It may sound overly dramatic but deciding what kind of tattoo machine to get is possibly one of the biggest decisions any novice tattooist has ever made in their careers.
Sure, you only really have three general options but they’re already enough to confuse a lot of first-timers. Choosing between the advantages each type of tattoo machine has to offer can really be overwhelming for many.
The best rotary tattoo machines, despite not being as popular or common as its coil counterparts, has a lot of merits that make it worth considering. While lots of pros love their classic coils for their punch, control, and customization potential, rotary types make a good case for their ease of use and consistency. They’re also way quieter, so you don’t have to listen to continuous buzzing while you work. For this alone, it can be worth a shot.
So if rotary tattoo machines appeal to you the most, read our detailed guide to help you make the right choice.
Top 10 Rotary Tattoo Machines in the Market Today
1. Bishop – Best Direct Drive Rotary Tattoo Machine
Our first pick is considered a classic tattoo machine, so it’s certainly a great piece to start this list. In fact, it’s also referred to as the V6 because it’s the 6th version of a well-loved and widely popular rotary machine. It’s also solid proof that tattoo machines are constantly being improved upon and tweaked by tattoo machine gun manufacturers and industry experts.
What’s so special about this product is the fact that it offers a good alternative to coil tattoo machines. It’s quiet, versatile, and lightweight. It also doesn’t require the use of an elastic band to hold the needle in place. In turn, it offers users a practical and convenient option.
Equipped with a vertical motor design, its handling might need some getting used to but it shouldn’t be too complicated. It’s also deemed as a great pick for those who want to transition from coil to rotary, so there’s no need to worry about its handling.
2. Dragonhawk Extreme Rotary- Best Rotary Tattoo Machine for Lining
Cheap tattoo machines are not rare finds but not all of them perform well. The Dragonhawk Extreme Rotary Tattoo Machine, however, will surprise you. For its price, its performance is better than what most expected from it, making it an excellent budget pick.
Being a tattoo artist, you can count on dragonhawk extreme’s versatility. It’s commended for its nice lining and shading, so if you’re after a product that can deliver such a performance, you might not need to look further.
Dragonhawk extreme rotary tattoo machine design is also something noteworthy. Its slider system is a great bonus as it helps keep the needle in place. As a result, it can guarantee precision and great control.
3. Cheyenne Hawk Pen- Best Professional Rotary Tattoo Machine
It may not be for those who are on a tight budget but the Cheyenne Hawk tattoo machine can still make a very good case for a lot of buyers. With its well-thought-out design that comes with quite a handful of great details, it can definitely be an attractive pick for many. Combined with its solid performance, it promises great results.
Often compared to its predecessor, the Hawk Spirit, the Hawk Pen is said to have a tiny bit more punch to it compared to the other popular tattoo machine. Due to its pen-style, it’s also a bit easier to handle as you don’t have to bother with the motor hanging at the tip of the machine. The Spirit is way lighter, however, so it’s best if you take a close look at the two if you’re torn between them.
4. FK Irons- Best Rotary Tattoo Gun
Despite its name, the Spektra Direkt2 oozes simplicity from its appearance to its engineering. So if you’re after a fuss-free item, make sure to check it out. Its minimalist design and functionality will charm the pants off nearly everyone.
Along with its simplicity, its heavy-duty build also makes this item notable. Engineered and constructed in the USA, you are guaranteed of top-notch quality. Its impeccable choice of materials will also clue you in on how well made this product is.
A number of its features will also impress you. Not a lot of tattoo machines offer adjustable stroke settings, so if you want to get the ultimate control on how you make your artworks, the Spektra Direkt2 might be a best option for you.
5. Cheyenne Hawk Spirit- Best Rotary Tattoo Machine for Shading
Lots of people switch to the best rotary for tattoo machines because they don’t want to deal with the fussy setup of coil tattoo machines. If you want something that really won’t need you to do much to get started, the Hawk Spirit will be a nice pick. It’s pretty much a plug and play device, completely freeing you from the hassle that commonly comes with coil tattoo machines.
Considered as an upgrade from the iconic Cheyenne Hawk, the Spirit is deemed as a soft machine. This makes it suitable for different kinds of jobs, although, not everyone is a fan of how it lines. Most experts agree that it’s a best rotary tattoo machine for linke work, shading, coloring, and black and gray work, however. So if you’re looking for an all-rounder tool that will help you perfect your detail work, this could be a great choice.
The Cheyenne Spirit also excels in its easy handling. Like the other Cheyenne tattoo machines, you can customize your unit by choosing between the 2 grip sizes that they’re compatible with. As a result, you can ensure that you’ll be able to handle this tool comfortably.
6. Dragonhawk Mast Pen – Best Rotary Tattoo Machine Kits
If the price tags on the previous items made you nervous, fret not because this one is a budget-friendly option. For its lower price tag, you’ll already get a complete tattoo machine set that will let you get started right away. No separate purchase is necessary with this item as it already comes with a tattoo power supply so you can start tattooing as soon as you get your order.
Aside from its convenience, what gives this best rotary tattoo machine kits with amazing performance. For its very affordable price, its performance is easily comparable to more expensive tattoo machines. As it only costs a fraction of the price of most of the brands it’s compared to, you can bet that it offers a solid alternative to those who are on a budget.
7. YILONG Tattoo Machine- Best Budget Rotary Tattoo Machine
Another best affordable rotary tattoo machine pick is the Yilong Tattoo Machine. It’s also popular for its great value as its friendly price tag comes with very satisfactory results.
The most notable thing about this product is its pen-like feel despite having a vertical motor design. This makes it easy to handle and can even be a nice transitional pick for those who are planning on making the switch to tattoo pens.
Despite having comparable performance to expert tattoo machines, some might still have doubts about it because information about it is hard to find online. It can be worth the risk, however, if you’re after an affordable, high-performing rotary machine that can do everything.
8. Hawink Pen Style Tattoo Machine- Best Cheap Rotary Tattoo Machine
The Hawink pen style tattoo machine is another highly recommended rotary tattoo machine liner and shader. A quick look at its features list will impress you and guarantee top-notch quality and performance.
It might not look like much at first glance but it’s actually a well-built machine. It has a german motor and a high-grade frame so you can expect it to be very durable and heavy-duty. This best rotary tattoo machine under 100 makes its price tag very reasonable, as most owners find it to be worth every penny.
Like other tattoo pens, this item also stands out for its easy handling. It was designed to mimic the feel of an pen so it can be a great option for beginners.
9. Stigma Hyper V3-Best Rated Rotary Tattoo Machine
They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, so the fact that the Stigma Hyper V3 has a few cheap clones available is a good sign that it’s a solid pick. Why not when it’s such an impressive device? One look at this item and you’ll know that it’s a high performing rotary machine.
One of the many things that set this item apart is its vertical motor design. It might not look like it but it’s actually quite ergonomic that handling it shouldn’t be a problem. It’s very handy and is lightweight so you won’t have a hard time working with it.
Equipped with a Swiss motor, this device also promises power. It’s capable of hitting hard and soft, depending on its needle setting. Adjusting this is also very simple, allowing you to switch settings in a jiffy.
10. Dragonhawk Atom – Best Pen Style Rotary Tattoo Machine
Rounding out our list is the Dragonhawk Atom pen style tattoo machine. Its biggest charm is its lower price tag and a pen-like feel, making it a promising option for beginners.
Some say that it’s a clone of a high-end tattoo pen so it also guarantees excellent performance. With its powerful Japanese motor, adjustable needle, and versatility, it can really be comparable to more expensive tattoo machines.
What is the Secret of the Rotary Machine’s Popularity?
While rotary tattoo machines aren’t exactly as commonly used as coil, there’s still no denying that they’re gaining some traction as well. They’re still in that alternative spot for a lot of tattoo artists but more and more are also making a full switch.
With such a move, lots of people are wondering what is the very cause of this change. Why are rotary tattoo machines getting so popular lately? Here are a few possible answers that might also convince you to give it a shot:
1. They’re quiet
One of the strongest suits of the best rotary for tattoo machines is its smooth operation. They don’t buzz as loud as coil tattoo machines, so you’re spared of the noise while you work.
While the sound has already become associated with the act of getting inked, missing out on it isn’t necessarily a loss. Why? For one, tattooists can avoid getting ear damage or at least delay it. Some people also say that the buzzing makes some clients more nervous, so without the noise, the process can be a bit less distressing.
2. They’re typically all-rounders.
Most rotary tattoo machines can line, shade, and color without a hitch. Because of this, you don’t really need to use another device just to complete one piece. All you have to do is to adjust the voltage setting on your machine and power supply and you’re good to go.
While some coil tattoo machines can also do everything, they’re more typically available as liners and shaders. This is why even if some rotary models aren’t that adept at shading and lining or coloring, they’re still considered as versatile picks.
3. They’re easy to use.
Lots of tattooists consider the best rotary for tattoo machines as the best tattoo machine for beginners because they’re rather easy to operate, handle, and maintain. Pen type tattoo machines are particularly fuss-free to wield as they’re often designed to feel like an on a client’s skin.
Since rotary tattoo machines are also lighter in terms of weight, you also don’t have to worry about it tiring your arms and wrists out easily. This, alongside the device’s engineering, promise consistency, guaranteeing that you’ll get your desired output.
4. They cause less skin trauma.
One of the things that really set coil and rotary apart is the manner they prick the skin. Coil varieties use their power to really punch the needle into the skin, injecting ink confidently. Despite its efficiency, it can cause some serious skin trauma, especially in delicate areas.
Rotary machines do it lighter and require multiple pricking to get the color in. As a result, it’s not as damaging to the skin surface as coil tattoo machines.
How to Choose the Best Rotary Tattoo Machines for Yourself
With a lot of options available, choosing just the best rotary tattoo machines can be a bit of a challenge. By choosing this type, however, you’ve already cut down your options in nearly half, so you should feel less burdened. And to further help you in your decision-making process, we’ve listed down a few tips that you might find useful:
1. Prioritize quality.
With such a wide range of options, the best way you can weed out your choices is by only looking at the most high-quality picks. How would you determine a product’s quality? Take a close look at these points:
- Product reviews as they will tell you about how solidly built a product is and how well it performs.
- List of materials used as this will indicate whether the product is made of high-grade components.
- Where the motor is made as Swiss motors prove to be some of the most sophisticated options.
2. Choose your preferred design type.
The best rotary tattoo machines kit can come in vertical-motor and pen-type varieties among others. Choose one that will suit your handling preferences and working style so you can be sure that you’ll be able to work with your unit without a hitch.
3. Don’t just rely on product marketing.
If you like a professional tattoo machine gun kit, you don’t necessarily have to look for such terms in the product name or listing. Some of the most popular products don’t even mention that they’re pro-grade as there’s no clear definition for such in the industry. As tattoo machines are mostly for professional use only, it should be expected that a good model can work continuously without overheating.
Just make sure to get a top-notch quality unit and you’ll be able to cover this area flawlessly.
The Top 5 Rotary Tattoo Machine Companies in the Market
Even just by skimming our list above, you’ll already be able to tell what are the best rotary tattoo machine brands in the market right now. However, since not all brands are equal, we’ve rounded up 5 of the most notable brands that you can trust:
Created by a tattoo artist, Bishop is widely known for the top-notch quality of their rotary machines. It also doesn’t hurt that they look fantastic, making them great additions to most tattooists’ arsenals.
As the creator of some of the most iconic rotary tattoo machines in the market, Cheyenne is certainly a brand preferred by many veteran tattoo artists. They’re also highly innovative, so there’s a lot to look forward to from this brand.
Dragonhawk’s products may be cheap but they’re excellent budget options as they perform the same way high-end products do.
A highly-respected company in the tattoo industry, their product quality is top-notch and won’t disappoint.
Best known for their groundbreaking creation of quick needle adjustment, Stigma is another highly innovative tattoo manufacturer. Their products are widely cloned so you can say that they’re among the many trailblazers in the industry.
6 Benefits of Using a Rotary Tattoo Machine
Why, exactly, should you opt for a rotary tattoo machine? Here are a few reasons that might just win you over.
1. pen rotary tattoo machine is very easy to work with.
If you’re a beginner and you’re worried about transitioning from a pen to a tattoo machine, the best pen tattoo machine might be a good pick for you. These tattoo machines will make you feel like you’re just holding a pen so inking someone’s skin shouldn’t be too different from drawing on a smooth and flat surface.
2. Most rotary tattoo machines don’t need tuning.
While rotary tattoo machines are less customizable than coil ones, they are also designed to work in a specific way. This is why you don’t need to tune it every time you’re about to use it. You also don’t have to adjust your techniques according to the tweaking you did on the device. If your machine is well-maintained, you can expect it to perform consistently.
3. You’ll be able to complete a piece with just one device.
Unlike coil tattoo machines, a rotary machine can line, color, and shade so you don’t have to buy different devices for various purposes. This is perfect for those who just want to give the craft a try as they can opt to not spend a lot on their practice tools and still get good results.
4. There are lots of great affordable rotary tattoo machines available.
Having lots of different options is always a great thing, especially for art tools like tattoo machines. And that’s exactly what you’ll get when you’re looking at rotary tattoo machines as they come in different shapes, types, and sizes.
5. They’re less noisy.
Another reason why lots of tattoo artists switch to rotary machines is their low-noise output. They don’t make a loud racket like most coil tattoo machines do. As a result, you won’t have a constant loud buzzing sound in the background of your tattoo salon. You might also be able to preserve your hearing by opting for these machines instead.
6. They’re lighter.
Rotary machines are also generally lighter than coil ones so they’re easier to handle. They also won’t tire you out as much, making them reliable options for working on large pieces.
How to Use a Rotary Tattoo Machine?
Operating a rotary tattoo machine isn’t that hard but how you’ll use one depends on its make and design. So if you want to cover all your bases and learn how to use one even before you buy your own equipment, it’s best to do some thorough research on the item you’re eyeing.
The great thing about the industry is that you’ll always find useful information online about various products. So if you want to really learn about a product without paying for it, you can just turn to the web.
Generally speaking, however, rotary tattoo machines aren’t that different from coils. The basic steps in their use are pretty similar. The main difference lies in the voltage adjustment when switching from lining to shading and vice versa. And as tattoo rotary tattoo machines are set up differently, this process can be different from one product to another. It really depends on the model you own, so check with the manufacturer as well to ensure that you’ll be able to use your device correctly.
What To Do After Using a Rotary Tattoo Machine
Cleaning up your device after use is a must to effectively get rid of the blood and other kinds of debris that may get stuck on its surface. If you bag your tattoo machine this process will be a lot easier to do, so you should consider doing so.
Disassembling your unit, if it’s possible, is also recommended so you can thoroughly clean it. Remove and properly dispose of the used needle. Dispose of the bag as well as it would be the most hygienic thing to do. Opting for disposable coverings will also speed up your cleaning process.
Depending on your unit, you might be able to autoclave them if you have one. In case you don’t, thoroughly washing them with the right cleaners and disinfectants would be ideal. Follow the cleaning instructions of your machine’s manufacturer to the dot to avoid damaging it.