Brother LB6800PRW vs. Brother SE400

Brother LB-6800PRWIn spite of several reviews around the internet based on mis-information by salesmen trying for an up-sale, I really believe that the Brother LB6800PRW is identical to the very popular Brother SE400 except for the Project Runway branding. The only difference between the two combination embroidery and sewing machines is that the Brother LB6800PRW comes with a rolling tote bag and has the Project Runway logo on the front of the machine. And, of course, the price. The price difference which used to be more than $100 has narrowed considerably this year to less than $50. So, first, are the two machines really the same? And, second, why would you want to pay more for the LB6800PRW?

Why Am I So Sure The LB6800PRW Is The Same Machine As The SE400?

When I said that the two machines are the same, in answer to a question on a review, I stirred up quite a bit of controversy. People had all sorts of misunderstandings of the features and accessories of both machines. Sometimes the descriptions aren’t clear. Some of the confusion came from salesmen. Personally, I never trust a salesman who doesn’t have what I want and is trying to sell me something more expensive instead. So I set out to learn everything I could in order to compare the two machines and share the results of my research with you.

I’m sure the Brother LS6800PRW and SE400 are identical machines because . . .

  1. I compared the specifications for the SE400 vs the LB6800PRW. The Specifications and the User Manuals from Brother’s website for the two machines are exactly the same. See for yourself: Brother SE400 Specifications and Brother LB6800PRW Specifications.
  2. A woman in an embroidery forum reports that she asked Brother Support and they confirmed that the machines are identical.
  3. Descriptions on merchant sites and from reliable reviews are the same.

Why Buy The Brother LB6800PRW instead of the SE400?

  • Brother LB-6800PRWYou’re a Project Runway fan and would really enjoy using the official Project Runway sewing and embroidery machine and the very cute PRW rolling tote bag. If you take your machine to classes and workshops or over to a friend’s house to sew together, the rolling bag would be very useful and worth having.
  • Sometimes the LB6800PRW is less expensive than the SE400. The Brother SE400 is so popular that Amazon has trouble keeping it in stock. When it goes out of stock, the price can go crazy as Amazon sells it from third-party vendors. And the LB6800PRW can become a much better buy. Always check both current prices before deciding which machine to buy.
  • If you need these embroidery supplies and accessories, the LB6800PRW with the Grand Slam Embroidery package offers incredible value for the money. It’s not always available, so be sure to check.

Brother LB-6800PRW Grand Slam Embroidery Package

The Brother LB-6800PRW with Grand Slam Package includes:

Brother LB-6800PRW Brother LB-6800PRW Project Runway Computerized Sewing and Embroidery Machine with USB Port

67 built-in sewing stitches • 70 built-in embroidery designs • 120 frame pattern combinations • 5 monogramming fonts • USB port with computer connectivity for importing embroidery designs • automatic needle threader • push-button thread cutter • back-lit LCD touch screen with help and reference guide • 4×4 inch embroidery area • Quick-Set drop-in bobbin • automatic bobbin winding • One-touch start/stop/reverse button • operates with or without foot control • electronic variable sewing speed control allows you to choose your most comfortable sewing speed • free arm/flatbed convertible sewing surface • lots of accessories • Project Runway rolling bag

Polystar Embroidery Thread Polystar Embroidery Thread on Snap Spools and Thread Box

You get 61 mini-king spools, each containing 1,000 meters of 50 wt. Polystar embroidery thread in shiny and vibrant colors. You never need to convert the colors because the Brother color names and numbers are printed on the bottom of each spool. The thread is stored securely in individual compartments in the thread box. The snap spool design prevents the thread from unraveling and helps you easily find the end of the thread.

Click here to see the actual colors.

144 Prewound Bobbins144 Pre-wound Bobbins

The Grand Slam Embroidery Packages includes 144 pre-wound bobbins, 95 meters each, 100% spun polyester bobbin thread in white color, style M.


15,000 Embroidery Designs15,000 Embroidery Designs

This set of three CDs has over 15,000 professionally digitized embroidery designs — from angels to zoo animals, there’s something to suit any project.

Just connect the LB6800PRW to your computer with the included USB cable and copy the designs over. You can copy either directly from the CD, or save them on your computer first. There’s no need for a card writer box and extra software because the download software is built into the LB6800PRW and uses the USB port. Works on both Windows and Macintoshes.

All the designs are in .pes format which is the preferred format for Brother embroidery machines. This means that you don’t need embroidery software or an extra step just to convert the format. The designs are ready to go.

Cap HoopCap Hoop

The cap hoop allows you to embroider logos and names on baseball-style caps and hats. It attaches to the 4×4 inch embroidery hoop that comes with the LB6800PRW and holds the cap bill firmly outside the hoop while you embroider on the cap itself. You can personalize caps for your whole team with this cap hoop. You can find instructions for using the cap hoop in my post, “Cap Hoop for Brother SE400 Embroidery Machine.”


Tear and Wash StabilizerTear & Wash Stabilizer

Stabilizer is essential to support the fabric and hold it in place for embroidery. Without proper support, designs can pucker, pull or snag. Tear & Wash Stabilizer is torn away after the design is stitched and the rest dissolves in the wash, leaving a clean result.

Tear and Wash StabilizerStork Embroidery Scissors

These charming little scissors are perfect for fine detail work. The needle-sharp point gets into all those hard-to-reach places. The stork scissors come in a beautiful leather case with a magnetic button for easy closing.


Thread Converter Pro IIIThread Converter Pro III

When you have a large inventory of embroidery thread from different brands, it can be difficult to know which colors to use for a particular design. Thread Convert Pro III makes it simply by converting thread colors from fourteen different thread manufacturers.

This software converts thread colors to and from Brother or Polystar, Sulky, Madeira, Guterman, Coats & Clark, DMC, Robison Anton, AngelKing, Kingstar, Isacord, Isafil, Marathon, Anchor, and Pearl Yacht.

All You Need To Get Started

With the Brother LB6800PRW sewing and embroidery machine plus the Grand Slam Embroidery package, you have everything you need to get started embroidering except fabric or your creative project to embroider on.

Check Out The Three Choices

The prices and availability of the Brother SE400, LB6800PRW, and LB6800PRW with Grand Slam Embroidery Package are always changing. So you need to compare all three to find the best value. I almost always find the best price at Amazon, and I’ve always been very happy with their service, so I always look there first.

Buy Brother SE400
Check the current price and availability of the Brother SE400 here:


Buy Brother LB6800PRW
Check the current price and availability of the Brother LB6800PRW here:


Buy Brother LB6800PRW Grand Slam Embroidery Package
Check the current price and availability of the Brother LB6800PRW with the Grand Slam Embroidery Package here:


I hope that this extensive information helps you choose the right embroidery machine for you. Have fun with your new hobby.

Please Join The Conversation

I do love to hear from you, and I’ll answer your comments as quickly as I can. But if I’m traveling or otherwise away from the computer, it could take me a few days.

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Our Readers Respond ...

    • Kamala says

      Hi Sara, The SE400 and LB6800PRW don’t have any functions specifically for cross-stitch. You would have to find a cross-stitch embroidery file in .pes format. But remember they can’t stitch a design larger than 3.9″x3.9″ at one time. So I think it would be difficult to do the kind of cross-stitch I did by hand as a child. But I haven’t looked into machine cross-stitch so I could be missing something.

  1. aol says

    Hello! I would like to know if there is a software for the PE400 to create custom embroidery.
    I would like to draw me my embroidery with inscriptions and designs. Is it possible?
    In addition, there are sites with free desing?

    • Kamala says

      Hello, Angelo. Yes, there are many choices for software. It runs on your computer and you create your designs, save it as a .pes file and download it to your embroidery machine. I use Embrilliance because it runs on my Mac. It’s easy to use. It’s a very personal choice as to what you like to use and what you want to do. Many people like Embird and SewWhat Pro. They both have free 30-day trials so you can try them before you buy. There are others but I don’t know anything about them. Many sites have free designs. Designers that sell their designs usually offer free ones so you can judge their work. Just Google it. See my tutorial on downloading designs.

  2. tessa says

    I cannot figure out for the life of me how to put my bag together I don’t want to break it can someone help me?

    • Kamala says

      Hi Tessa, I’m sorry I can’t help you. I have the SE400 which doesn’t have the bag. I suggest you ask on SewForum.com. There are a lot of very nice, helpful ladies over there that have a LB6800PRW.

  3. Nancy says

    I have had the lb6800 for years and love it … Create very professional looking items. I am wondering if you know if any of the magnetic hooping systems work with the lb6800 (Super Lock, Magna Lock). Would love to make rehooping easier.

  4. Suzy Sebastian says

    I wondered how I can use downloaded fonts to make a word rather than doing each letter individually, it always comes out crooked. Do I need a software program? Also I have a MAC.

    Thanks

    • Kamala says

      Hi Suzy,
      You need embroidery editing software to merge the letters into a word. It’s easy to control the spacing and position in the software. I use Embrilliance because it runs on my Mac.

  5. Ann says

    Hi Kamala

    I purchased the Brother LB6800prw w/ grand slam pkg. I also purchased the ped-basic software download but it will not convert an eps file to a pes file. Do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks
    Ann

    • Kamala says

      Hi Ann,
      PED-Basic will only convert embroidery data files from one format to another. Embroidery data files contain specialiazed embroidery machine instructions for stitching embroidery designs. It’s quite different than files like eps or jpg that contain instructions for printing or displaying images. You need more advanced software to convert it. Have a look a Embird.com. You’d need both the basic editing software and the add-on Studio module. They have a free-trial. You might to convert the eps file first. I couldn’t tell if it supports this format. Ask them first. There are other programs that do this. You need embroidery digitizing or photo software.

  6. Jen says

    Can you buy the larger hoops for the SE 400 to embroider larger designs? Or can the SE400 only embroider a maximum 4 x 4 area? I have hoops from my previous Babylock machine which is made by Brother. They fit my new machine and they would work if the machine was capable of stitching a larger area.

    Jen

    • Kamala says

      Hi Jen,
      No, the SE400 can only embroider within a 4×4 inch area. This is a physical limitation of the hardware and doesn’t really have anything to do with the hoop size.

      The “large” hoop for the SE400 you can buy doesn’t really let you embroider a larger area. It’s a three position hoop so it lets you add a design without re-hooping. For example, you could stitch a 4×4 inch design and then move the hoop on the embroidery unit to stitch a name under the design. Have a look at my review of the large hoop for a photo of how this works.

      Your Babylock hoops won’t let you embroider a larger area — I guess they would just give you more space between the edge of the design and the hoop.

      Kamala

  7. Amanda says

    Hello.
    I”m having a hard time understanding the “how to” applique directions. I’ve read the instructions over and over again and cant for the life of me figure it out. Please help! My screen does not show “applique material” once i click settings.

    Thank you,
    Amanda

  8. Laura says

    I also wanted to thank you for all the info. I really think I would enjoy the machine you talk about. Is $698 a good deal for the PR machine with the extra grand slam package? I don’t care that its the PR machine, although with my back the rolling bag for it is awfully nice!
    Can it really import/download any design I do in the software that I saw on the brothers website? the one where I take a pic and then convert to the embroidery (I already do that for cross stitching)? I want to make some extra money, as I’m disabled.
    Can it really do the thing where you do bigger embroidery by somehow moving the fabric and framing it on the “hoop” somehow? or is there a bigger hoop you can get and then just reposition or something?
    Is there better software for doing that?
    anyway lots of questions, LOL.
    Thanks so much

  9. Beth Sliwa says

    Hello,
    Your information is so helpful, I really apprecaite your time. I own an LB6800 and love it with one exception. I bought with the intent of monograming the dress shirts I make for my husband. I was disapointed when I went to monogram the cuff of a shirt I just finished, that the monogram wouldn’t get small enough. The three letter monogram was pretty large, much too big to put on a shirt that would be worn to the office. I don’t know if I did something wrong. However, I was wondering if you had any tips or recommendations for machines that are good for doing small three letter (initial) monograms.

    • Kamala says

      Hi Beth,
      Yes, even the smallest size, scaled down is too big to monogram the cuff of a dress shirt. I don’t know about other machines that do this kind of work better. But you could buy a small font made especially for this and download it into the machine. See my download tutorial, How to Download Embroidery Designs. Each letter will come in a separate file, so you’d have to stitch each letter separately. That wouldn’t be too hard because you could just move the needle and not have to re-hoop. Or you could combine the letters with embroidery editing software. The small hoop would make it easier to work in such a small area.

  10. Susan says

    Does the ES400 adapt to cuff and pantleg cuffs sewing? I am a beginner. Is the machine function also as a regular sewing machine?
    Thanks – beginner

    • Kamala says

      Hi Susan, Welcome. The SE400 and LB6800PRW are both very good regular sewing machines as well as embroidery machines. They are good machines for beginners. It has an embroidery unit that gets attached for embroidery. When the embroidery unit is off, it’s a regular sewing machine. A part of the sewing table can be removed for “free-arm” sewing. This is very helpful for sewing pant legs and other small circular items because the arm of the machine can go inside the leg while you sew around. You don’t have to try to make it lie flat. It’s been so long since I put cuffs on pants that I’m not quite sure what else you mean. It does have a blind hem foot and stitch. Enjoy and have fun with your new hobby, Kamala

  11. Cecilia says

    Hi Kamala,

    This site is wonderful! The articles are just what I am looking for! Im interested the BrotherLB6800 however, do you know the dimensions of the rolling tote bag that comes with the machine? I couldn’t find the dimensions of the bag anywhere on the web! I need the information because I need to bring it on a plane and want to make sure it will fit in my baggage! Thanks!!!

    Best regards,
    Cecilia

    • Kamala says

      Hi Cecilia, I’m sorry, I don’t know. I was tempted by the LB6800, but ended up getting the SE400. I can’t find the dimensions of the rolling tote bag anywhere. You could try calling Brother Support and asking them. I’d love to know too. Blessings, Kamala

  12. Marlena says

    Greetings! And thank you so much for all the great info. My question was the same as Jeanne’s regarding digitizing designs, which I also assume can be done with the thousands of fonts in internetland. You mentioned that everything has to fit in a 4X4 square, so I am curious if you have any recommendations for a machine with a larger space.
    Marlena

    PS, I’ll definitely use the link to Amazon when I decide to make my purchase.

    • Kamala says

      Hello Marlena,
      Yes, Embird has a plugin module that will allow you to use the regular fonts from your computer. I’m sure other editing software does too. The next step up from the SE400 and LB6800 is the Brother PE770. It’s a dedicated embroidery machine, uses a USB memory stick to transfer designs, and has a 5×7 inch maximum embroidery area. It’s about $250 more than the SE400 on amazon.com. For still larger machines, you have to go to a dealer. I don’t know anything about them because they’re way out of my budget. I do really appreciate your using my link if you decide to buy from amazon. I love creating this site and helping people with their questions, but I have to pay the bills too. Blessings, Kamala

  13. Ma'idah says

    In looking at your links above I am trying to figure out if the Grand Slam package is worth the extra $300+ dollars. I am a learning seamstress, mostly sew clothes for myself and family members and don’t want to pay the extra money to have fabric embroidered or buy ready made embroidered fabric. I am not a big project runway fan, but can easily see how people justify buying the Grand Slam package. What is your opinion on the actual value of the Grand slam package? Any way we can see the 15k+ designs to determine if they are something we would use?

    Also, I get the impression that your stance on this machine is this is a good enough machine if you do not require a larger embroidery area and it is not for commercial use. Is this correct? How do you determine if this machine is being used commercially or not – average stitch count per day or hours used – what criteria should one use to determine if they need something more heavy duty?

    Your website is amazing, I just wish you had the time to answer the thousands of questions I have swirling around in my head. I tried to pick the most important, but hopefully I can ask some more. :-)

    thanks again for the wonderful site.

    • Kamala says

      Hi Ma’idah,
      It’s hard to determine the actual value of the Grand Slam package because the prices change all the time and I can’t find some of the pieces sold separately. But at today’s price, doing a rough calculation, I get $584 which includes the SE400, and not the designs and stabilizer. So that’s about $115 to cover the value of the rolling tote, the 15,000 designs and the stabilizer. I can’t find the designs sold anywhere else to price. Mr Vac and Mrs Sew say the “retail” value is $499. They don’t say how much stabilizer you get, but say the “retail” value is $50. Their “retail” prices are often inflated. However, the designs, stabilizer and rolling cart could easily be worth more than $115 to you which would make it a good value for the money. I think it mostly comes down to the designs, your taste and how many you would actually use. This package is sold by Mr. Vac and Mrs. Sew through Amazon. You can find more details as well as links to pictures of the designs here: Grand Slam Details

      There are a couple of factors in home vs commercial machines. One you said is the amount of use it gets, measured in hours or stitches. If you’re going to run it many hours every day, it’s probably not up to it. But I’m not sure exactly how to determine this. There’s no hard and fast rule. The others are things like speed and features. If you’re embroidering for a business, then how how much money you can make depends on how fast you can embroider the designs (and other things of course). Multi-needle machines are much faster and save a lot of time changing colors. But cost many thousands of dollars.

      I’m so glad you like the site. I have a lot of fun building it. I also wish I had more time to answer questions and put up more tutorials. I was hoping it could pay some bills, but it’s more of a hobby at this point. I love to help people get into embroidery. It’s one of my passions.

      You’re always welcome to come back and ask questions.
      Good luck and blessings,
      Kamala

      • Ma'idah says

        Hey Kamala,

        Have you had any experience with or heard of Stitch Universal Era (free embroidery software). Before I take the plunge and buy my first combo sewing/embroidery machine, I wanted to know of anyone that has used this software with the SE400.

        Thanks so much again for your website, I literally refer to it everyday as I am trying to decide if this is the right machine for me.

        Happy stitching!
        ~Ma’idah

        • Kamala says

          Hey Ma’idah,
          Sorry, I don’t know anything about Stitch Universal Era. Since it’s free, you could download it and try it out. It must run on your computer because there’s no way to add software to the SE400 itself.
          Good lucy with the decision,
          Kamala

  14. Jessie says

    I was completely 100% convinced that the two machines are identical. However, looking at the product specifications on the Brother website lists a difference in the weight if these machines:
    6800 weighs more than the SE400. Here is what I found:
    SE400: machine weight= 10.9 lbs; shipping weight=22 lbs
    LB 6800: machine weight=16.09 lbs; shipping weight=23.4 lbs

    Went to Amazon:
    SE400: machine weight= N/A; shipping weight= 23.8 lbs
    LB 6800: machine weight= 25 lbs; shipping weight= 38.2 lbs

    Walmart:
    SE400: machine weight= N/A; shipping weight= 24.3 lbs
    LB 6800: machine weight= N/A; shipping weight= 37.45 lbs

    J&R:
    SE400: machine weight= N/A; shipping weight= 24.3 lbs
    LB 6800: machine weight= N/A; shipping weight= 37.2 lbs

    So does this mean? So the Project Runway bag weighs anywhere from 1.4 lbs to ~14.5 lbs? How does it add so much extra weight…packing materials? heavy duty box?

    Maybe the LB6800PRW IS a more “heavy duty” machine. According to Brother, it weighs >5 lbs more than the SE400. My head is spinning! Right now, the 6800 is $90 more than the SE400…

    • Kamala says

      Hi Jessie,
      Yes, you’re right — the numbers don’t add up. I just moved and don’t have a scale. Or I would weigh my SE400 and verify at least one weight.
      Amazons says it’s the product weight so I’m not sure what that is. I’m guessing that Brother’s machine weights include the accessories which means the rolling tote bag weighs about 5 lbs. That’s reasonable with the wheels and frame. I don’t understand why Amazon’s shipping weight for the SE400 is almost 2 lbs greater than Brother’s. My SE400 arrived in the box from Brother, no extra Amazon packing material or anything. Brother said the machines were identical. All I can suggest is that you call Brother Support and verify it yourself. Walmart doesn’t have the LB6800PRW in stores or I would just go over and see.

  15. Jeanne says

    Hi Kamala –

    WOW – what a fantastic site! I’ve been trying to read-up on the SE400 and your site is the best – excellent work – thanks! I was all set to buy one at Walmart but thought I should talk to a couple of local sewing machine retailers to make sure I know what I’m doing. They told me that the Walmart machines are fairly poor in quality and typically break down quite a bit plus you get no help for any of your questions. They tried to persuade me to buy a ‘reputable’ machine from a dealer like them. After looking at the SE400 thou – it sure looks good to me….

    One quick question: I want to embroider custom business logos and college logos. I have designs in png, jpg, PSD (photoshop), etc format but I don’t believe I can save anything to the embroider extensions you mention. How would I do this so I can embroider these custom designs? i.e I want to do a UCLA logo (custom script letters) as well as a girls name in a font of my choice. Do I need special software? I have Mac computers.

    Thank you very much for your help! It would be great if you could write back right away as I want to buy a machine on Friday or Saturday but want to make sure I can do the custom embroidering as I mentioned above.

    Thanks again!!!!!

    Jeanne

    • Kamala says

      Hi Jeanne,

      Thanks for the kind words and I’m so glad you found my site helpful.

      The Brother SE400 will do what you want but you will need additional embroidery software. There are a couple of limitations to consider. First, the logos, etc. should fit into the 4×4 inch maximum frame. You can use software to split designs or embroider a design in pieces (for example, a girl’s name under a motif), but it’s more trouble and doesn’t work for all designs. Second, it sounds like you’re starting a business. The SE400 is a home embroidery machine, not a commercial one. This means it’s slower and less sturdy than the expensive machines at the dealer. I would love to have a machine costing thousands of dollars but it’s way out of my budget, so I’m very happy with the SE400. When your business outgrows the SE400, you’ll be able to afford a bigger machine.

      For the logos, you need embroidery digitizing software. It’s not just the extension, but the data in the file has to be embroidery data that tells the machine where to stitch, colors, etc. Many people like Embird. Embird Studio will import your Photoshop or image file, let you do all sorts of editing, and output an embroidery file. There is also a plugin for it that lets you convert photos. Embird also has a module for fonts that will let you create the girl’s name in any font you have on your computer. They’re sort of like Photoshop and Illustrator for embroidery. ;-) There are other programs, including one from Brother. But I mostly see Embird on the forums. It has a 30-day free trial, so you can see if you like it. I haven’t written about software because I haven’t tried it yet. I’ve been living in Italy without my machine. But I’m moving back to the states next week and want to start doing more, especially with video tutorials.

      I have a Mac too, and this is the bad news. There are some embroidery programs that run on the Mac, but the best ones seem to be Windows only. There are two solutions. I run Windows on my Mac using VMWare Fusion. (You can also use Parallels.) It works fine. Some people buy an inexpensive PC that they use just for embroidery.

      If you do decided to the buy the SE400 from Amazon, I would really appreciate it if you went to Amazon using my special link. You won’t pay any more and I’ll get a small commission which helps pay for the site (and the video camera. ;-) ).

      Lots of luck and fun with embroidery whatever you do,
      Kamala