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What To Look For In Tattoo Needles
- Jun 07, 2018 -

Are the needles straight, unbent, and sharp?

If you ordered needles and they arrive crooked, bent or dull, you wont want to use them. Bent, dull groupings can do major damage to the skin and wont distribute ink evenly. It will do more harm than good.

Are the needles well soldered?

Check where the needles attach to the bar or center rod: are the needles loose? If so, you wont want to use them. Loose needles are at risk for coming off during your session and can cause the same issues as crooked, dull groupings.

Are the needles pre-sterilized?

Unless you want to spend a big chunk of your life autoclaving brand new needles, check to make sure the needles youre ordering have been pre-sterilized. Pre-sterilized needles will be individually packed, labeled as sterile and marked with a lot number and expiration date. Keep this information for your records. If youre ever unsure of the information (or youre unsure the needles met sterilization standards), request a copy of the sterilization certificate from the supplier. Suppliers are required to keep this information on hand and should have no problem sending you a copy.

Does this work with my gear?

A needle grouping is useless to you if you dont have the right tools to use it. Make sure its a standard set-up grouping if you arent using a cartridge machine and make sure you have the right parts to make it work. For example, if youre buying bugpin needles, do you have the smaller tubes youll need? If you have tubes, do you have grips on hand? Making sure you have it all before you order will save you a lot of time and trouble.

Is this the right needle for what I want to do?

The last thing youre going to want to check is if youre ordering the needles you actually need. Like we explained above, different groupings have different uses. Heres a sample table to help you make the decision:

Needles Crouping
Tube SizeCommonly Used For

4F, 5F

4 - 5 flat

Lines and detail

6F, 7F

6 - 7 flat

Shading, thicker lines, and color fill

9F

8 - 9 flat

Shading and color fill

5M1

4 - 5 flat

Thick lines, color fill, and shading

7M1

6 - 7 flat

Lines, shading, and color fill

9M1

8 - 9 flat

Thick outlines, shading, color fill

11M1

11 flat

Color fill and shading

13M1

13 flat

Color fill and shading

15M115 flatColor fill and shading

5M2, 7M2, 9M2

4 - 5 flat

Outlines, lines, detail, and shading

11M2, 13M2

6 -7 flat

Thick outlines, thick lines, shading, and color fill

15M2

8 - 9 flat

Color fill and shading

5MR

4 - 5 flat

Small lines, detail work, and intricate shading

7MR

6 - 7 flat

Lines, shading, color fill, and detail work

9MR

8 - 9 flat

Outlines, shading, and color fill

11MR

11 flat

Color fill and shading

13MR

13 flat

Color fill and shading

15MR

15 flat

Color fill and shading

1RL, 3RL

1 - 3 round

Lines, intricate shading, and fill-in

4RL, 5RL

4 - 5 round

Outlines, shading, and fill-in

7RL

7 round

Shading and color fill

8RL, 9RL

8 - 9 round

Shading, thick outlines, and color fill

11RL, 14 RL

11 - 14 round

Shading and color fill

3RS

1 - 3 round

Lines and small detail

5RS

4 - 5 round

Lines, slim shading areas, and small detail

7RS

7 round

Shading, thicker lines,small area fill in

8RS, 9RS

8 - 9 round

Shading, thick outlines, and color fill in

14RS

11 - 14 round

Shading and color

4F, 5F

4 - 5 flat

Lines and detail

6F, 7F

6 - 7 flat

Shading, thicker lines, and color fill

9F

8 - 9 flat

Shading and color fill

5M1

4 - 5 flat

Thick lines, color fill, and shading

7M1

6 - 7 flat

Lines, shading, and color fill

9M1

8 - 9 flat

Thick outlines, shading, color fill

11M1

11 flat

Color fill and shading

13M1

13 flat

Color fill and shading

15M1

15 flat

Color fill and shading

5M2, 7M2, 9M2

4 - 5 flat

Outlines, lines, detail, and shading

11M2, 13M2

6 -7 flat

Thick outlines, thick lines, shading, and color fill

15M2

8 - 9 flat

Color fill and shading

5MR

4 - 5 flat

Small lines, detail work, and intricate shading

7MR

6 - 7 flat

Lines, shading, color fill, and detail work

9MR

8 - 9 flat

Outlines, shading, and color fill

11MR

11 flat

Color fill and shading

13MR

13 flat

Color fill and shading

15MR

15 flat

Color fill and shading