The Best Tattoo Machines for Beginners

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There is a large variety of different tattoo machines on the market, and as a beginner in the industry, the options can seem overwhelming, and it can be difficult to choose the right machine for you. Some artists tend to go with whatever machine their mentor uses, but if you are self-taught or if your mentor does a completely different style than you do, sourcing your own might be a better option. 

Each machine will have different strengths, styles, and overall functionality. The first step is to determine what you want to use your machine for. Most old-school tattoo artists will have a whole kit of different machines for different uses, such as one for fine lines, one for thick power lines, one for color and black packing, and one for smooth shading. This is because traditional coil machines are typically made to excel in either lining or shading, but not both. Nowadays, you get machines that can do pretty much everything, and these are referred to as Rotary tattoo machines, which usually come in a pen style and use cartridge needles, such as the Yilong K3 Wireless Tattoo Pen

Once you have determined what you would like to use your machine for you can start shopping around. Lucky for you, there are articles like this one that can help you on your journey of choosing the perfect first tattoo machine. We will mainly be focusing on pen-style machines as the old-school coil machines are becoming outdated. Please note that this article is in no particular order,  and is simply a list of our favorite machines.

1. BRONC Wireless Tattoo Pen V1

The BRONC Wireless Tattoo Pen V1 is a workhorse and a half. It has a Swiss motor installed and can outrun a lot of pen-style machines on the market. The only downside that we have heard is that this machine can be too powerful and can take some getting used to. It is better suited to bold lines, rich color, and solid black packing but with some practice, it can also be adjusted for smooth black and gray. This machine has a stylish design and a matte finish, and it comes in 5 different color options. This machine is in the mid-price range, coming in at $228. 

2. Yilong K5 Wireless Battery Tattoo Pen

The Yilong K5 Wireless Battery Tattoo Pen is ahead of the game. Weighing in at a mere 253g, this machine is light and will not put any extra strain on your hands. It is made from aircraft-grade aluminum and has a stroke length of 4mm. This means that it can handle anything from the finest lines to packing solid and saturated black. It can be a little tricky with this machine, but with some practice, it can even be used to do soft black and gray shading. We love that this machine comes with 2 batteries, meaning that you can always have one on charge. Long sessions will be a breeze and you’ll always have a backup if you forget to charge one of your batteries! It also comes with a charger and an instruction manual. You can color code this machine to suit your aesthetic as it comes in 5 different colors. Coming in at $129, it is super affordable and easy to order online. 

3. Dragonhawk Mast Tour Pen 

The Dragonhawk Mast Tour Pen is the smallest tattoo pen that the company Dragonhawk makes. It has a set stroke of 3.5mm, making it slightly less hard-hitting than the Yilong K5. This just means that you may need to slow down your hand speed when packing solid ink or pulling boulder lines. This machine is more suited to fine lines and soft shading. The Mast Tour is easy to set up and even easier to clean as the grip is made from aluminum. The downside is that it only comes with one battery, so you will need to stay on top of your charging schedule in the tattoo studio. It comes in at $129 which makes it an extremely affordable machine, and we love that it comes in 4 different colors.

4. FK Irons Spektra Flux Wireless Tattoo Machine

If you are one of the lucky ones who can afford a more expensive machine, then we cannot recommend the FK Irons Spektra Flux enough. The Flux is an American-made machine that ticks every single box (except for the price box). It is a wireless machine with a battery life of over 10 hours and an extremely fast charging battery – this machine will not let you down for those long full-day tattoo sessions. It has a very user-friendly digital face with 3 basic control buttons, leaving you in complete control of your voltage settings. It is very lightweight and does not put any strain on your hands. This machine can do everything from fine lines to saturated black packing to very soft black and gray realism. The only downside is the price, and coming in at $899.99, you may break the bank trying to get your hands on one of these. It does come in a variety of cool colors so you can find one to match your style and personality perfectly. It only comes with one battery, but they do have an option where you can purchase an extra one at a discounted rate when you buy your machine.

These are just a few of the many tattoo machines that are available on the market. As you can see, each one has a function that they are better suited to perform and the prices vary quite a bit, so there is something for everyone to choose from. A good tattoo artist will try a few different machines to find the right one, but as a beginner, we know that you will want some guidance on how to pick your first one. We hope that this article has helped you make a choice, and we wish you well on your tattoo journey. 


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