The Janome MB-4S ranked as our “Best Choice” Embroidery Machine for Home Business due to its robust set of features, top-notch stitch reliability, and mid-range price tag.
Table of Contents
Automating Your Designs
If you’re running an embroidery business, the last thing you want is to spend all your time watching your machine like a hawk. This is where the MB-4S really shines — automation.
It has a built-in automatic thread cutter that takes care of all jump threads for you (even in-between letters), saving you a significant amount of manual labor and time post-embroidery. To top it off, the MB-4S also has a dedicated bobbin winding motor (something most professional embroidery machines don’t have!) that lets you wind bobbins at any time during operation.
This machine has a Direct PC-Link allowing you to connect directly to your computer and digitizing software and accepts the JEF+/JEF (Janome) and DST (Tajima) Embroidery File Formats.
Built-In Embroidery Designs
There are 50 designs built right into the Janome MB-4S on purchase (snippet of just a few of these shown below, you can see the whole list here). There are also 10 different fonts as well as the capability to do 2 and 3 letter monogramming!
Of course, if you’re sticking to your own designs, we suggest taking advantage of the Direct-PC Link to connect to your own digitizing software and upload custom designs that way.
Hoops, Embroidery Area, and Project Capabilities
Let’s talk about project types and embroidery capabilities for a minute. Many people I’ve talked to over the years always wonder what extra hoops they need to be able to embroider hats; this is on top of your typical flat rectangular projects like t-shirts, jackets, quilts, etc., which are the norm.
Well, enter the Janome MB-4S + Special Bonus Pack! If you purchase the MB-4S through SewingMachinesPlus, they offer ~$550 worth of free accessories added to your purchase as a bundle. This means you get a free Hat Hoop (100 mm x 60 mm), No 7. Lettering Hoop J8 (25 mm x 121 mm), and No 9. Lettering Hoop J6 (66 mm x 66 mm) just for getting the MB-4S machine itself!
Now, speaking of hoop sizes, it also comes with the following standard flat hoops to cover your standard variety of projects: M1: 9.46” x 7.88” (240 mm x 200 mm), M2: 5.0” x 4.3” (126 mm x 110 mm), and the M3: 1.97” x 1.97” (50 mm x 50 mm).
Note: This machine is also compatible with 6 Industry-Standard Tajima Hoops
The embroidery area of the Janome MB-4S is the same size as its largest M1 Hoop, clocking in at 9.46” x 7.88”. It’s not the largest machine on the market in terms of embroidery area, but easily covers a significant portion of all the small-medium-sized designs you’d likely be programming into this machine.
Every Machine Has Its Own Quirks
Even though the Janome MB-4S is an excellent machine for someone just getting started in their home embroidery business / small business (or just doing this as a hobby!), it’s not without its quirks.
No machine is perfect, and there are a few things you have to be aware of before purchasing.
First of all, if you’re already used to operating an embroidery machine that automatically threads your needles, then you’re in for a surprise! The MB-4S requires you to manually thread each of the four needles before starting a project.
Now, personally, I don’t think this is a “con” of the machine, especially if you’re just getting into embroidery and learning the ropes. Many MB-4S owners I’ve talked to don’t mind manually threading their needles and felt that it actually helped them get more hands-on experience with operating a feature-rich machine like this one. Either way, this is a decision you’ll have to make for yourself — whether or not having automatic needle threading is a deal-breaker.
Another common complaint from owners of the Janome MB-4S is noise. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, this is a loud machine! If you’re running a storefront embroidery business, it’s probably not something you’d want sitting right behind the front counter. Depending on your environment, this machine is best “muffled away” in its own room or embroidery workshop space, since leaving it out in the open amongst a crowd/customers will definitely turn some eyeballs.
Finally, if you’re thinking about purchasing the MB-4S, I’d recommend doing a local search and finding your closest Janome dealer or repair shop. Machines like these need to be serviced every few years (not to mention well-oiled and maintained during daily use!)
If your nearest Janome service dealer is quite a distance away, are you willing to make the trip and take your machine in for service? Again, this is a personal choice and decision you’ll have to make, but something you should definitely take into account before making a final purchase decision.
All in all, the Janome MB-4S is an excellent, reliable embroidery machine for any home business, small business, or hobbyist!