5 Questions you should ask before you purchase a second hand embroidery machine

Welcome all.  Today I am writing on a topic that many of you may have thought about.  So often I hear “I would love to get into embroidery, but I cannot afford to purchase a new machine, and I don’t want to purchase someone else’s problems.”

I don’t want to purchase someone else’s problems.

Well this is the perfect time of the year to discuss this topic.  Many of you will have a machine on your Christmas “wish” list.  Looking at a second hand embroidery machine may be a way to get into the embroidery market, or a way to upgrade your machine to the latest model.

embroidery machine

A new machine for you doesn’t have to be the NEWEST machine off the line.  Purchasing a well loved and maintained machine can be a cost effective way to get into this wonderful craft.

Over the past 10 years, I think we have moved away from looking at an embroidery machine as a “one time” purchase.  The technology is constantly changing, and therefore, so are the number of machines in the second hand market.

I personally have purchased 6 second hand machines in my lifetime, and have had great success with this.  I purchase second hand for a number of reasons:-

  • To keep up with the technology – if I am selling designs to stitchers, then I want to be able to show that I am stitching designs out on current (or almost current) machines.
  • For price – I can get a machine that is one model down from the most recent for between one third and half the price.
  • As a digitiser who test sews their own items, I “burn out” machines quicker than most other people. Because of this, I like to purchase a lightly used second hand machine, that can I can run until over used, and then gift to the kids or my family.

Having said all of the above, there are still some considerations to take into account when you are purchasing a second hand machine.

  • You won’t have that “new car” smell. The joy of unpacking the box is a wonderful thing, and with a second hand machine, odds are there will not be that same joy – however you will have the joy of saving money and still getting a machine.
  • You probably won’t get lessons. Unless you are purchasing from a dealer, you will not receive any lessons with your machine, and therefore, any issues that you find with learning a new machine will have to be solved yourself, or with friends.
  • You won’t get a warranty.

If after looking at the above, you are still interested in purchasing a second hand machine, I recommend asking the following 5 questions to find the best machine for you.

  1. How old is the machine?

    If the machine is more than 5 years old, I would hope you are paying a very small amount for it. I generally look for a machine that is 2-4 years old, as manufacturers like to put new machines out every 2-3 years.

  2. How many stitches has the machine done?

    This is a big question. Much like how many kms has your car driven, this will tell you exactly how much use the machine has had.  My current domestic machine has 26,797,835 stitches on it, and it is going quite well.  I purchased it when it had approximately 10 million stitches on it.  My multi needle machine has 27,974,797 stitches, over 824 hours of stitching, and is working like a machine, and last weekend, I purchased a “new” second hand machine, for an amazing price, and it only has 469,704 stitches on it.  Now this number is not as huge as it seems, as a standard design can easily have 60,000 stitches.

  3. Has the machine been regularly serviced?

    This is an important question, as it will show the care being given to the machine. I would prefer a higher stitch count, but a regularly serviced machine, than the other way around.

  4. Why is the machine being sold?

    This is a great question to ask, however a much harder question to answer. I feel better if someone tells me they are upgrading to the next model, rather than “giving up the craft”, as in my mind “giving up the craft” means the machine was difficult to work with.

  5. What are you including with the machine

    Ensure when you purchase a machine online, or from someone you know what is included with it. I have seen people end up with no manual, no presser feet, and no tools, because their contract was for what was on the images onscreen.  Make very sure that you have everything you need.  It is also worth taking a close look at machines that include the software, or a range of threads/stabilisers, as this will save you some initial setup costs as well.

I hope this assists you with your next machine purchase.

Until next time, have a Stitchin’ Day.  Julie.

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