What Is a Good Tattoo Machine to Start With?

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A tattoo machine is a piece of equipment that uses needles to create ink tattoos as well as permanent make-up. This guide will show you how to pick out the best tattoo machine to purchase, how it works, and what type of designs are suitable for beginners at home.

Most people who start getting into tattooing will buy one of the cheaper machines, which tend to be unreliable and prone to breaking down. However, if you are serious about getting tattooed, you will want to buy one of these quality machines that can withstand years of use.

Contrary to popular belief, a tattoo machine is not just a segment of a pen. It will only work if used with high-quality ink, as well as needles that are sterile and approved for use in body art. If you are serious about getting inked, you will want to buy a machine that does not require any modification or alteration to function.

What Is a Good Tattoo Machine to Start With?
Photo: What Is a Good Tattoo Machine to Start With?

Good Tattoo Machine to Start With

Below is an overview of some of the best tattoo machines available today:

Dragonhawk Cartridge Tattoo Machine Atom Pen

The Dragonhawk Cartridge Tattoo Machine Atom Pen is a new tattoo machine that features a cartridge and needle, rather than a tube. The pen design is compact, with an ergonomic grip and interchangeable tips. A press release from the manufacturer cites the invention as complementary to cosmetic tattooing, as it can be used for permanent make-up or eyebrow shaping.

The machine comes in four colors: cobalt blue, ruby red, gunmetal gray, and brushed bronze. It’s a clever design that offers both classic style and modern technology features. The Atom pen is designed to be used on either the right or left hand, making it equally accessible to tattoo artists and clients.

Quick Features

  • The Dragonhawk Tattoo Machine has been designed for all skin types as it can accommodate from delicate to deep skin tones with ease, so no matter what style suits you best, Dragonhawk will have you covered.
  • Dragonhawk’s Atom Pen is a powerful, high-precision tattoo machine for easy operation.
  • This pen can be used for a variety of styles including line work and dot work.
  • The cartridge holds the ink that is in the back of the pen, so there will never be any dry out.
  • The ATOM Pen uses air compressions and gravity to transfer ink onto the skin, meaning it won’t get blocked no matter how often you use it.
  • It’s compatible with both Cross Colours and Blacklight Tattoo Ink; you’ll have your choice when it comes to design elements as well as color palettes.

Solong Tattoo Pen Kit

The Solong Tattoo Pen Kit is a unique, portable tattooing set. Not only can it perform simple drawings, but it also allows for intricate designs to be drawn on the skin. It also comes with other features you might not expect from a normal pen such as needles and sticks that can be placed in the ink cartridge in order to paint designs onto people. The kit comes with both black and white ink cartridges which allow users to switch between colors when needed. It has a pre-filled cartridge for stenciled drawing techniques and is easy to use, making it suitable for beginners who are new to the world of tattooing.

Quick Features

  • The Solong Tattoo Pen Kit is a tattoo kit that is designed to have all of the essentials in one. With its large stainless steel dial, ink cartridges, and multiple color options, you’ll be able to make an impressive piece of artwork.
  • The cartridge is replaceable and the tattoo pen allows for coloring or shading with precision.
  • The kit also comes with various designs that can be modified by switching out pens and other accessories.
  • This kit is versatile and will allow you to create the tattoo of your dreams.
  • The kit comes with a tattoo pen, ink cartridges with multiple colors, a cleaning needle, and a stainless steel dial.
  • All of these can be used to make intricate and beautiful designs. This eliminates the need for extra items and allows you to create your own design that is one of a kind.

Wormhole Cartridge Tattoo Kit

The Wormhole Cartridge Tattoo Kit comes with cartridges that you can put into a pen-type tool for easier drawing. The system is more of a tool for drawing than it is ink being injected into your body. It’s also very convenient because you don’t have to rely on someone else to give you your artwork or leave it up to chance whether or not they get it right the first time around. This system includes 10 ink colors and 10 tips for customization purposes which makes it perfect for all of your tattoo needs. The included tool is really convenient for just about anyone that wants to use it for their needs as well. It’s about the same length as a pen and has a capped top like a pen. Also included are extra disks and tips which are easy to swap out.

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All of the needed files are provided in the kit, including transfer sheets, stencils, gloves, needles, and practice skin. It also comes with a how-to DVD that can walk you through everything all the way from drawing your art on to actually getting it on your body. The DVD even shows techniques for those who want their entire body covered with tattoos which I thought was kind of cool if you were into that kind of thing.

Quick Features

  • These kits typically come with a tattoo machine, needle, ink cartridge, and instructions on how to use the wormhole kit.
  • Wand-style tattoo machines are usually made of aluminum. This is because they are lightweight and won’t rust like stainless steel.
  • These machines are also quieter but not very efficient in terms of power output, unlike a rotary tattoo machine.
  • You can work with any kind of ink that you have on hand or purchase from your local store, but some popular brands include Lime green and black for traditional tatts, Chocolate brown for tribal tatts, Black as a color choice for hardcore imagery like crosses and hearts, Barney purple and magenta, which are quite bright, but great for all ages.

Mast Archer Wireless Tattoo Machine Rotary Pen

If you’re looking for something that is lightweight, reliable, and easy to operate, then this Mast Archer wireless tattoo machine is a perfect choice. It comes with an ergonomic penholder that feels natural in your hand and can be taken anywhere you go. The machine’s power-saving design lets you work more efficiently without worrying about the battery running out of juice halfway through your job. Weighing less than 200g, this device is also highly portable and comes with a 3-hour charge time.

This product has three hours of continuous use on one charge which gives you more than enough time to complete any size tattoo. It’s also perfect for use at home or the beach, so you don’t have to worry about bringing an electrical cord and plugging it in.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Good Tattoo Machine

First off, there’s no such thing as a bad tattoo machine. They all have different characteristics that make them work better for various purposes. There are so many varieties of tattoo machines; the two main subgroups are manual and electric tattoo machines. The manual units aren’t anything new, but the electric ones offer a lot more functions at once and often are quieter to use. Here are some things to consider before starting your search for an electric machine:

Price – Generally speaking, electric machines cost more than their manual counterparts. These tattoos machines are good investments since the price of needle tips increases with time.

Usage – Think about how much you plan to use your machine in a day and what kind of permanent makeup you’ll be doing. A beginner should start off with an entry-level tattoo machine that’s more suited for a light application, as opposed to one that does heavy shading immediately.

Consider the grip – Some people have problems holding onto their machines because they don’t have much strength in their hands. Others need a design that fits them well since they will be using it for extended hours on multiple clients. Tattoo machines come in different sizes and shapes, so take advantage of this and test each one before making a purchase.

Maintenance – The price of a machine alone is not enough to justify the cost, so you should think about how long you want your machine to last and if it needs periodic maintenance. Most machines are made with professional features that help them last longer.

Tips and tricks – This is the most important thing to consider before getting a tattoo machine. Just taking anyone’s word for it won’t save you from making serious mistakes that might cost you more than just money. Use this article as a guide to finding the best electric tattoo machine for your needs and all your questions will be answered thanks to the personal experience from others who’ve used these machines in their daily lives and have provided us with honest reviews.

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Skin type and characteristics – Some tattoo machines are made for people with a lot of experience in tattooing and others rotary tattoo machines are designed for beginners who are only starting out. You should be able to differentiate between the two by the tips, needles, grip strength, and handles.

Power vs. speed – In general, brand new electric tattoo machines work slower when compared to manual ones. The main thing you should be looking at is if it’s powerful enough to do your job without having to apply too much pressure or time on a client.

Price – Electric machines cost a lot more than manual ones due to their complex functions, but they’re still worth the money if you plan on doing tattoos more frequently or professionally.

Noise – Some electronic machines produce a high-pitched noise that can be irritating to other people in the shop. If you’re going to be working in a small space and have to share, it’s important to keep the noise down and turn it off when necessary.

Features – Electric machines come with built-in features that make them easier to use, such as light bars and backlit displays. Consider what you need from your machine so you don’t have to buy one separately at a higher price.

Size – Consider how long you plan on holding your tattoo machine for if there’s no particular need for it being larger than usual. Larger tattoo machines are more comfortable to use but can be harder on your equipment since they’re more likely to break.

Long term – Before deciding on a size and type of machine, you should think about the aesthetics of the tattoo you’ll be doing. Small machines are less likely to be noticed when not in use and don’t take up too much space so you can keep multiple machines in your shop at once.

Needle – What kind of needles do you plan on using with your machine? Shorter needles are better for beginners and work nicely even on light skin where there’s minimal tension. Those who have more experience should have their machine delivered with longer needles that work better on heavier skin where there’s a lot of movement.

Batteries – Tattoo machines usually come with batteries, but if you’re not using them all the time and going through the need to re-charge every day, you might want to consider investing in a larger capacity model. If you’re in an area that doesn’t get many hours of sunshine, you may also find out that rechargeable batteries are more convenient.

Warranty – Read your machine’s warranty before purchasing it if there isn’t one already included in the package box. You never know if something will happen to it after your first use, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and get a longer warranty.

Environment – Electric machines are made of metal, so you should care for them accordingly and keep them away from any type of humidity or weather conditions that can harm their build or mechanism. If you’re concerned about the environment, consider a machine whose body is built of plastic or operates in the same temperature range as your skin.

Recommended suppliers – If you’re looking for an electric tattoo machine that comes with many accessories and little wear and tear on your wallet, find out where they were manufactured before making a decision on which brand to purchase from. Some suppliers sell cheaper machines with accessories added to the final price, so take your time and shop around.

Good Tattoo Machine
Photo: Good Tattoo Machine

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What type of needle should I get?

It depends on what type of tattooing you’re into. There are traditional, coil, and shaders out there. The traditional ones are the least expensive but the needles are easy to break after continuous use. Coil machines cost more than the traditional ones, but they don’t have needles to worry about and can last for about a year or two without having to worry about their motors burning out. Shaders are great for outlining because of the needle size and power that they use in order to shade your tattoos. Getting a fixed machine is a good idea if you plan on using it for both outlining and shading.

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What kind of power supply system should I purchase?

A DC machine is generally pricier than an AC machine, but it is more efficient and cleaner to use. Tubes and wires are no longer used in DC machines so they are easier to keep clean.

Is it possible to buy cheap tattoo machines?

Yes, but they are not advisable. The machines that you get from reputable companies are not always the most expensive. Instead of going for the cheapest one, go for a more expensive one if it is worth the price. Go to trusted sources as much as possible because you never know what type of machine you’re buying from untrustworthy sources. The best way to avoid this is by asking questions about each machine you find affordable.

How long should an average machine last?

Each machine has a different lifespan. The ones that last the longest are usually coil machines. Their motors do not go out easily, but their needle cartridges can sometimes break after continuous usage. Shader and fix machines have a pretty short lifespan as well because of how much power they use in order to shade them.

Regulated and DC machines are generally able to hold up for about two years at most.

How should I clean my machine?

It is important that you know how to clean your machine properly in order to keep it running for a long time. If you want the machine to last, make sure you do regular maintenance, or keep it out of the sun when not in use. You can also get your own oil so that the motors don’t burn out easily. Check into buying a replacement for the needle cartridges as well if they bother you.

Can I use my tattoo machine for body art?

Yes and no. There is a chance that using it for body art can damage it if you’re not careful with it. If you’re planning on getting a tattoo and piercing right next to it, this isn’t something that you want to do. If you’re only getting one or two tattoos, there’s no harm in using it.

How is the tattoo machine cleaned?

These machines come with a bottle of cleaning solution that should always be applied to the needle holes on a regular basis. Cleaning the machine by yourself should be done periodically as well. Always try to clean your machine after using it for any length of time because dirt and grime can accumulate quickly.

What type of motor is best for tattooing?

Cleaning your machine regularly is a good way to know if the motor is “clean”. The motors that are the most efficient are all of them, but some machines have better motors than others. If you plan on doing shading or 3D tattoos, you’ll want to get a shader or a fixed machine because they have more power than coil machines. Coil machines are less powerful than shaders, yet coil machines are more flexible.

What type of tattoo machine should I buy?

It is important to know how to differentiate between the different types of machines before deciding on buying one. Traditional machines are less expensive, but they can be unreliable because the needles can break easily. Coil machines are more expensive, but they don’t have needles and as long as you maintain them well, they should last for a long time.

Shader and fix machines are generally used for outlining tattoos because of their large size and power.

Ribbon machines are pricier than any other type of tattoo machine on the market, but they are very specialized and not really used for tattooing.


To wrap everything up, think about how much time and money you have spent on your tattoos so far. One of the most important things to consider is that a new tattoo machine costs less than a single new tattoo artist. This is because the investment in a tattoo machine will last for years, while an artist will leave after completing one or two tattoos. If you are unsure about which type of tattoo machine to buy, ask the owner or studio where they got theirs and what brand it is. Remember that having an expensive model does not always translate to better quality work; sometimes it’s better to buy somebody’s second-hand model instead of spending more on one brand-new one.