How to Find the Best Tattoo Machines for Beginners

Best Tattoo Machines for Beginners

Becoming a great tattoo artist isn’t simply honing your artistic skills. You must perfect your communication and listening skills, understand your clients’ wants and preferences, be adaptable, and display the utmost attention to detail. Above all else, however, you need the Best Tattoo Machines for Beginners to help you bring your designs to life.

Choosing a good tattoo machine isn’t as easy as it first appears. When you start looking into these devices, you can quickly become overwhelmed.

You’ll come across many different brands and types, functionalities, and accessories. Not to mention that you’ll see tattoo guns at vastly different price points, making it exceptionally challenging to select high-quality equipment that fits your budget.

If you want to make the right decision, read through this thorough guide that will take you through the mistakes you’ll want to avoid, the types of machines you could use, and the factors you should consider when buying one.

5 common mistakes beginners make when choosing a tattoo machine


Mistakes are how you learn. However, not all of them need to be your own – sometimes, it’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes. Take a look at some of the most common beginner mistakes to avoid when choosing your first tattoo machine.

1. Buying a cheap tattoo gun

what about the permits and licenses, business registration, furniture, and decor for your shop? You would want to save as much as possible when starting as a tattoo artist, but you should never cut corners on your equipment.

There’s usually a reason why a tattoo machine is cheap – it’s made of low-quality materials, it’s not well-designed, or maybe it doesn’t have all the necessary features. Whatever the case is, you can expect a cheap machine to be less reliable and less durable.

You’ll find yourself needing a replacement sooner than you’d think, so you’d eventually spend more on all the replacements than if you had just bought a slightly more expensive, higher-quality best tattoo gun for beginners in the first place.

2. Not looking into the reviews

It’s best to examine other tattoo artists’ reviews, testimonials, and comments before buying your first tattoo machine.

They’ll tell you more about the user experience, common problems, and feature highlights. Some will even compare products in their reviews, explaining why one machine is better than the other or providing alternatives.

Just remember to take the reviews with a grain of salt – some negative reviews might be exaggerated and written by frustrated individuals, while some highly positive reviews might be paid. Look into a few different sources to gain a deeper understanding of the products before buying them.

3. Neglecting comfortability

As a new tattoo artist, you’re likely excited to gain experience, hone your skills, and try new things. You might want to rush and buy the coolest tattoo machines with the best designs and the latest accessories. While nothing is wrong with this, prioritizing appearances and neglecting comfort could cause problems.

How a tattoo machine fits in your hand, how heavy, and how comfortable it is will significantly impact your work. If you can’t get a proper grip on it, you’ll make a mistake that could ruin your design. If it’s so heavy that your hands start shaking from the weight, you’ll never be able to create clean, crisp designs with straight lines. That’s why you should always prioritize comfort above all else.

4. Buying the wrong kinds of accessories

Different tattoo machines need different kinds of accessories. Rotary machines typically use smaller needles than coil machines, so choosing the right needle size is critical. Different foot pedals will work with some machines but not with others. Replaceable springs, grips, and grommets come in different sizes, so you’d waste money if you bought the wrong size.

Pay attention to the kinds of accessories you’re buying and ensure they’re suitable for the tattoo machine you’ll be using.

5. Investing in just one tattoo machine

Finally, buying a single tattoo machine is one of the biggest beginner mistakes. Now, there’s no need to get every tattoo gun you can get your hands on – you might buy a machine you’ll never even use. However, you should have different machines for different purposes.

Liners, for instance, is used for creating crisp lines, making them perfect for detailed work but not so great for coloring your tattoos. Shaders, as their name suggests, are used for adding depth to your designs, but they’re not ideal for creating intricate details.

You’ll need at least a couple of tattoo machines to make a name for yourself as a tattoo artist.

Different types of tattoo machines and their pros and cons


Many tattoo machines include liners, shaders, direct drives, pens, sliders, and more. However, there are just two main categories of tattoo machines based on how they work – rotary tattoo machines and coil tattoo machines. Take a look at them below.

Rotary tattoo machine

Rotary tattoo machines are a relative newcomer to the tattoo industry, gaining popularity only in the past decade or so. They have small yet surprisingly powerful electric motors, making them excellent for more intricate designs.

Rotary tattoo machines are lightweight and almost silent, making them the most common choice for beginners.

Coil tattoo machine

A coil tattoo machine is what you think of when you think of a tattoo machine. Dating back to the late 1800s, they are hefty, bulky, and noisy. They take some time to get used to, but once you’ve mastered them, you can easily create incredible designs.

If you use a coil tattoo machine, remember that you’ll have to switch between different ones for different tasks. Each comes with unique accessories and equipment and is usually specialized for a specific job, such as shading or lining.

7 factors to pay attention to when purchasing a tattoo machine


Now that you’re aware of the most popular types of tattoo machines and the most common mistakes to avoid when selecting them let’s look at some of the essential factors you’ll need to consider when making your purchase.

1. Price

As previously mentioned, buying the cheapest tattoo gun is usually a big mistake. However, investing in the most expensive option could be one as well.

Sometimes, you’d pay for the brand name, not the quality, by investing in the most expensive machine.

It’s best to go over all your options, from the cheapest to the most expensive ones, and get something in between. Again, use others’ reviews to learn more about each machine you’re interested in, then decide accordingly.

2. Ease of operation

Like with any product, ease of operation is crucial when buying a tattoo machine. Do you need to go through 300-page instruction manuals to understand how the machine works? How easy is it to set up the machine? Do you need an engineering degree to adjust the settings and turn it on?

While you are sure to get used to any tattoo machine after using it for a while, it’s always best to go for products that are easy to use right from the start. The more gradual the learning curve, the easier it will be to focus on what’s important – and that’s creating impeccable designs that your clients will cherish forever.

3. Ergonomics

As discussed, comfortability can impact your work. A heavy, poorly-shaped tattoo machine will make it difficult to create high-quality tattoos that your clients will be proud of. It will also cause significant discomfort and pain – affecting your hands, arms, and neck.

To ensure that you buy a tattoo machine with excellent ergonomics, you should consider visiting a tattoo supply shop in person. Brick-and-mortar shops will usually have higher prices, so if you want to save money, visit them to test out a tattoo machine in person, then order it online later.

4. Low noise emission

High noise levels will impact you and your clients, especially first-time clients. Those coming to you for their first-ever tattoo are likely scared already – they don’t know what to expect from the experience, and they don’t know how painful it will be or how well the design will come out. They might run out the door if they hear a loud tattoo machine.

For everyone’s comfort, it’s always best to purchase tattoo machines with low noise emissions.

5. Appearance

Though it’s not something you should prioritize above all else, appearances still matter with tattoo machines. After all, if you’re trying to market yourself as a hard-core tattoo artist who creates serious designs, using a baby-pink tattoo machine with unicorn and heart decals might make your clients suspicious of your work.

Find a tattoo machine that matches your taste and style.

6. Materials

One of the worst things that could happen to you while tattooing a client is your machine breaking down mid-session and hurting them. That’s what happens with cheap tattoo machines made of low-quality materials.

Look for tattoo guns made of strong, sturdy frames that are still lightweight. The highest-quality tattoo machines are usually steel, aluminum, or brass.

7. Hidden features and advantages

Not all tattoo machines will come equipped with everything you need. For instance, the product might not include power supplies and foot pedals. You might not get replacement coil wraps or needless. When ordering your first tattoo machine, read the fine print and learn precisely what it comes with.

Additionally, pay attention to the specific features.

Can you change the stroke length, and is the machine portable? Does it come with cables, or is it wireless? Examine all the features carefully to ensure that you make the right choice.

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