Multihead embroidery machine comparison: Tajima, SWF and Ricoma

If you’re looking for a multihead embroidery machine for business purposes, you probably already have a custom apparel business that employs embroidery, screen printing, heat transfer or some other form of apparel decoration.

Perhaps you’re looking to expand your existing business with a multihead embroidery machine or maybe you’re confident with your upcoming orders and want to get started with a multihead embroidery machine right away.

Whatever your case may be, if you think a multihead embroidery machine is for you, check out our comparison chart and analysis of four industrial embroidery machine models by some of the top players in the commercial embroidery machine market.

Let’s get started!

What are considered the best industrial embroidery machine brands?

If you’ve come across commercial embroidery machine reviews, you’ve probably seen the following names tossed around:

  • Tajima embroidery machine
  • SWF embroidery machine
  • Ricoma embroidery machine

Take a look at the chart below for a side-by-side comparison of these multihead embroidery machine brands.

Multihead_Commercial_Machine_Comparison _2_-1

Let’s start by taking a look at what’s the same across the board, and then dive deep into the differences. 

  • All three of these embroidery machine models have six heads and 15 needles. Twelve to fifteen needles per head is the industry standard for most multihead embroidery machines.
  • All of these embroidery machine models also share the same maximum speed. Each reaches up to 1,000 stitches per minute, which is the industry standard.

Now that we have a feel for the similarities, let’s take a look at some of the differences.

Memory size: If you already own an industrial embroidery machine, you probably know why memory size is such an important feature. It determines how many designs your machine can hold in its internal memory. Memory size is crucial mainly because it eliminates the time spent going back and forth deleting and reuploading designs to your embroidery machine’s memory. This is especially when you’re trying to efficiently run your business. For example, if you have a repeat client, you’re definitely going to want to keep their logo in your machine’s memory. Generally, six-head embroidery machines should usually pack more than 2 million stitches, as that’s the standard for most new single-head embroidery machines. In this list, the Tajima embroidery machine comes in last with 2 million stitches. The SWF embroidery machine is next with 4 million stitches, and the Ricoma embroidery machine leads with 5 million stitches.

Category winner: Ricoma

Cap attachment: If you’re planning on embroidering on caps, you’ll need a cap attachment. The cap embroidery machine attachment is already included within the Ricoma embroidery machine price. On the other hand, the cap embroidery machine attachment isn’t included within the price of the Tajima embroidery machine or the SWF embroidery machine. Both the Tajima and the SWF have an equally wide cap frame, but the main downside is that customers have to pay additional for the attachment if they want to do cap embroidery. Machine cap attachments and frames will increase the embroidery machine price by thousands. However, not everyone needs or wants to embroider caps, so you may not need to account for that cost.

Category winner: Ricoma

Maximum embroidery area: Anyone who has already owned an embroidery machine already knows how important it is to have a wide embroidery area. When you’re running a business, there’s a wide variety of orders and needs to fill. Therefore, it’s necessary to ensure your embroidery machine has the sewing field to accommodate large garments and designs. The Ricoma embroidery machine and the SWF embroidery machine are the closest in this category. The Tajima embroidery machine sewing area is a bit smaller, however. Users who go with the Ricoma embroidery machine will also have the option to upgrade to a wide model that is 100 millimeters wider.

Category winners: Tie between Ricoma and SWF

Flat hoops: Both the Ricoma embroidery machine and the Tajima embroidery machine include 60 flat hoops. The Ricoma embroidery machine also includes a sash frame within the initial embroidery machine price. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find the amount of hoops included with the SWF embroidery machine (most likely because it will vary by the embroidery machine distributor).

Category winner: Ricoma

Cap hoops: On the other hand, whether or not the embroidery machine includes cap hoops will vary. This is mostly because you have to pay for a cap attachment with other suppliers so, of course, they won’t give you a cap hoop before you even have a cap attachment. The Ricoma embroidery machine includes a cap hoop in this list because it’s the only one that includes the cap attachment within the initial embroidery machine price. We believe all of these embroidery machine suppliers provide 12 cap hoops when you purchase the cap embroidery machine attachment. However, this may vary depending on the distributor.

Category winner: Tie depending on distributor

Control panel: The size of the panel is more of a cosmetic feature, but it’s also still important if you want something clean, and easy-to-operate. Both the Ricoma embroidery machine and SWF embroidery machine have a 10.4-inch touch screen. The Tajima embroidery machine follows at about 6 ½ inches. 

Category winner: Ricoma and SWF

Warranty: In this category, the Tajima embroidery machine leads with a 7-year warranty. The Ricoma embroidery machine follows with a 5-year warranty. Unfortunately, the SWF embroidery machine warranty information was unavailable.

Category winner: Tajima

Financing: Financing is the best solution for a multihead embroidery machine, as they’re typically more costly than your typical single-head embroidery machine. If you can finance at 0%, it’s even better because it eliminates both upfront costs and interest rates. In this section, Ricoma is the only company that offers 0% financing* at this time, so that’s definitely something to keep in mind if you rather save money in the long-term and operate at a larger profit from the very beginning.


Category winner: Ricoma

Final takeaway: This embroidery machine review compares multihead embroidery machines for the brands Ricoma, Tajima and SWF. Overall, many of the embroidery machine features were consistent and congruent with one another. The main difference between the three is the embroidery machine price. This is because the Ricoma embroidery machine is provided as an all-inclusive package, while the SWF embroidery machine and Tajima embroidery machine price is calculated in parts. All in all, you would get the highest value opting for the Ricoma embroidery machine because all the attachments are included within the initial embroidery machine price. Meanwhile, the other brands charge their attachments separately, which spikes the embroidery machine price by thousands.

This research and review was conducted by Ricoma. This information was gathered in 2017 and is currently available on the internet. There are many other embroidery machine brands out there that have not been mentioned, but these are the top 4 being searched (and that our clients ask us about).

Want to learn more? We put together the top 5 factors to consider when purchasing an embroidery machine. For any additional information about Ricoma or our machines, you can click here to check out Ricoma comparison charts and videos or go here to schedule a virtual demo.

Want to see one of our machines in action?

Schedule a free virtual demo if you want to see any of our machines in action. In it, you can ask any questions you have about the industry and see exactly how to start and run an embroidery project in real time.

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