Rotary Vs Coil Tattoo Machine: Spec & Feature Comparison

When it comes to tattoo machines, most novices will find it quite tough to choose the most suitable item from a wide variety of options. Amongst those machines, rotary and coil are currently the two most popular types. 

Yet, which one between the rotary vs coil tattoo machine will win the battle? What are their differences, similarities, as well as pros and cons? Let’s dive into this article to find out these aspects and help you choose your most suitable one!

Rotary vs Coil Tattoo Machine – A Brief Comparison 

Coil and rotary tattoo machines are the top choices of the tattooist.

The rotary and coil tattoo machine belongs to the most widely used tattoo machines around the world. Both of these are the top options preferred by an array of experienced tattoo artists.

Thereby, many novices assume that these two tattoo machines seem likely to have the same way of function. Yet, in fact, each item brings distinctive experiences with various functions for you. Let’s move to the next part to know the difference between rotary and coil tattoo machines!

In this segment, we will go deeply into eight key criteria to find which one is the winner regarding weight, shading, and lines, noise output, versatility, needle range, punch, ease to handle, and maintenance method.

Weight Factor

In terms of weight, a coil tattoo machine weighs heavier than its opponent. Such a difference stems from their structure. 

The key component of the rotary tattoo machine is a mini electric engine. Meanwhile, the other is engineered with firm iron coils and a big main motor.

A coil tattoo machine weighs heavier than its competitor.

In case artists need to finish some large tattoo pattern, a rotary tattoo machine will lessen the fatigue in their hands and arms thanks to its lightweight.

Shading and Lines

According to most veterans, the rotary machines are superior to the others regarding the shading and lines factor. In other words, shading and lines are drawbacks of coil machines, as it is hard to create smooth finish lines and generate the desired numbers of shading due to the weight. 

Just imagine, if you have to hold a weighty machine, how could you move it easily, quickly, and smoothly to draw detailed patterns, right? The same case applies to tattooists. 

Noise Output

There is a major plus point for a rotary tattoo machine when considering sound level. 

Surely, you can hear some quite loud buzzing sound from a tattoo machine when you are in a tattoo parlor. Normally, this means that owners are using coil tattoo machines. 

When coil machines retract and release their needles, they will create some clicking sound. This noise might make some customers anxious and possibly have a strong urge to leave.

In the controversy, the other gained more reputation for quite mellow sound output. This aspect can defuse the worry of some customers who try to have a tattoo for the first time; they will feel less hurt as they hear less noise.

Coil machines retract and release their needles while the opponent is much quieter.

Versatility Factor

To evaluate which is better in terms of versatility, we need to check whether they can work as both liner and shader or not.

Rotary machines play roles as muti-tattoo tools in the current tattoo field when they can operate as both liners and shaders. Therefore, you don’t need to frequently change machine types to perform different tattoo designs for clients. 

In contrast, coil tattoo machines can not handle both shading and lining features simultaneously, meaning you have to equip two separate tattoo appliances for different designs.

Needle Range

The next criterion that you have to be heeded when picking tattoo machines is the move of needles. 

The electromagnetic energy of coil tattoo machines breaks and reestablishes in each working cycle. Thus, its needle movement is quite rough. 

Unlike its competitor, a tattoo rotary machine has the power’s consistent flow, which allows its needle motion to be smooth and more fluid.

The Punch

Many tattoo enthusiasts and veterans suppose that a rotary machine creates less punch than the other as its recoil process is virtually slow. Moreover, it is tougher to use big needles in a rotary machine than in coil tattoo machines.

Meanwhile, artists might also be more flexible in picking the size of needles when using a coil machine. Thanks to this advantage, the tattooist can satisfy a diversity of tattoo designs demanded from their clients. The coil machine has one bonus point, then.

It seems tougher to use big needles in rotary tattoo machines.

Easy To Handle

Regarding the ease of running these tools, a rotary machine seems easier to operate than its opponent. The root of this derives from their composition and weight.

A coil tattoo machine is quite bulky; it also creates louder sound and vibrates, making users feel onerous and less comfortable when using.  

Meanwhile, operating a rotary tattoo machine doesn’t make you feel much stress. You just need to adjust the main tube stem with ease to shift from lining set to shining set and vice versa. 

Furthermore, the rotary tattoo machine is lightweight, so artists will not find it hard when moving and creating patterns for clients. All these mean handlings with them are virtually hassle-free.


The tattoo machine is the staff-of-life of your tattoo parlor. Without good, properly maintained devices, it seems hard to build a good and long-lasting relationship between your clients and your store. 

In terms of this aspect, a coil machine will predominate over a rotary machine. 

Rotary tattoo machines need to be regularly greased for smooth use. Besides, they require more artfulness to detach their components and clean them, whereas its rival allows you to carry out this step much easier.

Quick Rundown Of Rotary Tattoo Machine 


  • Lightweight
  • Smooth shading and lining
  • Low noise output
  • Greatly versatility
  • Simple to handle 


  • Not easy to maintain
  • Not fit with a large needle

[alert-success]Read: TOP 10 Best Rotary Tattoo Machine Reviews[/alert-success]

Quick Rundown Of Coil Tattoo Machine 


  • Easy to maintain
  • Effective punch and recoil
  • Compatible with different needle sizes.
  • Flexible handle various tattoo patterns


  • Quite bulky
  • High noise level

[alert-success]Read: Top 7 Best Coil Tattoo Machines Reviews[/alert-success]

Which Is The Winner Between Rotary vs Coil Tattoo Machine? 

Now is the right time to confirm which tattoo machine is the winner in this battle for you.

Apparently, if you are a newbie to the tattoo art sector and want to look for a smooth and simple tattoo machine, you should prioritize the rotary tattoo machine. This choice also permits you to be familiar and still don’t feel hassle with this kind of art.

In case you are an experienced artist who would like to accumulate specific tattooing skills with various designs, the coil tattoo machines will be an ideal option for you. 

The Bottom Line

If you still accompany us until these final sentences, we bet that you have already satisfied your curiosity earlier about comparing rotary vs coil tattoo machines. Remember to be mindful of all aspects of the item and pick the one that fits your skill and experiences!

We hope you have concluded which tattoo machine is the right one for your needs. Good luck!

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