What is a Direct Drive Tattoo Machine? | Explanation

Although direct drive tattoo machines are not a widely used tattoo machine as coil tattoo machines, they are gaining attraction for several reasons. A lot of tattoo artists are switching to direct drive tattoo machines.

Now you might be wondering why professional tattoo artists are making this switch. Well, this write-up will give you a clear idea of the direct-drive tattoo machine. So, let’s explore.

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Direct Drive Tattoo Machine – Definition

Tattoo Machine Wrapping

Out of many rotary tattoo machine types, the direct-drive tattoo machine is one of the them.

The bearing and cam wheel is placed on the motor shaft directly. And the connection between the cam wheel and needles is directly attached. Due to the connection between the circular motion of the wheel and needle bar, the needle bar does the movement.

Why is the popularity of direct drive rotary tattoo machines increasing?

Direct drive tattoo machines offer plenty of benefits to both tattoo professionals and wearers. Below are a few benefits.

1. Quiet Operation

One of the strongest benefits of the direct-drive rotary tattoo machine is quiet operation. They don’t create much sound similar to a coil tattoo machine, so you can concentrate on your work when drawing a tattoo on a customer’s skin.

The quiet operation can be beneficial for both professionals and wearers. How?

A high buzzing sound can damage a tattoo professional’s ear. Also, with a high sound level, a customer can feel nervous.

So, when the sound is less, the tattooing process will be less distressing.

2. All-rounders

The great thing about direct drive tattoo machines is, they are all-rounders. You can do shading, lining, and coloring without any problem. As a result, buying any separate tattoo machine just to accomplish a part of a tattoo is unnecessary. All you need to do is, adjust the voltage settings and power supply, and continue painting the tattoo.

In contrast, some coil tattoo guns also can deliver the same result. But most of them can be used for shading and lining only, not for coloring.

This is why direct-drive tattoo machines are considered one of the versatile tattoo machines since they can also be used for coloring.

3. Ease of use

Direct Drive Tattoo Machine Ease of use

Most professionals and beginners opt to use a direct drive rotary tattoo machine because it can easily be handled, maintained, and operated. They are designed like a pen that makes them easy to handle.

In terms of weight, they are lightweight. Which means, when drawing a larger tattoo design, tattoo professionals will not face any fatigue in their hand, arm, or shoulder.

Also, these machines are guaranteed to deliver consistent results so that you can get the expected outcome all the time.

4. Less skin problem

Skin Problem

Indeed, a thing that separates coil and rotary tattoo machines are how they stick to the skin.

Coil tattoo machines punch hardly on the skin and inject ink confidently. Due to this hard punch, the tattoo needs special care after getting tattooed. Otherwise, you may face a dangerous skin problem. Despite their efficiency, coil tattoo machines can create severe skin trauma in delicate areas.

On the other hand, direct-drive rotary tattoo machines are gentle on the skin. No damage happens because of the pinching done by direct drive rotary tattoo machines.

What are the benefits of a direct drive rotary tattoo machine?

Why do you require a direct drive rotary tattoo machine? Below are the answers to this question.

Hassle-free working

Are you a beginner tattoo artist? Are you worried about switching from a coil tattoo machine to the rotary tattoo machine? Say bye-bye to your worries and pick a direct drive tattoo machine; you will never face any hassle to operate it.

These tattoo machines will let you feel like you are using a painting brush to paint on a flat and smooth surface.

Don’t need tuning

Direct drive tattoo machines don’t need tuning like coil machines. Following a certain way, they accomplish any tattoo design. This way, you don’t need to tune them every time.

Moreover, you don’t have to adjust your techniques to the tweets you have made to the device. The machine will give you consistent, efficient performance if it is well-maintained.

A single device will let you accomplish a tattoo design

Accomplish a Tattoo Design

Buying a separate direct drive tattoo machine for multiple designs is unnecessary. Simultaneously, a direct drive tattoo machine will allow a tattoo artist to create shade, lines, and colors. Thus, when switching design from shading to lining, you don’t need to change the machine. You can finish a larger tattoo design with a single device.

Additionally, changing machines between processes can affect the efficiency as well as consistency of the work. Since machine changing is unnecessary with a direct drive rotary tattoo machine, consistency and efficiency are confirmed.

Affordable price tag

Direct drive tattoo machines are available with a wide range of designs and models. Additionally, they are inexpensive.

But don’t think that they have a lack of required features. In fact, you will get a premium quality direct drive tattoo machine at an affordable price tag.

Doesn’t create much noise

Concentration is a mandatory factor in the tattooing process. In order to get a beautifully designed tattoo, the surroundings of a tattoo artist have to be less noisy.

At this point, the direct-drive tattoo machine is the best pick. They don’t create much sound and allow a tattoo artist to concentrate on the work.


Compared to coil tattoo machines, direct drive tattoo machines are lightweight. For this reason, they are easy to deal with and less tiring when working with them for an extended period.

How to buy the best direct drive rotary tattoo machine?

Buying a direct drive tattoo machine is challenging because plenty of devices are available in the market. Below we shared a few tips for you.

1. Give Priority to the Machine Quality

With many available options, you can narrow down your list by picking the best quality products. We believe one question might have popped up in your mind. How to determine the quality of a direct drive tattoo machine? Learn the below points.

  • Read the tattoo machine reviews. This is the best way to know the features of the top-most tattoo machine brands and how they perform.
  • Get the list of the materials used in the tattoo machine. This will let you know how solidly the machine is built.
  • A tattoo machine with a Swiss motor is the classiest option that ensures the durability of the device.

2. Pick the machine that suits your tattooing requirements

Don’t go with any model or design. Pick a model that feels great in your hand meets your tattooing requirements.

3. Get experts opinion

When buying a direct drive tattoo machine, don’t just rely on product reviews.

If you are a professional tattoo artist, it depends on your personal experience. Check the machine’s specifications carefully and make the decision.

For beginners, it would be best if you take advice from professionals and experts. Then pick the model and buy it.

What is the best direct drive tattoo machine?

After researching a lot, taking an expert’s opinion, we listed a direct drive rotary tattoo machine that comes with a few exceptional features. Let us share our reviews on it.

Dragonhawk Extreme Direct Drive Rotary Tattoo Machine

The first thing you will love about this direct-drive tattoo machine is its ergonomic design—an item’s ergonomic design depends on 2 factors: weight and grip.

In terms of weight, the device is tremendously lightweight, 6.17 oz. This way, when working on a larger tattoo design, your hands, arms, or shoulders will never feel stress. The grip is similarly comfortable to ensure superior flexibility.

Versatility is the next worth-mentioning feature of this machine. At the same time, it will let you accomplish a variety of tasks like color-packing, light black and gray shading, and heavy black filling.

Moreover, its slider is oil resistant that makes it a lower coefficient of friction and lower sound. Furthermore, due to this feature, the device performance will not get affected regardless of temperature.

Additionally, the spring is made of steel, which confirms better elasticity. Strong steel springs make the machine more stable and resilient.

Overall, this direct-drive rotary tattoo machine is compatible with traditional tattoo needles and cartridges.

Dragonhawk Extreme Direct Drive Rotary Tattoo Machine

Dragonhawk Extreme Direct Drive Rotary Tattoo Machine


Steel made spring



Longer use

Low sound level

see it on amazon

What could be better:

Some customers complain about the faulty power supply of the device.

What do I need to do after using a direct drive rotary tattoo machine?

Cleaning the direct drive rotary tattoo machine is the first mandatory task you have to do after using it. Blood and other debris will be cleaned once you do so. This process will be much easier if you bag your direct drive rotary tattoo machine. It will help if you do so.

Disassembling the tattoo machine will allow you to clean it thoroughly. So it is also recommended. Properly removes the needle after using the device. And the bag also needs to be disposed of.

Based on your tattoo machine, you also can sterilize it in the ultrasonic cleaner and/or autoclave machine. In case you don’t own an autoclave machine, ensure washing them thoroughly. Use cleansers and disinfectants. Also, follow the cleaning procedure of the manufacturer to avoid damage.

Who makes the best tattoo machines?

#ad | Dragonhawk

Dragonhawk Mast Pen

#ad | Bishop

Bishop Rotary Tattoo Machine

#ad | Cheyenne

Cheyenne Hawk Pen

#ad | Stigma

STIGMA Premium Tattoo Machine

#ad | FK Irons

FK Irons Spektra Xion Tattoo Pen

Oily slider

Smooth and stable performance

Better elasticity

We made a list of reliable and trustworthy tattoo machine brands. Keeping your eyes shut, you can choose any rotary tattoo machine made by these brands.


Tattoo machines of Dragonhawk are tagged as inexpensive. At a budget-friendly price, they manufacture high-quality direct drive rotary tattoo machines.


Professional tattoo artist created this brand. Bishop is a top-notch manufacturer of direct drive rotary tattoo machines. Designs are exceptions, and performance is stunning as well. These 2 features make them popular among tattoo professionals.


Cheyenne manufactured a lot of iconic tattoo machines till they started their journey in the tattooing industry. Many expert tattoo artists prefer using the Cheyenne tattoo machine since this machine delivers precise results.


Tattoo machines of Stigma can easily be adjusted, and this manufacturer’s tattoo machines allow a user to save time. They are one of the innovative tattoo machine manufacturers in the world.


The unique thing about FK Irons’s direct-drive rotary tattoo is its performance. Its performance on the skin will simply satisfy you.

Frequently Asked Question

Do direct drive rotary tattoo machines use a different needle?

Yes, a direct drive rotary tattoo machine uses a different needle to create the lining and shading. This is a significant benefit of this machine, which is why many professional tattoo artists use direct drive rotary tattoo machines.

Do I need to tune a direct drive rotary tattoo machine?

Direct drive rotary tattoo machines can be used just after unboxing it. And they require little adjustment in the needle depth before using. A user can easily adjust it with the help of the tube grip. Beginners prefer to use direct drive rotary tattoo machines because they have less learning curves than the coil tattoo machine.

What angle should I hold a tattoo machine?

To put tattoo ink into the skin, you should hold a tattoo machine between 45° – 60°. This is considered as the standard angle of applying tattoo ink on skin. When tattooing on a customer’s skin, make sure you are not confined in a tight space.

The Last Thoughts

Hopefully, after reading the above write-up, you have got all the answers related to the question “what is a direct drive rotary tattoo machine.”

All in all, a direct drive rotary tattoo machine is categorized as a rotary tattoo machine. Due to its all stunning features, direct-drive rotary tattoo machine usage is on an increasing trend.