The Best Rotary Tattoo Machine for 2021

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Buying Guide – 8 min read – Last updated on March 22, 2021

Every single artist is faced with one duck challenge, "Purchasing a durable tattoo machine". However, finding the best rotary tattoo machine is no simple task at all. With thousands of low quality machines storming the market daily, it is certain that even professionals would be swayed.

Generally rotary machines are usually portable, lightweight and ergonomic, however there are more features professionals must check out for, than just settling for looks. Hence the essence of this review!

This review reveals the intricate features and functionalities, far beyond the reach of first sight. It is professionally drafted with accurate details and descriptions. Further reducing wrong purchase choices and placing real value for your money.

Top 9 Best Rotary Tattoo Machines – Buyer’s Guide

Editor's Choise
Cheyenne hawk sol nova unlimited best rotary machine overall.
Read our review
Our Score 10.0 Out of 10
Best Overall
Dragonfly x2 rotary tattoo machine powerful rotary gun.
Read our review
Our Score 9.9 Out of 10
Best Value
The Hawink best pen style rotary tattoo machine.
Read our review
Our Score 9.8 Out of 10
cheyenne sol terra best for lining and coloring.
Read our review
Our Score 9.6 Out of 10
Cheyenne hawk spirit best for shading.
Read our review
Our Score 9.5 Out of 10
Inkjecta flite x1 wireless rotary machine.
Read our review
Our Score 9.4 Out of 10
Peak tanza with axi grip budget-friendly choice.
Read our review
Our Score 9.3 Out of 10
Our Score 9.2 Out of 10
Read our review
Our Score 9.1 Out of 10

Cheyenne Sol Nova Unlimited
Best Rotary Machine Overall

This is a new version of the rotary pen tattoo machine from the respected in the tattoo world German brand Cheyenne. It is modified, but an already existing device which has the name Sol Nova. But the name Unlimited was added to it and a cordless control system with batteries was developed.

This pen style tattoo rotary tattoo machine is not thick but long, making its weight well balanced. 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 trendy. Batteries, by the way, in this machine, conventional, that is, you can buy it 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.

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

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, so, if you want 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 analog. 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 very helpful in tattooing exactly the right contour, without unnecessary traumatization. It's so soft when shading with Responsive mode. Whereas Steady mode has a completely flawless hitting, so it's perfect for lines.

  • 2 different modes of operating
  • User-friendly operation
  • Easy to use
  • Stylish cool design
  • Wireless
  • Well centered weight
  • Extremely quiet
  • Minimal vibration
  • Comes with a travel box for transportation
  • Little pricey


You really should try this top rated and high quality tattoo machine at least once. A very interesting experience, easy operation, and no wires are just what you need in today's tattoo world. Everyone - professionals and beginners - will find its benefits: the first ones will appreciate the wireless system and the subtleties of the modes, the second ones - the ease of use and the speed of training with this device. Sol Nova Unlimited is also suitable for both shading and lining, making it the most versatile and best rotary tattoo machine available today and in the near future.

Dragonfly X2 (Original) by Ink Machines
Powerful Rotary Gun

Dragonfly is a rotary type tattoo machine series produced by the Swedish brand Ink Machines.

Since 2015, a new modification, Dragonfly X2, has been on the market with a new, even more powerful motor and the ability to adjust the force of the return spring (stroke setting). This device is versatile, good for permanent makeup and tattooing. Tattoo artists refer it to shaders with the ability to reconfigure the liner. That is, Dragonfly is ideal for creating solid shading, half-shadows or gradients, but can also do clear, contrasting lines.

Note that the Dragonfly original tattoo machine may be difficult to purchase due to the market saturation with fakes from Southeast Asia. Replicas or fakes are often used as a substitute for the real model. Outwardly, they are not easy to distinguish, especially for the inexperienced eye. The authenticity can be checked by weighing as the real Dragonfly (unequipped, out of the box) weighs about 65 grams, while fakes are twice as heavy.

User Experience

The aircraft's aluminum body allowed the manufacturer to reduce the weight of the device to 65 grams, which you notice right after taking the machine in your hand. Tactile feel, it is very pleasant and comfortable to work with, feels reliable, should last at least several years, without failures and breakdowns.

It is quite soft, and has a low degree of skin trauma, which ensures a quick recovery after the procedure. It's almost silent and has minimal vibration, which is great for your work. You can use both types of connections, Clipcord and RCA; and the machine is compatible with both tattoo needles and cartridges. You have to remove the spring to work with the cartridges (the manual here). It needs lubrication after 40 hours of operation. Machine maintenance oil and hex wrenches included.

Some tattoo artists note a slight shift in the center of gravity, but it is balanced by acquiring a heavier grip. It may seem too soft for some to tattoo the contour clearly, but it is definitely ideal for soft shadow tattooing, realism and micro-realism.

  • Quiet operation
  • Low vibration
  • Ergonomic design
  • Powerful high speed motor (6 W)
  • Adjustable needle stroke
  • Cartridge compatibility
  • Compatible with all 0-13 volt power supplies
  • Possible to change eccentric
  • Available in a variety of colors and configurations
  • High durability
  • Slightly off-balance
  • Too soft for the lining

CNC Hawink Q1
best cheap rotary tattoo machine

Like a magic wand, this pen does all the magic! It posses incredible features, including the advanced, German Faulhaber motor, giving tattooists all over the world a wonderful experience.

Like a magic wand, this pen does all the magic! It posses incredible features, including the advanced, German Faulhaber motor, giving tattooists all over the world a wonderful experience.

Its power cords are durable, and the power supply is consistent and could last for 12 hrs continuously.

Key Features
  • Eccentric Faubhler Motor
    The Faubhler motor is an advanced system that engineers a painless and efficient piercing, with low voltage.
  • High-Quality Power Cords and Accessories
    It comes along with top-notch cords and handles, grips. These accessories are very sturdy and durable.
  • Advanced Bearings
    It has an advanced bearing set that enables a smooth, soft piercing process.
  • Aluminum Alloy Enclosure
    This enclosure protects scratches. It also Forster a better grip reducing friction.
  • Heat and Tear Resistant
    This device can absorb heat, make it easy for users.
  • No skin Irritation and damage
    Its needle safely protracted, with moderate puncturing frequency further reducing skin damages.
  • Low Noise and Vibration
    It's German Faubhler Motor- reduces the noise and vibration of the machine.
  • Requires Maintenance
    The eccentric Faubhler Motor requires regular mechanic maintenance.

Cheyenne Sol Terra
best for lining

The Sol Terra tattoo machines were released in 2019, along with the second (paired) machine from Cheyenne, the Sol Luna. The Sol Terra is positioned as a tattoo machine for lining and coloring (at the same time, the Sol Luna is considered suitable for soft shadows and smooth gradients).

User Experience

Sol Terra has almost no sound and vibration, which is considered a property and advantage of the brushless motor with which this model of rotary tattoo machine is equipped. These rotary tattoo machines have all the advantages of a brushless motor: durability, comfortable vibration, high starting torque, high level of reliability, no limitation in rotor speed.

What's so cool and innovative about this machine? Cheyenne was the first company to implement the stroke softening system through electronic control: when switching modes, the motor begins to "understand" through the controller what force to give it. While the mechanical design of this mechanism has been used before by other manufacturers (e.g., Dragonfly), the electronic mechanism was presented to the world for the first time. In practice, the mode of operation is switched simply by turning the body in the area of the motor unit.

So, more about the 2 modes of tattooing:

  • Direct drive is a usual, tough, classic operating mode, without the softening system; according to tattoo artists' reviews, it is comparable to the predecessor of this model of Sol Thunder tattoo machine.
  • Sensitive mode. The second mode includes the softening system. Moreover, the softening is non-linear, it is progressive and depends on the tattoo artist's effort and pressure, that is, the softening itself is very variable. This tattooing mode greatly reduces skin trauma.

Among the minor cons, the impossibility of disconnecting the needle bar, although it is usually possible on other tattoo machine models, is worth noting. Because of this there are difficulties in the disinfection process. Besides, note that not all barrier films fit the motor body, so it is necessary to barrier the grip and the tattoo machine separately.

  • No sound or vibration
  • Innovative mechanism for switching the softening stroke mode
  • The machine automatically adapts the needle strike hardness level
  • Perfectly balanced design with brand-name grips
  • Easy lining on difficult areas (e.g. ribs, etc.)
  • Lightweight
  • Powerful brushless motor
  • Warranty
  • Difficult to disinfect because of the fixed needle bar

Cheyenne Hawk Spirit
best for shading

The Cheyenne Hawk Spirit is one of the best rotary tattoo machines for shadings available on the market today. It combines the power of a durable motor with sufficient softness of stroke. It is available in 5 different colors. Let's see how it works in practice.

User Experience

It is an ultra lightweight, small size, flexible and comfortable shading tattoo gun. This machine reacts well to different skin types and areas of the body. The ergonomic design, which is very characteristic of Cheyenne tattoo machines, allows you to hold this device comfortably in your hand. The HAWK Spirit's silent, precision DC motor contributes to a comfortable workflow and minimal vibration. It easily pushes modules up to 23 needles.

The needle bar is already built in so you should be very careful with it if you’re storing it without the grip. Assembling the grip and machine’s motor is pretty simple and easy. A quick cartridge change is very handy when changing the type of tattooing. The needle stroke is adjusted by turning the ratchet grip, which makes the job even easier. The stroke is 2.5 mm, unlike the Thunder, so keep in mind when buying that this is a short stroke machine.

The Spirit is a very soft tattoo machine and works slow and very soft for a rotary. Try to do soft shadings and color blending with the Spirit. It has the softest hitting out of all the most popular rotary tattoo machines. The short stroke mixed with the high gear allows you to really saturate the skin very easily without traumatizing it too much and get really smooth and soft blends out.

Thus, this machine will be your perfect choice for doing realism tattooing and black and grey pieces. Spirit is also great at doing its job on bony areas.

  • Powerful and durable motor
  • Perfect for shading and black and grey realism
  • Low-noise
  • Minimal vibration
  • Soft but powerful
  • Affordable price
  • The needle bar is already built in
  • The kit does not include a grip, it must be purchased separately

InkJecta Flite X1
wireless rotary machine

This newest rotary machine Flite X1 by InkJecta is the most technologically advanced machine today. It is the one wireless tattoo machine with direct-drive design in this top-list and on the market general. This is really an original and unusual design machine, most users say that it looks like a tank. But do not be wary of its bulky exterior, it weighs only 135-140 grams.

User Experience

The setting control system is worth special attention. The voltage is adjusted by pressing a button and tilting the machine at the same time, i.e. it is an electronic control system. The voltage can be adjusted in the range of 4.5-16.5 volts (indicated by a ring consisting of 12 small LEDs).

The unit consists of two motors, one of which moves the other and thus adjusts the needle's depth. There are two buttons "up" and "down" on the sides of the body for this purpose, by pressing the corresponding button you can increase or decrease the needle depth. This is done while the machine is on and always with the needles vertically upwards. Grips with adjustable needle depth are no longer needed but can be used if desired. All of the control buttons are conveniently located: they are easy to feel so you can adjust needle depth or volts, even with the barrier protection applied. Also, the buttons look pretty reliable.

You can adjust the needle stroke with a quick change of the eccentric. A standard 3.25 mm eccentric is included. The eccentrics are available individually in 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, and 4.0 mm sizes. We recommend the 3.5 mm eccentric as the most versatile and suitable for a variety of uses.

There are different bars to choose the stiffness with which the needle moves into the skin on the Flite X1. A pre-assembled carbon needle bar (black), medium and stiff bar are included.

An obvious and significant advantage of the Flite X1 is the replaceable battery system, instead of the unit system. That way you can always buy new batteries at any store, even if you lose them. There are two batteries included, while one is charging you can work with the other. The operating time with one battery is up to 8 hours. Battery charging time is 90 minutes.

This tattoo machine hits hard and is well suited for dense inking. At the same time, in the experience of most users, it is not traumatic, as tattoos done by Flite X1, healed in just a few days. You've got so much power going through the machine with such a small battery but the power output is so smooth.

  • Innovative
  • Absolutely perfect voltage adjustment
  • Smooth running and easy to use
  • World first dual operating motors, allowing digital depth adjustment
  • You can move freely without cords, power supply and foot pedal for hours
  • Replaceable battery system
  • Lightweight
  • Unusual ergonomics and design
  • High price


The product is innovative, but with issues. This non-standard design pleases not everyone. In addition, the motor unit is quite large in size (although not in weight). So there is a feeling of imbalance, although it is balanced with a heavier grip. The Flite X1 definitely deserves attention for innovative technologies introduced.

Peak Tanza with Axi Grip
budget-friendly choice

Peak is not as mass-produced as the world-famous Cheyenne or FK Irons. But that does not make the brand any worse. Its main task is to provide equipment that will be suitable for both beginners and professional tattoo artists. Hence, in our opinion, relatively reasonable price for machines and grips production Peak. That's why Peak tattoo equipment becomes ideal when you don't have a big budget to buy an expensive tattoo machine but don't want to buy a cheap-made device.

User Experience

This model, the Tanza, is equipped with a powerful Japanese 12V DC motor rated at 3.5 watts. It will provide the most stable and reliable operation at peak power. The power setting is adjustable from 4 to 12 V.

Another cool thing about this device is that it combines perfectly with Peak's Axi grip. This tandem provides even better control and stability, since accuracy is one of the most important qualities for a tattoo artist. This set is very well balanced in the hand, has an ergonomic and comfortable external design, has the necessary lightness and smooth aluminum body. In addition to the handle, rubber bands and drive bar nubs are included.

Needle stroke is very conveniently adjustable from 0 mm up to 4.5mm. The grip is 1 inch in diameter, and is autoclavable, so it is safe to use. The manufacturer provides a 1 year warranty on the product.

  • Perfect balance, weight and ergonomic design
  • Stable and powerful performance
  • Reasonable price
  • 1 year manufacturer's warranty
  • Handle included
  • Suitable for beginners and professionals
  • Works only with cartridge needles
  • Available in red only

Bishop MicroAngelo
best rotary tattoo machine on the market

With modern tattooing, metamorphosing into a new norm, it comes as no surprise that tattoo plating devices have upgraded from drilling coils to smart rotary machines.

One excellent product of real commercial value is the MicroAngelo Rotary Machine. Made of polished aluminium, this machine operates more like a seam reeling neat linings and stitches, Making tattooing experience more simple and more accessible.

One excellent product of real commercial value is the MicroAngelo Rotary Machine. Made of polished aluminium, this machine operates more like a seam reeling neat linings and stitches, Making tattooing experience more simple and more accessible.

Key Features
  • Quality oil filers
    It comes with a refillable ink tube. Designers now have the privilege of using multiple inks anytime.
  • Interchangeable Magnetic Cams
    It has an interchangeable Cam slot, and its rotary motor can be replaced periodically, thereby enhancing efficiency.
  • Dual Ball Bearings
    Its has an advanced, Ball Bearings with a smooth drilling set that enables tattooing easier and faster.
  • Durable Needle cartridges
    It's needle cartridges is excellently designed, smoothly styled for easy puncturing.
  • Smooth and Fast Operation
    Unlike, the coils, this machine has high efficiency, and excellent puncturing frequency, making neat linings on the body.
  • User Friendly
    It's easy to use; both experts and beginners would find this machine simple to operate.
  • Safety and User Protection
    The needles and other constitutes, of this machine, is designed with maximum safety, for the protection of users.
  • No Warranty For Users
    Unfortunately, this brand does not come with any user warranty.

The DragonHawk Mast Pen
Best rotary pen tattoo machine

Are you in scout, for a smart, portable, and ergonomic rotary tattoo machine? Then look no further. The dragonhawk rotary pen is just about the perfect brand.

Made of a solid Metallic motor set, and a durable lined cartridge, this brand is undoubtedly a piece of efficiency and maximum quality. This device comes in an aluminium frame and consists of a sound rotary gear system that enhances tattooing operations stealthy and noiselessly.

It is carefully wielded with an excellent ergonomic design, lightweight, and conveniently portable.

Key Features
  • High Power Gear system;
    This rotary, power-driven gear, enhances the efficiency and smoothness of tattooing operation.
  • Multiple needle cartridges;
    This device consists of 50pcs- Needles of different curvatures.
  • DC socket and power line;
    It is wired with an advanced DC conduit that supplies its power.
  • Advanced Grip Hold;
    Its hold is stable, with a beautiful interior design, giving artist fluidity, and convenience.
  • Lightweight and Portability
    It's cute, lightweight, portable, and easy to carry. Tattoo drawing can now be done anywhere and anytime.
  • User friendly
    Easy use! Users no longer have to struggle with the device. Its setup is simple and needs no extra logistics.
  • Safety and User Protection
    It's needle curvatures are designed with first-line safety protocols to prevent cuts and injuries.
  • Low Vibration and Noise Volume
    With this device noise, and vibration is reduced. Tattooing operation can now be done stealthily.
  • High Puncturing Frequency
    The gear rotary often increases the Puncturing Frequency of this device.

The rotary tattoo machine is about the latest tool in the tattoo industry. Smart Portable, and efficient, this machine is undoubtedly a pure gem and one to reckon with. Many buyers are lured into some low quality brands including professionals.

Today, there are hundreds of tattoo pen machines for shading, flooding the market. One startling thing about this machine is that it comes in different grades both for beginners and professionals.

Also, the prices are quite reasonable, the best professional rotary tattoo machine is quite affordable and within the budget of middle-income earners.

Generally, its features are stunning, further enhancing smoother and faster operation. Unlike coils, rotary liners and tattoo machines enable tattoo artists to perform more outstanding work, due to its excellent shaders, colour liner, ink cartridges and other accessories, all users can now enjoy a better tattooing experience.

Also, this machine comes with unique DC cords for power transmission, which in turn leads to a continuous power supply. Its benefits are staggering, numerous to mention, all users are guaranteed of one thing, - A better tattooing experience.

The Key features- What to look at for before purchase

Much more than the shape, size and ergonomic designs, there are some Key features everyone must look out for before purchasing a tattoo kit.

Professionals, beginners and general users must carefully evaluate these Features before making any purchase, in a bid to maximize value for their money.

Below are a few;

  • Make-up constituent/material

    One important thing one must look out for before purchasing a tattoo kit is the makeup constituent of the tattoo kit.

    Tattoo kits made up of copper, brass, iron and steel are very durable tending to last longer because of its durability. On the contrary tattoo machines, made of plastics, foils and other materials rarely last long.

    It is important buyers take time to evaluate before making a purchase.

  • Power supply/DC cords

    Power is an essential requirement. Different tattoo machines have a varying range of voltage. A particular tattoo set with a power range of 2V-9V cannot function above its voltage range.

    Therefore users must know the voltage supply at home or office before purchasing any tattoo kit. Also, the DC must be durable and heat Resistant.

  • Tube accessories and needles

    Needles, Cartridges, grip holder and other accessories are essential requirements of a great tattoo machine.

    When checking out for these machines, one must look out for the curvatures, size. Also, some needles and accessories are often reusable, while others are not. Users must pay attention to these details before acquisitions.

  • Portability

    Arguably portability is one important factor. Both professionals and beginners need to put this into consideration. The lighter the machine, the easier it is for users.

    A relatively heavy and bulky tattoo set may not enhance a smarter and faster operation. Hence it is necessary that we critically check out for the size and portability. To enhance a better tattooing experience.

  • Quality Tattoo Ink and Liner

    It is essential to know the quantity of ink, the machine can hold. Also, a further survey, such as where to get your inks from must be intensely considered.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

Finding a top-notch rotary tattoo machine requires a lot of scrutiny and questions. Below are a few frequently asked questions about rotary tattoo machine.

Do rotary tattoo machines hurt less?

The ultimate answer is Yes! The rotary machines come along with a protective set of needles that makes puncturing a lot easier and painless. These needles are well sterilized, further preventing skin complications.

Rotary Tattoo Machine Vs Coil, which is better?

The rotary tattoo machine is far more efficient, faster and easier to use. Unlike the coils, this pen-styled machine is excellent for shading, with a fantastic imprint. The rotary tattoo machine is far better than the coil.

What is the best tattoo machine in the market?

It depends, some tattoo machines are suitable for beginners while others are specifically for professionals. I advise you to make adequate inquiries before making any purchase.

What's the best and affordable rotary tattoo machine?

There is a lot of rotary tattoo machine, some are very expensive, while some are equally very affordable. Therefore no need to be scared, with less than $70 you can get a durable rotary tattoo machine.

How simple is it to use-rotary tattoo machine?

Though some come along with a manual and guideline, however, it is no rocket science. It is simple to operate and requires no much logistics. Its installation is less time consuming and sometimes it could be fun.


The benefits of rotary tattoo machines cannot be overemphasized. This simple machine has taken modern tattooing to another level, further enhancing stunning lines and brilliant designs.

However, the scout for the best rotary tattoo machine is no doddle but requires careful consideration and inquiries.

All beginners and Professionals must endeavour to carry out excellent research and inquiry before making any purchase. Hence the essence of this review.

It therefore vital we become mindful of this information in a bid to enhance a better tattooing experience.