The Best Tattoo Pen Machines Reviewed - For Beginners And Professionals

Written by: Pete
Updated:

Tattoo pen machines make for a more ergonomic experience for beginners and experts in tattooing. Beginner artists find them easier to clean, to practice with, and to get the right depth for their apprenticeship clients. Professional artists love the ease-of-use of these machines, and the ability to tattoo for a long period of time with little strain or discomfort.

It’s for that reason that we have gathered our favorite tattoo pen machines, and narrowed down why they are the best in the industry.

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Best Tattoo Pen Machines Reviewed

HAWINK Corn Rotary Tattoo Pen Machine - Our Pick!

HAWINK Rotary Tattoo Machine Professional Tattoo Pen RCA Connected for Tattoo Artist Corn Black EM136-1

Amazon 

With the price point, the ease-of-use, and the quality of work done with it, the HAWINK Corn rotary pen topped our list as the best of the best.

Not only is it wireless with around eight hours of continual battery usage, making a long session so much simpler for you, it can quickly be hooked up to a power supply if that’s what you prefer. Needles simply click right into this machine which means you’re not fumbling around in a panic in order to switch for your client’s design. It’s compatible with every cartridge type, as well.

It’s lightweight and stable, and it has minimal noise and next to no vibration. It’s easy to take apart and clean, and it can be pushed up to 10 volts without overheating.

Work done with the HAWINK Corn Rotary Tattoo Pen Machine. 

With exceptional value for the money and considering how well it handles numerous types of work, the HAWINK Corn has rave reviews, such as this one stating: “I love that it's wireless and the battery pack gets me about 8 hours of tattooing. However if my battery [dies] before I'm done it can easily be hooked up to my power supply and I don't have to even miss a beat. This is by far one of the best investments ever. It's super easy to use. The needles just click in so there is not 30 minutes wasted setting up your gun getting out bands and everything like the other guns. It puts out really good quality work so I'm happy with my purchase. I would definitely recommend this to anyone just starting out at tattooing.”

Pros:

  • Very inexpensive; comparable in quality to more expensive pens
  • Lightweight
  • Quiet
  • Easy to switch needles
  • Works with all needle types
  • Ergonomic style
  • Stable handling
  • Works up to 10V
  • Great for beginners and professionals
  • Battery runs for 8h - can be hooked up to a power supply afterwards

Cons:

  • Will overheat over 10V

HAWINK Red Rotary Tattoo Pen Machine

HAWINK Rotary Tattoo Machine Professional Tattoo Pen RCA Connected for Tattoo Artist Corn Black EM136-1

Amazon 

Another HAWINK made our list, and this one is the Red series. Slightly more expensive than it’s Corn alternative, this machine packs a heavy punch in a sleek and ergonomic design. The Red tattoo pen machine runs at a higher voltage, getting hot around 14V, and is super stable, much like it’s brother.

The HAWINK Red is not cordless as it works on an RCA,

 

but it does run quietly and is compatible with all cartridge needle types which just snap in for ease-of-use.

HAWINK Red Rotary Tattoo Pen Machine Tattoo

Work done with the HAWINK Red Rotary Tattoo Pen Machine. 

People are endlessly pleased with HAWINK Red, saying: “Let me start off by saying this machine is pretty awesome. It's lightweight, the build quality feels good in the hand and runs smooth. I've been tattooing with a pen-style rotary for The Last 3 Years now and I own quite a few different ones with prices ranging anywhere from $100 to $800. I can honestly say for the overall build quality and price on this machine you can't beat it. I've only run the machine for about 7 and 1/2 hours thus far on one tattoo and it performed just as good as my name brand pen machine.“

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Quiet
  • Easy to switch needles
  • Works with all needle types
  • Ergonomic style
  • Stable handling
  • Works up to 14V
  • Great for beginners and professionals

Cons:

  • More expensive than a HAWINK Corn for similar quality
  • Not wireless

HAWINK Japanese CNC Rotary Pen Tattoo Machine

HAWINK Rotary Tattoo Machine with Japanese Coreless Motor and Aircraft Aluminum Alloy Carved Short Pen Style CNC-M-Q5-1

Amazon 

This is the last HAWINK on our list, we swear, but this one was just too good to keep out of our favorites. If you’ve got a little bit more money to spend, this more expensive HAWINK Japanese CNC alternative should be considered.

It runs on a special motor that functions with a one-piece cam which means that if there is an issue, replacement and repair is simplified. Though the motor is not made in Japan (this would bring the pricing up considerably), it’s based on Japanese rotary gun models. This makes the pen machine super quiet with a very stable tattooing experience.

The gun can be brought to a 12V max before it starts to overheat, but can push any needle cartridge inserted with ease. Some people have difficulty with the shorter design, especially folks with smaller hands, but otherwise the machine runs really comfortably for long sessions. With an aluminum alloy exterior, the HAWINK Japanese CNC is easy to clean and can take a beating.

tattoo by HAWINK Japanese CNC Rotary Pen Tattoo Machine

Work done with the HAWINK Japanese CNC pen. 

Professionals love this more expensive pen in the HAWINK line, saying, “For starters, my background is [that] I've been tattooing professionally for 10 years down and I used a plethora of machines throughout the course of my career, and yes quality does matter when you're tattooing. But value matters as well, and this machine is just one of the best bang for your bucks vs quality machines out there. After using the tattoo [machine] for about two or three tattoos, I must say, initial impressions: […] the quality far exceeds the price point for this machine. [...] Using this machine has a nice throw that accepts a wide variety of cartridges [and] adjustment points are very accurate. This machine packs like no tomorrow and that's with minimal effort.”

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Quiet
  • Easy to switch needles
  • Aluminum alloy body
  • Works with all needle types
  • Japanese model motor; one piece design is easy to repair
  • Stable handling
  • Works up to 12V
  • Great for beginners and professionals

Cons:

  • More expensive than HAWINK alternatives for similar quality
  • Some people do not like the short pen design
  • Not wireless

Dragonhawk Mast Pen Rotary Tattoo Machine

Dragonhawk Tattoo Kit Mast Pen Rotary Tattoo Machine Power Supply 20Pcs Wjx Cartridges Needles Foot Pedal with Big Case 1013-10 (Machine Kit)

Amazon 

The Dragonhawk Mast pen rotary tattoo machine comes with everything you need to start tattooing with this device directly out of the box. Keep in mind that this is not a wireless machine, but it can be used with or without the foot pedal hooked to the power supply.

The Dragonhawk Mast can be used with any needle cartridges, and has a patent shell design that helps increase ink storage and absorb ink faster than other pen machines on the market. The rotary machine runs to a maximum of 9V and remains stable and quiet during long sessions.

tattoo by Dragonhawk Mast pen

Work done with the Dragonhawk Mast pen. 

Tattooists seem to be impressed with the Dragonhawk Mast, saying, “Highly satisfied with this tattoo pen. It's quiet. It's light. It takes 3 seconds to change needles. The power supply can be used with a coil machine as well. The power supply can be used with or without the foot pedal. When I opened this up I was extremely surprised at how nice the quality of everything was. I would 100% recommend this machine for anyone wanting to try a pen style tattoo machine.”

 

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Quiet
  • Easy to switch needles
  • Aluminum alloy body
  • Works with all needle types
  • Patent shell design
  • Stable handling
  • Works up to 9V

Cons:

  • Some reports of it not running after a few months of use; difficult to repair
  • Definitely a beginner’s machine
  • We recommend using alternative needles
  • Not wireless

Cheyenne Sol Nova Unlimited Wireless Machine

Cheyenne Sol Nova Unlimited Cordless Tattoo Machine — 3.5mm Black

Amazon 

Topping the charts as the most expensive machine on our list, Cheyenne is a well known brand in m

 

aking high-quality tattoo equipment and the Sol Nova tattoo pen is no different.

Majority of the weight of this pen sits at the front allowing for optimal pressure when tattooing, and less discomfort over long sessions. This also enables the artist to have greater control over the pen, overall.

The machine interior is quiet and stable, with minimal vibrations and a gentle feel on skin. The design is most “pen-like” which is a preference for artists who want a real feel. People have compared this to working with a “heavier marker.”

What reviewers love most about the machine is how easy it is to set up and start tattooing with it, saying, “This is the most amazing machine I have ever owned. My setup and breakdown times are cut down to 15minutes. Runs like a dream really gives the impression of drawing with a fat marker. Best investment I've ever made in my work. ”

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Quiet
  • Easy to switch needles
  • Works with all needle types
  • Weight shifts to the front of the machine
  • Stable handling
  • Wireless

Cons:

  • Some reports of it not running after a few months of use; difficult to repair
  • Very expensive
  • Short battery life

STIGMA Premium Wireless Tattoo Pen

STIGMA Premium Quality Rotary Tattoo Machine Pen Red with Japanese Coreless Motor Tattoo Wireless Battery Oneness Machine with 5 Free Professional Tattoo Grips EM158-2

Amazon 

Knowing that the ergonomics and comfort of a tattoo pen varies from person to person, STIGMA created this five piece set that allows you to customize the machine according to your individual comfort needs.

With an aluminum alloy exterior that’s easy to clean, a lithium battery interior that holds a significant charge, and an LED screen that clearly illuminates the voltage, the power, and the working time of your pen, you won’t be let down by this STIGMA machine. It is lightweight, no matter what grip you decide to go with, and gives a stable and vibration-free tattooing experience.

tattoo by STIGMA wireless tattoo pen

A tattoo created with the STIGMA wireless tattoo pen. 

Professionals are quite shocked by this machine, saying, “I have been tattooing professionally for 16 years now and I can say this is one powerful little zapper. So far the battery life seems sufficient and the hit is very consistent. Fantastic machine for color packing. Stroke adjustment is simple enough and works with most cartridges. Having wireless capability is beyond convenient. Not being tied to a power supply opens a new range of motion. Vibration is minimal and balance is great. I've been using Workhorse Irons coil machines for years and this may be the machine that convinces me it's time for a change. I hope this little machine lasts for years, time will tell. So far, very impressed.”

Pros:

  • Quiet
  • Lightweight
  • Multiple grip options; ergonomic
  • Easy to switch needles
  • Works with all needle types
  • Lithium battery; long battery run time
  • Works up to 13V
  • Stable handling
  • Wireless

Cons:

  • Slightly expensive
  • Some people have an issue with how flimsy the charging port feels

Ambition Ninja Wireless Tattoo Machine

Ambition Ninja Wireless Tattoo Machine Rotary Battery Cartridge Pen with 1650mAh Power Supply Japan Coreless Motor Digital LCD Display Permanent Make Up Equipment for Professionals Tattoo Artists

Amazon 

If wireless machines are more your style, you’ll want to consider the Ambition Ninja rotary pen - but keep in mind that this battery only runs for around three hours unless you buy the extra-long battery extension. That means more money out of pocket, but a better quality investment sitting on your shelf.

The Ambition Ninja has a Japanese motor that tops at 10V, and provides a precise and powerful hit, creating bold lines and old school tattoos with ease. It’s compatible with all major tattoo cartridges and tattoos quietly, with a stable hold.

tattoo by Ambition Ninja tattoo pen

A tattoo created with the Ambition Ninja tattoo pen. 

Tattooists are impressed with this pen, saying, “This is the first battery pack tattoo machine I’ve owned. Was worried while waiting to receive it but [it] turned out to be a pretty good machine so far. Compared to my Valhalla, my Xion, and Bishop it works well. I’ve only had it for a weekend and done a tiny coverup so will see how it holds up. Ordered it with a bigger battery and it does seem to last a long time and the weight isn't that bad.”

Pros:

  • Quiet
  • Easy to switch needles
  • Works with all needle types
  • Japanese motor
  • Works up to 10V
  • Stable handling
  • Quick charge time (around two hours)
  • Wireless

Cons:

  • Very short battery life, even with the extension
  • Some people have complained about the weight of this machine
  • Quite expensive

Our Pick - HAWINK Corn Rotary Tattoo Pen Machine

HAWINK is a brand we trust when it comes to making high-quality tattoo tools for absolutely every budget. We chose the HAWINK Corn pen machine as our best of the best for a few reasons.

  • The price of this machine is unbeatable, and people often compare the power and quality of the Corn pen to pen machines at a significantly higher price point.
  • Despite being an inexpensive machine, the battery on this machine runs at around eight hours before needing to be plugged in or charged.
  • The operating voltage is quite significant and allows you to get the work done; whether it’s lines, color, or shading, this machine packs a punch.
  • This machine is compatible with all cartridge needles, making this a versatile tool for every tattooing need. They snap into the pen with ease.
  • The ergonomic “corn on the cob shape” of this pen makes for a comfortable and stable grip. It’s lightweight and can be used for long sessions with minimal discomfort.
  • The motor runs well and with little vibration. It provides a powerful stroke length.
  • Beginners and professionals both sing the praises of this gun, meaning it’s a handy and affordable tool to have in your kit.

With such good value for the money and considering it’s the cheapest pen machine on our list, it makes sense to add the HAWINK Corn pen to your collection. In addition, it’s the perfect way to dip your toes into pen machines if it’s a tool you’re unfamiliar with.

What We Consider When Selecting the Best Tattoo Pen Machine

Whether it’s your first pen or you’ve worked with them before, we put careful thought and consideration into what makes our “best of” list.

Brand Reputation

We know that there are so many pen machine options out on marketplaces that it can become overwhelming to know what exactly to go for. The risk you put yourself and your clients in when browsing on your own is that you may select unreliable brands, or brands with cheap parts. We only select the brands we know and trust that have positive reputations in the tattooing industry.

Budget

We wanted something for every price range on our list. Our top pick has been compared in quality to pen machines costing hundreds more. That means that no matter where you fall in regards to budget, you’re still getting a quality pen that will get superb work done on you and your clients.

Range of Levels

Whether you need a beginner’s pen or something for a professional tattooist, we have a pen on our list that meets every level you’re at. You could start with something more budget friendly and better recommended for apprentices and move up to a more expensive machine as a personal investment, down the line.

Testimonials

Nothing speaks louder than the positive reviews of tattoo artists who have worked with these tools. While we know what we like, it’s the opinions of others in the industry that add weight to the value of our picks. We selected pen machines that received rave praises from beginners and experts in the industry.

Variety

Maybe you want to try out a wireless experience, or perhaps you’re more comfortable with something that’s corded for long sessions. No matter your need, we selected guns that met them. While wireless does allow for a new range of motion in tattooing that is unmatched, some people simply prefer the reliability of a corded design.

All the pens on our list are compatible with all major cartridges, making them easy to adapt to your favorite needle brands. In addition, we understand that the ergonomic comfort of tattoo pens varies for every person. As such, we selected pens of various size, design, and grip customization options that will help you find the most comfortable handle for your tattooing.

Easy to Clean

Sanitation and hygiene are a priority when it comes to tattooing. With easy-to-change cartridges and designs that are simple to pull apart and sanitize, we made sure all the pens on our list didn’t have any cleaning complaints.

Our Final Thoughts

Tattooing with a pen machine is a unique experience that really makes an artist feel as though they’re taking pen to paper. Finding the machine that works best for you not only depends on your budget but also requires you to try tattooing with the pen yourself. If you’re ever uncertain, it helps to do individual research and speak to professionals about their own preferences when it comes to working with tattoo pen machines. Like everything else in the industry, finding what’s best for you and your style requires practice and trial and error.

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