Voltage for Tattoo Machines: How Much Electricity Does a Tattoo Machine Use?

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A tattoo machine is a device used by a tattoo artist to create an image on the body of the person being worked on. The tattoo machine is powered through electricity and uses LED lights to illuminate the design, which is positioned manually by the artist. A single-needle electric tattoo machine draws electricity from an outlet using a power cord while utilizing an inverter that converts direct current into alternating current (a form of electrical power). The change in frequency allows for faster delivery of energy to run parts in the machine.

An alternating current is then delivered at high frequency and low voltage through a coil to create electromagnetic induction within the machine. These coils are called primary windings, and the resulting magnetic field causes electricity to flow through a coil of wire located at each end of the needle when it passes over an electromagnetic field. The current then flows from one coil to another, creating vibration within these coils which forces the needle to move. When a needle moves like this, it creates an imprint on the skin of the person being tattooed. This process is called galvanic stimulation.

In order to give some insight into how much electricity a tattoo machine uses, we are going to use the average tattoo needle and the formula for calculating power. The average tattoo needle is between 6-8 Grams. So taking that into account, this means that a single meter of electricity will be used by an 8-gram needle in 1 second.

This results in 0.0069 Kilowatts of power per second which equals 69-watt hours per minute, or 3 Watts of power being used on average by a single machine every minute. These numbers are based on average needle size.

This is a lot of power, but at the same time, there are a lot of ways to lower the amount of power needed to run your machine. for example, a dip switch can be turned off or on which will turn any unwanted features off. Also, you can change your voltage which lowers the amount of power consumed by running the machine at 110V instead of 220V. On the other hand, you can upgrade your machine’s power supply to make sure that it has enough power to run everything smoothly and safely without ever getting any error messages or losses in performance.

How Much Electricity Does a Tattoo Machine Use
Photo: How Much Electricity Does a Tattoo Machine Use

Credit: instagram.com/p/CXhUx1xLy-a

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The ideal situation would be to use less power and lower the amount of electricity wasted, but there are also other things that you can do in order to completely and utterly save for yourself.

For example, you could run your machine on a lower voltage with a different kit so that you don’t have to spend as much money as you would on a more expensive machine. Or, instead of buying an expensive machine, you could buy two machines which will last longer and thus save even more money in the long run. Another method is to just turn your machine off when it is not in use which will greatly cut down on the electricity needed by the machine which is a great way to save even more money in the long run.

With that said no machine will ever be completely free from the need for electricity, however, it is partially up to you on how much power you save with your machine and how much money you save.

What Voltage to Run a Rotary Tattoo Machine

Rotary Tattoo Machine
Photo: Rotary Tattoo Machine

Credit: instagram.com/p/CKHmMaflmKM

The normal operating voltage of the rotary tattoo machine is anywhere from 110-220V in most countries and states and countries with any kind of electricity infrastructure. While it’s true that 110V/220V and 220-240V can be used, the tattoo machine needs to be grounded, meaning an earth connection must be made. There are 2 ways of grounding a rotary tattoo machine: 1) use the standard power cord and connect it to an electrical ground cable that goes directly to a metal chassis near the transformer; 2) cut a piece of copper tubing and make a wire connecting this copper tubing’s center pin (which is also connected to the metal chassis) to another center pin on one of the rotating blades.

The best way is to use sensible means. First, get your hands on some quality equipment capable of measuring voltage. Second, use a hardware store’s voltmeter to measure the voltage across the power cord and the transformer. If there is no measurable voltage, you could be using 220V instead of 110V (and paying more for your rotary tattoo machine and possibly causing a fire). By measuring the power cord’s voltage, you’ll know (usually) which voltage you’re running at.

Hand Holding Rotary Tattoo Machine
Photo: Hand Holding Rotary Tattoo Machine

Credit: instagram.com/p/CKHmMaflmKM

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While this won’t necessarily guarantee that you’re doing it right, it will at least give you some indication. If nothing else, it will allow you to figure out which parts of your tattoo machine need attention – what voltages are needed for your motors and sensors – before you have to buy new parts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much electricity does a tattoo machine use?

There is no set answer to this question. In fact, it all depends on a number of factors including the type of machine being used and the power supply being used. For example, a classic tattoo machine running at 15 volts consumes about 4 watts an hour while a coil tattoo machine running at 18 volts will consume about 7 watts an hour.

Additionally, if you have other appliances that are plugged into the same electrical circuit as your tattoo machine then they will also add to your usage figure.

Therefore, you really need to keep a record of your usage so that you can accurately calculate how much the machine is costing you. The best way to do this is to take measurements of the amount of electricity being used by the machine while it is working and note down these figures.

What about tattoo flash?

A flash tattoo is a tattoo that goes across two or more individual tattoos. It is often used to connect two distinct tribal tattoos, as well as to avoid an awkward jump of the tattoo from one part of the body to another. A flash tattoo is far more common today than it was in the past, particularly because it offers a degree of certainty that you will be happy with your design for years to come. However, flash can also be used to cover over old tattoos you no longer like, which means that some old-school artists may look down on using this approach

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How does a tattoo machine work?

A tattoo machine works by getting power from an electrical source and using that power to move the needle. The needle is made of either steel or titanium, both of which can be sterilized in strong alcohols, so there is no chance of getting a disease from them during use.

Can I get AIDS or Hepatitis C from a tattoo machine?

You cannot get any form of STD or blood-bourne disease while getting tattoos since needles used in modern tattoo machines are sterilized with alcohol before every single use. Any shop that doesn’t do this is not professional and should be avoided.

How do I make sure that no blood-borne diseases are transmitted during the tattoo process?

The only way to ensure that you aren’t exposed to any blood-borne diseases is by having a professional, licensed tattoo artist give you your tattoo. If a shop doesn’t care enough about the quality of their work to use sterile equipment and follow sanitation procedures, then they probably don’t care enough about giving you a quality tattoo to warrant using them.

How long does a tattoo take to finish?

Depends on the design and how detailed it is, but an average person should be able to have their tattoos finished in about one hour.


I was curious to find out how much electricity a tattoo machine uses and I thought it would be interesting to share my findings.

I found that a tattoo machine uses about 3 to 6 watts of electricity at the most. Tattoo machines are very low energy consuming and I am glad I have a tattoo machine at home.

In conclusion, the average tattoo machine uses 300-600 mWh per day which is only 3% of my average daily electricity usage. This means that, in the grand scheme of things, this tiny little investment was an absolute waste! So my advice to those considering getting a tattoo is to avoid any machines that use more than 6 watts regardless of whether they’re wireless or not because they will most likely be overpriced and ineffective.