Inside: Tattoo pen definition & types.

If you have never had a tattoo before, you have a choice – you can either choose an artist who uses a tattoo pen for their creations or one who uses a machine or a tattoo gun. Contrary to popular belief, they are not the same. They cannot be used interchangeably since both offer different results and experiences.

Let’s do a deep dive into both so you can make an informed decision.

Tattoo Pen Definition

What is a Tattoo Gun?

A tattoo gun has needles that deposit ink underneath the first layer of your skin. Like a sewing machine (with ink instead of thread), the pen pushes those needles in and out of your skin to create a design.

The coil turns with each stroke to ensure the needle penetrates the skin in quick succession. With this, the tattoo machine or gun can make the needle move between 50 and 3000 times in a minute as per the complexity of the design.

The tattooist manipulates the gun to get desired results. For instance, they can speed up the rate at which the machine moves the needles by pressing down. They can also switch between needles and angles at which they enter the skin to create different effects. Depending on their strategy, experienced tattooists can produce intricate designs and shading.

A tattoo gun can take years to master. It is the main reason apprentices are handed one as soon as they start their apprenticeship. Many use it to practice on synthetic skin before they are allowed to work on clients.

Top Benefits

  • Provides different results and finishes as per the needles used, resulting in different styles.
  • Personalized machines that allow custom work and also some experimentation,
  • Choose from three tattoo guns – rotary, coil, or automatic.

Types of Tattoos You Can Get From a Tattoo Gun

Pizza tattoos – Get the perfect slice of your favorite pizza and toppings from a tattoo gun that can perfectly punch in those details. Here are some great options.

Champagne tattoos – Celebrate your 18th birthday, graduation, or your love for a glass of bubbly with a champagne tattoo. Here are some ideas you can try.

Best Tattoo Pens For Everyone


What is a Tattoo Pen?

Compared to tattoo guns that use motor-powered needles to create intricate designs, tattoo pends use needles equipped with a range of cartridges. The pens allow artists more control over the tattooing process and remain more stable than a buzzing tattoo gun. This results in cleaner and sharper lines compared to those made from tattoo guns.

The main difference between the two is the noise. Tattoo pens are almost entirely silent compared to buzzing tattoo guns. It’s why most anxious and nervous first-timers choose tattooists who use pens. That’s understandable if you consider that a tattoo gun sounds like a dentist’s drill. Having that sound right near your ear as you get a face tattoo can scare anyone.

For most professional tattoo artists, the pen is mightier than the gun. The former can do everything the latter can, but better and silently. But some still prefer tattoo guns since they are more challenging and can get tattoos done faster than pens.

Top Benefits

  • Super silent operation eases anxiety and stress whether you have had tattoos before or not.
  • Less painful than tattoo guns which use several needles at a time to punch color into the skin.
  • Easy to work with since they are lightweight. The pain is negligible even if you have to sit for hours for a large tattoo.
  • Needles are easy to adjust and replace.

Best Tattoo Pens

1.  Hawk Pen

2. FK Irons Spektra XION Tattoo Pen

3. Kwadron Equaliser Proton MX Tattoo Pen

4. Bishop Packer Wand – Tattoo Pens

Types of Tattoos You Can Get From a Tattoo Pen

Grandchildren tattoos – Who says you are too old to get a tattoo? Show the world you adore your grandkids with these precious grandchildren tattoos.

Snail tattoos – If you are a slow and steady person who savors each moment as it comes, these dreamy snail tattoos pay homage to you.

Whether you go for a tattooist who uses a machine or a tattoo pen, make sure you do your research beforehand. Not every artist with a pen is as skilled as they think they are. Check out their portfolios and also customer testimonials. Both will tell you whether the artist is someone you can trust or not.

For more information on this intricate body art, examples, aftercare tips, and more, check out our other articles. Visit your first tattoo parlor or studio well-informed and stress-free.

Do you want to learn more about tattoos?

Here are a few more tattoo terms you might like.