Finding the best tattoo machine in 2023 could be exhausting if you don’t know precisely what you want.
If you’re new to the industry, having a clear idea of what you are looking for before buying one is fundamental.
Here are our top 5 best rotary and coil tattoo machines. Our reviews are based on research and comparison of the available models and leading brands.
Table of Contents
How to Buy a Good Tattoo Machine?
First of all, here are some aspects to consider:
- What configuration do you want (rotary, coil, wireless)?
- Review what the most popular brands offer, such as Cheyenne, Bishop, Stigma, Inkjecta, FK Irons, and Neuma.
- Check out reviews from independent professional tattoo artists.
- Read reviews that only received 3 stars so that you can familiarize yourself with their limitations.
- Shop from trusted sellers or suppliers to find the best quality and value in the market.
The above points are essential, but taking a couple of minutes to check out these resources would help clear some doubts:
- What are rotary, coil, and pneumatic tattoo machines?
- How to put a tattoo machine together?
- Tattoo designs & ideas for lining and shading.
- How to tune a tattoo machine?
- Accessories to improve the performance of your tattoo gun.
- How to clean a tattoo gun?
If you are already skilled with these resources or understand how they can help you with your DIY project, then you are ready to take a look at the wide variety available.
Considerations when Selecting A Tattoo Gun
The first consideration for tattoo artists is acquiring the best tattoo machine specific to their work. There are a lot of factors when choosing, so here are a few points:
– Buy one machine at a time
While beginners may start with one or two, the need to own various machines becomes more profound as your skills grow as an artist.
Having a range of machines enables you to produce high-quality work because you can use various techniques that a single device may not be able to accomplish.
– The overall quality
Each machine you purchase should be of high performance. A machine breaking down during a session could cause significant damage to a client’s skin.
Sturdiness is an essential quality, but by far not the only one. As a tattoo artist, you need efficient machines that are easy to tune, adjust and maintain.
– Comfortability and durability
A complex machine will likely give you a hard time as you try to figure out how to work with it comfortably, especially during long sessions.
Artists should not only look for comfort but also consider durability. You’ll want it to perform as efficiently a few years later as when you purchased it.
The performance yardstick depends on the one you are using and the type of work you do.
As you know, the two (2) most popular classifications are coil and rotary. Both types have different performance levels depending on whether you are outlining, shading, or coloring tattoos.
– Type of tattoo machine
For a long time, coil tattoo machines were known to be the best. They have a high level of performance for both outlining and shading.
OTHER RECOMMENDED HIGH-QUALITY COIL TATTOO MACHINES
Tattoo artists have created some of the most intricate and impeccable tattoos using coil machines.
One of their fundamental qualities is allowing the artist more significant control of the process. In addition, it can deliver powerful thrusts, especially with large needle groupings. These are qualities that the counterpart may fall short of.
Learn More: Tattoo Needles Guide for Beginners 2023
Rotary machines are fast and lightweight, which could be of value for a long session. They’re also quieter and less damaging to the skin.
Over time there has been more inclination towards the rotary versions, which have proven to be very reliable and versatile.
SOME OTHER RECOMMENDED HIGH-QUALITY ROTARY MACHINES
They are easy to operate, which for now, would be the best machines for beginners in the tattooing industry.
The disparities in performance between coil and rotary underscore the importance of owning various machines. You will need different devices to accomplish your designs.
– The frame
The best tattoo guns have a strong frame made from materials such as aluminum (lightweight), iron, steel, brass, and bronze (durable but heavier).
A robust frame, found in coil models, ensures your machine won’t break down if you accidentally drop it.
The material of your machine plays an essential role in the final work since you need to consider its weight.
Considering that you’ll be creating beautiful work, potentially for hours, you must ensure the machine you use is light enough to avoid your hand or arm going numb.
Not only this is an essential factor, but also that heavy machines could potentially cause carpal tunnel syndrome, a common health problem for tattoo artists.
– Investing in cheap or expensive equipment
A high-quality tattoo machine is always going to cost you more.
You will find high-end machines, including customized ones such as the ones created by independent tattoo artists, that you might not be able to afford just yet. You will also find devices so cheap that the quality will be questionable.
The way to find the right one is to consider sturdiness, efficiency, durability, effectiveness in outlining or shading, and your skill level.
An important thing to remember is that cheap does not always mean poor quality. A wide range of brands, like Dragonhawk, now provide affordability and efficiency with a modern design to provide the best support.
Lastly, reading reviews from customers who have already purchased tattoo guns is an excellent way to find out which machine best suits your requirements, but more importantly, you will know its everyday problems.
– Voltage & Power Source
The best tattoo machines ensure that you get the perfect balance between power and speed.
The voltage determines the quality of the outlining or shading work.
It is the power of the machine that determines how hard the needles hit the skin during tattooing.
There are various options for tattoo machine power supply. You can choose to have either a digital or analog version, both of which can be regulated or unregulated.
An unregulated power supply requires the artist to set the correct voltage for each tattooing session, while a digital power supply is easier to read and allows for greater accuracy.
The same goes for a regulated power supply, although both options are more expensive. Consider your entire collection when buying a power source.
It would be best to buy a top power supply to work with both coils and rotaries; plus, this will allow you to connect several devices at once for efficiency.
You can find different sources, from under 100 to over 400 dollars.
Before purchasing a tattoo power supply, you should read reviews from other buyers to see which one meets your specifications.
Buying the best tattoo guns is a fundamental part of your trade. Your skill as an artist and your machines’ quality will lead you to create amazing tattoos.
Here are some usual mistakes that are easy to make when buying your first machine.
– Size & shape
The size and shape are important because comfort and ease of use are imperative. No matter the performance, one common mistake is getting machines that are too heavy or too big. Handling such devices becomes difficult, especially when you have designs that sometimes require you to turn your hand at awkward angles.
– Machine reviews and research
Another common mistake is buying a tattoo machine directly from the store counter or online without proper research, such as reading reviews (primarily if you have never used one).
Unless you are sure about how it feels in your hand, it is advisable to read what other people have experienced, making it easier to determine the disadvantages of a specific model.
– Buying the wrong accessories
It is common to purchase accessories that don’t fit the machine. Coil tattoo machines, for example, use larger needle groupings than rotary ones.
If you use smaller needle groupings on a coil tattoo machine, it will certainly not deliver the penetration the device is capable of.
– Understanding your machine’s voltage
You need to understand how much power potential your machine has to equally know the power supply. For instance, the more wraps, the more voltage is required for coil tattoo machines.
Purchasing a supply that falls short of your desired voltage capacity would be a mistake. This would mean your machine will be underperforming, and the tattoo results will not be significant.
Learn More: Tattoo Machine Power Supply Guide 2023
– Hybrid machines
Another mistake beginners can be tempted to make to buy a hybrid machine that offers the ability to do outlining, shading, and coloring perfectly.
Only to find that they do not!
– Working with only one machine
A way to ensure delivering great tattoos to your clients is to get a variety of machines that can be tuned to specific settings and tasks.
Liners are used for outlining, and shaders for shading. Alternating these tasks can cause severe damage to your client’s skin if the machine is set up incorrectly.
– Quality and price
Lastly, another great mistake you should be wary of making is compromising quality for the price.
A good tattoo machine will cost more but will offer excellent service and the opportunity to create a reputation as a professional tattoo artist.
Tattooing for business is a considerable investment, and beginners might find it too expensive to start. However, a tattoo artist should never compromise on qualities such as sturdiness and reliability.
Best Tattoo Machine Guide Wrap Up
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced tattoo artist, buying the right equipment for your needs can be overwhelming.
Beginners are significantly more prone to making mistakes because they haven’t had the experience of how different machines perform, their power and speed, efficiency, weight, and voltage requirements.
The most effective way to make an intelligent decision when buying is to thoroughly research the various details and specifications so that you understand which option is best.
Lastly, asking around and reading reviews before deciding will help you choose the best tattoo machine.