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If you’re curious about what the best coil tattoo machine is, then we’re here to help.
Coil machines are the most popular type of machine that you’ll come across in a tattoo studio.
The buzzing and square shape are hard to miss after you’ve seen them once.
If you’re new to tattooing though, it might be harder to distinguish a liner from a shader.
It can also be hard to decide if a tattoo machine is best for newbies or professionals. There’s more to consider than the price.
Today we’ll go over the top coil tattoo machines and types. We’ll also explain what to look for when you’re shopping for them.
16 Best Coil Tattoo Machines
Dragonhawk Craft Hand Made Liner Tattoo Machine
Let’s begin with the mid range machine. It’s not cheap, but it’s also not too expensive. We wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve seen pros using this one, and we’d highly recommend it for anyone that’s new.
Dragonhawk is based out of China. Gabe Shum promotes their products. They are a solid company that we’ve written about before.
This handmade liner is from their Compass lineup and was designed for professional tattoo artists. It’s very durable and consists of an iron frame and a brass finish.
Its operation is quiet, the speed is medium, and it has a hard hit and a long throw.
The specifications say that it has 10 wrap coils and a 47 µF capacitor.
Rick Saverias Premium Shader Coil Tattoo Machine
It’s no secret that tattoo artists tend to collect irons. Here’s one to consider adding to your collection.
It’s handmade in South America and weighs just under half a pound. It has an iron frame, brass finish, as well as brass posts and contact screw.
The eight wrap long coils and 47µF 63 V capacitor works great for shading. It can also push needle groupings up to size 15.
Dragonhawk 2pcs Brass Coils Tattoo Machines—Shader and Liner
Get this set of two coil tattoo machines from Dragonhawk, and you’ll be prepared to both shade and line. We recommend these for both beginning and intermediate artists.
Each one is made from CNC-machined billet brass. The shader has ten wrap coils. The liner on the other hand has eight wraps. Neither one needs more than 8 V.
Users claim that the liner is fast and hard-hitting for making crisp lines. Meanwhile, the shader is a bit on the softer side.
HILDBRANDT .22 Rimfire Tattoo Machine 10 Wrap LINER
Hildbrandt’s .22 Rimfire liner uses only a small amount of electricity and runs very smoothly. It’s part of the same liner that Morgan “Sticks” Kane used to win a tattoo contest back in 2007.
Even though it’s about the same size as the .38 Caliber shader, it weighs just 8 ounces.
HILDBRANDT .38 Calibre Tattoo Machine Shader
Hildbrandt makes some of our favorite coil tattoo machines. Their .38 caliber shader works fast yet hits softly.
It’s built with eight wrapped coils and has custom-fitted long springs.
The 3.5-inch square frame is made with chrome-coated low-carbon steel. Even though it weighs 12 ounces, it’s still well-balanced.
Redscorpion Coil Tattoo Machine Gun Set for Liner and Shader
Newbie tattoo artists can save money with this liner and shader set that comes with a three-month warranty.
The alloy frame is the same on both irons, but the shader has ten wrap coils, while the liner has eight wrap.
Redscorpion claims that both of these machines will work for eight hours straight with minimal noise and heat.
Redscorpion Cast Iron Liner Coil Tattoo Machine
Let’s switch it up and look at less expensive mass-produced coil tattoo machines.
Redscorpion offers a six-month warranty and a full refund or replacement if there’s a problem.
This specific liner has eight wrapped coils, a 33 µF capacitor, along with 0.45 mm springs.
The cast-iron frame is precision-machined in order to prevent problems with its function.
If you want an iron to practice your skills with, this one’s a pretty good deal.
Artistry Fire Red Cast Iron Liner Tattoo Machine Coffin
The coffin packaging for this tattoo machine gets a lot of people talking. But what really matters is the hardware inside.
The iron’s zinc frame is lightweight and painted with red and black. It has ten wrap coils and a 47 µF 63-volt capacitor.
Unfortunately, some owners have mentioned that the quality isn’t the greatest. If all you want to do is practice on banana skins, it might be alright though.
Thomas Coil Tattoo Machine
The Thomas Coil tattoo machine is a liner that’s built with a cast brass frame and eight wrap coils. It features a 33 µF capacitor.
The package includes O-rings, grommets, and tools to make necessary adjustments. There’s also a warranty.
Dragonhawk Complete Tattoo Kit 4 Craft Machines
This kit contains four coil tattoo machines. It includes a power liner and regular liner, a soft shading machine, and a color packer. So basically, it’s everything you need to get started.
They include disposable grips and plenty of accessories for practicing but no ink.
Everything fits into the sturdy carrying case that even locks with a key.
Stigma Tattoo Kit ST201 with 2 Coil Machines
Moving back to higher-quality coil tattoo machines. This kit from Stigma includes two with one liner and one shader. Put this one on your shopping list if you’re a newbie on a budget.
Besides the irons, it also has a power supply, seven US-made inks, twenty needles, disposable tips, practice skin, along with other accessories.
Stigma provides a one-year warranty. Also, both irons are CE-certified.
Inkstar Tattoo Kit Journeyman 2 Machine Gun TKI2CC20
Inkstar is the budget-priced beginner line by Hildbrandt.
What might get you curious if you’re new to tattooing is that this kit will help you learn how to ink properly. It comes with a training DVD and the Tattoo Crash Course 101 which is great for learning.
This kit includes an eight wrap liner and a ten wrap shader. They are part of the third generation, and they run on as little as 5.6 V.
The liner features a 47 µF 50 V capacitor and short front spring for speed. At the same time, the shader has a longer front spring while having the same type of capacitor. This means that it’s softer and slower for coloring and shading.
It also has a power supply with foot pedal, practice skin, transfer paper, gloves, 20 Truecolor inks, a carrying case, and accessories for the machines.
Solong Complete Tattoo Kit
Are you stuck between coil and other types of machines? Then go with this kit from Solong that includes one of each. This way you can experiment with them both to see which suits your style.
The coil machine has ten wrap copper coils. The rotary machine on the other hand, is made from anodized CNC-machined aircraft aluminum.
The package comes with a power supply and foot pedal, fifty needles, grips, and other accessories which includes twenty-eight colors of ink.
Rehab Ink Complete Tattoo Set w/ 2 Guns and More
Rehab Ink says that this is a professional kit, but ironically they do include a free e-book named Tattoo Basics. The price range is also made for beginning artists.
This set has one shader and one liner with ten-wrap coils. The power supply features an analog display with a foot pedal.
Also, there are seven bottles of MOMs Millennium tattoo ink with disposable accessories like needles, rubber bands, and green soap.
One cool bonus is the skull-shaped ink holder.
GRINDER Tattoo Kit by Pirate Face Tattoo
Sure, it’s imported and a budget machine. We have to note that we wouldn’t recommend this kit to everyone, but if you just want to test the waters without breaking the bank then give it a shot. It even comes with a tattoo instructional book and DVD.
There are four tattoo machines, seven inks, needles, a power supply, disposable accessories, as well as a carrying case. They also decided to include Radiant Colors tattoo ink, which is US-made.
Shark Complete Pro Tattoo Kit 8 Gun Machines
Does the offer of eight tattoo machines sound too good to be true. It could be because Shark Tattoo hasn’t bothered to declare what type of coil machines they are.
The only information there is concerns the working voltage and frequency. We can kind of guess by looking at them, but we would’ve appreciated more detail.
On the upside, it comes with a one-year warranty that covers the LCD power supply, as well. Plus, there are tips, needles, and other accessories.
What Is a Coil Tattoo Machine?
Coil machines use two coils of wire on a squarish frame. They kind of buzz and vibrate while they’re being used.
The tattoo artist presses their foot on a pedal or a switch to send electricity through the machine. The machine then moves the needle(s) up and down a few millimeters.
Because they use springs, usually, coil machines can only line or shade, and not both. Most pro tattoo artists have at least one of each type.
One benefit is that coil machines are often less expensive than rotary machines. But a negative is that coil machines tend to tire out the hand because of the weight and vibration involved.
They also need adjustments and more maintenance than rotary tattoo machines.
Related: How does a tattoo machine work?
Expensive Versus Inexpensive Coil Tattoo Machines
If you’ve done a little looking around online, you’ve seen that the market is flooded with cheap imported tattoo machines. There is a pretty big difference in price between these models and high-end handmade ones.
If you’re a professional tattoo artist, you can expect to write off $300 or $600 tattoo machines as a business expense.
On the other hand, if you’re just starting out, 60 bucks might be what you can spend.
While there’s a better chance of getting something good if you spend more, all you really need is a machine that runs consistently. Some budget-priced irons can provide this.
Once you’ve gotten used to your machine, you’ll have more confidence in your art.
What to Look for in a Coil Tattoo Machine
Here are some key things for you to consider. First thing is that a coil tattoo machine frame affects everything else.
Related: Types of tattoo machines: rotary vs coil
You might choose iron or brass frames because they vibrate less. But remember that they’re also heavy.
Or you might choose zinc or aluminum because they’re lightweight.
No matter what you choose, if you find that the frame of your iron gets hot, then it’s a problem with the circuit.
A frame that’s badly made may be out of alignment. And a badly aligned frame will not just work poorly, but cause your aim to be off, mess with the circuitry, and maybe cause more pain to your client.
Coils and wrap
Regarding circuitry, you’ll usually find coils with 8, 10, or 12 layers of wire wrapped around a bobbin or iron core.
The number of wraps influences both the speed as well as the downward force of the machine.
High-quality coil machines don’t have gaps in the wire.
Be cautious of cheap machines that have opaque insulation because they might be hiding a poor wrapping job or fewer coils than they advertise.
Many times, you’ll see coil tattoo machines that specify which type of capacitor they use. The most common types you’ll see are 22 µF and 47 µF.
The higher the number, the slower the circuit is. The smaller the capacitor, the less force that is exerted downward.
The capacitor alone can also give you a hint as to whether you’re holding a shader or a liner.
The spring length is different with liners and shaders. Liners have a shorter spring in the back. If you can compare them side-by-side, you’ll see it.
We hope you got to find the best coil tattoo machines for your needs. When in doubt, get highest quality one that you can afford. This way, you’ll be confident that it can keep up with your personal tattoo style.