How Many Different Types of Tattoo Needles Are There?

Table of Contents

There are many different kinds of tattoo needles and it can be overwhelming when looking at all of the available options to know which needles to use, especially for beginner tattoo artists. There are a few variables when it comes to tattoo needles, such as needle configuration, the needle gauge (or diameter), and the needle count. We hope that with this article we can give you a clearer idea of how many different tattoo needles there are and what they are generally used for. 

Tattoo needles are made up of a number of needles of a specific gauge which have been soldered onto a needle bar in various configurations. These are produced by manufacturers, but that wasn’t always the case. Before needle manufacturers, artists would have to dedicate a day to soldering together their own needles, which is why tattoo shops are traditionally closed on a Monday, even though they are no longer making their own needles.

Tattoo needles come in six main configurations. This is the way that the needles are soldered together onto the needle bar. The six main configurations are Round Liner, Round Shader, Flat Magnum, Round Magnum (also known as a Curved Magnum), Weaved Magnum, and Double Stacked Magnum. Let’s break them down one by one:

  1. Round Liner: The needles on a Round Liner are soldered closely together in a circular pattern. This produces a crisp, solid line. Round liners are used for script and lettering, bold and intricate lines, and dot work.
  1. Round Shader: The needles on a Round Shader are soldered together in a circular shape, much like with a Round Liner, but the needles aren’t soldered as closely together. This makes them great for producing bolder lines than a Round Liner, but also for color packing and shading.
  1. Flat Magnum: The needles on a Flat Mangum are soldered together parallel to each other with the ends of the needles creating a straight line, with all the needles being the same length. They are perfect for packing color and shading large areas of a tattoo.
  1. Round Magnum – The needles on a Round Magnum are soldered together similarly to those of a Flat Magnum, but the ends of the needles don’t create a straight line, but rather an arch with the highest point in the middle. Because of the arch, they are great for softer shading, as the outermost needles don’t penetrate the skin as deeply.
  1. Weaved Magnum – The needles of Weaved Magnums are soldered together on alternating sides of the needle bar, unlike Flat Magnums which are only one one side of the bar. This creates a gap in the middle of the needles which can hold more ink than other Magnum needles. This means they can cover a larger area of skin when packing color. These aren’t used very often and are mostly favored by older artists.
  1. Stacked Magnum – The needles of Stacked Magnums are soldered together similarly to a Weaved Magnum but are placed much more closely together. They blend and pack color quickly over large areas of skin.

One could say that there are 6 different types of tattoo needles, but there is a lot more to it. Now that we’ve covered configurations, the next thing you need to know about is needle gauge, also called needle diameter. This refers to the thickness of the individual needles that have been soldered together. The thickness impacts the ink flow, with thinner needles having a lighter and more controlled flow, and thicker needles having a heavier and more free flow. There are five available sizes, which are as follows: 0.20mm, 0.25mm, 0.30mm, 0.35mm, and 0.40mm, which are numbered 6, 8, 10, 12, and 13 respectively.

Needles also come in different groupings, which is the number of needles soldered together on the bar. You can have as few as a single needle, and the needle groupings are usually an odd number of needles, such as 3, 5, 7, and 9. However, some companies still do traditional needles, which have an even number of needles.

There are 3 main ways tattoo needles are sold, bar needles, needle cartridges, and permanent make-up needles. Bar needles are long bars with the needles soldered to one end, and with a loop at the other end which connects to the tattoo machine. These are still used for hand poke tattoos and in coil and some rotary tattoo machines. The needles do not have anything that covers the sharp tips, so the needle is always exposed and this creates a safety hazard. Cartridge needles are safer, as they have a plastic piece that covers the needles, and this means the sharp tips are only exposed when the machine is running. We absolutely love the Yilong Yellow Dragonfly III Cartridge Needles, as they come in a wide variety of configurations, gauges, and groupings. Permanent make-up needles are incredibly similar to cartridge needles, but the needles are usually thinner than typical tattoo needles.

So now that you have all the information, how do you actually know which needles are which? Manufacturers will label needle packaging with a code so you can differentiate which is which. The code is made up of the components and is written as such: the needle gauge, the needle count, and the configuration. An example is 1003RL, with the 10 referring to the 0.30mm gauge, the 03 indicating that there are 3 needles, and RL as shorthand for Round Liner, which makes a 1003RL a Round liner with 3 needles that are 10 gauge each.  All needles follow this naming convention.

As you can see, there are many different tattoo needles and it is difficult to quantify exactly how many different ones there are. It can be very confusing at first, as there is a lot of information to remember, but with practice and patience, it will become second nature. We hope this article has helped you get to know your needles and assisted in helping you pick out your favorites.


More to explorer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • +8615356948397
  • Yilong Tattoo Equipment Ltd.

Join Our Newsletter Now

Be the First to Know. Sign up to newsletter today

Shopping cart
Start typing to see products you are looking for.
0 items Cart
My account