5 Best Rotary Tattoo Machine Guide of 2022

Rotary tattoo machines have had some incredible advancements over recent years. Many experienced tattoo artists believe that the rotary tattoo machine is one of the easiest machines to operate and learn. This is because they are quick, don’t vibrate as much as other types of machines, and the motor doesn’t sound like a swarm of killer bees.

Ok, let’s dive In:

#1: Dragonhawk Rotary Tattoo Machine

Dragonhawk is one of the most reliable companies in this space. Their latest model the Raven II comes in as our favorite machine this year. The Raven rotary machine was created to function over a variable voltage range based on personal preference. The raven is fitted with a ‘one touch’ hit adjuster. Settings are altered by rotating the metal adjuster knob at the top of the unit. This machine offers good strokes and is a great tool for creating small tattoos.

#2: New Star Dragonfly Rotary Tattoo Machine

This tattoo machine is bright and bold in color and is preferred by many tattoo artists because of its lightweight, strong materials and because it works so great for lining and shading purposes and its affordable price makes it perfect for common use since they are so easy to replace when they start getting worn down.

#3 Solong Rotary Tattoo Machine Pen Kit

This machine is perfect for beginners just starting out in their careers. It’s user-friendly, fully adjustable, and incredibly powerful in its operation. This tattoo pen is specifically designed for doing permanent makeup but can most certainly be used for other types of tattoos.   The pen is quite slim in design which makes it perfect for doing permanent eyebrows, lip lines, eye lines, and more.  

#4 Pinkiou Tattoo Pen

This is one of the most popular rotary tattoo pens in the cosmetic industry.  The Pinkiou is incredibly easy to use thanks to its streamlined appearance and slim design.  The high needle speed also enables artists to create a precision lining that lasts.  This pen is perfect for micro-pigmentation, eyebrows, eyeliner, lips, hairline and is often even used to repair or cover up skin damage such as scarring, pigmentation flaws, and more.

#5 Dragonhawk Extreme Rotary Tattoo Machine

This is an extremely light tattoo machine with a simple design that is easy to use.  The machine is perfect for both lining and shading and offers you long-lasting stability due to its sleek design, lightweight, and low vibration levels. It is also extremely durable which gives artists lots of use from a single machine.

Important Information:

What can you do with a rotary tattoo machine?

Rotary tattoo machines are often designed for a special task.  Normal rotary tattoo machines like the New Star Dragonfly, Dragonhawk Mast Pen, or Dragonhawk extreme is mostly used for picture tattoos or scar damage concealing since they are perfect for lining and shading tattoo tasks. Tattoo machines like the Solong rotary tattoo pen EM 108-1 or the Pinkiou Tattoo pen 10-0127 are designed for applying permanent makeup, skin damage concealing, or for micro-blading and offer a much finer design that allows for precision work.

How Do Rotary Tattoo Machines Work?

These machines are powered by an encased electric motor.  The motor attaches a needle bar to a needle and the bar moves in a clockwise motion that moves the needle up and down.  This up and down movement releases the needle into the skin while tattoo ink flows through the needle into the skin to create permanent markings.

Why Tattoo Gun Voltage Is Important

As you shop around online you will quickly notice that different tattoo guns function via different connections and on different voltage levels.  Regulated rotary tattoo machines cannot be adjusted but unregulated tattoo machines give the artist the ability to adjust the voltage level and in doing so, adjust the tattoo machine’s speed.  In general, higher voltages or faster needle speeds are required for lining whereas lower speeds are preferred for smooth shading.

Choosing The Right Machine Type

There are quite a few different types of rotary tattoo machines on the market.  Tattoo machines are mostly used for depictive tattoos although there are some artists that feel more comfortable using a rotary tattoo pen.  For cosmetic purposes such as permanent makeup, scar tissue coverage, and such, a pen tattoo is preferred because it allows for finer detail work and allows you to get up close and personal for precision work.  

How To Set Everything Up

Before you get started on tattooing it is essential for you to give your tattoo machine a good clean.  Rotary tattoo machines need to be disassembled in order to clean them properly.  When the machine is clean you also need to ensure that your hands are clean before assembling the device and always ensure that you work on a clean and sterile work surface.   

It is also important to take note that different machines function slightly differently and might consist of different components so always consult your manual before you set up your tattoo machine.  When your tattoo machine is set up correctly you can connect it to the power source.  During the tattoo gun setup process, you will also tune the machine.  Tune the needle until you achieve the right depth by adjusting the needle grip and tube.  You may have to increase and reduce the voltage on your tattoo machine as you work in order to achieve different levels of lining and shading.

Skin Type Matters

Different people have different types of skin and your body’s skin isn’t the same thickness all over.  If you take a close look at the inside of your front arms compared to the outside you will see a significant difference in the thickness of the skin.  On the inside of your arms, your skin is thin enough for you to see veins while the outer sides of your arm are much darker and thicker.  For thicker skin, your tattoo machine might require more depth in order to get the tattoo properly fixed.  Excessive bleeding is however usually an indication that your tattoo needle is going too deep into the skin.

Ink Types Matter

It is incredibly important to pay close attention to the type of tattoo ink you use.  Good quality inks result in much better quality tattoos and are much healthier since they are more organic and toxin-free.  A good quality ink will also last much longer and fading will be significantly reduced.

Tattoo Needles Matter

Like tattoo machines, there are also quite a few different types of tattoo needles on the market. Tattoo artists mainly use two different tattoo needle types; flat tattoo needles and round tattoo needles. These needles also come in different sizes.  Round tattoo needles are mostly preferred for shading whereas flat needles are often preferred for lining or for creating guidelines. 


There are quite a few things that can cause your tattoo machine to troubleshoot.  Here are a few errors to watch out for before you decide that your machine isn’t working well; 

Poor voltage or a lack of voltage could mean that your power supply or plugs are not functioning well. 

If the machine seems to lose power as you use it then it could be that the needle part pin has come into contact with the housing and friction is causing the needle to perform slowly. 

If the motor seems to be struggling then you could be dealing with a clogged piston or loose connection pins. It could also be that your screw is dusted too close to the cap. 

Needles can get jammed which could result in a clogged piston.  This mostly happens due to the lack of lubrication 

If the needle bar seems wobbly then your springs could be loose or defective.

Final Conclusion

As you become better and more experienced in tattooing you will grow a personal preference towards specific tattoo machine types, styles, and weights.  It is important to try a few different machines before you throw in the towel of becoming an artist or before you decide on the best machine.  Sampling a few different types could lead you to a machine that you absolutely love and that could enhance the quality of your tattoo work.  

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