Brother HE1 Vs SE400 – Ultimate Comparison

Even though Brother HE1 and SE400 might look similar from the outside, both machines are poles apart. Both belong to two different segments.

If you are out for an entry level embroidery machine, you are bound to come across Brother SE400. It is the most popular entry level embroidery machine in US. While searching, you may also have come across Brother HE1, which looks very much like the SE400. You may be wondering what is the difference between the two. To add to the confusion, both machines come in the same price band as well. Let us see which one offers more value for the money.

Brother HE1 Vs SE400 – Features Comparison

In simple words

  • SE400 is a sewing and embroidery combo machine
  • HE1 is an embroidery only machine

What does that mean? On SE400 you can do regular sewing along with embroidery, which means you don’t need to invest on a sewing machine for tasks other than embroidery. It is a kind of 2 in 1 machine. Whereas HE1 is an embroidery only machine, which cannot do the tasks of a regular sewing machine.

Both HE1 and SE400 are identical if you take the sewing functions out of SE400. Both have the same 4″x4″ embroidery area, 70 built-in embroidery designs and so on. The extras you will get with SE400 are listed below

  • 67 built-in sewing stitches
  • 10 one-step buttonholes
  • Variable speed control
  • Programmable needle up/down
  • Free-motion quilting

All other features are given in the table

Machine FeaturesBrother HE1Brother SE400
Embroidery Area4”x4”4”x4”
Stitch Selection & ControlsLCD Touch DisplayLCD Touch Display
Automatic Needle ThreaderYesYes
On Screen HelpYesYes
On Screen EditingYesYes
Built-in LED LightsYes 1Yes 1
Bobbin SystemTop drop-inTop Drop-in
Independent Bobbin Winding MotorYesYes
Motor Speed400 stitches/min (Embroidery)400 stitches/min (Embroidery) & 710 stitches/min (Sewing)
Automatic Thread CutterYesYes
USB ConnectivityYesYes
Built-in Stitches70 Embroidery Designs70 Embroidery Designs & 67 Sewing Stitches
Buttonhole StylesNA10 1-step
Lettering Fonts55
Max Stitch WidthNA7mm
Max Stitch LengthNA5mm
Speed ControlNAYes
Programmable Needle Up/DownNAYes
Pattern Rotating1,10 or 90 Degrees1,10 or 90 Degrees
Free MotionNAYes
Built-in Frame Designs10 Shapes x 12 Stitch Patterns10 Shapes x 12 Stitch Patterns
Layout FunctionYesYes
Warranty25 year limited warranty25 year limited warranty

Brother HE1 Vs SE400 – Performance Comparison

Take the sewing features of SE400 out and you are looking at identical machines, so there is no difference in their performances. Both are quality embroidery machines. They have a lot of advanced options. One thing I really liked about these machines is their user-friendliness. You tend to get the chemistry right on the first use itself. A person with reasonable experience with smartphones will find these machines very easy to use.


From the extras list of SE400, it is pretty clear that the extras alone account for a sewing machine that may cost between $130 – $150. So you must expect SE400 to be that much ($130-$150) more expensive than HE1, which is not the case always. At times I have seen HE1 priced higher than SE400 in some retail stores, so don’t get fooled.

You must compare the prices of both SE400 and HE1 and go with HE1 only if

  • It is around $130 cheaper than SE400
  • And you already have a regular sewing machine at home

Other than the above said scenario, Brother SE400 is always the better deal. As far as value for money is concerned, SE400 is one of the best I have ever come across. Its quality is top notch, which is the reason why it features in our list of ‘Machines You Can Buy With Your Eyes Shut’.

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