The Ultimate Guide to the Best Tattoo Machines for New Tattoo Artists

Best tattoo machines

It may surprise you to learn that tattoo shops in the United States generate approximately $1 billion in revenue each year. Once an artist has a solid clientele base, it’s possible to make a very comfortable living. This is one of the most notable aspects of the industry that attracts new tattoo artists.

Not every artist understands the best tattoo machines to focus on, though. Let’s explore the different tattoo machine options available and how to make the right decision.

Dragonhawk S4

This is a wireless tattoo machine that is renowned for its flexibility. It provides freedom of movement that you won’t find with most other products. It’s also designed to be as lightweight and ergonomic as possible, making long sessions more tolerable.

This level of comfort could mean the difference between whether or not you finish a large piece in a single day. It also offers a large amount of control over its speed settings and needle depth. Powered by an industry-standard motor, this machine has no problem maintaining consistency in creating a smooth experience for the artist.

The longevity of its battery life also prevents artists from needing to recharge during sessions. However, it’s worth noting that this is one of the more expensive options available to new artists. Regardless, it’s an amazing investment that you can make in the future of your career.

Stigma Pro Kit

Although not quite as advanced as the above item on this list, the Stigma Pro tattoo machine is entirely capable of handling shading and linework. It’s a light machine that’s easy to use for long periods of time. You’ll also have no problem using it with standard needles, tubes, and groups.

The kit also comes with high-quality inks that are suitable to use on fake skin. New artists often practice tattooing on fake skin to hone their skills. However, this process requires top-tier ink.

Consider this if you need a quiet, affordable option that’s easy to use. There is one primary drawback, though. The product doesn’t have a clear user manual included in the package.

Setting up the device can be difficult for those who have never worked with tattoo machines before. Keep this in mind when moving forward so you can avoid problems you may have other was encountered.

Solong Kit

Many new artists turn to the Solong tattoo brand for their machines. Similar to the Stigma Pro Kit, the Solong Kit comes with everything you need to practice your craft.

This machine is well-designed and durable, making it ideal for new users. Over time, you’ll eventually outgrow this device and can choose something more appropriate for someone with an intermediate skill level. The frame of the machine has a precision line that makes it easy to create accurate designs.

It also has a notable pace and steadiness during use, which minimizes the chance of errors when working quickly. The kit comes with 50 different needles, 100 ink cups, 28 colors, and 60 tattoo tips. The components are made from aluminum alloy, which prevents you from having to worry about issues like rust.


This is one of the best choices when it comes to overall value. The machine is made from aircraft aluminum, and it boasts high spring elasticity.

It can penetrate deep into the skin and create gorgeous results with plenty of longevity. Since beginners aren’t used to working for long periods of time, it’s essential to have a tattoo machine that is comfortable to use.

The HawInk machine offers plenty of comfort for longer sessions, minimizing the chance of complications like carpal tunnel syndrome. It also has a one-year warranty, allowing you to return or replace it if something goes wrong.

It’s worth noting that the assembly instructions are printed in very small font. Most users find it necessary to use a magnifying glass to read the directions.

Choosing a Machine

With so many quality machines on the market, it can be difficult to make your decision. There are certain attributes you should consider when browsing available products. Listed below are some of the most notable.

Materials and Design

You can’t overlook the overall design of the machine or the materials it uses. Many tattoo companies offer products that are designed for comfort, which can have a direct impact on the quality of your work.

If possible, it’s always best to hold a product in your hand before making a purchase. The last thing you want is to order something and then find that it feels too heavy, unwieldy, etc.


The faster the machine works, the more art you can complete in a given period of time. You also have an easier experience when shading and drawing fine details.

In general, tattoo machine speeds vary between 50 and 3000. Most modern devices are adjustable so you can choose the speed that’s best for you.

Beginners will often work with different speeds until they find a handful they’re comfortable with. In the future, you can purchase a specialized machine to meet your needs.


This is one of the most important aspects to consider. Your tattoo machine should have a high amount of compatibility, meaning that you can use a wide range of different needles with it. As previously mentioned, experienced artists eventually purchase specialized machines.

Until then, though, it’s in your best interest to choose adjustable devices. This will prevent you from overspending on extra features you don’t need.


The majority of tattoo machines have fairly basic features. These features are also consistent across most machines. However, some stand out more than others.

The device you choose should be stable, easy to put together, and lightweight. Having a strong understanding of your needs before making a purchase will make it much easier to find the best product.


No matter how good the tattoo machine is, you won’t get very far with it if it doesn’t have a high level of durability. Look for devices that are marketed for their longevity.

It’s not worth having to consistently replace a device, as these costs will quickly add up. It’s much better to spend more initially on a high-quality tattoo machine with better durability.


Cheap products are often unsafe to use. One of the biggest mistakes that new tattoo artists make is purchasing machines on the lower end of the price range.

The grip should provide enough comfort for safe use, and the machine should behave consistently during sessions. Reading online reviews for tattoo equipment is a great way to gain insight into this attribute. It’s best to prioritize machines that have overwhelmingly positive feedback.


How easy is the machine to pick up and use? New artists work best with devices that don’t have much of a learning curve.

You should be able to easily use the device for your personal style without feeling uncomfortable. In contrast, specialized machines are much more difficult to use without a sufficient level of experience.

Types of Tattoo Machines

It’s best to understand the different types of tattoo machines available so you can make the right decision. The good news is that new users only need to worry about a handful of different options. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know.

Coil Tattoo Machines

This is the most common type of machine that new artists use. They utilize an electromagnetic circuit that allows the needles to deposit ink into the skin.

The current passes through the coils of the device, moving the armature bar up and down at high speeds. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials.

Due to its high level of power and performance, both beginners and veteran tattoo artists make use of coil tattoo machines. They also have low maintenance requirements, making them convenient to use. Artists often find that coil machines have a high level of control and accuracy, as well.

The most common types of coil tattoo machines include shader tattoo machines, color packer tattoo machines, and liner tattoo machines. These are each designed for specific uses and can go a long way toward creating amazing results.

Speaking with artists with more experience than you can help point you in the right direction.

Rotary Tattoo Machines

Rotary tattoo machines utilize electric motors that power the armature bar. Rotary machines are lightweight and easy to use, making them a highly popular option.

New artists can use them for lighting and shading, as well. Rotary machines are notably quiet compared to other options on this list. So, they’re a great choice for beginners due to how pleasant they are to use.

Keep in mind that both rotary and coil machines have a learning curve you need to overcome. Some beginner artists are discouraged during the early stages of their careers due to having difficulty with using these devices on clients. As time goes on, you’ll find it much easier to create the results you want.

Pneumatic Tattoo Machines

Unlike other machines, a pneumatic tattoo machine uses an air compressor to function. They come with variable weight, stroke, and strike force capabilities. This makes them ideal for any tattoo style.

The majority of beginners should hold off before purchasing pneumatic devices. Primarily, they are more expensive than conventional tattoo machines.

It’s also important to learn how to tattoo with conventional machines before moving on to pneumatic devices. Eventually, your career will reach a point where it becomes appropriate to try this level of tattoo equipment.

Getting Started as an Artist

Becoming a tattoo artist can prove to be a highly lucrative career path. However, there are barriers to entry you need to overcome.

First, it’s crucial to take tattoo artist courses so you understand the industry’s requirements. These will help you hone your art skills while ensuring you comply with standards and regulations.

Afterward, you can create a portfolio of your best work. This should include original designs and diverse subject matter. You will then need to choose an artist to apprentice under.

This should be someone you feel is knowledgeable and can teach you the information you want to know. For example, let’s assume that you want to focus on black-and-gray realism. It’s in your best interest to apprentice under an artist who uses this style.

When searching for apprenticeships, it’s crucial to research what others have had to say. Unfortunately, some apprenticeships aim to use apprentices for free labor without teaching them practical skills. The good news is that there are plenty of reliable options out there.

Look for apprenticeships that have guarantees. This means you won’t have trouble getting a job after you complete your apprenticeship. Doing so can help you jumpstart your career.

Each state has different license requirements. In Florida, there are certain criteria you need to meet before you can become a licensed tattoo artist. Once you begin working as an artist, be sure to market your work on social media.

This can be a great way to get new clients in the door. If all goes well, your skills will continue to develop, and your career will catapult to new heights.

Use the Best Tattoo Machines

To get the results you want, you’ll need to choose the best tattoo machines. This will help ensure you get started on the right path as a new artist and provide outstanding work for your clients.

Get in touch with us today at Florida Tattoo Academy. We have the tools and resources to help take your career to the next level.