Types Of Tattoo Machines: Rotary Vs. Coil Tattoo Machine

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We come across a variety of tattoo designs and art forms every day and appreciate the expertise and skill of tattoo artists. However, it is the skills that matter and various types of tattoo machines that professionals carry.

Expert tattoo artists pay special attention to their tools to ensure that they will get the best quality. That is why understanding your machine is essential to create the designs you want. Here we have everything you need to know about types of tattoo machines and their specific parts.

How Many Types Of Tattoo Machines Are There?

Mainly, there are two types of tattoo machines that are commonly used. They are.

  1. Rotary tattoo machines.
  2. Coil tattoo machines.

However, they are further divided into further subtypes. Keep reading to know more.

The quality of tattoos depends not only on the machine but also on how perfectly construction elements work.

What Is The Difference Between Coil And Rotary Tattoo Machines?

Commonly, rotary tattoo machines are better than the coil for beginners. A simple answer to this question is no. There is no better or best tattoo machine. It is essential to understand that different machines are utilized for different skill sets. Thus, understanding the difference between coil and rotary tattoo machines is essential.

Coil machines are best for lines, while rotary machines are ideal for color tattoos.

Coil vs. Rotary Tattoo Machine

Here is everything you need to know about the coil and rotary machines.

1- Coil Tattoo Machine

The coil machine is the first device tattoo artists used for tattooing. It is the modern version of a self-writing pen by Thomas Edison. Moreover, the machine consists of the following parts.

  • Frame: It is the skeleton of the machine that keeps all other essential parts together. The frame is commonly made from alloys or steel. Besides that, it is available in a variety of designs. The frame is strong, elegant, and lightweight.
  • Armature Bar: These magnetic elements perform the oscillating motion. Thus, the machine starts working. Moreover, it creates an electromagnetic field in coils that generates force in spring.
  • Contact Screw: It is a silver or copper screw which creates contact pair. It has clamping and unclamping movement. Besides that, the second spring generates striker movement. Moreover, it helps to handle the piercing frequency and depth of the needle.
  • Coils: In a steel core, there is a pair of electromagnets that handles the device’s mechanics. There are commonly 8, 10, 12, 14, or 16 layers or wraps of the coil. Moreover, it is made of copper wire. More turns of wire mean there will be more power in electromagnets. However, it will also make the device heavy. Commonly, tattoo artists prefer to use 12 or 10 layers devices.
  • Capacitor: When the electric circuit in the machine opens or closes, it will eliminate a spark.
  • Springs: There are two springs. One attached to the armature bar is contacted while the other connects the bar with the frame.


  • Fast and reliable
  • Less painful process
  • Lower chances of bleeding or tattoo blowout
  • Versatile


  • Vibration.
  • Heavy and noisy.
  • The setup is confusing.
  • Voltage fluctuation can cause issues

2- Rotary Tattoo Machine

It was first introduced in 2010 after the creation of small but powerful motors. Moreover, it is like a sewing machine’s crank mechanism. The motor shaft of the device is connected with eccentric. It causes the rotor’s rotations to change into the motion of needles. The major parts of this machine are.

  • Frame: Durable polymer or alloys are used for designing a supporting structure of the device.
  • Eccentric: It is an offset armature bar with a bearing.
  • Electric Motor: This is the main power mechanism.


  • Efficient
  • Smooth results
  • No noise
  • Speed is adjustable


  • Injects less ink
  • The low-power machine can be hard to work with
  • Low-quality outlines

Mast Rotator Pen Machine

It is a fast and travel-friendly machine for tattoo artists who love traveling. It is easy to use and gives less trauma. Unique design and efficient grip make it fun using this device. The innovative mechanism makes it an ideal device.

What Are The Different Types Of Tattoo Machines in 2023?

Coil and rotary are only the main kinds because there are other different kinds of tattoo machines. These are known as subtypes of tattoo machines. Therefore, here are a few of them you need to know.

Types Of Rotary Tattoo Machines

  1. Direct Drive: Needle is in continuous oscillation because force directly transmits to cartridge or needle. Moreover, rubber bands help to secure needle rods. It requires time for acceleration and deacceleration.
  2. Pen: Most ergonomic and easy-to-use tattoo machine. Moreover, the latest technology which comes with disposable needles. However, their maintenance is very expensive, but it is lightweight.
  3. Slider: It has to transfer element for transmission of power with armature bar and clamping mechanism. Sensitivity to power levels is less.

Types Of Coil Tattoo Machines

  • Liner: Its quality injects the ink so it will not flow out. Besides that, color separation and accurate fine lines are their specialties because of their high speed. Moreover, it works at 120 to 150 Hz. Besides that, it has a rigid contact spring and is lightweight. Do not use it for coloring.
  • Shader: It is ideal for creating a shadow impact and covering huge areas. However, it has low speed due to more wraps and soft contact springs. Therefore, Shader will keep the needle in the skin to allow the color to spread in tissues. Besides that, do not use it for outlining.

Dragonhawk Coil Tattoo Machine Kit

This all-in-one kit is perfect for beginners. It consists of two machines and all other devices that are essential for tattooing. It is a money saver option and perfect to start tattooing.

What Is The Best Type Of Tattoo Machine For Beginners in 2023?

Types of tattoo machines

Every artist has their own choice when it comes to types of tattoo machines. Besides that, it mainly depends on the function of the machine that you are using it for. Here are a few examples to consider.

  • The linear types of coil tattoo machines are best for accurate outlines, fine lines, and patterns.
  • Types of rotary tattoo machines are best when you are working on colored tattoos.
  • Rotary machines are versatile and have a variety of features.
  • Makeup artists prefer to work with pen tattoo machines.

Pay attention to your skills before investing in a tattoo machine. Always consult a professional if there is any confusion.

Final Verdict

In the beginning, it can get hard to determine which types of tattoo machines will be ideal for you. However, with practice and knowledge, you can also collect all tools to help you make unique designs. So, focus on your skillset, and you will surely become the best tattoo artist.


Q: How many types of tattoo machines are there?

A: There are two main types of tattoo machines which are coil and rotary machines. They further have subtypes and a variety of needles.

Q: Which tattoo machine is best for me?

A: Selecting a tattoo machine depends on your skills. There is not a machine that can handle all tasks perfectly. You may have to buy more than one machine if you have a variety of skills.

Q: Do professional artists use a special tattoo machine?

A: Professional tattoo artists commonly carry a huge variety of machines to show diversity in their art forms. They practice different designing styles on different types of tattoo machines.

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