Tattooing is an art which is permanent on someone’s skin. A tattoo artist has no choice but to get it right the first time so that the client leaves with complete satisfaction. As much as one requires skill and professionalism while creating a tattoo, the right equipment matters as well.

The right tattoo machine is essential to bring your skill to life on someone’s skin. One might think that all those machines are made to create good designs and help with the study hand. However, that is not always the case and the quality varies depending on the type of machine one is choosing. In the article, we will tell you how to pick the right tattoo machine according to your expertise. We will also explain how to distinguish between good and bad options.

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Do Some Research

Researching is the most obvious step before beginning the process of purchasing an item. The research here will include looking at different options and comparing the specifications. There are different points one should divide their research into to make the job easier.

  • Look at the material of which the equipment is made so that one can ensure reliability during the entire tattooing process. The most common materials that are also durable include aluminum, steel, bronze, iron and brass. A good machine will be more durable while a bad one risks breaking midway and causing damage to the client’s skin.
  • The weight of a particular piece of equipment depends on how comfortable one is with holding that heavy something for that long. Aluminum makes for the most lightweight tattoo machines while brass is the heaviest material. Heavy machinery causes a lot of hassle and can also lead to a chronic condition called the carpal tunnel syndrome. An artist would also not be able to draw final designs while handling something heavy.


The shape and weight of the pen depends on personal preference. One needs to look at the durability but should not compromise comfortability in the process. There are many things to know that would allow you to choose the right quality for the product.

Do not hesitate to put some hours in research because one will be extensively using this product in a professional capacity. Being misled by different options is also normal which is why one needs to spend time and choose the specifications one would want in their tattoo machine. If you want some professional advice, make sure to check this.

The Type Should Match Your Style

In the previous point, we already said that choosing the material and the weight is highly subjective and depends on the artist’s convenience. We take it further in this tip because there is just not one type of tattoo machine available in the market. You need to know all the types available in order to make an educated decision about what works for you. Let us take them one by one:

  • Coil tattoo machines have been popular for a long while and maybe for as long as permanent inking has been popular. They have a straightforward design with relatively low cost of repair and replacement of parts. These guns were also perfect for shading and lining and allowed for versatility in designs without requiring any major change in equipment. If you are big on customisation and want to have complete control over the process investing in this type might be the best approach.
  • The next option is a Rotary tattoo machine which is highly specialized and is compatible with a small batch of needles. Some of the benefits of this gun includes being lightweight, easily manageable than other counterparts and helpful for bold lines while being ergonomic. Depending on the type you choose, you can make some adjustments related to hit and stroke. However it does not offer as much of personal customization as coil guns do. They are also comparatively more expensive than coil guns.
  • The last type is wireless tattoo machines that run wire batteries and provide a more convenient drawing experience. Wires can create complications in the handling of the guns so choosing a battery operated option is more liberating and helpful for complicated designs. They are being chosen by artists for convenience, specifically for longer sessions.

Look at the Price


We are not saying that cheaper machines would be of worse quality as compared to those that are on the high end of the spectrum. However, the price matters while looking at certain characteristics you require in a tattoo machine. Typically, you can expect to pay at least a thousand dollars for a good quality tattoo machine.

This might seem like a lot but if you are buying a reliable product made of good quality material, it will be worth every penny you spend. Usually, the price is not only dependent on the construction and the material chosen but also on the brand which manufactures it. You will see that there are different options with different price tags so keeping a budget in mind will help in shortlisting the right options.

Additionally, you should also create a budget for accessories because they only help in making the process more convenient for you as an artist. The most common and necessary accessories include ink, needles, tubes, power supply, batteries, and cartridges. Do not forget to invest in sanitation supply to keep the environment sterilized.

The Takeaway

We hope that this guide helped in creating a better idea on how to distinguish good from bad quality tattoo machines. The quality is largely dependent on the material and manufacturing which can be easily sorted through research.

One also needs to know the types of tattoo machines available in the market to pick one they will be most comfortable with. Machine of a good quality is typically more reliable and compatible with the artist’s style. Lastly, you should only make the distinction between good and bad quality in relation to how much you are willing to spend.