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When it comes to tattooing, we can all agree that we are faced with a wide array of tattooing guns as a beginner, and let’s admit; it can be pretty overwhelming. But what makes the best rotary tattoo gun, and which one should I get? 

Well, I’m here to answer all your questions.

The best rotary tattoo machines have lots of components to consider. Rotary tattoo machines may not be a professional’s first choice but their ease of use and consistency makes them favored amongst beginners and to make things easier I’ve hunted down the very best. 

But it’s not as easy as going on Amazon, typing in rotary tattoo machine, and clicking on the first one that comes up; there are some critical steps to follow before you click to buy. 

This is what I’m here for!

To make life easier for you, I have done all the research for you! I have hunted down the best performing rotary tattoo machines that offer complete ease of use and excellent results for beginners and more experienced artists. 

Before we jump in, here’s a pro tip: when choosing your rotary machine, you need to think about the purpose; this will determine the voltage to look for shading. I would recommend around 7.5-8.5 volts and 8-9 volts for lining. This ensures the machine is gentle on the skin and allows the tattoo to heal faster. 

Now we’ve covered everything; let’s get down to my top picks for you! 

How we came to the conclusion of our top 3:

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The Experts Selection of Best Rotary Tattoo Guns

1.

Dragonhawk Mast Pen Rotary Tattoo Machine

Now when looking for a rotary tattoo pen on Amazon I am always seeking top quality products that are worth my time, and Dragonhawk is the worthy winner in my eyes. The unique pen style offers amazing performance for shading, color packing, and even outlining. 

The top thing that caught my eye about this product is that it offers a pen-like style that ensures comfort and gives a natural feel while designing (making it brilliant for beginners). It’s super easy to hold and navigate while being lightweight and flexible.

DragonHawk’s natural motor is enclosed in aluminum; this powerful custom motor also has an advanced gear system that is reliable and offers smooth, quiet operation without vibration, making it ideal for those starting.

Another thing I love about this product is the working voltage of 6-9V; this means it can be used with a wide range of techniques through adjusting the voltage, rather than using a separate tattoo machine.

Better yet.

The Dragonhawk Mast Pen comes with WJX brand cartridge needles, but wanna hear the best thing about these needles? They have a shell-shaped patented design that stores more ink in comparison to others and increases ink absorption.

Each needle is also created with medical-grade PC material, meaning they’re amongst the safest cartridges to use. This set includes 20 cartridges too!

Whether you’re looking to perfect your linework or get used to the feel of tattooing as a beginner, then I cannot recommend this product more; lots of tattoo shops use this very rotary tattoo pen.

Many clients and tattoo artists rave about how smoothly this bad boy can run to top it all off. The needle setup is super easy. It makes the change seamless– I even use it today after years of experience; it’s not just brilliant for beginners.

Pros

  • Easy installation
  • Safe to use
  • Quiet operation
  • Compatible with all needle types

Cons

  • None
Latest deal: Dragonhawk Mast Pen
2.

Hawink Rotary Short Pen Tattoo Machine

Next up on my list Hawink Rotary Short Pen Tattoo Machine. I know what you’re thinking, another rotary pen machine? Are they really all that? Well, to put it bluntly, yes, it is a high-performing machine that can’t be missed. 

This tattoo machine cannot pass up; it is a short pen-shaped tattoo that offers top quality and performance in every stroke. It has an operating voltage of 5-10V and is designed for the long haul. 

I love this rotary tattoo machine because it is made from premium quality aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, making it much more durable and reliable than Dragonhawk’s aluminum.  Plus, the 35mm sleeve made from aluminum alloy adds to this durability. 

But there’s more. 

The design mimics the feel of a real pen; it is super lightweight and fits comfortably in your hand, making it easy to hold and to use. The body isn’ the only durable part of this kit; the motor is super durable and is designed to last through years of abuse. 

Hawink’s motor is renowned for strength and durability through using a German-made Faulhaber motor. The motor is reliable and stable, and quiet, making it easy to use even for beginners. 

Thanks to its convenient design and powerful motor compared to the Cheyenne sol, it performs brilliantly and runs like a dream! This rotary tattoo machine knocks others out of the park; it is loved amongst many professional tattoo artists with decades of experience under their belt. 

It may be a cheaper option, but that doesn’t compromise quality. Some $800 rotary tattoo machines don’t run as smoothly as this bad boy. This rotary tattoo machine isn’t just for beginners but loved amongst many professionals too. 

This little bit of kit will blow your mind. 

Pros

  • Silent
  • Easy to clean
  • Runs for longer hours
  • Less vibration
  • It doesn’t heat up

Cons

  • Difficult to adjust the needle

Latest deal: Hawink Rotary Short Pen Tattoo Machine

3.

Stigma Rotary Tattoo Machine Kit

Sealing number three spot has to go to Stigma; it has a simple yet trendy tattoo design that is loved amongst many tattoo artists. Its high-quality and high-performing build is ideal for both shading and lining work.

It is undoubtedly one of the best rotary tattoo machines you’ll find on Amazon.  

The simple, classic yet convenient design makes it super easy to hold and use; the design is straightforward to grip and will allow you to work comfortably for an extended period. It is created from premium grade aluminum which may not be as durable as Hawink, but it still holds up a fair fight in durability. 

Now wait, there’s more. 

Stigma rotary tattoo machine comes with a premium grade professional Japanese motor. Moreover, the machine works at a maximum of 12 volts and offers 9500 revolutions per minute– this guarantees high quality and robustness. Plus, the advanced level gear system ensures reliability and noise-free use. 

The simple and high performance makes it ideal for precision work, but it also works well for shading; despite the high RPM, it doesn’t traumatize the skin, making it a super-safe option to use. 

To top it all off, this machine is compatible with all types of cartridges but comes with 40 cartridges to start with– which is always a bonus! It not only comes with the rotary tattoo pen but also five transfer papers, two hand glue, a tattoo case, and even a battery!

Customers rave about the quality for the price point; it is an excellent deal for a beginner, it will last for years to come! 

Pros

  • One years’ warranty
  • Potent motor
  • High RPM
  • Quiet operation
  • Easy cleaning

Cons

  • A little heavier than others on the list

Latest deal: Stigma Rotary Tattoo Machine Kit

4.

Dragonhawk Atom Rotary Pen Tattoo Machine

If you are looking for the best rotary tattoo machine for beginners, Dragonhawk Atom is one to get excited about. Its simple yet elegant design makes it easy to grip and use; this pen will build confidence for any beginner.

Included within the unique and simple design are four attractive colors to match the personality of the tattoo artist. It super easy to use and doesn’t require extensive experience to adjust the frame or stroke length, just plugin, and you’re good to go!

I love the DragonHawk Atom because it is equipped with a durable and premium quality Japanese motor, meaning it is quiet and offers a quiet operation. It can also be used with a wide range of styles thanks to the maximum voltage being 15V– it runs efficiently with 8000 revolutions a minute.

As if that was enough.

What I really love about this tattoo machine is that it is compatible with different types of cartridge needles. So, you don’t have to feel bound by using a specific style or brand of a needle. Because of its compatibility, it is easy to use and offers convenience.

But the icing on top of the cake is that the needle depth can be adjusted between 0-4.5mm, so you can adjust the needle with complete convenience and ease with the tattoo design you’re creating.

I’ve had my fair share of rotary tattooing machines, and this one certainly blew my mind when I first tried it. It feels amazing, fits comfortably, and runs smoothly like a dream with next to NO vibrations.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Quiet operation
  • Minimal vibration

Cons

  • Not ideal for large liner cartridge
Latest deal: Dragonhawk Atom Rotary Pen Tattoo Machine

5.

Dragonhawk Extreme Rotary Tattoo Machine

Now I know what you’re thinking; this is the third rotary tattoo machine by Dragonhawk I have reviewed today, but their tattoo kits are well and truly amazing. 

This rotary tattoo machine reviews to be among the best rotary tattoo machine you can get your hands on. It has a unique yet classic design that is unlike its competitors– the lightweight design feels almost weightless and will fit comfortably in your hand for hours of serious tattooing. 

Dragonhawk extreme rotary tattoo machine works using a direct drive motor; it is simple yet runs smoothly for both shading and lining techniques. It also allows for frequency stability and long-lasting stability for larger tattoos. 

I absolutely love this rotary machine’s versatility. It is brilliant for color packing, light black, and grey shading, and even heavy black filling– it is brilliant for everyday use. 

Now, as you may already know, I have used more rotary tattooing machines over the year than I can shake a stick at. This little $50 works as well as a $500 Bishop machine; it works excellently for shading and line works. 

But you may be asking yourself will this last for hundreds of tattoos to come? 

Many customers have raved, saying that it is better than most tattoo machines over $500 and how with intense work, it has held up a fair fight and worked efficiently even after years of use. 

Not all top-quality rotary tattoo machines need to break your bank for quality! 

Pros

  • Runs smoothly
  • Perfect for shading and lining techniques
  • Long-lasting and frequency stability
  • Affordable yet high quality 

Cons

  • Not as quiet as other Dragonhawk machines

Latest deal: Dragonhawk Extreme Rotary Tattoo Machine 

6.

Cheyenne Hawk Pen

Now I know this may be my last pick, but don’t let it fool you into thinking it’s not worth your time, the Cheyenne Hawk Pen offers high performance and complete comfort while tattooing. 

It comes with a convenient design that makes it super easy to use. Furthermore, it offers quiet operation and has a very low vibration, making it ideal for steady work and high-performing shading and lining– plus the eye-catching bronze color.

Firstly, the best thing about this rotary pen tattoo machine is its universal power supply. This means you don’t have to buy a specific power supply wire or shoe. Instead, it works perfectly well with the power supply of any brand.

But that’s not all. 

Cheyenne Hawk Pen offers good needle adjustability. With a depth maximum depth of 4 mm, you can adjust the depth of the needle in any way you like. As a result, you get the ultimate customization according to your liking and the design.

The only drawback of this rotary tattoo machine is that it is only compatible with grip only, you only get a grip of 21-25mm., plus you only get 3 disposable grips with this pen. 

Other than that, this Rotary Hawk Pen is packed with a grip solution making it both hygienic and secure,  you can’t argue with the quality you get though. 

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Simple design
  • Convenient
  • High quality

Cons

  • Compatible with 21mm and 25mm grip only

Latest deal: Cheyenne Hawk Pen

The Guide of How to Buy the Best Rotary Tattoo Machines

Whether you’re a beginner or have years of experience under your belt in the tattooing world, we can all agree that the quality of your equipment is a top priority. 

Although coil machines are more popular many professional tattoo artists opt for the rotary machine because it can effectively provide smooth lining and shading, as well as fit comfortably in your hands for long periods. 

After all, convenience isn’t just for beginners. 

Rotary tattoo machines also tend to be much quieter and smoother running than any coil machine, they don’t feel so clunky in your hand and run much smoother than any other tattooing machine. 

I’m here to break down all the key benefits as to why you should use a rotary tattoo machine and what to look for to ensure you’re getting the very best product when purchasing. 

Benefits Of Rotary Tattoo Machines

Here are the top benefits and reasons why many professionals have been switching up their coil machines for rotary machines instead: 

Much quieter: 

As a general rule of thumb, rotary tattoo machines tend to operate much quieter than coil machines; they don’t buzz like coil machines, so you don’t need to worry about noise disturbing your work. 

Now I know what you’re thinking, the buzzing noise is what we associate with tattooing and getting fresh ink, but it’s unnecessary. Rotary tattoo machines have major benefits for both the client and the tattoo artist by being free of noise. 

By these machines being free of noise, it also means that the tattoo artist is less likely to suffer from ear damage, and the client is less likely to feel nervous when getting a tattoo– after all, the noise can be quite distressing. 

Plus, no more blasting out tunes to cover up the horrid buzzing noise. 

It can be used for multiple techniques: 

The best thing about rotary tattoo machines is that they can be used to line, shade, and color without the hassle. You can use one tattoo gun for an entire piece rather than keep having to switch.

All you need to do is adjust the voltage setting and the power supply, then smooth-flowing from there. Most coil machines can still do everything, but they’re typically found as liners and shaders rather than doing everything. 

Rotary tattoo machines can adapt easily for shading or coloring and tend to be much more versatile than coil tattoo machines. 

Easy to use: 

In general rotary tattoo machines are loved amongst beginners because they’re easy to operate, handle and maintain; they will also last a long time. But rotary tattoo machines are also trusted amongst many professionals too. 

Pen rotary tattoo machines super easy to use, too, as they mimic the feel of using an actual pen; this also means you don’t have to adjust too much to create detailed designs on clients. 

Rotary tattoo machines also tend to be much more lightweight; this puts less fatigue on your hands and allows you to work longer and do larger pieces without putting a toll on your hands and wrists.

All in all, rotary tattoo machines are easier to use as they promise consistency and guarantee that you’ll get your desired output. 

Gentle on skin: 

Rotary tattoo machines tend to be much more gentle and less traumatic to the skin. Coil machines use their power to punch the needle into the skin, whereas rotary machines use multiple pricking methods to ease the ink gently. 

Using a rotary tattoo machine makes skin trauma much less likely, especially in delicate areas, as the skin does not damage the surface as much as a coil machine does– this means the healing time is much shorter. 

How To Set Up A Rotary Tattoo Machine

If you’re new to tattooing and looking for ways to practice, the best way to start is to practice setting up your rotary tattoo machine and learning your way around the tattoo machine you’re using.

Step One: 

You should firstly start by sterilizing the environment you’re going to be tattooing in and thoroughly clean your hands for at least 20 seconds before putting on your sterilized gloves. 

Then you should fasten the holder, the tube, and the tip. You should connect them in place in the shape of a hexagon, then you’ll be able to place the needle in them. 

You should notice that the needle should come in a sterilized packet, if this packet has been opened in any way you should dispose of the needle and definitely NOT use it. 

Step Two: 

Then you should insert the assembled needle holder in the whole and tighten it with a screw while adjusting the needle ledge. It shouldn’t protrude beyond the tip when not in use. 

Once you’re happy with the positioning then fix the needle with a rubber band, you should put this on the body of the machine to stabilize vibrations– although the rotary tattoo machine vibrates a lot less than the coil. 

Step Three: 

Once the needle is positioned and adjusted correctly, you can then install the power supply by connecting the wire and plugging it in. Connect the tattoo machine through the clip cord to the power supply and this will provide the current to the tattoo machine.

Then put the disposable film on the clip cord, you don’t need to take the film completely off the plug to do this, just pierce the protection with the pins. Secure the protector with adhesive tape, press the pedal to check everything is working and you’ll be good to go. 

Things to check before clicking buy

When it comes down to getting a rotary tattoo machine, any tattoo artist will tell you that it takes time and research to find the right one for you. It can take years to find one that truly suits you best, but trying and testing a new kit is what it’s all about when you’re learning.

Choosing the right rotary tattoo machine all comes down to your tattooing style and personal preference, it can be quite a challenge to find the right one for you but here are some key pointers to look out for:

Quality: 

With so many to chose from it can be quite a task filtering through the good brands from the bad brands. I have spent a lot of time looking through reviews as well as quality checking the product to determine this factor. 

Reviews tend to be brutally honest, if the product isn’t good the people who are reviewing won’t try to cover this up. Another thing I found useful was looking to see the list of materials used– this is a massive indication of quality. 

The type of motor used is another thing to check, Japanese and Swiss motors are top-end and will last you a long time as well as running smoothly. 

Design: 

You may notice that there are two different types of designs of rotary tattoo machines. The best rotary machine kits will either come in a verticle motor or pen-type design. 

For this consideration it is down to you, it all depends on your handling preferences and working style, you should try out both if you can and see which one will suit you most comfortably. 

Weight:

In general,  rotary tattoo machines are much more lightweight than coil machines. But weight is still an important factor to consider, if you think about it this tattoo machine may be sitting in your hand for hours on end, it needs to be lightweight enough to be comfortable for long periods. 

Rotary machines tend to be much lighter as they are operated with a motor rather than with coils and an iron rod. 

Frequently asked Questions

What is a rotary tattoo machine?

A rotary is operated with a compact DC motor, which rotates clinically. The DC motor also enables more energy to be sent to the linear needle drive.

This is one of the easiest tattoo machines you’ll find amongst tattoo artists as they’re highly consistent and versatile. They are also less maintenance, and it feels like an ink pen while designing, making it brilliant for beginners.

They move the attached tattoo needles up and down in a smooth, cyclical pattern; they move needles in and out the skin fluidly and evenly. 

How does a rotary tattoo machine work?

Rotary tattoo machines work using a small spinning motor attached to the armature; this produces an up and down motion. Rotary machines tend to be much quieter than coil machines because they move needles more smoothly and evenly. 

They’re lightweight and don’t produce the buzzing sound that is associated with the coil tattooing machines. 

Do Rotary Tattoo Machines hurt more?

Not at all; rotary machines are less traumatic to the skin than coil machines because the needle isn’t being ‘punched’ into the skin. Rotary machines use multiple pricking methods to ease ink gently into the skin. 

Coil machines also make a buzzing noise which tricks the brain into thinking it will hurt more; the continuous vibrations give the impression that the tattoo will be extremely painful and tricks the brain into thinking it will be. 

Rotary machines don’t have this buzzing sound; they’re also much lighter and easier to use than coil machines. 

Summary

Whether you’re a beginner or just looking for a new rotary tattoo machine to add to your collection, considering these key components will massively help in the hunt. 

Both coil and rotary tattoo machines are brilliant, but they’re all down to personal preference. You should try both and see which one has a more comfortable feel and works better for your tattooing style. 

Rotary tattoo machines are super easy to use, they’re lightweight, and they’re almost silent– they’re not just for beginners, too; many experienced tattoo artists still use rotary tattoo machines for convenience. 

 Give one a go today, and happy tattooing! 

Steven Martin Headshot

Steven Martin

Pro tattoo artist

ABOUT

Steven loved art since his early adulthood especially tattoo art. Therefore, he picked up tattooing when he was researching it on the internet. Having experience of around 3 years in the tattoo industry, Steven has a great command over bold, bright, classic, grayscale, and tribal pieces. His passion for tattoo products drove him to do tons of research, etc. so that Tattoo Inksider can offer you the best tattoo products reviews.