The Right Tools for a Beautiful Trade: Choosing the Best Tattoo Machines

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They say that when it comes to artistry, it’s more about the skill rather than the tool used. If you really have the knack for it, you don’t need the fanciest or some cutting-edge equipment as you have the talent to back you up. While many artists will agree, most will also say that it wouldn’t hurt to have the best tattoo machines on hand.

Check out our favorite products in the table below.

With the most reliable tattoo kit, your job as a tattoo artist can become easier. Your lines and strokes can become more precise, allowing you to create the magical skin art your clients desire. Your tool can also help determine your efficiency in doing your work, so why not choose the best starter tattoo machine brands for lining/shading one, right?

To help you to pick the best color packer tattoo machines for you, here’s a lengthy guide and a number of top-notch machines recommendations that we guarantee won’t let you down. Check tattoo machines reviews out below.

Our Top 7 Tattoo Guns for the Best Tattoo Machines for your Tattoo Shop

Our Top 6 Tattoo Guns

There are so many amazing, high-quality tattoo kits available in the market today so choosing just one may seem impossible for many. To help you narrow down your options or at least give you an idea on what are considered to be the best products available today, here are 10 top best tattoo machine that you can check out:

1. Hummingbird Bronc Pen- Best Rotary Pen Tattoo Machine for Beginner Tattoo Artist

Starting off this list is an affordable item that has impressed a lot of professional tattoo artist.

Hummingbird is one of the best tattoo machine brands, made to provide a versatile and highly functional rotary machine, the Hummingbird bronc pen tattoo machine nicely executes everything that the manufacturer aimed to offer.

Quick Summary
  • One of the finest tattoo machine brands
  • Uses advanced gear system which keeps it from vibrating too much
  • Made from high quality aircraft aluminum
  • Swiss motor
  • 5mm available stroke range
  • RCA cord connection

Some may have doubts because of its friendly price but once you tried using this rotary machine, you’ll know that the price is actually a great price. It’s proof that great things don’t always have to break the bank as this rotary machine performs really well despite being very affordable.

One of the biggest draws to this is the way it’s constructed. It was made to feel like a regular pen so users will have no issues with its handling. Bronc managed to pull it off nicely. It will feel like you’re just using a somewhat heavier best pen-type rotary machine kit to draw on your client’s skin when using this rotary tattoo machine.

How to Take Care of a Tattoo

WHY IS THIS THE TOP PICK?
1. Friendly Price Tag

For its low price point, a lot of buyers expected it to have some flaws. Most users were pleasantly surprised, however, once they got to use it. This one of the best rotary tattoo gun brands performs really well that it’s easily comparable to professional-grade rotary machines.

2. Suitable for Beginners tattoo artist

Since this kit is fashioned after regular pens, it’s a lot easier for beginners to use while they’re still trying to hone their tattooing skills. It’s simpler to use while you transition from a true pen to a rotary tattoo machine.

3. Ease of Use

Just how easy is the Hummingbird Bronc to use, you might be wondering? The fact alone that it has a true pen feel should clue you in that it’s very easy to use. Operating this tattoo machine kit is also very simple. You just need to pop cartridges in and out and you’re good to go.

Handling is also not too fussy. It has a good weight and the motor doesn’t vibrate. As a result, your hand and arms won’t tire out quickly.

4. Lines, Packs, Shades, and Blends

This pen style rotary tattoo machine can already do everything in one nifty package. As such, you’re offered a practical and highly functional pick.

THINGS I LIKED ABOUT IT

  • Pen-like handling
  • Works with most kinds of tattoo needles
  • Suitable for both starter tattoo artist and professional artists

THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE

  • Requires lubrication every 2 to 3 weeks
  • Need to buy the power supplies unit separately
  • Cartridge grip is sold separately

2. Stigma Hyper V3- Best Cosmetic Rotary Tattoo Machine

Being one of the best selling pick from one of the most popular machines brands, the Stigma Hyper V3 definitely deserves a spot on this list. One look at this and you’ll know that it means serious business.

They also make grips, cartridge needles in various configurations, and other accessories. Their goals is to provide inexpensive tattoo products.

Quick Summary
  • Precision adjustable tattoo needle stabilizer
  • Vertical Swiss aluminum alloy adjustable motor
  • RCA and hookup dual interface
  • 20000-25000 minutes frequency
  • 3,000-10,000 stitches per minute
  • Power supply and cables are included, as well as needles, tips, gloves, ink caps, and practice skin.
  • The manufacturer has complied with health and safety regulations

While it may seem intimidating at first, you can have it on good conscience that this is a good fit for both pros and beginners alike. Its innovative design allows it to be easy to maneuver and operate, so even if you haven’t been inking for years, you won’t struggle too much with this particular tool. Since it’s also deemed as the most flexible tattoo machine in the market today, it might really be a good match for lots of tattoo artists , professional artists or a beginner.

Its biggest claim to fame, however, is its claim to be the softest tattoo machine kit in the market. So even though it also does a great job in lining, you can also count on it to be fantastic at coloring and shading. Switching from one setting to another is also perfectly easy and will only take you a couple of seconds. As a result, you can be quite efficient in completing your work.

Ease of Use

WHY IS THIS THE TOP PICK?
1. Ease of Use

It may not look like it but the Hyper V3 rotary machine is designed to be very easy to use. For starters, it’s updated to have a more ergonomic design. With this, you can count on it to be easier to handle. Combined with its well-balanced construction, it’s also easy to maneuver and won’t easily tire your hand and arm out when doing a large piece.

Tweaking its settings is also very easy to do. Switching from super hard to super soft lines will only take seconds so you don’t have to stop or struggle with your rotary tattoo machine.

2. All-rounder

As mentioned above, this device will also let you do different thing with great ease. You can line, color, pack, and shade with just one tool making it a convenient and practical tattoo gun kit to have.

THINGS I LIKED ABOUT IT

  • Ergonomic frame design
  • Lightweight
  • Lines, shades, and colors
  • Performance is comparable to more expensive rotary machines
  • Deemed as the softest rotary tattoo machine in the market
  • Runs smoothly

THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE

  • Has plastic parts

3. Cheyenne Hawk Pen Rotary Tattoo- Best Beginner Tattoo Kit for Apprentices

Tattooing can be brutal on a tattoo artist’s wrists so a lightweight tool is always welcome. So with the 9.5g of the Hawk pen style machine, it might just be one of the lightest options available. This is one of the uncomparable tattoo equipment for beginners.

Quick Summary
  • This is one of the renowned tattoo brands out there
  • Brushless dc motor
  • Compatible with most brands and all sizes of cartridge needles on the market
  • 3.5 mm stroke
  • Anodized aluminum body
  • Adjustable needle depth
  • 95g weight
  • It comes in a kit with power supply and foot controller, needle cartridges, grip tape, and a carrying case

Being spectacularly lightweight is definitely one of the strongest draws of the Cheyenne. Not a lot of machines can promise the same thing without compromising their motor and frame quality. The Cheyenne Hawk Thunder gets to balance everything thanks to its great material choices, allowing it to be very light but still powerful and durable.

Despite being light as a feather, no one should doubt the Cheyenne Hawk Thunder’s performance. It’s touted as one of the most powerful machines for beginner tattoo artists available thanks to its Precision DC motor. It also makes some of the crispest lines, making it the best tattoo machine pick for the lining/shading. It can still pack in color and shade, though, so it’s also a versatile rotary tattoo machine.

What is the Secret of the Rotary Machine’s Popularity?

WHY IS THIS THE TOP PICK?
1. Easy to Handle

With its pen-like design, it’s easy to tell that you won’t struggle in handling this rotary tattoo machine. With the fact that it’s ergonomically designed, you can better rest assured that it’s rather easy to use. It will nicely fit in your hands so you can wield it without too much fuss.

Of course, being lightweight also further make sure its ease of use. Since it’s very light, you don’t have to worry about tiring your hands, wrists, and arms quickly. As a result, you can be sure to complete tattoo work with consistency and great results.

2. Best for Lines

The Hawk Thunder is most popular for its ability to make crisp and clean lines, so if you’re after a liner and shader rotary tattoo machine, this will be the best budget rotary tattoo machine tattoo kit for black and grey option. As mentioned above, it can also do shading and coloring, so it’s still pretty versatile. Some find it quite tricky, though, so you might need to tweak your techniques a bit if you want to use it for such purposes.

THINGS I LIKED ABOUT IT

  • Good for dot and line drawing
  • Lightweight
  • Customizable with grips of different sizes
  • 3.5 mm stroke is perfect for lining
  • Ergonomic design

THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE

  • Need to buy the power supply unit separately
  • Some technique adjustment is a must if you think it hits too hard

4. Dragonfly X2- Best Cheap Direct Drive Rotary Tattoo Machine for Lining and Shading

Another lightweight option that might tickle your fancy is the Dragonfly X2 Tattoo Machine. This bad boy is quite a head-turner, thanks to its appealing design. Some say that it has a ‘badass’ vibe, making it a beautiful addition to many tattoo artist’s collections.

Quick Summary
  • Aircraft aluminum frame
  • Swiss X2 nanotechnology motor
  • 0 – 8000 rpm stitches per minute, 130 per second
  • Wireless-ready
  • The machine is made for black and gray realistic designs, shading, color packing, lining, and dot work
  • Easy to adjust the stroke length
  • RCA or clip cord hookup interface
  • Compatible with almost any power supply on the market
  • The guidelines include the new trends and the most popular tattoo designs of this year.

Aside from its looks, though, this has a whole lot to offer. For one, it’s very lightweight. It’s lighter than the previous products, so that’s very impressive. It’s also smaller than the other tattoo machines brands on this list, so if you prefer such a size, it might be a better option for you.

This item is also popular for its energy-efficiency. Despite their size, the rotary tattoo machine can consume quite a lot of power, so this one might be a more practical option for some users.

The History of Tattoo Machines

WHY IS THIS THE TOP PICK?
1. Adjustable Settings

Due to the uniqueness of designs and clients, having a piece of tattoo equipment that will allow you to tweak its settings will always be an attractive option. They can let you skip adjusting your techniques, letting you focus on your work, and minimizes possible errors.

The X2 has this very quality as you can adjust its stroke length and hitting force with great ease. With 3 stroke length settings, it will allow you to set it up for efficiency. With these, you don’t have to worry too much about changing how you wield the device as the setting can do most of the work for you.

2. Easy to Use

With its ergonomic design and small size, you can expect this unit to be very easy to use. Combined with being lightweight, it won’t tire out your arms and wrists right away. The casing is hand-polished aircraft aluminum with a matte grip.

It’s also fairly easy to use as its controls aren’t too fussy. You can also easily swap out standard and cartridge needles, letting you set up your unit without breaking a sweat.

Lots of users also like to note that the X2 stops in an upper position. This makes it even more convenient to use as you don’t have to time when you should stop or lift the tattoo gun away from the canvas.

3. Wireless-ready

The X2 is also compatible with the Tattoo Ink RPS-600 so you can set it up as a wireless tattoo machine with the additional purchase.

THINGS I LIKED ABOUT IT

  • Very lightweight
  • Adjustable settings will allow you to tweak the tattoo gun according to your specific needs
  • Durable materials and construction
  • Compatible with all types of standard
  • Dragonfly tattoo supplies guarantees high quality work
  • Easy to convert from cartridge to standard needles and vice versa
  • Reliable construction and high quality

THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE

  • Some think that it vibrates a bit too much

5. EZTAT2 Astral- Best Tattoo Machine Kit for Professional

This Japanese motor fitted Astral tattoo rotary cartridge tattoo kits comes in an upright perfectly balanced design to enhance its accuracy and precision during practice.

EZTAT2 Astral tattoo starter kits features convenient provisions for hard, medium, and soft three extra plunger bar Interchangeable drive systems that allow for improved expressions of detailed projects.

Quick Summary
  • This tattoo kit available in both Combo as well as Vise versions
  • Japanese motor driven
  • 3 interchangeable needle bar system
  • Aircraft aluminum, RCA connection
  • Perfectly balanced and upright design

The Astral tattoo starter kit is as well attributed with an appealing and sleek purple design that reflects positively on the professionalism of a tattooist.

WHY IS THIS THE TOPMOST PICK?

Functional versatility- The Astral tattoo starter kits have been developed to be of perfect and upright design. It comes along with a hard, medium, and soft three extra plunger bar Interchangeable drive system along with a sufficient 3.5mm Stroke. These features are complementary to the tattoo artist’s techniques and effectively enhance its performance delivery capacity.

Portably lightweight and sleek design- Weighing in at just 2.6oz or 75g, the Astral rotary cartridge tattoo machine can easily and comfortably be maneuvered and operated by a professional artist.

This beginner tattoo machine gun kit is a convenient attribute among the best tattoo kit other tattoo supplies as they are suitable for even the most complex of tattoo projects.

The rotary guns is as well of appealing physical characteristics, and the purple color really completes an artistic intent.

THINGS I LIKED ABOUT IT
  • Lightweight
  • Perfectly balanced and upright design
  • Sleek design
  • Functionally versatile
  • 1 year warranty with free replacement service
THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE
  • Power supplies is not included
  • Shipping inconveniences

6. Hawink Pen- Best Permanent Makeup Tattoo Machine

Last but not least is our final best tattoo machine for a professional tattoo artists on the list  Hawink pen-style new tattoo kit Machine. Hawink is one of the best-known tattoo supplies vendors around the world.

As its name suggests, it sports a pen rotary style tattoo design which makes it very easy to use. Designed to feel as close as possible to an actual pen, this item will free you from the need of getting used to this tattoo kit if you’re already adept at using a pen rotary tattoo machine for illustrating.

Quick Summary
  • The tattoo kit has an interchangeable 3.5-mm to 2.8-mm stroke length
  • This is made in the USA and backed by a 1-year warranty
  • Aluminum-based frame
  • Faulhaber motor
  • RCA wire connection
  • Easy to reprir or assemble so you can assemble and repair each machine yourself
Are Coil Tattoo Machines Really Better?

WHY IS THIS THE TOP PICK?
1. pen style machine Design

Like all of the other pen-style tattoo kit or rotary tattoo machines here, this item is also very easy to use and wield when inking someone else’s skin.

2. Powerful Performance

Equipped with a German Faulhaber motor, you can also count on this item to run smoothly and without a hitch. This tattoo kit also powerful enough that it can run for hours nonstop without overheating.

THINGS I LIKED ABOUT IT

  • Solid construction
  • Accurate performance for precise tattoos
  • High-grade materials used
  • Very easy handling
  • Easy to clean
  • Suitable for continuous use

THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE

  • Need to buy the power supply unit separately
  • Short stroke length isn’t efficient for making large tattoos

7. FK Irons Spectra Direkt2

 

FK Irons Spectra Direkt2 Tattoo Machine (Tangerine)

FK irons attaches the power cord directly to the motor and the body of the machine is very easy to remove. Most users of FK Irons machines opt to bag one motor then switch machines for different tasks. This makes the process simpler and faster.

Last but not least is its easily adjustable stroke length. This machine is designed with changeable stroke caps so you just need to swap them out to tweak the needle depth of your machine.

Best Quality Tattoo Machine Buying Guide and Additional Information For Tattoo Artists

Here is a closer look at tattoo guns select the best tattoo gun for the different types of tattoos you create.

Rotary Tattoo Machines Vs Coil Tattoo Machines

Benefits of a Tattoo Machine

At face value, when you compare coil and rotary tattoo machines, the former may seem a bit outdated and old-fashioned. To make it easier for you to compare coil and rotary tattoo machines side-by-side.

While it’s partly true since it’s heavier and trickier to handle, the rotary tattoo machine still more highly preferred by many professional tattoo artists today. Why? Because rotary machines are easy to use, precise, and intricate line work.

Rotary machines are more lightweight and friendlier for beginners to use but those who want to up their tattoo game usually shift to tattoo coil machines sooner or later for the said reasons. The fact alone that you’ll find the best coil tattoo machines on the market that are different from a good shading machine guarantees that this type of machine will let you get the exact results you need.

Pros and Cons of Different Kinds of Tattoo Guns

Which is the Ideal tattoo machine for professional tattoo artists?

The market offers different types of tattoo machines, the most widespread and popular are rotary and coil machine.

rotary machine
rotary machine

Pros

  • It provide the most “old school” fill
  • This are most popular among novice tattoo artists
  • Tattoos done with rotary machines look much more define and bright
  • Significantly lighter than double-coil tattoo machines, Less tiring to use, Less noisy than other types Gentle on skin
  • The rotary machine provides great control and a better detailing
  • Has a simple design
  • Versatile as it can be used as a liner or shader
  • Rotary machines are also much quieter than coil machines

Cons

  • Rotary machines are awkward in hand and allow less control
  • Not exactly for use with large needles
  • Shading with this type of machine can be tricky
  • Doesn’t respond well to tension
  • Fast needle movement can cause skipping or stitched lines
Coil tattoo machine
Choosing the Proper Type of Tattoo Gun Kit

Pros

  • Coil Machines available in different varieties
  • Typically the most affordable coil machines type
  • Creates smooth, clean lines
  • Perfect for detail work
  • Coil machines offers tattooists great control
  • Available with motors of various capacities
  • Coil tattoo machine easy to modify
  • Coil machines works great with large needles

Cons

  • Coil machines can be really loud
  • Requires more skill to control with ease and precision
  • Coil machines has more moving parts to maintenance can be trickier
  • Heavier and more tiring to use for long periods
  • Can be more damaging to the skin
Liner
What do 'wraps' on a tattoo machine refer to and which is better: an 8, 10 or 12 wrap coil?

Pros

  • Creates solid lines nicely and effectively in one pass
  • Very affordable
  • Coil machine of liner is easy to use

Cons

  • Cycles faster than other types of tattoo machines
  • Not for other purposes
Shader

Pros

  • Highly versatile as it can shade and make lines
  • Causes less skin trauma and irritation

Cons

  • Slower than liner machines
  • Usually heavier than other kinds of tattoo machines
Pneumatic tattoo guns
Traditional Tattoos: What Your Tattoo Really Meant

Pros

  • Compact and easier to lug around
  • Versatile and can be used in various ways
  • Fuss-free maintenance
  • Very lightweight

Cons

  • Pricier than the other types of tattoo machines

How to Care for Your tattoo machine for Long Life Use?

Follow these tips and your machine might just last you years and years.

  1. Follow the maintenance tips recommended by the manufacturer. They know what their tattoo machines need, so take note and follow their recommendations.
  2. Clean your machine after use, even if you bag your tattoo machine, it’s still crucial to clean it right after for hygiene and safety purposes as well as to avoid corrosion.
  3. Follow the tattoo gun setup instructions for your machine to the dot. You don’t want to make a mistake in its assembly and damage it carelessly.
  4. Understand how your machine works. This way, you’ll be able to easily spot issues so you can remedy it right away and not overwork your device unknowingly.

Picking the Best Budget Tattoo Machine for a Tattoo Artist

There are many tattoo machines brands competing for attention.

The happy news is, there are tons of best rotary tattoo machines for color packing options when it comes to tattoo machines so you won’t run out of choices. On the other hand, all of these amazing tattoo guns.

Starting from our 10 recommendations, can make it hard to choose just one. Our list above is a proof of this, as all of our product suggestions will suit lots of people’s requirements.

So which one should you choose? If it’s up to us, we’ll go for the Stigma Hyper V3. This all-rounder of a tool can do everything a machine should and more. It might be a bit pricier than machines but it’s a worthy investment as it’s durable, highly functional, and beautiful. It also ticks all of the boxes of what makes the best pmu tattoo machine for the lining.

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