The best tattoo pen machine for 2021

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Buying Guide 5 min read Last updated on March 23, 2021

Cheyenne once contributed to a revolution in the world of tattoo equipment and produced the first modular pen tattoo machine. Whereas then it was a real innovation, a breath of fresh air for tattoo artists, but what has changed now? Are there new pens on the market, and which among them are the best tattoo pen machines today?

The review is about the best tattoo gun in a pen shape. This review was written using buyers' information, user experience, manufacturer's statements, and market analysis regarding more features and functions. All the best that is available on the market is included in this review.

Best pen tattoo machines - Reviews and Buyer's Guide

Product Image Made in Material Weight Power Source Warranty Price

FK Irons Spectra Xion Best for Professionals.
USA aircraft grade aluminum 151g 7-9.5V for the life of the machine. The motor warranty will be covered for 1 year


Cheyenne Tattoo Machine Hawk Pen Black.
Germany Anodized aluminum 130g 6-12,6V Manufacturer warranty for one year


CNC Q2 HAWINK Rotary Short Pen Tattoo Machine Best value for money.
China aircraft aluminium alloy 108g 5.5V-9V 12-months quality warranty


Ink Machines Scorpion The best innovative product.
Sweden aluminium 107 g 0–12 V 12 months warranty


Cheyenne Sol Nova Pen Tattoo Machine Review.
Germany Anodized aluminum 150g 5–12.6V Manufacturer warranty for one year


Kwadron Equaliser Proton.
Poland Anodized aluminum 130g 7-11V 12 months warranty


BRONC Rotary Cartridge Tattoo Pen Machine Best cheap professional pen rotary tattoo machine.
China Aircraft aluminum 154g 5-12V return within 7 days after delivery


BIG WASP Cartridge Pen Rotary Tattoo Machine.
China Space Aluminum 5-8V could not find any official information, but there is evidence of replacement by the manufacturer of machines in case of purchase of defective


Dragonhawk Atom.
China Anodized aluminum 135g 5-15 V Amazon's 30-day return policy


The DragonHawk Mast Pen.
China Aluminum frame 120g 6V–9V Amazon's 30-day return policy


Cheyenne Hawk Sol Nova Unlimited – Best Wireless Choice.
Germany Anodized aluminum 184g (incl. battery) 5-12.6V Manufacturer warranty for one year


best pen style rotary tattoo machine

200$ it is much more manageable and reasonable than six hundred plus dollars for like a Cheyenne or FK Irons or whatnot. So, that's pretty much why this CNC Q2 tattoo machine is in this review.

Inside the box, there is a manual you can check out, an O-ring, and a tiny Allen wrench. Another box holds a clip-cord and the machine itself. At first, let us note that the kit comes with a very thin clip-cord. It certainly works, but it is hardly possible to say with assurance how well or how long it will work.

It’s really tiny. Although it is a bit thicker than the Cheyenne, for example, the CNC Q2 is very short. This is especially handy if you plan to work with wireless power. By inserting a wireless power supply into this short machine, the device will not be too long and heavy.

User experience

It's really tiny. Although it is a bit thicker than the Cheyenne, the CNC Q2 is very short. This is especially handy if you plan to work with wireless power. By inserting a wireless power supply into this short machine, the device will not be too long and heavy.

The device is easy to disassemble, so there should be no problem with repairing it. You can easily unscrew the body and see the internal mechanism.

The German Faulhaber Motor inside gives us a reliable and powerful machine. The manufacturer recommends working on 5.5V-9V, warning that it is better not to work on 9 volts for a long time without interruptions.

Note, don't run it higher than 10 volts, or you'll overheat the motor and cause mechanical wear.

  • Comparable in quality to more expensive pens
  • Simple design
  • Lightweight and tiny
  • Best value for money
  • Quiet
  • Easy to disassemble
  • Handy to use with wireless power supply
  • Thin clip-cord included
  • There are reviews that the machine often breaks after a short period of use
  • Short needle stroke (3.3 mm)


Not to say that it does an amazing job, but it does far better than most Chinese tattoo machines available on the market. It is decent for perfect lining.

best tattoo pen machine kit

Bronc, Big Wasp, and Hummingbird are subsidiaries of one another. The Chinese manufacturer Hummingbird-Rotary produces these pretty good quality machines for their price, many of which have been highly valued by professional tattoo artists worldwide. One of these machines is the Bronc pen-style rotary tattoo machine.

Everyone is looking for a universal tattoo machine. Look no further! Everything about this pen is amazing, and It has everything that you can look for in a pen. It's tiny and lightweight, but it's got some weight behind it to make it kind of sturdy. It comes in a nice black box with a serial number and with a few cartridge needles, lubricant, RCA-cord, rubber o-rings, and a holder for your pen. Thus, if you're laying your machine down, you don't want it to roll off your cart. This holder helps you to be more effective at any point in time during a tattoo session. The RCA-сord included is well made of solid copper and natural rubber. But you should remember that this kit assumes that you already have a foot pedal and a power supply.

The device is a bit longer than the pen machines' average size, but it is comfortable to use. Maybe some find it inconvenient, but this Bronc remains the best option available on the market.


You're going to get both great lines and great shading with this affordable but quality tattoo pen machine. It simplifies tattooing and makes it easy to apply ink for long periods.

A Japanese rotary motor is inside, which pledges to last a long time with no loss of power.

The Bronc works with cartridges, so you can easily tattoo lines, color, or shadows just by replacing the cartridge.

The needle length is adjustable by rotating the grip.

It's not the quietest motor, but it's not loud either; the sound of the machine running doesn't strain or distract from tattooing.

It feels great in your hand, allowing you to create any tattoo idea you want. Just take it in your hand like a pen and create!

  • Comparable in quality to more expensive pens
  • Сomfortable and lightweight
  • Adjusts easy
  • Puts on lines, color, and shadows smoothly and evenly
  • Not loud
  • Not shaking all over the place
  • Affordable price
  • High-quality elements that come with the device
  • Feels well balanced in the hand
  • You can check if your Bronc is genuine on big wasp's site
  • Not the quietest available on the market
  • Diameter slightly wider than the standard pen
  • Not the most reliable warranty service
  • If you are a beginner, you will need to buy a pedal and power supply for it since it is not provided


For the price, you can currently buy this at an amazing deal. This pen is just as good as the more expensive ones, pulling straight lines and soft shadows; it's great for any tattoo artist's job.

Truly, if you like shorter tattoo pen guns, these longer ones probably aren't for you. But if you do like standard-sized devices, this is exactly what you need.

Cheyenne tattoo machine pen
best for Professionals

It is worth noting that it is Cheyenne, who is the founder of modular tattoo machines. This Hawk Pen, when introduced by the manufacturer, was a real innovation in the tattoo world. It is a genuinely epochal pen tattoo machine. Many subsequent products of other manufacturers in this area were only replacements or cheaper Hawk Pen analogs.

Inside the box, in addition to the pen itself, there is a clip cord, adapter, o-rings, a stand for the machine, and a very detailed manual. By the way, the manufacturer's manual and the rules of using the equipment talks about its recommendations for the instrument's barrier protection.

It comes with only one 25mm aluminum grip, but you can buy a thinner one with a diameter of 21mm.

If you want to use the Cheyenne with a non-proprietary power supply, you will need a special cable.

User experience

Now, let's discuss the machine in detail. It has a glossy, ergonomic body. It feels sturdy but not heavy and is relatively thin. The gravity center is balanced along the entire axis of the device, allowing for excellent balance. The machine's weight does not shift and does not pull your wrist anywhere, so your hand should not get tired after long hours of work. The needle stroke is 3.5 mm, and it is easy to adjust by rotating the grip without clicking into place.

It is very powerful in operation, but at the same time gentle, running as softly as necessary. That is, it is not too soft, but it does not cut the skin either. Moreover, there is enough power for different works: contouring, shading, and sketching.

The Hawk Pen has a low noise level and minimal vibration.

Keep in mind; it is possible to destroy Cheyenne with low-quality cartridges that do not have a fluid membrane, as there is a chance of fluid entering the machine system through them.

  • Modern ergonomic, stylish design
  • Powerful but moderately soft
  • Perfect balancing
  • Extremely quiet and with minimal vibration
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to adjust needle stroke
  • Included Pen Tray
  • Disposable grips available
  • Many cases of breakage after a few months of use
  • Only one grip included


There are two categories of tattoo artists: fans of the German manufacturer Cheyenne and its haters. The reason is that this manufacturer is somewhat of an iPhone in the world of tattoo machines. It produces innovative tattoo equipment with a cool design and awesome features. Despite the existing criticisms, we are willing to put up with them precisely because the equipment is, in fact, merely high quality and enjoyable to use. That goes for the Hawk Pen as well.

FK Irons Spectra Xion
best pen style rotary tattoo machine

As with most reputable manufacturers, FK Irons has gone to great lengths to make the box and packaging look good. With the combination of gloss and matte, the box is easy to unpack. There are rings, keys, a replacement eccentric, and a short manual inside in addition to the machine. The machine leaves a great first impression right away. Very stylish looking, it feels comfortable in the hand of the artist. The connection is the usual RCA cord. How does it run, and what features is it hiding?

User experience

The tattoo machine seems to be more weighty and noticeably shorter than a standard pen. The conventional FK Irons grip - with edges - is convenient to hold and work with.

The needle stroke is adjusted with a ratcheting swivel on the needle grip.

It comes with two replaceable eccentrics, which are also easy to replace. This is something the FK Irons have pioneered; never before has there been an interchangeable eccentric on a pen. The machine is easy to disassemble. First, remove the grip, then the tattoo machine's body is quickly dismantled in two parts. The eccentric is easy to remove, and the other one is installed on hexes. This allows you to adjust the tool to your type of work, not just on the voltage but specifically on the hardware level.

The Swiss Maxon 6W MotorBolt motor inside was explicitly designed for this device.

When you take the machine apart, there's another cool feature at the section where the motor force is transferred to the needles: the needle's impact of softness/hardness can be adjusted. This has never been seen on a pen before, making this machine very different from the others reviewed here. However, as you may have already guessed, to adjust the needle strike during a session, you must take everything apart from the barrier protection to the pen body itself. Accordingly, this requires you to think through the necessary needlework before the session.

The jointless grip is combined with all modules. Autoclavable.

  • Modern ergonomic, stylish design
  • Powerful but moderately soft
  • Perfect balancing
  • Extremely quiet and with minimal vibration
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to adjust needle stroke
  • Included Pen Tray
  • Disposable grips available
  • Many cases of breakage after a few months of use
  • Only one grip included


This machine is perfect as a shader, although it is undoubtedly suitable for different tattooing styles and types. Thanks to the very fine and professional setting possibilities, we consider this machine one of the best choices for both professionals and beginners.

It will surely be one of your best machines you have!

Ink Machines Scorpion
stylus pen tattoo machine

It's a new, unknown to users machine with a lot of peculiarities. Before you buy it, you should look at it carefully and see if it's a good solution for you. Usually, the first impression is not the best. However, once they get used to it, most tattoo artists are interested and have a special attitude toward it.

What's the point? The thing is that this device has a slightly different mechanism inside than other tattoo rotary pens. Instead of the standard rotor, it has a magnetic system. That is, the force of the magnet pushes and moves the needle. Let's take a closer look at how this system works.

User experience

The innovation of this machine lies primarily in the fact that it solves the hygiene problem inherent to pens. The magnetic cartridges do not contain a single extra hole through which cross-contamination can occur, and the cartridge storage system ensures the greatest possible hygiene safety concerning infections. Plus, most of the machine's main parts are open to the user and available for at least some kind of antiseptic treatment.

The most important thing is that clients note that the machine doesn't hurt at all. Even those who find it very difficult to tolerate the pain during sessions say so. The needle movement is driven magnetically, and this is something you have to get used to. But once you get over the adaption period, you will feel how much quicker and easier the clients "heal" and how much less painful this machine works. This is an invaluable advantage because one of the main goals of every tattoo artist is customer happiness.

This machine is very thin and light in use. Be aware that for large hands and long fingers, this is not a very comfortable pen configuration. Also, you need to understand that when the needle protrudes, it meets some skin resistance. So the machine should still have some weight for better penetration into the skin. In case you are comfortable working with such lightweight devices with a diameter of only 22 mm, this would be the best choice for you.

The needle stroke is easily adjusted at the top of the device. This adjustment is provided with a click mechanism, which is also very handy.

The RCA connectors and clip cord location on the side cause some difficulties with barrier protection. Although there is a detailed manual in the instructions for use on how to wrap this pen, you still need to be prepared for this because it takes time. It's also a little awkward to use because the weight balance shifts.

The innovativeness of the Scorpion leads to a higher price tag for the purchase of all the necessary equipment. The magnetic cartridges are not cheap; the holders have also only recently started to come out and cost a lot. Only Ink Machines cartridges are appropriate for this machine, and they are more expensive than even Cheyenne cartridges.

By the way, it comes with a stand for the cartridges, 2 magnets (drive and standard), oil, tool kit No.90, and conversion kit No.110.

  • Hygienic safety
  • Minimal pain feelings for the clients
  • Very durable and sturdy
  • The lowest vibration of any existing machines
  • Available in different colors
  • Super lightweight
  • Disposable grips available
  • Minimal skin damage
  • Uncomfortable positioning of power connectors
  • Expensive consumables
  • Magnetic locking system takes time to get used to


This is a very technological and innovative tool. It is not in the top 3 only because of several nuances of use, which you either have to get used to or not buy it.

At the same time, a lot of people will like the Scorpion. If you like a little more needle and voltage than a usual machine, you will get a very dense coloring without unnecessary skin trauma.

Cheyenne tattoo machine pen
best short tattoo guns

When you buy this device, the first thing you notice is the box. It's about three times bigger than a normal tattoo machine box. It may seem like there's a lot more in there besides the machine, but in fact, it only comes with a few manuals, a charger, an extra battery, a wire for the power supply by Cheyenne, and an adapter if Cheyenne does not produce your power supply.

Anyway, Cheyenne's packaging is impressive: the machine is in a tube-shaped package. It looks pathos and trendy.

User experience

Let's move on to the machine body. It's quite compact and short, but it's thicker than any pen-type machine available on the market today. Is the 32-millimeter diameter pen comfortable to work with? Both yes and no. When choosing this machine, keep in mind that it will take some getting used to. Besides the thickness, it is unusually short, so the device's entire weight is in your fingers. On the one hand, that means it will help you get the needle into the skin better, but, on the other hand, it is very unusual for most tattoo artists. This machine will most likely not work for you if you have a small palm and hand; you won't be comfortable holding it.

Soft and smooth with minimal skin trauma.

The manufacturer promotes this pen as the quietest in the world. And it certainly impresses with incredibly low noise and minimal vibration during operation.

The machine operation is pretty interesting because it is made with an accelerometer. There are only one button and two LEDs on the control panel. To turn the machine on, you need to press this one button. If you want to turn it faster, you need to press the button and tilt the machine up, and if you're going to turn it slower, you need to press the button and tilt the machine down (the device comes with a detailed manual).

The tool has two modes, Steady and Responsive as its analogue. When a responsive mode is turned on, the needle slightly changes the impact energy and "softens" its stroke. Many who have used these modes with other Cheyenne devices have said that this adaptation of the machine to the skin is beneficial in tattooing precisely the right contour without unnecessary traumatization. It's so soft when shading with the Responsive mode, whereas the Steady mode has an entirely flawless bump, perfect for lines.

  • Very quiet machine
  • Really gentle on the skin (it takes some getting used to)
  • Minimal vibration
  • Cool classic design
  • Nice packaging
  • Two modes of use
  • Accelerometer control
  • Unusually thick
  • Probably not suitable for those with small palms and weak hands


The Verdict is a very modern, high-tech device that will take its place in your arsenal of tattoo equipment. This option's main features are the presence of two functional modes that allow a very precise and point-by-point approach to the tattooing of different elements, lines, or shading. For those who appreciate technology and quietness, Sol Nova will be the best choice. But be aware of its thickness.

Kwadron Equaliser Proton
cosmetic tattoo machine pen

Kwadron is a Polish manufacturer of tattoo equipment that has rapidly found its niche in the tattoo industry. A lot of tattoo artists are familiar with this company due to their power supplies. The Equaliser Proton is one of the few machines represented by Kwadron, but this does not make it worse.

Moreover, there is one indisputable advantage of this device: its price. It costs half of the other competitor machines' price, so you get good value.

User experience

The body of the Kwadron Proton is made of anodized aluminum, so it is very light. You'll notice the complete lack of vibration when you run the Equaliser Proton.

Its advanced gear system makes it a very quiet and reliable machine. The Kwadron feels very comfortable in your hand and is versatile, as it will run cartridges from all the major brands. Moreover, Kwadron is also suitable for working with permanent tattooing.

Since the Equaliser Proton has a spinning element, the machine works clearly with even the smallest details. Therefore, you can be sure that you get an even line or dot without any smudges or curvature.

This tattoo gun can even be compared to the Cheyenne in quality and painting style. For example, the Cheyenne requires either an original power supply or an adapter because it lacks an RCA connector; the Equaliser works with any power supply and has an RCA connector.

When continuing to compare this Equaliser to the Cheyenne Hawk Pen, one senses a slight difference in the cartridge fixation. The Cheyenne makes the cartridges slide in and out with no effort but still stands firm. In contrast, the Equaliser requires a little more pressure; but this does not affect the quality of the tattoo, just a slight difference in usage.

There is a 5W rotor motor inside. It works stable, but if you listen carefully, you can hear a little pop and gurgle, resulting from the inconsistency of this motor. That's why we should say that it is not the most consistent runner while you're working. You can feel like the hit is compromised a little bit. It doesn't sound right, and that's the biggest cons of this machine. So you should decide if you are ready to deal with that.

The weight balance of this machine is also not the best. The weight is slightly shifted to the top of the pen. This is one of the major advantages of this design. But, because it is quite light, probably not everyone would feel it in operation.

  • Price is really low for this quality
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Minimal noise
  • Vibration is practically nonexistent
  • Very precise hits
  • Fits any power supply
  • Little pop and gurgle sound in the motor
  • Unbalanced weight balance


To summarize, this pen tattoo gun is very similar to the Cheyenne Hawk in terms of quality, staining density, and usage experience. The Equaliser needs more volts to ink on par with the Cheyenne, but you have to consider that it costs half as much. That said, there are some comments on motor performance and weighting, but you can get used to these nuances.

Cartridge Pen Rotary Tattoo Machine

It comes in a small black box with a little Big Wasp sticker on there. Once you unpack the box, inside, you will find an extra spool, spring, and o-rings.

The finish on this machine is nice. It feels comfortable in your hand and looks quite nice, comparable to many more expensive tattoo machines.

User experience

It is suitable for you if you run at voltages not exceeding 8V; otherwise, there is a great chance of burning the motor. It is controlled (on/off) by a foot pedal.

One of the major significances of this Wasp tattoo machine is that it has a 12000 RPM motor. This means it's pushing the needle 12000 times per minute while most of the new style tattoo machines run at about 8000 repetitions per minute. On the one hand, it is supposed to be good for contouring, to create smooth and tight lines. But on the other hand, some say that it is not very suitable for lining because it can traumatize the skin a bit more than other machines in this rating. So think about your tattooing style before you buy; this might be the powerful machine you were looking for.

The needle doesn't bounce around at all, so it's a very smooth-running machine.

  • Powerful Japanese motor
  • Quiet
  • Not heavy, ergonomic, fits well in your hand
  • Cheap
  • Minimal vibration
  • Different colors
  • Not good for the outlining
  • There is a risk of excessive skin trauma
  • There is a risk of burning the motor


This is a good machine for a few tens of dollars and will be useful for some types of tattoo work, thanks to its very powerful motor. As with all pens, it is easy to set up and easy to operate, so it will be useful for beginners who are just looking to try the tattooing craft. Since the device allows you to paint over areas of your skin quickly, it can also come in handy for such purposes.

Dragonhawk Atom
best cheap pen tattoo machine

Dragonhawk Atom is powerful enough to make a solid tattoo and do what you need. For a Chinese device at a price of about 50 dollars, this device is great; you are unlikely to find anywhere else such a good Chinese tattooing machine for that kind of money.

User experience

The machine looks very good, nice, and reliable externally. There is a thinning on the grip, which makes this pen more comfortable to hold than thicker or convex grip holders. This is important, for example, for a woman's hand.

Yes, you can do a lot with China Pen. It is recommended as the first pen a new artist should use. After about six months of use, it can still work well. Over time, there is a loss of power, and occasionally there is a feeling that you can't transfer pigment to the skin, and you don't even notice if you are getting under the skin.

It's not noisy. Inside is a Japanese motor rated 8000 rpm at 8V. Although at 10.2V, the Dragonhawk runs harder than the Cheyenne, which sounds a bit quieter.

It's not noisy. Inside is a Japanese motor rated 8000 rpm at 8V. Although at 10.2V, the Dragonhawk runs harder than the Cheyenne, which sounds a bit quieter.

  • Extremely affordable
  • Not noisy, although not the quietest
  • Convenient tapered grip with ribs
  • Not heavy
  • Available in colors to choose from
  • May lose power over time
  • Not good for everyone
  • Strenuous at high voltages


Great solely as an entry-level device for its money. For that price, you can't expect more. Only if you really can't invest in a slightly more expensive piece, try the Atom.

Dragonhawk Mast
pen rotary tattoo machine

The Dragonhawk Mast pen tattoo machine is the same as the Dragonhawk Atom, but Mast is lighter and has a differently shaped body. The rest of these machines' characteristics are very similar; you just have to choose which shape of grip suits you better. The Mast has a slightly thicker grip but with smoother ribs for your fingers.

It comes in a new, improved design so this pen-style machine lies better in your hand. It is considerably light, quiet, and gives minimal vibrations when operated at high power. This tool has a stable motor and an easy adjustment of the cartridge holder.

Dragonhawk is quite reasonable for its price, so it is good for beginners, but not more. Professional tattooists need something more serious than this device.

What is in the box?
  • One custom mast pen
  • One tattoo power supply
  • 20 Wjx cartridges
  • 1-foot pedal
  • The big case it’s all packed in.
  • Quiet
  • Easy to use
  • Consistent, cyclical needle motion
  • Runs smoothly
  • Usable for line and shading
  • It causes minimal skin damage
  • Not very durable
  • The lining is more difficult
  • Full stroke needed to complete rotary motion


This product is highly recommended for all beginner tattoo artists. It is still very available for purchase as it's production has not been discontinued by Dragonhawk.

Cheyenne Hawk Sol Nova Unlimited
Best Wireless Choice

This is a relatively new version of the machine from the respected company in the tattoo world German brand Cheyenne. You have to understand that it is modified, but there is already an existing device with Sol Nova's name. But the name Unlimited was added to it, and a wireless control system with batteries was developed.

This pen is quite thick, just like its parent Sol Nova, but longer, making the weight more centered. It comes with several manuals, a battery charger, an extra battery, a Cheyenne protective case, and a zippered travel box.

User experience

Cordless tattoo machines are a recent trend. Batteries, by the way, conventional in this machine, you can buy in any store. The machine keeps the power up to the last; that is, the low charge of the device will not lose power. The minimum battery life is 5 hours.

Like the parent device, this machine has a dual-mode feature and accelerometer control.

Indication: The lower LED indicates the degree of charge; the upper LED indicates the enabled mode.

  • Two modes
  • User-friendly operation
  • Easy to use
  • Stylish design
  • Wireless
  • Well-centered weight
  • It is very quiet
  • Minimal vibration
  • Comes with a travel box for transportation
  • Above-average weight
  • Expensive
  • You need to understand and get used to the operation


If you are comfortable paying just over $1000 for this modern and technologically advanced device, then you should try this machine at least once. A very interesting experience, easy operation, and no wires are just what you need in today's tattoo world. But it's not for you if you're conservatively devoted to old-school wires and pedal operation. Everyone chooses what they're more comfortable with!

What is a tattoo pen machine?

Talking about tattoo machine pen means tattoo machines which have a thickened pen shape. Inside this device is the usual rotary motor; the driving force is first converted into a rotational and then progressive. Through the motor's work, the needle's movement takes place, which ensures their even and light impact on the skin.

The main thing that distinguishes and defines the concept of a tattoo pen machine is a convenient balanced and integral body, inside which there are a motor and other parts of the device. As a result, the weight of the pen lies evenly in the hand, so the tattoo artist feels as if he/she is painting. Many tattooists who try this pen in their work then catch themselves not wanting to go back to the old design of the weighting balance, where a grip and the machine is attached separately on top. It is very easy and comfortable to create masterpieces on the body with such a tool!

Pens have their advantages, but there are also specific nuances of use.


  • Weight balance
  • Easy and comfortable to use and adjust
  • Little or no maintenance and motor lubrication required
  • Suitable for all tattooing styles
  • Low noise and vibration level
  • Excellent maneuverability

Note that the pen can make dots and whips at low speeds, ink tightly, or contour confidently at higher speeds. These capabilities allow you to do all the work with one machine, which speeds up the work process. Plus, as mentioned, the pens work with cartridges, so changing needles won't be a hassle.

But this beautiful and convenient design at the same time creates some problems.


  1. The grip is combined with the body. Basically, it can be sterilized, but in fact, you have a single grip for all your tattooing equipment. It is not practical because tattooists usually work with several grips, then sterilize them and use them again one-by-one while working. We told you more about the hygiene rules when working with pens below
  2. Price of the cartridges
  3. Maintenance and repair require disassembly of the body, which is not always possible

Also, note that the pen is not cheap, but its price is more than compensated by the fact that it will replace several other types of machines due to its versatility. Also, the cost is fully compensated by the absolute comfort and pleasure of using it while working.

Buyers Guide

Weight. Since the tattoo pen machine's design implies the possibility of holding and tattooing with it just like with an ordinary pencil or pen, the weight of such a device should not be too heavy.

Weight balance. Balance is the most important advantage of a pen. The weight of the internal construction must be balanced along the entire length of the tattoo machine so that it pulls neither backward nor downward.

Diameter. If you have a small hand, a large diameter tool will be uncomfortable to hold in your hand; it will not fit.

Voltage. The operating voltage is a fundamentally important point because many people try to compensate for the machines' incorrect operation or design flaws simply by raising the operating voltage on their power supplies. As a result, the voltages differ from the optimum by two or more times. As a result, the machines burn out, heat up faster, stop working stably or correctly.

The grip and its replaceability. The shape and convenience of the grip, the number of them in the kit of the machine, the possibility of installing a disposable grip or another brand - all these are possibilities for individual adjustment of the machine to be more comfortable. Also, the grip by the manufacturer should be a comfortable shape on its own. For example, some people are comfortable holding a pen when it has ribs on it, others when it doesn't, and the grip's surface is smooth.

Comparability with cartridges of different brands. Some pens do not "accept" other manufacturers' cartridges, and if you are used to certain ones, you should pay attention to the right choice. You should understand that with good quality machines, it's better to use good quality cartridges with membranes. Think about it.

Bottom line

Well, now we know which pen tattoo machine is best, the list of rotary pen tattoo machines with the best reviews, and by what principles you should choose the best tattoo pens. With this review, you have a unique opportunity to know about each of the machines' experience and tests, and you can choose for yourself the tool that will allow you to create masterpiece tattoos, surprise your clients, and feel pleasure in the process of your work.

So, if you have one of these rotary pen tattoo machines and you want to share your own experience, please feel free to do so in the comments.


Whose pen tattoo machine brand is best?

The best brands and manufacturers which produce pen tattoo machines are Cheyenne, FK Irons, and Bronc.

Are Dragonhawk tattoo machines good?

There are not bad. Dragonhawk pens are among other Chinese rotary tattoo machines. So they are good enough for their price, but not the best choice if you want to invest in a really good and impressive quality tattoo pen machine.

How to clean a pen-style tattoo machine?

Hygiene and cleaning of the pen style tattoo machine are some of the weaknesses of this design. The first thing you need to know when using this type of machine is that you have to create barrier protection for your pen very carefully and attentively with films (e.g., for the clip cord). This is necessary since the pen body with the motor inside cannot be autoclaved or disinfected. Only the grip needs to be cleaned out of the entire construction. It is necessary to do it with autoclave and disinfection because it is the closest and tightest, besides needles, point of contact of the device with human skin.

How to wrap your pen-style tattoo machine?

There is no question about the protection of other types of machines for experienced tattoo artists. When pens appeared, however, many began to wonder about hygiene. So, here's what you need to do:

  1. Unscrew the grip
  2. Take the clip cord barrier film and place it over the machine body and wire.
  3. Carefully pierce a small hole in the film at the base.
  4. Place a grip on top of the film.
  5. Take food film and make several layers of barrier protection for the grip. It should adhere well to the grip surface.
  6. Insert the cartridge, thus poking a small hole in the film.
  7. You can also put Elastic Bandage on top of the grip and film to make it easier to hold.

The hygiene issue will be solved entirely by taking all these precautions and using quality cartridges with a protective membrane (no paint or other liquids seeping up through it to the machine's core structure).