Monday, February 6, 2012

Magna Hoop vs. Snap Hoop

I own both the Magna Hoop and the Snap Hoop. Because my embroidery machine is a Babylock Ellisimo, I was able to get the snap hoop as soon as it came out. I have now used both of them enough times and tried them on a significant variety of projects that I now feel comfortable reviewing them for you all.

My personal preference of the two is the Magna Hoop. Now I can hear all of you screaming your love for the Snap Hoop---the Snap Hoop is great also!  They both work for very different just turns out that the type of embroidery I tend to do more often works great with the Magna Hoop.

So, first things first. Magna Hoop is NOT A HOOP! I think that is the biggest misconception. Magna Hoop only works with the hoops you already own for your machine. Magna Hoop is simply inserts for your hoops. This works well if you are often embroidering on oddly shaped items such as clothing pieces or quilt blocks, purse pieces, towels, etc. It holds the fabric down in the hoop in every area but where you are embroidering. So this gives it more stability than say, just using a sticky stabilizer.
Example of the 5 x 7 Magna Hoop-the other sizes come with different shaped inserts
Here is also a link to a video Eileen Roche (the inventor of both hoops and editor of Designs in Machine Magazine) did on describing the Magna Hoop. I also want to include a link to her blog where she writes about the comparisons between Magna Hoop and Snap Hoop and when and she uses each one and why. That post can be found on her blog here.

Now the Snap Hoop is an actual hoop.

This hoop makes squaring up fabric and getting rid of puckers easier. This is because the top of the hoop is magnetic and does not latch in like normal embroidery hoops. Therefore the fabric can be slid around underneath it until it is square and has no wrinkles. This cannot be done in a regular hoop because of the tightness of its grip and the probability that it will cause puckers if you pull after hooping. Here is a link to Eileen Roche's video on the Snap Hoop.

Now the reason I prefer the Magna Hoop is simply because of the type of embroidery I tend to do. I do a lot of onesies so I bought the 4 x 4 hoop to make hooping square easier. Problem is, it does not hold tight enough for the small 6-9 month onesies I embroider. These are TINY! So I have to pull the fabric all around the hoop and stretch and hold it so the presser foot doesnn't catch it while it is embroidering. With all this pressure, the snap hoop magnets tend to slide whereas the normal embroidery hoop holds everything tight. So the Snap Hoop simply does not work for me for this purpose.

Additionally, the Snap Hoop is not good for applique...which I also do a lot of! You do not want to have a ton of stitches on baby items so applique designs are better than fill stitch designs for baby clothes. The instructions that come with the Snap Hoop even caution about using it for applique because of the potential for the fabric to slip around with the constant removing of the hoop from the machine and manipulation to cut around stitches for applique. However, Eileen Roche has found a solution for this problem. If any of you have any of her Stipple collections, you can see in the videos she does them in the Snap Hoop. Now why does this work?  This is because her applique designs in the Stipple collections are all raw edge. She does layer after layer in the hoop until the entire design is done. Only then does she remove the hoop and cut around all of the edges. By doing it this way, she removes the possibility of the fabric slipping from the constant removal of the hoop from the machine by not removing the hoop until it is done. (You can see this process in a video here.)

This is a great idea if you like raw edge applique! I happen to use the more sturdy satin stitch around the edge of my appliques but again that is because I do a lot of baby items and they get washed frequently and it will hold up better. The kind of items that the Stipple kits make won't need that amount of sturdiness and it works well.

 The point of me writing this post is to make sure you are all well informed on the pros and cons of each item. I still use the Snap Hoop on plenty of other items. It was just that it was not ideal for the main items I had bought it for or regularly do.


  1. Thanks for writing this post, I found it very useful.

    I'm deciding between the magna hoop and the snap hoop myself, and I primarily intend to use it for machine quilting.

    Would you recommend the snap hoop for quilting?

    1. As far as quilting by embroidery machine, the snap hoop is what you would want. However, they do make a hoop called magna quilter, which is essentially a larger snap hoop made for holding all three layers together when quilting by embroidery. I am assuming you mean quilting by embroidery machine...these hoops are not for free motion quilting!

  2. Another question - what's the difference between the snap-hoop slide on attachment and the original snap-hoop? I had a hard time trying to figure that out on the website.

    1. As far as I can tell, the slide on attachment just means that it fits the types of embroidery machines that use hoops that slide in to the machine. The hoops that fit other types of machines use other types of attaching; i.e. screw on, clamp, etc. If you buy the type of snap hoop that fits your machine, it will come with the correct type of attachment to work with your machine and also your machine will recognize the size hoop so it cannot embroider outside the usable area! It cannot recognize magna hoop inserts so your machine could easily try to start stitching over the inserts if you were not careful on checking with templates that your design fits inside the usable area!

  3. Thank you for the comparison, I bought magna hoops for both of my machines, I've been quite happy with them!


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