Best Embroidery Machines for Hats: 2024 Top Picks

Kris Daub
Published by Kris Daub | Senior Editor
Last updated: February 15, 2024
FACT CHECKED
Review Process and Standards
In our reviews and guides, we perform detailed, hands-on evaluations of every product featured. This involves anonymously purchasing products and working with an independent group of evaluators. This approach allows us to collect firsthand insights and provide advice grounded in factual data.

Welcome to our roundup review of embroidery machines, perfect for hat embroidery! We explore a variety of machines, each with unique features to suit different skill levels and production needs. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, regardless of your embroidery skills, our review highlights key aspects to help you choose the best hat embroidery machine for your projects. Discover best embroidery machines available in the market and choose the perfect machine for you with our expert insights.

  • High needle count
  • Advanced touchscreen
  • High-speed embroidery
Best For Commercial Embroidery
  • Fast speed
  • 15-needle system
  • Large embroidery field
Best For High-Volume Production
  • Average needle count
  • Extensive design library
  • Versatile embroidery field
Best For Mid-Sized Business
  • User-friendly RCS
  • 7-needle versatility
  • Precise design control
Best For Small Businesses
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Efficient 4-needle system
  • Compact embroidery field
Best For Beginners

Top Embroidery Machine for Hats Reviewed…

Best For Commercial Embroidery

BAi Vision V22

Ideal for intricate, high-end designs; perfect for advanced users in commercial settings.

BAi Vision V22

Overview

In my view as an embroiderer, the BAi Vision V22 is a standout machine, especially for tackling complex, color-rich hat designs and fonts. With its 22-needle system, it’s a powerhouse for creating detailed, various color patterns. The large 400 x 500 mm embroidery field is perfect for expansive designs, setting it apart from smaller machines. Ideal for professional settings, it’s a top choice for those focusing on high-quality, intricate hat embroidery.

Feature Breakdown

22-Needle System: The BAi Vision V22 stands out with its 22-needle system. This feature is a game-changer for creating highly intricate, various color hat designs. It offers unmatched color variety, allowing for complex patterns and shading that other machines might struggle with. This makes it ideal for premium, detailed embroidery projects like artistic fashion hats or branded promotional caps requiring nuanced color work. Compared to machines with fewer needles, the Vision V22 is an embroidery machine that offers unparalleled color depth, but its complexity may not suit beginners or those with simpler project needs.

400 x 500 mm Embroidery Field: The BAi Vision V22 boasts a maximum embroidery size of 400 x 500 mm. This expansive field allows for embroidering larger designs, accommodating oversized or unique hat styles. It’s perfect for embroiderers who want to explore creative and unique designs that require more space, such as elaborate logos or full-hat designs. While providing more design freedom than smaller machines, its size might be more than required for standard hat embroidery, making it less ideal for operations focusing solely on traditional cap designs.

Who is the BAi Vision V22 For?

The BAi Vision V22 is a professional embroidery machine and the go-to for those in the big leagues of custom apparel, especially when intricate, various color hat designs are the game. Think sports team logos with every shade under the sun, or promotional hats that pop with detail – that’s where the 22 needles shine. The large embroidery field lets you go big on designs, something smaller machines can’t match. It’s not your starter kit, but for those tackling large, complex orders, the Vision V22 is a dream.

Specs

  • Needle Count: 22 needles
  • Embroidery Field Size: 400 x 500 mm
  • Embroidery Speed: 1200 SPM
  • Specialized Hat Hoops
  • Automatic Thread Trimming
  • Programmable Color Stops
  • LCD Touchscreen
  • Connectivity Options: USB, Network

Pros

  • Exceptional 22-needle system
  • Expansive 400 x 500 mm field
  • Ideal for intricate designs
  • Unmatched color variety
  • Perfect for professional use
  • Cons of BAi Vision V22

Cons

  • Not beginner-friendly
  • Overly complex for simple projects
  • High-end, specialized machine
  • Large field, not always needed

Best For High-Volume Production

BAi Mirror 1501

Best for high-volume, diverse embroidery projects; suitable for large-scale custom apparel businesses.

BAi Mirror 1501

Overview

The BAi Mirror 1501 impresses me with its versatility and efficiency. Its 15-needle setup is perfect for complex, various color hat designs, allowing for creativity without constant thread changes. The large 360 x 510 mm embroidery field is ideal for bulk orders or large designs. Although it’s a bit advanced for beginners, for high-volume, diverse projects, this machine is a powerhouse, streamlining production and boosting creativity.

Stand Out Features

15-Needle Count: The BAi Mirror 1501 comes equipped with 15 needles. This setup is perfect for creating complex, various color hat designs. The variety of needles allows for seamless color transitions in embroidery without the need for frequent thread changes, enhancing efficiency. While this needle count offers more color options than machines with fewer needles, making it ideal for diverse design requirements, it might be a bit overwhelming for beginners or those working on simpler, monochromatic designs.

360 x 510 mm Embroidery Field: The machine boasts a large embroidery field of 360 x 510 mm. This size is great for batch processing various hats or accommodating larger, more elaborate designs. It’s a significant advantage for businesses handling bulk orders or large-scale designs. This larger field size surpasses smaller machines in versatility for big projects, but it could be more than what’s needed for standard hat sizes, making it less ideal for smaller-scale operations.

Embroidery Speed: The machine operates at a high embroidery speed of up to 1200 SPM.
The high speed can handle high-volume production, allowing businesses to complete orders quickly and efficiently. This speed is particularly beneficial for commercial use where meeting tight deadlines is crucial. However, it may be excessive for hobbyists or small-scale embroiderers who don’t require such rapid output.

Who is the the BAi Mirror 1501?

The BAi Mirror 1501 is a standout for high-volume production businesses and custom apparel companies. Its 15-needle system excels in producing large batches of complex, various color hat designs. It’s particularly adept at creating promotional hats and team sports caps that require a blend of speed and color diversity. The large 360 x 510 mm embroidery field allows for handling intricate and varied designs on a larger scale, making it a prime choice for operations that demand both quality and quantity in their professional hat embroidery projects.

Specs

  • Needle Count: 15 needles
  • Embroidery Field Size: 360 x 510 mm
  • Maximum Embroidery Speed: Up to 1200 SPM (Stitches Per Minute)
  • Automatic Thread Trimming: Yes
  • Built-In Memory: Yes
  • Touchscreen Interface: Yes,
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Thread Color System: Automatic Color Change.

Pros

  • Versatile 15-needle system
  • Large 360 x 510 mm field
  • Ideal for complex designs
  • Fast at 1200 SPM
  • Great for bulk orders

Cons

  • Not beginner-friendly
  • Excessive for small-scale use
  • May overwhelm simple projects

Best For Mid-Sized Business

Juki Tajima Sai 8

Versatile for varied designs, bridging gap between beginner and professional embroidery needs.

Juki Tajima Sai 8

Overview

The Juki Tajima Sai 8 has earned my admiration for its perfect balance in hat embroidery. Its 8-needle system provides just the right mix of color diversity and ease of use, catering to a variety of designs without complexity. The 300 x 200 mm embroidery field is adequately sized for most projects, and the impressive array of 800 built-in designs sparks creativity. Ideal for those progressing beyond basic embroidery yet not ready for high-end complexities, it’s a superb choice for embroiderers seeking versatility and creativity in their work.

Stand Out Features

8-Needle System: The Juki Tajima Sai 8 is equipped with an 8-needle system. This feature offers a good balance between color variety and manageability. It’s suitable for a wide range of hat designs, allowing for enough color diversity without being overly complex. This makes it a great choice for both intermediate and advanced embroiderers. While it provides more color options than single or 4-needle machines, it’s less intimidating than higher needle count machines, making it a versatile choice for varied design needs without overwhelming the user.

300 x 200 mm Embroidery Field: The embroidery field is 300 x 200 mm. This size provides ample space for most hat sizes and designs. It offers enough room for creativity and versatility in hat embroidery, accommodating a wide range of design possibilities. This field size is suitable for most standard hat embroidery projects, striking a good balance between the smaller fields of basic machines and the larger fields of more advanced models.

Built-In Designs: The machine offers 800 built-in designs. This extensive library of designs greatly enhances the machine’s appeal, especially for custom hat embroidery. It offers embroiderers a vast array of creative options right out of the box. Compared to machines with fewer built-in designs, the Juki Tajima Sai 8 stands out for its large design variety, making it a strong choice for those who seek inspiration and variety in their projects.

Who is the Juki Tajima Sai 8 For?

The Juki Tajima Sai 8 is a gem for mid-sized custom embroidery businesses and diverse craft shops. Its 8-needle system strikes the perfect balance, making it suitable for a wide range of hat embroidery projects, from basic designs to those with moderate complexity. It’s especially adept at handling varied custom hat designs and small batch fashion items, offering enough versatility to cater to diverse product offerings. This balance of functionality and simplicity makes it a solid choice for businesses that require flexibility in their designs without the need for a high-complexity machine. It’s the go-to choice for those looking to deliver custom, high-quality embroidery with a manageable level of detail.

Specs

  • Needle Count: 8 needles,
  • Embroidery Field: 300 x 200 mm
  • Built-In Designs: 800 designs
  • Maximum Embroidery Speed: 800 stitches per minute
  • Automatic Thread Trimming: Yes
  • Built-In Memory: Yes
  • Touchscreen Interface: Yes
  • Connectivity: USB and LAN,
  • Machine Size: Compact
  • Thread Color System: Automatic Color Change.

Pros

  • Balanced 8-needle system
  • Versatile embroidery field
  • 800 creative designs
  • Ideal for intermediate users
  • Manages complexity well

Cons

  • Less needle variety
  • Not for high-volume output
  • Limited for advanced tasks
  • Standard field size limitations

Best For Small Business

Janome MB-7

This machine strikes an excellent balance between commercial-grade features and ease of use. Its seven-needle system provides the flexibility needed for various small business projects without being overly complex or expensive.

Janome MB-7

Overview

The Janome MB-7 impresses me as a user-friendly and versatile machine for hat embroidery. Its 7-needle system offers the right mix of color options for varied designs without being overwhelming. The addition of the Remote Computer Screen is a game-changer, providing precise control over designs, which is crucial for detailed hat work. Ideal for those progressing from basic models, it’s a great balance of simplicity and advanced features for creative embroidery.

Stand Out Features

7-Needle System: The Janome MB-7 boasts a 7-needle system. This needle count strikes an ideal balance for hat embroidery, offering enough color variety for diverse designs while maintaining simplicity. It’s perfect for embroiderers who want more color options than basic models but prefer less complexity than higher needle count machines. The 7 needles provide more versatility than 4-needle models, making it a good choice for more detailed designs. However, it may not match the color richness achievable with machines having a higher needle count.

Remote Computer Screen (RCS): The MB-7 features the RCS. This remote screen enhances the ease and precision of design manipulation. It allows for more detailed control over embroidery designs, which is particularly useful for hat embroidery where precision is key. The RCS offers a distinct advantage over models without this feature, as it provides a more user-friendly and precise approach to design editing and customization.

Who is the Janome MB-7 for?

The Janome MB-7 is a standout choice for small to medium businesses specializing in custom hat embroidery. Its 7-needle setup is perfect for various color designs with moderate complexity, such as crafting unique small business logos or personalized hats. This machine’s balance of color variety and user-friendliness makes it ideal for projects that need more than basic color options but don’t require the intricacy of higher needle count machines. It offers a sweet spot for creating distinctive, vibrant hat designs without the complexities often encountered in more advanced embroidery setups.

Specs

  • Needle Count: 7 Needles
  • Maximum Embroidery Speed (SPM): 800 Stitches Per Minute
  • Maximum Embroidery Area: 9.4 inches Length x 7.9 inches Width
  • Embroidery Formats: .JEF, .JEF+, .DST
  • Built-In Designs: 50 Designs
  • Built-In Monogramming Designs: 10 Designs
  • Weight: 50 lbs
  • Machine Dimensions: 17.7 inches Width x 25.6 inches Height x 26.8 inches Depth
  • Remote Computer Screen (RCS): 5.7 inches
  • Extra Large Bobbin: 1.4 times larger than a regular bobbin

Pros

  • User-Friendly RCS Feature
  • Ideal for Moderate Complexity
  • Versatile Color Options
  • Precise Design Control

Cons

  • Limited Color Richness
  • Not for Complex Designs
  • Less Advanced Than Higher Models
  • Basic for Expert Users
  • Limited for Large Batches

Best For Beginners

Janome MB-4SE

Ideal for customized apparel, home decor, and unique gift items

Janome MB-4SE

Overview

This Janome machine strikes a sweet spot for embroiderers like me, especially those embarking on moderately complex hat designs. Its 4-needle system perfectly balances simplicity and color versatility, making it a hat embroidery machine for beginners and sufficient for small businesses. The embroidery field size is well-suited for standard hat projects, and while the design library isn’t vast, it provides a good variety for creative exploration. This machine is a solid, user-friendly option for those valuing efficiency and ease in their embroidery journey.

Stand Out Features

4-Needle System: The machine comes with a 4-needle system. This system strikes a balance between color versatility and simplicity, making it ideal for less complex hat designs. It’s perfect for projects that require a few color changes, providing enough flexibility without overcomplicating the embroidery process. While offering more versatility than single-needle machines, it is less daunting than machines with a higher needle count. This makes it an excellent choice for small businesses or hobbyists focusing on designs that are colorful yet not overly intricate.

Embroidery Field: The embroidery field measures 240 x 200 mm. This size is adequate for most hat sizes, offering enough space for a variety of designs while maintaining a compact footprint. It’s versatile for different hat styles, providing sufficient room for creative expression without being cumbersome.
It balances well between the smaller fields of entry-level machines and the larger fields of more advanced models, making it a practical choice for standard hat embroidery needs.

Built-In Designs: The machine also includes 50 built-in designs. These designs provide a solid foundation for creative exploration, especially for those new to embroidery or when quick inspiration is needed. It’s a helpful feature for beginners or small businesses that require a range of basic designs. Though limited compared to machines with larger libraries, these 50 designs offer a good starting point for a variety of projects, making the MB-4S a viable option for users who prefer a more straightforward, user-friendly approach.

Specs

  • Needle Count: 4 needles
  • Embroidery Field: 240 x 200 mm
  • Built-In Designs: 50 designs
  • Embroidery Speed: 800 SPM
  • Screen Type: LCD touchscreen
  • Screen Size: 5.7
  • Connectivity: USB
  • On-Screen Editing: Yes

Pros

  • Balanced 4-needle system
  • Suitable for standard hats
  • User-friendly for beginners
  • Compact, efficient design
  • Basic, useful built-in designs

Cons

  • Limited color versatility
  • Not for complex designs
  • Small design library
  • Less ideal for professionals
  • Basic for advanced users

Now that you’ve narrowed it down to some of your favorite sewing machines, chances are you probably still have some questions.

Below we answer some of the most frequently asked questions to help you make the best choice for you.

How Much Should I Invest?

When considering the amount of money you’re willing to spend on your cap embroidery machine, just consider your final goal and then work backward.

Here is a list of questions to consider:

  • Is your ultimate goal to start a business? You’ll want a machine with a high speed, such as the Janome Memory Craft.
  • Do you want something to help you along the way? You might consider a used or beginner-friendly machine.
  • Are you looking for the best embroidery machine for hats? You might have to pay top dollar.
  • Will you depend on the built-in embroidery designs? Choose a machine with lots of choices.
  • Is your heart set on buying a hat embroidery machine? You can check out an embroidery machine for hats like the Janome MB or the Janome memory craft.
  • Do you also need a sewing machine? If so, you might have to consider the two-in-one embroidery and sewing duo.

You can try investing in a long-lasting embroidery machine like the brother PE770. If you consider the length of time you’re likely to own the model by the price, it doesn’t seem as steep.

You should also get clear on whether you want a sewing and embroidery machine. Getting a combo machine can save you thousands.

Also, you can find someone parting ways with their pre-loved embroidery and sewing machine.

If you’re just starting- this is a great option.

What Size Should You Buy?

Row of Embroidery Machines
Row of Embroidery Machines

Size is an essential factor when choosing the best embroidery machine for hats.

You don’t want to shop for hat embroidery machines whose capacities are 4×4 because then you’re stuck with limited options.

Ideal Size

The best embroidery machines for hats have an embroidery area of 5×7 or bigger.

Also, consider whether you only want to embroider hats.

If you’re looking to stick to things like hats and shirts, then a machine like the SE1900 is perfect.

Is there a possibility that you will want to get into something like quilting in the future? That would require a much larger work area workspace.

Workspace

Lastly, think about your own sewing/embroidery area needs.

If you need a sewing and embroidery machine and have limited space, it makes sense to get something like the SE625.

How Do I Choose Hoops?

For this article, we will stick to hat hoops.

If you’re doing independent research, you’ll find them online as either hat hoops or cap hooks.

When you’re deciding which one to purchase, just make sure it is compatible with your embroidery machine’s model number and work area.

Here is a video of a generic hat hoop being used on the SE1900.

Using the Hat Hoop on the SE1900

Is Speed Important?

Speed only becomes a factor for an embroidery machine if you’re thinking about starting an embroidery business, in which case the best embroidery machine for you would be part of a professional series like the Memory Craft 9900 or the Janome MB.

But if you are using your embroidery machine for personal use, then speed is not an essential factor.

Our top pick as the best embroidery machine for hats takes about 10-30 minutes to complete one project.

Is There Anything Else I Should Watch Out For When Shopping For a Machine?

I would look out for automatic thread tension. If possible, choose an embroidery machine with an automatic needle threader.

It’s awful when you’re in the middle of creating beautiful embroidery designs, and then your needle starts jamming.

TIP

Always read the reviews on a machine you are about to purchase, and if possible-test drive it.

Research

Consider doing your research for “embroidery machine needle” and paying particular attention to the sewing stitch’s features.

There is not much worse in the sewing world than getting stuck with a machine whose thread keeps breaking. Not only is it frustrating, but tension issues can cause the needle to break, which also makes it dangerous.

How to Embroider a Hat

Now that you’ve chosen your embroidery machine, it’s time to start embroidering!

Here’s a super quick and straight forward video that shows you step-by-step how to embroider a hat

Do I need a special needle to embroider my hat?

You will want to use a needle made for embroidering like the 75/11 embroidery needle.

Do I need a special thread for my embroidery machine?

No, but you’ll want to check your manual to ensure your thread is compatible with your machine.

Additionally, some embroidery machines seemingly have no thread limits.

Still, upon reading the reviews, you might find a common theme wherein specific threads don’t mesh well with particular designs.

This isn’t a common problem, but doing research ahead of time might save you some trial and error.

How to use an Embroidery Machine for Hats?

The steps to using your embroidery machine with your hat are almost identical to embroidering anything else. Some things to keep in mind are:

1. Preparing your design.

Ensure your design is the appropriate size.

If you have an embroidery machine that only fits a 4×4 design, you can’t use an image made for a 5×7 machine.

You’ll either have to use special software to resize the image or choose one of the built-in embroidery designs.

You will also want to ensure you have the right threading colors for it ahead of time.

2. Prepare the hat for embroidery.

Plain Black Cap on Wooden Surface

Typical Items needed for embroidering hats include:

  • Hat Hoop
  • Tearaway Stabiliser
  • Painter’s tape
  • Pins
  • Embroidery machine

Make sure you have your hat embroidery hoop and a tearaway stabilizer, and painter’s tape to help stabilize the hat, as shown in the video above.

If you plan on doing anything else to the cap, like dying it or distressing it, make sure to do it before you embroider it.

TIP

When using pins to hold down your hat, make sure they will not be in the way of your design. You want to keep them close enough to keep your hat flat but far away from the design that the pins will never make contact with the needle.

3. Embroider the Hat

Somethings you’ll want to remember when embroidering your hat are:

Mark the center of the stabilizer with a pencil to help you line up the hat better.

That way, you’ll be able to see if things start going sideways.

If you prepped your hat right, the embroidery part is the easy part. All you have to do is start embroidering and let the machine do all the work.

NOTE

Word to the wise: Do not assume this is a great time to check your social media or catch up on Netflix- at least not the first few times. Until you have the process down, not paying attention can ruin a perfectly good hat.

What Should You Avoid Doing While Embroidering Hats?

Running the machine too fast.

Unless you have a machine made for speed and you’re working with mass production, you’ll want to decrease your embroidery speed until you’re secure with the settings.

Forcing the hat onto the embroidery machine.

Thicker hats might be too much for a personal use embroidery machine.

If you are having trouble fitting your cap, or the needle threader tension keeps giving you problems with that particular hat, that’s a sign to stop.

Use a different hat or borrow a different machine.

Wrong hooping.

Don’t attempt to use something other than a hat hoop on your hats. Hat hoops allow you to accommodate the unique shape of hats and securely hold the hat in place.

If there is no way for you to get your hands on a hat hoop and you need to make your hat now, it’s a better choice just to leave the hoop out altogether.

Incorrect Placement.

You want to take your time here.

There are various types of hats, with different hat sizes and styles. Placement is an essential part of the design, so make sure you take the time to mark your hat and use your pins.

Change your needles.

You should be changing your needle after every project. Using a hat embroidery machine with a dull needle, you run the risk of creating tension problems, breaking it, messing up your needle threader, and even ruining your hats.

Incorrectly Digitized Embroidery Files.

This one is tricky, but if you’ve ever tried uploading a “correct size” design to your embroidery machine with no success, you get the frustration.

I have referenced this article a time or two to help me through the troubleshooting process.

Editor’s Tips

If possible- purchase a few dummy hats and practice on a couple first. This will help you get comfortable with your embroidery machine and allow you to practice your embroidery designs.

Embroidering hats is very easy, except for the first and second time you make them. At this point, you will undoubtedly be tempted to throw your machine at the wall at least once. Be patient with the process and go turtle speed the first time.

Once you get a clear idea of the concept, you’ll be unstoppable.

Cap Hoop

If you have to choose between a non-cap hoop and no hoop, go with no hoop.

You might have to sit tight and monitor the stitching process extra-closely but using a non-cap hoop will give you awful results (learn from my mistakes).

TIP

If you can visit your local sewing machine shop, go and ask to test drive some machines.

Most stores have floor models (and other) items available for testing, especially those requiring a more significant investment.

Check Everything

Check out the features, review the built-in designs.

You can even ask to use the embroidery design featured on some of them.

Bonus: the women sitting by those machines know a lot about them, so they should be able to answer any specific questions.

The design didn’t come out the way you expected? Don’t panic. Keep a seam ripper nearby, and start ripping seams from the inside.

The first couple of tries don’t tend to leave any significant marks

How we compared these products

In our review of machines for hat embroidery, we employed a systematic approach to ensure a fair and comprehensive comparison of each product. Here’s how we did it:

Product Specifications: We started by examining the technical specifications of each machine, such as needle count, maximum embroidery speed, embroidery field size, and available designs. This provided a baseline for understanding the capabilities and limitations of each model.

Feature Analysis: We delved deeper into the unique features of each machine, such as touchscreen interfaces, built-in design options, and additional functionalities like remote computer screens or LED lighting. This allowed us to assess how these features contribute to the overall embroidery experience.

User Experience and Suitability: We evaluated each machine based on its ease of use, efficiency, and suitability for different types of embroidery projects. This included considering the machine’s ideal use cases, such as whether it’s better suited for beginners, small businesses, or high-volume production settings.

Comparative Approach: Each machine was compared against others in the review based on the above criteria. We highlighted how a particular machine stands out in the market, whether it’s through superior speed, design versatility, user-friendliness, or other distinctive features.

Practical Applications: We provided examples of types of hat embroidery projects each machine is best suited for, explaining why its specific specs and features make it ideal compared to other options. This practical approach helped in illustrating the real-world applications of each machine.

Pros and Cons: For a quick and easy summary, we listed the main advantages and disadvantages of each machine. This helped in providing a clear, at-a-glance understanding of what each product offers.

  • High needle count
  • Advanced touchscreen
  • High-speed embroidery
Best For Commercial Embroidery
  • Fast speed
  • 15-needle system
  • Large embroidery field
Best For High-Volume Production
  • Average needle count
  • Extensive design library
  • Versatile embroidery field
Best For Mid-Sized Business
  • User-friendly RCS
  • 7-needle versatility
  • Precise design control
Best For Small Businesses
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Efficient 4-needle system
  • Compact embroidery field
Best For Beginners

This review offers a snapshot of the best embroidery machines for hat, catering to a range of needs from high-volume production to beginner ease. Whatever your skill level as an embroidery enthusiast or project demand, there’s a machine here to support and enhance your embroidery journey.