Singer XL 400 and Brother SE400 are very popular among sewers. But both have their own merits and demerits. Here is a honest comparison of both.
In this comparison, we are comparing two extremely popular sewing and embroidery combo machines. There is no question about which one is more popular. Brother SE400 is way ahead of Singer XL 400 in popularity and the former is also the most popular entry level embroidery machine in US. Whenever you search for an embroidery machine, you will bump into SE400, it is that popular. XL 400 on the other hand is the Singer’s reply for Brother SE400. The best thing about SE400 was its killer pricing, which was not always the case with XL 400. The slightly expensive price tag of the Singer machine did dent its popularity, it is a quality machine nevertheless. At the time of doing this comparison, there is a yawning price gap between these two machines. Let us see which one is really worth your hard earned money.
Singer XL 400 Vs Brother SE400 – Features Comparison
This is the clash of 400’s. I am not sure about what ‘400’ in model numbers stand for, never mind. Features wise, Singer XL 400 and Brother SE400 are poles apart. Their operating methods are entirely different. First, we will be talking about the differences.
Built-in Sewing Stitches And Embroidery Designs : Singer XL 400 comes with 125 built-in embroidery designs and 30 sewing stitches. Brother SE400 comes with 70 embroidery designs and 67 sewing stitches. The number of built-in embroidery designs doesn’t really matter as both machines come with USB connectivity. You can import as many number of designs you like from the internet. You need a computer for the Singer machine to work, so you are connected to the computer anyway, then you can always import some interesting designs online. The decision making comes down to the sewing stitches, as you can’t import sewing stitches from an outside source. Brother SE400 clearly has more sewing stitches and if regular sewing is something that you do often, you will be better of with SE400 than XL 400.
Operation : Brother SE400 operates like a conventional computerized sewing machine. You have an LCD touch screen to view the stitch settings and other controls. All the editing and customization is done on the machine itself and it can be viewed on the LCD screen. Singer XL 400 on the other hand, doesn’t have an LCD screen. Instead, your laptop works as the screen for editing and customization. This is done with the help of an editing software. Now this can work both ways. Some may like it and some may not. The problem is that, you need your laptop every time you need to embroider. The advantage is that, you can view and edit designs on a large computer screen instead of a puny LCD screen that Brother SE400 has.
Embroidery Area : As far as embroidery area is concerned, Singer XL 400 has a huge advantage. It comes with a large 10″ x 6″ large hoop and a small 4″ x 4″ hoop. It even has multihooping ability which lets you do designs up to a size of 18.5″ x 11″. Brother SE400 on the other hand comes with a single hoop of size 4″ x 4″. In fact, the small embroidery area of SE400 is the only con of that machine. So if you intend to do large embroidery projects, Brother SE400 is not the machine for you.
Locking Stitch Button : Singer XL 400 has a dedicated locking stitch button to lock the stitches at the beginning and end. This is in addition to the regular reverse sewing button. Brother SE400 has no locking stitch button.
Automatic Thread Cutter : Brother SE400 comes with an automatic thread cutter, but XL 400 has only a manual thread cutter. The automatic thread cutter cuts the remaining thread with the push of a button.
Work Lights : Singer XL 400 (6 LEDs) is well lit in comparison with Brother SE400 (1 LED).
Realistic View : The Singer machine has a realistic view which displays the design on the computer screen exactly as it will sew. The Brother machine lacks this feature, but there is a preview feature.
Software Compatibility : This is a huge bummer for Singer XL 400. The included software is compatible with Windows OS only. So it is not a machine for Mac users. Brother SE400 on the other hand doesn’t need a computer to work. It uses the USB connectivity option only for importing designs, so there is no compatibility issue.
Machine Weight : As far as build quality is concerned, Singer XL 400 is ahead. It is very heavy, weighing 23 pounds. Brother SE400 weighs just 13.6 pounds. Brother has used lightweight material for its construction.
These are the differences between these two machines. Below table gives an overview of all other features.
|Machine Features||Singer XL 400||Brother SE400|
|Built-in Stitches||125 Embroidery, 30 Sewing||70 Embroidery, 67 Sewing|
|Automatic Needle Threader||Yes||Yes|
|Independent Bobbin Winding Motor||Yes||Yes|
|Sewing Start/Stop & Speed Control||Yes||Yes|
|LED Work lights||6 LEDs||1 LED|
|Top Drop-in Bobbin||Yes||Yes|
|Embroidery Hoops||10″ x 6″ and 4″ x 4″||4″ x 4″|
|Buttonhole Styles||2, 1-step||10, 1-step|
|Max Stitch Width||7mm||7mm|
|Programmable Needle Up/Down||Yes||Yes|
|Automatic Thread Cutter||No||Yes|
|Machine Weight||23 pounds||13.6 pounds|
Singer XL 400 Vs Brother SE400 – Performance Comparison
As far as ease of use is concerned, the Brother machine is slightly ahead, especially when you compare it with the machine-computer combination required by the Singer machine. SE400’s independent existence gives it a lot of flexibility. The stitch quality is better with Brother SE400, but XL 400 is not that far behind either. The stitch quality of SE400 is very popular, which is the reason why it features in our list of ‘Machines You Can Buy With Your Eyes Shut’. The problem with XL 400 is that, the main editing software ‘Auto Punch’ is not included in the box. It is a separate purchase, which stretches the investment a little bit more. The included software is a basic one without much customization options.
Brother SE400 is a complete package. It has the features, it has the quality and it is affordable. The only thing that works against SE400 is its small embroidery area. If you want larger embroidery area, then Singer XL 400 is the better option. If value for money is something that you consider, there is no better machine than Brother SE400, especially when you compare it with the price of XL 400.