Whether the tattoo machine is for beginners or professionals, it is important to have high-quality tools from the best tattoo machine brands in the long run.
With brands continuously introducing new products and improved functions every day, artists may find it difficult to choose a reliable machine at an affordable cost. Not to mention tattooing involves a safety level for the client to help complete the healing process faster.
This article will walk through the top brands in the market with detailed reviews and buying guides.
How to choose a tattoo machine brand
Apprentices and professional artists can choose from a diverse range of products. While the category offers different choices, the criteria for choosing a machine depends on a lot of factors. The fundamental factors can include:
- Hand-crafted design: Manual assembly provides close attention to details, ensuring the parts stay attached well even in the shipping process.
A quality tattoo machine can also have removable parts. This function helps the artist repair or replace the components without the hassle of sending the product back to the manufacturer.
- Durable materials: Iron, brass, or copper are examples of quality materials. These materials may be pricier than the average market, but they guarantee notable longevity.
Most renowned brands cover the frame and alloy with rust-proof paint. This paint is often formulated with scratch-resistant chemicals. Preventing scratches on the machine is important for the artist since they can move around the studio a lot between work sessions.
- The artist’s purpose and style: The basic process for tattooing has three steps: lining, shading, and coloring.
Machines with a long stroke length act as a shading tool because it provides pigmented gradient. Plus, this tool works at light pressure, giving a comfortable experience for the clients.
Short stroke length, on the other hand, helps the artist define clear and consistent lines. Lining techniques determine the quality of the final result.
- Type of machine: Artists can choose between the coil, rotary, and pen-style tattoo machine.
Coil tattoo machine has been the traditional tool since the start of tattoo shops. It is easy to recognize this machine due to the typical operating sound.
This type of machine taps the needle into the skin, giving easy control over power and speed, crucial features for beginners.
Designed with advanced technology for quiet movement, coil machines guide the needle in a smooth and even pattern.
Most manufacturers build interchangeable strokes, allowing users to do lining, shading, and coloring in only one machine. Sterilized needles are highly recommended for replacements.
Pen-style machines, as the name suggested, simulates a pen for a firm grip. This type of machine operates by utilizing interchangeable cartridges, which gives the artist the ability to switch between tattoo procedures with ease.
A high-quality wireless pen has a closed design to prevent leaking ink. This feature helps artists tidy up the workspace in a short time to prepare for their next session.
Each artist has his or her personal preference for a suitable machine.
A common practice is to compare the type of machine, specifications, and accessories to know if it serves the artist’s purpose.
Nowadays, even apprentices can access basic machines. Starter kits are ideal for testing, thanks to the low price. Kits include the basic machines, tattoo inks, a tattoo power supply, and especially a sheet of artificial skin for practice.
Once the artist found a tool for their purpose, it’s important to invest time mastering the tool for a specific style before advancing to the next machine. As the artist’s skills progress further, advanced tattoo pens are better options for encouraging creativity.
Best tattoo machine brands reviews
In the next section, users will find reviews of the top 9 tattoo machines brands on the current market.
Founded in 2009 by Franco Vescovi, Bishop Tattoo Supply quickly became popular for its signature rotary tattoo machines. This tattoo machine manufacturer assembles individual units manually with high attention to detail.
Bishop offers a 1-year warranty coverage to all of their products with hands-on maintenance to ensure the best quality.
Each machine operates by utilizing Swiss motors and German bearings. The aluminum frame is based on the aircraft industry standards to enhance durability. In the work session, the 3.5-mm stroke length gives consistent and defined tattoo lines.
Bishop Rotary Tattoo Machine
Bishop tattoo gun parts are assembled in a precise balance and, as a result, creates a lightweight machine.
This feature minimizes hand fatigue, which is essential for artists with long working hours on a daily basis. Plus, the sturdy frame secures the machine on the table, avoids breakage and non-scratch paint coat.
The delicate needle movements transfer ink easily to the skin to give a long-lasting effect while helping the skin heal 30% faster than other rotary products. To wrap up the advantages, the Swiss motor has quiet operation for a comfortable session.
On the flip side, the machine requires some time to adjust to the interchangeable needles.
- Lightweight classic design
- Certified high-quality components
- Aircraft standard material
- Quiet operation
- Affordable price
- Long time for needle adjustments
Bishop Micro Angelo Rotary Tattoo Machine
The Bishop Micro Angelo works well with traditional needles and cartridges at standard size. This feature allows artists to get replacements easily.
The brand’s signature print stands out as the notable design, combined with a clip to secure the needle in operation. This clip increases precise movements to deliver an excellent color gradient.
Bishop Micro Angelo operates at a voltage range from 6V to 8.5V without lubrication. One factor to note is the warranty only applies when artists don’t manually tune the machines.
The only downside is this unit is pricier than other products with similar features.
- Stylish design
- Compatible with a wide range of needles
- Clear color gradient
- Secured strokes
- No lubrication required
- Expensive price
- Conditional warranty policy
This veteran brand from Berlin has been manufacturing innovative equipment since 2006. The method for customizing each product is a combination of high-quality craftsmanship and medical technology.
Cheyenne‘s method does not only help artists bring beautiful tattoos but also ensures safety and hygiene for both the artists and the clients.
Cheyenne Tattoo Machine Hawk Pen
The Cheyenne hawk pen offers versatile use by changing between the lining and shading needles, allowing the artist to work on different types of tattoos.
All units come with the patented Cheyenne Safety Membrane to prevent liquid from entering the grip and the machine, which guarantees safety and increases longevity.
Tattooing sessions with Cheyenne are optimized thanks to the low vibration. Users can adjust the needle depth up to 4 mm. When the pen is in idle mode, the roll inhibition design avoids accidental breakage.
Prior to delivery, the stainless frame is set up along with the electric motor to save assembly time. Each purchase includes 5 grips for replacements and an extendable power cable.
However, this pen comes at a relatively expensive price.
- Easy to use
- Stylish design
- Adjustable needle depth
- Extended power cable
- Convenient accessories included
- Expensive price
Founded in 2001, Dragonhawk aims to bring premium tattoo machines and supplies to the market at a low cost. The brand gradually built its reputation in the veteran artist community and now distributes its products worldwide.
Dragonhawk offers a wide variety of products, from professional tattoo machines to starter kits. The machines have lightweight frames, offering the free movement range when the artist does small lining details.
Additionally, their kits are ideal for both beginners and anyone who likes tattooing as a hobby.
Dragonhawk Extreme Rotary Tattoo Machine
Dragonhawk rotary tattoo machine is powered by a durable Japanese motor. This motor provides energy efficiency without overheating, even in a temperate environment. The lubricant bottle in the package can help enhance this smooth operation.
Moreover, the operation has low noise with an oil-resistant slider, and durable carbon steel lasts for a long time.
The construction unit delivers consistent strokes for up to 20 hours, making it the best machine for beginners to practice minimal tattoo designs.
Aside from the advantages mentioned above, users need to be mindful of the metal spring. This spring comes off easily when the machine has finished long working hours.
- Stainless steel frame
- Non-overheating Japanese motor
- Oil-resistant slider
- Continuous work up to 20 hours
- Lubricant included
- Unstable spring settings
Dragonhawk Raven Rotary Tattoo Machine
Dragonhawk Raven series preserve the classic machine frame covering an improved Japanese coreless motor. This design helps shorten the work time but still maintains efficiency. The long strokes give even lining and vibrant colors.
Users can adjust the voltage quickly to suit the outlining or coloring purpose. Another easy to maneuver feature is the metal knob for a soft or solid needle movement.
Every Dragonhawk unit is built with premium scratch-proof components. If users find faulty accessories due to manufacturing, they can request a refund based on the brand’s policy.
- Classic design
- Vibrant color shading
- Japanese coreless motor
- Flexible voltage adjustments
- Scratch-proof materials
- Refund policy
- Faulty power supply occasionally
Owned by the design engineer and artist Gaston Siciliano, FK Irons specialize in building tattoo machine guns with motors that produce less vibration. This feature brings a comfortable environment for tattooing, and at the same time, balance the lining process.
The brand’s factory is located in the USA to acquire high-quality materials. Veteran artists in the continent tend to choose this brand for their powerful, optimal yet stable rotary tattoo gun. FK Irons hand-craft and cater each machine for professional artists and maximize their creativity.
FK Irons Spektra Halo 2 Crossover Tattoo Machine
When operating FK Irons machines, artists will only hear a faint sound from the Swiss Maxon motor. The needles move with no vibration, so that apprentices can direct the needles with ease. To adjust the ink flow for specific types of tattoos, artists simply change the needles to cartridges.
The anodized paint coat prevents the stainless frame from getting scratches from external impacts. For cleaning or maintenance purposes, artists can disassemble the parts manually in a short time. FK Irons back each unit up with a lifetime warranty.
This product is available in 5 stylish colors to suit the artist’s personal preferences.
However, Spektra Halo 2 is inconvenient for the budget because the purchase does not include needles. Users will have to place additional orders from the brand.
- Quick maintenance and cleaning time
- Swiss Maxon motor
- Scratch-proof materials
- Lifetime warranty
- Synthetic glue included
- No needles in the package
While manufacturers scale by mass production, Stigma utilizes their signature product quality by having niche product lines. Niche products create room for craftsmanship to improve and encourage high attention to detail in each design.
Stigma tattoo guns have a clean, stylish look and provide optimal performance with the popular Swiss motors. Plus, Stigma machines have notable longevity compared to other products on the market.
Stigma Rotary Tattoo Machine Kit
Although the Stigma kit comes at an affordable price, the machine maintains a powerful performance with the Swiss motor.
This product offers a firm grip and eases the artist’s hand fatigue as a cordless tattoo machine. This feature is essential for artists with health issues regarding the palms and wrists. The kit requires minimal setup, giving a clutter-free workspace.
Each Stigma machine is functioned by one battery that lasts from 3 to 6 hours depending on the voltage. With one purchase, artists will get 2 rechargeable batteries, which means one battery can act as a convenient backup.
The 1-year warranty coverage ensures a memorable customer experience.The minus point for this kit is the tube extracting ink from the bottle often gets clogged.
- Beginner-friendly kit
- Minimal design
- Adjustable needles
- 2 rechargeable batteries included
- 1-year warranty
- Clogged ink tubes
Solong Tattoo is one of the lowest price tattoo machines brands with trustworthy products. With a one-time purchase, artists can get everything they need to start tattooing right away. The instructions printed on the box also suggest basic techniques for practicing purposes.
Each product line comes with its replacements and accessories, making it convenient for customers to purchase spare parts and upgrade the machines.
Solong Tattoo Rotary Machine Pen Kit
The best function of the Solong Tattoo pen is delivering a comfortable feel on the skin for the clients, especially ones with low pain tolerance. The fast ink flow works at a 5.5 to 12V input, which users can set up from the power supply and long cord included in the package.
This rotary machine pen kit offers a good value deal with all the necessary parts. With the delicate tip, the needle can emphasize minimal tattoos. Plus, the disposable tape covers the handle to ensure a firm, slippery-free grip. Each Solong unit is backed by a 1-year warranty.
The minus point for this product is users can only get needle replacements from the brand due to the exclusive design.
- Great value deal
- Safety gear included
- Extendable cord
- Special needles for minimal tattoo designs
- 1-year warranty
- Limited replacements
Solong Tattoo Complete Starter Kit
This Solong Tattoo kit is the perfect choice for users who take on tattooing as a hobby. The package includes 2 machines and 10 wrap coils for repairs when needed.
Users can express their creativity with the 14 colorful ink bottles. Plus, the laboratory has tested the ink for safety upon contacting human skin. The protective gloves enhance this safety level. If users have skin allergies, they can practice lining and shading on the artificial skin in the box instead.
Overall, the Solong Tattoo kit provides sufficient tools and accessories for a notably low price. On the flip side, the machines can only function for less than one year.
- Affordable price
- Easy to use
- Secured and tidy kit arrangement
- High safety level
- 14 ink colors included
- Low durability
HAWINK is a renowned wireless tattoo machine brand specializing in customizing the high-quality products to suit the artist’s personal preferences.
The units are manufactured with Faulhaber quality motors to provide a long working time without overheating. To top it off, HAWINK high-graded aluminum frame protects the motor from accidental damages.
HAWINK Complete Starter Kit
HAWINK lightweight machines are assembled by the manufacturer. This feature helps artists set up the workspace easily with all the necessary tools. The ink bottles come in basic colors that give a pigmented finish to the tattoos.
For creative practices, artists can utilize the artificial skin to sketch the designs freely. Plus, this feature reduces harmful risks for the human skin. Each purchase comes in a lightweight case and a sturdy lock for secure transport.
A major drawback of the HAWINK tattoo machine is the loud operation.
- Adjustable power supply
- Vibrant ink colors
- Safety accessories included
- Lockable case
- Loud gun noises
HAWINK Rotary Tattoo Machine Pen Kit
By understanding that artists need a firm grip on the tool for linings, HAWINK simulated the hold of a pen to give a slippery-free handle. This feature greatly supports highlighting pigmented tattoos.
Each unit is operated by a Japanese coreless motor, bringing only white noise to the environment. HAWINK wireless pen kit offers 20 sterilized needles to make sure the artists have sufficient replacements for hygienic purposes.
The adjustable power supply ensures optimal performance and prevents overheating. Along with the 1-year warranty, artists can also get replacements when the gun is damaged during the shipping process.
- Slippery-free pen design
- Japanese coreless motor
- Quiet operation
- Sterilized needles included
- Adjustable power supply
- Insecure shipping process
ATOMUS differentiates itself from other tattoo machines brands by offering a discount price for durable products, which helps professional artists save up to 70% compared to retail cost. Each package includes the power supply and extendable cord, allowing users to move around the studio with ease.
The 30-day replacement policy ensures a comfortable customer experience.
ATOMUS Cartridge Tattoo Machine Kit
The ATOMUS tattoo machine is suitable for small studios thanks to the silent operation. The adjustable needle length allows users to color subtle details without worrying about a messy result.
The special factor about the ATOMUS cartridge machine kit is the power supply with two flexible modes. For the first mode, when the red light is on, users can simply tab the pedal once to start working for a long time.
The second mode has the red light off. Users will need to maintain a long press on the foot pedal for the machine to work.
These two modes give users the ability to maintain consistent stroke and smooth ink flow with minimal movements. The secure packaging makes it easy for transports.
Although the ink does not clog the needles, it fades away quickly.
- Silent operation
- Adjustable needle length
- Flexible power supply modes
- Lightweight and secure case
- Smooth ink flow
- Low-quality ink
ATOMUS Rotary Tattoo Machine
ATOMUS machines are designed with the DC clip cord to ensure a stable lining process. The alloy is made of rust-proof zinc, enhancing the product’s longevity.
This portable machine works well with any standard electrical outlet. The operation has a low, faint sound, which helps users focus on their work. Moreover, the lightweight frame makes it easy to set up and tidy up, even for small desks.
ATOMUS components don’t heat up after long working hours, but the needles tend to get jammed. Users can only replace the needles with little pressure to avoid breaking them.
- Lightweight and portable design
- Rust-proof materials
- Easy to set up and use
- Low noise operation
- No overheating
- Jammed needles
Ambition products aim to act as companions for artists to keep being creative on a daily basis. Their smart design stands out on the market with the LED screen that shows the battery percentage.
As artists can travel for their work, Ambition ensures the high-quality products are compact enough to fit in the case or even in the suitcase without getting damaged.
Ambition Rotary Tattoo Pen
Thanks to the compact design, users can proactively disassemble the Ambition wireless pen to replace or repair the parts. This feature saves the waiting time for sending the product to the brand.
The minimal pen is compatible with all cartridge needles, including the standard market sizes. The transparent film protects the screen from external impacts, allowing users to check for the battery percentage at any time.
The Ambition pen requires only 2 hours for charging, and it can work smoothly for 8 hours without overheating. When the product is in idle mode, the battery power is preserved.
On the flip side, the motor will have loud noise after approximately 6 months of continuous usage.
- Removable components
- Compact design
- Screen protective film
- 2-hour charging time
- No overheating
- Loud noise
Frequently Asked Questions
Artists determine the best brand based on various factors. The major factor is the artist's style, then the secondary factor is the product durability, and finally, artists need to calculate the budget.
In general, choose products that do not overheat from long working hours to ensure safety. A rust-proof paint coat to protect the machine, then a powerful and efficient motor can keep the machine in top conditions in the long run.
The tattoo machine cost often comes with replacement parts or other accessories. The average cost for a good machine is approximately $400.
Artists can compare various deals from well-known tattoo machines brands to get budget-friendly machines or kits.
Cheap tattoo machines come from mass production, which means the alloy has average durability. As a result, the stroke has uneven tattoo lines and low pigment.
In general, cheap machines are good for beginners to practice with. If the user has basic technical skills, they can tune the machines to improve the quality.
On the contrary, expensive machines provide consistent and defined linings. Most high-quality products also come in a rust-proof coat, which guarantees longevity and boosts hygiene for both the artist and the client.
Tattoo artists, especially those kick starting their career path, should always have one or two basic machines and specialty needles for lining, shading, and coloring. The accessories include a power supply, replacement tubes, needle tips, a diverse range of ink colors.
Additionally, it is recommended for artists to choose machines with a firm handle grip and a long cord, giving the artist the freedom of movement around the workspace.
Tattoo artists need to invest time and patience in learning to tattoo. The average time for an apprentice to master fundamental skills is roughly 3 years.
Another factor to keep in mind is learning from an inspiring and skillful mentor. A dedicated mentor is important for growing the apprentice's creativity.
Overall, the artist needs to consider various factors when evaluating the best tattoo machine brands.
The fundamental criterion starts with understanding the artist’s style and preferences to decide on the suitable machine.
Minimal machine designs can provide a clear workspace. Then, choose the hygienic, rust-proof materials to ensure safety for the clients. And finally, select the good value deals from renowned brands with warranty coverage.
Read more: Best wireless tattoo machine