Brother SE400 vs SE350 vs PE770 – 3 Important Differences

Machine EmbroideryIf you’re looking at buying a Brother embroidery machine, there are a lot of options and features to consider.

You need to know which features are important to you, what you really need, and what options you’re willing to spend the money for.

Three of the most important factors to consider are:

  • Dedicated embroidery machine or a combination sewing and embroidery machine
  • The size of the embroidery field
  • How you download additional designs into the machine.

This article will explain how these features differ among 3 of the most popular home Brother embroidery machines. If you’re looking for an embroidery machine, this information will help you get started.

Dedicated Or Combination Machine

If you have a sewing room or space to leave two machines set up, or if you do a lot of embroidery, you probably want a dedicated embroidery machine. Or if you already have a good sewing machine that you like, you don’t need another one. The advantage of a dedicated embroidery machine is that you don’t have to take down the embroidery unit just because you want to hem a pair of pants or some other small sewing task. The disadvantage is that it’s also convenient not to have to switch machines if you want to embellish the sewing project you’re working.

Dedicated embroidery machines usually cost more, but are higher-end machines. So you also get more features. If you need the extra capabilities, you may have to get a dedicated machine.

The Brother SE400 and Brother SE350 are combination embroidery and sewing machines. The Brother PE770 is a dedicated embroidery machine. It doesn’t do sewing.

Embroidery Field Size

Many embroidery designs are available that fit in a 4×4 inch frame. But a lot of designs require 5×7 inches. You can make up larger designs by combining the smaller motifs, but you can only embroider up to the frame size without disconnecting the design and repositioning. Sometimes, you can split a large design with embroidery editing software. Of course the larger field costs more, but is a lot more convenient if you want larger designes.

The Brother SE400 and SE350 have 4″ x 4″ embroidery fields. The Brother PE770 has the larger 5″ x 7″ field.

Downloading Additional Embroidery Designs

There are three basic ways to download additional embroidery designs into a Brother embroidery machine.

The first way is with Brother embroidery cards.

Brother Embroidery Machine with Brother Memory Card SlotYou can buy designs already on a Brother embroidery card. The cards can be expensive, but if you want a special design, this might be the only way to get it. You can also download free and low-cost designs from the Internet and write them to a card.

You will need additional software and a card writer/reader such as the Brother PED Basic software to write the designs on a card. This is an additional expense, but blank cards are expensive and as one comes with the PED Basic package, you are getting the software and card writer virtually for free. Even if your machine has a USB port to download designs, the embroidery machine cannot write the cards. You need a separate card writer.

The Brother SE350 only has a memory card slot. So the only way to download additional designs is with a memory card. The SE350 has been discontinued and replaced with the SE400. So I no longer recommend the SE350 unless you can get a really cheap price. Remember to add in the cost of the software you’ll need.

Cable USB Port That Attaches To A Computer

Brother Embroidery Machine with USB Cable PortThe second level of downloading additional embroidery designs is through a cable USB port. This is the kind of USB port that attaches to your computer with an included USB cable. You just download designs from the Internet into your own computer, attach the embroidery machine, and import them. This type of USB port is not compatible with a USB jump drive.

The Brother SE400 has both a Brother embroidery card slot and a USB port and cable that attaches to your computer for downloading.

USB Port Compatible With A Thumb Drive

Brother Embroidery Machine with USB Thumb Drive PortThe third (and best, in my opinion) option, but also the most expensive, is a USB port that is compatible with a jump drive or memory stick. This is very convenient because you don’t have to move your computer next to the embroidery machine or even have a computer all. You can download designs into any computer and store them on the jump drive. Then just put the jump drive into the USB port and download them.

The Brother PE770 has both a Brother embroidery card slot and a USB port that takes a jump drive.

Hope This Helped

If you’re interested in one of these machines, you can find out all about the benefits and differences here:

My detailed review of the Brother SE400

My Brother PE770 Blog

UPDATE: The Brother SE350 has been discontinued and replaced by the Brother SE400.

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Our Readers Respond ...

  1. Lorie says

    I see where you can buy a 5×7 hoop for the SE400 will this help make larger designs or will the machine only go to 4×4 even with a larger hoop?

  2. susan mcfarlane says

    Love your blog. My daughter loves monograms and I thought the SE400 is perfect. She can beginner sew but more importantly she can monogram. If I were to buy this machine do I need to buy anything else for her to monogram up to 4 x 4 on Christmas morning?
    Thanks so much
    Susan

  3. Heather says

    I cannot get the downloaded pes file to pop up on the screen? I wrote it to my card w/my PED-Basic reader. Inserted the card into my 350 and powered it on. There is no icon to choose from the card. Looks like there is a “card” icon on the bottom right… but, when I select it… carriage moves and nothing…. back to the original card. Hmmmm…..frustrated!

    • Kamala says

      Hi Heather, I have the SE400 and I’ve never used the card reader, so this is just a wild guess. 1. PED-Basic sees the file on the card, so it got written. 2. You put the card in with the arrow facing you and turned on the machine. 3. Select the card icon. You say “bottom right” so I’m not sure here. On the control panel, the rightmost icon moves the embroidery carriage. The Card Icon is on the bottom row, far left. Then you should see image/icons of the designs on the card. Have a look at p. 138 of the manual. 4. If the design doesn’t show up, I’m guessing it’s the same as downloading on the SE400. The usual reason is that the design is larger than 3.9×3.9 inches. Hope this helps.

    • Kamala says

      Hi Amber, The type of stabilizer doesn’t depend on the machine as much as the type of fabric and design. For example, cut-away works better with knits. Fabrics with nap such as towels need water-soluble mesh on top to keep the stitches from sinking into the loops as well as the normal stabilizer underneath. Dense design with fill and more stitches need more support than a lighter, more open design. I suggest beginners buy small amounts of a selection of different types, until you see what works best for you. There’s a lot of personal variation.

    • Kamala says

      I think Embird will do it. But I’ve never tried it because I think I would have a hard time getting the designs re-hooped and positioned so that it lines up perfectly.

  4. says

    Wonderful information for anyone looking to start machine embroidering! The Brother PE-770 was my first machine and is still my favorite. It’s very easy to use, and perfect for beginners. It’s a work horse! Definitely can’t go wrong buying one of these! Perfect price range and stitches designs beautifully!

    Thank you for writing this article, I’m bookmarking it and will be attaching as a link to anyone looking for advice!

    • Kamala says

      Thanks Michelle, I wanted the PE-770 too for the larger hoop size. But it was out of my budget at the time. I love my Brother SE400 except sometimes I do wish to embroider larger projects.

    • Mary Jo says

      I have the SE400 with a 4×4 frame size and would like to upgrade. I have read numerous reviews on amazon that complaining of bird nests and thread breakage. have you had any problems?

      • Kamala says

        Hi Mary Jo, I’ve never had problems with bird nests and thread breakage except one time when a baseball cap go loose from the sticky stabilizer while stitching. What a mess! But I have the SE400, not the PE770.

  5. sara says

    great little article, totally helped because i was considering these exact machines! thanks for decoding them for me!! ^_^