Too many newbs setting up a shop think that tattoo power supply is inconsequential to their plans. Just go with whatever comes with the gun, right? They’re all the same, right? That couldn’t be farther from the truth, and any pro who found this site and is looking at how to find the best tattoo power supply system knows it.
I want to talk about the basics of tattoo power supply, what features you’ll want in your power supply, how to find the best tattoo power supply out there, and review a couple power supply units to show you what some outstanding products look like. By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what sort of power supply to pair with your tattoo machine! Use this as a guide for setting up your tattoo shop or just learning how to use your tattoo gun.
Tattoo Power Supply Reviews
Before you grab the first tattoo power supply Amazon throws at you, take a look at these reviews. Similar to reading reviews for the tattoo machine Amazon tries to sell you, setting aside a moment to check the quality of your power supply saves you a huge hassle down the road. Expensive tattoo power supplies start at over $450. These ones are all under $100, but still very reliable. If you are using these for a tattoo store, consider stocking some tattoo-specific lotion, numbing cream, and sunscreen to help your clients out.
Pirate Face Tattoo Dual Digital Tattoo Power Supply
This is one of the most, if not the most, sold tattoo power amps out there. As long as you have the standard connector it will work with every tattoo machine on the market. You can connect your shader and liner at the same time and switch between them. This one is a really great bang for your buck. For under 20 bucks you get a decent power supply that will do the job.
The power input: AC 60v-250v 50Hz-60Hz, output: DC 1.5-18v. It includes a stainless steel flat foot pedal and a 6-foot clip cord. Digitally controlled output on this machine is from 1.5 to 18v with a powerful yet stable current to operate any tattoo machine. You can connect to both 110v and 220v, as there is a switch in the back of the power supply unit which allows you to switch between 110v and 220v.
BRONC Professional Tattoo Power Supply
Out of all the power supplies I review here, this one has the most utility. It is also a bit more expensive, but it’s worth it. First of all, it allows you to switch seamlessly between shader and liner at the press of a button. You can control it with a foot pedal, a clip-on cord, or the power supply itself. It shows you exactly how many volts (or amps) you are using, down to a tenth of a volt or hundredth of an amp. It even displays an accurate cycle speed! It gets the job done exceptionally well.
As for long term viability, it lasts a few years at least. It works with both rotary and coil machines, so don’t worry about compatibility issues. You can position it on anything using the included stand. My personal favorite part of this power supply is how easy it is to sanitize. It has a flat surface with no hidden bumps to deep clean.
There is not a foot pedal included, as you don’t need one. It comes with one-touch run option. Although you can, if you wish to, get a separate food pedal and attach it. This is a regulated power supply which provides output current overload protection. It is the priciest on this list, but it is well worth every cent. It plays in the same league as the $200-$300 tattoo power supply machines.
Available in both black and red, this Dual Digital LCD power supply offers the best of both worlds. First, it allows you to change between powering your liner and shader with the flip of a switch. Second, it offers many different ways to control the voltage of your machines. You may use a foot pedal to adjust it with a hands-off approach (incredibly useful for while you’re working) or use the dials to adjust the specific levels of each machine. A clip-on cord lets you quickly and easily adjust your machine. The voltage controls on the back of the machine offer further customization.
It lasts for as long as you take care of it. People who block the vents or paint over the supply to make it match their shop have it fizzle out in a few weeks, while people who use it as intended have it working for years. Considering its price, that’s a pretty long lifetime. It is available in three different styles: compact, standard, and advanced. If you find yourself frequenting tattoo conventions, the compact version helps you make your machines mobile. For hobbyists, any version will do. For pros, stick to the advanced version.
Dragonhawk Airfoil Tattoo Power Supply
This power supply outputs a whopping 16V, which is plenty of power for any tattoo gun. Use the power supply dial to adjust the power easily. The digital display gives you a precise reading on just how much power you’re using, allowing you to give consistent strokes with your tattoo machine. Since it’s compatible with all RCA cords and clip cords, any tattoo gun out there will work with it. The biggest advantage of this type orf power supply is its ability to precisely change power (something you don’t get easily with foot pedal-based power supplies).
Of course, for people who hate foot pedals, that also proves to be an excellent pro of this power supply. You don’t need one! The Dragonhawk Airfoil power supply also detects power surges and mitigates damage to the power supply, ensuring that a sudden lightning strike won’t fry your shop’s equipment. This would be a poor review if I didn’t mention the aesthetic of the power supply. It looks wicked cool. That’s all I have to say about it!
Dragonhawk LCD Dual Tattoo Machine Power Supply
As its name implies, the Dragonhawk LCD Dual Tattoo Machine Gun Power Supply allows you to use one power supply to manage two of your tattoo guns. While it doesn’t power two guns at once, it allows you to quickly and efficiently switch between your shader and your liner as you work. During extended tattoo sessions, this versatility is an absolute must. It works for both rotary and coil tattoo machines without making you jump through hoops.
It also automatically regulates its heat so that you can use it for long sessions (something I’ll refer to as ‘anti-fatigue’ features from now on). Anti-fatigue is also a necessity for any tattoos that take longer than an hour. Crappy power supplies will heat up after about three hours and fizz out, but this one keeps going strong for as long as you need it. The LCD display gives you a fast and accurate power reading so that you can gracefully manipulate the strokes of your tattoo gun. Its small size allows you to carry it around wherever you need to tattoo people. It is available in gold, pink, and black, letting you match it to your style perfectly.
Tattoo Power Supply and Foot Pedal
While using your digital power supply, it helps quite a bit to use a foot pedal to control your voltage. Since your cycle speed, stroke, and power are all intertwined, you need full control of your power supply at all times. By using a foot pedal for any of your digital tattoo power supplies, you can adjust your tattoo gun power supply without letting go of your tattoo machine. This speeds up your tattoo session dramatically and makes the inking process feel much more natural.
One major factor in choosing to use a foot pedal is its versatility. Just like a tattoo bed or specialized tattoo chair helps you make your client comfortable, your foot pedal makes your job feel much more natural and completely changes your experience. Moving different parts of your body also helps keep you from getting sore.
What to Expect in the Best Tattoo Power Supply
When the quality of your tattoo session relies entirely on the power supply for tattoo guns that you choose, you have to carefully assess all your options. The best tattoo power supply is compatible with multiple types of cables, allows the use of both rotary and coil machines, accommodates more than one tattoo gun at the same time, and gives you full control over your voltage.
Secondary attributes you should look for are foot pedal compatibility, LED power readouts, multiple forms of power control, surge protection, the ability to endure long sessions without overheating, and a color that appeals to you. Since customizing your power supply afterwards to suit your design tastes can have disastrous consequences regarding temperature and sterilization, you want to stick to a design you enjoy from the get-go.
This might all seem like a lot of features to look for…and that would be because it is. However, you do not want to skimp out on your power supply. Nothing causes your stomach to drop more than losing power while in the middle of inking someone. Losing control because of power fluctuations also sucks and affects the quality of your tattoo. An overheating power supply risks damaging itself over time and speeds up the whole power failure thing. You want to look for the very best tattoo power supply units out there, and I review a few below this priced in an affordable manner.
Using Your Professional Tattoo Power Supply
Now that you have your tattoo power supply box, you can finally put it to use! To start with, let’s talk about how to hook up a tattoo gun. It’s a little more complicated than setting up a tattoo thermal copier, but just as essential to know. You can learn about the details here, but the gist of it is to make sure all of your cables are compatible with your tattoo machine power supply, plug them into the properly labeled holes, and make sure the wires are not in the way of your work. Use a foot pedal to adjust the voltage of your power supply without interrupting work.
Learn which power settings work best for your particular tastes—this varies from person to person! Hook up both your liner and shader to the machine and get used to switching between them. Unlike tattoo machines, you will need an expert to help you out if you want to make adjustments. Avoid doing anything like painting it or placing stickers on it—this causes the machine to overheat. Not only will this make it fizzle out during long sessions, but it risks doing permanent damage to the internal components. Learn the best way to sterilize your power supply and all the cables connected to it, and voila! You’ve mastered the whole tattoo power supply thing.
Last Word on Tattoo Power Supplies
Hopefully, this helped you learn about the intricacies of power supplies. It might seem simple at first glance, but mastering the use of this equipment is nearly as essential as learning how to set up your tattoo gun. Even if you don’t pick one of the power supplies I listed, this information will help you find one that perfectly matches your needs. Finally, before you go, remember why you came here in the first place. It’s not just about a box that shoots electricity into your tattoo gun. It’s about finding something that gives you and your client a smooth and comfortable experience. As long as you keep the quality of your work in mind, then you can’t go wrong!