Multi Head Embroidery Machines

Why Upgrade to a Multi Head Embroidery Machine?

For commercial & professional embroidery businesses

When you start an embroidery business you dream up the idea, make up the plan and start scrounging around for the capital cash to invest in equipment, the last thing you’re probably setting aside money for is a multe-head.

After all, multi head embroidery machines are MUCH bigger, heavier, more expensive and let’s face it – SCARIER – than single heads.

Just to be clear; when we talk about a multi head machine what we’re actually describing is how a commercial unit is constructed. A single head machine, for example, usually has 15 needles loaded into one section with a single table underneath the needles. There’s a control panel, and usually a stand with wheels. These single head units are designed to be small, semi-portable and fit into a home-office style or retail environment. You’ve probably seen one in a mall kiosk sewing on custom caps. A multi head has 4 or more of the 150 needle heads sections mounted onto a large frame all hooked into one single control panel.

It’s like the difference between a home lawn mower and one of those tractors you see pulling multiple blades out in a field.

SWF embroidery machine
Single Head Embroidery Machine

On the left is a picture of a single head machine your might buy to start your business. It runs between $10K and $16K depending on the brand and the supplies and software that you order with it.

Most of these units are about the same size, under 3′ x 3′, and come with some kind of a stand on wheels.

They’re great machines and will last a long, long time.. as long as you get a commercial embroidery machine and NOT a fancy consumer model


avance_1504_lowresThe one on the right is a small scale picture of a 4 head. This one is an Avance 1504, 15 needle, commercial 4 head machine. As  you can see there’s only one “head” on the SWF example and 4 of them on this one. Keep in mind that this is NOT to scale. This machine is actually about 10′ long and weighs more than 1400lbs.

So what do you get with this big machine vs. the single head?

FOUR times the capability! Most new businesses notice right away the embroidering a hat or a polo, even at 1000 stitches per minute, take a while. By awhile, I mean that the logo in the video below takes 16 minutes to sew out.

So, if you have your 1501C machine and get an order for 100 polos with that Coldesi logo on it that will be 1600 minutes, or almost 27 hours of embroidering – and that doesn’t include swapping out the hoops in between.

With the 4 head machine, you load the design up ONCE, then hit Run and make 4 logos in the same amount of time. That means you get the same job done in under 7 hours.  Same job – 1 work day vs. over 3!

You can find more information here:

So How Much does a Multi Head Machine Cost?

The Avancé Single head machine sells for about $11K, the 1504 that’s pictured is about $29K (but they always have some kind of deal going) So it’s less than 3x the price, but you get 4x the performance.

There’s even a 6 head called the 1506C that sells for a little under $35K and yep, the math works the same way: that job that was going to take you 27 hours to do would be down to about 4.5 hours. 

So obviously if you have the cash, can get the financing and plan on doing some volume business you should definitely be looking into multi head embroidery machines!

Here’s a good video showing off how one of these multi head machines works:


The Most Important Features in a Commercial Embroidery Machine

What Features to look for before you Buy an Industrial Machine

There are things that are difficult to quantify when you’re talking embroidery machines. Reliability and ease of use are both vitally important, but frankly, there’s just no way to put numbers on those that don’t depend somewhat on the operator.

So if you can’t measure those, what FEATURES of each machine can you compare that will actually make a difference in how much money you can make and how fast you can produce designs?

Sewing Field Size

The sewing field size determines the size of the design you can make. There are work-arounds you can use to cheat the system, but in a production environment where you might be running your single head embroidery machine for 6 or 8 hours a day and deviation from the norm will cost you more money than you’ll earn doing it.

A great example of the difference in sewing field size is comparing the Brother Entrepreneur Pro with the Avancé 1501C, both comparably priced at around $11K. The Brother Entrepreneur Pro has 8X14” field size while the Avancé has an almost 15×20” – that will make a HUGE difference on a jacket back, or if you’re going to create patches. The bigger the field, the bigger the design or the more patch designs you can embroider at once. For more on the Brother vs. the Avancé, read this Review and Compare article.

Automatic Oiling

This is one of the sleeper features that really make a big difference in time for you. An automatic oiling system is basically a reservoir of machine oil on your commercial embroidery machine. You fill up this ONE spot, and it will oil many different places simultaneously.

Because some of the spots you have to get to are tricky otherwise, this is a big deal feature. It will save you time and improve your overall maintenance because someone will miss a spot otherwise! The Automatic oiling system is standard on many industrial systems, including the SWF line at

Quick Change Cap System

Embroidering on caps is an extremely hot, and profitable, way to make it in apparel decorating right now. Baseball caps for Little League or local sports teams, company logos, you name it, are all popular items.

When you’re busy, switching from caps to a flats – going from making a baseball cap to embroidering a company logo on a polo shirt for example – can be the difference between a productive day or not. Even though it doesn’t take more than 5 minutes on any machine that I’m aware of, that time adds up over the year(s) and can definitely impact your profits.

SWF Embroidery Machines, single and multi head systems, have by far the best and easiest way to switch between caps and flats. This video will show you why.

The Avancé has the most cumbersome cap system, where you must unscrew several allen nuts to change from flats to caps. The Tajima commercial machines have a kind of dial system, still slow, but at least you don’t need any tools. But the SWF system is clearly the best. Imagine if you have a 6 or an 8 head machine and have to switch, how much time you’ll save!


Don’t let descriptive terms sway your decision. Look for real FEATURES that you can see, touch and do before you choose your commercial industrial embroidery machine.