I previously talked quite a lot about tattoo machines, how to make them, and even how they work. However, for all you tattoo artists that follow this site, I want to provide some specialized information just for you! This also helps any tattoo newbs who feel inspired by all these tattoo gun posts lately. You might be interested in a similar tool–a tattoo pen machine. There is a certain finesse required for wielding tattoo pens properly, and I want to talk about what goes into that. Stick around and learn how to shade, line, and color with your own two hands. Using tattoo pens could never be simpler! On top of that, let’s talk about all the ways to find the best tattoo pen machine.
Choosing the Best Tattoo Pen Machine
If you’re in the market for a pen-style tattoo machine, then you’re in luck. I decided to make a buyer’s guide for this website on just that. Pen-style rotary tattoo machines focus on size, cleanliness, noise levels, and endurance. These are the four main things you need to look for in your purchases. For size, figure out whether you have small or large hands. Some of the pens are so small that large-handed people lose a bit of control. If that’s the case, only go for the long ones! For cleanliness, consider the frequency with which you need to clean your pen. Some of these can withstand an autoclave, while others need a manual scrub.
In general, noise levels are reduced with these types of guns, but it never hurts to check that aspect. Lastly, if you mainly do small tattoos or short sessions, you can opt for one with a lower price. The more expensive ones are that way primarily because extra effort went into keeping them cool. With their size as it is, preventing overheating is a tricky task, but essential for tattoo artists focusing on large tattoos or long sessions. Now that you know what to look for in the best tattoo pen machine for you, check out the best designs on the market!
Buyer’s Guide: the Best Tattoo Pen Machine
Obviously, I’m talking about permanent tattoo pens. While temporary ‘tattoo pens’ lurk out in the market, I only want to focus on the real deal today. Tattoo pen machines focus on flexibility and comfort. If you’re looking for tattoo guns instead, check my reviews on this page.
Dragonhawk Mast Rotary Tattoo Pen Kit
This rotary tattoo pen kit comes with a power supply, foot pedal, several compatible needles, and all the wires you need to hook it up right out of the box. Look for inks compatible with both rotary pen tattoo machines and your own sense of ethics. Lots of vegan and organic inks are out there—just make sure to stock an alternative for people with allergies or sensitive skin. Once you have both the kit, your inks, and your pigments, you’ll be ready to deliver brand new tattoos to whomever you want!
A key advantage of this kit to others is its noise level. It’s very quiet compared to other rotary machines. Its power supply is also surprisingly reliable—lots of kits out there come with sub-par power supply that you have to quickly replace, but this is no such kit. It’s easy for beginners to pick up and masters enjoy the light weight of the pen-style rotary tattoo machine.
Mast Tour Pen Style Short Rotary Tattoo Machine
Sometimes, size matters. This tattoo pen machine stands out from the others thanks to its size. It measures shorter than most pencils and easily fits into your hand. This leads to a lighter weight and less stress on your wrist while working. The comfortable grip disconnects and endures an autoclave just fine, making cleaning it a cinch. The motor is particularly amazing. Made by Japanese engineers, it works for over 3,000 hours before you see any signs of age.
As for its working condition, the pen minimizes its impact on the client. With an LED light to guide your process, you create precise lines. The pen also excels at shading and gradient work. You may increase its speed to make solid patches a faster process. It also goes for five hours before you feel the machine start to heat up. That means this little thing handles long sessions just fine, despite its size!
This is the best tattoo pen machine for people who need a lighter working tool. Those of you who do long tattoo sessions all the time should definitely give this one a look! It can save you some heart ache (and muscle ache) down the line. At the same time, due to its size, it is not suitable for people with large hands. You won’t have as much control and your fingers will end up strained after prolonged use. For those in between or those with small hands, it works just fine. In fact, it excels at what it does!
Dragonhawk Mast Pen Rotary Tattoo
If you want to cut down on costs, you can purchase the pen all by itself. This Dragonhawk mast pen rotary tattoo machine provides a customizable stroke length of 2.8-3.5mm and works alright for well for outlines and spectacularly for shading. The only downside is its power, which ranges from 6-10V (not far below average, but still worth mentioning). It’s lightweight, quiet, and compatible with many types of needle brands. The kit version includes a few needles to test with and a power supply system that works perfectly with the tattoo pen gun.
A lot of cheap tattoo guns require some prior tuning and part replacement, but this one works well straight out of the box. All of you professionals can still take a peek at the insides, of course, but you’ll find everything satisfactory. It starts warming up at about five hours, but I’ve never heard of them outright overheating. It feels great to use even during low sessions and only has a low vibration.
Dragonhawk Atom Rotary Tattoo Pen
To start off some tattoo artist pen recommendations, let’s look at the Dragonhawk rotary pen tattoo machine. It makes very little noise compared to its fellow rotary pens, runs between 5-10 V, and has a stroke of 3.5mm. This makes it pretty decent for tattooing outlines—especially for the price. Its main disadvantage is that it’s difficult to clean. You have to get past glue in order to get at the interior! But, once you disassemble it the first time, cleaning goes smoothly.
Its lightweight design helps artists with joint issues and muscle issues like arthritis or carpal tunnel. This item provides all of the functions of a high-end tattoo pen for a very affordable price. If you’re just getting started with pen style tattoo machines, this one will work well for any budget.
Solong Rotary Tattoo Pen Machine & Permanent Makeup Pen
Solong focused on making this pen stable and lightweight. While using it, the hum of the motor barely goes over ambient noise levels of your average tattoo shop. On top of that, it provides a powerful and steady line. It stays cool for hours, allowing for long inking sessions. However, all of the best tattoo pens focus on these traits. What makes this pen stand out from the others? Its small size and adjustable grip make it easy to use in all sorts of spaces. To adjust the pen depth, simply twist the front end of the tattoo pen.
If you purchase a power supply unit and a foot pedal, you can use the foot pedal to adjust the flow as needed. With a 10W motor, avoid sources that would give it excess power. A voltage of 12V or more will damage the motor, cause overheating, and interfere with the steady flow of the needle.
Lots of professionals use Solong pens for tattoos and permanent makeup, and for good reason. Even at an affordable price range, this is one of the best tattoo pen machines and ranks up there with the best of them. It’s so effective and simple to use that the manufacturer has to put warnings that no matter how easy their product makes the tattooing process, you should practice ahead of time on fruit or test skin.
Using Tattoo Pens
As you use your tattoo pen of choice, make sure to ink at a 45 degree angle to the skin. This prevents ink from leaking out or excess damage to the skin. The depth of your needles is also very important—if you go too deep, the tattoo will heal as a blurry mess, and let’s just say that that’s a nightmare for both you and your client! Use a specialized tattoo chair or tattoo bed to reach every part of your client’s tattoo zone better. Since you need to stretch the skin to make an even canvas, this extra bit of accessibility really pays off in the end.
Just to remind you, you should encourage your client to go through with basic hygiene before they enter your studio. It sucks to tattoo someone when they smell like crap. Tell them to wash with typical antibiotic soap, grab some tattoo numbing cream and apply it ahead of time if they need it, and shave the area they want tattooed. This makes using your tattoo pen much easier in the long run! If you want to learn how to tattoo eyeliner, check out the dedicated page.
Advantages of a Tattoo Pen Kit
If you’re shopping for a complete kit for yourself, it’s best to start with something small and affordable. Unless you already have a lot of fame from working at another studio and are transferring customers from your old shop along with your favorite tattoo machine, you need to focus on mastering your art with one tattoo machine at a time. Kits have the advantage of getting matching parts at once. No shopping or testing around. They are the perfect place to start.
What to Do After Using a Tattoo Pen
Once you finish creating your client’s tattoo, go ahead and provide them with an aftercare handout of some sort. Stocking up on tattoo lotion or tattoo sunscreen helps get you a little extra cash and ensures your client takes perfect care of their tattoo after they exit the shop. Aftercare is critical to the eventual outcome of a client’s tattoo. You can use your tattoo pen perfectly, but if your client goes swimming in a river or a similar risky activity, it can become ruined by infection. Your client’s aftercare ensures the safety of both your client and your business!
Aftercare aside, once your session is over, focus on cleaning up your pen. You need to disassemble your pen and completely sterilize it between sessions. The easiest way—and the way that most artists choose—is to use an autoclave. Once your pen is disassembled, you place all of the parts into the autoclave and seal them in. It uses high heat and increased pressure to completely disinfect your tattoo pen! As for the tattoo needles, I highly encourage you to toss pen sets between sessions and clients. They are incredibly difficult to sterilize completely, and given their very low price, it is just common sense to keep your clients safe and dispose of them as they’re used.
Final Advice the Best Tattoo Pen Machines
If you’re still interested in the tattooing process, check out our page on traditional tattoo guns. This includes the history of tattoo guns, the mechanics behind all types of tattoo guns, and a little more on how to use them. We also talk about how to make a simple tattoo gun at home with basic supplies—although this is meant more as a way to understand the basics of tattoo guns in a tangible way, rather than provide you with a tool to use on others.
Regardless of how you acquire your tattoo pen or your experience with tattoo machines, remember what these tools are at their core. They are a means of creating art, and with a little bit of ink, a tad of pigment, and a lot of experience, you can put together some striking and astonishing tattoos all on your own. The highest compliment an artist can receive is a request to give someone permanent art that they will carry always, for the rest of their life! So embrace these tattoo pens and start forging your path forward as the ultimate artist—your path will lead you to a feeling of pride that no other type of artist can hope to achieve!