comes to technical specifications of practically anything we review. In her free time, Julie loves quilting and scrapbooking.
Last updated: January 31, 2021
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One of the most essential elements of a hat is embroidery. You need the best embroidery machine, specifically for hats to be able to embroider different patterns with a personal touch. There are endless options of top-quality embroidery machines on the market with varying prices for different users with varying levels of experience. Now, picking the best of the entire bunch flooding the market isn’t the easiest of tasks.
We rounded up a list of the best-rated machines of the entire lot on the market. Some of the critical features we considered in our review include USB connectivity, embroidery area, automatic needle threader, machine size and weight, number of built-in designs and fonts and warranty. They determine the efficiency and convenience of the machines. For instance, you have to be extra keen on size and weight if you want a portable machine. For seamless creativity, you have to consider the number of fonts and built-in designs.
"A lightweight embroidery machine with 160 built-in designs, 6 fonts, 7.9” x 7.9” embroidery area and an automatic threader.2&3 letter monogramming.On-screen editing functions.Automatic thread cutter."
This tops our list for all the right reasons. It is the ultimate all-around choice for creating professional-level embroidery. It utilizes advanced technology that makes embroidering super-easy. It also has several convenient features that give you the best creative embroidering experience.
Brother is an established player in the industry, thus this machine’s quality is unquestionable. Setting it up is such a breeze, thanks to the detailed instructions manual it comes with.
The machine comes with an advanced and intuitive LCD touchscreen. It allows you to see your designs in full color and with the built-in color palette you can also see the color groups that fit your design perfectly. This allows you to choose your threads correctly.
Even more, the LCD touchscreen allows you to edit your designs. You can flip, rotate or resize your design before you start stitching.
The best thing about this machine is its convenient embroidery field. The 5 by 7-inches workspace is ideal for working on larger designs or monogramming a long name without re-hooping and moving the fabric multiple times.
Essentially, the PE800 includes 138 built-in designs. They include; florals, stitch patterns, beautiful frames, seasonal patterns and baby-friendly designs. What’s more, the machine features a USB port which allows you to customize your own designs in a compatible format.
Additionally, the machine has 11 fonts which you can use to personalize your projects. The monogramming options or fonts include 7 English, 1 Cyrillic, and 3 Japanese with Serif, Non-Serif and outline options. Every font has a character like an alphabet, a punctuation mark, a number or some special symbol.
All considered the PE800 is one of the most useful embroidery machines for both beginner and professional users. It is incredibly user-friendly and hard to outgrow because of the multiple built-in designs and fonts. Plus, it comes with a limited 25-year warranty.
If you have a small business or specialize in the personalization of hats or promotional materials, this is your best bet. It is our premium pick because it has all the features you could want in a commercial embroidery machine yet easy to use.
The machine boasts of a solid build that can undoubtedly hold up well to frequent industrial use. It is quite heavy, coming in at 330 pounds, which is typical of industrial machines.
The machine features an 8-inch touchscreen LCD that allows you to scroll through designs and edit them with just a simple tap to achieve the best results all the time.
One interesting thing about this machine is that it has a design preview function which allows you to do a motion test of the embroidery before starting a new design. This comes in handy if you hate damaging your garments and material for tests because not a single stitch is made until you verify that the design is going to be embroidered the exact same way you envision it.
Moreover, the machine has 100 million stitches of memory capacity. There’s literally no design on earth that you can’t achieve with this machine. Plus, it features a standard USB port that allows you to import all the customized designs from your computer.
If you have a super-busy embroidery enterprise, this should be your go-to machine. It stitches at an impressive speed of 1200 stitches per minute.
Another plus for this machine is its instant punch function that allows you to easily embroider letters, numbers, and names. It is pretty straightforward to use as all you’ve got to do is choose your favorite fonts and sizes from the LCD panel.
Overall, this is one of the best industrial embroidery machines. It has a premium quality build and is feature-rich yet easy to use. Even beginners can easily wrap their head around its functionality though they might find it a bit expensive.
Janome is a renowned world brand known for top-quality sewing machines. The Memory Craft 9850 is not an exception. It is a beautiful sewing and embroidery machine combo that can help you take creativity in any direction. You can sew your garments yourself then decorate them with the best-sophisticated embroidery for a more personalized touch.
The machine is compact and lightweight yet sturdy enough to withstand any kind of heavy-duty work you throw at it. It features a touchscreen LCD with a backlight that makes you work easier in choosing designs and favorite embroidery threads.
The LCD screen also allows you to adjust and combine designs as well as match and combine colors.
You will love the 619 built-in sewing operations with an adjustable width of up to 9mm that you can lengthen, combine and even mirror horizontally and vertically.
The embroidery module of the Memory craft 9850 is a bit limited compared to that of other machines within its range but with the USB port, you can import customized designs from your computer. It has 175 embroidery designs, 4 types of alphabets, and a 2-3 letter monogramming function. Its stitches are adjustable and you can lengthen them up to 5mm and widen them up to 9mm.
With a sewing speed of 800 stitches per minute, you will be able to finish your projects on time and the good thing is you can actually control the sewing speed and sew at a speed as low as 60 stitches per minute thanks to the sewing speed controller. If you’re a beginner, this comes in handy especially when you haven’t gotten used to the machine yet.
In conclusion, this is one of the best sewing and embroidery machines out there that has a myriad of features that offer you the chance to be seamlessly creative. It comes with a 25-year limited warranty and a storage compartment for accessories.
What we liked:
Can be used for sewing and embroidery
Embroidery mirroring function
Storage compartment for accessories
Compact and lightweight build
What could be better:
Complaints: some units did not include an accessory compartment
Here is another lightweight embroider-only machine from the giant sewing machine company Brother. It is a fantastic beginner option as it is easy on the wallet and it has enough features and settings for unlimited creativity.
The machine is incredibly lightweight and can, therefore, be moved from one point to another easily. It is sturdy enough to withstand regular use, though its embroidery field is a bit limited, coming in at 4 by 4 inches. It is not the best for large size projects or embroidering long names and symbols.
On the bright side, the machine features an LCD touchscreen that allows you to view all the design and font options. You can also change the thread colors or adjust the built-in fonts as you like.
Moreover, the machine includes 125 built-in patterns and designs that you can use to create the most beautiful crafts and hats projects.
With the drop-in bobbin system, you can forget all the bobbin winding troubles you have encountered in the past with other machines. Plus, you can easily monitor the thread usage thanks to the clear see-through bobbin case.
Another praiseworthy feature is the automatic needle threader. It saves you a great deal of time and frustrations associated with making thread changes when working on intricate designs.
As if that’s enough. This machine has a built-in memory that can store all the 125 embroidery designs and an additional number of your own custom embroidery patterns. When full, you can transfer them to your flash-drive via the USB port.
In sum, this is one of the best embroidery machines that beginners and embroidery enthusiasts can use to make intricate hat designs. It is affordable and incredibly user-friendly.
This is another futuristic sewing machine with a full-fledged embroidery unit from Brother. The machine is an absolute gem as it doesn’t make a hole in your pocket yet has plenty of features that allow you to do regular sewing tasks as well as showcase your embroidery skills. Plus, it is not only a sewing and embroidery machine combo but also computerized.
Like all the other machines from Brother the SE600 boasts of robust construction. It is ultra-lightweight weighing a mere 11.8 pounds. What’s more, it offers a large 4 by 4 work area that lets you handle your fabric and garments comfortably.
Setting up the machine is a no brainer as it includes a quick-setup top drop-in bobbin that is also jam-resistant. It is easier and more convenient than sideloaded bobbins.
The machine comes with 103 built-in stitches which is quite a lot for a dual-purpose machine. Most single-purpose machines have fewer stitches. You can use the stitches to decorate your hats and other crafts in many different ways.
As if that’s enough, the machine comes with 80 built-in embroidery designs. These designs are stored up in the machine’s internal memory but you can also add your own customized designs via the USB port on the machine.
In addition, the machine includes 6 embroidery lettering fonts which give you unlimited options for decorating your hats or any other projects with numbers, special symbols, and small or capital letters.
Not forgetting, the machine has a large 3.7-inches LCD touchscreen that efficiently displays the designs you choose. You can edit the design and have a preview of how it will turn out when you finish your project. The screen is colored, thus allowing you to edit designs better. You can also change the threads’ colors from the palettes offered.
In a nutshell, this is one of the best small embroidery machines for hats and bags out there. It is feature-packed and user-friendly with a great sewing speed. Anyone can use it, from beginners to professional sewists and embroidery specialists.
This is one machine carefully designed to make embroidery and creative projects a real pleasure. It has a full spectrum of features that make it a perfect partner for your sewing machine and embroidery your favorite hobby.
You can trust this machine to be one of the hardiest embroidery machines out there. It has a robust construction that can hold up well to regular use and abuse.
The machine comes with a convenient color display and built-in color charts that give you the best color recommendations for your designs. The color charts are from 4 leading thread manufacturers and they convert every color in your designs to that of your preferred manufacturer.
Additionally, you can combine and edit your designs on the screen to achieve perfection in your projects. There’s even a micro-rotation feature that allows you to rotate your designs in 1-degree steps. You can also move and reposition the designs, by easily clicking and dragging them across the screen.
This machine offers the finest and most precise embroidery quality with its exceptional 100 designs. There is nothing you can’t make with 100 different design options and you can import your own designs from your PC using USB sticks and embroidery cards.
Also featured is an automatic thread cutter that cut the bottom and top threads automatically when you change color. You can also actuate it manually when you need to cut the thread with a simple press of a key.
Threading the machine is child’s play, thanks to the automatic threading feature. You will also love that the machine features a free-arm that allows you to work on tubular garments.
Other exciting features that set this machine apart are the free editing software and free lessons. You will be more at peace with the 5-year warranty back up offered by the manufacturer.
All considered this is one of the best home embroidery machines for hats and other crafts out there. It is feature-rich and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. It is also lightweight and incredibly easy to use.
Yet another embroidery-only machine from the expansive brand Janome. It is a bit costly compared to other embroidery specialized machines because it is a sophisticated model packed with multiple superior and convenient features.
The Memory Craft 400E is built to last with high-quality material. Surprisingly, it is incredibly lightweight, thus easily portable. It comes with a maximum embroidery design size of 7.9 by 7.9 inches but you can also use other small-size Janome embroidery hoops with it.
It features an LCD touchscreen on which you can edit your designs by rotating, flipping, enlarging, reducing, copy-pasting, and adding corner layouts. You can also change the colors and zoom to see your designs well right there and then. You wouldn’t need a computer to maneuver and make all these changes.
Essentially, the machines include 160 built-in embroidery designs. You can achieve any styles you want on your hats and other projects and if you want to personalize them more, you can import your own customized designs via the USB port on the machine.
With a stitching speed of 860 stitches per minute, you will be able to hit your deadlines all the time. The automatic thread cutter will also contribute to your timeliness when it comes to finishing projects as it allows you to put your scissors away for a while.
Another plus is the bobbin thread sensor that lets you know if you need a refill.
The machine sets itself apart with its programmable jump thread trimming. It can jump to the stitch-point you desire and return to the thread break post automatically.
Overall, this is one of the best embroidery machines for professionals who need extra features to add a touch of sophistication to their projects. It is also one of the best for large projects, thanks to its extra-wide working table.
What we liked:
On-screen design editing
Multiple designs and pattern options
Automatic thread cutter
Bobbin thread sensor
Programmable jump thread trimming
Great stitching speed-860SPM
What could be better:
A bit pricey
Things to Consider
There’s a lot to consider when buying an embroidery machine for your hats for you to make the best buy. Plus, there are multiple options on the market that choosing the best can be daunting. This section has all the information you need to know before purchasing an embroidery machine including the importance of buying one and the essential features to consider when choosing one.
The importance of purchasing the right machine for hat embroidery
There is a wide range of embroidery machines on the market that you can buy but you have to be keen to get the right one if you want to achieve the best-personalized designs on your hats. Here are some of the benefits of purchasing the right embroidery machine for your hats:
They are feature-rich
The right machine for hat embroidery will have a lot of special and detailed features like designs, fonts and stitches that allow you to creatively work on various sizes and types of caps and hats.
There are various hoop types
A top-quality embroidery machine comes with several hoop types, a hat hoop type being among them. The hat hoop allows you to embellish, decorate and personalize your hat as much as you want.
They are multi-functional
You can do more than just decorate hats with a top-quality embroidery machine. Some are even dual-purpose. They can sew and allow you to explore your embroidery skills at the same time.
Features to consider when choosing an embroidery machine for hats
Whether you’ll be buying your machine online or from a physical store, here are some crucial features that you have to consider for you to make the best choice:
There are 2 types of machines: a specialized embroidery machine that allows you to work on just embroidery tasks and a sewing/embroidery combo machine that allows you to sew and explore your embroidery talents at the same time. The Brother SE600 above is a prime example of a dual-purpose embroidery machine.
You can choose either depending on the kind of projects you intend to do.
If you want completely personalized pieces then you can sew yourself then proceed to decorate and embellish them with a dual-purpose machine and if you intend to start an embroidery business that prints or decorates promotional hats, then you can go for an embroidery machine.
Built-in designs and fonts
Different machines come with different numbers of built-in designs and fonts. Be sure to go for a model that comes with multiple design options like the CAMFive EMB HT1501 above. It gives you creative freedom and you wouldn’t have to come up with ideas all the time.
Better yet, you can choose a machine that allows you to import your customized designs to increase your creative output via USB. You will be able to expand on the machine’s preset fonts and designs.
Embroidery is intricate and it is done on different types and sizes of fabrics. Therefore, the size of the machine’s embroidery field is a crucial thing to consider. Go for a model that offers a large working area or comes with an extension table like the Janome Memory Craft 400E above. This allows you to easily maneuver and work with your projects as you desire.
Additionally, the embroidery area should be positioned at an angle of 270 degrees so it can accommodate the whole hat or cap well.
For a professional or industrial machine ensure you choose a model that features 2 of each hoop for hats and flat garments. This allows you to work get a hat hooped while working on a custom garment at the same time.
A hat hoop allows you to create, embellish, decorate and personalize hats and caps to your liking. It is not so crucial for embroidering hats but it makes a huge difference as the results are much better.
Computer connectivity is a huge plus for an embroidery machine and is one of the most sought after features on an embroidery machine. If you can connect it to your computer, it means you can import more designs to increase your creative output. You can design a project on your computer and be able to display, edit or enhance and work on it from your machine.
Choose a machine that allows you to import files using either a USB stick, via a USB cable or downloading from the internet. Computer connectivity also allows you to receive updates for your machine whenever there are any.
This is another crucial feature to consider. It is measured in stitches per minute (SPM). If you are new to embroidery, you better go for a machine with a maximum speed of 750 SPM to avoid frustrations or any difficulties. Better yet, you can choose a machine that has speed control like the Janome Memory Craft 9850 above.
If you are an intermediate or professional user then be sure to pick a machine with a faster embroidery speed of about 800+ SPM like the CAMFive EMB HT1501. The higher the speed, the more hats and caps you make. The more the hats and caps the more the money.
Whether you run an embroidery enterprise or you just do DIY pieces at home for gifts and personal use, ensure you choose a machine that has the standard 15 needles. You won’t need the 15 needles on all of your projects especially if you do occasional projects at home, but for high production, you will need to switch the thread cones frequently to achieve uniqueness in your projects.
The drop-in bobbin placement is the easiest and most convenient type of bobbin placement. It saves you the winding frustrations you’d encounter with other types of bobbin placements. Plus, choose a machine with a clear see-through bobbin or a bobbin sensor that lets you know when it’s time to refill.
Automatic needle threader
An automatic needle threader is another huge plus for an embroidery machine. If you have shaky hands or you hate squinting so hard to pass the thread through the tiny needle hole, this is your savior. You not only save on time and meet your production deadlines but also have a pleasant embroidering experience.
Automatic thread tension
Nothing is as annoying as puckering and thread breaks when you are in the middle of a sewing or embroidery session. An automatic thread tension is the solution. So, regardless of your budget and purpose of your purchase, ensure you pick a model with it.
This is another key feature that you must be extra keen on whether you are buying a machine for commercial or personal use. Choose a colored touchscreen display that allows you to view, edit and preview your designs with ease. They tend to be a bit pricier but are totally worth it.
Size and weight
These determine the portability of the machine. If you want a machine that you can easily move around without an extra hand then choose a lightweight and compact one like the Brother SE600. Heavy-duty industrial machines like CAMFive EMB HT1501 are usually heavier because they are built to handle a lot of work.
Since most embroidery machines are a bit pricier compared to standard sewing machines you have to ensure your purchase is backed by a solid warranty. This gives you the peace of mind that in case you encounter any troubles when using it, you can reach out for help from the manufacturer and get free repair or even replacements. The ideal warranty period for an embroidery machine is 25 years.
Embroidery machines have different runtimes. Regular machines run for a few hours while commercial machines run the whole day every day with just a little break as the shift change.
How to use an embroidery machine for hats
Are you new to hat embroidery? Fret not. These steps will help you do just as fine as someone used to it:
Step 1. Design Preparation
Pick a design that will fit well in the embroidery field of your machine for convenience. If you don’t have enough stitching space, you can print a template of the design you’d like to use with a center mark. This allows you to point out the center of your hat’s sketch easily so you can comfortably work with it on the machine’s small embroidery field.
You can then mark the spots you want to stitch on your hat by flattening the top front as much as you can and measuring the area you can press flat against the surface.
Flat hats are much easier to work with compared to structured hats. For a start, choose to work on a soft unstructured hat to avoid difficulties.
Step 2. Preparing the Hat for Embroidery
The first thing to do when preparing for embroidery is to hoop the stabilizer. Use a larger hoop than needed for your sketch as it will give you extra convenient space when embroidering. Plus, to get better control of the work process, work with the bill facing you.
After hooping the stabilizer, you can go ahead to score the paper backing by tearing away the backing and marking the center of the hoop. You can then attach your hat by pressing its stitching spots onto the stabilizer and aligning the center mark onto the stabilizer’s mark. After this, you can remove the stabilizer to start embroidering.
Step 3. Embroidery
Because hats use thick fabric you need to use a larger needle. A size 90/14 is a prime choice for hat embroidery. To embroider, turn off the basting option and every thread cutter to avoid any inconveniences during embroidery. Thread cutters tend to move the hoop and dislocate the hat in the middle of the embroidery session. Once you have everything right, you can lower the embroidery speed and get started.
Hat embroidery involves the use of thick materials and thick fabric lining. Therefore, a large needle is essential. A size 90/14 will perfectly do for various kinds of fabrics and designs.
With all the tips and detailed reviews on this guide, you should have no trouble picking the best embroidery machine for hats within your needs and budget. Our best overall pick was Brother PE800. It offers an extensive all-around embroidery experience with multiple convenient features. It is incredibly user-friendly with excellent value for money yet it delivers commercial-like results similar to many rival brands.
The CAMFive EMB HT1501 was our premium pick. It is hard to beat this beast when it comes to heavy-duty or industrial-level functionality. Its 100 million stitch designs set it apart the most as it offers you unparalleled creative freedom. It also has an impressive embroidering speed.
At third place we had the Janome Memory Craft 9850. It stood out as the best sewing and embroidery machine combo. Other than its lightweight yet sturdy build, it has a myriad of features that set it apart as one of the best embroidery machines for hats out there including multiple design options, USB connectivity and a large embroidery area.