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Things to Consider When Purchasing Your Beginner Tattoo Machine

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

Congratulations on deciding to take the next step in your tattooing journey! Buying your first tattoo machine is an exciting and crucial decision that requires careful consideration. With so many options to choose from, it's essential to evaluate the factors that will best suit your needs and preferences.

In this article, we will discuss the important considerations when purchasing your first tattoo machine. We'll cover everything from your tattooing style and understanding the tattoo beginner skill level considerations to the quality and durability of the machine.

tattoo artist

Key Takeaways for selecting a beginner tattoo machine

  • Identify your tattooing style before investing in a machine.

  • Understand the different types of tattoo machines available and their features.

  • Consider your skill level as a tattoo artist when choosing a machine.

  • Evaluate the build quality, materials, and durability of potential machines.

  • Set a budget and explore different price ranges.

Determining your tattooing style

Before investing in a tattoo machine, it's important to identify your preferred tattooing style. Whether you prefer traditional, watercolor, or realistic designs, understanding your style can help you make an informed decision when selecting a machine. As a tattoo beginner, this may be a difficult task so consider the types of tattoos that appeal to you and remember, your taste will evolve.

Your tattooing style is a reflection of your personal preferences and artistic vision. Some artists prefer to specialize in a particular style, while others may enjoy experimenting with different approaches. Consider your natural strengths and interests, as well as the type of designs and techniques you are drawn to.

Once you have a clear understanding of your style, you can begin to research the machines that are best suited to your needs. Different machines lend themselves to different styles, and some may be better suited to beginners or professionals.

Remember, your tattooing style may evolve over time, and it's always valuable to continue learning and experimenting with new techniques. By selecting a machine that aligns with your personal preferences, you can set yourself up for success as you continue to hone your craft.

Understanding different types of tattoo guns

When it comes to purchasing a tattoo machine also known as a tattoo gun, it's essential to understand the different types available to make an informed decision. There are three primary types of tattoo machines: coil machines, rotary machines, and pen machines.

Coil tattoo machine

Coil machines are the traditional type of tattoo machine and are known for their power and versatility. They use a coil and electromagnet to drive the needle up and down, creating the distinctive buzzing sound associated with tattooing. Coil machines are suitable for a wide range of tattoo styles, from lining to shading and coloring.

Rotary tattoo machine

Rotary machines use a rotating motor to drive the needle, creating a smooth and quiet operation compared to coil machines. They are known for their precision and versatility, making them a popular choice for tattoo artists looking for a reliable machine that can handle multiple styles. Rotary machines are also lighter and more ergonomic, reducing hand fatigue during long tattooing sessions.

Each type of tattoo machine has its advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the right one depends on your personal preference and tattooing style. Take the time to research and try each type, and you'll find a machine that suits your needs perfectly. Our full range of tattoo machines can be found here

Determining Your Tattooing Skill Level

When selecting your first tattoo machine, it's vital to consider your personal level of experience and skill. A tattoo beginner requires a different type of machine than an intermediate or professional artist.

Beginner Level

If you're a beginner, then it's best to opt for a tattoo machine that is simple to use and does not have too many complex features. A machine with fewer components and settings will allow you to focus on perfecting your technique, without overwhelming you with too many options. Look for machines explicitly designed for beginners, marked with phrases like "easy to use" or "for beginners."

Intermediate Level

If you're an intermediate artist, then you're likely familiar with the basics of tattooing and are also ready to expand your skills. Consider investing in a machine with additional features, such as more refined adjustable voltage, to allow for more precision and control. Also, ensure the machine is durable and capable of handling prolonged use such as 3 to 4 hour sessions.

Professional Level

Professional artists require machines that can meet their demands for quality and speed. A machine with features like high-speed motors, interchangeable grips, and needle compatibility will help you create complex and intricate designs. If you're a professional artist, then it's crucial to invest in a durable and reliable machine that can handle frequent use and extended tattoo sessions.

Evaluating Quality and Durability

When shopping for your first tattoo machine, it's important to consider the quality and durability of the machine. A quality machine will not only create better tattoos but will also last longer, saving you money in the long run.

One factor to consider is the build quality of the machine. Look for machines made with durable materials such as brass or stainless steel. These materials can withstand constant use and won't break down easily.

Another factor to consider is the durability of the machine. A durable machine will work consistently and won't require frequent repairs. Look for machines with a sturdy frame and consistent needle movement.

It's also important to consider the type of machine you're purchasing. While rotary machines are generally more durable than coil machines, they may not provide the same precision. Ultimately, the choice comes down to personal preference and the type of tattooing you plan to do.

Additionally, make sure to read reviews and seek recommendations from fellow tattoo artists before making a purchase. This can provide valuable insights into the quality and durability of different machines.

By taking the time to evaluate the quality and durability of your potential tattoo machine, you can ensure a consistent and long-lasting performance throughout your tattooing journey.

Setting a budget

Before purchasing your first tattoo machine, it's vital to set a budget that aligns with your financial situation. Tattoo machines come in different price ranges, and understanding the trade-offs between affordability and quality is crucial in making a well-informed choice.

While it may be tempting to go for the cheapest option available, keep in mind that a low-quality machine may result in poor results, damage to the skin, or even health hazards. On the other hand, an expensive machine may not necessarily guarantee the best results, especially if you're a beginner who's still honing their skills.

Consider what features and specifications are important to you and try to find a machine that matches them within your budget. Look for machines that offer good value for money based on their quality, durability, and performance. Remember that you can always upgrade to a more advanced machine as you gain more experience and improve your tattooing skills.

When considering budget, there are some good cheaper machines as mentioned in this article and will do you just fine as you learn. However you need to understand these machines are not designed for the professional that is going to be using it 6-10 hours a day, 5-7 days a week. You will need to set a far higher budget ($1000+) if you are looking for tattoo machines that give you this level of durability.

Researching reputable brands & manufacturers

Choosing a tattoo machine from a reputable brand or manufacturer is crucial for ensuring quality and durability. Not only do these brands use high-quality materials, but they also provide after-sales support to help you get the most out of your machine.

Some well-established brands with a solid reputation for producing quality beginner tattoo machines include Hawkin, Dragonhawk, CNC, and Wormhole. With the exception of Wormhole who are realatively new, these brands have been around for years and have built a loyal following among tattoo artists worldwide.

In addition to these brands, it's also important to research the manufacturer of the specific machine you're interested in. Make sure they have a good reputation in the industry and don't have any history of producing faulty machines.

By investing in a tattoo machine from a reputable brand or manufacturer, you can have peace of mind knowing that you're getting a quality beginner machine that will last.

Seeking Recommendations and Reviews

Reading reviews and seeking recommendations from other tattoo artists can provide valuable insights into the performance and reliability of different tattoo machines. As you search for your first machine, take the time to read reviews from other artists who have purchased and used the equipment you're considering.

You can find reviews on tattoo supply websites and forums or seek out recommendations from fellow artists in your local tattoo community. In addition to reading reviews, don't be afraid to ask for personal recommendations and advice from artists you trust and admire.

When seeking recommendations and reviews, be sure to take note of any recurring themes and common complaints or praises. This can give you a more balanced and informed perspective on the machine's strengths and weaknesses.

Incorporating feedback from other artists can help you make a more confident decision in selecting your first tattoo machine that fits your needs and budget.

Testing and Trying Out Before Purchasing

One of the best ways to ensure you choose the right tattoo machine is to try it out before making a purchase. A machine may look perfect on paper, but it's only through hands-on experience that you can really get a feel for its performance and suitability.

If possible, visit local tattoo supply stores or conventions that allow you to try out different machines. This allows you to compare and contrast different types and models, helping you make a more informed decision.

During the testing process, pay attention to the machine's weight, balance, and grip. These factors can significantly affect your comfort level and accuracy during the tattooing process.

Don't be afraid to ask questions or request a demonstration from the seller. A reputable supplier should be happy to help and provide guidance.

Testing and trying out a machine before purchasing may not always be an option, particularly if you're buying online. In these cases, be sure to read reviews and seek recommendations from fellow tattoo artists to get a better understanding of a machine's performance and reliability.

Considering additional features and accessories

Aside from the core machine, there are several additional features and accessories that you may want to consider when purchasing your first tattoo machine. These items can enhance the quality of your work and improve your overall experience as a tattoo artist.

One popular accessory is an adjustable voltage power supply. This feature allows you to control the voltage output of your machine, providing greater precision and consistency when tattooing different areas of the skin.

Ergonomic grips are another useful accessory to consider. Not only do they provide comfort during long tattooing sessions, but they also offer better control and stability over your machine.

Interchangeable components, such as needle cartridges and grips, can also be helpful. These options allow you to swap out components quickly and easily, saving time during tattooing and allowing for greater flexibility in your work.

When selecting additional features and accessories, it's important to consider their compatibility with your chosen tattoo machine. Be sure to research and confirm that the items you are interested in are compatible with the machine you plan to purchase.


Tattoo Beginner Starter Kits

Rather than settling for a tattoo machine alone, a tattoo beginner could do well to investigate a tattoo beginner starter kit. In addition to the machine, tattoo beginner starter kits usually include with a number of necessary extras like grips, ink, needles, power supply, and even practice skins.

This all-inclusive bundle saves novices tattoo beginner the trouble of having to hunt for individual parts by giving them everything they need to get started tattooing right away. It's an affordable and practical solution that guarantees you have the resources and equipment you need to practice and perfect your abilities from the start.

Furthermore, some tattoo beginner starter kits include educational resources or online tutorial access, which makes them a great option for people who want to approach tattooing methodically. Therefore, if you're a tattoo beginner, getting a tattoo beginner starter kit can make it easier for you to enter the tattooing field and get off to a good start.

Final Thoughts

Purchasing your first tattoo machine is an exciting journey that requires careful consideration. When deciding on the right machine for your needs, factors such as your tattooing style, skill level, budget, and quality are essential. By seeking recommendations and reviews, testing and trying out machines, and exploring additional features and accessories, you can make an informed choice that sets you up for success in your tattooing journey.

Remember to always prioritize safety and hygiene in your tattooing practice, and to continuously learn and refine your skills as a tattoo artist. With the right machine and a commitment to excellence, you can create stunning and meaningful tattoos that leave a lasting impression on your clients.

Investing in a high-quality tattoo machine is an investment in your art, and in yourself as a tattoo artist. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to navigate the market, but taking the time to research and explore your options can make all the difference. By following the considerations we've outlined in this article and trusting your instincts, you can find a tattoo machine that fits your unique style and helps you bring your creative vision to life. Happy tattooing!


Q: What should I consider when purchasing my first tattoo machine?

A: When buying your first tattoo machine, it's essential to consider factors such as your tattooing style, skill level, budget, and the quality and durability of the machine.

Q: How do I determine my tattooing style?

A: Identifying your preferred tattooing style is crucial before investing in a tattoo machine. Consider whether you're interested in traditional, watercolor, realism, or other styles to help guide your machine selection.

Q: What are the different types of tattoo machines?

A: There are various types of tattoo machines, including coil machines, rotary machines, and pen machines. Each type has its own features and benefits, so it's important to understand them before making a decision.

Q: What tattoo machines are suitable for different skill levels?

A: The right tattoo machine depends on your skill level. There are options available for beginners, intermediate artists, and professionals. Consider your experience and expertise when choosing a machine.

Q: How can I evaluate the quality and durability of a tattoo machine?

A: To ensure a high-quality tattoo machine, pay attention to the build quality, materials used, and its overall durability. These factors will contribute to consistent and precise results.

Q: How much is a tattoo machine?

A: Setting a budget is important when buying a tattoo machine. Explore different price ranges and understand the trade-offs between affordability and quality to find a machine that fits within your budget. If you are starting out, a few hundred dollars will get you all that you need. If you are a professional, you will be looking well over $1000 to ensure the durability and longevity of your machine.

Q: Are there reputable brands and manufacturers I should consider?

A: Choosing a tattoo machine from a reputable brand or manufacturer ensures reliability and after-sales support. Look for well-established brands known for their quality machines and customer satisfaction.

Q: Where can I find recommendations and reviews for tattoo machines?

A: Reading reviews and seeking recommendations from fellow tattoo artists can provide valuable insights into the performance and reliability of different tattoo machines. Look for reliable sources such as online forums or social media groups.

Q: Is it possible to test and try out a tattoo machine before buying?

A: Whenever possible, it's advisable to test and try out a tattoo machine before making a purchase. Look for local tattoo supply stores or conventions where you can experience the machines firsthand.

Q: What should I keep in mind when buying my first tattoo machine?

A: When purchasing your first tattoo machine, consider your tattooing style, skill level, budget, and the quality of the machine. Seek recommendations, test machines when possible, and prioritize safety and hygiene in your decision-making process.



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