Today, we’ll review the best tattoo machine brands.
My goal is to help you choose a good tattoo machine.
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a coil or rotary tattoo machine, as we’ll cover both.
Let’s begin how to determine which brand of tattoo machine is best for you.
- How to choose a tattoo machine brand
- Best Tattoo Machine Brands
- Anchor Irons
- Borg Design
- CTPS Saveria
- EGO Tattoo
- FK Irons
- HM Tattoo Machines
- Lauro Paolini
- Sabre Tattoo Supplies
- Vlad Blad
How to choose a tattoo machine brand
If you’re already a professional artist or apprentice, you’ll have access to every brand on the market. Some will only sell to artists who can prove their legitimate status.
Meanwhile, the best tattoo brands for beginners are available to anyone who wants to try tattooing.
Premium tattoo irons are hand-crafted in the USA, Europe, and South America. At the same time, low-cost, mass-produced tattoo guns usually come from Asia.
In any case, the best indicator of a quality tattoo machine is the guarantee with which it comes.
Case in point: check out what Anchor Irons offers. They are first in the reviews today as I’ve chosen to list brands in alphabetical order.
Next, look at the fine print. Does the tattoo machine brand require that you use specific parts that are only compatible with their products? Cheyenne is a good example of this situation.
Finally, even if you’re captivated by the brand’s reputation or advertising, do they make the machines that suit your artistic style?
Best Tattoo Machine Brands
Anchor Irons machines are hand-built in Connecticut. Each one is professionally tuned before shipping.
Not only are they built for durability with quality materials, but they also come with a 5-year guarantee. I don’t know of any other tattoo machine manufacturer that offers this kind of deal.
The brand started when a businessman and a tattoo artist got together for coffee. Now, they ship machines worldwide.
Like many manufacturers, they consult with tattoo artists on design improvements.
Anchor Irons Loyalist Coil Tattoo Machine
The Loyalist is a shader. It handles 5 to 13 mag needle groupings.
It has a powder-coated iron frame, which gives it significant heft. At 8.9 ounces, you’ll need hand strength and experience to work with it hours on end.
The robust performance comes from two 8-wrap coils. Each coil is hand-wrapped with 1.25-inch stilted core wire coated in black heat shield.
There is a 47 µF capacitor, which is typical for this type of tattoo machine. What’s not typical is the oversized armature bar with a stainless steel tip.
Anchor Irons recommends using the Loyalist with the Rebel Liner.
Anchor Irons Rebel Coil Tattoo Machine
The Rebel Liner also has a powder-coated iron frame to give it an old-school appearance.
With a speed bar and to 8-wrap coils, it pushes 3-7 RL needle groupings.
Like the matching shader above, it comes with a 5-year guarantee.
Bishop started when an artist named Franco Vescovi began building tattoo machines in 2008. Still today, each tattoo iron is hand-assembled and tuned.
This American brand offers a 1-year warranty. If anything goes wrong, they will fix it for you in-house.
They use Swiss Faulhaber motors with custom windings depending on the function of the machine.
Bishop Rotary Tattoo Machine
To showcase Bishop’s craftsmanship, here’s an intensely purple rotary machine. It has an RCA connector.
The body is CNC-machined from aircraft-grade aluminum. As a result, it’s lightweight and extremely durable. It’s also perfectly balanced and ideal for artists dealing with carpal tunnel.
Plus, the Swiss-made motor is quiet and practically free of vibration.
The stroke length is 3.5 mm, making it appropriate for lining and black and gray shading. The maximum needle size it supports is 50 magnum. Moreover, the needle clip means you don’t need rubber bands to hold the needle in place.
Borg Design’s headquarters are in Massachusetts. Typically, they sell only to professional artists. Therefore, if you see either rotary or coil tattoo machines sold under this brand, be careful to check the authenticity.
Borg Shader Tattoo Machine
They have a color for every artist. This aluminum-framed coil tattoo machine happens to be blue. It also weighs only 5.5 ounces.
It has sterling silver contact screws, 8-wrap coils, and a 47 µF capacitor.
Unlike cheap, mass-produced coil machines, you can clearly see that this is a shader by looking at the springs.
Cheyenne has been building tattoo machines in Germany since 2007. They also make needle cartridges, grips, and other accessories. In fact, if you use their machines, you’ll likely need to use their brand of cartridges.
On the other hand, it was Cheyenne that invented single-use cartridges for rotary machines. This was a big step forward for safety and hygiene.
Cheyenne Sol Nova Tattoo Machine
The Sol Nova is more powerful, yet more lightweight than the Cheyenne Hawk Pen.
It weighs just over 5 ounces. Plus, you can get the aluminum body in a variety of colors.
If you can only purchase one rotary pen, this is an excellent choice. It’s perfect for lining and shading.
The 4 mm stroke length and wide range of operating frequencies let you customize it for everything from dotwork to color realism and bold lines.
CTPS Saveria is an Argentine company that hand-crafts tattoo machines. They’ve been in the business for nearly 4 decades.
Each machine takes about 8 hours to build. But they are perfectly tuned and ready to use out of the box.
Premium Tattoo SHADING Machine by Rick Saverias, 2nd Frame Style
Here’s a shader with brass contact screws and posts mounted on an iron frame.
With 8-wrap coils, it’s powerful enough to run large needle groupings.
But there’s something you should know if you’re left-handed. This brand makes coil tattoo machines specifically for lefties.
Dragonhawk makes both rotary and coil tattoo machines in Hong Kong. They’ve existed since 2001 when two tattoo artists began collaborating to manufacture professional and beginner tattoo machines.
Although many of their products are inexpensive, they come with a 100% money-back guarantee.
Dragonhawk X3 Rotary Tattoo Machine
Rotary tattoo pens usually cost more than coil tattoo machines. But this rotary machine, although not pen-style, should fit into any beginner’s budget.
It has a custom Mast coreless motor that operates at 10,000 RPM. It requires 7 to 9 volts for black and grey work or color packing.
It has an RCA connector, and it’s compatible with standard needle cartridges and grips.
EGO tattoo is based in the United Kingdom. They offer a 12-month warranty.
A tattoo artist named Bez from Triplesix Studios designed EGO’s power triangle system on their rotary machines.
Similar to a coil machine’s spring system, you can swap the different colors of triangles to configure it for shading or lining.
EGO Apex Overkill Rotary Tattoo Machine
The Apex Overkill runs on a Swiss-made Maxon motor. The low-voltage motor is quiet and efficient. Compared to a coil machine, it feels like drawing with a felt tip marker.
The body is machined from a solid block of aircraft-grade aluminum. At just over 4 ounces, it’s lightweight and sturdy.
The machine features the power triangle system for quick and easy configuration.
Also, it comes with a 1.5m RCA power cable.
Fallen King Irons started small in 2007. The founder, artist Gaston Siciliano, developed a coil machine that vibrated less and was quieter than typical models.
But now, FK Irons makes a big noise worldwide from their headquarters in Miami.
FK Irons Spectra Halo 2 Crossover Tattoo Machine
If you’ve ever had a cheap tattoo machine, you know what a pain it is to find the tools you need to take it apart and clean it. Those hex wrenches seem to disappear all too easily.
However, this tattoo machine requires no tools at all. You can switch from standard needle to cartridge setup in seconds with the floating collet vise system.
The needle clip eliminates rubber bands and grommets as it fits most standard needle loops. It self-stabilizes.
The machine comes with 2.8mm, 3.4mm, and 4.0mm stroke wheels for quick adjustments.
Then, the Swiss Maxon motor keeps the whole thing running smooth and quiet.
Choose from 5 different designs, including Seafoam, Tangerine, Ruby, Gunmetal, and Black.
HM Tattoo Machines
HM Tools & Dye is located in Madrid, Spain. Its founder is Roman of Tattoo Magic, who’s lived in the USA and Argentina.
As an artist in Argentina, he began building machines because they were hard to purchase in South America. Now, his company is one of the leading brands worldwide.
Mini Dietzel Liner Tattoo Machine by HM Tools & Dye
If you do precision work like photo-realistic portraiture, you need to experience a miniature liner like this one.
The 8-wrap coils are mounted on a CNC-machined iron frame. They push needles sizes 3 to 7 with a long stroke and hard hits.
Inkjecta has been hand-building tattoo machines in Australia since 2008. It’s a small factory where each machine is tested by a human once it’s complete.
Inkjecta Flite Nano Elite Tattoo Machine (Stealth)
Keep an eye on what the pros are using and you’ll soon run across the Flite Nano in an artist’s hand.
It has a custom-designed nanotech motor with an interchangeable cam system to adjust the stroke. You can also swap out the push bar system to alter the give. The box includes soft, medium, and hard torsion bars.
The billet alloy frame has interchangeable side bumpers. There’s also a polarity-sensitive LED to ensure that your cable and power supply are working properly.
The machine runs on 4.5 up to 18V and uses cartridge needles only.
Kwadron is based in Poland. Their products meet European Union regulations, which are sometimes stricter than what the USA requires.
They’ve been supplying tattoo salons throughout Europe for over a dozen years.
Equaliser Proton MX Pen-Style Rotary Tattoo Machine by Kwadron
The Equaliser Proton pen weighs 4.7 ounces, and it’s just over 4 and a half inches long.
It’s machined from aluminum that stays cool in the hand while you work.
It has a 3.5 mm stroke pushed by a quiet 5W motor.
Although it may seem basic, it’s a dependable rotary machine.
Lauro Paolini had a bumpy start in Italy. The government ordered the closure of his studio because he didn’t have a beautician qualification.
Fortunately, he took a detour into building tattoo machines. His company was one of the first to use a CNC machine for the frames.
Now, two decades later, he sells them worldwide.
Lauro Paolini Mirage Rotary Tattoo Machine
The Mirage is machined from aircraft aluminum and powered by a custom Italian-made motor.
Without the custom aluminum grip, it weighs just over 2 ounces. But you’ll probably want to use the adjustable click-click grip, and that will take it up to nearly 5 ounces.
A mere adjustment of the voltage allows the pen to do thick or thin lines, shading, and filling.
Sabre Tattoo Supplies
Sabre manufacturers tattoo products in the United Kingdom.
They are the first to incorporate antimicrobial technology. The patented treatment is called Biocote.
Sabre Rotary DCX Tattoo Machine
The DCX machine has a 1-touch adjuster with 10 settings. It’s compatible with pretty much any cartridge or needle on the market.
It’s powered by the Maxon DCX 10W motor.
What’s also unusual is that the anodized aircraft aluminum frame has an antimicrobial treatment called Biocote. Choose from 7 bright colors.
Vlad Blad is a Russian brand started by an artist who’s enthusiastic about building machines. He gave up tattooing to focus on manufacture.
Now, his quirky designs are appreciated by artists around the world.
Vlad Blad Pro Liner Tattoo Machine
Vlad Blad’s tattoo machines are collectibles, but not just because of the eclectic designs. They can be configured and customized for professionals with specific needs.
This aluminum-framed machine has a sharp hit for single-pass lining. Plus, the armature bar has inertia to prevent ink blowouts.
There are many tattoo machine brands competing for attention.
But the best brands stand out with innovative designs and guarantees that show they stand behind their work.
If you found your new favorite tattoo machine here today, come back and tell us about it in the comments below.