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What is the best tattoo power supply?

here are the reviews of TOP 7 power supplies for coil and rotary tattoo machines

The tattoo machine requires a low voltage electric current of 10-12 volts, 2.5-3 amps. The power supply converts the mains voltage of 110 V 15 Ampere for it, reducing it to the optimal operating parameters.

The parameters of the power supply affect both the long-term operation of your tattoo machine and the quality of the tattoo work. Hence the necessity to choose the really best tattoo power supply: stable, powerful, easy to operate and work with, reliable and durable. Let's find out which product is relevant to buy in 2021.

Updated June 6, 2021

Tattoo power supply reviews

Best Overall
critical cx1-g2 authentic the best tattoo power supply.
Read our review
Our Score 10.0 Out of 10
Editor's Choise
cheyenne hawk power unit 1 good tattoo power supply.
Read our review
Our Score 9.9 Out of 10
Best Value
cheyenne pu4 compact power unit the best to carry around.
Read our review
Our Score 9.8 Out of 10
bronc tpn-035 professional tattoo power supply.
Read our review
Our Score 9.7 Out of 10
Dragonhawk P077 – The Cheapest Pick.
Read our review
Our Score 9.6 Out of 10
Tekpower TP3003D-3 – for long-lasting performance.
Read our review
Our Score 9.6 Out of 10
Tattoo Power Supply-BIOMASER TP-5.
Read our review
Our Score 9.5 Out of 10

Critical CX1-G2 AUTHENTIC
the best tattoo power supply

This US-made power supply is one of the most popular and versatile devices among tattoo artists. The compact power supply is made especially for connecting tattoo equipment. Despite its small size, it is quite powerful.

It features:

  • Digital microprocessor control
  • Precise adjustment of electric voltage from 0 to 18 volts, in 0.1-volt increments
  • 6 amp overload protection
  • Short circuit protection
  • Instruction manual included
  • Standard connectors for clipboard, pedal, and power adapter

Independent settings for the two types of tattoo machines: liner and shader. It saves the settings when you turn it off. It is also possible to control the block without a pedal. The kit comes with a stand that can be screwed to the block and attached to a metal surface with three magnets; it is very handy while working.

The "up" and "down" buttons change the voltages. The "left" and "right" buttons change the machine modes: liner or shader. There is a sleep mode (including automatically after a couple of minutes) and a button to enable the pedal. It's also possible to switch the mode when you don't need to press the pedal all the time. Pressing two buttons together changes the function to "Hard Start": first the power supply starts working faster to start, then it takes its stable operation.

This is a truly versatile, most convenient, powerful, reliable, and quality tattoo power supply. It is recommended for purchase for all beginners and professionals because it fulfills the requirements of a power supply for practically any tattoo artist.

The Best Tattoo Power Supply is Critical CX-1.
Pros
  • Compact and convenient design
  • Digital display
  • It is convenient to barrier for hygienic protection
  • Made in the USA
  • Reliable and tested
  • Comfortable stand included
Cons
  • A little pricey

Cheyenne Hawk Power Unit 1
good tattoo power supply

The Cheyenne PU I / PU II digitally controlled power supply is the ideal power supply for use with Cheyenne machines. The quick and easy voltage adjustment of the unit combined with the lightweight of the unit (260 g) makes it ideal not only for working at home or in the studio but also for traveling to tattoo conventions. The most important thing about this device is its reliability and stability; with this power supply, you can be 100% sure that it will not "kill" your tattoo machine.

You can purchase various adapters to the Cheyenne power box that allow you to connect not only your Cheyenne HAWK Pen, Thunder, and Spirit, but also other tattoo machines, both rotary, and coil.

Cheyenne Power Unit I is designed to operate 1 machine. Cheyenne Hawk Power Unit 2 is designed to connect two machines and easily and quickly replace one tattoo machine with another during operation.

The main specifications and performance of these products satisfy all the basic requirements of both beginners and experienced tattoo artists:

  • Voltage: 5-12V
  • Amperage: 3A
  • Has enough power to start the engine of the machine even at minimum speed
  • Start-up chip integrated with the power supply

One of the minor disadvantages is its size, compared to competitors, this device is quite large: 110 x 165 x 55 mm.

Pros
  • The high degree of reliability and stability
  • Launches the machine even at minimum speed
  • Can be purchased for two machines
  • Lightweight
  • Digital display
Cons
  • Dimensions
  • A bit pricey

Cheyenne PU4
Compact Power Unit (The best to carry around)

This is a compact and handy power supply, which immediately differs from the previously made by the manufacturer and which we have reviewed above. This model fits in the palm of your hand.

The power supply is magnetic, you can easily attach it anywhere you want. But if your work surface is not metal, you can use the plate magnetized on the unit's back. So you can easily make a 60-degree angle stand for the unit and it's very handy!

One of the most powerful and compact tattoo power supplies is the Cheyenne PU4.

All three plugs are on one side of the case, so there is no problem with the barrier protection. But Cheyenne, as always, did not betray the tradition and made a mini-jack connector. Therefore, you will need to buy an adapter to connect the other manufacturers' machines.

There is a timer to measure working time. A start-up button is built-in. The control buttons are touch-sensitive, they respond to touch even with tight barrier protection, making it incredibly easy to work with. Customizable display (voltage in numbers or graphical) is another feature of this device.

Traveling through different conventions, you often go to different countries where the socket types may differ. So the three interchangeable adapters for different socket types are a big advantage compared to the competitors in this case. These adapters are easy to change and take up very little space to carry around.

Pros
  • The most reliable and stable
  • Adapters for various socket types included
  • Super powerful to start even very stiff membrane cartridges at low voltages
  • Customizable display type
  • Timer function
  • Very compact and handy
  • 2 pedal operation modes
Cons
  • Need to buy an adapter from jack to mini-jack
  • Price above average

BRONC TPN-035
Professional Tattoo Power Supply

Hummingbird's budget tattoo power supplies are a great alternative to American power supplies. This model is a digital power supply for tattoo machines in a stylish case. The body is made of high-quality plastic. It is controlled by buttons, which allows the use of barrier protection. It is suitable for all types of tattoo machines. It has a monochrome display. The device is not only one of the most reliable, but also one of the most advanced. It is easy to use and easy to set up. It comes with a stand.

It is lightweight and compact enough. But despite the compactness, the device can produce a stable voltage, so it can be safely used with both rotary and coil tattoo machines. The output voltage is 3 A - 18 V.

All connectors are conveniently located on one side - at the bottom, so it is very easy and does not take much time to barrier this device. There are separate modes for shaders and liners. It remembers the last settings before shutting down and also can save settings for up to 6 tattoo machines.

The running operation is possible without pressing the pedal if the operation will be continuous (trigger pedal function). In addition, there is overload and short-circuit protection. Controls are super simple.

The power supply is very ergonomic, practical, and durable in use. Despite it being a professional power supply, it comes at a fairly reasonable cost. For a good budget price, it provides excellent quality.

Pros
  • Great for a very low price
  • Powerful
  • Very simple and intuitive operation
  • Ergonomic design
  • Functional
Cons
  • No confirmed information regarding the durability
  • There is information that in some batches the polarity is mixed up (reversed)

Dragonhawk P077
The Cheapest Pick

This is a high-quality, high-tech power supply for one tattoo machine. This unit is suitable for all types of tattoo machines, both rotary, and coil. This device is radically different in its design: rugged construction, high vibration resistance, quality performance in a stylish case. The front panel has a digital display and two inputs: one for the clip cord, the other for the foot pedal.

The voltages adjustments are the same as the older models, using a rheostat. Overall, this is a very weighty device, made of aluminum, with a bright design. It is probably better suited for stationary work, as it is quite heavy for transportation. It's best for beginners, as it has no other features besides voltage adjustment. It's super affordable, which is why this power supply is on this ranking. If you need something reliable, no-frills, and affordable, this DragonHawk will probably meet your needs.

Pros
  • Very affordable price
  • Stable performance
  • Digital display
  • Durable construction
  • Striking design
Cons
  • Adjusting the voltage with a rheostat
  • Heavy
  • Without additional features

Tekpower TP3003D-3
for long-lasting performance

Although laboratory power supplies are not made specifically for connecting tattoo equipment, they can also be suitable under certain circumstances. They give stable power and work for years. It is an already proven option.

This Tekpower TP3003D-3 would also be a great option: it's inexpensive, practically forever, and can be tuned for your use. The output power of up to 30 volts is also a feature only of this power supply from this review.

The main disadvantage is its size, it is quite large. If you plan to work exclusively in the studio, but are looking for the most durable device, then this laboratory version will be very appropriate.

Pros
  • Will last forever
  • Very stable and smooth operation
  • Digital display
  • Durable design
  • One year manufacturer warranty
Cons
  • Large dimensions

BIOMASER TP-5
Best for Beginners

This is one of the inexpensive and very popular tattoo power supplies. The device has a timer, information about which is shown on the display. There are two separate modes: liner and shader. The voltage is adjustable up to 18 volts; when checking the accuracy, the error is in the acceptable range.

The housing is made of plastic. There are rubber feet on the back of the case to prevent slipping if you place the device horizontally on the table. There is also a stand included. The outer glossy panel has a display and 6 touch buttons. The touch buttons are not the most responsive to touches but are generally quite handy. There are three standard connectors on the bottom side of the case. Assembly quality is not the best, this is a Chinese-made product made of plastic, so in some places, the assembly leaves much to be desired. Nevertheless, for its price, it is pretty high-quality in appearance and an internal filling of the device.

There is a construction fault on some batches of this manufacturer: the polarity is reversed. If you are unlucky enough to buy a unit with the polarity reversed, it will wear out the motor faster. Perhaps this risk is justified only if you have a budget tattoo machine.

Pros
  • Budget option
  • Beautiful glossy front panel
  • Quality touch screen
  • Powerful and stable
  • There is a timer function
  • 12 months warranty from the manufacturer
Cons
  • There is a risk of tattoo machine motor wear and tear due to buying a device with reversed polarity
  • Build quality

Why choosing the right tattoo power supply is so important

The quality of the power supply directly affects the operation of the tattoo machine and the results of the tattoo processes. For this reason in the tattooist's arsenal must be a durable and reliable power supply. If the power supply is weak, heats up caused by loads, its voltage drops, thus the needle does not pierce the skin.

The quality of components and assembly determine the lifetime of the device. With the same stated characteristics, the best power supply brand performs smoothly for years, while some products do not withstand prolonged productive use.

Professional tattoo artists buy quality equipment. Good equipment along with professionalism provides the tattooist with reputation, clientele, price level, and, in the end, income level.

Types of tattoo power supplies

  • Induction or pulse
  • Transformer, analog, or rotary

The pulse power supplies are more compact, have higher efficiency, and are more durable because they can better tolerate frequent transitions between operating and non-operating states.

How to choose a power supply

A tattoo artist looking for the best tattoo power supply follows these guidelines:

  • Voltage. Depending on the tattoo machine, the power supply provides a maximum current of 12-14 V to 18-20 V. Standard adjustments are made in 3-volt increments. Some devices are adjustable to an accuracy of 1 V.
  • Amperage. It depends on the power of the machine. The average value is 2,5-3 A. Can be higher, but not less.
  • Input voltage. It must comply with the American standard of 100-127 V. Power supplies for European networks are designed for 220-240 V.
  • Protection against voltage surges, overheating.
  • Outputs for two machines.

Advanced functionality is a great bonus to the device’s quality. For example, there are products with a display that reflects the operating voltage and with non-volatile memory that stores the settings. Other useful features include compactness, magnetic attachment to the desktop, 3 or more outputs, and a pleasant design.

To get more information and to better navigate the products, check out our review of today's best tattoo machines.

FAQ

How does the tattoo power supply work?

The power supply for the tattoo machine changes the characteristics of electric current from the 110 V mains, transforms high-frequency electric impulses to the required level, rectifies and filters the output voltage of 12 V.

How important is the power supply for tattooing?

The stable voltage of the converted current ensures smooth and uninterrupted operation of the tattoo machine. When it fluctuates, the speed of the machine decreases and the quality of the work deteriorates. Voltage instability affects the quality of the lines, the density of the shading and coloring, how fast the tattoo artist works, and the result can be gaps and jagged lines on the tattoo design.

Can I use any power source for my tattoo machine?

Beginners who have just begun to learn the art of tattooing practice on low-power devices, for which the current strength of 1.5-2.0 A is enough. This is not enough to run a professional machine with this type of power unit. It should be powered through a 3A device. So when choosing a kit of tattooing equipment, pay attention to the compatibility of the power supply and the tattoo machine.

What settings for tattoo power supply?

Voltage
The power supply settings depend on several many factors, including the kind of tattooing and the power of the machine. For instance, more volts are needed for lining, while shading can be done on fewer volts. The settings of each pair - tattoo machine and power supply - are individual, and it is necessary to find out the optimum settings in practice. Check with the manufacturer of the equipment to guide you ahead of time.
Output amps
The optimal working setting is 2.5-3A.

Conclusions

A quality, reliable, properly adjusted power supply is as important to the tattooist as having a professional tattoo machine. Rumor has it that soon it will be possible to apply a tattoo remotely using a robotic arm. One session was held when a tattooist worked with a model of the hand while the robot repeated his movements virtually without delay. The accuracy of the work turned out to be high. Some lines came out uneven, but this could have been due to the client's movement.

It is impossible to completely replace a tattooist with a robot soon. Only a human can determine the properties of the skin, stretch it, adjust the depth of the inking so that no scars are left. Hardly, tattoo artists who make quality their main priority will carry out such tattoo sessions.