Best Coil Tattoo Machines: Reviews and Buying Guide 2023
Choosing the right tattoo machine can be challenging since these hand-held devices come in different types and sizes.
They also have specific purposes.
For this reason, make sure that you pick the right one to do the job.
The magnetic coil type comes with an armature bar in which the movement is controlled by alternating electric current.
The current passes through the coils and eventually creates a hammer-like motion.
The force is what moves the needle up and down, creating space for the ink to penetrate through and get trapped in the skin.
And then, there is also the rotary motor type, which utilizes electrical current to create a similar motion.
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Best Coil Tattoo Machines
1. Dragonhawk Compass Coil Tattoo Machines (Shader and Liner)
There’s no doubt that this package is one of the best coil tattoo machines ever created.
Not only do they have a reasonable price, but they also do a great job at creating magnificent tattoos.
The package includes two machines, one for lining and one for shading. Both professional and novice tattoo artists can use this kit.
The liner has eight wrap coils, and the shader has ten.
They have robust designs with a professional look.
In addition, the performance is excellent, with a high level of stability and reliability.
2. Redscorpion Cast Iron Liner Coil Tattoo Machines Tattoo Gun 8 Wrap Coil for Tattoo Supplies
This device is made of cast iron, pretty typical for coil tattoo machines these days. Well, one doesn’t have to look fancy to be a workhorse and this product proves that.
Thanks to the black material, it looks solid and provides a strong grip.
In terms of functionality, the magnetic and electrical conductivity works great.
If you want to make smooth lines, this will help a lot.
Apart from high accuracy, this product also offers stable working speed, not to mention that it can run for hours without any sign of overheat.
Another benefit it has to offer is lightweight.
Heavier machines do look more solid, but if you need one to work with for longer, then a lighter one like the scorpion liner is the better option.
3. York Coil Tattoo Machine
For those wanting a tattoo machine with a straightforward design, this is the way to go.
Given the price point, this product is quite a stunner as it offers more than a high quality frame.
While the steel design doesn’t look anything special, it still has a beautiful appearance.
The best thing about this machine is it comes with adjustable voltage, which really helps for lining and shading.
It’s possible to do both jobs with a single device, but it would require additional setting changes.
This is why some artists prefer to work with two guns because each one could be adjusted to certain settings, so there is no need to change them regularly.
This saves them time and hassle.
As for weight which has become a deal breaker for some, you shouldn’t worry because the York Coil tattoo machine is surprisingly lightweight.
Besides, it doesn’t vibrate much, which prevents early hand fatigue.
4. 1TattooWorld Handmade Cast Iron Tattoo Machine Liner Shader Gun, OTW-M701
In terms of design, this tattoo machine easily stands out. Just look at that meticulous design!
Besides a high quality frame, it also boasts stable strong rear magnetic and working speed.
As with other top-of-the-line tattoo guns, this doesn’t get hot easily even if it’s used for long periods of time.
Meanwhile, the smooth vibration allows you to create fine lines without a problem.
Basically, the 1tattooworld is everything you’d expect from a premium tattoo machine.
5. Anself Pro Tattoo Machine Gun Shader Liner 10 Wrap Coils
The device brings a lot of bang for the buck, the reason being – it doubles as a shader and a liner.
Many products can do just one despite carrying heftier price tags.
The handheld-device is constructed using low-carbon steel material.
It looks pretty modern style-wise, has a working voltage of 4-12v.
In the meantime, the size of the spring kind of puts it in the shader category.
Surprisingly, it’s still useful as a liner.
It can be tricky to pick a machine that can do both, but since it’s low priced, we think it’s a good bargain.
6. 1TattooWorld New Cast 10 Laps Coils Tattoo Machine Liner Shader Tattoo Gun, OTW-M703
This is another offering from One Tattoo World.
Low-carbon steel is used for the frame’s construction, and it has a lovely decorative look..
In contrast to its sibling, this one has a brownish tint to it.
As for functionality, this machine can shade and line at the same time.
The armature bar is made of high-end iron for maximum magnetic conductivity.
As for the coils, they’re based on copper and comprised of 10 wrap coils.
You can find more about the listing by visiting the provided Amazon link.
7. Thomas Coil Tattoo Machines Tattoo Gun Brass Frame Handmade Pack of 2 (Liner&Shader)
This tattoo machine has a brass frame. It can deliver smooth lines, which are important for a multi-purpose device.
The liner consists of 8 wrap coils, slightly below the shader that has 10.
Choosing a hybrid machine isn’t an easy thing to do.
We’re under the impression that specific machines do their job better, but it’s not always the case.
Some products can shade just as good as they do lining.
This particular machine may fit the criteria since the spring is highly flexible so it doesn’t break easily.
Other components that make up the unit also deliver awesome strength and robustness, including the armature bar and contact screw that’s made of copper.
Picking the perfect coil tattoo machine
weight should be one of the primary considerations knowing that a tattoo machine can be very heavy and put a lot of strain on your hands.
Using one will make you fatigue quickly especially if you’re new to this practice.
Some products are heavier than others.
For this reason, take time to compare different products before making a purchase.
2. Noise level
Are you familiar with the buzzing noise coming out of most tattoo shops?
That’s the kind of sound that the average coil tattoo machine generates.
Well, it’s not necessarily bad because the loud noise also acts as an ambient sound to mask background noise.
This helps the artist keep his focus while doing his job.
Read the description and see just in case a product offers a lower noise level.
3. Shader or liner
Please get to know the difference between a shader and a liner since they are totally different.
A liner works faster, but it doesn’t penetrate the skin as deep as a shader does.
It makes sense because a liner serves to create outlines. Meanwhile, a shader is specifically designed for coloring.
One of its main characteristics is longer armature.
It also goes deeper into the skin than the liner type.
Even the best coil tattoo machines can only line or shade.
They can’t do both all at once.
Thankfully, some products are sold as 2-piece sets, meaning that you can get both types in one package.
Buying a set also allows you to save more because they’re typically cheaper.
If you want to become a professional tattoo artist, it’s mandatory to have both units considering they serve different functions.
The rotary type has an edge in versatility as that they can do both.
All in all, coil and rotary machines are great in their own way.
You should get one that suits your needs and interest.
a. Do tattoo artists still use coil machines?
Sure, they’re in stark contrast with rotary machines in noise level, operation, hand feel, and many other aspects.
Let’s say both of these machines have interesting things to offer, so it’s difficult to see how one would totally dominate the other when it comes to popularity.
They cater to different types of users.
b. What is the best tattoo machine on the market?
To dub, one as the best would be quite a challenge since there are many reputable brands in the market, and each has a lineup of outstanding products.
Cheyenne is one of those big names in the industry. It has some incredible products, such as Sol Nova and Hawk Pen.
And if you’re familiar with FK Irons, you can try the FK Irons Exo. Others worth considering are Stigma Spear and Sunskin Stilo.
c. What tattoo guns do professionals use?
Professionals use all kinds of machines.
What matters to them isn’t just the recognition of a brand but how convenient their experience with a particular machine is.
However, more popular brands and items are more likely to find their way to artists’ workstations simply because more people are acknowledged and endorsed.
d. What angle do you tattoo at?
Experts often suggest running the gun at a 45 to 60-degree angle.
Still, it also largely depends on the needle grouping and tattoo technique performed.
The range just mentioned is ideal for smaller groupings. Larger groupings can also be driven at any angle within this range.
As for coloring, it may need a steeper angle, somewhere between 75 to 90 degrees.
The difference would be apparent when you try to feather out pigment.
e. Is The Dragonhawk coil tattoo machine good?
Yes, coil machines released by the brand are of good quality, as evidenced by the positive feedback left by customers.
However, the most important thing in operating a coil machine is knowing how to tune it properly.
Otherwise, it won’t give desirable results.
Don’t quickly judge the machine for the poor outcome as it’s probably not the root of the problem.
Tuning mistakes could be the culprit, and it just takes some adjustment to fix it.
f. What is the most common professional coil tattoo machine?
Dragonhawk comes to mind instantly because it’s the perfect middle ground between quality and affordability.
The brand has some exciting offerings for budget-conscious buyers.
FK Irons is another brand you can put your trust in for great tattoo guns.
It’s held in high esteem by tattooists, thank to their superb quality.
You can count on a coil machine by FK Irons to do all kinds of tattoo work because it delivers accurate performance and high precision.
g. Do coil tattoo machines hurt more?
Coil machines are punchier than rotary ones, and thus, the needle will be more felt by clients as it’s puncturing their skin.
However, the discomfort doesn’t necessarily lead to more pain.
Other factors, such as pain tolerance and the number of nerve endings in the tattooed area, are at play.
It also doesn’t help that coil machines are very noisy, which only exacerbates pain perception.
Wrap Up: Best Tattoo Machines
Read the specs of a machine before buying it.
Remember that every machine has unique specs that directly affect its performance.
For example, some best coil tattoo machines have more magnet wire wraps.
They can be seen through the height of the coils.
Shorter coils can hit faster due to having higher resistance.
However, they also don’t tap the skin hard like those with taller coils.
When a machine has tall coils, the strong current makes it bounce with extra power.
Another determining factor is the number of layers.
Despite the height, coils with more layers tap more forcefully.
Design is another thing you might look for in a tattoo gun. It’s a matter of taste, though, so you’d need to see each product more closely.
Tattoo guns are made of a broad range of materials. While they’re all metals, each one possesses distinct characteristics.
Additionally, you might need to learn about setup, tuning, and maintenance.
Some say that rotary machines are easier to operate compared to the coil type.
Well, you can only tell after having a hands-on experience with all of them.
If you find a coil tattoo machine fairly difficult to use, switching to the rotary style is a good idea.
But at the end of the day, having the knowledge to use different machines is still important especially when you want to be a professional tattoo artist.