To start off, the term “tattoo gun” is actually incorrect and looked down on by professional tattoo artists.
The correct term to use is “tattoo machine,” but we’ve included both in this article because most people are still searching for the first term.
As a tattoo artist’s most vital equipment, buying a tattoo gun isn’t something you should do willy-nilly. You need to put a decent amount of research into the product you choose, as it’s what makes or breaks the quality of your work.
Whether searching for your first tattoo machine or upgrading to a better-quality one, this list has you covered. We’ve reviewed 10 of the best tattoo guns you can buy today and listed individual pros and cons to help you with your choice.
If you’re a professional, it’s probably a good idea to ignore the kits on this list, but we wanted to include them for an entry point for beginners to practice with.
Table of Contents
- What to Look for in a Tattoo Gun
- Top 10 Tattoo Guns for Both Beginners and Pros
- 1. Linetion Sworder Wireless Tattoo Machine – Best Overall
- 2. Kwadron Equalizer Proton Rotary Pen Tattoo Machine – Runner Up
- 3. Mast Archer Wireless Tattoo Machine Rotary – Best Wireless Operation
- 4. Hawink Rotary Short Pen Tattoo Machine – Best Value
- 5. Saikoya Wireless Tattoo Machine
- 6. Cheyenne Hawk Pen – Best for Professionals
- 7. Stigma Tattoo Kit Rotary Tattoo Machine Kit – Best Budget Option
- 8. Wormhole Tattoo Kit – Best for Practice
- 9. Solong Tattoo Pen Kit
- 10. Dragonhawk Tattoo Machine Kit Rotary Tattoo
- Frequently Asked Questions
What to Look for in a Tattoo Gun
When buying a tattoo gun, there are several factors you must consider to ensure you’re getting the most value for your money. This includes:
- Purpose: Buy a tattoo gun that fits your intended purpose. If you’re planning to use it to hone your tattooing skills, search for an entry-level tattoo kit with needles, ink, and accessories. For commercial purposes, it’s wise to invest in a high-quality tattoo gun that doesn’t come in a kit.
- Weight: For maximum comfort and efficiency, search for a tattoo gun that weighs no more than 200g. The lighter, the better. Lightweight tattoo guns allow you to work for extended periods without feeling fatigue in your hands.
- Coil vs. Rotary: Coil machines create smoother lines and better shading but lack the fluidity of motion. Rotary machines are lightweight and have better motion quality, but aren’t as smooth.
- Stroke length: For coloring, lining, and shading, search for a tattoo gun with a stroke length of at least 3.5mm.
Top 10 Tattoo Guns for Both Beginners and Pros
Chosen for their functionality, design, and overall quality, here are some of the best tattoo guns you can buy today:
1. Linetion Sworder Wireless Tattoo Machine – Best Overall1. Linetion Sworder Wireless Tattoo Machine – Best Overall
The Linetion Sworder is a wireless rotary tattoo machine with adjustable voltage, 4.0mm stroke, and an advanced driving system for seamless operation.
Powered by a 2250 mAh lithium-ion battery, the Linetion Sworder provides five to eight hours of work on a single charge—just enough for a full day’s work. It only takes two to three hours to get it back to full charge, so as long as it’s plugged in during breaks, it won’t die in the middle of a session. Even if it does, it easily converts to a traditional coil-style gun so it’ll always run.
The Linetion Sworder has impressive steadiness and quiet operation, with little to no vibration. It lines, shadows, and packs color exceptionally well, making it a fantastic tool for professional settings.
- Excellent workmanship
- Low vibration
- Long battery life
- Needs to be lubricated before use
- At almost 200g, it’s heavier than most wireless tattoo machines
2. Kwadron Equalizer Proton Rotary Pen Tattoo Machine – Runner Up2. Kwadron Equalizer Proton Rotary Pen Tattoo Machine – Runner Up
The Kwadron Equalizer is a powerful rotary tattoo machine with a reliable motor, lightweight body, and ergonomic shape. It’s suitable for any type of work, from filling and shading, to dotting and lining.
To ensure the highest accuracy and precision, the Kwadron Equalizer is made with an aviation aluminum construction that reduces vibration and noise during operation. It’s compatible with all cartridge and needle types, from 0 to 4.5mm and 3.5mm, making it an all-around versatile tool.
- High-quality anodized aluminum housing
- Powerful motor
- Compatible with all cartridge needles
- Doesn’t have a click-adjust function
- Covered in a light greasy film, so you’ll need to clean it with alcohol or medicine before use
3. Mast Archer Wireless Tattoo Machine Rotary – Best Wireless Operation3. Mast Archer Wireless Tattoo Machine Rotary – Best Wireless Operation
Available in varying shades of blue, pink, red, and black, the Mast Archer Tattoo Machine is a cordless, pen-type tattoo gun that’s compatible with all cartridge sizes.
It’s powered by a 2,000mAh built-in battery and has enough power to handle a 14-round liner (10v) and an 11-curved mag (8.1v) with no problems.
On a single charge, the Mast Archer runs for up to eight hours on a 6-volt operation and six hours on an 8 to 10-volt operation. When the battery dies, it can work while charging.
The Mast Archer Tattoo Machine is a beginner-friendly tool with no confusing settings. It has a stroke length of 3.5mm, making it an all-rounder option for packing, lining, and shading. It doesn’t have any complicated tuning settings; all you have to do is to press a button and start tattooing.
- Works while charging
- Long battery life
- Plenty of power for large needle groupings
- Direct drive motor has no give, making it easier to damage the skin if not careful
4. Hawink Rotary Short Pen Tattoo Machine – Best Value4. Hawink Rotary Short Pen Tattoo Machine – Best Value
The Hawink Rotary CNC-Q1 Tattoo Machine is one of Hawkink’s most popular tattoo guns, and it’s easy to see why.
Equipped with a powerful Faulhaber German motor, it glides evenly and seamlessly on the skin. It’s lightweight and stable, making it easy to use and master.
The Hawink Rotary CNC-Q1 Tattoo Machine has a quiet motor, making it a suitable choice for tattoo artists that work best in quiet environments.
With a stroke length of 3.5mm, the Hawink Rotary CNC-Q1 has a reliable amount of momentum for most tattooing projects. It works wonders with color packing, linings, and shading, so it’s a great all-around choice for beginners and professionals alike.
- Aircraft aluminum alloy frame
- Adjustable, ergonomic grip
- Smooth and quiet operation
- Lightweight construction
- Comparable in quality to more expensive pens
- Sizable grip
- Motor heats up after extended use
5. Saikoya Wireless Tattoo Machine5. Saikoya Wireless Tattoo Machine
The Saikoya Wireless Tattoo Machine is a pen-style tattoo gun with a built-in coreless motor. With a maximum power supply of 12v, it can run at speeds of up to 12000 rpm.
Made of CNC-machined aluminum alloy, the Saikoya Wireless Tattoo Machine is lightweight, powerful, and consistent. It has a battery capacity of 1950 mAh which runs for up to 10 hours at full charge. If the battery dies, you can switch it to RCA mode to continue your work.
The tattoo pen has an adjustable stroke length of 3.5mm, which is suitable for most tattooing styles. It has minimal vibration and noise and works out of the box with no adjustment needed.
- Long battery life of up to 10 hours
- Compatible with most needle cartridges
- Adjustable stroke length
- Large LCD screen
- The tattoo gun is fairly heavy
6. Cheyenne Hawk Pen – Best for Professionals6. Cheyenne Hawk Pen – Best for Professionals
The Cheyenne Hawk Pen is an impressive piece of equipment. It ticks all the right boxes for professional use, with its excellent balance, ergonomic body, and gentle yet powerful operation.
It can be used for different kinds of tattooing projects, whether it’s contouring, sketching, and shading. Plus, it features a responsive mode to aid in the frequency of the reactive stitch and hit.
Available in glossy black, purple, pink, and red, the Cheyenne Hawk Pen is compatible with other Hawk pen grips, allowing user customizations. Its lightweight and compact size make it feel as though you’re holding a pen, which contributes to highly precise tattoo designs.
And to further add comfort and freedom of movement, it’s equipped with a rotating 3.5mm jack connection.
The Cheyenne Hawk Pen is a pleasure to use in almost every aspect, which is to be expected in a high-end product. However, it comes at an extremely steep price. As such, it’s only ever recommended for professional use.
- Continuous operation; doesn’t heat up or falter even with hours of use
- Roll inhibition design ensures the pen doesn’t roll away when put down
- Low vibration and noise
- Stable build with decent weight
- Higher than average price point
7. Stigma Tattoo Kit Rotary Tattoo Machine Kit – Best Budget Option7. Stigma Tattoo Kit Rotary Tattoo Machine Kit – Best Budget Option
The Stigma Tattoo Kit is a budget-friendly, all-around choice for beginner artists. Apart from the pen-style tattoo gun, it comes with everything you need to get started, including 20 needle cartridges, 7 ink bottles, and an LED power supply.
With a needle stroke of 0 to 4.5mm, this pen-style tattoo machine packs a lot of power for its price. Its 5.5v motor reaches a rotating speed of up to 9,500r/m, which is great for most applications (shading, sketching, lining, etc.).
- Full beginners kit with high-quality cartridges and ink
- Reliable construction
- Smooth operation
- Doesn’t work at certain voltages
- Doesn’t have the quietest operation
8. Wormhole Tattoo Kit – Best for Practice8. Wormhole Tattoo Kit – Best for Practice
The Wormhole Tattoo Kit is a fantastic starter kit for apprentices and beginners. It comes complete with two tattoo machines (one for lining and the other for shading), 20 needles, ink, clip cord, foot pedals, O-rings, and the like.
Both machines have an RPM of 6000 to 7200, which isn’t too bad for a beginner’s machine. They’re powered by 10 copper wire coils that penetrate deeper layers with more power.
This tattooing kit is designed to teach beginners the basics of tattooing. Due to this, it isn’t the most powerful nor high-quality and hurts quite a bit when used on the skin. It’s recommended for tattooing artificial skin and fruit for training purposes.
- Comes with everything you need to practice tattooing
- Consistent performance
- Six months replacement warranty
- Doesn’t offer a lot of power
- Hurts when used on real skin
9. Solong Tattoo Pen Kit9. Solong Tattoo Pen Kit
The Solong Tattoo Pen Kit aims to provide beginner-level tattoo artists with a perfect start to their newly-discovered tattooing careers.
The kit comes with 50 cartridge tattoo needles, a rechargeable tattoo battery, and a 1500mAh DC connection. It has an operating power of 7 to 11v, which is pretty good for a machine of this price. Fully charged, it runs for three hours before requiring another charge.
The tattoo machine is made with aluminum alloy and sealed with an anodized finish, making it as durable as it is functional. It’s a complete all-rounder and suitable for all tattooing styles, from shading to lining.
- CNC-machined aluminum alloy construction for better durability
- Fits nicely on the hand
- Minimal vibration
- Doesn’t have the highest battery life
10. Dragonhawk Tattoo Machine Kit Rotary Tattoo10. Dragonhawk Tattoo Machine Kit Rotary Tattoo
The Dragonhawk Tattoo Machine Kit is a beginner-friendly rotary tattoo kit that comes with 20 disposable needle cartridges, a powerbox supply, black tattoo ink, and other tattoo accessories (gloves, grip handles, fake skin, etc.).
Its ergonomic, lightweight pen-style machine features a powerful motor with an advanced gear system, ensuring smooth operation with minimal noise and vibration.
With its built-in short circuit and leakage protection, the Dragonhawk Tattoo Machine runs for up to 10 hours on a single charge in power-saving mode. The power output is consistent and continuous, with no random lags during operation.
- Made of premium cast iron and composite material
- Easy to use and set up
- Packed with beginner-friendly accessories
- Solid and consistent operation
- Power output could be better
Frequently Asked Questions
How many tattoo guns should a tattoo artist have?
Ideally, a tattoo artist should have at least two tattoo guns at his disposal. That way, he’ll always have a backup machine in case one fails or needs to be charged.
How long does a tattoo gun last?
It really depends on the quality of the tattoo gun. Cheaper models usually don’t last longer than a year or two of continuous use, while high-quality models costing over $200 can last longer than five years.
Is the ink in tattoo kits safe on human skin?
Generally, the ink included in tattoo kits is safe to use on human skin. However, it’s always wise to double-check the ingredients to ensure they won’t damage the skin.
Avoid ink that contains chromium, cadmium, lead, titanium, and nickel, as these metals can trigger allergic reactions and potentially cause disease.
Check out our best tattoo inks for some of our top picks.
Is it called a tattoo gun or a tattoo machine?
When you’re a professional in the industry, “tattoo machine” is widely used as the standard name for this tool. For beginners, on the other hand, the vast majority of people call it a “tattoo gun.”
There you have it, our top 10 picks for the best tattoo guns you can buy today! If we had to choose a favorite, we recommend the Linetion Sworder Wireless Tattoo Machine for its consistent performance, power, and quality.
For a more budget-friendly option, go for the Stigma Tattoo Kit Rotary Tattoo Machine Kit. Although it isn’t the most powerful, it doesn’t disappoint in terms of performance. It’s great for practice and personal use.
If you’re looking to stay up to date with new tattoo tools and techniques, we recommend visiting a tattoo convention.