Best Monogram Machines for Home Use (2018)

By Tracy Colby | Family

May 26

There’s a lot of talk in crafting circles nowadays about monogramming and the best monogram machines for home use.

Why is this? Monograms are the latest growing fashion trend among young adults and teenagers. They statement letters can be elegant, edgy, or bold and allow can take a plain skirt, shirt, or jacket and make it a one-of-a-kind fashion masterpiece. However, getting monograms put onto items professionally can be very expensive.

Additionally, it can be difficult for people who live in remote areas to even find a place that can place the monograms on the clothing. Some people may turn to the iron-on letters you can find in most craft stores and for some purposes this may be fine. However, iron-on letters are notorious for not surviving the washing machine or constant wear. They tend to peel at the corners and look less than professional and polished.

They also do not come in many colors, variations, or sizes so the choices can be very limited and stifle the creative nature of the person trying to place the monogram. As such, many people are now turning to embroidery machines for monograms. These computerized wonders allow the user to choose any color, any style and various sizes of monograms to emblazon on their clothing. Also, navigating these machines can be an intimidating task, to say the least.

There are many different types of machines in many different price ranges. Each machine has its own set of features and it can be hard to know which one is right for their purposes. As such, we’ve collected some of the best monogramming machines available and have broken down the features to help you find the perfect fit.

Features and Considerations:What To Look For?

Size of Hoop:  The size of the hoop is generally a smaller consideration when looking at monogramming. Most machines can do at least a 4” by 4” design which is usually large enough for most monogramming. Some people may want larger letters on items such as jackets or skirts. As such, you should consider how big you will want your monograms. Decide what sort of projects you will be working on to narrow down your hoop size preference.

Alphabets included: Many machines that are perfect for monogramming come with built-in alphabets. These allow users to get right to monogramming and offer options without the consumer having to buy additional software or download additional designs. The number of alphabets included should be considered by any consumer, especially one that is on a tight budget.

Items to Embroider:  When looking at machines, really think about the types of items you may want to embroider. Many cannot do stiff hats such as baseball caps or the ever-popular snapback caps. Most machines can do simple flat garments but it takes a special type of machine to be able to embroider something that cannot be opened flat.

USB Port: Many machines today come with a USB port where you can import any design you wish and use it on the machine. Some, however, do not have this feature. If you want to easily transfer designs, make sure you choose one with a USB port.

LCD Screen Size:  If you have trouble seeing, make sure you pay close attention to screen size. Screen sizes vary greatly from machine to machine. Larger screens can make it much easier to place designs whereas smaller screens can sometimes bring down the cost.

Servicing: Most machines require that it be serviced or repaired by a certified shop. Each company has its own certification process. Look around your town to see where the nearest certified shop is. This will give you a better idea of how far you will have to go to get your machine fixed if something goes awry.

Now that you have an idea of what you need, it’s time to take a look at what machines are available. Below are several models, each with positive and negative aspects that will help you decide if one of these machines is the right fit for you.

1. Singer Futura XL 400 – The Gamble

The Singer Futura XL 400 has been talked about for several years in the embroidery community.

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The set up itself shows such promise: It has a large 10” by 6” hoop, is a combination sewing machine and embroidery machine, comes with two hoops and 5 alphabets, and is within range budget-wise. It even comes with software to edit designs.

But there have been numerous issues reported with this machine. Many love the sewing function but find the embroidery function to be highly lacking. The software is reported to be very limited in function, the hoops are rumored to not fit the machine upon arrival, and the machine appears to have many issues with the mechanical side as well. There are many reports of needle breaks, machine malfunctions, tangled threads, and easily broken bobbin cases. With this in mind, the Futura can’t, in good faith, be recommended for most home users.

2. Singer SE300 – Largest Hoop

The Singer SE300 is a machine that is perfect for those that will want to monogram larger items such as jackets, cardigans, and skirts.

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It features a large hoop size at 10.25” by 6” which gives the user a great amount of flexibility. At that size, any amount of monogramming can be done with frames, borders, or additional designs.

It offers six different alphabets built in to the machine with some limited on screen editing. This limited editing ability could feel stifling as you cannot do things such as arching letters or integrating designs. There are plenty of free or low cost editing programs that can be installed on your computer and used in conjunction with this machine which will make finding and creating the perfect design much easier.

Other features of this machine include an LCD screen, auto threader, and a USB port for transferring design to the machine. It is a sewing and embroidery machine combination machine which offers additional versatility and value. It’s one of the higher priced machines compared to others on this list. Moreover, some people prefer the Singer name and want the large hoop size.

3. Brother SE400 – Best Embroidery Machine for Monogramming

The Brother SE400 is renowned in the crafting world for being a budget friendly machine that is perfect for monogramming.

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It has a 4” by 4” hoop which is sufficient for almost all forms of monogramming except for larger projects such as cardigans.

It has five different alphabets included on the machine which gives you plenty of options to start with. It has limited editing on the machine but, as stated above, there are plenty of free or low cost editing programs to expand the editing abilities on your computer.

The machine has several other nice features including an automatic threader, and an LCD screen. It does not have a USB port for easy design transfers, but it does have a cord which will connect to the user’s computer. However, this can be challenging for those that do not have space for a machine right next to their computer. This machine is also a combination sewing and embroidery. In my opinion, this is the best embroidery machine for monograms which offers great versatility and increased value.

4. Janome 350E – High End Hitter

Janome is company name synonymous with quality machines. Having said that, this reputation comes with a steep price tag.

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With this in mind, this machine does offer a quality embroidery only machine. There are not many built-in designs on this machine and the on screen editing capabilities are limited. I can see how this may not bother some consumers.

Softwares can make up the editing deficiencies without difficulty and the machine comes with a USB port for easy design transfer. This means that users can easily find, buy, and download monogram scripts and designs to use on the machine without relying on built-in designs.

Additional features of this machine include a 5” by 7” hoop size, an automatic threader, and an LCD screen for easy navigation of computer functions. This machine is embroidery only, so do not expect to be able to sew with it.

5. Brother PE770 – Best Editing Features

The Brother PE770 is a great machine for those that want to edit as much as possible on the machine instead of their computer.

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The editing features on this machine are not all encompassing but do offer the ability to rotate, mirror, and move an image. To place designs together, users will still want to get free or low cost editing software for their computers.

The PE770 comes with six built-in alphabets as well as 10 frames and 12 borders to make fancy monograms. You can even make custom design stitches on this machine which is great for those that love to sew with decorative stitches.
Other features include an automatic threader, 11 different sewing feet, an LCD screen, and a USB port to transfer designs.

There is also an embroidery design card slot if that method is preferred. It is also a combination sewing and embroidery machine which makes this machine a great and versatile choice for many consumers especially since the price tag is not too terrible large.

6. Brother CX155LA Laura Ashley – Most Basic Monogram Machine

Sometimes, users want only the most basic machine available.

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The Laura Ashley Brother machine is definitely the bare bones for monograms. It offers only one built-in font which is not even technically embroidered as this is solely a sewing machine. If you want to only place small letters on something such as a handkerchief, it would be a fine machine. However, you cannot add other designs nor edit the one alphabet on the machine.

As a sewing machine, it has a lot of nice features. It comes with a large work table which is great for quilters and people who work on large projects. It comes with 11 different sewing feet which increases the uses for this machine. Consumers should be aware of the lack of monogramming options and the no frills nature of this machine.

My Top Choice: Brother PE770

The top machine of this group is clearly the Brother PE770. With all of the options that come built-in to the machine and all the capabilities it possesses, this machine offers the most versatility and greatest ability to grow with the user’s abilities.

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It comes with a large amount of alphabet designs already which allows users to start in on monogramming at your home immediately without investing additional money. It is reasonably priced for machines in this field and can be used for many more projects other than monogramming.

Free or Low Cost Editing Software Available

As mentioned above, to truly make professional looking, polished monograms, extra software will probably be needed. The software is not necessary to do monogramming but users who want to incorporate multiple letters, frames, or orders may do well to invest in one of the available software programs.

In these programs, you can place letters and frames all together in the same design so that you do not have to try and exactly place the pieces of the design each time you embroider. It can be a huge time saver and can prevent a lot of frustration. Below are a few of the best.

TrueSizer Pro

TrueSizer Pro offers many different features. You can open and convert different embroidery design file types.  You can also change colors and view designs on the garments themselves. You can also open multiple designs and combine them into new designs for easy and simplified embroidery. It is available in many different languages which is about the only program that offers this option.

SophieSew

SophieSew is a revolutionary program for those crafters that are short on cash. It is a completely free program that allows you to edit, resize, and create embroidery designs. The tools with this suite are simply unmatched in other free embroidery editing software. You can fully digitize photos, fill regions with different kinds of stitches of all sorts, and work with different designs on one sheet. That last feature is perhaps the most useful. It allows the user to take two separate designs, such as a letter and a frame, and combine them into one design for simplified embroidery and monogramming. This is far and away the best software for just about anyone.

Embird Basic

Embird is one of the more well-known embroidery editing software programs available. It offers many different file formats, conversion tools, thread catalogs, and other editing options. It allows you to resize and rework any design. It offers (for an additional charge) the ability to digitize and a special alphabet add-on which many monogram lovers may find useful. The relative low cost and ease of use has made this program a favorite among crafters.

Software with Monogram CDs

Many large monogram suites come with specialty software that will allow you to rearrange the letters to make the three letter monograms. However, some do not. So if you are looking for this option, carefully review what comes with the embroidery package you are looking to purchase.


Regardless of which machine or software package you buy, there is no denying that monograms can definitely make a statement. These machines can make those monograms come to life in any piece of clothing.