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Brother DZ820E Embroidery Machine

Brother Designio Series DZ820E Embroidery Machine Review

Brother has been a trusted manufacturer for decades when it comes to sewing, embroidery, and other crafting machines. With their large selection of highly reviewed models, it can be hard to figure out which one will meet your needs and budget. That is, if you're planning to avoid spending hours analyzing reviews.

One popular embroidery machine is the Brother DZ820E. What kind of crafter did Brother make this machine for? What features does this machine have over other models? What kinds of accessories are included with the machine, and what other kinds of products can be used with it? We’ll discuss all these topics and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about this embroidery machine as well.

Looking for a fast track? You can jump ahead to a specific question by clicking a link in the table of contents below, or continue to read the whole review.

Who is it for?

This machine is ideal for a home user who will be keeping it in the same place. It’s bulky enough to be inconvenient to move, so it’s something you’ll want to leave set up.

The DZ820E is also a great upgrade for anyone with an older machine that would like an upgrade with modern convenience. It offers several options for storing and transferring embroidery patterns. In addition to the usual embroidery cards, this machine also has a USB port which works with any standard flash drive.

It’s a great value for the price, so even experienced designers can get a lot of power on a budget with this model.

Who is it NOT for?

This may be an impractical purchase for anyone who plans to take the machine with them when traveling. If you are designer who plans to go to many events, you should strongly consider something more lightweight. While the machine is portable, you may have regrets after the tenth time carrying it to and from a distant parking space to a craft show table.

Space at home is also a consideration. A hobby like embroidering can easily take up a considerable amount of space, and this machine does not sew. There are combination machines available for much higher price tags if you also need to sew but don’t have any room for a separate machine.

What Features Does This Embroidery Machine Have?

The Brother Designio DZ820E machine has several notable features:

  1. An LCD touch screen display allows the user to watch built-in tutorials and access the design editing tools.
  2. ​Internal memory allows you to store your favorite designs right on the machine. It comes with 136 designs and fonts preloaded.
  3. ​A USB port allows you to quickly and easily transfer new embroidery patterns from your computer to the machine via any USB flash drive.
  4. ​The jam-resistant quick-set drop-in bobbin feature means your thread will stay in place. This gives you a reliable, even stitch.
  5. ​A bright work lamp with two LEDs lets you see what you’re doing, even when you’re in a dimly lit room or embroidering on dark fabric. Embroidering should be fun – this extra lighting will help you avoid the frustration of bad results. By being able to clearly see what you’re doing –start to finish– you will certainly be more satisfied with the time you spend on embroidering.
  6. The automatic needle threader allows you to thread the needle by just pressing a lever. This means no more straining to pass a thread through the eye of a needle!
  7. A thread cutter allows the thread to be cut automatically and immediately after embroidering. This speeds up your work, and keeps you in the flow of embroidering, rather than needing to pause every so often to hunt down your thread snips.

The automatic needle threader allows you to thread the needle by just pressing a lever.

What Accessories are Included?

The Designio DZ820E comes with a huge accessories package, making it a great value. It comes with the following:

  • A seam ripper
  • 4 total bobbins, with one preinstalled on the machine.
  • A needle set that includes three 75/11 needles and one 90/14 needle​
  • ​A cleaning brush
  • ​A large, medium, and a small spool cap.
  • ​A spool net
  • Scissors​
  • ​A large and small screwdriver
  • ​Three spools of Brother poly #90 bobbin thread
  • ​Embroidery foot “Q” on the machine
  • Three embroidery hoops, measuring 7” x 5”, 4” x 4”, and 2.5” x 1”.​
  • A CD with 200 embroidery designs​
  • Dust cover​
  • A bilingual, English/Spanish operation manual.​
  • ​Quick reference guide
  • Accessory bag

What Additional Products Work With this Machine?

Separately, you can buy these accessories to expand the usability of the DZ820e:


If you want to add different colors or you’ve run out of the thread you started with, getting more is not a problem. Just be sure that the thread you buy is designed for the machine you’re using. For the DZ820e, Brother poly #90 embroidery bobbin threads are ideal. They are the appropriate strength and have the correct balance on the needle.

Embroidery cards:

Embroidery cards work like a memory card. You connect your embroidery card to your computer and then save whichever designs you’d like to the card. Then, you load the embroidery card into your embroidery machine via the card slot. Transferring the designs from the card directly to your machine this way is easy.

In the past, this embroidery card feature was a huge benefit. Many machines required a USB cable to connect to a PC in order to access new designs. When your embroidery machine is located in another room, moving it closer to a computer can be a pain. Having the option of simply saving designs on the computer to the embroidery card was an ideal way to minimize the hassle of adding new patterns.

However, newer models like the DZ820E have a USB port, so you can use any USB flash drive to transfer designs from your computer to the machine.

But if you have an embroidery card from an older machine, it will still work on this one too!

Additional Embroidery Hoops:

The DZ820E comes with embroidery hoops in three sizes, a small, medium, and a large embroidery hoop. However, an even larger embroidery hoop measuring 12” x 5” (the SA445) is also available. While the DZ820E can only embroider up to one 7” x 5” area at a time, the extra space is helpful. If you want to embroider multiple designs without re-hooping the fabric, the 12" x 5" hoop is a perfect solution.

What Kind of Warranty Does Brother Offer for this Machine?

Like many of their other machines, Brother provides free phone support for the life of this embroidery machine. The DZ820E also has a 25-year limited warranty for the chassis. A warranty also covers the electronics and circuit boards are covered for 2 years. Parts, labor, and accessory pieces are covered for 1 year.

Brother only honors this coverage if the purchase is made through an authorized Brother reseller in the United States. The original sales receipt must also be presented any time repairs are done for warranty consideration. The warranty is non-transferable; if you sell or give your machine to someone else, the coverage is void.

To be serviced, your machine will need to be taken to an authorized service location. You can either take it there yourself or pay to have it shipped. If Brother decides to replace your machine, your warranty on the new one will be 30 days plus any remaining time from the original warranty period.

Common Questions

Does this machine appliqué?

Yes. Larger pieces of fabric can be accented by attaching smaller ones. If you have downloaded a pattern online, most of the work is done for you. As long as the pattern will work within a maximum area of 7” x 5”, it’s as simple as transferring the pattern to the machine. Remember, this can be done with a portable USB flash drive or embroidery card.

If you are interested in creating your own patterns, you will need to find software to create these. There are several options available, so be sure to compare carefully before investing in a program to work with.

What's the difference between this and the PE770 machine?

There are actually not very many differences between the DZ820E and the PE770. The most obvious difference is color. The DZ820E has a transparent navy blue case, while the PE770 has a lavender-colored case.

Beyond that, the DZ820E has a more comprehensive set of included accessories, such as the small and medium embroidery hoops. If you already have needles, cleaning brushes, etc. you may be able to save some money by buying the PE770 instead.

Does this machine do regular sewing also?

No. While machines that both sew and embroider do exist, they are significantly more expensive. An embroidery-only machine is simpler, and allows you to develop your skills with a smaller investment.

How many different colors of thread can I use at one time?

This is a single needle machine, so you can only use one color at a time. Machines with multiple needles are very expensive, starting at almost $10,000!

But, you can use as many colors in your design as you’d like. Like other single needle embroidery machines, the DZ820e will stop when it finishes with a particular color in an area. The screen will tell you what color you should put in next.

Can I save my designs to the machine using a USB cable, or do I need to use a flash drive?

Even if you have your sewing area near a computer, a flash drive must be used. There is no cable included and the embroidery machine is not designed to work directly with a computer. Luckily, USB flash drives are extremely convenient, especially if the computer is close by. Any USB flash drive may be used, and most people already own at least one. Just make sure that your patterns are in the .PES format before attempting to use them.

If you have patterns that are stored on embroidery cards instead of a flash drive, the DZ820E also supports these. If you can get the files from your embroidery cards to your computer, you can also move everything to a flash drive that way. This is not required, but may be more convenient for storage.

Is the Brother Designio Series DZ820E Embroidery Only Machine Mac Friendly?

The CD with the included designs do not load properly on a Mac. The USB functions will still work perfectly fine. As long as you have another way to get the designs from the CD, they can be copied to a flash drive with ease. Be sure not to skip this step, since the CD has 200 designs on it!

I want to learn how to monogram. Is this a good machine to learn with? Is there anything else I need to purchase in order to start monogramming?

The DZ820e is even better than the PE500 for monogramming. The PE500 can only embroider one letter at a time, forcing you manually move the hoop and align it before selecting another letter. Monogramming on the PE500 is possible, but it only has a maximum embroidering area of 4” x 4” at a time.

On the other hand, the DZ820e allows you to spell several letters, or even a small word. It can do this because it has a larger working area: 7” x 5”.

Can I download more fonts?

Yes. There are many fonts available online. Brother even offers some directly. Always be sure that anything you are going to pay for needs to be compatible with your machine. Any website you shop with should be very clear if the .PES file format is available.

The DZ820E is a very convenient machine for those just getting started with embroidery


The DZ820E is a very convenient machine for those just getting started with embroidery. It comes with lots of designs pre-installed on the machine and a CD with even more designs. The ability to use USB flash drives to easily transfer from a computer to the machine is a modern innovation. It also comes with 3 different embroidery hoops; this allows you explore tasks like monogramming and appliqué without buying more accessories.

If you are an experienced embroiderer, the PE770 may be a better value for you. The machines are identical, and you’ll most likely have all of the additional accessories that come with the DZ model anyway. No matter which Brother embroidery machine you ultimately decide on, you know you’ll have a reliable machine you can enjoy for years.

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