Best Tattoo Pen Machines – The Ultimate Guide For 2023

by Tori Jones
Tattoo Pen Machines

Hi, this is Tori, here to share some insights on an essential tool in our industry—the tattoo pen machine. Today, we’re delving into the subject to guide beginners and remind the seasoned artists about the significance of choosing the right device.

As we all know, your tattoo machine is more than just a tool—it’s an extension of you as an artist. Its quality and compatibility with your style directly influence the work you produce. Therefore, making an informed choice is crucial to your journey as a tattoo artist.

The market is flooded with a variety of tattoo pen machines, each boasting unique features and capabilities. Innovative designs emerge regularly, further expanding the range of choices. Despite the excitement of having many options, this abundance can be a tad overwhelming, particularly for those new to the field.

This is where the tattoo pen machine shines as an attractive option. It provides the familiarity and comfort of a pen, enabling artists to transition easily into their tattooing career. In other words, it’s a fantastic starting point for those embarking on their tattooing journey.

Tattoo Pen Machines
@Allef Vinicius Via Unsplash – Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

In this blog post, we will review some of the top tattoo pen machines on the market, including:

  1. Cheyenne Sol Terra — This machine is highly rated for its unique SensiDrive technology, which offers two separate modes that allow for different working styles. In HardDrive mode, the machine powers at a consistent speed throughout the operation, offering a consistent firm hit with no give. In SensiDrive mode, the machine’s speed automatically adjusts to the resistance of the patch of skin being tattooed​1​.

In terms of more affordable tattoo pen machines, consider these options:

  1. Dragonhawk Tattoo Pen Machine — This machine is praised for its precision and continuous operation mode. It’s low in noise and weight, and the needle depth can be easily adjusted. The whole Dragonhawk pen machine kit costs around $99.99​1​.
  2. BMX Rotary Pen Tattoo Machine — This is an affordable option that comes with a power supply, 10 pieces of tattoo cartridge needles, and an effective foot pedal. It’s perfect for those starting their professional career as a tattoo artist as it allows easy handling and ensures a steady, continuous operation and precision. It’s lightweight, making it excellent for longer tattooing sessions. It’s priced around $79.99​1​.
  3. ATOMUS Tattoo Pen Machine Kit — This pen-style tattoo machine is one of the best-selling on Amazon and comes with 20 pieces of cartridge needles, a power supply, and a foot pedal. The machine can be used for regular tattooing, as well as for eyebrow tattooing or makeup tattoos. It costs around $60.99​1​.
  4. Bishop Wand Pen Machine: This machine from Bishop is known for its versatility. The Wand Pen offers three different versions, each designed for a specific application—lining, packing, and shading. It features a custom-wound motor, operates at a lower voltage without stalling, and comes with an interchangeable 3.5mm and 4.2mm cam. This is ideal for artists who prefer a more personalized setup​2​.

Tattoo Pen MachinePriceKey FeaturesProsCons
Cheyenne Sol TerraHigh-end priceSensiDrive technology, two modes for different working styles, top recommendation by professionalsHigh-caliber performance, versatilityHigher price point
Dragonhawk Tattoo Pen Machine$99.99Precision, continuous operation mode, low noise and weight, adjustable needle depthAffordability, ease of useMay lack advanced features
BMX Rotary Pen Tattoo Machine$79.99Comes with power supply, 10 tattoo cartridge needles, foot pedal, lightweightAffordability, easy handling, good for long sessionsMay lack advanced features
ATOMUS Tattoo Pen Machine Kit$60.99Comes with 20 cartridge needles, power supply, foot pedal, suitable for regular and makeup tattoosMost affordable, versatileMay lack advanced features

This table summarizes the key information for each of the four tattoo pen machines. Please let me know if you need further details on any of them.

Tattoo Pen Machines
@Collins Lesulie Via Unsplash – Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

Your Level of Expertise & Why It Matters

Tattoo Pen Machines
@Thomas Despeyroux Via Unsplash- Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

he level of expertise greatly impacts which tattoo gun (or machine) an artist should buy due to several reasons:

1. Learning Curve: Beginners and seasoned tattoo artists have different learning curves. For beginners, simpler machines that are easy to handle can be more suitable as they focus on mastering the basic skills of tattooing. More complex machines, with advanced features, might be overwhelming for a novice.

2. Versatility: More experienced tattoo artists often need more versatile machines that can handle different styles of tattooing—like lining, shading, and color packing. While a beginner might start with a basic liner, an expert artist may want a machine that can do it all.

3. Control and Precision: Advanced machines often offer more control and precision, something that a beginner might not fully utilize or appreciate due to lack of experience. Professionals can take full advantage of these features, which can lead to more detailed and intricate designs.

4. Investment: High-quality, professional tattoo machines can be quite expensive. Beginners may not want to invest heavily until they are sure they want to continue in the field. However, for professionals, this is a worthy investment, as a good machine can last for years and significantly impact the quality of their work.

5. Maintenance: More advanced machines may require more maintenance or have parts that need regular replacement. Professionals are usually more comfortable dealing with these requirements, whereas beginners might prefer a low-maintenance machine as they start out.

In essence, the choice of a tattoo machine should align with an artist’s skill level, needs, and budget. As an artist grows in their career, their tattoo machine can grow with them, advancing from simpler models to more sophisticated ones.

Material Matters

Durability and comfort are the hallmarks of a reliable tattoo pen machine. Most pen machines use metals like stainless steel, carbon steel, or aluminum for their sturdy yet lightweight properties, ensuring a steady grip for those long artful hours. As a general rule the more you spend the better the quality of the gun

Tattoo Pen Machines
@Ritesh Raj Via Unsplash – Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

The Dilemma: Wired or Wireless?

In this world of tech marvels, tattoo pen machines have also hitched a ride on the innovation express. Offering the freedom of wireless machines to the traditional wired powerhouses, there’s a pen machine for every artist’s fancy.

Recount John’s story, an artist who loves to ink in the outdoors. He swears by his wireless pen machine, claiming, “It lets me take my studio wherever I go.” However, he adds a caveat, “Ensure you have a good battery backup or a spare to avoid power pitfalls during sessions.”

Tattoo Pen Machines
@Julia Giacomini Via Unsplash – Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

On the other side of the spectrum, Mia from New York prefers the constant power supply that wired machines offer. “In the middle of an intense inking session, you don’t want to be left high and dry because your battery decided to retire,” she chuckles.

The Scale of Comfort

Crafting beautiful tattoos is a labor of love, which often translates into long hours. The key here is to find a pen machine that feels at home in your hand. A lightweight machine can save you from wrist pain or fatigue during extended sessions, ensuring both you and your client’s comfort.


Think of your machine as an investment. As you’ll be spending many hours with your trusty tattoo pen, it’s crucial to choose one built to last. Consider the material, the build quality, and the reputation of the manufacturer.

Tattoo Pen Machines
@🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič Via Unsplash- Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

Safety Measures

Being an artist is as much about creativity as it is about responsibility. The right tattoo pen machine will enable you to create stunning art while ensuring safety. It’s imperative to remember that tattooing isn’t just an art; it’s a procedure involving skin penetration. Proper training and understanding of health and safety aspects, such as blood-borne pathogens and cross-contamination, are non-negotiable.

Price Considerations

Ah, the eternal debate of cost versus quality. While it’s true that you get what you pay for, pricier doesn’t always equate to better. Reading reviews, consulting with fellow artists, and understanding your personal needs will ensure you invest wisely without breaking the bank.

Navigating the myriad options might seem like uncharted territory, but armed with the right insights, you’ll find your perfect mate in the world of tattoo pen machines. As the old saying goes, the pen is mightier than the sword, and in the tattoo world, a good pen can indeed create a masterpiece.

Tattoo Pen Machines
@José Pinto Via Unsplash – Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 


As we wrap up this discussion on the intricate dance of choosing the right tattoo pen machine, let’s not forget that the canvas for your art – the human skin – also calls for careful consideration. Remember that tattoo placement will significantly impact your clients’ comfort and the visibility of your masterpiece. Jamie, an artist from Chicago, recommends, “For first-timers, less sensitive spots like the outer forearm or thigh can be a good starting point.”

Now, let’s talk about the investment. Tattoo costs are as diverse as the art itself. Factors like the complexity of design, size, and placement significantly influence the price tag. A tiny symbol may just set one back a modest $50, while a full sleeve could cost a princely sum upwards of $500. It’s wise to be transparent about these costs with your clients, ensuring a smoother sailing.

Yet, it would be remiss not to touch upon the potential hazards. Just as a painter must be mindful of his paints’ toxicity, a tattoo artist should be aware of potential allergic reactions, infections, or even the rare risk of bloodborne diseases. Make no mistake – these risks can be mitigated with proper hygiene, sterilization, and informed client consent.

In the world of tattoo artistry, each tattoo pen machine and every piece of inked skin tells a unique story. It’s a delicate harmony of the right tools, an artist’s touch, a client’s trust, and the timeless beauty of self-expression. So as you step into your artist journey, armed with your trusty tattoo pen machine, remember – it’s not just about creating beautiful tattoos, it’s about crafting narratives that last a lifetime.

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