Best Rotary Tattoo Machines: Reviews & Buyers Guide

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Usually, once people find a type of tattoo machine that they like they’ll probably stick with it.

But no matter which type you get, it’s still good to become familiar with rotary machines.

When looking for the best rotary tattoo machine you have lots of things to consider before deciding on the right machine. We aim to help with our reviews.

Read about machines that are great for lining, shading, and color packing.

20 Best Rotary Tattoo Machines (2021 Reviews)

Bishop Authentic Rotary Tattoo Machine

If you looking for the best rotary tattoo machine, you’ll want to consider this one.

Each machine is assembled and polished by hand using aircraft aluminum and Swiss MAXON motors for maximum durability. In fact, they even offer a lifetime guarantee.

Another key feature is that this tattoo machine weighs under a quarter of a pound at just 3.8 ounces. It’s so quiet and smooth that it can run for hours of working without getting tired.

This design has a needle clip instead of using a rubber band to put force on the needle. This way the needle doesn’t move sideways at all. In other words, this is the best rotary tattoo machine for inking precision details.

The recommended voltage settings to use are 7.5-8.5 volts for shading and color packing or 8-9 volts for the lining. This machine is so gentle on your skin that your clients will love it because they will heal faster.

STIGMA Professional Rotary Slider M625-4

You probably realized that the machine above is professional-grade. But pros and newcomers alike appreciate the Stigma M625-4. It comes in a kit that has adjustment tools and a power cable.

The body of the machine is made with CNC-machined zinc and aluminum alloy. It weighs in at just under half a pound. Also, you can pick from four different colors.

The stroke length is 3 mm, and the machine is compatible to use with traditional tattoo needles.

Bishop Micro Angelo Rotary Tattoo Machine

Another product from Bishop is the Microangelo that has interchangeable 3.5 mm and 4.2 mm magnetic cams. It’s one of the best direct-drive rotary tattoo machines that there is.

Similar to the machine above, it’s made using aircraft aluminum with a Swiss MAXON motor. It’s great for both shading and lining work.

Stigma Tattoo Kit Rotary Tattoo Machine Pen EM125KITPRB20-8-US

Enjoy great freedom of movement with a cordless rotary tattoo machine. This kit from Stigma comes with a battery-powered pen. It also has two rechargeable batteries so that you can use one while the other is charging.

The pen itself weighs in at just 2 ounces. It uses between 4.5 and 10.5 V. There are five power settings to pick from with an LED indicator that shows the level you’re using.

With a full charge, it runs for between three to six hours, depending on which setting you use.

The pen is made with aluminum alongside a Japanese motor. Also, the kit includes pre-sterilized cartridge needles and grip tape.

Stigma Complete Tattoo Kit MK648

Stigma’s MK648 kit is a lower budget option for the learning tattoo artist. It includes a rotary tattoo machine that has a 10 W motor, twenty needles in assorted sizes, disposable silicone grips, practice accessories, as well as five inks.

The frame of the machine is CNC-machined using aircraft aluminum alloy. This rotary tattoo machine is CE-certified and comes with a one-year warranty.

Cheyenne Hawk Authentic Tattoo Power Supply PU

Even though you are able to run the Cheyenne Hawk on other brands of power supply, this is the official one. It features a digital readout for making quick and easy adjustments.

The downside is that it doesn’t come with a foot pedal, but you can always purchase one separately.

The voltage output is from five to twelve. And it’s covered by a twenty-four-month warranty.

Cheyenne Hawk Pen

The rotary tattoo by Cheyenne Hawk machine is finely-crafted and lightweight. This one can run on other power supplies besides its own brand and includes a power cable. The machine works with both a 21 mm or a 25 mm grip (included).

The stroke length is 3.5 mm. Simply use the Cheyenne cartridge system with it. The company recommends using their own cartridges just because knockoffs could leak and wreck your machine.

Dragonfly Authentic X2 Rotary Tattoo Machine

The Dragonfly was designed by a Swedish company named Ink Machines. It uses a Swiss X2 motor which is very efficient and quiet.

It’s compatible with any type of standard and cartridge needles, and it has stroke lengths that are adjustable. You can set it for 2.6, 3.7, or 4.5mm just by turning a screw and a pin.

Also, you can choose from one of five colors. Some examples are Demonic Blue or Seductive Pink.

Ego Rotary Tattoo Machine Switch Pen Style Machine

Ego’s tattoo machine was created by the famous tattoo artist Bez of England. It’s lightweight and well-balanced, so it has the feel of an actual pen in your hand. You also don’t need a foot pedal to control it because it has a built-in on/off switch.

It comes with a DragonHawk power supply that has a continuous output which is a perfect match for this machine.

You can use this rotary tattoo machine for black and gray realistic designs, color packing, lining, shading and fine dot work. It’s compatible with many brands and all sizes of cartridges currently on the market.

FK Irons Spectra Xion Tattoo Machine

FK (Fallen Kings) Irons started out with just a couple of artists who made machines for their friends. Now they’re used worldwide and are one of the most popular brands available.

The Spektra Xion stands out mainly because of its pen style and adjustable stroke depth. It comes with 3.5 and 3.7mm stroke wheels.

It comes in eight colors and with an adjustable grip that fits all needles.

Solong Tattoo Pen Rotary Tattoo Machine & Permanent Makeup Pen EM108-1

Solong Tattoo has this budget-friendly tattoo machine that gives you a lot of bang for the buck. This pen can do body art and permanent cosmetics, too. It’s easy to switch over from doing a tat to tattooing an eyebrow.

It features a machined aluminum body that doesn’t get hot in your hand. Plus, it’s even compatible with most power supplies from 7-12V.

The only downside we can note is the fixed stroke length of 3.5mm.

Redscorpion Rotary Tattoo Machine Gun for Liner and Shader

RedScorpion made this machine with CNC-machined aluminum alloy and a Japanese motor for more energy efficiency. It only requires 3.5-5 volts and has a stroke length of 3.5mm.

It comes with a grip, a power cord, and two needle cartridges. Even including the grip, it weighs just 3.53 ounces.

The manufacturer gives a 3-month warranty. But they do warn that the expected lifetime of this pen is about one year which is not bad considering the budget price.

Rogue Pen Rotary Tattoo Machine

Are you looking for a budget pen rotary machine?

The Rogue Pen has an adjustable needle depth that’s great for shading. It only needs a twist of the grip to change the length.

It works well with all brands of cartridge needles and comes with a power cord and 90-day warranty. Also, it weighs only 4.3 ounces.

Dragonhawk Rotary Tattoo Machine for Tattoo Artists Coloring

The DragonHawk packs color and shades really well, but it’s also good for lining. It weighs just 4.15 ounces as is made of “space aluminum.”

The stroke length is fixed at just 3.5 mm. While you’re doing some shading, run it between 8 to 10 V. But when lining it only needs 7-8.5 volts.

The company has a satisfaction guarantee with a refund if you’re not happy.

Dragonhawk Mast Pen Rotary Tattoo Machine 1013-10

DragonHawk is known for two main things: their machines have reasonable prices, and Gabe Shum promotes their products. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Gabe is the tattoo artist who inked David Beckham and LeBron James.

Alongside the pen, you’ll also get the digital power supply.

The machine is made of aluminum and runs on a Japanese motor. One of its main features is that the stroke length changes from 2.8 to 3.5mm. It’s also compatible with all types of cartridge needles.

One user mentioned that it’s quick and easy to use and adjust, so they prefer it to other expensive rotary machines that are more expensive.

YILONG ‘L’ Rotary Tattoo Machine Tattoo Gun Tattoo Liner Shader Gun

You might notice that this rotary tattoo machine looks similar to a well-known brand. It weighs roughly 4 ounces and is made from space aluminum. You’ll need a power supply that’s capable of 6-9 volts.

It includes the pen, cord, and one needle cartridge. People have said that it lines and shades well.

Dragonhawk Extreme Rotary Tattoo Machine

The Extreme machine weighs in at 6.17 ounces because it’s made with carbon steel, not aluminum. It’s great for shading, color packing, and lining. Tattoo artists who have used it for heavy black filling find it easier to use than more expensive machines.

It comes with a clip cord connection and needs from 7.5 and 9 V in order to operate.

Dragonhawk Extreme X2 Rotary Tattoo Machine Brass Frame

Fans of steam punk will want to take a look at this product that’s machined from a solid block of pure brass. Shockingly, it weighs only 4.76 ounces.

You are able to adjust the stroke length from 2.5-4.2 mm and it’s also compatible with standard and cartridge needles.

It uses a Japanese coreless motor that supports lining, shading, and color packing but doesn’t use a lot of power or stalling.

Another feature that’s great for tattoo artists is the one-touch hit adjuster. Just rotate the knob to change the settings without any tools needed.

Dragonhawk Raven Rotary Tattoo Machine Q555

The Raven is partially made using injection-molded scratch-resistant ABS plastic. Because of this, its weight is reduced down to 3.1 ounces. It also has a stainless steel grip.

Tattoo artists like this product for lining and packing in difficult places like the face. It causes minimal damage and works quickly.

The machine can be used with both traditional needles and cartridges. Its precision is in part due to the fact that you don’t need to hold the needle in place with a rubber band. It has a clip that prevents lateral movement.

Gabes Pen Style Rotary Tattoo Machine

Gabe Shum had a part in designing this rotary tattoo machine pen. Turn the dial in order to adjust the stroke length between 3.2 and 3.7 mm and from soft to hard. In other words, it’s user-friendly, versatile, and gentle for the skin.

You can plug this machine into a standard tattoo power supply. It only uses a maximum of 9.5 volts.

It’s also compatible with all types of needles.

What’s the Difference Between Rotary Tattoo Machines and Others?

First of all, it’s ideal to have at least two tattoo machines on hand in the studio, whether you have two of one type or one of each type.

Coil tattoo machines are generally louder, heavier, and they vibrate or buzz. This vibration tends to tire out hands and arms. Their hammer-like action tends to be a bit more painful than the smooth action of the rotary machine.

Also, you’ll usually need one coil machine just for lining and another for shading.

Rotary tattoo machines on the other hand can line and shade. They are lightweight, and some have a pen-like shape which is very easy to hold and control.

Their operation is quiet and has a smooth needle movement that stings less than a coil machine.

No matter what, when you’re drawing lines, you’ll want a short-stroke machine. For shading, you’ll need to do longer strokes. Or you can get a rotary machine with interchangeable strokers so that can do both types of work.

What Brand of Rotary Tattoo Machine Is Best?

The question of which brand of rotary tattoo machine is best is like asking which brand of car is best. The answer is that it depends on personal preference and not just the quality of the machine.

If you’re a beginner to tattooing, rotary tattoo machines designed for newcomers cost much less.

Experienced professional tattoo artists, on the other hand, will pay much more for a rotary tattoo machine.

As you shop around, look at the price tag after you’ve looked at the specifications.

Conclusion

We recommend that all tattoo artists experience multiple types of tattoo machines in order to get a feel for which one best fits their style of art.

Choose the best rotary tattoo machine that will benefit both yourself and your clients. You shouldn’t have to deal with the vibration that tires out your hand and your client will experience less pain and finish faster.