Tattoo machine knowledge

Rotary VS Coil Tattoo Machine-Which Is The Best One For You

Coil Tattoo Machine

Known by many tattoo artists is that tattoo machines are divided into coil tattoo machines and rotary tattoo machines. But a topic that plagues beginners and professionals is which machine is the best one for me. Before we can discover this answer, we first need to understand the difference between the two machines.

Rotary VS Coil tattoo machines -the difference

The difference between the two types of machines can be distinguished in the following ways

How it works

The coil machine relies on an electromagnetic current that drives the armature bar. The needle works by releasing and retracting back and forth with the flow of current. The internal working process of the rotary machine is much gentler, with a small motor that moves the needle up and down. Compared to the two, the coil machine has more impact.


The coil machine structure has two coils and iron bars inside, so its weight is a little heavier than the rotary machine. Tattoo artists working with coil machines require considerable effort, which can lead to hand fatigue or even hand cramps if they need to create larger tattoos, as well as for tattoo artists who have to tattoo all day. In contrast, rotary tattoo machines are lighter in weight and are better suited for working long hours or creating larger tattoos even this their fingers do not get fatigued either


When you hear a humming sound in the tattoo store, you can tell that the current tattoo artist is using a coil machine, which makes a lot of noise when working. This is very unfriendly to first-time customers because the noise can make them feel nervous and shake their bodies, which can affect the tattoo design. In contrast, the rotary tattoo machine noise is very small, the reduction of noise also can reduce the discomfort of customers.


Coil machines are divided into lining coil machines and shading coil machines, so two coil machines are needed when completing a tattoo. However, tattoo artists can be used for shading and lining with one rotary tattoo machine and you just need to pick the appropriate needle. Also, experienced tattoo artists are not limited by the machine and can use either machine to create more versatility.


Coil machines require more precise adjustments than rotary machines to achieve the perfect design. So experienced tattoo artists are recommended to operate the coil tattoo machine. But the rotary machine is easy to start operating, even if the tattoo beginner can also be very easy to operate.


Having a handy machine for the tattoo artist is very important, so the maintenance of the machine is very necessary. In this respect, the coil machine is superior to the rotary machine. The coil machine is easy to disassemble and clean, while the rotary machine in terms of maintenance requires more skills, regular lubrication also is needed for the best use.

Pros and cons

It is difficult to fully state the advantages and disadvantages of coil machines and rotary machines because the same feature is an advantage for some people and a disadvantage for others. We can try to give some characteristics that most people can agree on to illustrate their advantages and disadvantages.

Rotary machines pros

  • Simple structure, easy to get started and master
  • Easy to clean and wrap
  • For some rotary machines, which can fit all styles of tattoos with one rotary tattoo machine
  • Cleaner and more hygienic with cartridges

Rotary machines cons

  • Costs more, not friendly to beginners with a small budget
  • With the closed machine body, once the machine fails, it is difficult for individuals to diagnose and repair it. Generally, most professional brands will provide a 1-2 year warranty.

Coil machines pros

  • Low price, there are many high quality and inexpensive machines. Check here.
  • Retains the most traditional sound of tattoos

Coil machines cons

  • Coil machines are expensive to maintain, they need regular adjustments and spring replacements
  • Noise, most people still don’t like the humming sound
  • the supporting tools such as cartridge needle and grip are more often matched to rotary machines rather than coil machines


From the above, you could understand the fundamental difference between the coil machine and rotary tattoo machine, each has its own advantages and disadvantages. So the specific choice of which machine can be completely based on their own preferences. Before making a decision, do some research and try both types. Then, you could find the best one for you.

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