What Is The Best Tattoo Machine For Beginners – Cheap Kits Review in 2019
Tattoos have been around for thousands of years. Over the last 20 years, they have become more popular than ever. When you are starting out, deciding if you want to be a tattoo artist, it is not necessary to buy the most expensive and biggest tattoo kit set for your first time.
An inexpensive, but good tattoo machine can let you try tattooing out and see if it is something you want to go forward with in the future. Below is our list of the best tattoo machines for beginners. One of these could be a great way to start out.
7 Best Tattoo Machine For Beginners 2018 Reviews
1. Dragonhawk Complete Tattoo Kit 2 Machine Gun 10 Color Inks Power Supply
This is the first Dragonhawk kit on our list. This tattoo kit is priced in the middle of the others we listed. This kit has two Dragonhawk cast-iron tattoo machines with ten copper coils.
I liked that you can work a long time with these machines without issue. The power supply works well with a clip cord and pedal. The kit comes with tips, pre-sterilized needles, one transfer paper and one skin. I would suggest getting extra transfer paper.
It also comes with ten inks. I would suggest getting a higher-grade ink in addition to the kit but, even doing that, it is a good kit for a starter to really get the feel of things and see if tattooing is for you.
2. GRINDER Tattoo Kit by Pirate Face Tattoo / 4 Tattoo Machine Guns - Power Supply
While this last kit on our list is the most expensive, it is not costly, in general, and has a lot to offer for a beginner. There are four machines included that work well and are light-weight which is perfect for a beginner. You can tune the machines to be either liners or shaders which gives them versatility.
The inks are great for practicing though not as dark as high-quality inks would be. You can always purchase some inks separately for when you are done practicing. It has a lot of accessories and an awesome instructional book.
The power supply is good and comes with pedal and clip cord. It would be a good idea to purchase some additional skins with this to practice on. This is a perfect kit for a beginner to get started. One of the best tattoo kits for beginners according to the customer review.
3. Starter Complete Tattoo Kit 9 Machine Gun Power Supply 50 Needles Set D23
There are nine professional tattoo machines included with ten wrap coils that can be used for lining and shading.
We love the Dragonhawk tattoo power supply with leakage protection and built-in short-circuit safeguard. We always recommend getting a backup power supply for all kits as a rule of practice though.
The kit comes with practice skin. Also included are 304 steel tips, 50 spare Dragonhawk needles, and a tattoo pen.
The immortal inks are smooth, consistent, and vibrant. While the ink is decent, it is just enough for a large tattoo. If you want to get a kit to see if tattooing is something you want to do I highly recommend this one.
4. Complete Tattoo Kit Machines Color Inks Power Supply Y-017
This is a more inexpensive tattoo kit for a beginner. It has one machine for both shading and lining. It also comes with a power supply.
There are also instructions and a few extra supplies for tattooing such as fake skin. The fake skin is terrific to use for practice and to get a feel for your gun’s power.
I would recommend buying some ink in addition to this kit. You can find some good ink sets for not much more money.
Even with needing to buy ink with the set, it is a good starter to see if tattooing is what you want to do. The machine, power, and pedal are great. At such a competitive price, you don’t have much to lose.
5. Getbetterlife Danny Robinson's 2 Tattoo Machine As Liner and Shader
Danny Robinson is a big name in the tattoo world, and this product lives up to Danny’s reputation. You get a shader in one box and a liner in the other. They are well-made and resilient with pure brass and copper components. I really love the weight.
The voltage runs between 3-10v. I noticed a variation in voltage depending on the pedal I used. The liner does an amazing job as the lines are crisp and clean while really sinking in. The shader performs without flaw for hours on end.
These two tattoo machines rival machines that cost much more. Even professionals could use having one of these hanging up in their shop alongside their $400 machines. It is definitely a great set to start with for a keen beginner.
6. Solong Hybrid Tattoo Pen Rotary Tattoo Machine & Permanent Makeup Pen
This hybrid tattoo pen is powerful and great for someone wanting to try out if they want to use a pen for tattooing. You get the feel of using a pen but with a tattoo machine.
It is versatile as you can use it not only for regular tattoos but also for permanent makeup such as eyeliner, lip liner, and eyebrows.
The pens are well-crafted with aircraft aluminum alloy with an anodized finish.
The 4.5w motor does not overheat when you need to work for a long time. I was impressed with the low noise and how solid the machine is.
The pen comes with a DC 5.5mm connection line, a permanent makeup needle cartridge, and a one jack plug adapter. Try this out to decide if you want to keep working with a pen.
7. Dragonhawk Complete Tattoo Kit 5 Dragonhawk Mate Tattoo Machine Gun
This is a terrific kit with 2 Dragonhawk coils tattoo units for shading and 3 for lining. It has lots of ink for practicing on fake skin, but we would recommend buying some other inks when you use the machine on real skin. The kit is still worth it if you buy other ink.
We like the big carry case to keep everything safe and in its place. It includes a good power supply, 304 steel tips, instructions, disposable grips, and 50 quality Dragonhawk sterilized tattoo needles. With all power supplies, we always recommend having a backup one just in case.
The back stems are located inside the grips. Took me a while to find these but was happy when I did. This kit is perfect for someone starting out or just practicing.
What to Consider Before Choosing the Right Tattoo Machine for Beginners
There are a few things to look for when choosing the right tattoo machine. You will want to provide quality work as your art will be on your client’s skin forever. Also, keep in mind that many professional artists have more than one machine for different kinds of work they are going to do. Here are a few things to think about.
Size and shape
Decide what shape and size of tattoo machine is best for the work you are doing. Keep in mind you may need to use a machine several times per day and will be twisting and turning your hand a lot. With some tattoos, you may be holding the tattoo machine for a long period. If something is way too heavy or is shaped oddly, it can turn make the job you love into a chore.
Also, of utmost importance, is the sturdiness of the machine. If you are beyond practicing and are now working on clients, you do not want a machine breaking on a client’s skin. This can permanently damage your client’s skin and wreak havoc on your reputation.
Rotary or coil?
Decide whether you want to use a rotary tattoo machine or a coil tattoo machine. They each have their advantages and disadvantages. Rotary machines are gentler on the skin than coil machines. They have electric powered motors and are lighter than most other machines. Coil machines are less expensive and offer more power but are hard to handle for long jobs as they are heavy.
Take some time to ask other tattoo artists their opinions on tattoo machines either in person or via online forums. Read feedback and reviews of machines you are considering purchasing. If possible, handle a machine you are considering buying, before sending off for it, especially if it is very expensive. With some thought and research, you can find the right machine or machines for you.
Best Brands For Tattoo Machine
With so many brands out there, it can be difficult to choose the one for you. Here we have listed what we think are the three best tattoo machine brands for a beginner.
Dragonhawk: Dragonhawk is a popular brand of tattoo machine that has machines from beginner to professional. Their goal is to help more people use inexpensive tattoo products around the world. They are the famous makers of The Compass handmade coil tattoo machine.
They sell a variety of supplies including tattoo machines, inks, tips, needles, grips, power supplies, and pens. Dragonhawk also sells kits which include a variety of these items. Dragonhawk is known to have great customer service, and many people across the globe enjoy their products.
Getbetterlife: Getbetterlife has been building a following for their inexpensive tattoo machines, especially with their Danny Robinson machines. They have several kits available in addition to needles, tubes, grips, armrests, ink cups, tattoo transfer paper and more.
Solong Tattoo: Solong is a popular brand for tattoo machines, inks, power supplies, tips, grips, and more. They also sell piercing supplies. Solong is all about creating high-quality products. Their tattoo machines have sophisticated modifications, and there is a good range of prices for their products. Their products are well-known for being crafted well. It is a reliable brand.
FAQ About tattoo machine
How To Setup tattoo machine?
How much voltage does a tattoo gun need?
Tattoo gun voltage can vary. Best practices for line work are 7.5-8.5v. For shading, most tattoo artists use 8-10v.
How far should a tattoo needle go into the skin?
You want to go between 1mm and 2mm into the skin where the dermis is.
How many times does a tattoo needle go into your skin per second?
With most tattoo machines, the needle pierces the skin 50 to 3000 times per minute.
What is a rotary machine?
A rotary machine works by delivering mechanical energy by means of a wheel. This can be seen in everything from windmills to motor engines. The wheel is powered either via a central axis or from friction at its circumference. It delivers mechanical power smoothly due to the ease of motion which a spinning disc provides.
Rotary tattoo machines use this principle to insert and remove a tattoo needle at high speed with a smooth rhythm which is constant and does not feel like a repeated piercing of the skin. The rotary movement is more natural and has a more soothing feel once the skin becomes accustomed to the vibration movement.
What is a rotary tattoo machine?
A rotary tattoo machine has a wheel the back of the gun, which is powered by electricity of varying power to achieve speeds which can vary depending on the nature of the tattoo. This differs from the traditional tattoo machine in the way it moves the cartridge which holds the needle.
Non rotary tattoo machines use coils to generate a magnetic field and release it, very quickly. These electromagnetic coils mean that guns of this sort have a large, heavy top end. Rotary machines operate the needle in a continuous, circular motion more akin to that used by an acupuncturist.
What is the modern tattoo machine based on?
Tattoo machines use needles to pierce the top layer (epidermis) of the skin and leave ink the second layer, the dermis. This is stored in the fatty part of the dermis, leaving a stain which shows through the top layer.
Tattoo machines work at speeds which can pierce the skin between 50 and 3,000 times per minute. That's less than once a second to nearly five times a second.
Tattoo machines use needles which are sterile. Today, that usually means disposable, but stainless steel needles can be completely sterilized.
What is a liner tattoo machine?
A liner tattoo machine is designed to deliver precise lines of up to ten different widths. These lines will fade over time, as all tattoos do, but their definition is the essence of the tattoo.
They rely on the needle piercing the skin at as close to vertical (an angle of 90 degrees) as possible. This delivers the ink exactly where it is intended to stay.
Liner tattoo machines are made to do this, and supply the power for the needle. Experienced and professional tattoo artists will not need to rely on these machines, but many customers and artists do.
What kind of tattoo machine is the best?
Tattooists are artist, and all artists have their tools of choice. Rotary tattoo machines are revolutionizing the tattoo industry, but there are still plenty of artists who are “loyal to coil.” As with any new technology, it has its evangelists and those who need more convincing. The differences of opinion are mainly these:
Lining is where rotary is almost universally the winner. This is because rotary delivers consistency, as power supply and needle action are constant. This gives the artist confidence to follow their line without extra complications. Experienced artists value this as much as newcomers to the industry.
Coloring divides artists somewhat, with rotary machines still coming out the winners. This part of tattooing is more expansive and does not require as much intensity in terms of artistry or ink delivery. Coloring can be layered, which can bring out the best in both types of tattoo machine.
Shading is where traditional, coil tattooing is favored slightly more than rotary by professional artists. This is because it relies on a build-up of ink, delivered at an angle through the top layer of skin, and needs to be judged in different ways to other inking methods.
Artists start with finer, often flat needles to begin the shading process. As with all tattooing, blood appears on the surface of the skin, and needs removing completely to judge the result of the shading. Rotary tattoo machines are designed for constituency rather than nuance.
Feel is what divides opinion between advocates of rotary tattoo machines and those who prefer traditional, coil motors. Experienced tattooists know how skin feels as it is inked, and like the immediacy of the reaction which coil powered needles produce. While this is normally the preference of “old school” tattooists, there is still a noticeable difference which some new artists appreciate.
The best tattoo machine for beginners do not need to cost a lot. Even if you are a great sketcher, you will need to practice with a real tattoo machine to get used to how one works.
Inexpensive tattoo machines can give you some good practice and help you to decide if being a tattoo artist is for you. Practicing with your machine on fake skin or even fruit, as often as possible, will give you an idea of what you can do before you work on people.
If you are good at tattooing and decide to do it professionally, you can invest in a more expensive set of machines.