Modern-day tattoo artists are no less than magicians, provided they have the best tattoo pen machine as their wand of choice.
They cut. They draw. And, eventually, etch out brilliance on the skin surface. But then, what about the magic wands!
No artist wants to feel inadequate, owing to the lack of relevant things and the best tattoo machines. For an artist to create magic, he or she needs a top-shelf resource, which for an artist means a high-end or the best pen tattoo machine. Are you planning to opt for the best tattoo pen machine there is, in a nutshell, here is the best tattoo pen machine to choose from as a tattoo artist without having to go through the entire post?
Finding the best pen tattoo machine is easier said than done. Despite the market brimming with hot buys and endless possibilities, not every best tattoo pen machine is created the same.
Also, before we start discussing the relevant tattoo machines at length, here is a quick statistic to look at!
Did you know, 20 percent of tattoo enthusiasts have more than 5 tattoo designs etched on them.
If this isn’t good enough to consider being a tattoo artist, here is one more;
Almost 36 percent of Americans, who belong to the 18 to 29-year age group, have at least one tattoo on them.
These statistics show the buzz surrounding tattoo making and its dominance in the global circuit as an elusive art form.
But then, which tattoo machine to get!
Without second thoughts, you should immediately grab the best pen tattoo machine, owing to the flexibility it offers. As revealed by the stats, tattoo making is in demand as a profession and only a pen rotary tattoo machine can empower artists when it comes to being mobile with the art form and profession.
Put simply, pen tattoo machines are mostly rotary pen machines that offer excellent shading and lining qualities to the professional. Plus, they are minimal resources with no imposing structural aspects to consider.
Therefore, the best tattoo pen machine is nothing less than a godsend solution for you, if you are a professional who needs to travel extensively to cater to a pretty sizable clientele.
12 Best Pen Tattoo Machines [Experts choice]
Now that the best tattoo pen machine is out of the way, we take time out to review the same and even 9 other tattoo pen machines that are breathing down on its neck for winning the top spot. The Sol Terra seems way ahead for now, but then we will leave the conclusions and expositions to you.
1. Cheyenne Sol Terra – Best Overall
This top-shelf, best pen tattoo machine can make quite a few heads turn. Sol Terra from Cheyenne is one of the sleekest and calmest tattoo pen machines in the retail arena, characterized by needle depth adjustment and dual-faceted operations.
Hailing from the innovative Cheyenne Sol lineup of pen machines, Sol Terra is one of the better tattooing resources to invest in. Coming to the performances, the adjustable strike length of up to 4mm makes it a reliable color packing resource.
Still, you can keep using it for lining and shading work but we would prefer the Sol Luna for the same.
As far as the working mechanism is concerned, the SensiDrive technology makes an appearance. This feature allows the professional tattoo artist to use this best tattoo pen machine in two different working modes, depending on the type of skin surface.
For starters, there is the HardDrive mode, which is the regular machine powering mechanism. This mode ensures consistent speeds and a firm hit for the hardened regions. The moment Sol Terra encounters a softer skin patch, the SensiDrive mode takes effect and automatically modulates the hit and depth.
This approach allows the tattoo artist to get in fantastic designs without causing much damage to the skin surface. Apart from this concept, the Sol Terra also achieves excellent tactile feedback, despite being a rotary tattoo machine.
Also, there is the Brushless motor in play that allows the machine to assume lower speeds, which is good enough for dot work and achieving color realism. Plus, the same brushless motor can churn out higher speeds for excellent line work.
Lastly, this is one of the few rotary machines on the lists to come with a one year warranty, which you might never even need to revisit.
Overall, the Cheyenne Sol Terra is one of the few pen-style rotary tattoo machines in the market, capable of realizing multiple tasks without breaking a sweat.
2. Spektra Xion – Best with Motorbolt support
The Spektra Xion from FK Irons is one of the best rotary tattoo machines for starters and mid-level professionals. Also, its availability as a pen tattoo machine makes it easier for professionals to carry it around, without breaking a sweat.
Better termed as an initial point for contact for the stateside artists, the Spektra Xion is loaded with possibilities. However, it is the quality construction that takes the cake on any given day.
The high-grade tattoo pen is good to hold and excellent to work with. Plus, there is a dedicated Motor Bolt at the core that is capable of working at 6-Watt. This technology allows the tattoo machine to hold on to the generated torque whilst helping the professional in you sail through extended tattooing sessions.
The BLDC motor also plays an important role in this, allowing you to manage lining and shading work with precision.
That’s not it as Spektra Xion also stacks in a sturdy chassis to complement the inner circuitry. The aluminum-grade casing is worth mentioning and adds to the durability quotient. Plus, the lighter form factor also ensures zero overheating. Also, FK Irons is mindful of the heft and offers the gorilla gripping option for the professional to hold the pen without tiring the hands and fingers.
The Spektra Xion is also a highly versatile tattoo machine, despite being one of the heaviest options in the retail space at 0.32 pounds. What works for this pen machine is the interchangeable cartridge adjustment support, allowing you to use the same for different styles.
The needle penetration can also be maneuvered whereas the form factor sits pretty well within the fingers, owing to the balanced chassis. Coming to the warranty, the 1-year support is noteworthy but the customer reviews suggest that wouldn’t be beckoning brand support, anytime soon.
Overall, if you are seeking a balanced tattoo machine that serves as multipurpose tattoo equipment, the FK Irons Spektra Xion is a good option to invest in.
3. Stigma Spear – Best with RCA Support
The Stigma Spear isn’t simply a tattoo pen machine but an ethos that defines the very essence and pedigree of this art form. Envisioned, ideated, and created by trained German tattoo artists, this machine is loaded with some of the best features that can ever show up in a tattoo machine this small.
For starters, it is the flexibility that steals the show as the Stigma Spear allows you to adjust the stroke length based on lining and shading preferences. However, the approach of changing the same is what makes this tattoo machine different. You get an adjustable dial to work with, which also can help you manipulate the give and hit of the machine, depending on the skin surface.
As a safety measure, we would suggest you disconnect the device from the given power source before adjusting the dial as anything different might crack the RCA connector.
Coming back to the features, the versatility of this machine extends beyond your ability to change and modify the actions of the Stigma Spear. Also, the 5.7-pound device might seem a bit heavy to the novices but makes a lot of sense for an artist with considerable tattooing skill.
Plus professional tattoo artists can manage different tattooing styles with similar pen machines, provided the heft doesn’t affect the indented and slim profile of the device at hand. The Stigma Spear is similarly crafted and, therefore, is easier to grip and use for tattooing.
Therefore, if you seek a compact, versatile, and durable tattoo machine that is capable of working with diverse cartridge needles, the Stigma Spear is the perfect option to go with.
4. Dragonhawk Atom – Best Value for Money
The Dragonhawk atom is one of the more sought-after tattoo pen machines in the retail space, best known for the exceptional value of money it offers to budding tattoo artists.
Coming to the aesthetics, this is one of the best tattoo pen machines to invest in, courtesy of a light yet durable chassis. As with any other tattoo pen machine, this gadget weighs a mere 135 grams, making it easy to carry around. Plus, if you are seeking a machine that can be paired with a wide range of cartridge needles, the Dragonhawk Atom is certainly one of the few reliable options to consider.
As far as the features are concerned, this is one of the few tattoo pen machines on the list to sport an RCA connector. This means you can use the same with any power supply of choice, without having to worry about the connectivity-specific limitations. Not to mention the standard 3.5mm stroke length and the needle depth adjustment support of up to 4.5mm, which allow you to ideate and realize almost every design there is, sans performance issues.
Also, the unibody chassis helps with the vibration and allows you to manage complex designs without tiring the fingers. What sets the Dragonhawk Atom apart is the insanely powerful motor, allowing you to manage lines and shades with comparable ease.
The excellent operating voltage range of this tattoo pen machine i.e. 5v-15v makes it a handy resource. This way, you need not worry about the power supply at hand as almost every product is capable of supplying power to this Dragonhawk Atom pen machine.
That’s not it as you also need to be mindful of the advanced and functional gear system in play, allowing you to handle longer sessions with seamless ease. Overall, the Dragonhawk Atom is one tattoo pen that exceeds expectations by paring power with price-centric autonomy.
5. Equalizer Proton – Best with Faulhaber Motor
The top-shelf Equaliser Proton is one of Kwadron’s most successful and sought-after tattoo pen machines. Plus, it is pretty rare for a rotary tattoo pen machine to stand up to decked-up and powerful coil tattoo machines.
The rotary built associated with this pen machine deserves all the attention. Lending added versatility is the average, 3.5mm stroke that can be adjusted, depending on the task at hand. Plus, the depth-adjustment support exhibited by the needle bar qualifies the same as an all-purpose tattooing resource.
Another relatable aspect of the Equaliser Proton is its interoperable usage, capable of accommodating multiple needle cartridge sans issues.
We also loved the performances exhibited by the Swiss Faulhaber motor with a standard 5W working range. This powerful motor works in tandem with the unique machine gear system and allows you to maintain the highest possible levels of torque and pen machine efficiency. The power generated is also commendable but it is the noise-free functioning that has our heart.
Overall, if you plan on cutting out vibrations completely from your repertoire whilst getting a rotary pen machine that can be used for multiple sessions and styles at once, the Equaliser Proton is the one to invest in.
6. Dragonhawk Mast – Best Rotary Tattoo Pen Machine
The Mast rotary pen machine from Dragonhawk is worth the investment, owing to its excellent lining, shading, filling, and even color packing abilities.
As a tattoo artist, this can be the best tattoo equipment to have, owing to the excellent stroke adjustment range on display. This tattoo pen is also meant for artists who are looking for a pretty affordable color packing resource, without going inside the murkier world of coil tattoo machines.
Nothing against coil units though!
Still, we would prefer artists going with the more portable pen tattoo machines like the Dragonhawk Mast, purely from a mobility-centric perspective. What surprises us further is the ability of this tattoo machine to pull off excellent performances, despite the affordable price point.
Plus, the durability is unmatched, courtesy of the aluminum-clad chassis. The performance reliability is second to none as Dragonhawk prefers accommodating a brushless Japanese motor for helping you sail through the complex sessions.
This rotary tattoo machine is one of the more versatile options in the market, owing to the exceptional stroke adjustment range. This means you need not invest in any other machine if you have this one in your repertoire.
The pen-style tattoo machine doesn’t vibrate a lot and allows you to manage tattooing sessions with aplomb. Plus, purchasing this feels a lot like getting a pen kit in play as you get several accessories, power supply, and foot switch bundled with the same.
Overall, the Dragonhawk Mast is an all-inclusive tattoo machine if you are looking for a portable yet a detail-oriented option.
Plus, this machine can either be purchased from the official store or the Killer Ink Tattoo platform, which makes it one of the easiest gadgets to procure and offer the best shopping experience.
7. Autdor Tattoo Kit – Best with LED display
The Autdor tattoo kit is more of a reliable rotary machine that comes bundled with a power supply, foot pedal, and even 7 ink variants.
Plus, this is one of the few rotary machines to offer a pretty consistent output followed by unmatched protection against power surges. Also, the ergonomic layout deserves an additional mention; courtesy of the space aluminum chassis and an interactive display with LED light at the helm.
The Autdor tattoo machine or rather tattoo pen kit is a transparent product that allows you to view the ink levels while working. Plus, the aesthetic layout facilitates smoother ink flow.
Not to mention the microblading capabilities of this tattoo pen and its advanced compatibility with diverse needle bars and cartridges.
Therefore, if you seek a low-noise tattoo machine that even offers excellent value for money, the Autdor tattoo machine kit is certainly the better buy on the list.
8. BMX Pen – Best with Aluminum Chassis
The BMX tattoo pen kit is worthy of getting featured on the list, owing to the innovative design and a creative feature set. Coming to the aesthetics, this device flaunts the aluminum alloyed chassis, which is strictly aviation grade and appropriately light.
Our experts hardly had issues using this pen for extended tattooing sessions. Plus, it also allows you to pair multiple cartridge needles.
Another innovative feature is the needle hit adjustment support, which allows you to change the hit, according to the skin surface. As expected, this pen machine allows you to adjust stroke length for shading, lining, and even dot work.
Every complex tattoo design is easier to create with this product, courtesy of the power adjustment support. The advanced gear clubbed with the powerful motor allows you to change the operational voltage whilst keeping the torque intact. The rotary tattoo machine is also capable of working in the 6V-9V voltage range, making it good enough for diverse scenarios.
Also, tattooing stability is out of this world. The balanced structure followed by the needle and stroke adjustment support allows you to be gentle on the clients’ skin, even during extended sessions.
The BMX tattoo machine, as mentioned, is one of the better tattoo machine kits on the list, if you are looking for easier voltage control, zero overheating, and an additional foot pedal for better maneuvering.
Overall, the value for money exhibited by the tattoo pen machine is certainly worth considering, provided you are a mid-level professional or a beginner.
9. Hummingbird Bronc – Best for Color Tattooing
The Hummingbird Bronc should remind you of a proper pencil, owing to the extremely indented and streamlined chassis. Despite being a pen-style machine, it doesn’t cut corners when operational performances are concerned.
Plus, the noise-free operation is one of the major highlights associated with the same. Also, the control exhibited by the Bronc pen readily trounces that exhibited by the best coil machines.
The nanotechnology motor makes the Hummingbird Bronc one of the best pen-style tattoo machines on the list. Courtesy of the advanced motor, it becomes possible for you to get the desired efficiency and torque, even for the changing hits.
The ergonomic design is perfectly complemented by the bundled package, which makes it more of a tattoo machine kit. You get O-rings, cartridge needles, needle bars, lubricant, and even a foot switch as part of the package.
Therefore, if functionality and value for money are what you seek out of your tattoo machines, the Bronc from Hummingbird the rotary tattoo machine to invest in. And, the 3.5mm length is also adjustable across a wider-range, making the Bronc good enough for every complex tattoo design.
10. Cheyenne Hawk Pen – Best for Lining
The Hawk Pen from Cheyenne is easily one of the best rotary tattoo pen machines on the list. While the design and aesthetics feel top-shelf, the operating principles are synonymous with some of the best tattoo machines on the list.
The overall feel of this pen-style tattoo machine is exceedingly pleasing, courtesy of the aluminum-clad chassis. Plus, you can also adjust stroke length and needle depth for aligning the machine as per the designs and skin surfaces.
Also, there is a responsive mode to fall back upon, courtesy of the innovative and efficient BLDC motor. The cartridge grips are interchangeable and customizable. Plus, you can pair adjustable needles with the same, whilst making complete use of the anti-rolling layout.
Overall, the Hawk Pen is easily one of the better pen-style tattoo machines to purchase, provided you are looking for something sturdy and durable.
11. Big WASP – Best with Swash Palette
One of the more reliable pen tattoo machines on the list, the Big Wasp also scales beyond the rest when affiliate links, shopping experiences, and promotions are concerned.
The best attributes pertaining to the same include a decent operating range and the maximum stroke length of up to 5mm that can be adjusted for every tattooing style.
The precision CNC associated with the Big WASP adds to the credibility of this tattoo machine. Also, the swash pallet keeps the needle drive bar mobile, thereby guaranteeing better control and performance.
Finally, this is one of the best tattoo machines to purchase if you seek quicker assembly and adjustment locks.
12. Spektra Edge X – Best Ink Saturation
The Spektra Edge X is one of the better-looking pen tattoo machines on the list, provided you are more interested in shading and lining.
What works best for this pen-style tattoo machine is the inclusion of a dedicated switch, allowing professional tattoo artists to switch it on or turn it off, as per requirements.
Plus, FK Irons ensures tip indentation, thereby facilitating faster ink saturation. This tattoo equipment is one of the more versatile options for a novice to have. Also, the noise-free operations make it a better bet as compared to a similarly priced coil machine.
Not just that, you can pair multiple power supplies with this sought-after rotary machine. Also, the information guide is pretty exhaustive and offers a lot of insights related to pen machine usage and assembly.
Buying Guide – How to select the best Tattoo Pen Machine?
As there are quite a few pen tattoo machines to choose from, here are some of the metrics that you must take a note of for making informed decisions:
Pen vs. Gun
Tattoo guns or tattoo machines are conventional resources with a lot of additional hardware specs to account for. Still, if you are mostly on the move as an illustrator, a pen machine with a manageable structural footprint is the best option to consider.
Importance of choosing the Best
A good rotary tattoo machine that is styled like a pen doesn’t rupture the skin as much and even allows you to finish the designs faster than usual.
Brand reputation is necessary before selecting a pen-style rotary tattoo machine. Therefore, it is advisable to opt for brands like FK Irons, Hummingbird, Dragonhawk, and more, to make a rewarding purchase.
Owing to the finest possible construction, it often becomes difficult to keep the costs of the tattoo pen machines under control. Besides, most high-end coil machines come at a cheaper rate as compared to the pen-style units.
Therefore, it is necessary to purchase the ones that are easy on the pocket and even do not compromise on operational efficiency.
Tattoo Pen Machine – FAQs
What is the best tattoo pen machine?
Cheyenne Sol Terra is the best tattoo machine to buy as it is one of the sleekest and offers all-purpose usage support to the professional, courtesy of the 4mm stroke length.
What is the best rotary pen tattoo machine?
It is the Spectra Xion from FK Irons that lives up to the tag of the best rotary pen tattoo machine simply due to the ease of holding the device. Plus, you can also get excellent torque for staying atop the tattoo sessions at all times.
Are Dragonhawk tattoo machines good?
Yes, Dragonhawk tattoo machines are extremely good owing to the structural brilliance, inclusion of a high-power motor, and several things that are bundled along with the machine.
What is the secret of rotary pen’s popularity?
It is the aesthetics that make the rotary pen machines very popular. Plus, the high torque and easy to adjust the hit and depth as per the hit are things that add to the credibility of these rotary machines.
The best tattoo pen machine reviews enlisted in the aforementioned segments qualify every device as the best in its own right. Still, if you are looking for a rotary tattoo pen machine that is in sync with each of your myriad preferences, skim through for the best possible options and things that matter. Or, you can simply pick up the Cheyenne Sol Terra for its all-around excellence.