If you want to be the best tattoo artist you can be, a great tattoo machine certainly helps.
The key word in “tattoo artist” is the word artist. What you’re doing is art. But to make sure you end up with actual works of art, you need the right tools. These include a tattoo machine that you should actually be able to use, and this means it has to be appropriate to your skill level.
For a newbie, it means picking from the best tattoo machines for beginners. With a good tattoo machine for beginners, you can produce results good enough to satisfy your first clients. In addition, the best beginner tattoo gun will help encourage you to continue to become the best tattooist you can be.
10 Best Beginner Tattoo Gun
1. FK Irons – Best Tattoo Gun for Beginners
We start off the list with a great example of the best tattoo gun for beginners what newbies generally need in a tattoo machine. With the Spectra Direkt2 from FK Irons, you avoid having to deal with too many complications that as a beginner you can’t really handle. Here, just about everything is simplified for you. That means you focus on your craft and not on the tool.
You don’t really have to work hard to figure things out. This is a general-purpose machine instead of having a specialized task to do. You get the torque and speed you need from the 4.5-watt motor, though the voltage can actually be adjusted from 4 up to 9.5 watts. You can use this not just for line and shade, but also for coloring. What this means is that you can buck conventional wisdom that tells you that you need 2 machines for tattooing.
This works with every standard needle and cartridge format, and these include the standard screw-on and back stem cartridge grips. You won’t even need to use an adapter. You also have interchangeable stroke caps in different sizes as part of the purchase.
Even maintenance is not a problem, as you don’t need to lubricate this at all.
2. Dragonhawk Mast Pen – Best Rotary Tattoo Machine for Beginners
If you’re thinking about being a tattoo creator, you may want to actually practice your artistic skills with pen and paper. The drawback to this approach is that drawing with a tattoo machine may be a very different thing altogether. However, with this pen-style best rotary tattoo machine for beginners, you can transfer your pen on paper skills more readily.
This is available as a kit, and if you’re a newbie this the option you should take. This saves you the trouble of finding compatible accessories. In addition, it even comes in a nice travel and storage bag for everything.
3. Dragonhawk Tattoo Kit- Best Entry L Tattoo Machine Kit
This doesn’t just give you 2 machines. Instead, you get 4 machines. You have a standard one for lining, along with a power liner. Then there’s one suited for shading, and the 4th is for color packing. The machines were the result of the collaboration between Dragonhawk and noted tattooist Gabe Shum. Afterwards, all of the tattoo machines were adjusted by hand in the factory to make sure they’re easy to use.
The package actually contains lots of items aside from the 4 machines. You get a power supply that offers fast and accurate voltage adjustments. You get 50 EO (Ethylene Oxide) Gas sterilized needles, disposable machine grips, pieces of practice skin, US-made vegan-friendly Immortal tattoo inks, a set of adjustment tools, and a large carry case with a key.
4. Bishop Rotary Tattoo Machine- Best Starter Tattoo Machine
Do you have a large budget? It’s possible that even if you’re a beginner you may want to start out with the very best tattoo machines for beginners you can get. The particular model we got is polished black with the RCA cable. It’s a pleasure to use, even though we were annoyed at first because it didn’t even come with the RCA cable we needed. Obviously, we had to buy the other accessories as well.
But when you use it, you’ll realize that it’s a painless tool to use. Say goodbye to any worries regarding carpal tunnel syndrome and other wrist pain problems. It just feels weightless. The build is durable and of high quality, and it can be used for a wide range of tasks and tattooing styles.
5. Dragonhawk Extreme X2 – Best Beginner Tattoo Machine
If you’re a big person who can deal with the 135-gram weight (that’s 4. 8 ounces), then perhaps you can use this Extreme X2 rotary tattoo machine from Dragonhawk. Actually, this is the result of the collaboration between Extreme Tattoo Supply and Dragonhawk Tattoo Supply.
It’s actually not that expensive, considering that it’s made from a solid block of pure brass using CNC machines. That makes this a rather durable machine that can last a long while. But it sure is heavy.
This does come with the RCA cable, but you have to buy your other supplies. This can work with both standard needles and cartridge needles. All in all, it operates smoothly without too much noise, and you can use this for lining, shading, and even coloring in large areas.
6. Dragonfly Tattoo Machine- Best Starter Rotary Tattoo Machine
Now if you really have a tight budget and you just want a tattoo machine you can try out, you may want to check out the Dragonfly rotary tattoo machine. This is incredibly affordable, so much so that at first you might think that it’s some sort of disposable accessory. It’s not exactly durable, but you can use it long enough to find out if you really want to be a tattoo master for real.
What you have to understand is that this is a Chinese brand specializing in tattoo products. The Dragonfly machine doesn’t come with accessories, but at this price point that’s certainly understandable.
When you use this, just go for an hour. Then you have to rest it for maybe 10 minutes before you resume. What you do get is an easy to use machine that should let you find out on the cheap if you have the talent or the continuing interest for tattooing. You can use this for small designs as well.
7. Hummingbird Rotary V1- Best Tattoo Machines for Beginners
If you have a checklist of features you need in a beginner’s tattoo machine, you may find many of these features fulfilled by the V1 machine from Hummingbird. In fact, it also offers features you’d like but didn’t expect to get, especially in this price range.
This is versatile as you can use this for lining, shading, or color packing. What’s more, you don’t have to go through some complicated setup to do a particular type of work. There’s a dial on top that adjusts the dampening to suit the task.
Make a counterclockwise turn for shading, for softer hits needed for the task. You can get really soft hits here, compared to coil machines. You can then turn it clockwise for harder work like lining and color packing.
You can also adjust length of the strokes, just by changing the extenders. The stroke length ranges from 2.6 to 5.5 mm.
8. Danny Robinson’s – Best Coil Tattoo Machines for Beginners
This is another one of those tattoo machines with ridiculously low prices. It’s the kind of price that makes you wary. But when you simply keep your expectations in line with the price, you’d be pleasantly surprised.
This is coil machine that’s designed for use as a liner. That’s it. That’s why it’s not expensive, and that’s also why it’s suitable for many newbies. Drawing outlines is kind of one simple way for newbies to start out.
By the way, if you’re wondering who Danny Robinson is then wonder no more. He’s an English tattooist and he’s actually quite popular. That’s because he starred in an MTV UK tattoo TV show.
9. Getbetterlife Pro- Best Entry Level Tattoo Machine
This best beginner tattoo gun actually the lowest-priced tattoo machine on this list, and it may seem like a misprint when you first see it. But when you do get to the Getbetterlife website, you can confirm it for yourself. Yep, it costs less than $10!
You’d think that if this isn’t joke, then it must be a toy. But it’s a real tattoo machine, available in a variety of colors. This is built and carved from aluminum, CNC-machined, and then polished.
The motor is from Taiwan, and again it’s the epitome of affordable efficiency. You get a fast-rotating speed without the vibrations and noise. The whole design keeps it from overheating too quickly. In fact, you can go work with this for 4 hours straight before you need to cool it down.
The needle here is in a fixed position, so that it won’t move when you’re working. This works for both line and shade, and it only weighs 120 grams.
10. Dragonhawk Space Aluminum- Best Affordable Tattoo Machine for Beginners
This costs less than $60 (depending on the seller), so it’s not expensive at all. You save more considering that you don’t need a separate machine for shading. This can do both line and shade, with a stroke length of 3.5 mm.
This is quite lightweight at about 4 ounces, but it’s explained by the use of space-grade aluminum for the frame. This has been carved with super-precision by CNC machines, and it has a Swiss motor running the show. It works quietly and smoothly, and the grip gives you nice control. Just go with 7 to 8.5 volts when you’re lining. When shading, go with 8 to 10 volts.
You may need to consult your more experienced tattoo artists buddies about setting this up, as the alignment may need to be looked at. At least it already has a needle buckle that keeps the needle steady. You don’t need a rubber here either.
The Buying Guide– What to Know When Buying Best Tattoo Machines for Beginners
Understanding Tattoo Machines
A tattoo machine has either a motor or a set of electromagnetic coils powering an armature bar to go up and down. Attached to this bar you have a barred needle grouping that applies the ink to the skin. It’s really that simple.
However, to really understand your tattoo machine is a different matter. You have to read the manual carefully. You should have a good idea of what each and every component is working. By having a deeper understanding of your tattoo machine, you can customize it by replacing certain parts with new parts that work better for you. Your understanding also helps you pick better tattoo machines in the future.