If you’ve been looking for an embroidery machine to help you effortlessly add embellishments to a variety of fabrics, you’ve probably come across several trusted brands with highly reviewed models. But with their subtle differences, it can be hard to judge which embroidery machine would best suit your needs without hours of research.
One popular embroidery machine is the Brother PE500. Who is this machine really intended for? What features does this machine have, what accessories does it come with, and what other products can be used with it? Unlike other Brother PE500 reviews, we’ll discuss these topics and also answer some of the most commonly asked questions about this machine.
Looking for a fast track? You can jump ahead to a specific question by clicking a link in the table of contents below, or continue to read the whole review.
Who is the Brother PE500 for?
With its low price tag, this machine is ideal for beginners who want to try machine embroidery. The Brother PE 500 has a backlit LCD touch-screen, which makes it very user friendly. Additionally, the machine comes with a variety of accessories and even a starter kit. Right out of the box, beginners have everything they need to get started! Set up is also fairly easy, especially for those who have worked with regular sewing machines before.
This isn’t to say that only beginners will find this embroidery machine useful, however. Experienced embroiderers will appreciate how lightweight it is. Thankfully, it’s also sturdy despite weighing in at just over 20 pounds. It’s a reliable machine to have, especially if you need to transport it to different craft or trade shows.
Who should not purchase the Brother PE500?
If you live in a country where 120V AC electric service is not available, you should not buy this machine. Even if you have a voltage adapter. Brother’s authorized sellers do not ship outside of the United States for this reason.
What Features Does This Embroidery Machine Have?
The Brother PE500 machine has 8 notable features:
- A thread cutter allows the thread to be cut automatically and immediately after embroidering. This speeds up your work, and keeps you in the flow of embroidering, rather than needing to pause every so often to hunt down your thread snips.
- The bobbin winding system lets you wind bobbins quickly with just the press of a button.
- A USB port allows you to connect to a computer in order to transfer new embroidery patterns to the machine.
- A bright LED work lamp lets you see what you’re doing, even when you’re in a dimly lit room or embroidering on dark fabric. Embroidering should be fun – this extra lighting will help you avoid the frustration of bad results. By being able to clearly see what you’re doing -start to finish- you will certainly be more satisfied with the time you spend on embroidering.
- A quick-set bobbin feature means you can start embroidering without pulling up the bobbin thread.
- The needle threader allows you to thread the needle by just pressing a lever. This means no more straining to pass a thread through the eye of a needle!
- A warning light system lets you know when the machine is ready to use, when it is still warming up, or has encountered an error.
- With built-in patterns, frames, and alphanumeric characters, you can embroider the basics without needing access to a computer or making any additional purchases.
What Accessories are Included?
Some of the included accessories
The Brother PE500 comes with a complete accessories package, making it a great value. It comes with the following:
- A seam ripper
- 4 total bobbins, with one preinstalled on the machine.
- A needle set
- A cleaning brush
- A large and a small spool cap. A medium spool cap comes already installed on the machine.
- A spool net
- A disc-shaped screwdriver, and a regular screwdriver
- Three spools of Brother poly #90 bobbin thread
- Three sheets of medium-weight stabilizer. (More can be ordered if desired!)
- A touch pen
- Embroidery foot “Q” on the machine
- Medium-sized embroidery hoop measuring 4 in x 4 in.
- Dust cover
- USB cable
- A bilingual, English/Spanish operation manual.
- Quick reference guide
- Accessory bag
What Additional Products Work With this Machine?
Separately, you can buy these accessories to expand the usability of the PE500:
You’ve been using your embroidering machine for a while and want to add some new colors. Or, you’re happy with the starting thread but you’ve run out.
No problem! You can purchase additional Brother poly #90 embroidery bobbin threads. Using the threads designed for the machine you’re using will ensure that it’s the proper strength and will balance on the needle correctly.
Embroidery cards let you save additional embroidery designs from your computer, then access on your embroidery machine via the card slot. No one really wants to move an embroidery machine around the house more than they have to. If your computer and machine are in the same room, then the included USB cable may be all you need.
For most of us, however, simply saving to the embroidery card and plugging it into the machine is an ideal way to minimize the hassle of adding new patterns.
Additional Embroidery Hoops:
A small embroidery hoop measuring 1 in x 2 ½ in (the SA431) also works with this machine. The smaller hoop is perfect for monogramming or very small projects, like infant clothing or even cuffs and collars.
A larger embroidery hoop measuring 6 ¾ in x 4 in (the SA434) is also available. While the PE500 can only embroider up to one 4 in x 4 in area at a time, the extra space is helpful if you want to embroider multiple designs without re-hooping the fabric.
What Support Does Brother Have for this Machine?
The PE500 has a 25-year limited warranty for the chassis. Electronics and circuit boards are covered for 2 years. Parts, labor, and accessory pieces are covered for 1 year. All of this coverage is only offered if the purchase is made through an authorized Brother reseller in the United States, and only if an original sales receipt is presented. Keep in mind is that the warranty is non-transferable, so if you sell or give your machine to someone else, the coverage is void.
Brother will also provide free phone support for the life of the embroidery machine.
Common Questions Regarding the PE500:
Does this machine do regular sewing also?
No, the Brother PE500 only embroiders.
Is this machine compatible with Macs?
Yes, as long as the design is saved as a .pes, the operating system you have on your computer does not matter. Downloading patterns from the internet will work seamlessly. If you’re planning on designing your own patterns on your Mac, you will need to find software that is Mac-compatible.
Can I save my designs onto a USB flash memory card and transfer designs from my computer to the machine that way?
No, the USB port on the embroidery machine does not support USB flash drives.
How many different colors of thread can I use at one time?
This machine only lets you use one color at a time. When it’s time to change colors, the machine will tell you. Multi-thread embroidery machines do exist, but you can expect a steep price increase.
Can I download more fonts?
Yes. There are a variety of fonts available for purchase online. Just be sure the one you get is in the right format (.pes)!
Can I draw my own picture and transfer it to the machine?
Yes. If you want to make your own designs, you can install a design software on your computer. The important thing to remember is to make sure it can save your design in the correct format. Once you’ve selected a program that meets your needs, design to your heart’s content!
If you’re new to designing, you may be better off hiring an embroidery digitizing company to do it for you. They’ll be able to give you a better stitch pattern, and can probably do dozens of patterns for the same price the design software will cost you.
I want to learn how to monogram. Is this a good machine to learn with? Is there anything else I need to purchase in order to start monogramming?
Yes, this machine is a great starter for practicing how to monogram. It comes with 5 different fonts. While this may be enough to whet your appetite, you will need to buy additional software if you want more choices. If monogramming is the primary use you have in mind for the PE500, consider finding software specifically for fonts.
On its own, this embroidery machine won’t let you do a lot letters at one time. Of course, you can reposition the fabric and continue. How big of an inconvenience this is depends on the size of the monogram projects you have. Again, if you’ll be doing lots of monograms, purchasing a font software will overcome that issue.
Don’t forget: If you’re trying to monogram small items, like cuffs, collars, or infant items, you’ll have better results if you use a smaller hoop (the SA431).
The Brother PE500 Embroidery Machine is a great choice for beginner embroiderers. The features of the machine make it easy to learn how to use. Plus, the included accessories let you get started with embroidering right out of the box!
The machine is compatible with a variety of other products, allowing you the flexibility to grow and learn additional specialty embroidery skills with the same machine. With other small add-ons, developing finer talents such as monogramming on tiny items is easy. Getting new designs and fonts are as simple as purchasing them online, downloading them to your computer, and transferring them to the machine (either by the provided USB cable, or an embroidery card).
If you’re looking to learn how to embroider on a budget, the PE500 is for you.