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- Aug 14, 2018 -


The more popular and used coil machines are in 8 Volt, 10 Volt and 12 Volt. Voltage measures the power that flows through the coils. The more wraps the coils have, the higher the voltage. An 8 Volt machine is used for lining, but, you can opt to buy a small 10 Volt machine for the same task. A 12 Volt machine can handle larger needles and better suited for larger work rather than fine lines.

PROS of Coil Machines:

Price: They are less expensive and you can find decent machines for around $50. Higher quality machines come with a higher price. Top brands run around $200 and up.

Looks: These machines are more traditional and often equated with an authentic tattoo shop, (the noise)?

Parts are more affordable: It is much easier to find replacement parts, or maybe you want to tinker, the parts are available. Also, all needles and tubes for standard machines work.

CONS of Coil Machines:

Weight: Solid iron frame machines with 10-12 Volts can be heavy.

Vibration: Can become uncomfortable when working long hours.

Noise: Some coil machines can be loud. It can be irritating or comforting. Some like the sound of these machines in tattoo shops.


The first tattoo machines made were actually rotary! For some unknown reason this faded away until more recently. The rotary machine return keeps growing in popularity for a couple of significant reasons, however, there are still a few negatives that I will point out below. Some brand name rotary machines are more costly upfront and parts are sometimes limited strictly to that specific manufacturers machine. Meaning grips, tubes, spare parts and at times needles are not easily replaced.  


Vibrations: You are able to tattoo in lengthier sessions as the vibrations are not exhausting you by having...

Lighter weight: This is also allowing you to work for longer periods of time! (Insert Time/Money Equation here)!


Expense: Cost is generally $200 on up, BUT, because you can work longer sessions with these machines, it will be a great money maker for you.

Buying accessories and/or replacement parts/supplies: With some brands you can buy only that brand's needles and tubes specifically made for that particular machine, at times paying 2-3 times more for this than other needles.

Sound: Really? Yep, to some it is a music to their ears...who knew? Anyhow, rotary machines sound more like an electric toothbrush. This is why we have choices, some say tomato and while I say tomato ;)