Brother PE800 Review: A Great Embroidery Machine for Hobbyists & Pros

brother PE800 review
Makers Nook is supported by its readers. We may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you if you buy through a link on this page. Learn more.

Are you looking for a computerized embroidery machine and wondering if the PE800 is the right choice for you? Read on to find out in our in-depth Brother PE800 review!

Brother PE800: an overview

The Brother PE800 is a dedicated, fully computerized and feature-packed embroidery machine. Being an embroidery-only machine it does not have any sewing functions, so is best suited to both professional and ‘enthusiastic hobbyist’ embroiderers.

Brother PE800 Embroidery Machine

This is an upgrade of the Brother PE770, but with some exciting new features ( you can check out our review of the PE770  here). 

New features include a built-in color palette that allows you to preview designs, and change thread colors on screen, an automatic needle threader, and a quick-set, drop-in bobbin. There is also an automatic thread trimmer making it quick and efficient to use.

The Brother PE800 comes with 138 built-in embroidery designs, 11 monogramming fonts, and the ability to import virtually any design you like via the machine’s USB port, up to a maximum embroidery area of five by seven inches. Designs can also be edited on Brother’s iBroidery.com.

What we like:

  • Easy to use: Easily navigate functions on the machine’s large color LCD screen, and work efficiently thanks to the automatic needle threader and thread trimmer.
  • Large number of designs: 11 fonts and 138 built-in designs and import more via USB.
  • Customization options: Designs can be edited online and thread colors may be customized on the LCD display.

What we don’t like:

  • Discontinued: This model has been discontinued, but it is still available for purchase from third-party sellers. While we think it’s worth buying the PE800, if you’re still not convinced about going for a discontinued machine, we recommend the Brother SE1900 as a great alternative.

With so many bells and whistles, some sewists may find this machine overwhelming at first. However, you’ll be able to use its on-screen tutorials to help you get the hang of using the Brother PE800.

Overall, this is an affordable, reliable and versatile embroidery machine.

A closer look at the Brother PE800

The Brother PE800 has a number of features that embroidery enthusiasts will love, including:

  • Large embroidery area: Allows you to embroider designs up to five by seven inches.
  • 138 built-in embroidery designs:  Over 100 designs pre-loaded and at your fingertips.
  • USB port: For importing yet more designs.
  • 11 alpha-numeric fonts: In a range of languages.
  • Fast stitching speed: 650 stitches per minute.
  • Quickset bobbin: For quick and easy loading.
  • LCD color screen: Touchscreen for previewing designs and navigating the machine’s features.
  • On-screen tutorials: That demonstrate how to use the machine.
  • Automatic needle threader: For easy threading.
  • Automatic thread trimmer: Can be programmed to cut thread tails after sewing.
  • Dual LED lights: To bright illuminate the work area.

How user-friendly is the Brother PE800?

Overall, the Brother PE800 is a user-friendly embroidery machine. It has a range of features to make embroidery easier and more efficient, though beginner sewists may find the many functions a little overwhelming at first.

The LCD touch screen allows for easy operation

The Brother PE800 has a color LCD touchscreen for previewing and selecting designs, as well as adjusting the machine’s settings to achieve the best finish. The 3.2-inch screen is nice and large, making it easy to see what you’re doing.

Brother PE800 display

The screen also has a built-in color palette that you can use to change individual thread colors on screen.

The Brother PE800 is easy to thread

Any sewist knows that threading the machine can be one of the most time-consuming and often frustrating parts of using a sewing or embroidery machine.

The PE800 comes with a needle threader, letting you easily thread the needle with just a touch of a lever. Easy threading is also facilitated by a numbered threading diagram printed right on the machine.

Brother PE800 needle threader

The drop-in bobbin also helps with easy threading, with a quick set design. This means that all you need to do is drop in a full bobbin and you’re ready to sew!

Support and tutorials are included

With so many features and functions, some users may find this machine confusing at first, especially if you have not used a dedicated embroidery machine before. However, there is plenty of info/support and using this should clear up these doubts and let you get used to using the machine.

It comes with a bilingual user manual, and you can also access step-by-step tutorials directly on the LCD touchscreen. These tutorials allow you to quickly and easily see how to use the machine, including how to thread the machine and how to attach the embroidery arm.

Brother also offers free customer phone and online technical support for the life of the product to clear up any doubts or issues, though some online users seem less than impressed with the support offered.

Fast sewing speed lets you work quickly and easily

The Brother PE800 can embroider at up to 650 stitches per minute, letting you work quickly and have your designs finished in no time. This may not sound superfast when you compare this to sewing machines with speeds of 1000 stitches per minute or more, but this is a good speed for an embroidery machine.

Other automatic features

The Brother PE800 also has a programmed thread trimmer that you can set to automatically cut the thread tails once it has finished stitching. This way, you’ll be able to quickly move on to the next task.

There is also a bobbin sensor and upper thread sensor to identify potential issues in these areas, and two very bright LED lights that light up the work area.

Is the Brother PE800 versatile?

It is important to note that the PE800 is a dedicated embroidery machine with zero sewing features so you won’t be able to use it to sew or repair garments or other projects. If you’re looking for a machine that you can use for general sewing as well as embroidery, you’re better off looking for a quality combination sewing and embroidery machine like the Brother SE400 or the Singer Futura XL-400.

That being said, this is a versatile embroidery machine that can create a wide range of designs and fonts in a range of sizes.

A wide range of designs and fonts are included

The Brother PE800 has 138 built-in embroidery designs and 11 alpha-numeric fonts for monogramming. It is also equipped with USB port allowing you to import yet more designs.

Brother PE800 embroidery designs

The fonts are a range of languages:

  • Seven English fonts
  • Three Japanese fonts
  • One Cyrillic font

In addition to the designs and fonts, there are also 14 different border styles and 10 frame shapes perfect for home décor projects like placemats or pillows.

When you buy the Brother PE800, you get access to the designs and embroidery software on Brother’s iBroidery.com. This user-friendly site lets you amend designs with mirror image, rotation, and increasing or decreasing the size of the design.

Another handy feature of the PE800 is that you can easily combine embroidery designs with monogramming, allowing you to efficiently sew home décor and similar projects.

The PE800’s large embroidery area allows for diversity  in design sizes

This machine has a nice large embroidery area of five by seven inches, letting you embroider designs in a range of sizes.

Brother PE800 embroidery area

It only comes with one embroidery hoop. However, you can also buy Brother PE800 hoop sets separately which will give you a variety of shapes and sizes, allowing you to produce high-quality results with designs of all sizes.

The hoops are interchangeable with the previous model, the Brother PE770, so if upgrading from this machine, you’ll be able to use the same hoops.

Brother machines are generally reliable

Brother is well known for producing high-quality, reliable machines, and the PE800 is no exception. If you do have any issues, there is a 25-year limited warranty that covers faulty machine parts, consumables and accessory items for US customers.

With a relatively affordable price tag, this machine represents excellent value for money considering the durability and number of features for the cost.

The PE800 comes with plenty of accessories

When you buy the Brother PE800, you’ll also receive the following accessories:

  • Embroidery hoop
  • Bobbins
  • Needle set
  • Seam ripper
  • Spool caps in three sizes
  • Spool net
  • Embroidery scissors
  • Thread
  • USB cable
  • Touch pen
  • Screw driver

This will set you up well for a range of embroidery and monogramming projects, using the machine’s LCD touchscreen with ease, and import more designs via the USB port. The machine also comes with a dust cover to keep it clean between uses.

Alternatives to the Brother PE800

If you’re looking for a machine for embroidery you essentially have two options: a dedicated embroidery machine, or a combination sewing and embroidery machine. Let’s compare the Brother PE800 to one of the best

Brother PE800 vs SE1900

Being a combination sewing and embroidery machine, the Brother SE1900 can perform both sewing and embroidery functions.

The SE1900 and the SE800 both have 138 built-in designs and 11 monogramming fonts. Both machines have a large color LCD touchscreen for previewing designs and both have an embroidery area of five by seven inches.

In addition, the SE1900 has 240 built-in sewing stitches that you can use for making garments, quilting, and repairs. The PE800 is designed purely for embroidery so is not suitable for regular sewing.

The Brother SE1900 also features the unusual My Custom Stitch feature that lets you design your own custom sewing stitches and save them for future use.

On the other hand, the list price of the Brother SE1900 is more expensive than the PE800, so you’ll need to consider whether the sewing functions are worth the extra investment. If you’re purely looking for a machine to do embroidery, you may be better choosing the PE800.

Brother PE800 FAQs

Are you considering buying a Brother PE800 but not sure if it’s right for you? Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this model.

Is the Brother PE800 discontinued?

Yes the Brother PE800 has been discontinued, but it is still available for purchase from third party sellers

Where can I buy the Brother PE800?

As it is discontinued, you’re not likely to find the Brother PE800 at your local sewing supply store. However, you can find it for purchase online.

Can the Brother PE800 sew?

The Brother PE800 is a dedicated embroidery machine, so it does not do regular sewing and you won’t be able to use it to hem, repair, or sew items. However, you can use it to embroider an almost limitless number of embroidery designs or monogram letters and numbers on fabric.

Therefore, it is best suited to sewists who either exclusively want to do embroidery, for example for a small business, or do a great deal of both sewing and embroidery and want a dedicated machine for each.

If you want a machine that can both sew and embroider check out our reviews of combination sewing machines the Brother SE400 or the Singer Futura XL-400.

What format does the Brother PE800 use?

The Brother PE800 can read designs in the following formats:

  • .pes
  • .dst
  • .phc
  • .pen

This covers the files that you can download and edit on iBroidery.com, as well as most embroidery files you may buy online or download for free.

Wrapping up

The Brother PE800 is a reliable, user-friendly, and affordable computerized embroidery machine. It is versatile in terms of embroidery designs, fonts, and customization fonts, though can only be used for embroidery as it does not have sewing functionality.

It’s an excellent choice for professionals who need a machine solely for embroidery, or enthusiastic hobbyists who want to set it up next to their regular sewing machine.

If you found this review of the Brother PE800 useful, do share it with your networks!