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The Best Tattoo Kits for Professional and Hobbyist Artists

by Tori Jones
Tattoo Kits

With the abundance of tattoo kits that flood the market, choosing the right one can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. I’m here, my fellow tattoo enthusiasts, to guide you through this ink-laden labyrinth. Being a tattoo artist myself, I’ve had the privilege of getting my hands on a myriad of kits, but my heart – and skin – gravitate towards the Grinder Tattoo Kit by Pirate Face Tattoo. It’s affordable and comprehensive, making it an excellent option for both budding artists and old hands.

As we dive into the nitty-gritty of the best kits out there, I’ll be sharing with you pearls of wisdom I’ve gathered over my tattoo journey, and what you should consider before committing to a kit.

Here are the standouts of the tattoo kit world that have caught my eye:

Tattoo Kits
@José Pinto Via Instagram – Love this design? Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try Tattoo Balm

here’s a table of the top 10 tattoo kits available on the market, with their advantages and disadvantages, and a rough cost estimate. Please keep in mind that these prices can vary depending on the seller and location.

Tattoo KitProsConsApproximate Cost
Pirate Face Grinder Tattoo KitComprehensive, with four coil-wrapped machines and educational resources.Might be over-equipped for beginners.$80 – $100
STIGMA Complete Tattoo Kit ProHigh-quality rotary machine, quieter operation, comes with a one-year guarantee.Higher price point.$120 – $150
ITATOO Complete Tattoo KitEasy setup, affordable and beginner-friendly.Doesn’t include ink, machine overheats easily.$40 – $60
Dragonhawk Complete Tattoo KitFeatures 4 professional tattoo machines, a power supply and a variety of tattoo needles.Inks included are not of the highest quality.$50 – $80
Solong Tattoo Complete Tattoo KitOffers 54 different ink colors and includes carrying case.Quality of machines might not be as high as others.$60 – $80
Wormhole Tattoo KitGood for beginners, comes with practice skin and tattoo design book.Inks may need replacement with higher-quality ones.$40 – $60
Rehab Ink Complete Tattoo KitIncludes detailed educational material, good for beginners.Some users have reported power supply issues.$50 – $70
Hildbrandt Advanced Tattoo KitSuitable for professionals, includes a training DVD.Higher price point, might be overwhelming for beginners.$150 – $200
Fancier S-T06 Complete Tattoo KitAffordable, includes variety of supplies.Tattoo machines are not of professional quality.$40 – $60
One Tattoo World OTW-KK02 Tattoo KitAffordable, includes a variety of supplies.Tattoo machine quality is not top-notch.$30 – $50

Winner: Considering the balance between quality and price, the Pirate Face Grinder Tattoo Kit stands out as the winner. It offers a comprehensive array of tools, including four coil-wrapped machines and useful educational resources, which makes it a solid choice for artists at various stages of their tattooing journey.

Tattoo Kits
@Julia Giacomini Via Instagram – Love this design? Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try Tattoo Balm

Breaking Each Kit Down In More Detail

Grinder Tattoo Kit

Tattoo Kits
@Tetiana Shadrina Via Instagram – Love this design? Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try Tattoo Balm

Specifications:

  • Tattoo Guns: Four 10 wrap coil tattoo machines
  • Power Supply: Included
  • Ink: 7 Radiant colors tattoo ink
  • Needles: 50 sterile needles – Liner and shaders, mixed size
  • Suitable for: Beginner, apprentice, and professional

Unboxing this kit felt like my birthday and Christmas all wrapped into one. Its versatility makes it ideal for rookies and seasoned professionals alike. It comes with four lightweight, stainless steel tattoo machines specifically designed for both lining and shading – a true godsend for any tattoo artist.

The ink, my friends, is the real showstopper. Made in the USA by Radiant colors, this pure, uncut, homogenized pigment creates stunning, vibrant, and lasting colors, irrespective of the tattoo size or style. Reminds me of the first butterfly tattoo I did, its wings radiating an unforgettable cobalt blue!

This kit is a robust trove that includes everything you need to flourish as a tattoo artist – from sterile needles to grips, disposable and stainless-steel tips, and much more. It even has its own power supply that can function on any standard voltage current. Plus, the foot pedal allows you to work seamlessly with your machine, just like playing footsie with your beloved!

You know what’s the icing on the cake? It all comes neatly packed in its own carry case, making it a perfect companion for mobile artists. And here’s a cherry on top – a 6-month warranty on the power supply and tattoo machines.

It’s a splendid kit overall, but there are a couple of hitches. Some users have reported an unreliable power supply, and the machines can be quite noisy, almost like a buzzing bee hive. It’s a small price to pay, though, for such a well-rounded kit.

Stigma Tattoo Kit

Tattoo Kits
@ALEX Trajilovic Via Instagram – Love this design? Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try Tattoo Balm

Specifications:

  • Tattoo Guns: 1 Rotary machine
  • Power Supply: Included
  • Ink: 5 Colored inks – Advised for practice only
  • Needles: 5 needles
  • Suitable for: Beginner, intermediate, and professional

Next up is the STIGMA tattoo kit. It boasts a singular rotary tattoo machine that is equally adept at line work and shading. Powered by a 10W motor, this kit’s control is phenomenal. Its value-for-money proposition is underscored by the 20 pieces neatly packed in a branded carry case.

What sets this machine apart is its construction from CNC machined aircraft aluminum, ensuring a robust, scratch-resistant frame that stays as good as new for a long time. Remember, durable tools mean sustainable art.

Its unique slider technology results in smoother needle movement compared to other guns, and its lightweight body is comfortable to grip. The needles create fine lines, full of color, and excellent shading with minimal skin damage.

This kit also comes with a year-long warranty on the rotary machine and power supply, a perk that not all kits offer. But remember, to keep this silent companion of yours healthy, it’s best to keep the machine working under 12V to protect the rotary system and motor.

Highlights

  • Tremendous value for money.
  • Includes a high-quality rotary tattoo machine suitable for both linework and shading.
  • The machine frame is crafted from durable CNC machined aircraft aluminum.
  • One year warranty on the rotary machine and power supply.

Drawbacks

  • You’ll need to find an instruction booklet to set up the machine.
  • The kit doesn’t include professional ink for actual tattooing.

Solong Tattoo Kit

Tattoo Kits
@GRAHAM MANSFIELD Via Instagram – Love this design? Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try Tattoo Balm

Specifications

  • Tattoo Guns: Four 10 wrap coil tattoo machines.
  • Power Supply: Included.
  • Ink: 54 vegan-friendly colored inks.
  • Needles: 50 sterile needles – Liner and shaders, mixed size.
  • Suitable for: Beginner, intermediate, and professional.

I have a soft spot for the Solong tattoo kit; it was my companion when I stepped into the world of vegan tattooing. It comes with four 10 wrap coil tattoo machines, perfect for linework and shading. This kit provides an impressive palette of 54 different ink shades, including one bottle of true black tattoo ink. And, of course, it all comes neatly packed in a carry case for easy transportation.

The inks are micro-dispersed for easier application and are sterilized by gamma rays for reliability. These inks are vegan-friendly, containing no animal products or harmful substances. As a result, they heal faster with less scabbing, ensuring the color stays vibrant.

Handmade from carbon steel, the tattoo machines are lightweight and color-coded, allowing for easy differentiation. The kit includes a digital power supply, foot pedal, and clips cord for a stable power supply. And if you face any hiccups while setting it up, an online guide, free tattoo teaching video, and tattoo designs are there to save the day.

Highlights

  • Vegan-friendly inks without any animal products.
  • A broad range of color options for inks.
  • Durable, handmade tattoo machines.
  • LCD power supply to monitor remaining power.

Drawbacks

  • Ink tends to dry out quickly.
  • Some users reported power supply inconsistencies.

Rehab Ink Tattoo Kit

Tattoo Kits
@GRAHAM MANSFIELD Via Instagram – Love this design? Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try Tattoo Balm

Specifications

  • Tattoo Guns: Two 10 wrap coil tattoo machines.
  • Power Supply: Included.
  • Ink: 7 MOMs Millennium tattoo inks.
  • Needles: 50 sterile needles – Liner and shaders, mixed size.
  • Suitable for: Beginner, intermediate, and professional.

The Rehab Ink tattoo kit is a joy to work with, whether you’re starting your tattoo journey or already a professional. It includes two coil tattoo machines designed for both linework and shading. With low vibration frames and brass contacts, these machines ensure a smooth performance. The digital display power supply and foot-pedal control further enhance the professional quality.

The kit includes seven bottles of half-ounce MOMs Millennium tattoo ink. It reminds me of one of my favorite pieces, a phoenix, with its vibrant, rich colors. Plus, the kit also includes a resin skull ink cap holder and 150 clear caps. Quite a complete package, I’d say!

Highlights

  • The kit is well-stocked for an aspiring tattooist.
  • Provides a smooth performance with its low vibration frame.
  • Includes a quirky resin skull ink cap holder.
  • Green soap and aftercare ointment are a thoughtful addition.

Drawbacks

  • Some users felt the power supply could have packed a little more punch.
  • A physical setup guide would have been a nice addition.

Dragonhawk Complete Tattoo Kit

Tattoo Kits
@ALEX Trajilovic Via Instagram – Love this design? Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try Tattoo Balm

Specifications

  • Tattoo Guns: Four coil tattoo machines.
  • Power Supply: Included.
  • Ink: 10 vegan-friendly colored Immortal inks.
  • Needles: 50 sterile needles – Liner and shaders, mixed size.
  • Suitable for: Beginner, intermediate, and professional.

With a name like Dragonhawk, you expect something extraordinary, and this tattoo kit doesn’t disappoint. As an artist, each tool becomes an extension of your being, and these four coil tattoo machines – each distinct in design and purpose, from the conventional liner to the color packer – can help you find your perfect fit.

The kit comes with ten bottles of American-made Immortal inks. These are not only vibrant but also resist fading, much like the dragon on my own arm that still gleams as if fresh, even years later. And with no animal products in their composition, they cater to the vegan tattooists too.

Being a trusted name in the tattoo world, Dragonhawk ensures that this kit leaves no stone unturned. All the essentials are neatly packed into a lockable travel case, ready for your next adventure.

Highlights

  • Four uniquely designed tattoo machines.
  • Each machine is meticulously checked before being sold.
  • Ten bottles of Immortal ink included, offering a colorful palette for vegans.
  • Lockable travel case for ease of transport.

Drawbacks

  • Some users reported difficulties with tightening the grips.
  • Occasional issues with the power supply were reported.

Wormhole Complete Tattoo Kit for Beginners

Tattoo Kits
@Allef Vinicius Via Instagram – Love this design? Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try Tattoo Balm

Specifications

  • Tattoo Guns: Two 8 wrap coil tattoo machines.
  • Power Supply: Included.
  • Ink: 10 colored 5ml inks.
  • Needles: 30 sterile needles – Liner and shaders, mixed size.
  • Suitable for: Beginner and intermediate.

The Wormhole tattoo kit, tailored for beginners, reminds me of the first time I etched an elegant mandala on a grapefruit. This kit features two coil tattoo machines, each with a specific role – one for linework and the other for shading. The voltage is adjustable between 5.5V-8V, giving you the right power for either the liner or shader.

While the kit does not provide any ink, it does include five sterile needles, a nylon grip, and stainless steel tips. Just as I did, you can augment it with some of your favorite hues of tattoo ink. O-rings, grommets, and rubber bands complete the package. Setting up the machine is straightforward, but for those like me who were initially all thumbs, there’s a comprehensive guide available online.

Highlights

  • Budget-friendly without compromising on quality.
  • User-friendly setup.
  • Solid performance from the tattoo machine.
  • Online guide available to assist with the setup process.

Drawbacks

  • No ink included.
  • The smaller size of the tattoo gun may lead to overheating.

he Lowdown on Choosing Your First Tattoo Kit

Entering the world of tattooing with a comprehensive kit is akin to finding a compass in an uncharted land. But, just as I did years ago, you must ensure the kit aligns with your needs and skill level. Let me share some wisdom from my journey to guide you on yours.

What’s in the Box?

Different kits cater to different skill levels, from beginners to intermediate and professional tattooists. Therefore, the contents can vary. Most beginner kits include:

  • A tattoo gun – I recommend paying heed to the gun’s quality.
  • Power supply unit, including a foot operation switch and clip cord.
  • An assortment of tattoo inks – go wild with colors!
  • Disposable tubing.
  • Sterile tattoo needles.
  • Practice “skin” – your first canvas!
  • Antiseptic wash – most of us in the industry swear by Green soap.
  • An instruction booklet.

An intermediate kit ups the game with additional quantity, stencil paper, and an aftercare kit. As for professional kits, think of them as the ultimate toolbox, packed with advanced items like an autoclave, sterilization pouches, and an ultrasonic unit to ensure maximum hygiene.

Picking the Right Tattoo Gun

In my experience, the tattoo gun is your magic wand. The primary types you will encounter include:

Coil Tattoo Gun

The coil tattoo gun, popular among both beginners and professionals, is the most common. With electromagnetic coils propelling the needle, it makes the tattooing process fluid. The best part is its adjustable speed and power. Coil guns are versatile, often used for both drawing lines and filling in the tattoo. When I started, I got a kit with two coil guns, which allowed me to designate one for line work and the other for filling – a tactic I found incredibly helpful.

Rotary Tattoo Gun

For my old school aficionados, the rotary tattoo gun is a piece of history, being the original tattoo gun. It utilizes a rotary mechanism with an electric motor that smoothly guides the needle. It may feel a little awkward for novices, making it a darling for professionals like me. One of the things I admire about the rotary gun is its whisper-like operation, a huge plus for maintaining the zen in your tattoo studio. And oh, its fluid needle movement beats the coil gun hands down, a quality I discovered during one of my early work sessions.

Pneumatic Tattoo Gun

The brainchild of Carson Hill, patented in 2000, is the pneumatic tattoo gun. It’s a remarkable piece of technology that employs compressed air to set the needle in motion. It’s delightfully lightweight, making it a godsend when you’re pulling a long day at the studio. Plus, it saves you the hassle of disassembling it for cleaning. But brace yourself – it comes with a hefty price tag. So, give it a thought before you dive in wallet-first.

Material Matters

Your tattoo kit should boast components made from robust, high-quality materials. My best pick for your tattoo gun is stainless steel or brass. They’re sturdy, enduring, and easy to sterilize, even after a marathon session of tattooing.

Comfort is key when you’re using the equipment for extended periods. Grips can be disposable or reusable, made from plastic, rubber, or metal. Bear in mind that metal grips don’t dampen the gun’s vibration as rubber grips do, and need thorough cleaning and sterilization.

Ink Intel

Ink is the lifeblood of your tattoo, and a key component of your kit. Be sure to check the ink supply before purchasing; some kits only offer a modest amount in limited colors. I recall an early career episode when I ran out of my favorite black shade midway through a session – not an experience I’d recommend.

Your tattoo gun’s ink capacity is also crucial. It should be able to hold enough ink to get through a tattoo session without frequent refills interrupting your flow.

Power Supply

Much like an artist needs inspiration, your tattoo machine needs a reliable power supply to function optimally. It’s especially vital if you’re servicing clients at their homes or if you’re embarking on a large piece of artwork.

Your power supply options span digital, analog, and wireless. Connecting your tattoo gun to a power supply ensures a steady, swift tattooing pace.

Size

The size of your kit matters if you’re a mobile artist. You wouldn’t want to lug around hefty components that may not only wear you down but also risk damage. So, if you’re visiting clients in their homes or working outside a studio, a compact, lightweight kit is your best bet.

However, if you’re a studio dweller, size isn’t a big concern, as long as you’ve got space. Just be wary of bulky machinery that might strain you further after a full day of tattooing.

Price

Tattoo kits come in all shapes, sizes, and prices, much like our tattoos themselves! It’s a spectrum ranging from a modest $50 kit to a jaw-dropping $2000 professional one. Therefore, take your time to browse and understand what’s included before buying.

Your tattoo kit is an investment, particularly if tattooing is more than just a hobby for you. Therefore, it’s crucial to pick the kit that suits you best, rather than gravitating towards the most affordable option. Trust me, an impulse buy may save you a few bucks now, but might cost you a masterpiece later.

Words of Caution

While tattoos may seem to be the ultimate personal statement of our era, it’s important to remember that tattooing is not without its potential risks. Incorrect equipment use can lead to injuries, and improper sanitary practices could pave the way for transmission of blood-borne pathogens.

Getting a tattoo isn’t merely a matter of wielding a needle; it involves learning the art, understanding hygiene, and most importantly, prioritizing health and safety, both yours and your client’s. You don’t want to leave them with an unsightly reminder on their skin that lasts a lifetime.

Conclusion

For anyone considering taking up the tattoo artist’s trade or currently honing their tattoo skills, a comprehensive tattoo kit could be just the thing you need. With a wealth of essentials to get you started, these kits are designed to grow with you, allowing you to augment them as your expertise develops.

From beginners to intermediates, apprentices to seasoned pros, there’s a tattoo kit out there for every artist at every stage of their journey. The challenge lies in selecting the one that resonates with your unique style and needs.

Reflecting on my own journey and the many tools I’ve worked with, I must tip my hat to the Grinder Tattoo Kit by Pirate Face Tattoo. This versatile kit tucks everything you need into a convenient carry case. With four coil-wrapped tattoo machines and an instructional book and DVD, it’s a supportive companion, especially for those just dipping their toes into the ink-filled waters.

For those who find solace in the soothing hum of the rotary machine, the STIGMA Complete Tattoo Kit Pro makes for an attractive option. Offering great value for money, it includes a high-quality rotary machine that runs more quietly than most, and also comes with a reassuring one-year guarantee.

I hope this guide has been helpful, illuminating the diverse world of tattoo kits. May it assist you in embarking on your unique tattooing journey, armed with a kit that’s just as distinctive as the art you create. Happy tattooing, and remember, each piece you etch is not just a mark on skin, but an enduring story told in ink.

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