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12 Best Tattoo Machine Brands in 2021: Reviews & Buying Guide

by  Kin Liu -  Last updated on September 7, 2021
Best Tattoo Machine Brands

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You’re curious about the best tattoo machine brands.

We know that there are a lot of brands in the tattoo industry and many of them don’t live up to the hype. Some machines break down way too soon and others just don’t perform like they are supposed to.

That’s why we compiled this review about the top irons for inking and the companies that make them.

Firstly, it is important to understand that there are two types of tattoo machines, Rotary machines and coil tattoo machines.

Take a few minutes to browse it and become familiar with some of the best tattoo machines for beginners and professionals.

Quick Comparison

If you don’t want to read the full article then check out our favorite products in the table below.

 

How to Choose the Best Tattoo Machine for Yourself

There are lots of tattoo machines on the market. You’ll find as many rave reviews about budget irons as you will about premium ones. So how can you narrow it down?

1. the size and shape of the tattoo machine.

You’re going to be holding it for hours on end. If it’s awkward or heavy, it’s going to impact your art negatively.

It’s ideal if you can hold the iron before you buy it. Of course, that’s not always possible when you shop online. Therefore, pay attention to the specifications like weight and size.

2. Different tattoo machines for different tasks

Or, you need the ability to make adjustments on the iron.

Coil machines are generally for either lining or shading, not both.

Meanwhile, rotary machines may serve both purposes, especially if you can adjust the stroke length.

3. Buy high-quality material.

Premium irons are made of durable materials and come with a decent warranty. Ask which machines experienced artists use and how well those machines hold up in the studio.

4. Get the tattoo machine that suits your personal style.

We’re not talking about what it looks like, although we can appreciate that this matters to a lot of people.

What we mean is that you’re going to have to experiment with a variety of tattoo irons to find the ones that match the way you ink.

Okay, here are the reviews of the top tattoo machine brands in alphabetical order. We hope they help you find the best tools for your trade.

 

12 Best Tattoo Machine Brands in 2021

1. Modified Walker Tattoo Machine — Baltimore Street Irons

The Modified Walker is a liner machine that runs a little slow on purpose. The lower speed allows for greater control.

The hardware is brass on a silver-brazed steel frame. Everything is hand-polished and oil-dipped, down to the wingnut rear binder and thumbscrew. This is one of the renowned tattoo brands out there.

Also, the feeler gauge screw is hand-cut from one piece of metal.

About Baltimore Street Irons

Baltimore Street Irons is an American company that started in 2007. It was established by the artist “Trey” Charles Freeland.

Trey began crafting handmade tattoo machines in the late 1990s. And his business today continues to handcraft custom machines from bronze, steel, and cast iron.

One of the high points is that they personally test each product they make.

2. Bishop Authentic Rotary Tattoo Machine

This is one of the best examples of a premium rotary tattoo machine. It weighs only 3.8 ounces and runs super quietly and smoothly.

Not only will you appreciate it, but your clients will be glad you’re using this machine. It’s positively delicate on the skin so that they heal faster.

It’s hand-assembled and polished from a Swiss Maxon motor and aircraft aluminum.

Moreover, it’s extra precise because of the needle clip. Instead of looking at a rubber band over the top to hold the needle, there’s a clip that ensures that there is no lateral movement.

As for the appropriate tattoo power supply, you’ll need 7.5-8.5 V for shading and packing color. Then, between 8-9 V is best for lining.

3. Bishop Micro Angelo Rotary Tattoo Machine

We can’t skip mentioning the Bishop Microangelo with interchangeable 3.5 mm and 4.2 mm magnetic cams. It’s one of the best direct-drive rotary tattoo machines in the world.

The frame is hand-crafted from aircraft aluminum, and it sports a Swiss MAXON motor. It’s suitable for both lining and shading work.

About Bishop

Bishop was started by veteran tattoo artist Franco Vescovi in 2008. Their machines are made in the USA and backed by a 1-year warranty.

They do their own in-house repairs if something goes wrong with your gun.

Bishop machines feature Swiss motors, German bearings, and aircraft aluminum frames.

4. Borg Liner Tattoo Machine with Blue Aluminum Frame

The Borg liner machine weighs 5.5 ounces and has eight handmade wrap coils with sterling silver contact screws.

It’s set up with 0.018 front and rear springs plus a 33 µF capacitor.

It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee plus a lifetime warranty on material and workmanship.

About Borg Design

Borg Design is based in Hudson, Massachusetts. They make both coil machines and rotary tattoo machines from aluminum and steel.

But here’s the kicker: they only sell to professional artists. If you buy directly from the company, you have to show credentials.

But pros love Borg tattoo machines because they are balanced and lightweight. They hand-make coils and mill their own frames.

Even better, they can hand-tune a tattoo machine to your needs. They can set liners to run slower or faster or adjust them for soft shading or hard color packing.

5. Cheyenne Hawk Pen

The Cheyenne Hawk pen rotary tattoo machine is a tattoo industry favorite and the brand is well known. It’s well-crafted, lightweight, and is of good quality.

The iron can run off most power supplies and comes with its own power cable. The package also includes a 25 mm grip.

The stroke length on the pen is 3.5 mm. You’ll need to use the Cheyenne cartridge system with it.

About Cheyenne

Cheyenne is a German company established in 2007. They collaborate with tattoo artists to create innovative tattoo machines and equipment.

Besides machines rotary and coil, they also make grips, cartridge needles in various configurations, and other accessories.

This makes sense as they have experience with medical technology and place a lot of value on safety and hygiene. When it comes to machines this is one of the best ones out there.

For example, they invented the 1st single-use cartridges for rotary machines. And they hold the patent for the Cheyenne Safety Membrane that keeps fluids away from the machine.

6. LEFTY #2 RICK SAVERIAS Tattoo Machine for SHADING for Left-Handers by CTPS Saveria

If you’re left-handed, you understand exactly why it matters that you have the right tattoo machine. This one is a shader with an iron frame and brass fittings. It’s handmade in Argentina.

Specifics include eight wrap-long coils and a 9.5 nucleus. It’s good for up to 15 grouping tattoo needles.

About CTPS Saveria

CTPS Saveria has been building tattoo machines in Argentina for almost four decades. They make them by hand at an average of 8 hours per machine.

Have you ever heard of the Toro Loco, the side-by-side coil machines? This company made it.

They also build micro and standard liners, shaders, micro, and standard painters, and both coil tattoo machines and rotary machines.

7. Dragonhawk Raven Rotary Tattoo Machine Q555

The Raven weighs only 3.1 ounces because it has an injection-molded ABS plastic frame with a stainless steel grip. It’s fast and very easy to maneuver, causing little trauma to delicate skin like the face.

You can use this machine with either traditional needles or cartridges. It features a clip like that found on Bishop tattoo machines. That means you don’t need a rubber band to secure the needle.

8. DragonHawk Complete Tattoo Kit with 4 Machines

This is one of the best tattoo kits for beginners. It includes four coil machines: a conventional liner, a power liner, a color packer, and a soft shader.

Additionally, it comes with a digital power supply, 50 pre-sterilized needles, 10 Immortal brand tattoo inks, a carrying case, and practice skin. There are also instructional DVDs to help you learn to use the equipment.

About Dragonhawk

Dragonhawk was founded in Hong Kong in 2001 by two professional tattoo artists. They registered their trademark in 2004 and built up to selling worldwide.

One of their goals is to provide inexpensive tattoo products. But they offer a 100% money-back guarantee. You can just stick with Dragonhawk for all types of tattoo machines.

Gabe Shum appears in much of their promotional literature (2).

9. Ego Rotary Tattoo Machine Switch Pen Style Machine

Ego’s tattoo machine pen doesn’t vibrate, and it’s very lightweight and well-balanced, so it feels like you’re drawing with a marker in your hand.

Even better, you won’t need a foot pedal to control it as it has a built-in on/off switch. Its package includes a DragonHawk power supplies with continuous output.

This rotary tattoo machine is made for black and gray realistic designs, shading, color packing, lining, and dot work. Plus, it’s compatible with most brands and all sizes of cartridge needles on the market.

About EGO Tattoo

Bez, a tattoo artist from the United Kingdom (3), inspired EGO Rotary in developing a pen-style machine. Bez also designed their unique power triangle system.

These triangles are mounted on a rotary machine, but they serve a function as the front and back spring system in a coil machine. In other words, you can swap the different colored rubber triangles to configure your rotary machine for either lining or shading.

EGO Rotary products are assembled in the United Kingdom and come with a 12-month warranty.

10. FK Irons Spectra Xion Tattoo Machine

To purchase the Spektra Xion, you’re going to need to verify that you’re a professional or apprentice tattoo artist. (Or you’ll need to buy it from a distributor that’s not as picky about credentials.)

This rotary pen-style tattoo machine stands out for its adjustable stroke depth. This machine comes with 3.5 and 3.7mm and stroke wheels for quick tuning.

Choose from eight colors. The iron comes with an adjustable grip and a lifetime warranty.

About FK (Fallen King) Irons

FK Irons started in the USA in 2007 when tattoo artist Gaston Siciliano built his 1st tattoo machine. He designed it to vibrate less and make less noise than the typical coil machine. It was also more comfortable to hold.

As a result, his friends demanded similar machines. The business grew worldwide from there. But the headquarters and production facility is still located in Miami, Florida.

Most professional tattoo artists choose this as their everyday equipment, because of the reputation this brand has. You can just stick with FK Irons for all types of tattoo machines.

11. Hildbrandt Tattoo Kit Pro 3 Machine Gun + TKHPRO2 + Needle + Power Supply + Inks + Case

Get started on your career with this kit from Hildbrandt. It’s made to accompany training from the Teach Me to Tattoo site.

It includes a wrap liner and shader, a rotary shader, and a rotary liner.

There’s also a digital power supply that can run two machines at once.

Finally, you’ll also find a wide assortment of accessories in the box. These range from gloves, O-rings, bushings, rubber bands, a tuning key set, practice skin, aluminum grips, needles in 10 different groupings, disposable tubes, ink cups, and a cup holder, plus a carrying case.

About Hildbrandt Tattoo

Hildbrandt Tattoo Equipment is based in Richmond, British Columbia. The brothers David and Mark Hildbrandt began building tattoo machines in a garage in 2004.

The company offers a 6-month comprehensive warranty.

12. Dragonfly Authentic X2 Rotary Tattoo Machine

The Dragonfly is made by Ink Machines with a Swiss X2 motor that’s very efficient and quiet. It comes in five different colors.

This rotary machine is compatible with all types of standard and cartridge needles. It has adjustable stroke lengths between 2.6-3.7-4.5mm. Just turn the screw and pin.

About Ink Machines

The tattoo Ink Machines is a Swedish company that develops tattoo products in conjunction with professional artists. As such, their machines are extensively tested.

The tattoo machines are made from high-quality aircraft aluminum with Swiss motors and Japanese bearings.

They offer a 12-month warranty for repairs. But they also offer manuals so that you can assemble and repair each machine yourself.

13. Solong Tattoo Complete Tattoo Supplies Kit TK453

The Solong Tattoo TK453 kit is notable for new tattoo artists because of the value it offers for the price.

It includes four tattoo machine guns that do either shading and lining. Each gun or iron has a distinctive look to avoid confusion.

It provides a digital power supply with a foot pedal, as well as tips, grips, needles, and so on.

But if you are a creative soul, you’re going to love the fifty-four bottles of practice ink.

About Soolong

Soolong strives to help artists make a positive impression on their clients. They offer everything from machines and kits to necessary supplies and accessories.

For example, they take into account details like how comfortable and easy their products are to use. And for artists in training, they create silica gel practice skin, which is superior to rubber or plastic.

The company tries to keep prices low and offers a 6-month warranty on their machines and is really easy to use.

14. Stigma Tattoo Kit Rotary Tattoo Machine Pen EM125KITPRB20-8-US

Give yourself more freedom of movement with a cordless rotary tattoo machine. Not only can you forget worrying about the power cord, this battery-powered pen weighs only 2 ounces.

This kit includes two rechargeable batteries. If you have a long day ahead, leave one battery on the charger, so it’s ready to use later. Each one lasts between 3 to 6 hours, depending on the setting.

There are five power level indicators for settings between 4.5 and 10.5 V. Choose the level appropriate to the work you’re doing, whether lining, shading or packing.

About Stigma-Rotary

Stigma is a German company run by tattoo artists with two decades of experience running their own studios.

One of those founders is the Artemis Rosakis. He invented a quick way to adjust the “give” on rotary tattoo machines so that they hit harder or softer.

To maintain high quality, Stigma produces in small batches. They use German-made frames with motors from Switzerland. Each completed machine is thoroughly tested once it’s assembled. You can also adjust the needle movement as you want it to hit the canvas.

 

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed learning about the best tattoo machine brands.

We are enthusiastic about inking, and we know you are, too. Let us know which tattoo irons are your favorites and why in the comments below.

Also Read: How Do Tattoo Machines Work?

Resources:

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tattoo_machine

2. https://www.instagram.com/gabeshum/?hl=en

3. https://www.instagram.com/bez666/?hl=en

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