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Are you searching for the best tattoo machine for beginners?
You’re not the only one starting out and wondering what kit is good to start off with.
We commonly get questions about beginner tattoo machines and starter kits.
Because of this, we decided to put together this buying guide of the top products on the market to remove all the guesswork for you.
Our reviews go over multiple types of tattoo machines. You’ll need to choose one type or the other. You can read more about these types in the buying guide below if needed.
11 Best Tattoo Starter Kits & Machines for Beginners 2021
DragonHawk Complete Tattoo Kit
DragonHawk is recommended by Gabe Shum, who is the tattoo artist that has inked Lebron James and David Beckham.
But if that’s not enough to get you interested in their machines, we still recommend taking a look at this kit. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much it offers for the money.
This is a coil tattoo machine that comes with two cast iron tattoo guns. The power supply that it runs on has a LED readout and a foot pedal. It enables you to make quick adjustments in the voltage.
Regarding what’s in the box, it includes needles, gloves, inks, practice skin, and other accessories. But if you spend a bit more, you can get a much more extensive setup. Check out the next one below.
DragonHawk Complete Tattoo Kit with 2 Machines
This kit from DragonHawk comes with one gun for lining and one for shading. Both of these guns are made of cast-iron.
It also has twenty pre-sterilized tattoo needles with disposable tips and four different colors of ink. That’s not it though, they even included razors, gloves, and practice skin.
The power supply has a digital display that helps you with making quick changes. And everything fits into the carrying case that it comes with.
The company has a satisfaction guarantee. People have said that their customer service is quick to resolve any problems.
Starter Beginner Complete Tattoo Kit with Carry Case by Dragon Hawk
This DragonHawk starter kit includes nine coil tattoo machines that have a low level of vibration to avoid tiring out your hand.
Five of the tattoo machines are the classic style, and four of them are specially made for beginning tattoo artists. They are great for lines and shading.
Other than that, the power supply has a foot pedal controller and a digital display making accurate adjustments.
The package includes fifty pre-sterilized needles in assorted sizes that are made of 304 stainless steel. There are also ten Immortal inks which are made in the USA. The inks are safe to use on human skin, but feel free to experiment with them on the practice skin that’s included.
All of this fits in the included carrying case.
Stigma Complete Tattoo Kit Pro Tattoo Rotary Machine Kit MK648
Stigma’s kit has a rotary tattoo machine that is much quieter than a coil tattoo machine. It’s used specially for shading and lining.
The package includes twenty needles in a variety of sizes along with 5 colors of ink. Although, these are practice inks that are not made for use on human skin so use them only on practice skin.
It also comes with a plastic carrying case.
Even though this is a basic kit that doesn’t have a lot of accessories, it’s still good if you’d like to see what it’s like to use a rotary tattoo machine.
DragonHawk Complete Tattoo Kit with 4 Machines
This kit comes with four coil machines: a conventional liner, a power liner, a soft shader and a color packer. So basically, it has all the tattoo machine grips you need whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate artist.
There’s a digital power supply, fifty pre-sterilized needles, ten Immortal tattoo inks, a carrying case, and practice skin included. The instructional DVDs will help you learn to properly use the equipment as well.
A few things that we have to note: the stainless steel needles are designed to make soldering easy. This is good if you pursue a career in the tattoo industry. Also, you’ll probably have to make some adjustments to the shader and liner machines in order to do fine work.
Professional Rotary Tattoo Kit Hildbrandt Advanced TKHADVR
This Hildbrandt kit has both Beretta shader and Silencer liner rotary machines. It’s made in part with the TeachMeToTattoo website and has a training DVD, as well as a textbook.
The Spartan power supply provides a good amount of use with each charge. The kit has all the basics you need to get started.
It has fifty needles within ten different needle groupings, two grips made from stainless steel, disposable tubes, transfer paper latex gloves, a tuning key set, and practice skin.
If you’re serious about learning how to tattoo, and you’d like to use a rotary machine, you can’t go wrong with this one.
GRINDER Tattoo Kit by Pirate Face Tattoo
Pirate Face Tattoo makes this Grinder kit with four tattoo machine irons. It comes with a power supply, seven bottles of Radiant Colors ink, ink cups, grips,needles, gloves, practice skin, transfer paper, and a carrying case.
But the thing that’s especially good for beginners is the instructional book and DVD. Moreover, this American-made ink is safe for use on human skin.
Solong Tattoo Complete Tattoo Kit TK453
The Solong Tattoo TK453 kit beats out other machines because of what it has to offer at it’s price point.
It comes with four tattoo machine guns that can do both shading and lining. Each gun has a unique appearance so you won’t get confused about which one is which.
It has a digital power supply with LCD along with a foot pedal.
But what we like the most is the fifty-four bottles of practice ink. It’s perfect for all the creative artists out there.
There’s also plenty of accessories like fifty needles, ten tattoo tips, ten tattoo grips, one hundred ink cups, disposable gloves, practice skin and even rubber bands. It also includes the tools you need to make adjustments.
This is one of the best machines for beginning tattoo artists. The wide selection of ink encourages experimentation. Plus, the big assortment of accessories means you won’t have to pick up a lot of extras to get started.
Solong Tattoo Complete Starter Tattoo Kit (Budget)
This is a budget starter kit by Solong Tattoo. It has a single coil tattoo machine gun that can do both shading and lines.
But our favorite benefit is the digital power supply with a foot pedal which is very easy to adjust. Also, there are fourteen tattoo inks for practicing, twenty needles, tips, one grip, and one hundred ink cups.
The teaching manual that’s included will help you learn how to properly use the machine. And the free replacement service and one-year warranty is helpful if there’s a problem which is always nice.
Wormhole Tattoo Complete Tattoo Kit for Beginners
This is an inexpensive tattoo kit that’s good for beginners.
Like other similar tattoo kits, this one has a few things that aren’t the greatest, but the company does offer a warranty on the machines and power supply.
It includes one tattoo lining machine and one tattoo shading machine. It also has a power supply and foot pedal. It’s not a digital power supply though, this means you’ll need to learn how to adjust it by ear.
Sure, it doesn’t have a carrying case, but there are ten inks (in random colors), practice skin, aluminum grips, disposable tubes, disposable tips, and thirty needles in assorted sizes.
Shark Complete Pro Tattoo Kit with 8 Gun Machines
Shark’s Pro Kit comes with a carrying case but not with ink. There are eight tattoo machines with both shaders and liners. They come with attractive looking grips.
The digital power supply helps to save you time, and the long clip cord gives you room to move around.
The company’s gotten FCC certification for the machines, plus they offer a one-year warranty.
Some of the accessories include fifty sterile needles in several sizes, practice tips, disposable tips, ink cups, an ink cup holder, and adjustment tools. The DVD helps to explain the machine itself but not with how to tattoo.
How to Differentiate Between a Liner and a Shader
A liner machine runs faster than a shader for doing precision work. It has a smaller gap between the front spring and contact screw and also has a shorter front spring because of the shorter stroke.
A shader runs slower but has higher power for deeper penetration. It has a wider gap between the front spring and contact screw as well as a longer front spring and softer stroke.
The best tattoo kit for beginners should include at least one shader and one liner.
- DC motor rotates cyclically to provide up and down needle motion
- Quiet operation
- Low vibration, easy to control
- Versatile – used for shading, coloring, and lining
- Easy to adjust
- Low maintenance
- Simple to set up and use
- Less expensive
- Less durable
- Difficult to adjust by ear
- Most commonly used are double coiled versions
- Most popular type of machine
- Easy to customize
- Higher power
- Ideal for long tattoo sessions
- Easy to regulate power and speed
- Loud buzzing noise
- Requires more tuning and more maintenance
Four Things to Remember about Tattooing Technique
Whether you’re working with a budget tattoo machine or a machine that costs more than your rent for the month, the results you get depend on these four things.
Angle – make sure the needle goes in at a 45° angle. More than that and the ink comes up out of the puncture. Less than that and the design will look wrong.
Depth – go too deep, and it’s going to hurt a lot and bleed. If you don’t go deep enough, you’ll scratch the surface, and the ink won’t stay.
Setup – take the time to practice setting up and tearing down your machine. Learn proper sterilization techniques and hygiene.
Placement – freehand art tends to look squiggly. Instead, support your palm on the skin and use it as a pivot point to control and balance the tattoo machine.
What Do I Need for Tattooing Besides a Machine?
Now that we’ve gone over a variety of starter kits with both rotary and coil tattoo machines, you probably have a better idea of what you want to get.
We recommend using a digital power supply for beginners. But the decision between rotary and coil is up to you. If you have a chance to try them both, then do that.
Obviously, you’ll need to get some inks. Many of the lower-priced beginner kits come with practice inks that aren’t made for human skin. But feel free to draw all over practice skin or banana skin with these.
Also, you’ll need lots of needles. And tips, ink cups, and needle trays.
And of course, don’t forget germicidal liquid, an autoclave, autoclave bags, and an ultrasonic machine cleaner. Paper towels and disposable gloves are a must.
Comfortable chairs for yourself and your client are another things you can’t forget. This plus a worktable and excellent lighting.
Hustle Butter or Vaseline can be handy for stencils. Bandages, plastic wrap, and aftercare ointment are good after you’re done. Make sure not to forget the disposable razors for beforehand.
The most important thing you need to have for tattooing is the desire to be an artist, not a hack.
Jimmy Ho, Gabe Shum, and other great tattoo artists increased their talent both on the skin and on paper. They put a lot of practice in their work and were willing to learn.
You’ll be creating body art – maybe for yourself, or maybe for others. You’ll also be helping people express their deepest desires.
We hope we were able to help you discover the best tattoo kits and machines today. The choice becomes much easier once you know what type of tattoo kits and which accessories it is that you want.
We’d love to hear back from you about which machine you’re currently using and what you like most about it. Feel free to leave us a comment below.