Best Tattoo Machine Brands: Reviews & Buying Guide

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You’re wondering about the best tattoo machine brands.

We’re well aware that there are a lot of brands in the industry and many of them just don’t live up to the hype. Some machines might break down way too soon while others just don’t perform like they are supposed to.

That’s why we created this review about the top irons for inking and the companies that created them.

Make sure to read until the end to find out which brand is right for you.

Best Tatoo Machine Brands in 2021

Baltimore Street Irons

Baltimore Street Irons is an American company that was founded in 2007. It was started by the artist “Trey” Charles Freeland.

Trey began making handmade tattoo machines in the late 1990s. And his business continues to handcraft custom machines from bronze, steel, and cast iron to this day.

The thing that we like the most is that they personally test each product they make.

Modified Walker Tattoo Machine — Baltimore Street Irons

The Modified Walker is a liner machine that runs a little on the slow side on purpose. The lower speed makes for much greater control.

The hardware is brass with a silver-brazed steel frame. Everything is hand-polished and oil-dipped, right down to the wingnut rear binder and thumbscrew.

The feeler gauge screw is even hand-cut from one piece of metal.

Bishop

Bishop was founded by veteran tattoo artist Franco Vescovi in 2008. Their tattoo machines are made in the USA and backed with a 1-year warranty. If something goes wrong with your gun they do their own repairs.

Bishop machines feature Swiss motors, German bearings, and frames made from aircraft aluminum.

Bishop Micro Angelo Rotary Tattoo Machine

We can’t leave out the Bishop Microangelo with interchangeable 3.5 mm and 4.2 mm magnetic cams. It’s one of the best options for tattoo machines.

The frame is hand-crafted using aircraft aluminum, and it uses a Swiss MAXON motor. It’s good for both shading and lining work.

Bishop Authentic Rotary Tattoo Machine

This is probably one of the best premium rotary tattoo machines. It weighs in at only 3.8 ounces and runs super quiet and smoothly.

Not only will you like using it, but your clients will be happy you’re using this machine. It’s very gentle on the skin so that it heals faster.

It’s hand-assembled and polished with a Swiss Maxon motor and aircraft aluminum.

Also, it’s extra precise due to the needle clip. Instead of using a rubber band over the top to hold the needle, there’s a clip that makes sure that there is no lateral movement.

Regarding the appropriate power supply, you’ll need 7.5-8.5 V for shading and packing color. After that, between 8-9 V is best for lining.

Borg Design

Borg Design is a company based in Hudson, Massachusetts. They make both coil and rotary tattoo machines using aluminum and steel.

But here’s the catch: they only sell to professional artists. If you buy directly from the company, you have to show your credentials.

But professional tattoo artists love Borg tattoo machines because they are balanced and lightweight. They hand-make their coils and mill their own frames.

Also, they can even hand-tune a tattoo machine to your needs. They can set liners to run slower, faster or even adjust them for soft shading and hard color packing.

Borg Liner Tattoo Machine with Blue Aluminum Frame

The Borg liner machine weighs in at 5.5 ounces and features eight handmade wrap coils with sterling silver contact screws.

It’s made with with 0.018 front and rear springs plus a 33 µF capacitor.

It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee as well as a lifetime warranty on the material and workmanship.

Cheyenne

Cheyenne is a German company that started in 2007. They collaborate with tattoo artists in order to create innovative tattoo machines and equipment.

Besides machines, they also manufacture grips, needle cartridges in various configurations, along with other accessories. This makes sense because they have experience with medical technology and they place a lot of value on safety and hygiene.

They were the ones to invent the 1st single-use cartridges for rotary tattoo machines. And they hold the patent for the Cheyenne Safety Membrane that keeps fluids away from the tattoo machines.

Cheyenne Hawk Pen

The Cheyenne Hawk rotary tattoo machine is an industry favorite. It’s well-crafted and lightweight.

The iron can run using most power supplies and comes with its own power cable. The package also has a 25 mm grip.

The stroke length on the pen is 3.5 mm. We should note that you’ll have to use the Cheyenne cartridge system with it.

CTPS Saveria

CTPS Saveria has been making tattoo machines in Argentina for almost four decades. They make them by hand and it takes an average of 8 hours per machine.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Toro Loco, the side-by-side coil tattoo machine? This company made it.

They also build micro and standard liners, shaders, micro, and standard painters, as well as coil and rotary tattoo machines.

LEFTY #2 RICK SAVERIAS Tattoo Machine for SHADING for Left Handers by CTPS Saveria

If you’re left-handed, you know all too well why it matters that you have the right tattoo machine. This product is a shader with an iron frame and brass fittings. It’s handmade down in Argentina.

The specifics include eight wrap long coils and a 9.5 nucleus. It’s good for up to 15 grouping needles.

EGO Tattoo

Bez, a tattoo artist from the United Kingdom, inspired EGO Rotary into developing a pen-style machine. Bez also designed the unique power triangle system.

These triangles are mounted on a rotary machine, but they serve as the front and back spring system for coil machines. What this means, is that you can swap the different colored rubber triangles in order to configure your rotary machine for both lining or shading.

EGO Rotary products are manufactured in the United Kingdom and come with a 12-month warranty.

Ego Rotary Tattoo Machine Switch Pen Style Machine

Ego’s tattoo machine pen doesn’t vibrate. It’s also lightweight and well-balanced. Because of this it feels like you’re drawing with a marker in your hand.

What’s even better, is you won’t need a foot pedal to control it as it has a built-in on/off switch. The package includes a DragonHawk power supply that has continuous output.

This rotary tattoo machine is made for doing black and gray realistic designs, shading, color packing, lining, and dot work. Also, it’s compatible with most major brands and all sizes of cartridges.

Dragonhawk

Dragonhawk was started by two tattoo artists in Hong Kong in 2001. They registered their trademark brand in 2004 and scaled up to selling worldwide.

One of the companies’ goals is to provide inexpensive tattoo products. But they still offer a 100% money-back guarantee.

Gabe Shum appears in lots of their promotional literature.

DragonHawk Complete Tattoo Kit with 4 Machines

This is a good tattoo kit for beginners and people just starting out. It includes four coil machines: a conventional liner, power liner, color packer, and a soft shader.

Also, here’s what it comes with: a digital power supply, 50 pre-sterilized needles, 10 Immortal brand tattoo inks, a carrying case, and practice skin. There are also instructional DVDs that help you learn to use the equipment.

Dragonhawk Raven Rotary Tattoo Machine Q555

The Raven weighs just 3.1 ounces because it has an injection-molded ABS plastic frame and a stainless steel grip. It’s fast and easy to maneuver, making it very gentle on the skin.

You can use this machine with both traditional needles or cartridges. It features a clip like the one found on Bishop tattoo machines. This means you don’t need a rubber band in order to secure the needle.

Hildbrandt Tattoo

Hildbrandt Tattoo Equipment is based in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. Brothers David and Mark Hildbrandt began building tattoo machines in their garage back in 2004.

The company offers a 6-month comprehensive warranty.

Hildbrandt Tattoo Kit Pro 3 Machine Gun + TKHPRO2 + Needle + Power Supply + Inks + Case

Get started on your career as a tattoo artist with this kit from Hildbrandt. It’s made as an accomplice to the training from Teach Me to Tattoo site.

It includes a wrap liner, a wrap shader, a rotary shader, as well as a rotary liner.

There’s also a digital power supply that can run two machines at the same time.

There are lots of accessories in the box. These range from gloves, O-rings, bushings, rubber bands, practice skin, aluminum grips, a tuning key set needles in 10 different groupings, disposable tubes, ink cups, a cup holder, plus a carrying case.

FK (Fallen King) Irons

Fallen King Irons started their brand in the USA in 2007. It all began when tattoo artist Gaston Siciliano built his 1st tattoo machine. He designed it so that it vibrated less and made less noise than the typical coil machine. It was also more comfortable to hold.

Because of this, his friends wanted similar machines. The business grew worldwide after that. But the headquarters and production facility is still based in Miami, Florida.

FK Irons Spectra Xion Tattoo Machine

In order to buy the Spektra Xion, you’ll first need to have to verify that you’re a professional or apprentice tattoo artist. (Or you’ll need to buy it from a distributor that doesn’t check credentials.)

This pen-style Rotary tattoo machine stands out because of its adjustable stroke depth. It comes with 3.5 and 3.7mm, as well as stroke wheels for quick tuning.

You can pick from eight colors. The iron comes with an adjustable grip along with a lifetime warranty.

Ink Machines

Ink Machines is a Swedish company that makes tattoo products in collaboration with professional artists. Because of this, their machines are extensively tested.

The tattoo machines are made using aircraft-quality aluminum with Swiss motors and Japanese bearings.

They offer a 12-month warranty for repairs. But they also offer user manuals that help you to assemble and repair each machine yourself.

Dragonfly Authentic X2 Rotary Tattoo Machine

The Dragonfly is made by Ink Machines with a Swiss X2 motor that’s very efficient and quiet. It comes in five different colors.

This rotary machine is compatible with all types of standard and cartridge needles. It has adjustable stroke lengths that are between 2.6-3.7-4.5mm. You just need to turn the screw and pin.

Stigma-Rotary

Stigma is a German company that is run by tattoo artists. They have two decades of experience in running their own studios.

One of those founders is Artemis Rosakis. He invented a fast method to adjust the “give” on rotary tattoo machines so that they hit harder or softer.

In order to maintain its high quality, Stigma manufactures in small batches. They use German-made frames along with motors from Switzerland. Each finished machine is thoroughly tested once it’s assembled.

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

Give yourself more maneuverability with this tattoo machine. Not only can you forget worrying about the power cord, but this battery-powered pen also weighs just 2 ounces.

This kit has two rechargeable batteries. This is useful if you have a long day ahead. Just leave one battery on the charger, so it’s ready to use later. Each battery lasts between 3 to 6 hours, depending on the setting that’s used.

There are five power level options for settings between 4.5 and 10.5 V. Choose the level that’s best for the work you’re doing, whether lining, shading, or packing.

Soolong

Soolong strives to help artists make a good impression on their clients. They offer everything from machines and kits to necessary tattoo supplies and accessories.

For example, they consider details like how comfortable and easy their products are to use. And for tattoo artists in training, they create silica gel practice skin that is superior to rubber or plastic.

This brand tries to keep prices low and offers a 6-month warranty on their machines.

Solong Tattoo Complete Tattoo Kit TK453

The Solong Tattoo TK453 kit is good for new tattoo artists because it offers good value at an affordable price.

It includes four tattoo machine guns that can do either shading or lining. Each gun or iron has a distinctive look that helps to avoid confusion.

It provides a digital power supply along with a foot pedal, as well as tips, grips, needles, and more.

If you are the creative type, you’re going to love the fifty-four bottles of practice ink.

How to Choose the Best Tattoo Machine for Yourself

There are so many different tattoo machine brands on the market. You’ll find as many rave reviews about budget options as you will about premium ones. So how can you narrow it down?

First, you need to carefully consider the size and shape of the tattoo machine.

After all, you’re going to be holding it for hours on end. If it’s awkward or heavy, it’s just going to hold you back

It’s ideal if you can try to hold the iron before you buy it. Of course, that’s not always possible when you’re shopping online. Therefore, pay close attention to the specifications like weight and size.

Secondly, remember that you either need different tattoo machines for different tasks, or you need the ability to make adjustments on the iron. Coil tattoo machines are generally used for either lining or shading, but not both.

Meanwhile, rotary machines may be used for both purposes, especially if you can adjust the stroke length.

And remember, it’s never a bad idea to buy better quality material.

Premium tattoo machine brands should be made of durable materials and come with a good warranty. Look into which machines experienced artists use and how well those machines hold up in the studio.

Fourth, and the most important thing, is to get the tattoo machine that suits your personal style.

No, we’re not talking about what it looks like, although we know that this matters to a lot of people.

What we mean is that you need to experiment with a variety of tattoo machines to find the ones that are best suited for you.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed reading all about the best tattoo machine brands.

We are passionate about inking, and we know you are, too. Let us know which tattoo gun brands are your favorites and why in the comments below.