The beginnings of tattooing reach far back. Even before the invention of the tattoo machine, ink was tapped into
the skin with the help of a needle or a tattoo comb. This method was, for sure, much more painful and time-
consuming than today's method of working with a tattoo machine. Without any doubt, there are enormous
differences between hand-poked tattoos and machine-made tattoos. The category of electric tattoo machines also
distinguishes between two types. On one hand there are the rotary machines and on the other hand there are the
What are the differences between a rotary and a coil machine?
One major difference is that a rotary tattoo machine uses a rotating motor to drive the needle, whereas a coil
machine is usually driven by two electromagnetic coils. When using the rotary machine, the motor sets a built-in
lifting disc into a circular motion, which is connected to a lifting rod or a tattoo needle. This causes the needle bar
and the tattoo needle to move up and down. By comparison, in a coil machine, an overhead hammer attached to a
frame holding a steel spring is pulled downward by magnetic force. Once the hammer has been pulled down far
enough, the electromagnetic circuit of the coils is disconnected, thus causing the steel spring to pull the hammer
back up. Afterwards, the circuit is closed once again in order the cycle can start all over again. The tattoo needle is
attached to the hammer which moves up and down very quickly. So the tattoo needle also moves fast due to the
What are the advantages and disadvantages of each type of tattoo machine?
Let's talk about the positive and negative features of the two types of machines. In advance, it has to be mentioned
that some of the disadvantages can be advantages for one or another. Like many things in life, this is purely a
matter of taste and you should have used both types of machines once to be able to decide whether you prefer
one or the other. However, in order to give you a brief overview of the main features of the coil and rotary
machines, we present you a list of the following advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps, this will help you to
decide which machine to choose.
Advantages of coil machines:
+ Coil tattoo machines are relatively cheap.
+ Force of needle movement and stroke can be set.
+ Coil machines are flexible in use.
+ Exhibit the typical "sound" of a tattoo machine.
Disadvantages of coil machines:
- Coil machines are relatively noisy.
- The machines vibrate quite strongly.
- They have a high weight.
- They have many wear parts.
Advantages of Rotary machines:
+ They work in a quiet way and with low vibrations.
+ Rotary machines are flexible in use.
+ There are hardly any wear parts within these machines.
+ They are easy to operate.
+ They usually have a low weight.
Disadvantages of rotary machines:
- They are significantly more expensive than coil machines.
- They do not have the typical tattoo sound.
- The stroke and the needle force movement can usually not be set.
- Defective parts such as the motor are difficult to replace.
As you can see, both types of tattoo machines have the right to exist. While some tattoo artists do not want to
work without the buzz of their tattoo machine, some other tattoo artists take advantage of the light weight of a
machine. Both machines are ideal for tattooing and you cannot say that one is better than the other.
Did we manage to help you a little with your decision?