Tattoo Tools And Equipment: Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

Last Updated on March 21, 2022

Getting started with tattoo tools and equipment?

The tattoo has been a form of art as long as history goes.

Whether it is ancient China, ancient Greece, or ancient Egypt, people have been using tattoos for various reasons according to their cultures throughout the history of mankind.

Although tattoos look beautiful and are a piece of art, it is not as simple as it seems.

There is a lot of effort, time, expertise, and several good quality tattoo tools and equipment that make a good tattoo.

Apart from the expertise and experience of the tattoo artist, the tools and equipment are of great importance.

wrapping tattoo gun

Today, tattoos are more famous in the aesthetic sense and as a way of self-expression. The increasing fame of tattoos has been a window of opportunity for many tattoo artists. Finding a good tattoo artist was a difficult thing in the past, but with the increasing trend, we can now look for a tattoo artist quickly.

See also:

Tattoo Tools And Equipment

For those who don’t have a detailed knowledge of the essential tools used for tattooing, here is a complete list of tattoo tools and equipment names you might want to remember.

Tattoo Gun

Probably the most crucial tool for tattooing is its gun. Without which there is simply no tattoo. Although several brands and companies are offering fantastic quality and innovative technology tattoo machines, getting into such details can be confusing for a layperson. Therefore, there is a simple thing you need to know before you go buying your tattoo gun.

Firstly, you need to know that there are two types of tattoo guns most commonly used. These are:

A Coil machine: It is the most widely used tattoo gun. It is the same machine you might have seen in tattoo parlors that create a buzzing sound. The reason it is most commonly used is that it is super easy to control. Not only that this machine is easy to use, but it also provides a customization option.

It comes in three subtypes, i.e., shader, liner, and color packer. With this machine, the tattoos created have fine and smooth lines, which work better for shading, especially with various colors. However, if you are a beginner, it is preferred you don’t set or hands on this type.

A Rotatory machine: For those who are a beginner in the tattoo business, this type of tattoo gun is perfect. It is lightweight, easy to use, gentle, and quieter than the coil machine.

Moreover, this machine is suitable for filling, but if you are aiming for shading, this machine might not give you the best results. However, this technology is safer for the skin and causes minimum skin damage.

Tattoo Needles

Both machines require needles for carrying out the work. Thus, we can say that needles are an integral tool for creating a good tattoo. The needles are divided into five categories i.e.

  • Flat
  • Round
  • Turbo
  • Magnum
  • Shader

All these needles have different outputs and are used for carrying out different purposes; for example, if you want thin strokes, you should use the flat needle, whereas, for the purpose of shading, you might want to use the shader needle.

Besides, to create the perfect tattoo, the size of the needle also matters. Needles smaller in size are perfect for defining outlines, whereas the needles are more significant in size work best for shading purposes.

Tattoo Ink

No tattoo can exist without the ink. Despite the fact that many tattoo artists prefer to make their ink, a number of artists get their ink supply from brands and stores. Tattoo inks are available in a variety of colors.

When buying a tattoo ink, never forget to ask your supplier about the ingredients that are being used in ink. A good tattoo ink uses natural and organic ingredients and doesn’t contain harmful toxic ingredients like arsenic.

Read more about Best Tattoo Inks 2020

Tattoo inks come in different packing. It is also advised that when buying a tattoo ink, consider the shelf life of the ink so that you don’t waste the product. Also, choose the size of the ink according to your usage.

For example, since the black color is most widely used in tattoos, always buy a maximum-sized bottle for it. You can always plan your purchases according to your need.


For most people, having a stencil is a direct question on your tattoo skills. But it should not be the case. Having a stencil doesn’t mean that the artist is not an expert. Using stencils is just a more convenient way through which tattoos are created faster and with maximum precision.

It also ensures that each element is appropriately aligned and thus eliminated the chances of error. Therefore, when buying a stencil, keep in mind the different designs you can use as mix and match and that the quality of the stencil is easy to use and a bit flexible on the skin.


It is a machine that uses high-frequency vibrations to eliminate deposits and contaminations on the tattoo ink and related supply. This tool is vital as it ensures the material to be used is free from any irritation causing deposits.

Autoclaves use pressure and steam to sterilize the tattoo tools and equipment by destroying microbes, viruses, etc. at high temperatures. This instrument ensures that all tools are free from any harmful bacteria or viruses.

Other Tattoo Tools & Equipment

Although the above-mentioned tattoo tools and equipment names are the most important of the lot, some additional equipment might seem unnoticeable but are undoubtedly important. Such tattoo tools are:

  • Cleaning soap
  • Plastic cups
  • Petroleum

These tools may seem negligible, but they aid in the process of creating a tattoo. Cleaning soap from vegetable oil is used to prepare the skin before the process starts and after the process is completed.

Similarly, petroleum is used as a lubricant during the process, and plastic cups aid in storing the inks during the process and for the ultrasonic preventing from contamination.

Cleaning Tattoo Tools & Equipment

Tattooing requires safe and clean instruments so that no negative impact occurs on your client’s skin. Therefore, you must take full precautions and clean all the tools & equipment. Customers are afraid of getting skin infections and other diseases so you can gain their trust by following any of the given sterilization methods.

Dry Heat

One of the most inexpensive ways of sterilizing your equipment is using dry heat. This can be done using a device similar to a baking oven. Simply put all your tools in the device and they are sterilized. It works by increasing the temperature and eliminating any harmful bacteria.


Ethylene oxide is used in this process to sterilize the equipment. This method is usually followed in medical centers due to the availability of the required chemical.

You can speed up the cleaning process by using autoclave gas machines but it can cost you around 10,000$. It is great if you can afford to invest such an amount in your business otherwise try the previous method.


You might be surprised after reading that you can sterilize your products using cold. Don’t worry it is possible but it can take from a few hours to a day. This might be strange but it is capable of killing harmful bacteria and germs.


The most common way of cleaning and sterilizing a product is steam. You can simply get an autoclave machine to do this process for you. And the best part about this is that it is super easy-to-use and affordable for many.

The autoclave machine has a built-in indicator that lets you know when the task is finished. The machine must run for a minimum of thirty minutes with a minimum pressure of 12 pounds.

[FAQ] Frequently Asked Questions

Here you can find answers to some of the frequently asked questions:

What equipment do you need to tattoo?

Here is a complete list of tattoo tools and equipment names you might want to remember.

  • Tattoo Gun
  • Tattoo Ink
  • Stencils
  • Ultrasonic /Autoclave Machines
  • Furniture including Tattoo Chair
  • Necessary Cleaning Equipment

How do you start a tattoo at home?

Make sure you have all the necessary tools when starting your first tattoo design. We have listed all the required tools above. Now make sure you choose a minimal design to start with. Maybe an alphabet or a small word.

We recommend using a tattoo kit if you are a beginner and practice on fake skin before designing on the human body. Have confidence and don’t panic. Good luck!

What can I use to sterilize the tattoo equipment?

Sterilizing and proper cleaning of equipment provides helps you gain your client’s trust and reputation. There are four common ways that can be used for this process:

  • Dry Heat
  • Gas
  • Cold
  • Steam

Should I Use Lidocaine For Tattoos? Safe or Not


Creating tattoos may be fun, but it is a lengthy process that not only requires skills but also requires focus and is not possible without the right tools and equipment.