Getting a tattoo etched on your skin might be a declaration of love or rebellion, but an act of permanence nonetheless. If you are excited about getting your first tattoo done, you might find it interesting to know about the equipment used in the process. And if you already have a few, then you most probably have come across a coil tattoo machine.
A coil tattoo machine is one with a squarish frame with two coils of wire that vibrate and buzz when the machine is in use. The tattoo artist has to push the foot pedal or switch to make the electricity run through the machine. It then pushes the needle up and down in a vertical manner to form the desired pattern for you. Since it works on a spring mechanism, the coil tattoo machine can either be used for lining or shading at a time. Most artists hence prefer to have a machine for one or both as per their requirements. Whether you want it for your personal use or your professional tattoo studio, we have rounded up here the 10 best coil tattoo machines to help you get started.
10 Best Coil Tattoo Machines To Buy In 2021
If you are looking for a coil tattoo machine that does the job but doesn’t look big and bulky, then this 1Tattoo World New Cast Coil Tattoo Machine is sure to fit your bill. It is a high-quality tattoo machine with a beautiful appearance. It has 10 high-quality laps of a solenoid valve that delivers a stable bouncing while in use. It is built to work on the latest technology and doesn’t heat up even after continuous use. Being of good quality and lasting you long, this machine gives you great value for money whether you are using it for your studio every day or if you’re just keeping it as a backup. With its polished look and feel it is sure to add value to your work.
- Polished look
- Latest technology
- Stable movement
- Value for money
- Comparatively less powerful
- Might not come tuned out of the box
Dragonhawk is a brand known for its beautifully built tattoo machines. These brass coils tattoo machines come in a pack of two, one for shading and one for lining. The length of the spring helps you determine which is what. The shader tattoo machine has 10 wrap coils while the liner one has 8 wrap coils. You just need to adjust the voltage to 115-120 Hz for the shader machine, and the liner one works at 140-150 Hz. These Dragonhawk coil tattoo machines have a solid brass frame that helps keep the vibrations down, to give you that perfect straight line every time. The liner machine runs fast and gives solid crisp lines with a good punch while the shader has a nice soft pepper finish to it.
- Easy to set up
- Easy to tune
- Good build quality
- Good for beginners
- Might feel heavy for some
- Might not be as consistent
Looking to gift something funky for Halloween or something that matches the aesthetics of your ‘skull and dragon’ tattoo studio? Well, then this tattoo machine is sure to draw your attention. It comes packed in a typical red and black coffin box to give you that eerie vibe. It is a nice sturdy machine that is well balanced and holds up well when in use. It might just need a few adjustments initially to best suit your preferences. There are ten wraps of the coil and the pure iron armature bar provides good magnetic conductivity. It has a lightweight zinc frame that is painted in classy red and black. It works flawlessly for 3 hours and more without any heat buildup.
- No heat build-up
- Poor paint finish
- Plastic washers
- Box quality is not good
When you worship the art you do, you would want the tools to be as enigmatic as well. The Anself Pro Tattoo Machine Gun has an exquisite design and colorful look with a perfect blend of colors all over its body. It not only looks awesome but stays ‘cool’ despite long hours of use. Made up of high-quality low-carbon steel, it is extremely durable as well. While the ergonomic spring makes sure your hands don’t tire out easily, the iron armature provides superb magnetism alongside. Basically, with its rapid thermal diffusion and stable performance, you can work for a continuous 8 hrs without any heat or fatigue.
- Exquisite design
- Liner and shader
- Ergonomic spring
- Might not be compatible with disposable tubes and needles
Mast Handmade Coil Tattoo Machine is a sturdy machine that feels lightweight to use. Made up of iron, it is durable and lasts long. It has a long throw with precise long hits to give you neat and smooth work each time. This Mast coil tattoo machine has a traditional look and functionality that works for shading and lining as well. The brass binding and the contact screw feel solid enough and the lines run smoothly on the skin. With 10 wrap coils and a 47uf capacitor, this Mast coil tattoo machine has a medium running speed and is an all-rounder no doubt.
- Smooth working
- Traditional design
- Difficult to adjust the speed
This coil tattoo machine from YorkTattoo is made up of high-quality iron and can be used for drawing simple lines and shading as well. It comes packed in a small kit that includes tattoo tips and a grip tube along with the coil tattoo machine itself. It has a silicone grip that makes it non-slip and comfortable to use. It has a good elastic spring that is not prone to damage. This coil tattoo machine is designed to minimize skin damage and it can be used for coloring in as well. It works at a uniform speed and remains cool even after prolonged use. Being lightweight and with its low vibrations it doesn’t tire out your hands easily. It comes packed in an exquisite iron box making it easy to store and carry.
- Non-slip silicone grip
- Elastic spring
- Tips included
- Fragile packaging
If you have been looking for a coil tattoo machine for etching those perfectly smooth lines and contours, then this Redscorpion Cast Iron Liner Coil Tattoo Machine would do that for you in less than a fraction of the price of costlier high-end ones. It delivers an accurate performance working out the tiniest line in detail. It comes well tuned out of the box and is great for smaller needle groupings. Made up of high-quality cast iron, it is a very durable machine with good magnetic and electrical conductivity. It has 8 wrapped coils and doesn’t tire your hands nor heats up even after prolonged hours of use. With a good weight and sturdy frame, it is a great machine for the price it comes for.
- Good conductivity
- Great for lining
- Bigger in size
- Might vibrate a bit after prolonged use
This starter kit from Stigma includes two coil tattoo machines, one for shading and one for lining. They come packaged in beautiful transparent PVC packets that determine which is which. The blue one is the shader while the red packaging is for the liner machine. It has a smooth hit with no recoil and it packs the ink beautifully. It runs so smoothly and effortlessly that you can hardly feel it working on your skin. With imported copper wires and a durable body made of Japanese manganese steel material, it has good conductivity and is resistant to the usual wear and damage. Designed by an Italian tattoo artist himself, these machines not only deliver awesome tattoo etchings but their cool looks also add beauty to the aesthetics of any tattoo studio.
- Great build quality
- Imported copper wire
- No heating
- High-speed stability
- Might get shaky after a while
ATOMUS Tattoo Coil Machine Gun comes with the excellent build quality and design you would want out of your favorite tattoo machine. The brand Atomus is known for the design, manufacture, and sale of various tattoo products. With a good quality iron frame and copper rod, it is durable with a stable performance. With a rotating speed of up to 3600 R/M (5V 60hz ), it is powerful enough to get the work done fast and easily. It has a good heat dissipation system in place and hence can be used for long hours without any heating. With 8 wraps of the coil, it delivers a stable output and is a good coil tattoo gun to start with, for beginners as well.
- Good for beginners
- Exquisite design
- Doesn’t run at 5-6 volts
This coil tattoo machine kit includes two machines; one shader and a liner machine. It also includes some disposable grips and a few other accessories to help you practice on skin. It comes packed in a sturdy carrying case complete with a lock and key. Made up of carbon steel, the frame is powder-coated to a nice finish with a heavy armature bar as well. All parts come nicely aligned out of the box and the extra spring saddle is a good addition that keeps the rear spring stable for long. It has a strong vice screw that fits the most available grips in the market. With 12 wrap coils and premium 24 gauge enamel coated magnet wire, this coil tattoo machine kit is all you need to get you started.
- Good build
- Nice finish
- Accessories included
- Comes with a sturdy carry case
- Heavy to work with
Now that we have a list of the 10 best coil tattoo machines on the market, let us also have a look at the basic criteria you must consider before buying one for yourself.
How To Choose The Best Coil Tattoo Machine
Choosing a coil tattoo machine requires some basic knowledge of its parts and functioning. Here in this buying guide, we help you get started with a few pointers.
It’s very important to see what feels right in your hand. You may prefer a heavy-weighted machine made up of brass or iron to give you that stable handiwork, or you may want to go for lightweight zinc or aluminum to not tire your hands easily. Either way, the frame should have a good heat diffusion system so as not to heat up quickly even with prolonged use.
You would find coil machines with 8, 10, or 12 wraps of wire around a bobbin or iron core. The number of wraps determines the speed and vertical force of the machine. Most of the good coil tattoo machines would not have any gaps in the wire while cheap machines might have opaque insulation to cover up poor wrapping or fewer coils.
The spring length helps you determine whether it is a liner or shader coil tattoo machine. A line machine would have a shorter spring at the back than the shader one. You need to opt for one or both as per your comfort and work required.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, an ergonomic grip would always help make the work easier on your hands and seem softer on the skin. With a good comfortable grip, you can work continuously without straining your hand.
How To Use Coil A Tattoo Machine
Using a coil tattoo machine for the first time is best done as per the user manual provided along with. After the basic coil tattoo machine setup, you can proceed as follows:
- You need to adjust the voltage as per the use you want of it- shading or lining. For outlines and contouring, a voltage between 7.5 and 8.5 volts is usually recommended, while for shading, between 8 and 12 volts is okay.
- When the tattoo machine is plugged into a power supply, the electromagnetic current flows through the coils of the machine to trigger the armature bar.
- Once set in motion, the armature bar makes the needle go up and down vertically, working your piece of art on the canvas of bare skin.
- While working with a coil tattoo machine, one should just be careful not to damage the coils or let the machine get wet anyway.
Types Of Coil Tattoo Machines
There are usually two main types of coil tattoo machines— liner and shader. While the shaders are used to form and fill in gradients inside a design, the liner is used to mark the outer lines and more delicate detailings of a tattoo.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Are coil tattoo machines better than rotary?
While coil tattoo machines tend to be less expensive when compared to rotary machines, these usually feel heavy and tend to tire out the hand more often. The coil tattoo machine also requires a certain amount of adjustment and maintenance, more than its rotary counterpart. Having said that, coil tattoo machines offer you more scope of customization in design and parts. Also, it is more efficient for sharp, precise lines because it goes well into the skin with one go. With a sturdier motor in the coil machines, these are known to be more durable as well.
Do coil tattoo machines hurt more?
When taking a jab, you tend to prefer a physician with a ‘good hand’ so that it doesn’t really feel as much. Similarly, while getting a tattoo done, it is very important to do your research about the artists and their work. A lot depends on the amount of grasp and pressure the artist uses to work on your skin. Apart from that, the type of machine would also play a certain role. A good coil machine might make you feel more of that outline being made, but it’s all done and over in one go. On the other hand, a rotary machine needs to have a certain number of repetitions to complete the design, making you feel the pain a couple of times more. But in the end, it’s the workstyle and experience of the artist that would determine how it works out for you.