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 a real value for your money.

Top 9 Best Rotary Tattoo Machines – Buyer’s Guide

Editor's Choise
FK Irons Spektra Direkt2 – Best 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
Cheyenne hawk sol nova unlimited best rotary machine overall.
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
The-DragonHawk-Mast-Pen
Read our review
Our Score 9.1 Out of 10

FK Irons Spektra Direkt2
Best Rotary Machine Overall

FK Irons Spektra Direkt 2 tattoo machine is a must-have if you are looking for a dependable rotary tattoo machine. It is one of the most attractive tattoo machines available. Aside from its aesthetic appeal, this beast is pre-packed with awesome features and specifications and is an amazing device that transfers creative designs straight onto the surface of the flesh. This machine is the best on the market for lining, shading, and coloring.

Many users may wonder what voltage is suitable for this device; the Spektra Direkt 2 operates with a minimum of 4 volts. For line tattooing, the manufacturer recommends 8.5-9.5 volts. However, each tattooist may choose his preferred parameters if he feels more comfortable working at another voltage.

User experience

The Spektra Direkt 2 accepts any standard needles and cartridge grips, so there is no need to purchase specific adapters for it. This feature makes this machine unique from its counterparts.

It runs smoothly and noiselessly, even with low voltages, and is compatible with any standard needle. This machine doesn’t require any lubrication, so it is super easy to use and maintain. The Spektra Direkt 2 is reinforced with aircraft-grade aluminum and anodized for ultimate durability.

It also has three interchangeable stroke caps, so changing the stroke adjustment is very simple. The adjustable needle tensioner facilitates adjusting, so you can now use your fingers instead of rubber bands. The machine uses a hex drive motor bolt system, which is compatible with other devices. Those who prefer changing machines during the process will find this feature very useful.

What is in the box apart from the tattoo machine?
  1. The 2-stroke apps
  2. Stroke removal tool
  3. Spare screws and spiro rings
Pros
  • 3 different stroke caps
  • Air-craft grade aluminum
  • Durable
  • No lubrication is required
  • Comfortable and very easy to use
  • Classy design
  • Extremely lightwell
Cons
  • The price is above average

Conclusion

This product is highly recommended as it is especially functional. The only flaw is the absence of needles, which can be easily acquired from any tattoo shop.

Dragonfly X2 (Original) by Ink Machines
Powerful Rotary Gun

Dragonfly is a rotary-type tattoo machine series produced by the Swedish brand Ink Machines and are proving to be some of the best rotary tattoo machines in the industry.

A new modification, Dragonfly X2, has been on the market since 2015 with a new, more powerful motor and the ability to adjust the force of the return spring (stroke setting). This device is versatile, which is excellent for permanent makeup as well as tattooing. Tattoo artists refer to its shaders with the ability to reconfigure the liner. Dragonfly is ideal for creating solid shading, half-shadows, gradients, and also 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

As you may notice when handling the machine, the manufacturer has reduced its weight to 65 grams by using an aluminum body.

Its tactile feel makes it very user-friendly and comfortable to work with. The machine should last several years without failures and malfunctions.

Overall, this machine is quite soft and has a low degree of skin trauma, which ensures quicker recovery time following the procedure. The low noise, lightweight, needle bar retainer, and the ability to accept standard grips, tubes, needles, and power supplies with the RCA or clip cord are some of the features incorporated into the design without compromising the function or ergonomics. You will need to remove the spring to work with the cartridges (the manual here). Machine maintenance oil and hex wrenches included - (It needs lubrication after 40 hours of operation).

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

Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • 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.
Pros
  • 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.
Cons
  • 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 well anticipated 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

The SOL Terra always gives you a smooth and quiet experience with significantly lowered vibration.

This device is fitted with a powerful brushless DC motor that is durable, has comfortable vibration, high starting torque, a high level of reliability, and no limitation in rotor speed.

Cheyenne was the first company to implement the stroke softening system through electronic control through two operating modes: HardDrive and the new SENSIDRIVE function. Now it is possible to choose between working at a controlled or regulated speed by adjusting the motor control. Simply turning the SensiSwitch enables the speed of the machine to be adjusted, depending on the surface that you are tattooing.

More about the two operating modes:

  • HardDrive function - The machine will run at a controlled speed, with no give and a consistent hard hit. According to tattoo artists, it is comparable to the predecessor of this model of Sol Thunder tattoo machine.
  • SENSIDRIVE function - The speed of the machine will be adjusted depending on the surface that you are tattooing. This tattooing mode greatly reduces skin trauma.

Among the insignificant cons, the possibility 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. Note that not all barrier films fit the body of the motor, so it is necessary to check the grip and the tattoo machine separately.

Pros
  • No sound or vibration
  • An innovative mechanism for switching the softening stroke mode
  • The machine automatically adapts the needle strike hardness level
  • Perfectly balanced design with comfortable 33mm grips
  • Perfect for shadings and fillings
  • Powerful brushless DC motor for better ink saturation
  • Lightweight
  • Warranty
Cons
  • Difficult to disinfect due to the fixed needle bar

Cheyenne Hawk Spirit
best for shading

An unbeatable tattoo machine for both beginner and pro artists, the Cheyenne Hawk Spirit is designed for soft shading and filling. It combines the power of a durable motor with sufficient softness of stroke. The compact design allows you to work safely and more hygienically.

User Experience

It is ultra-lightweight, small in size, flexible, and a comfortable shading tattoo gun. The ergonomic design, which is very characteristic of Cheyenne tattoo machines, allows you to hold this device comfortably. 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 built-in and adjustable. It is easy to assemble the grip to the machine’s motor. The needle stroke is adjusted by turning the ratchet grip, which makes it feel even more natural. Tattooing with this machine is simpler and much easier to handle than with traditional machines and needles.

The Spirit's high quality and high-level technology enable you to express yourself more artistically than ever. 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 saturate the skin without extra trauma. The Hawk Spirit is comfortable to hold and therefore your ideas as a tattooist can be optimally transmitted every time.

Small and flexible and available in 5 different colors, the Cheyenne Hawk Spirit weighs only 3.88 ounces and implements a firm and intuitive operation you’ll love.

Pros
  • Powerful and durable motor
  • Perfect for shading and black and grey realism
  • Low-noise
  • Minimal vibration
  • Soft but powerful
  • Affordable price
Cons
  • 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 with a direct-drive design in this list and on the market today. It is an unusually designed machine that may appear heavy however, it weighs only 135-140 grams.

User Experience

The setting control system is worth special attention. The voltage can be adjusted in the range of 4.5-16.5 volts by pressing a button and tilting the machine at the same time. This is unmatched in the world of wireless tattooing.

Tattooists can also adjust the needle depth using ergonomic forward and back buttons located on the machine’s body. This means there is no need for an adjustable grip, saving you money in the long run. 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.

It features a patented digital needle depth adjustment system from 0mm to 4.5mm and an intuitive one-button operation for voltage adjustments.

There are different bars to choose the stiffness. A pre-assembled carbon rigid needle bar (black), medium, and medium / hard torsion drive bar are included.

An obvious and significant advantage of the Flite X1 is the replaceable battery system, instead of the unit system. Equipped with two non-proprietary, cost-efficient batteries, this machine operates for up to 8 hours when used with the large 18500 battery and 4 hours when used with the small 18350. The 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 as traumatic as some of its oppositions and heals in just a few days. The versatility of InkJecta’s Flite X1 wireless tattoo machine makes the art of tattooing as easy as ever.

Pros
  • Innovative
  • Single-button voltage control
  • Smooth running and easy to use
  • Custom dual nanotechnology motor allowing digital depth adjustment
  • Both wireless and battery-operated
  • Replaceable battery system
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Unusual ergonomics and design
  • High price

Verdict

The product is innovative, but with issues. This non-standard design is not as popular with some users. In addition, the motor unit is quite large (although not in weight) so, there is a feeling of imbalance. The Flite X1 deserves attention for innovative technologies introduced.

Cheyenne Sol Nova Unlimited
Best rotary tattoo pen machine

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.

Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • Little pricey

Verdict

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.

Peak Tanza with Axi Grip
budget-friendly choice

The Peak brand may not be as mass-produced as the world-famous Cheyenne or FK Irons, but that doesn't compromise its performance. Its main task is to provide equipment that will be suitable for both beginners and professional tattoo artists. In our opinion, it is more reasonably priced for its machines and grips. That's why Peak tattoo equipment becomes ideal when you are working on a lower budget, unable to buy the more expensive tattoo machines but don't want to lack in performance.

User Experience

The Tanza is made of lightweight aluminum construction and is equipped with a powerful Japanese DC motor. It operates at a working voltage of 4VDC up to 12VDC. It provides the most stable and reliable operation at peak power.

Another incredible thing about this device is that it consolidates perfectly with Peak's Axi grip. This provides even better control and stability since accuracy is the most important requirement for a tattoo artist. This set is very well balanced, has an ergonomic and comfortable external design, and has a smooth aluminum body. This kit comes with a plunger bar, drive bar nubs, rubber bands, and hex key kit; six sizes for adjustments.

Needle stroke is very conveniently adjustable from 0 mm up to 4.5 mm. You can easily adjust the needle depth with a simple turn or "click" of the grip, which has a 1" diameter. The manufacturer provides a 1-year warranty on the product.

Pros
  • Perfect balance, weight and ergonomic design
  • Stable and powerful performance
  • Reasonable price
  • 1 year manufacturer's warranty
  • Handle included
  • Suitable for beginners and professionals
Cons
  • 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.
Pros
  • 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.
Cons
  • 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.
Pros
  • 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.
Cons
  • 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.

Conclusion

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.

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