Your tattoo machine is an extension of your hand.
It’s the tool that gives life to your art.
Therefore, it needs to be comfortable for you to use and effective for the job.
Today, I want to help you find the best liner tattoo machine.
Let’s see which features are crucial.
How to choose a tattoo machine for lining
Not all of the best liners are coil tattoo machines. Novice artists may find that rotary machines are easier to control as they vibrate less.
Rotary machines are also gentler on the skin, which leads to quicker healing times.
But let’s begin with coil tattoo irons.
For example, coil machines are ideal for lining as they move quickly to create smooth lines (1).
Moreover, you can choose fine liner machines or standard liner machines depending on the work you want to do.
Fine liners push small needle configurations like 3 to 7R. Often, they have 8-wrap coils.
Meanwhile, standard liners usually have 10-wrap coils for more power. They have a long stroke for 9 to 14R needle groupings.
In any case, if you’re not comfortable with all the buzzing and vibration, plus the adjustments needed for a coil tattoo machine, you should consider a rotary machine instead.
The main downfall of using a rotary machine for lining is that you can’t use large needle groupings most of the time.
That’s the information about liners, but what about choosing the best tattoo machine in general?
Consider all the parts of the tattoo machine
The frame of a coil tattoo machine is an essential part. The material will determine how heavy it is and how much it vibrates.
It also needs to be aligned correctly. To protect yourself against faulty coil tattoo machines, buy from places that offer an exchange or refund policy if the iron is defective.
Next, check the coils. Are they wrapped neatly and tightly, and are there as many wraps as promised?
Finally, check the spring. Liners have short springs in the front, but you might not be able to tell the difference if you don’t have a shader with which to compare it.
With regards to rotary machines for lining, check to see if it can handle the needle groupings you use the most.
Best Liner Tattoo Machines
Now, let’s review the best liner machines for tattooing.
Mini Dietzel Liner Tattoo Machine by HM Tools & Dye
The artist Roman from Tattoo Magic founded HM Tools & Dye. It’s now a premium manufacturer of tattoo machines based in Madrid, Spain.
With confident expertise, they design and fabricate tattoo machines from solid blocks of metal.
This one is CNC-machined for perfect accuracy. It’s made of iron with a silver contact screw and iron oxide fittings. It weighs 11.04 ounces.
With 8-wrap coils, it hits hard with a long stroke. But it’s a mini liner, which makes it suitable for smaller needle groupings from 3 to 7.
If you’re not a fan of iron, you can get the same model in either brass or copper.
And by the way, this is without a doubt one of the best tattoo guns for lining.
Vlad Blad Delicate Liner Tattoo Machine
Put a smile on your client’s face and a little fun in your day with one of these whimsical designs. Vlad Blad put Finn the Human on this one.
This is a Russian manufacturer who doesn’t just create collectible irons, but also practical workhorses.
This delicate liner machine is an excellent example. It pushes needles from size 3 to 9 for fine detailed work. If you do portraits, this is the tool you need for hair, eyelashes, and intricate images like dotwork.
The circular aluminum frame weighs a hair over 1 ounce. Plus, the armature bar is crafted to provide the inertia needed to prevent ink blowouts.
Anchor Irons Rebel Coil Tattoo Machine | Liner Tattoo Machine
The Rebel liner is made in the USA. It features 8-wrap coils and a powder-coated Iron frame.
Each coil is hand-wrapped with 1.25-inch stilted core wire covered in black heat shielding.
Along with a 47 µF capacitor and a steel-tipped armature bar, they smoothly push needle groups from 3 to 7 RL.
They suggest pairing it with the Loyalist Shader.
Furthermore, Anchor Irons offers a five-year guarantee on this machine.
TrueLiner ALU Coil Tattoo Machine by Right Stuff
Here’s another finely-crafted liner made of a single piece of aluminum. With 9-wrap coils, it pushes 9 to 18 RL needles.
It weighs five times more than the delicate liner above, but i it’s made for power lining with a long stroke length.
Unloaded, it runs at 6.6 V.
But wait, you might not be familiar with the brand Right Stuff. It was founded by the former owner of a tattoo supply store.
After repairing irons from other manufacturers, he decided he could make better tattoo machines. Now, artists like Ildo Oh and Mowgli use his products.
But he continues to do the final assembly himself so that each machine arrives perfectly tuned and ready to use.
Micky Sharpz #000XS Steel Micro Dial Liner Tattoo Coil Machine
It’s hard to resist the Micky Sharpz liners once you experience how fast and smooth they run. That’s no surprise as the company’s been in the tattoo business for 35 years.
The polished steel finish of the frame resembles an old rotary dial phone. They call it a “T dial” design.
It has more heft to keep your handy steady. Plus, it has a quick change split collet for swapping tubes.
You’ll know you have an authentic model as it comes with the registration number engraved on the frame as well as a certificate.
1TattooWorld 8-Wrap Coil Iron Liner OTW-M702
There is a world of difference between this cast iron liner and the exquisite premium tattoo machines above.
Although some may argue with me, I believe that there’s a place for cheap tattoo irons like this one. Beginners need them, for example.
But I must caution you that you’ll need to carefully check the setup and tuning before you use it. Many artists find that they need to replace pieces like the contact screw.
Dragonhawk Brass Coil Tattoo Machines, Liner and Shader
Here’s a set with both a liner and a shader. It comes from a Hong Kong manufacturer of tattoo supplies that offers a satisfaction guarantee.
Both frames are CNC-cut from billet brass. You can clearly see that one is a shader and one is a liner from the position and length of the springs.
While the liner has 8-wrap coils, the shader has 10-wrap. Both run at 7 to 8 volts.
Reviewers recommend checking the tuning before use. That’s a smart recommendation four any inexpensive tattoo liner.
Redscorpion Cast Iron Liner
Although the description is a little hard to understand, the key takeaway here is the 30-day money-back guarantee.
This is a basic tattoo machine for lining with eight-wrap coils. It has a cast iron frame that weighs just under half a pound.
The manufacturer suggests oiling the frame to prevent rust. It also comes with assorted accessories for maintenance and tuning.
With a 33 µF capacitor, it works at 6 to 8 V.
HAWINK Coil Machine Liner
Is it worth it to pay this much for an intermediate lining machine? I’d say yes, and here’s why.
First, the manufacturer may be overseas, but they provide a satisfaction guarantee and quick customer service.
Second, this is a hard-hitting liner with 10-wrap coils and a 47 µF capacitor. It can handle needles up to 18 RL and has a 3.5 mm throw. It’s great for fast outlines in a single pass.
Third, the elegant steel frame is powder-coated and sports brass posts. The vise is compatible with all grips.
If that doesn’t convince you, take comfort in the fact that Fakespot (at the time of writing) didn’t find fake reviews gushing over it.
Dragonhawk Extreme Rotary Tattoo Machine
At just over 6 ounces, this rotary machine is easy to control and won’t tire out your hand.
With a Japanese-made motor, it serves three purposes: lining, color packing, and shading. For lining, you’ll need a power supply that can output up to 9 V.
It’s also far quieter than the traditional coil machine.
Use it with regular tattoo needles up to 50 mag and cartridges. It can handle tubes up to 8 mm
Stigma Rotary Tattoo Machine Pen Kit
This kit includes the wireless Stigma rotary pen, two batteries, a carrying case, gloves, grip wrap, and sterilized cartridges.
It’s CE-certified for safety and comes with a one-year warranty.
The aluminum casing is rose gold, which may not appeal to everyone. But it has a nearly silent Japanese motor inside.
What’s more, the machine weighs only 3.95 ounces.
Run it at 8 to 11 V for lining, and less for shading. Each battery should last around 4 hours.
Stigma Premium Rotary Tattoo Machine EM158-1
Stigma’s premium rotary pen has digital controls and runs on a 2000 mAh lithium battery. The display reveals the amount of power remaining as well as the working time elapsed.
The battery should last about 7 hours and re-charge in about 2 1/2. It operates between 5 and 13 V.
It’s straightforward to switch from lining to shading by adjusting the voltage. It’s also easy to adjust the stroke length between 1 and 4 mm.
The package includes five grips sleeves–three are metal and two are rubber.
Happily, the tattoo machine comes with a one-year guarantee.
BIGWASP Rotary Tattoo Machine
Beginners love it and experienced artists, too. It works well for both lining and shading with a standard 3.5 mm stroke length.
But it’s not wireless. You’ll need an RCA connector and power supply to use it.
This rotary pen operates between five and eight volts and it’s compatible with all cartridge and needle types.
Holding it is like holding a marker—it’s that comfortable. The Japanese motor ensures quiet operation and smooth control.
The CNC-machined aircraft aluminum housing doesn’t overheat on big projects, either.
Users say it hits hard enough to line well in one pass and soft enough to shade large areas. They suggest around 9 V for lining.
BRONC Premium Rotary Machine
Intermediate and experienced artists are on the lookout for a fine-tuned rotary machine like this one.
It features a Swiss motor for durability and reliable performance.
The operating range is 5 to 12 V, and it requires separate power supply for the accompanying RCA connector cord.
Moreover, it’s possible to adjust the stroke length up to 4.5 mm.
At only 5.43 ounces, the sleek aluminum body is well-balanced and light. Reviewers say that it does every task well, from lining to shading and packing.
I hope that the reviews today helped you find the perfect tattoo machine for lining.
Whether you prefer coil or rotary, a liner is an essential tool for every tattoo artist.
Don’t settle—get the best machine you can afford. It will help you perfect your art in the years to come.
1. https://thetattoonerd.blogspot.com/2014/10/coil-tattoo-machines-101.html by Jason Sorrell, published October 1, 2014, accessed August 25, 2020