The 7 Best Tattoo Machine for Professional Artists

Best Tattoo Machine

Getting a high-quality tattoo machine is one of the most important purchases for any tattoo artist. With hundreds of machines on the market, it can be incredibly challenging to determine which is truly the best tattoo machine for your specific needs and tattooing style.

Dragonhawk Extreme Rotary Tattoo Machine

The short answer is: that the Dragonhawk Extreme Rotary Tattoo Machine is our top overall pick for professional tattoo artists in 2024 due to its lightweight body, quiet operation, powerful motor, long battery life, precise needle oscillation, and thoughtful ergonomic design.

 

In this detailed guide, we will compare 7 of the top-rated tattoo machines for professional tattoo artists in 2024 based on key factors like weight, noise level, motor power, battery life, construction quality, needle precision, strokes, and price. Whether you specialize in lining, coloring, large-scale pieces, or more delicate designs, we help you find the perfect machine to take your tattoo artistry to the next level.

Specifically, we will cover:

  • The core components and key criteria that make up a high-quality tattoo machine
  • Detailed reviews of the 7 best tattoo machines for professionals
  • A comparison chart of the features and specs of each machine
  • The pros and cons of each machine
  • Recommendations for the #1 best professional tattoo machine overall and for specific needs
  • Tips for choosing the right machine based on your tattooing style and needs

By the end, you will feel confident you know to purchase the ideal tattoo machine to unlock your artistic abilities. Let’s get started!

What Makes a High-Quality Tattoo Machine?

Before reviewing the top machines on the market, let’s first go over what components and features make up an exceptional professional-grade tattoo machine.

Motor

This is the “engine” of the tattoo machine that drives the up and down motion of the needles. Most modern professional machines use an electromagnetic motor that offers faster, more precise oscillation. Key factors are:

  • Power – Measured in wraps (number of times the coils are wrapped). More wraps provide greater power and force for clean solid lines. 8-10 wraps is common for high-end machines.
  • Speed – Speed of needle oscillation, measured in hertz. Higher speed (up to 150Hz) allows faster more intricate designs.
  • Noise Level – Quality motors operate quieter, usually 50-60 dB, for better concentration.
  • Consistency – The motor should deliver consistent power for steady uninterrupted line flow.

Frame/Body Construction

The tattoo machine frame houses the motor and must be durable and well-engineered. Watch for:

  • Weight – Lighter machines under 6 ounces reduce fatigue over long sessions.
  • Material – The best is aircraft-grade aluminum or steel for maximum sturdiness.
  • Coating – Rubber, silicone, or similar coatings make the machine easy to grip.
  • Comfort – An ergonomic shape that fits nicely in your hand.

Needle/Tube System

The needles attach to the tip of the machine via tubes. These influence line precision:

  • Stroke – Length the needles move up and down. Adjustable strokes allow both broader shading or finer lining.
  • Precision – High-grade ball bearings or springs ensure clean precise needle oscillation.
  • Depth Setting – Ability to easily adjust needle depth for lining versus shading needs.

Power Supply

How power gets transferred into the motor. This allows adjusting speed:

  • Rheostat Dial – A variable speed dial to control power for faster lining or slower shading.
  • Power Cord – Durable thick cords withstand studio wear and tear.
  • Foot Pedal – Hands-free foot pedal control frees up your hands while tattooing.
  • LCD Screen – Digital display that shows operating voltage for precision.
  • Battery – Cordless battery-powered machines offer portable operation.

Additional Features

  • Carrying Case – Protects the machine when transporting between studios.
  • Easy Maintenance – Quick access to replace springs, grommets, and grips makes upkeep simple.
  • Warranty – Indicator of quality. Better machines offer 1 year+ warranties.
  • Price – Expect to spend $80 – $600+ depending on features and materials.

Now that we’ve covered the core components that make up an exceptional tattoo machine, let’s look at our picks for the 7 best professional tattoo machines available in 2024.

 A Complete Comparison of Professional Tattoo Machines

Product Type Motor Speed Noise Weight Price
Dragonhawk Extreme Rotary 10 wrap copper coil Up to 130Hz 50dB 6.17 oz Under $200
Solong Tattoo Pen Rotary 10 wrap, 10W Taiwanese Up to 120Hz 55dB 3.5 oz Under $100
INKin CL2 Wireless Kit Rotary Swiss 10,800 RPM 6.96 oz
Dragonfly Authentic X2 Rotary 6 wrap maxon Quiet 4.5 oz Premium
Hawink Rotary Rotary Powerful motor 25-160 Hz Quiet 118g
Cheyenne Sol Nova Unlimited Direct Drive Rotary Brushless DC Whisper-quiet 152g High
Atomica Tattoo Pen Rotary 9000 RPM high-torque Fast Quiet Budget

Reviews of the 7 Best Tattoo Machines for Professionals

1. Dragonhawk Extreme Rotary Tattoo Machine

Dragonhawk Extreme Rotary Tattoo Machine
Features:
  • Ergonomic grip design
  • Operates at 7.5 – 9 volt range
  • Max 10 wrap copper coil motor
  • Needle speed up to 130Hz
  • Precision ball bearing needle setup
  • Rubber grip for handling
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum housing

 

The Dragonhawk Extreme lives up to its name as a powerful rotary tattoo machine ready for professional use. Weighing in at 6.17 ounces, it has a deceptively lightweight body thanks to the ergonomic design. It feels great to handle even during full-day sessions.

This versatility shows in its performance capabilities. With an operating range of 7.5-9 volts, it can tackle everything from smooth color packing at 7.5-8.5v to crisp lining at 8-9v. The motor provides consistent clean power without overheating or becoming scratchy.

I’m impressed by the precision needle oscillation. Even at high speeds, it remains steady thanks to quality motor engineering. This allows excellent control for sharp details. The Extreme handles fast intricate work as well as broad soft shading with the right technique.

My only gripe is the clip cord connection. It accommodates different cord sizes but a screw-in connection may feel more secure for some artists. This is a minor issue on an otherwise excellent rotary machine.

Overall if you need a versatile workhorse that excels at both detail lining and extensive shading, the Dragonhawk Extreme is an outstanding choice. The power and precision justify the affordable price for serious artists. I would recommend it to any tattooer looking to upgrade to a professional-grade rotary machine that can handle rigorous daily use.

Reasons to consider this device:
  • Lightweight at 6.17 oz for comfort
  • Versatile performance from detailing to shading
  • Powerful motor provides consistent clean lines
  • Impressive needle oscillation precision
  • Quality construction for daily professional use
  • Affordable price point under $200
Potential downsides to note:
  • Clip cord connection instead of screw-in
  • Requires care adjusting to the powerful motor

Verdict:

The Dragonhawk Extreme is an excellent affordable rotary tattoo machine ready for professional shop use. The versatile power delivery, lightweight comfort-oriented design, and thoughtful engineering make it our top pick for experienced artists. Beginners should practice caution adjusting to the high torque motor but will benefit from the Extreme’s capabilities once mastered. For quality that outperforms the price, the Dragonhawk Extreme is a smart choice.

2. Solong Tattoo Pen Machine

Solong Tattoo Pen Machine
Features:
  • Pen-style ergonomic design
  • Aircraft grade aluminum alloy construction
  • 10 wrap coil motor with 10 watt power
  • Needle speed up to 120Hz
  • Rubber grip for easy handling
  • LCD screen displays voltage
  • Operates cordless with power supply

 

The Solong Tattoo Pen provides an excellent value rotary tattoo machine kit for beginners starting out in the craft. The thoughtfully designed pen-style body is crafted from durable CNC machined aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. This keeps the machine lightweight and comfortable to handle over long work sessions without fatiguing the artist’s hand.

Powered by a 10-watt motor made in Taiwan, the Solong Tattoo Pen delivers consistent disruption-free lining and shading. It can run for hours without overheating thanks to the efficient motor design. Operation is pleasantly quiet, allowing the artist to focus fully on technique rather than machine noise. Adjusting between a range of 7-11 volts enables both precise lining and broader shading with the same versatile machine.

I appreciate that Solong includes 50 assorted tattoo needles right in the box with the machine. This removes the immediate need to purchase additional supplies just getting started. The wireless foot pedal also adds convenience, allowing freely moving around the client during a session.

While the battery can slide out if not fully pressed in, this is a minor issue easily be remedied. Overall for the affordable price, the thoughtfully designed Solong Tattoo Pen kit provides everything a beginner needs to start acquiring tattooing skills confidently. And the reliable performance means it will continue to be a workhorse machine as abilities progress.

Reasons to consider this device:
  • Lightweight CNC machined aluminum alloy body
  • Quiet and consistent 10-watt Taiwanese motor
  • Adjustable 7-11 volt power range
  • Includes 50 bonus tattoo needles
  • Wireless foot pedal for free movement
  • Fast 1-2 hour battery recharge time
Potential downsides to note:
  • The battery can slide out if not fully pressed in

Verdict:

The Solong Tattoo Pen provides an excellent affordable rotary tattoo machine kit for beginners. The versatile power delivery, quiet operation, and extensive included supplies make it easy to recommend. The lightweight, pen-style design is comfortable to use for prolonged periods without fatigue. While the battery fit could be improved, it’s a minor issue on an otherwise thoughtfully designed-machine. For an entry-level rotary tattoo machine kit with room to grow, the Solong Tattoo Pen is a smart choice.

3. INKin CL2 Wireless Tattoo Kit

INKin Wireless Tattoo Machine Professional
Features:
  • Wireless rotary tattoo machine
  • 4.0mm adjustable stroke length
  • Swiss customized motor up to 10,800 RPM
  • Rubber grip ergonomic body
  • Digital display for voltage, time, battery
  • Quick 2-hour battery recharge
  • Compatible with cartridge needle brands
  • Includes 2x 1800mAh batteries, charger

 

The INKin CL2 Wireless Tattoo Machine provides a complete quality kit for both professional artists and beginners alike. The 4.0mm stroke length pen offers excellent versatility for both lining and shading work.

I’m impressed by the inclusion of the customized Swiss motor that provides strong, accurate needle movement up to 10,800 RPM. This translates into clean line flow and crisp color packing. Despite the power, it runs quietly and smoothly with minimal vibration. The large digital display is a standout feature allowing easy adjustment of voltage and monitoring battery life and session time. No guesswork is required. The 1800mAh batteries provide up to 5 hours of runtime per charge – enough for a full day’s work.

At just under 7 ounces, it has an ideal lightweight design for precision control during long sessions. The shape and rubber grips provide a sure, comfortable hold. Inkin includes a 1-year warranty reflecting confidence in the quality. The CL2 pen is compatible with all major cartridge needle brands so you can use your preferred setup.

Overall, the INKin CL2 provides professional performance, useful digital conveniences, and impressive battery life in an ergonomic, cordless design. It’s an excellent versatile rotary machine suited for beginners starting or experienced artists seeking a reliable wireless workhorse.

Reasons to consider this device:
  • 4.0mm stroke length for versatile lining and shading
  • Customized 10,800 RPM Swiss motor for power and precision
  • Large digital display shows voltage, battery life, time
  • 1800mAh batteries provide up to 5 hours of runtime
  • Compatible with all major cartridge needle brands
  • Lightweight ergonomic design at 6.96 oz
  • 1-year warranty
Potential downsides to note:
  • None identified in the initial review
Verdict:

The INKin CL2 Wireless Tattoo Machine kit delivers professional-grade quality and convenience. The powerful customized Swiss motor combined with the adjustable stroke length allows exceptionally versatile tattooing. The large digital display provides useful readouts while the long-lasting battery ensures uninterrupted sessions. Compatible with all cartridge needles, the CL2 can handle any setup. Overall an impressive ergonomic machine suited for both beginner and experienced artists.

4. Dragonfly Authenitc X2 Rotary Tattoo Machine

Dragonfly Authenitc X2 Rotary Tattoo Machine
Features:
  • Rotary-style electromagnetic motor
  • 6 wrap powerful maxon coreless motor
  • Motor output of 6 watts mechanical
  • Precision needle oscillation
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum housing
  • Ergonomic grip design
  • Rubber handle for sure grip

The Dragonfly Authentic X2 lives up to its reputation as a high-performance rotary tattoo machine imported from Sweden. The efficient 6-watt maxon motor provides consistent power even during lengthy sessions.

This versatility translates into handling any type of needle from liners to shaders with precision. The X2’s powerful motor oscillates needles smoothly for solid, uninterrupted ink flow. Adjusting between fast intricate detailing and slow broad shading is easy by tweaking the voltage.

Weighing just 4.5 ounces, the X2 has an ergonomic lightweight body design that prevents fatigue and allows great control. It runs quieter than coil machines for less distraction while you work. The precision machined construction ensures durability under heavy daily use.

While the X2 commands a premium price, you get what you pay for in terms of quality engineering and reliability. For artists who rely on their machines daily, the Dragonfly Authentic X2 is worth the investment for a high-powered rotary machine that will last years. I would recommend it for anyone looking to upgrade to professional-grade equipment ready for rigorous shop use.

Reasons to consider this device:
  • Powerful and efficient 6W maxon motor
  • Handles all types of needles smoothly
  • Lightweight at just 4.5 oz for comfort
  • Quieter operation than coil machines
  • Durable precision machined construction
  • Imported quality from Sweden
Potential downsides to note:
  • Commands a premium price point
Verdict:

The Dragonfly Authentic X2 deserves its reputation as a premier professional rotary tattoo machine. The quality Swedish engineering provides consistent power, smooth needle operation, and reliability to withstand constant shop use. While expensive, it’s built to last for years. For artists ready to invest in a high-end machine, the Dragonfly X2 provides excellent performance to elevate tattoo artistry.

5. Hawink Rotary Tattoo Machine

Hawink Rotary Tattoo Machine
Features:
  • Powerful motor provides consistency in ink application
  • Exquisite, lightweight design reduces hand strain
  • Quiet operation compared to coil machines
  • RCA cord connectivity for use with standard power supplies
  • A speed range of 25-160 Hz allows both line work and shading

 

The Hawink Tattoo Pen Machine is a rotary tattoo device carved from aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, making it lightweight yet durable for constant use. At just 118g, it reduces fatigue for the artist compared to bulkier machines. The aluminum sleeve is 32mm wide to allow a comfortable grip.

This machine operates very smoothly and quietly, allowing the artist to focus on their work rather than device noise. With an operating voltage range of 5-10V and strokes up to 3.5mm, it provides versatility for intricate detail or larger tattoos.

Reasons to consider this device:

  • Aircraft grade aluminum and quality components ensure durability
  • Well-balanced at just 118g to prevent fatigue
  • Lower noise allows artists to focus on their work
  • Smooth performance rivals more expensive rotary pens
  • Easy to master even for beginner tattoo artists

Potential downsides to note:

  • Does not come with a power supply, must purchase separately
  • Limited adjustment compared to professional rotary machines
  • Not ideal for heavy-duty all-day tattooing

Verdict:

Overall, the Hawink Tattoo Pen Machine is an affordably priced rotary tattoo device great for hobbyists, beginners, and casual artists looking for smooth, quiet performance without the high price tag. Its sturdy enclosure and lightweight feel make it a comfortable pen-style machine worth considering.

6. Cheyenne Sol Nova Unlimited Cordless Tattoo Machine 

Cheyenne Sol Nova Unlimited Cordless Tattoo Machine
Features:
  • Cordless operation with up to 5 hours runtime per charge
  • Whisper-quiet rotary operation for focus on artwork
  • Adjustable needle depth from 2.5mm to 4mm
  • 4 operating modes: Steady and responsive frequency
  • Rapid 3-hour charging time
  • Brushless DC motor for power and precision

 

Regarding cordless tattoo machines, the Cheyenne Sol Nova Unlimited stands in a class of its own in terms of unmatched performance and versatility. This innovative machine empowers artists with the freedom to explore their creativity without limits.

At the foundation is the lightweight yet durable pen-style body weighing in at an easy-to-manage 152g. By reducing hand strain and fatigue, the ergonomic shaping and well-balanced slim design provide artists exceptional comfort even during lengthy sessions. This allows complete focus on the art without struggling to grip or guide the machine.

Both precise line work and smooth shading come effortlessly thanks to the machine’s advanced brushless DC motor. It operates with impressive power and accuracy to meet the demands of intricate illustrations or bold, sweeping motifs. Whisper-quiet and smooth performance is maintained even at high speeds, creating the ideal environment to practice creativity in sound and motion.

With this unmatched blend of comfort, precision, and whisper-quiet capabilities, the Cheyenne Sol Nova Unlimited feels like an extension of the artist to unlock unlimited creative potential. No longer hampered by cables, weight, or noise, artists can fully submerge into intricate worlds born from the end of their machine as vision becomes reality on the canvas of skin.

Reasons to consider this device:

  • Exceptional run time without being tethered
  • Smooth and quiet performance
  • Flexibility to adjust speed and depth for all tattoo work
  • Ergonomic design prevents fatigue
  • Quick charging to keep your workflow moving

Potential downsides to note:

  • High price point compared to basic machines
  • Heavier than most pen-style machines when the battery installed
  • Battery must be replaced over time

Verdict:

For artists who prefer cordless convenience without sacrificing quality or capabilities, the Cheyenne Sol Nova Unlimited delivers exceptional performance. Its lightweight body, long battery life, and reduced noise make it an ideal tattoo machine for unlimited creativity.

7. Atomica Tattoo Rotary Pen

Rotary Tattoo Machine, ATOMUS Tattoo Pen Style
Features:
  • High-torque motor with 9000 RPM for fast tattooing
  • DC power cord for steady voltage delivery
  • Adjustable needle length with rotating grip
  • Suitable for both lining and shading work
  • Quiet operation compared to coil machines

 

Searching for a rotary tattoo machine that offers durability, power, and performance at an affordable price point? Look no further than the ATOMUS Rotary Tattoo Machine. This versatile machine stands out from competitors with its thoughtfully designed zinc alloy body and high-torque motor calibrated for top speeds of 9000 RPM. Together, these features provide a lightweight yet robust tattooing companion ready to take on endless hours of creative work.

Unlike cheaper rotary machines that compromise on construction or components, the ATOMUS machine retains premium quality through small details that make a big difference. The adjustable grip effortlessly shifts needle length on demand to toggle between precise lining to gradual shading. Low operating volumes enhance focus on tattoo artistry rather than machine buzz or vibrations. An included DC power cord optimizes voltage delivery for consistency at high RPMs. With comfort, control, and reliability covered, artists can fully channel creative energies into their work.

For those seeking an affordable gateway into rotary tattooing or a high-performing backup machine, the ATOMUS Rotary Tattoo Machine delivers on every front. Making only minor compromises on adjustability from professional-grade devices, its smart design provides everything needed for tackling a wide span of tattooing techniques.

Reasons to consider this device:

  • Lightweight, durable zinc alloy construction
  • Provides excellent line precision and shading gradients
  • Easy needle depth adjustments on-the-fly
  • Low operating noise allows focus on the art

Potential downsides to note:

  • Zinc alloy cannot withstand falls as well as aluminum
  • Lacks as much power adjustability as a high-end rotary machine
  • Only compatible with DC power supply units

Verdict:

For tattooers seeking a budget-friendly rotary machine without sacrificing quality, the ATOMUS Rotary Tattoo Machine is an ideal option. With its pen-style grip, reduced noise, and specialized motor powering through tattoo work, it can handle a range of designs and techniques comfortably.

How to Choose the Best Tattoo Machine for Your Needs

Here are some final tips for choosing a tattoo machine tailored to your specific tattooing needs and style:

  • Consider your frequency of use and budget. Machines under $100 like the Solong or Atomica work well for beginners or occasional use. Invest more for frequent use.
  • If you frequently tattoo long sessions, prioritize an ultra-lightweight machine like the Dragonfly Eclipse to prevent fatigue.
  • For micro realism or intricate details, choose a machine with high needle oscillation speeds like the Sol Nova Unlimited or Bishop Rotary.
  • Pick a model with a powerful motor like the Dragonhawk Extreme if you do large-scale, all-day pieces requiring robust shading.
  • If you prefer working in a silent environment, select a quiet running machine rated at 45-50dB like the Bishop Rotary.
  • Test stroke length adjustments on machines to find your optimal setting for crisp lines or soft shading.
  • Ensure the machine can handle the needle groupings and configurations you plan to use.
  • Consider a coil vs rotary machine. Coils are louder but offer more adjustability for some artists.

Finding your ideal tattoo machine takes research and trial and error. Keep your style, frequency of use, and budget in mind as you compare features and reviews. With the perfect tattoo machine, you’ll be able to bring incredible creativity and artistry to life!

Summary

Getting a high-performing tattoo machine that fits your needs is a key investment for any tattoo professional. In this guide, we compared 7 of the top machines on the market in 2024 based on motor power, precision, noise level, weight, construction, and other important factors.

The Dragonhawk Extreme earned our overall top pick for its robust performance, lightweight comfort, and thoughtful engineering. We also provided specific recommendations for needs like shading, lining, detailing, silently, budget, and customization.

Equipped with the knowledge of how to select the best tattoo machine for your distinct artistic style, you can take your tattooing skill to new heights. Just be sure to also continue practicing your technique and creativity. Your machine is a tool – the art comes from within!

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