There’s a skill you must have to be a successful tattoo artist. You’ve got to be able to choose the best tattoo needles for each job you’ll do.
You’ll need to understand the difference between liner and shader needles. Then, you’ll get familiar with different configurations, taper, count, and diameter.
Here are some tips about tattoo needles to get you started.
- Needle type
- Which are the most common tattoo needle sizes?
- How to pick the best professional tattoo needles
- Best Tattoo Needles in 2021
- Yuelong 100 Pieces Disposable Mixed Needles
- Autdor 50PCS Mixed Tattoo Needles
- Pirate Face Tattoo PFT 100 Assorted Tattoo Needles
- Dragonhawk Tattoo Needles 200 Pcs
- YILONG 200pcs Assorted Mixed Size Tattoo Needles Set
- STIGMA 50 Pieces Disposable Mixed Tattoo Needles
- ACE Needles 50 Mixed Assorted Tattoo Needles 6 Sizes
- BRONC Quality Tattoo Needles
- BIGWASP Premium Quality Long Bar Tattoo Needles
- One Tattoo World Sterilized Tattoo Needles
- ATOMUS 50pcs Disposable Mixed Tattoo Needles + Assorted Tips
- Dragonhawk Tattoo Needles and Matching Tubes
- BIGWASP Assorted Disposable Cartridges
- Bishop DA VINCI Tattoo Cartridge Needles
- HAWINK Tattoo Cartridge Needles
- Pirate Face Tattoo Assorted Disposable Tattoo Needle Cartridges
- Dragonhawk Extreme Tattoo Cartridges
- Wormhole Tattoo Cartridge Needles
- EZTAT2 EZ Revolution Assorted Tattoo Cartridge Needles with Grips Complete Kit
- BD Style 5.4 Qt Sharps Disposal Container | Oakridge Products |
The taper of the needle affects how much ink flows into the skin. It’s the length of the needle’s point.
The larger the taper measurement, the slower the ink flow. If you’re doing a blackout tattoo, you’ll want to use a needle with a high taper for better control.
Tapers range in size from 1.5 mm to 7 mm. Go with a medium-size if you’re not sure what to pick.
The diameter is the thickness of the needle. This includes the count, or the number of needles packed together.
For example, a size 8 is the same as 0.25 mm. A size 10 is equal to 0.30 mm. The larger the diameter number, the thicker the tattoo needle will be, and the more area it can fill with one pass.
Just so you know, size 10 is one of the most common tattoo needles used. It’s excellent for lining.
When you see codes on needles like 1203rl, it’s the diameter that’s listed first. The number tells you that’s a size 12 round liner with 3 needles in a group.
Unless you’re only doing stick and poke tattoos, you need to understand needle groupings and what techniques they’re useful for doing.
Obviously, round liners are for drawing lines, and round shaders are for shading. Both kinds are soldered around a central shaft in a circular pattern. Liners are packed more tightly than shaders.
Magnums are helpful for filling in large areas, blending colors, and shading. They have a longer taper than most round shaders. Therefore, they deliver ink faster.
Bugpins (8-gauge needles) are good for portraits and smooth gradients.
Finally, flat needles are handy for shading geometric areas and doing tribal tattoos. They are suitable for lining bold, clear strokes (1).
With practice, it will become second nature for you to choose between curved, weaved, stacked, flat, round, and so on. Plus, many manufacturers have helpful tattoo needle tip size charts.
Which are the most common tattoo needle sizes?
The most commonly used sizes are 8, 10, and 12 gauge. Bugpins are #8 gauge and have a slow ink flow for intricate designs.
The #10 gauge size is sometimes called “Double Zeros”. It’s suitable for all styles of tattooing and gives a controlled and steady flow of ink.
Lastly, #12 gauge needles are sometimes called “Standards”. They’re handy for the rapid ink flow needed for color packing and shading.
How to pick the best professional tattoo needles
Besides considering the needle’s size and shape, you need to get them from a reliable manufacturer that maintains consistent quality. It’s also crucial that they are pre-sterilized and individually packed.
Best Tattoo Needles in 2021
If you’re going to try out a new brand, we suggest that you check for a satisfaction guarantee if there’s a problem.
Yuelong 100 Pieces Disposable Mixed Needles
Yuelong is a well-known tattoo supply company that can get you started with a variety pack for a reasonable price. They offer a satisfaction guarantee with the promise of a refund or exchange.
This set includes ten of each of the following sizes: 3RL, 5RL, 7RL, 9RL, 3RS, 5RS, 7RS, 9RS, 7M1, and 9M1. Consequently, you’ll get round liners for precision work, round shaders, and two sizes of Magnums.
The standard-length needles are made from 316 stainless steel. Each one measures 143 mm or 5.63-inches.
They are individually packed to CE standards and pre-sterilized with ethylene oxide gas.
Autdor 50PCS Mixed Tattoo Needles
Autdor also promises a full refund or exchange if you aren’t satisfied with their tattoo needles. Each is made from 316L stainless steel and cleanly soldered. They’re all sterilized with ethylene oxide gas and individually packed.
The selection includes a variety of sizes, including bugpins and round liners. There are 5 each of 1201RL and 1011RL, plus ten each of 1003RL, 1005RL, 1007RL, and 1009RL.
Pirate Face Tattoo PFT 100 Assorted Tattoo Needles
Pirate Face Tattoo put together this assortment with round liners, round shaders, and magnums. There are 10 of each size.
Each one is constructed from medical-grade stainless steel. They are all #12 diameter.
Each one is packed individually and stamped with an expiration date.
Dragonhawk Tattoo Needles 200 Pcs
Dragonhawk offers a massive collection of the most commonly used tattoo needles. All are made from 304L stainless steel.
Reviewers say that there are no round shaders but tons of round liners and magnums in several sizes. Unfortunate, there’s no way to select specifically which needles you want.
If you’re not happy, they have a satisfaction guarantee.
YILONG 200pcs Assorted Mixed Size Tattoo Needles Set
YILONG needles are made from medical-grade 316L stainless steel. They are sterilized and packed separately.
The selection includes round liners, round shaders, and single stack magnums.
STIGMA 50 Pieces Disposable Mixed Tattoo Needles
Stigma promises a full refund or exchange if you don’t love this variety pack of tattoo needles. They’re made from 316 stainless steel.
Each is packaged according to CE standards and pre-sterilized with ethylene oxide gas.
The company says that you’ll never have a problem with bumps, barbs, or dull tips. Each grouping is soldered neatly.
The list includes 10 of each size: 1203RL, 1205RL, 1207RL, 1209RL, and 1211RL. They are all round liners, size 12, with different groupings (of 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 needles).
ACE Needles 50 Mixed Assorted Tattoo Needles 6 Sizes
There’s nothing like getting a batch of needles and having no clue what size they are. That won’t happen with this batch as each one is marked with the size, sterilization date, and lot number.
What’s interesting is that each it has a built-in proof of sterilization. The package carries a color-changing dot that turns blue after exposure to ethylene oxide gas.
They are standard-sized to fit all tattoo machines. There are 5 each of 1 RL and 11 RL. Then, there are 10 each of 3RL, 5RL, 7RL, and 9RL. They are manufactured to meet ISO-9002, EN, and CE specifications.
BRONC Quality Tattoo Needles
BRONC sells different sizes and types of tattoo needles like these bugpin #10 9RL round liners. They have standard length loop bars that fit regular tubes and most tattoo machines.
Each is crafted from premium-grade stainless steel and sterilized with ethylene oxide gas. They are packaged in sterile blister packs.
The company offers a refund or exchange if you aren’t pleased with the needles. They also recommend this particular type for stick and poke tattoos.
BIGWASP Premium Quality Long Bar Tattoo Needles
This brand also gets good reviews for their tattoo needles. The needles are made from 316L stainless steel, sterilized, and individually blister-packed.
There are 50 to a box. This set comes with 0.30mm 9RL round liners, but you can choose other sizes and styles.
One Tattoo World Sterilized Tattoo Needles
These 5RL professional tattoo needles come individually wrapped and sterilized. There are 50 in the box.
Reviewers suggest that these are useful for stick and poke tattoos.
ATOMUS 50pcs Disposable Mixed Tattoo Needles + Assorted Tips
Since you need tips as well as needles, why not get them all at once? This kit comes with a variety of different sizes of needles with matching tips.
All the needles are 304L stainless steel, wrapped individually, and pre-sterilized with EO gas. The selection includes round liners, round shaders, and mags. There are 5 of each size.
Dragonhawk Tattoo Needles and Matching Tubes
Here’s a collection of needles and tubes. The tattoo grips are soft black ABS plastic with transparent tips.
Out of the collection of 60, there are 6 sizes, with 10 needles of each size. These include round liners, round shaders, and magnums.
On the downside, although they are individually packaged and marked, they don’t come sorted or grouped together.
BIGWASP Assorted Disposable Cartridges
So far, we’ve focused on needles for coil tattoo machines. But let’s not forget needle cartridges for rotary machines. This pack has an affordable assortment of 5 different sizes. They are all #12 round shaders with different groupings.
All the needles are made from 316 medical-grade stainless steel in a plastic membrane. They are sterilized with ethylene oxide gas and individually packed.
If you prefer liners or other sizes of needles, simply choose a different option from the list.
Bishop DA VINCI Tattoo Cartridge Needles
Choose the size you need of these premium cartridge needles. They come twenty to a box.
They are crafted from 304 surgical stainless steel and medical-grade plastic. The plastic allows excellent visibility of the needles and ink. Plus, there is a safety membrane inside to prevent leakage.
All the liners have an extra-long taper, while the magnums and shaders have medium tapers.
They’re compatible with all types of rotary machines and cartridge grips.
HAWINK Tattoo Cartridge Needles
You can tell at a glance if these needle cartridges are safe to use. If they have already been treated and remain sterile, the dot on the packaging is blue. Otherwise, the dot is red, and the needle should be discarded.
While the cartridges are medical-grade plastic, the needles are 304 stainless steel. They’re compatible with all rotary machines and grips, including Hawk brand.
Pirate Face Tattoo Assorted Disposable Tattoo Needle Cartridges
This pack has standard needles like 9RL and 9M1 as well as smaller liners and shaders. There are 5 pieces of each size.
You can use them with all rotary or coil type machines, including the Hawk brand. Of course, they are sterilized and packed separately.
Dragonhawk Extreme Tattoo Cartridges
After a while, it seems like the only differences between needles are the brand name and the price. But that’s good news as they need to be compatible with all tattoo machines.
However, there is something a little different about these cartridges. They have a membrane mechanism that puts a stop to ink spitback. They’re transparent so that you can see what’s going on inside.
Also, Dragonhawk has a 30-point inspection process to guarantee the quality of their needles. They check details like the soldering and alignment.
Wormhole Tattoo Cartridge Needles
Wormhole includes 20 cartridges of #12 gauge needles, including round liners and mags. The metal is medical-grade stainless steel, and the cartridges are PVC.
The semi-transparent tips let you watch where you’re working. Moreover, they are designed to prevent ink leakage.
EZTAT2 EZ Revolution Assorted Tattoo Cartridge Needles with Grips Complete Kit
If you want to get started with tattooing but aren’t sure which needles and grips to get, this package has it all.
The cartridges are compatible with standard machines. They’re built from medical-grade plastic with 316L surgical stainless steel needles. Each cartridge is sterilized with ethylene oxide gas and wrapped in a sterile blister pack.
You won’t need any special tools, like an Allen wrench, to install the cartridges or grips. The two aluminum grips have a 25mm diameter. They can be sterilized and reused. (By the way, they come in random colors).
The assortment includes ten of each size, including 1003RL, 1207RL, 1207RS, 1211M1, and 1209M1C (curved magnum). Therefore, you’ll have liners, shaders, and mags ready to use right out of the box.
BD Style 5.4 Qt Sharps Disposal Container | Oakridge Products |
While you’re shopping for needles, remember that these are disposable items that are considered hazardous waste. They have to go in a special trash container like this one. It’s puncture-proof and approved by the FDA, CDC, EPA, and OSHA for this purpose.
We love this large sharps container as you don’t have to touch it to open it. It has a counterbalanced lid that automatically closes once you drop needles inside. Since the cover is transparent, you can see how full it’s getting.
Once the container is maxed out, you can press the lid to snap it shut for proper disposal.
The tattoo needle is your paintbrush. Use the right one for the job, and you’ll make beautiful art.
We hope we helped you find the best needles and cartridges to keep you well-stocked and ready to rock.