Choosing the Best Tattoo Guns and Tattoo Machines
When you first enter the tattooing world as an apprentice or hobbyist, learning which machine is best for you proves difficult. After all, there are so many options out there to choose from! How do you know what you need in a tattoo gun? How do you know what you don’t want at all? On the other hand, experts might find themselves on the fence about which machine gun to try out next and whether they should pick something new in the first place. This guide for choosing the best tattoo guns and tattoo machines helps both new tattoo artists and professionals pick a tattoo gun that’s perfect for their style…without breaking the bank. We want to be as thorough with these machine reviews as we were with our aftercare tattoo lotion reviews. Let’s get started!
The Best Tattoo Guns and Tattoo Machines in 2018
|Product Name||Type||Where to get it|
|Dragonhawk Complete Tattoo Kit||Starter Kit||Check on Amazon|
|Dragonhawk Complete Tattoo Kit||Large Starter Kit||Check on Amazon|
|Dragonhawk Complete Tattoo Kit Copper Coils||Professional Tattoo Kit||Check on Amazon|
|Hommii Professional Rotary Tattoo Machine Kit||Professional Tattoo Kit||Check on Amazon|
|Complete Tattoo Kit Machines Color Inks Power Supply||Professional Tattoo Kit||Check on Amazon|
|Tattoo Machine, New Star Dragonfly Rotary Tattoo Machine||Rotary Tattoo Gun||Check on Amazon|
|HB-WGD046 8 Wrap Coils Iron Liner Gun Tattoo Machine||Coil Tattoo Gun||Check on Amazon|
|Handmade Cast Iron Tattoo Machine Liner Shader Gun||Coil Tattoo Gun||Check on Amazon|
|TATTOO SUPPLY PRO Tattoo Rotary Motor Machine UMC-202||Rotary Tattoo Gun||Check on Amazon|
|New Cast 10 Laps Coils Tattoo Machine Hb-wgd012b||Coil Tattoo Gun||Check on Amazon|
- 1 Choosing the Best Tattoo Guns and Tattoo Machines
- 1.1 The Best Tattoo Guns and Tattoo Machines in 2018
- 1.1.1 History of the Tattoo Gun
- 1.1.2 Understanding How Tattoo Guns Work
- 1.1.3 Types of Tattoo Guns
- 1.1.4 Pros and Cons of Different Tattoo Guns
- 1.1.5 Main Components of Tattoo Guns
- 1.1.6 Basics of Using Tattoo Guns
- 1.1.7 Working with Tattoo Gun Prices
- 1.1.8 Tattoo Gun Starter Kit
- 1.1.9 Professional Tattoo Kits
- 1.1.10 Tattoo Machines
- 1.1.11 More Tattoo Guns
- 1.1.12 Building Your Own Tattoo Gun
- 1.1.13 Picking the Best Tattoo Gun for You
- 1.1 The Best Tattoo Guns and Tattoo Machines in 2018
History of the Tattoo Gun
While tattoo chairs and tattoo tables naturally evolved from prior barber chairs and massage tables, the tattoo gun started from something amazingly different. The electric pen—developed by none other than Thomas Edison—paved the way for electric art in 1876. However, no one knew how efficient it was for tattooing at the time. Its original purpose was to copy text quickly and efficiently. It created holes in a piece of paper in the shape of text and an ink roller quickly printed the text out.
A man named Samuel O’Reilly modified the design in 1891 to deliver ink to the skin at the same time as the perforations, and thus the true tattoo gun was born. It introduced ink at the same time as the perforation was created for the explicit purpose of tattooing, pushing tattoos into the mechanical age! These original tattoo machines used rotary technology, which in turn utilizes a small motor to create holes.
With the invention of the double coil tattoo machine in 1929 by Percy Waters, tattoo popularity exploded. There was now an efficient and less painful way to receive a tattoo. Demand grew such that tattoo shops were unable to service the amount of clients that wanted tattoos! This huge tattoo boom created a huge amount of tattoo shops and shows no sign of stopping any time soon. Read more about tattoo gun history here.
Understanding How Tattoo Guns Work
No matter what sort of tattoo gun you use, they both serve the same purpose—they put ink under that skin, permanently! By using a needle to create tiny paths into your dermis, you expose the tattoo ink directly to the immune system. Normally, you don’t want to mess with your immune system’s regular job, but it works to our advantage in this case. You see, when foreign particles (like tattoo ink) enter the body, our white blood cells attack it, break it into pieces, and carry it away.
Since tattoo ink particles are so large, this proves way too difficult, and the body seals them in something called a ‘macrophage’ instead. A macrophage has a much longer life than a white blood cell and remains stationary, for the most part. This is what makes tattoos permanent! The smaller and more efficient your tattoo gun is, the more effective it will be at penetrating the dermis and applying ink beneath the skin. It also helps your clients recover if your gun delivers the ink in a timely manner, since you don’t need to redouble your efforts and create twice the amount of pinpricks! This site talks all about the different types of tattoo guns and how they work!
Types of Tattoo Guns
With this basic stuff out of the way, let’s look at different types of tattoo guns. In modern times, artists choose between one of these two: rotary tattoo machine setups or coil tattoo machine setups. They both have their pros and cons. A third type of tattoo machine, the pneumatic machine, was invented recently, but they still haven’t entered main stream. As such, I will focus more on the first two types.
Rotary Tattoo Guns
I want to start with the least popular of the two, rotary tattoo guns, just because it has some interesting advantages over the electric coil. They are simple to make at home (hell, I even wrote a guide on it over here), but professional rotary tattoo guns are popping up in shops more and more frequently. While their design is more primitive, they are very lightweight and adjustable. You can use them for both shading and outlines, instead of switching out for different tattoo guns in between.
Coil Tattoo Guns
Coil tattoo machines appear more frequently in tattoo shops than any other type. They use an electromagnetic circuit to provide smooth needle motion. This site talks all about the physics behind coil tattoo guns, along with that one Cosmos II episode. The number of coils in tattoo machines varies, but the standard is usually a double coil tattoo machine (or dual-coiled machines). These tattoo machines tend to be heavy and in their early days they were even suspended from the ceiling so that the artist could work with them! So, if they’re so heavy, why do we use them? The advantage of coils is their ability to mitigate damage to the skin without limiting the penetration of the needle. The coils help stabilize the tattoo gun.
Pneumatic Tattoo Machine
A pneumatic tattoo machine uses an air compressor and drastically cuts down on a tattoo gun’s weight. Bursts of air control the needle during the tattoo process. Furthermore, it can be autoclaved without worrying about its components—which means it is incredibly easy to sterilize. All of the usual tattoo guns have to be disassembled to properly sanitize them between clients.
More Types of Tattoo Guns
Beyond just these, different variants of tattoo guns perform niche services. A liner tattoo machine helps create a fast and smooth line, reducing the time it takes to create outlines. In contrast, a shader tattoo machine inks at a slower pace, spacing out the needlework to create the illusion of a gradient with a single ink color. Most tattoo guns will offer a range of angles, speeds, tension, and size, but the type of gun determines its versatility.
The only thing that defines a tattoo gun is whether it can safely create a puncture in the skin for ink to fall into while being powered by electricity. That’s a pretty loose definition that covers a lot of things, but for now, the tattoo guns I already discussed should cover everything we need to know!
Pros and Cons of Different Tattoo Guns
Use this handy chart to weigh the advantages of each type of gun. If you plan on starting a tattoo shop or already own one, consider practicing with all three of these popular types of guns and see which one works best for you. You certainly want to try them all out before purchasing one for another artist! Different styles and brands make a huge impact on how you create your tattoos. Combine them with a tattoo stencil machine to find the perfect setup for your work.
|Coil||- Great Control|
- Highly Customizable
- Lots of DIY Kits
- Smooth Control
- Works Well with Large Needles
|- “Noisy” (not a huge con)
- Difficult to Repair without Proper Knowledge
- Needle is Forceful With Skin, Takes Longer to Heal
- Needs More Training
|Rotary||- Gentle on Skin|
- Precise Control
- Simple Design
- Works Great With Small Needles
|- Does not Respond to Tension
- More Difficult to Shade
- Needle Sometimes Skips or Makes Stitched Lines
- Needs Full Stroke
- Works Poorly With Large Needles
|Pneumatic||- Cutting-edge Technology|
- Easily Sterilized
- Used By the Industry’s Best
- Hard to Adjust
- Incredibly Loud
- Parts Wear Down Quickly
Main Components of Tattoo Guns
If you want to build or customize your own tattoo gun, familiarize yourself with all the parts below. Even if you don’t plan on constructing your own, you will probably have to repair the gun yourself. Every part of a good tattoo gun is replaceable. Knowing which parts to alter also helps you customize your tattoo machine to suit your personal needs. Check each piece and learn what to use them for!
- Air Compressor (for Pneumatic Tattoo Machines)
- Armature Bar O-Rings
- Armature Bars
- Coil Sets & Parts
- Contact & Binder Screws
- Foot Pedal
- Frame Parts
- LED Power Display
- Power Supply
- Spring Saddles & Yokes
- Tube Vice
Through a combination of all these moving pieces, your tattoo gun becomes like a brush, and the skin of your client a canvas. As an artist, you need to learn your tools through-and-through. By learning the full extent of each item’s use, you can figure out how to construct your own perfect tattoo gun! Along with these major pieces, there are two important kinds of needle sets: small and large. Larger sets work best for shading, and you can find out more about that on our how to shade a tattoo page.
Basics of Using Tattoo Guns
Now that we know about the basics of tattoo guns, let’s talk about how to use them in our daily life. Figure out the most comfortable way to hold your tattoo gun before you start inking people. Ink some practice oranges or something. Each gun will require a different technique, since their size and shape varies drastically, even between the same type of tattoo gun! Hold it like a pencil, with the wire carefully facing away and in a safe spot. Rest your palm on your client’s skin to reduce fatigue and stabilize your grip.
Before you pierce your client’s skin, check to make sure everything is working correctly. The machine should be cleaned and assembled correctly. The depth should be ideal for the job. The angle should be about 45 degrees, since vertical angles risk losing ink or pigment during the healing process. Simply put, tattoos made at an angle seal much more quickly and lead to swift healing! On the other hand, horizontal strokes look sloppy and are difficult to control. It helps to see a tattoo gun in action, so check out this video and article combo for a better idea of what I mean. To assist in making the perfect angle, consider looking into specialized tattoo chairs and tattoo beds that make adjusting your client much easier.
Become familiar with the speed of movement required for you to deliver the best piece of art to your client. Familiarize yourself with every bit of your body while working. Adjusting which muscles in the arm you use during long sessions helps with fatigue, so practice from a few different angles! For sensitive clients, recommend a numbing cream to speed the process along for both of you. Along with the pen, get used to the other parts of the tattoo machine. The wires should be difficult to pull at, the power supply should be in a sturdy area and readily accessible, and the area around your feet should be clear other than your foot pedal.
Working with Tattoo Gun Prices
Compared to many other forms of art, tattoo work actually costs very little to get started! Your biggest continuous cost will be your ink, soaps, and utilities. Compared to the amount of money you get out of your tattoo machines, their price seems almost trivial. The price of used tattoo guns is barely a discount and certainly sketchy, so stick to finding the best tattoo kits to buy new. Who knows what sort of trials an old tattoo gun went through?
This all is why—rather than looking at price—I recommend you look at the best tattoo machine brands for your style of tattooing. The best tattoo machine kits to buy help you stock up on essentials. In example, find a tattoo machine kit with both a liner and shader if you are just starting.
Tattoo Gun Starter Kit
At their core, tattoo guns are simple machines that get the job done. They’ve been around for hundreds of years and the designs have only become more efficient, rather than more complex. That means that tattoo machines for beginners also double as professional tattoo guns in the right hands. I gathered the ‘best tattoo machines for beginners’ based on whether they are complete tattoo starter kits, cheap beginner tattoo kits, inclusive of many inks and pigments, and whether or not they had accessories. The best tattoo starter kit for you will fill in the gaps of your tattoo shop while also providing a high-quality tool that lasts for years. Check out the pros and cons of each of these starter kits and see what’s here for you!
Dragonhawk Complete Tattoo Kit
This set includes both a tattoo machine for lining and for shading. The cast iron tattoo machine uses 10 high-elastic copper coils, ensuring that it lasts for many years. It also contains an LED digital tattoo power supply to display exactly what speed your needle is running at. The visible consistency goes a long way, but adjusting on the fly with a foot pedal or clip cord also speeds up the tattoo process. It contains lots of sterilized needles and tips to make cleaning your tattoo machine a cinch for quite a while.
This tattoo machine kit even includes a practice skin to let you test out the needle before you use it on a client (which I highly recommend, in any case). It arrives with its own power supply and cord, so don’t worry about purchasing that separately. Of course, it can’t include everything. It doesn’t come with gloves, and the grips are unfortunately plastic, rather than solid metal. For people who like to tinker, it comes entirely assembled and is a hassle to take apart. Its transfer paper isn’t the best, but hey, that has nothing to do with the quality of the tattoo gun.
It is easily accessible and you can quickly master its ins and outs. It’s highly affordable and perhaps the most cost-effective professional tattoo machine out there. It’s ready to use mere minutes after coming out of the box, especially since it comes with a wide assortment of high-quality inks and pigments and two different needle sizes to work with.
Dragonhawk Complete Tattoo Kit 4 Standard Tunings Tattoo Machines
Are you confident in your abilities as an artist and ready to jump into the world of tattoo art? This set covers absolutely all the basics and includes four different machines. You’ll find yourself using the lining machine most often, but the fine lining machine, shading machine, and coloring machine all see their uses. The frames are made of steel and they use copper coils. It includes fifty sterile needles, ten different colors of vegan tattoo ink, and disposable tattoo grips. It has a foot pedal, LED power display, and a cord adjustment system. You would be hard-pressed to find anything that contains a wider array of essentials.
Now, although I reviewed this in the beginner kit section, I want to warn against buying this if you don’t plan on going into the field. This is an entry level kit, and if you’re only dabbling in the tattoo world, just save yourself some money and buy an individual tattoo gun on this list. For those of you planning to make a career out of this, nothing gets you more bang for your buck. You can immediately take out your tattoo gun and start inking. If, for whatever reason, you only want to do one tattoo and want to know the most cost-effective way to do it—well, you have your answer now. Use this kit and a bit of art talent to save yourself some cash.
If you want to learn the ins and outs of the tattoo world, there is no better place to start than right here with this kit. The wide selection of guns really goes a long way towards familiarizing yourself with tattooing.
Professional Tattoo Kits
Continuing on from before, starter tattoo machine kits and professional tattoo kits only differ in the quality of their construction and amount of accessories included. A professional kit still packs a lot of spare ink and pigment, but they all come from renowned ink brands, rather than random companies. When looking for tattoo gun kits for sale—especially professional tattoo kits—always check the reviews and see the quality of the components. If you are using it for business, you need it to last as long as possible. To do that, sturdy materials are absolutely necessary.
Dragonhawk Complete Tattoo Kit Copper Coils
I already covered two Dragonhawk Tattoo Kits, but this one stands out as a cost-effective way to obtain some spare professional tattoo guns (or outright replace your normal tattoo gun). Like the other tattoo sets, it includes a lot of sterilized needles, its own power supply, a bit of transfer paper, a sheet of practice skin, and some disposable grips. Unlike the other kits, it only contains six base colors—which is just fine, if you’re a professional. I’m sure you already have your own preferred ink brand at your shop, so just the essentials are fine.
These coil machines use 10 wrap and deliver powerful action to the skin. The best voltage seems to be 7-8v. The case that comes with it is actually too small to contain everything you need (like gloves and needles), but that just attests to how inclusive this kit is. If you are taking in an apprentice or just grabbing some extra tattoo guns for the shop, these more than cover your needs.
The biggest advantage of this tattoo kit lies in its seller advantages. The low price tag helps a lot when you want to set up a new shop. The sellers even sent me a little card with a link to a YouTube video, just in case I messed it up! It ships across the world, so if you live in a hard-to-reach destination, rest assured that you can still get your hands on a high-quality tattoo gun! Honestly, the whole kit surprised me with how much it included.
Hommii Professional Rotary Tattoo Machine Kit
This rotary tattoo kit cuts straight to the chase and offers you a ton of needles and an awesome tattoo gun. Like most rotary tattoo machines, you can easily switch between shading and lining. The power ranges from 7-10 volts. Most importantly, each machine is assembled by hand, rather than via machine, to ensure everything works the way it is supposed to. It lasts for quite a while, makes very little noise, and feels incredibly stable. Because of its unique design, it stays nice and cool in your hands for up to five hours. They designed it specifically for long tattoo sessions!
When you use the tattoo gun, it feels as light as air and easily slides over the skin—in a good way. If you have muscle issues or carpal tunnel, definitely give this tattoo machine a spin and see if it eases your symptoms. Although a starter can easily pick up this tattoo gun and start tattooing, it is made with professionals in mind. It contains many different needle sizes (10 each of 1,3,5,7,and 9) to get you started right out of the box. Hammii even provides a YouTube guide on using it, if you’ve only ever used coil machines before picking this up.
While we’re on the topic, keep in mind the limitations of rotary tattoo machines compared to coil machines. The stroke changes are determined by RPM, rather than CPS. If you already have enough needles to get started with it, they also sell these guns individually. If you already know the pros and cons of rotary tattoo guns, then this gun will work perfectly for you!
Complete Tattoo Kit Machines Color Inks Power Supply
This set includes one tattoo gun for both lining and shading, an easily controlled power supply with foot pedal and wired remote, a bunch of transfer paper, and plenty of needles. As all professionals know, you do not always need to go out of the way to grab an expensive, top-of-the-line tattoo gun in order to get good results. In fact, even crappy homemade tattoo guns can produce a spectacular image if the talent behind the machine is good enough! But I’m getting off topic here. What I’m saying is that, even though this doesn’t come with a huge amount of accessories, it does provide everything you need for a professional tattoo at an affordable price. Also, affordable is understating it. It’s downright cheap.
If you need a tattoo gun quickly and for a very cheap price, then grab this one and get to work. It can fill in the gaps as you pick your next tattoo gun. Although the ink is not a widely recognized brand, it does include caps to make sure they don’t dry out between uses. Both experts and beginners can appreciate the quality of the design, but do be warned, its side components are not up to snuff. Along with the unrecognizable ink, the power supply tends to fritz out, and you might want to use your own foot pedal to provide better control of the power.
Beyond all that, there are very few bad things to say about this set. It gets the job done for an incredibly affordable price and, as a professional, you can confidently give this to an apprentice or up-and-coming artist that wants to enter the inked world. In case it needs repeating: yes, you really can buy a professional and accessible tattoo gun for this cheap. It works perfectly.
Everyone knows you can rely on Welker tattoo machines, but several other brands compete for the title of best tattoo machine. The tattoo guns I review here provide essential functions for professionals of all types. Some of them also possess some unique traits that make them stand out from the others. Take a close look at all of them and see which ones pique your interest! Remember to assess the size, type, and features of the tattoo gun while browsing. Little things like the length of the grip can turn a nice tattoo gun into a pain to use during long sessions.
Tattoo Machine, New Star Dragonfly Rotary Tattoo Machine
This rotary machine works great both as a liner and a shader and weighs very little, so people with wrist problems can easily use this for all of their work. In case you didn’t notice, this isn’t a tattoo kit section, so this review only talks about the tattoo gun included. The grip feels pretty great, and although the color is a little off from what it is in the picture, it looks the same otherwise. It can only be used for one hour at a time due to its cheap components.
I won’t lie—with a price like that, it’s bound to use the absolute minimum as far as quality and durability goes. Nonetheless, if you need a fast and cheap answer to your tattoo gun problems, this gun will help you out. On top of that—perhaps especially because of its low price—it is amazingly effective. You would think it’s an approximately $60 tattoo gun if the components didn’t feel so weird or started melting if you used it beyond its intended duration (one hour sessions only!).
It puts out some high quality tattoos and works perfectly for beginner tattoo artists. Want to learn how to become a tattoo artist without breaking your wallet? Grab this tattoo gun and a bundle of practice skin! This gun seems to excel as far as shading goes, but I prefer a few other cheap tattoo guns for lining. You can certainly use it for lining, it just won’t be as effective. I mainly recommend this to people brand new to the tattoo world who just want a bit of practice.
HB-WGD046 8 Wrap Coils Iron Liner Gun Tattoo Machine
This is, by far, the cheapest gun you can grab on Amazon. However, don’t leap to conclusions and think that this is the worst one! It uses somewhat fragile components and skips a lot of comfortable frills that normal coil guns use. Nonetheless, it performs perfectly well and lasts for a few hours before growing hot! If you put it on display with several other ‘cheap’ tattoo guns, you would have a lot of trouble and head-scratching figuring out that it was the cheapest…if you figured it out at all! It works well as a liner more than anything else. Your voltage should stay between 6 and 8 as you use it.
Despite its low price, I do not recommend this for beginners. Please know about the workings of a tattoo gun (which I describe above) before purchasing this tattoo machine. The reason? It will last much longer if you can identify parts that seem ‘off’ about the tattoo gun. With just a little adjustments and replacements, you can turn this cheap gun into a reliable machine. Plus, as an intermediate or professional artist, you will know exactly how to keep it functioning as long as you can.
On to the actual use of the gun itself. Once you get past its inherent flaws, it provides everything you need to shade tattoos. It delivers very quickly, so if you need a quick replacement gun to tide you over until you find the next perfect one for you, then this works great.
More Tattoo Guns
To top off the reviews of professional tattoo guns, I looked up some interesting tattoo machine designs. These are all remarkable in their own way, and perhaps one of them jumps out as special to you. Most of these have customizable colors and designs so that it matches your aesthetic perfectly. After all, design appearance is highly important in the world of tattoo art! Let your client enjoy the experience by using a unique tattoo gun on them—they’re sure to remember the time they spent with you!
Handmade Cast Iron Tattoo Machine Liner Shader Gun DM-8
This beautiful tattoo gun cuts to the chase and provides exactly what you need to create a beautiful tattoo. It generates very little heat, allowing you to use it for long sessions, and feels very stable during use. Like the Tattoo Gizmo machine, I do not recommend this for beginners. It needs a little bit of tuning to really shine. That’s unfortunate, but also expected for something that arrives at your door for such an insignificant price tag.
Think of it like this—it provides an outline for you to fill in with your own creative decisions. Want a different spring? What about different tension? Well, you know exactly what to do! Although handmade, it is handmade with very specific settings, so you need to know how to build a tattoo gun before you can really use it to the best of your ability. Without any adjustments, you should only use it as a shader.
Let’s talk a little bit about the surprising features this little tattoo machine contains. It bears repeating that it lasts for a very long time before growing warm. Once you change out the springs, it runs as smooth as melted butter. Even if you take out every other component, the frame makes an excellent base. Like I mentioned before, I don’t recommend this for beginners. I recommend it for the tinker in all of us. It’s easy to mod and works well once you do so! If you can’t mod your own tattoo gun, then skip this.
TATTOO SUPPLY PRO Tattoo Rotary Motor Machine UMC-202
This uniquely-crafted tattoo gun serves as both a liner and shader (as its description above implies). It feels quite stable while you’re forming a stroke, but if you are making precise detail, it vibrates far too much. The material is made entirely out of plastic. I don’t recommend this for a pro, but a beginner would be able to find a lot of use in it.
This unique tattoo gun introduces you to the basics of rotary guns at a very affordable price. It arrives quickly and feels quite light in your hands. It heats up fairly quickly, but its efficacy remains the same day by day. The gun does not break over time like many other cheap tattoo guns. If you are a beginner and purchase this, make sure to grab a few other essential accessories. You want inks or pigments from a reputable company, sterilized needles, your own power setup, and so on.
Due to its plastic components, I recommend against using this for large tattoos. If you can, just use this gun to practice your designs on fake skin. Along with that, consider it your first step into the world of rotary tattoo machines. Rotaries have huge advantages, and not just because they’re easy to learn! If you want to truly see what I mean, you need to try a rotary tattoo gun with your own two hands. Plus, given its low price, you might get to see what makes it tick if things start acting strange. Expect to use it for half a year at most.
New Cast 10 Laps Coils Tattoo Machine Hb-wgd012b
Holy crap. This gun is affordable and packs a serious punch. I’m not even joking. Once again, I recommend this to people who know their way around guns. The cheap components mean that you will need to do a little tinkering to get it up to snuff. However, even after the tinkering, you save a bunch of money by going with this sweet thing. It uses cast iron, so at the very least, that part is durable and will last for ages. You can expect to keep this in your shop for many years.
The first thing you want to replace will be the coils. They are 26 gauge aluminum with some fancy coating on them, which doesn’t necessarily make for a good tattoo gun. Once you do that, all other modifications are at your discretion. Make sure to also grab gloves, ink, a power supply, a foot pedal to control that supply, and sterilized needles to work with. After all, this is only the gun, not a kit.
I want to emphasize that although you will want to replace a component, this gun still works perfectly fine. Too many people assume that you need to buy expensive guns to do good work. While a gun certainly can limit your ability, a master of art knows how to use that to their advantage. They also know that the same basic components have been in tattoo guns for years, and just because this one is made in China, that doesn’t make it automatically inferior to ones with $400 price tags. This little trinket is still miles ahead of what they used during the huge tattoo boom in the last century.
Building Your Own Tattoo Gun
Several kits exist out there for you to build on your own. These kits help you understand the inner workings of a tattoo gun, learn how to troubleshoot and repair your own tools, and figure out how to make adjustments to your gun that suit your individual needs. They aren’t necessarily cheaper, but their quality is as guaranteed as your dedication! A few (slightly expensive) kits contain parts made 100% in the USA—quite a feat when smaller components normally come from overseas! That said, you can use your own tattoo gun building kit to ensure you only source ethically sound tools in your shop.
If you want more information on how to build your own tattoo gun with supplies you find at home, I wrote an article on just that. However, for a professional tattoo gun with specialized needle sets and functions, you will definitely want a good building kit rather than a MacGuyvered setup that has no business in a tattoo shop. Use the details I laid out above to see what sort of tattoo gun you want to build!
Picking the Best Tattoo Gun for You
Ultimately, you can’t pick a tattoo gun based on price, pros, or cons. Everyone inks differently, and you are no exception. Grab some tattoo practice skin and see how each type feels in your hands. Whatever feels smooth and gives you the best results needs to go in your tattoo shop. Of course, don’t limit yourself to one gun, either. Many artists use two separate guns for large and small needle sets, or liner or shading guns.
What matters is that your arsenal is filled with everything you need to deliver an amazing tattoo to your client. A good programmer only performs as well as their computer allows—in other words, you need a good tool to exercise some talents. And for you, that tool is a good tattoo gun! Work is all about sending your happy guests home with ample aftercare information and a beautiful tattoo–and your tattoo gun makes that happen!