Dramatic changes in attitudes toward tattoos and the rapid popularity of permanent body art mean that more and more people are willing to pay for tattoos at tattoo parlors, pushing the “tattooer” from a sideline to a potentially lucrative career option.
More and more artists are choosing to pick up a tattoo machine and start scratching, but the transition can be daunting: which machine to buy, which ink to use, which needle is best… there’s a lot to absorb. Read on for a range of tattoo art starter kits, introductory machines, and information that will give budding artists a practical guide to the best equipment and tools they need to get started as a recognized professional tattoo artist. Read for more information
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The best tattoo machine
Dragon Eagle Mast Pen
An interesting development for tattoo machine manufacturers is borrowing the pen shape to design their own machines. The Dragonhawk Mast Pen is one of those machines. Manufactured by one of the most trusted names in the tattoo machine industry, this sleek machine will not disappoint. Some believe that the similarity in shape makes it a tattoo design machine for beginners who have more experience with pen and ink.
A rotary machine that offers beginners a more versatile machine than the professional setups typically used on spool machines: the mast pen can be used for line, shadow, and color work. The body is made from medical-grade aluminum, which is extremely durable despite being lightweight, and the variable motor voltage range is 6 to 9 volts, giving performers more control while remaining surprisingly quiet.
FK Hardcore Spektra Direct 2
This is a machine that has topped several best beginner/pro tattoo machine lists for good reason. First, it’s a rotary tattoo gun, which means it’s fully capable of inking and lining, making it a great choice for beginner tattooers. The 4.5-watt motor can actually be tuned from 4 watts to 9.5 watts, providing all the torque and speed an artist needs. Made in the USA, the Direkt 2 is constructed from aerospace-grade anodized aluminum for durability; Best of all, it comes with a 1-year warranty. Aside from hygienic practices, the Direct is virtually maintenance-free: the closed motor system means that lubrication is not even necessary. This machine can be used with a variety of settings and can be used with all standard needle and cylinder layouts. Interchangeable travel covers make this simple machine more versatile; Directly can be used for shading as well as shading and line work. The lightweight (the Direkt weighs only 2.85 ounces) and ergonomic handles mean that even the most novice artists will not suffer from the wrist and hand fatigue that is usually associated with tattooing.
Solong Tattoo Complete Starter Kit 1 professional machine gun
The solong tattoo machine has a high reputation in the industry and the product speaks for itself. This is the first bobbin winder we’ve seen, and while they may be more intimidating than quieter rotary machines, there’s a good reason the bobbins are the industry standard. One disadvantage for beginners is that coil machines are usually set up as liners or shaders, so most pros end up with at least two machines. If you like their product and want to upgrade, Solong offers larger kits that offer two and four machines.
The machine is high quality, with a 10-wind coil that provides enough punch when using larger needles. The craftsmanship of the unit makes it a durable product, but what sets this piece apart is all the extras included.
A digital power supply with an LED display, variable voltage, and a foot pedal gives artists a high level of control. The kit also includes 50 surgical needles of various sizes and layouts, as well as 14 inks for novice artists to experiment with. All rubber bands, spacers, and hex keys required to install and operate the machine are supplied, as well as ink caps and rubber gloves to ensure proper hygiene.
Stigma Complete Rotary Tattoo Kit
This is a great rotary machine made by Stigma and is a good option for beginners who want the versatility of a rotary machine. The sturdy construction ensures the unit’s durability, and the 10-watt motor provides enough power for lining and shading. Although not as spacious as some other kits, the Stigma bag has almost everything you need to start tattooing. A reliable power supply and variable voltage cable are included, as well as needles, tips, gloves, ink caps, and training covers. This is a great little machine that is perfect for beginners new to the world of tattooing. The value for money is solid, the only real downside to this kit is that the included ink is not suitable for actual human use and should only be used on used skin. It’s not a deal breaker, but the artist must purchase the ink separately.
Wormhole Complete Tattoo Set
One of the cheapest kits we’ve tested, the Wormhole Complete Tattoo Kit provides everything a beginner artist needs to get started. Designed especially for beginners, the wormhole kit offers two winders, one for winding and one for lining, as well as AC and cables, foot pedals, and tools for adjusting the machine. The unit’s iron frame is built to last, ensuring it will stand the test of time.
The Wormhole kit also includes everything you need to start tattooing out of the box. 11 color inks, 30 different groups and sizes of needles, aluminum handles and disposable tips make this the perfect introduction for beginners. Other accessories include forty ink cups, rubber bands and spacers, hex keys, transfer paper, and practice covers. Overall, wormhole tattoo kits are a good option for beginners at a reasonable price, as well as those who are interested in tattoos but don’t want to break the bank.
Pirate Face Grinder Tattoo Set
The Grinder Kit from Pirate Face is another reel kit and a great option for beginners ready to start tattooing, it provides everything you need to apply unique designs to your skin. It’s all packed in a sturdy carrying case and comes with four spoolers, giving artists all the versatility they need from lining to tinting, toning and base. All machines use two 10-turn coils, giving artists all the power they need, while a reliable and variable power supply is guaranteed to keep the machines humming all day. The set includes 50 needles of different sizes and groups, as well as disposable tips, 7 different colors of ink 100, ink cups, gloves, and exercise skins. Designed for beginner tattooists, these durable machines are easy to set up and maintain, and the grinder comes with an instruction book and DVD, making it easy for new artists to get into the tattooing process.