Inside: Tattoo Coil Machine.

Never had a tattoo before? If you want one, you may get an artist who uses a tattoo coil machine to create their designs. While these are a bit outdated, some artists still use them to create complex designs.

How a Tattoo Coil Machine Works

A coil machine is designed to use a current that passes between two coils to move a bar and needle. This force pushes the needle into the skin, breaking the circuit which allows the needle to pull back. The machine works by repeating this process as many times as it takes for the artist to create a design.

Tattoo Coil Machine Definition

The machine is quite powerful, so they are usually used for large groups of needles, i.e., if the artist has to cover a large area. It is often used for shading purposes. A tattoo coil machine also creates details and lining, but these require a steady hand. So make sure you choose a highly experienced tattooist. They have steadier hands than artists who have been in the business for just a few years.

These machines can pack quite a punch and give the best results in the hands of a tattooist who understands ink and its impact on skin intimately. The apparatus is also quite heavy and has to be turned frequently, so the artist should have the sufficient upper body strength to ensure a good job. Any errors can lead to severe injuries. So if a tattoo artist uses a coil machine, they should have the skills and strength to match.

Coil Machines vs. Rotary Machines

You may have seen two types of tattoo machines in a studio or tattoo parlor. Besides a coil machine, some tattoo artists use a rotary machine to ink their clients. If you are confused as to what type you should get, these differences can help you make an informed decision:

The Noise

The sound most people associate with a tattoo studio is a persistent buzzing drone. If you hear that in a parlor, the artist is using a coil machine. The noise comes from the belly of the equipment. While the noise fades into the background for tattooists, it can be nerve-wracking for their clients, especially new ones who are already nervous.

The relentless buzzing sounds like a dentist’s drill, which can be pretty intimidating. A responsible tattooist will focus on ensuring their clients feel comfortable throughout the process by talking them through it first.

A rotary machine is much quieter, so it offers a calmer experience. If you are nervous about getting your first tattoo, it would be better if you chose an artist who is proficient in this machine.

Best Tattoo Coil Machines

1. Dragonhawk 2pcs Brass 

2. Redscorpion Cast Iron Liner 

3. Dragonhawk Craft Hand Made Liner

4. Deuce Liner 

5. Rick Saverias Premium Shader 

Best Tattoo Coil Machines


The power working behind a tattoo machine affects its handling. Tattoo coil machines aren’t as user-friendly as rotary ones. To understand why that is, we need to do a deep dive into the mechanics.

A coil machine pushes ink underneath the skin when the armature bar touches the coils, thereby breaking the electromagnetic field, which re-establishes itself when the bar moves back. This constant disconnection and connection may make the machine work, but it also makes it shake and vibrate. A single slip can result in a ruined design and scarring.

A rotary machine is much smoother in comparison as the electric motor keeps the needle stable as it moves. It is also lighter than tattoo coil machines, thus giving the tattooist freedom to be as creative as they want and tackle long sittings without cramping up. The result is beautiful and intricate tattoos that you can show off with pride.

Great Tattoo Ideas for First-Timers

Psyched to get your first tattoo? Here are some great ideas you can consider:

Zodiac tattoos

Whether you believe in the power of star signs or not, a tattoo of your zodiac sign is personal. You can get these almost anywhere on your body. Just check out these designs and see for yourself.

Stick figure tattoos

A stick figure tattoo is as simple as it gets, but the right design can make an impact. These are great to get with friends and other loved ones you want to strengthen your bond with. Here are some fantastic ideas you can try.

If your preferred tattooist uses a tattoo coil machine, check out their portfolio and client reviews before committing. A botched tattoo can cause painful memories that can put you off for years, which will be a shame.

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