A professional or aspiring tattoo artist with the best rotary tattoo machine in hand needs to know this!
Your entire craft rests on the shoulders of the tattoo machine, provided you can prioritize technologies, resources, and alignment as per preferences. Then again, skills do matter but only if the device offers requisite freedom of expression.
In a hurry? Here is our top pick for the best rotary tattoo machine
Purchasing a good tattoo machine should not become stressful. Also, if the search patterns get your goat, you are bound to wait while other tattoo artists get a bigger piece of the meat.
Worry not, as our experts have already enlisted 10 of the best rotary tattoo machines, which might give that additional boost to your career.
But, why Rotary Tattoo Machines!
Let go of the Dilemma – Pick a Rotary Machine that’s Worth the Investment
You should really be sitting down to read this!
The type of tattoo machine you own often makes or breaks the brand’s presence as a tattoo artist.
Then it’s the right time to pick a rotary tattoo machine that works as per your expectations. Although we expect you to know the concepts, we will still revisit the motor-based operation of a standard rotary tattoo machine, best known for its cumulative designing abilities.
Trivia- Did you know, rotary tattoo machines are more reassuring to the customers as they are less noisy? This means, a client inadvertently believes that tattoos made using rotary machines will be less painful.
Best Rotary Tattoo Machines to use in 2021
Still not convinced about taking up tattooing as a profession! Here are the best rotary tattoo machines to consider:
1. Cheyenne Hawk Spirit – Best Overall Rotary Tattoo Machine
As a professional tattoo artist, you can pin your hopes on the Cheyenne Hawk Spirit tattoo pen. We opted for this rotary tattoo machine over others owing to the sleekness of form and its ability to perform equally well, when shading, color packing, and lining are concerned.
Besides, if you are a globetrotting professional, this rotary tattoo machine or tattoo pen is the perfect ally to carry along. Coming to the perks, the tattoo machine is easy to adjust and doesn’t ask you to invest time in fussy setups. As a plug-and-play pen machine, this pen tattoo device is a pretty nifty performer. Furthermore, this device allows you to get started in a jiffy, whilst cutting out longer waiting periods for the customers.
Coming to the usage and handling, Cheyenne rotary machines, including the Hawk Spirit, are easy on your fingers. Moreover, if you are fussy about the grip, there are two options to invest in. Comfortable handling is one of the best attributes of this rotary tattoo machine followed by compatibility with diverse needle cartridges and grip tapes.
As far as recreational usage is concerned, this rotary tattoo machine doesn’t require fancy tuning. Beginners, who are barely starting as tattoo artists, can consider investing in this tattoo pen for ease of usage. While some seasoned professionals still prefer going with a coil tattoo machine, there isn’t much the Cheyenne Hawk cannot match up to.
Another interesting facet of this rotary tattoo machine is its multi-skin compatibility. If you are still scratching your head over this, it means the ability of this device to adjust with any given skin type of locale. Therefore, as a tattoo artist, you can even tread on the bony sections of the body without causing much dermal trauma.
Overall, we were more than impressed with this rotary tattoo machine after using the same for almost 2 months. While we would recommend the same for almost any tattooing venture, it makes more sense to get this tattoo pen for gray and black-centric work.
2. Bishop Rotary Tattoo Machine – Best with Faulhaber Motor
Tattoo us impressed as we wouldn’t mind placing our bets on the insanely powerful Rotary tattoo machine from Bishop. While the list started with a tattoo pen, we are back to a full-grown machine that is as good as an elite coil tattoo machine.
First things first, despite being tagged as a liner rotary tattoo machine, you can always consider the same for shading. Besides, unlike other rotary tattoo machines that rely on the elastic band for clinging onto the needle, the authentic rotary tattoo machine from Bishop pins hopes to the coreless motor. Despite adding to the rotary tattoo machine usage difficulty, the coreless motor and the Faulhaber motor ensure precise performances.
Owing to the high-end power setup, this rotary tattoo machine qualifies itself as one with excellent precision and continuous output. Coming to the design, each of the Bishop’s rotary tattoo machines is handcrafted and rendered light with the usage of medical-grade steel and aircraft-grade chassis. Besides, the hand-polished structure is also a pleasure to look at and is expected to increase the pride of your tattoo parlor.
As far as the functionality is concerned, the 3.5mm stroke makes it suitable for lining and shading. Not just that, you can also adjust the needle and stroke to make the same more conducive to shading. Then again, the Bishop rotary machine is no pushover when color packing and longish tattoo designs are concerned.
What impresses us the most is the lifetime warranty associated with this device, followed by the easy handling capabilities! Needless to say, the warranty-centric specs feel even better with the easy-to-handle concept making life easier for beginners and even experienced tattoo artists.
3. FK Irons Spektra Edge X
While we could go on and on singing praises for the easy-to-use drive bar, Grommetless motor, and the alloyed chassis, it would be prudent enough to talk about the more intriguing and design-centric aspects of the same. Starting off, the FK Irons Spektra Edge X is best known for seamless engineering, which shortens the learning curve and even allows you to get rid of additional complexities.
Keeping the minimalist layout aside, you can reap the diverse benefits of the existing 3.5mm stroke length. While this is quite a reliable metric for tattoo lining, the adjustable stroke and availability of interchangeable caps make it good enough for shading and even color packing. Not just that, this rotary tattoo machine comes equipped with a wider operating voltage, which allows you to adjust to any given working environment.
When it comes to the performances, this is one heavy-duty machine, courtesy of the aircraft-grade aluminum alloy chassis and the powerful motor that hardly makes any sound. Besides, as a professional tattoo artist, you are in better control of your designs, owing to the support for clip-on tattoo needles, bars, and dedicated stroke wheels.
Not just that, we are more than happy with the maintenance-free operational quality of this device.
Therefore, even a beginner or even a mid-level tattoo artist can use the same whilst letting go of frequent lubrication and other requirements. Furthermore, autoclave safety is one of the more essential aspects, which allows you to sterilize the setup without having to dismantle the same.
The Spektra Edge X is best known for its structural quality and hassle-free usage. While the highlights and feature sets might look intimidating to some, they are targeted towards making life easier for the user. Ticking the fancy further is the brushless motor, which works rather perfectly with the variable stroke caps, with the lowest being set at 2.8mm. The torque, however, is pretty good and at par with professional performances.
Lastly, we also liked the noiseless operation, despite the variable voltage and relevant settings. Therefore, if you are more into lining with perfection and that too for longer hours, the Spektra Edge X is the perfect option to invest in.
4. Dragonhawk Mast Tattoo Pen – Best Rotary Tattoo Machine Kit
Firstly, we can proudly state that Dragonhawk Mask Tattoo Pen offers exceptional value for money, probably the best when pitted against competitors. However, consider getting this if you actually want a good starter tattoo kit as a beginner.
We feel you would really dig into this tattoo gun kit, which still persists with the high-performance Faulhaber motor. This means, despite the affordable price point, the tattoo gun lives up to the highest possible precision standards. What works best for professional tattoo artists is the ability of the Dragonhawk Mask Tattoo Pen to exhibit fast needle speeds, which minimizes the screen rupture and gets the job done at the earliest.
Besides, the stroke length associated with this rotary pen is adjustable to up to 3.8mm, making it the best possible option for lining and shading. Coming to the performances, the Dragonhawk Mask Tattoo Pen doesn’t vibrate a lot, making it easier for you to work for longer hours. In case you are concerned about the heat, the tattoo pen remains reassuringly cool even after three to five hours of continuous usage.
We also liked the cost-to-value ratio of the Dragonhawk Mask Tattoo Pen, as it allows you to pack in almost every important accessory to start a business. As compared to most of the brands, this rotary tattoo machine also stacks a relevant tattoo power supply that is best known for the top-notch performances. Besides, the handling is rather close to perfect whereas the quick adjustment setup is something that you can be proud of, in front of the customer.
Therefore, if you are interested in a rotary tattoo machine that is easier to maneuver, use, and deploy for entry-level tattoo designs, the Dragonhawk Mask Tattoo Pen is the perfect option.
5. Cheyenne Hawk Pen Style – Best Rotary Pen Machine
Extrapolating our love for the Cheyenne Hawk rotary tattoo pens is this Pen tattoo machine, sleek, and light machine. While the feature sets are pretty diverse, some of the more highlighted ones include the multi-grip support and the availability of a dedicated tattoo needle plunger. Besides, as we placed the Hawk Spirit pen at the top, featuring this Pen rotary tattoo machine was more than obvious.
However, our willingness is best justified by the availability of the brushless motor and the roll inhibition module. While this machine isn’t as light as a pen, it is still quite sleek and only weighs a mere 130 grams, qualifying it as one of the more aesthetic units on the list. Furthermore, the roll inhibition layout, clubbed with sleekness, ensures zero designing errors.
In case you are interested in the best feature sets, it is still the layout that hogs the limelight. This means, unlike some of the other sizable units, the motor doesn’t cling onto the tip, which makes it easier to manage. Not just that, you also get access to the disposable grips, allowing you to cut out a few additional bucks. Besides, the grip compatibility makes the Cheyenne Hawk pen easier to sanitize.
The design speaks volumes about this rotary pen machine, allowing you to fit it as a reliable lining resource. While the precision is top-class, we would still like beginners to purchase this rotary tattoo machine to start with. Moreover, this rotary tattoo machine also works well with several tattoo ink variants but responds the best to the Cheyenne Hawk needle cartridges and Ergo Grips.
Overall, if the lightness of the form and ease of usage are your priorities, the Cheyenne Hawk Pen-style rotary tattoo machine is the best option to invest in.
6. Stigma Rotary Hyper V3 – Best Rotary Tattoo machine for Shading
The Rotary Hyper V3 tattoo machine is your best bet if shading is one of your priorities. While we wouldn’t recommend the same for coloring, the variable stoke adjustment support makes it a handy resource. Put simply, the Stigma Rotary Hyper V3 tattoo machine allows you to change the stroke length from 3.6mm to up to 6.00mm. However, you should also be mindful of the 4.5mm protrusion, which might be a bit too much for the dermis.
However, if you are a professional, it isn’t hard to manage the needle protrusion by selecting the stroke length with precision. However, the performances get a ready boost with the brushless DC tattoo machine motor in play. While it keeps noise and vibration to a minimum, it also doesn’t add a lot of heft to the concerned rotary tattoo machine.
When it comes to the design, the standout elements include the Maxon motor encapsulated within the aircraft-grade aluminum alloy chassis. This combination is probably the best one in the market at this time and strikes the perfect balance between tattooing power and ease of handling. From a recommending perspective, we would suggest experienced tattoo artists opt for this machine as the needle set can be modulated to hit the skin softly or with hardness.
This attribute makes it one of the best rotary tattoo machines if you are more into shading bone parts and hardened regions.
Also, the Stigma Rotary Hyper V3 tattoo machine is strictly a wireless entity, with a dual hookup layout. This means you can pair the same with an RCA cord and even a plugged tattoo power supply, as per convenience. Regardless of the usage, we never experienced one iota of startup delay. In addition to these attributes, this machine is your best choice if impart minimal trauma onto the client’s skin is one of your priorities.
Lastly, despite the bell and whistles, the Stigma Rotary Hyper V3 tattoo machine is a low maintenance module and you only need to lubricate the same, once every 6 months. Overall, if you really want to purchase a parlor-centric machine that is light and easy to use, the Stigma Rotary Hyper V3 tattoo machine is the best possible choice.
7. Dragonhawk Extreme – Best Rotary Tattoo Machine for Color Packing
The Dragonhawk Extreme rotary tattoo machine is your best color packing bet. However, it also allows you to achieve a lot more, provided you are willing to read on.
To start with, this is one of the best rotary tattoo machines for professional tattoo artists. This means you can achieve exceptional lining and shading performances with the same. While color packing remains the strongest suit of this appliance, it is also known for the finest possible dot work. The credit for the versatility goes to the adjustable stroke length, with the range being restricted to 2.5mm-4.2mm.
As a matter of fact, this rotary tattoo machine also brings home the nanotechnology motor for achieving lining and shading precision. Besides, the Faulhaber motor system pairs perfectly with any tattoo power supply you choose to persist with. Not just that, you can power this device either with a wired supply or wireless module as it supports both the clip cord and the RCA connector.
Then again, the Dragonhawk Extreme rotary tattoo machine flaunts quite a few innovative additions, including, the direct drive setup for continued efficiency and the slider system to keep the needle aligned at all times. These attributes add to the lining and shading precision of this innovative rotary tattoo machine.
In addition to the following attributes, you also get access to the oily setup, pertaining to the aforementioned slider system. This is the primary reason to purchase the same for professional usage.
However, beginners can also benefit as this rotary tattoo machine is quite easy to handle and comes loaded with additional resources, including the wrenches, lube bottle, and the crash course for learning tattooing from scratch.
As not every tattoo artist is good at color packing, the Dragonhawk Extreme rotary tattoo machine is the one to go with if you are planning to stand out of the crowd. Besides, the carbon steel machine frame also helps a bit by keeping the heft to a minimum.
8. YILONG Rotary tattoo machine – Best Rotary Tattoo Machine in terms of pricing
In case you are interested in a rotary tattoo machine pen that comes at a reasonable price point, the YILONG rotary tattoo machine is the one to consider. While the innovative design is a scene-stealer, it works at par with some of the best coil tattoo machines, even when performances are concerned.
However, if you have second thoughts about the same by looking at the affordable price point, you might want to reconsider. To be honest, this machine is purely professional-grade and good at lining and shading. Furthermore, the affordable price point is due to the fact that the company produces machines in bulk. While we wouldn’t recommend this to a professional tattoo artist who is interested in color packing, it still performs better than most.
The smooth operation associated with this tattoo machine is yet another feather in YILONG’s cap. While you can adjust the stroke length as per requirements, the 3.5mm standard, clubbed with the brushless DC motor supports precise and accurate lining. Besides, this machine is also known for its silent operation.
What surprises us the most is the pen-like form factor associated with the same, despite the YILONG rotary tattoo machine stacking in a vertical motor!
This layout also makes it easier for a tattoo artist to handle the device with additional comfort. However, it takes a bit of time to adjust the motor that comes close to the tip of the machine. This means if you are migrating from a coil machine, this minor grimace shouldn’t be bothersome. Overall, the YILONG tattoo machine is a pretty good choice if you are planning to set up a tattoo shop on a budget and looking for a cost-effective tattoo machine.
9. EGO Switch V2 – Best with Integrated Switch
The Switch V2 from EGO is something innovative, courtesy of the efficient On-Off Switch, which is one of a kind and extremely futuristic. While the tattooing features are more or less similar to some of the other rotary tattoo machines on the list, we actually like the dual-mode usage and the near-perfect lining capabilities.
In case we have left you confused, here is a more simplistic explanation. The first model relies on the foot pedal, which is more of a traditional method to change power for increasing the speed and stitch frequency of the machine. However, if you want to lower the foot-hand coordination, the On/Off switch atop the rotary tattoo machine offers another mode of operation.
Besides, if you want to change the nature of the hit and skin penetration, there is a dedicated dial to rely on. However, we shall touch upon the same in a detailed review. Lastly, the anti-roll or rather roll inhibition design is a reliable attribute and allows you to place the device perfectly on a flat surface, without worrying about falls or drops.
10. Spektra Halo 2 Crossover – Best with Stabilizer system
Keeping the details to a minimum, the FK Irons Spektra Halo 2 Crossover from Spektra follows the Edge X that we have already talked about in one of the earlier tattoo machine reviews. However, this variant repurposes the value of rotary tattoo machines by making them more accommodative towards standard needles and push cartridges.
Besides, this rotary tattoo machine comes equipped with a stabilizer system. While this might sound a bit tricky to a layman, professional tattoo artists can easily ditch the rubber bands and grommets after reading this.
Other relevant assertions include the availability of adjustable stroke length. While several rotary tattoo machine reviews have already talked about this feature, the FK irons Spektra Halo 2 crossover is probably the most efficient one in this regard. Not just that all the tattoo needles and tattoo cartridges can be paired with this top-notch device.
11. Inkjecta Flite Nano – Best with Integrated Excenter
Raising a toast to the Inkjeckta Flite Nano makes sense as it is preferred by some of the leading global tattoo artists. Moreover, there are many variants launched by Inkjeckta but the Flite is probably one of the most cost-effective options in the markets.
As far as the feature sets are concerned, the cartridge-dedicated machine is pretty versatile and good enough for coloring, shading, and lining. However, we were most impressed with the 3.25mm pre-installed Excenter, which adds to the precision of the designs. Furthermore, Nanotechnology, or rather the brushless DC motor is good enough to mention if zero delays and high efficiency are your priorities.
This machine also brings an innovative torsion bar into the mix that is more than capable of manipulating the hit and the extent of the same. Moreover, the alloy billet setup is yet another feather in Inkjeckta’s feather, rendering it light and easy on the wrists.
12. Hommi rotary tattoo machine – Best in terms of Compatibility
The Hommi rotary tattoo machine is one of the more cost-effective options to invest in, provided you are in the market for a light, portable, yet efficient designing tool. Firstly, this is one top-rated tattoo machine that has already been reviewed extensively over online and offline stores.
Secondly, this product is best known for its silent operation, courtesy of the low-vibration hardware and enviable stability. Also, if you are into more complicated designs, this is one of the few tattoo machines that allows you to manage longer sessions without overheating.
The minimal vibration associated with this rotary tattoo machine allows newbies to handle tattoo designs without disappointing the customers. Plus, the aluminum-clad chassis renders the Hommi rotary machine lighter than usual, allowing you to carry the same with ease on diverse globetrotting assignments.
This tattoo machine scales beyond others in terms of compatibility and is capable of working with a wide range of grips, tattoo power supplies, needles, tubes, and more. Overall, if you are interested in an all-inclusive and sterilized tattoo machine that also offers a 90-day money-back guarantee, the Hommi rotary tattoo machine is the one to purchase, without second thoughts.
13. Hawink Rotary Pen-Style – Best in terms of Stitch Frequency
In case you want to take your pick for lining and shading resources, the Hawink tattoo machine is the best option to invest in. Firstly, the pen style puts a smile on your face, allowing you to carry the same with ease. Secondly, this rotary machine comes forth as a fantastic lining and shading resource, owing to the cyclical motion and the 3mm stroke length.
While this might not look like a potent device at the first glance, it is the German motor that drives it beyond perfection. Besides, contrary to popular belief, this is a heavy-duty and top tattoo machine that doesn’t even dig a hole in your pocket.
As far as the highlighted specs are concerned, we really liked the minimal fatigue it exerted on the wrists. Besides, it is also known for its stability, which is further facilitated by vibration-less usage. The weight balance is close to perfect, more so due to the aircraft aluminum chassis. Lastly, the durability deserves a special mention followed by minimal heating despite hours of continued usage.
14. Dragonhawk Atom – Best with Voltage variations
Contrary to popular opinion that tattoo machine kits do not have the best tattoo equipment, the Dragonhawk Atom exceeds every possible expectation. While there are quite a few reliable features to work with, a tattoo artist can benefit the most from the variable voltage range. This means you can segregate lining and shading voltage, depending on the preference of the customer.
Other impressive purchase-worthy attributes include the Japanese motor, aircraft aluminum chassis, versatility, and a pen machine layout. Therefore, if you are starting out with tattoo making, it is appropriate to consider the Dragonhawk Atom for ease of usage.
The pricing doesn’t burn a hole in the pocket, which facilitates usability. While the low noise and vibration are more on the expected lines, we were most impressed with it as an all-inclusive rotary tattoo machine kit. This means, if you are planning to save money on accessories like grip tape, carrying case, power supply, and even foot controller, this is the perfect option to invest in.
15. Equaliser Proton – Best in terms of Design Finesse
Manufactured by a company called KWADRON, the Equaliser Proton is easily one of the best rotary tattoo machines to invest in. Firstly, this is one of the sleekest machines in the market but packs in some insane power. Secondly, the 5W motor calls the shots and helps you get the most precise tattoo designs out. Besides, there is an advanced gear system to rely on, encapsulated within the aluminum frame.
While we did purchase one for our team, it was the lightness of form that amazed us the most. The 130g tattoo machine also allows you to change the depth to up to 4.5mm, whereas the stroke length at 3.5mm remains constant and fit for the lining.
As far as cartridge compatibility is concerned, there aren’t many units that go unsupported. Not just that, the Proton is also known for its noiseless and virtually vibrationless operation, despite being such a sleek device. Therefore, getting this for a commercial tattoo parlor makes a lot of sense.
Things to Consider before Purchasing – Buying Guide
A tattoo machine is actually a simplistic piece of hardware. However, cutting the long story short, you still need to ascertain your requirements and make the best decisions as per the mentioned aspects:
While there are quite a few aspects to look at, tattoo machine durability needs to be the more prior one. Imagine working frantically four hours and the machine breaks abruptly, injuring the customer, who ends up suing you for a fortune. If this sends shivers down your spine, it is advisable to purchase a machine with an aircraft aluminum frame leading the way. However, if you do not mind going heavy, brass-layered coil tattoo machines are pretty good bets.
Probably the most important thing about purchasing a tattoo machine, size is something that is extremely hard to generalize. For starters, if you have smaller or rather average-sized hands, a standard tattoo machine, weighing something close to 200 grams or even more is a good bed. Going big hinders your ability to work for longer hours or make sudden turns and angles that are usually associated with complicated tattoo designs.
In case you are more of a traveler or someone who is more into lining and shading, there are several pen rotary tattoo machine variants to work with. However going way too small lowers the needle depth adjustment, which in turn doesn’t bode well for coloring.
3. Type of Machine
You can choose coil machines if you have a restricted budget but expectations focused on easier cleaning, simpler electromagnetic setup, and seamless usage. However, a modern-day pen rotary tattoo machine has each of the mentioned characteristics but at a lower decibel level. While the prices of a standard or even rotary pen tattoo machine is on the higher side, it still helps you get your money’s worth, when zero vibration and other features are concerned.
The cost of the tattoo machine isn’t something that can be described in fewer words. However, we shall still try. In case you are starting out, try and get something of a tattoo machine kit, preferably from a company of repute. This will surely help you save some hard-earned money. If you are a globetrotter and an artist, you can afford to invest in an authentic rotary tattoo machine or even a pen rotary tattoo machine, as per your size and weight-centric preferences.
Then again, you should realize that while a tattoo kit comes cheap, authentic rotary tattoo machines like the one from Bishop or even a rotary pen tattoo machine, are priced at a premium.
What is the best rotary tattoo machine?
While there are quite a few machines to invest in, our vote goes to the Hawk Spirit from Cheyenne, owing to the sleek chassis, versatility, and high-quality motor.
Is a Rotary tattoo machine better than a coil tattoo machine?
If you do not want to repel customers with noise and vibration, a top rotary tattoo machine is a pretty good bet over any of the coil tattoo machines.
What is the best brand of a tattoo machine to purchase?
Personally, we would ask you to purchase a Dragonhawk tattoo machine or a tattoo machine kit from the same company, if you want to go with a more affordable band. Otherwise, in the premium segment, Spektra is a pretty good option to rely on.
Are Dragonhawk Tattoo Machines good?
Yes, they are pretty good and bolstered with a reliable motor and a pretty nominal price tag. However, you can also consider the stigma tattoo kit if you desire all-around functionality.
You can easily choose the best rotary tattoo machine from this expansive list of the 15, depending on the preferences, professional stead, and even the budget.
However, we would advise you to read each of the 15 rotary tattoo machine reviews in detail. If you are still unsure, do purchase the all-inclusive Cheyenne Hawk Spirit without second thoughts.