Medium Taper Vs Long Taper Needles: Which Kind Is Better?

In modern lives, tattooing is no longer strange with people around the world. It is the way they make a permanent mark on their bodies and a method to beautify themselves. Besides, those who once met the tattooist may know that their tattooing guns consist of many needles. 

But do the tattoo makers use only one kind of needle to work? The answer is no, as they have many types in their workshop, two of which are medium taper vs long taper needles. And, if you want to know more about these, read the content below for more information. 

Overview Of Medium Taper & Long Taper Needles

Tattoo needle taper variations

To begin with, let’s explore what is called a needle taper. A taper is the head part of a needle, calculating from where it gets sharpened to the tip. Tattoo artists classify needles into several types based on their tapers’ length, including two kinds below:

Medium taper needles

Medium taper needles are types of long metal pieces whose tapers are 3 to 5 mm. Needles with the distance from the tip to the ending point of the body less than this number are classified as short taper needles but no shorter than 1.5mm.

Long taper needles

Long taper needles are needles with sharpened parts of 5 to 6 mm. Those with more-than-6-mm tapers, for example, 8mm, are called extra-long taper needles.

Similarities Between Medium Taper Vs Long Taper Needles

No matter how long the tapers are, different tattoo needles are made of the same material. A tattoo needle is mainly made of steel and two other elements, including nickel (6-8%) and chrome (15-20%). These metals make consistent needles and cause no harm when contacting human skin. 

Differences Between Medium Taper Vs Long Taper Needles

The taper length influences how much ink is distributed from the needles. The longer the tapers are, the less ink comes out. Therefore, tattoo artists depend on this characteristic to choose appropriate types for different purposes. 

Medium taper needles allow a moderate amount of ink to come out, so tattooists often use them for thick lines or outside layers. More ink distributed means they can do the job more quickly, so their customers don’t have to wait too long. Moreover, more ink distributed also means less precision, which is suitable for medium or thick lines.

On the other hand, long taper needles dispense a small amount of ink while working, appropriate for thin lines and details requiring extremely high precision and concentration. Therefore, tattoo artists need a long time for meticulous detail, which is why a tattoo often needs several hours to complete.

A tattoo needs a long time to finish

Medium Taper Vs Long Taper Needles: Which Are Better?

Since each kind of needle has its purpose, it is difficult to state which is better. As mentioned, medium taper needles draw thick lines or layers because they allow more ink to come out, while long taper needles are more suitable for detailed tattooing. Tattoo artists may use one of the two kinds for different tattoo parts, not choose one over the other.


How thick is a tattoo needle?

There are several kinds of tattoo needles based on their diameter, below are the most popular kind:

  • #8 (0.25mm): used for details because it distributes slower ink flow.
  • #10 (0.30mm): the most popular kind, suitable for any purpose.
  • #12 (0.35mm): appropriate for thick lines, layers, and filling areas. 
  • #13 (0.40mm): suitable for filling and tattooing large designs.

How deep should a tattoo needle go into human skin?

The answer to this question is 1/16 inches. However, since it is hard to meet precisely the number, it is recommended to maintain the range of 1 to 2 mm, but do not go further than the third skin layer. 


Above are principle details about medium taper vs long taper needles. We hope this article provides you with valuable information about tattoo work. And if you think this content is applicable, share it with your friend.

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