Essential Tattoo Equipment Guide: Know It All
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Tattoo Machines
  2. Tattoo Needles
  3. Tattoo Inks
  4. Power Supply and Foot Pedal
  5. Tattoo Grips and Tubes
  6. Stencil Products
  7. Tattoo Aftercare Products
  8. Disinfectants and Cleaning Products
  9. Tattoo Furniture
  10. Why Quality Matters

Stepping into the world of tattooing is like stepping into a treasure trove of artistic expression. But it's not all about creativity and talent — having the right tools is just as important. That's where this tattoo equipment guide comes in, offering you a handy roadmap to navigate your way through the wide variety of tools and supplies you'll need. So, let's dive in and explore everything you need to know about essential tattoo equipment.

Tattoo Machines

The heart of any tattoo setup, and probably the most recognizable piece of tattoo equipment, is the tattoo machine. If you've watched a tattoo artist at work, you've most likely witnessed the magic of a tattoo machine in action. But let's break it down a bit further:

Coil Tattoo Machines: Arguably the most common type, coil tattoo machines use an electromagnetic circuit to move the needle. They're known for their precision and are great for shading and lining work.

Rotary Tattoo Machines: These machines use a small electric motor to drive the needle, offering a smoother operation. They're quieter, lighter, and easier on the skin, which means less healing time for you or your clients.

Pneumatic Tattoo Machines: These machines are lightweight, easy to maintain, and can be sterilized without disassembly. You might not see them as often, but they are incredibly versatile and well-worth considering.

Choosing the right tattoo machine is a critical step in your tattoo journey. It's like choosing your wand in the wizarding world — it's gotta feel right, work well and match your style. Just remember this: while the machine does the work, it's your talent that turns the ink into art.

Now, armed with your new knowledge from our tattoo equipment guide, go forth and create your own tattoo magic.

Tattoo Needles

Your tour through this tattoo equipment guide wouldn't be complete without a chat about tattoo needles — the brave little soldiers that carry your ink into the skin. But don't worry, we're not about to turn this into a science lecture. Let's keep it simple and relatable.

Round Liners: These needles are tight-knit, like a close group of friends. They're perfect for creating precise lines and detailed work. If you're drawing the outline of a design or adding some small details, round liners are your go-to.

Round Shaders: If round liners are the close group of friends, round shaders are the party crowd. They're loosely grouped to cover larger areas. When you're filling in a design or doing some soft shading, round shaders are there for you.

Magnum Shaders: These are like the all-rounders in a sports team. They're versatile and can cover large areas quickly, but still offer precision when you need it. Whether you're filling, shading, or blending, magnum shaders can handle it.

Who knew needles could be so interesting, right? But remember, the right needle can make the difference between a good tattoo and a great one. Just like choosing the right pen for a drawing, picking the right needle for a tattoo is a crucial part of the process.

So there you have it, a quick rundown on the main types of tattoo needles. Now you're one step closer to becoming a tattoo guru. Remember, this tattoo equipment guide is here to help you navigate your way through the world of tattooing equipment. But don't forget, it's your talent and creativity that really makes the magic happen.

Tattoo Inks

Alright, moving on in our tattoo equipment guide journey, let's talk about tattoo inks. Imagine trying to paint a masterpiece without any color — it wouldn't be much of a spectacle, would it? That's where tattoo inks step in, they are the paint for your skin canvas.

Black and Grey Inks: These are the classics, like the little black dress of the tattoo world. They're timeless, always in style, and every tattoo artist needs them. From tribal designs to portraits, these inks are as versatile as they come.

Color Inks: Now, this is where the fun begins. From fiery reds to cool blues and sunny yellows, color inks open up a world of creative possibilities. And just like a good chef knows their spices, a skilled tattoo artist knows their color palette.

Vegan Inks: Yes, you read that right. Vegan inks are free from animal products and are a great choice for the environmentally conscious. Who said tattooing couldn't be eco-friendly?

Remember, not all inks are created equal. Some are better for lining, some for shading, and some for color packing. Much like how you wouldn't use a race car to go off-roading, you wouldn't use a color ink for lining. It's all about picking the right tool for the job.

So, whether you're about to ink your first masterpiece or you're a seasoned pro, a deep understanding of inks is a must. This tattoo equipment guide is here to help you navigate the vibrant world of tattoo inks. And remember, the right ink can bring your designs to life in ways you never imagined.

Power Supply and Foot Pedal

Let's switch gears in our tattoo equipment guide and chat about the power supply and foot pedal. Think of them as the heart and soul of your tattoo machine. Without them, your machine is just a pretty piece of metal.

Power Supply: This trusty little box provides the juice that keeps your tattoo machine running. It's where you set your machine's speed, adjusting it as necessary for lining or shading. Quick tip: slower speeds work best for shading, while faster speeds are ideal for lining.

Foot Pedal: This might look like something off of a car, but it's your key to hands-free control. Step on the pedal to start your machine, and release it to stop. It's like having an extra hand!

These are two pieces of the tattooing puzzle that often get overlooked, but they're as important as the machine itself. Like a drummer and their drumsticks, a tattoo artist is only as good as their power supply and foot pedal. Whether you're just starting out or you've been in the game for years, it's vital to get comfortable with these tools.

So, next time you power up your machine and press down on that foot pedal, remember: they're more than just gadgets, they're the lifeblood of your art. And as we continue our journey through this tattoo equipment guide, keep in mind that every piece of equipment plays a key role in the tattooing process.

Tattoo Grips and Tubes

Moving along our tattoo equipment guide, let's talk about the tattoo grips and tubes. These are the parts of your tattoo machine where your hand meets the metal, and they're often overlooked. However, they're just as important as any other element of your setup. Here's why:

Tattoo Grips: These are the parts that you actually hold onto when you're working. They come in different materials like metal or rubber and various sizes. It's important to find a grip that feels comfortable in your hand. Remember, it's like a painter's brush — the better it feels, the better you can do your work.

Tattoo Tubes: These are the parts that guide your needle. They can be either disposable or reusable, depending on your preference. If you go for reusable, you'll need to sterilize them between uses. Disposable tubes, on the other hand, can be tossed after one use, making cleanup a bit easier.

So, are grips and tubes crucial? Absolutely. They contribute to your precision and comfort, both of which impact the quality of your work. As this tattoo equipment guide shows, it's the little things that can make the biggest difference in the final product. So, make sure you pay attention to these parts when setting up your tattoo rig.

Stencil Products

Next on our tattoo equipment guide, let's take a look at stencil products. You might be wondering—why are stencil products important? Well, they're like the blueprint for your artwork. They allow you to trace your design onto the skin, ensuring accuracy and symmetry.

First up, we have Stencil Paper. This paper helps you transfer your design onto the skin. It usually comes in sheets with a special coating that reacts to pressure. When you draw on it, the design shows up on the other side, ready for transfer.

Then we have the Stencil Fluid. This is a special type of liquid that helps transfer the design from the paper to the skin. You apply a small amount to the skin, place the paper over it, and voila! Your design is now on the skin, ready to be inked.

Finally, we have Stencil Machines. These are more advanced tools that create your stencil automatically. You simply feed your design into the machine and it prints out a ready-to-use stencil. It saves time and ensures a more precise design.

So, when you're setting up your tattoo studio, don't forget to invest in good quality stencil products. They might seem minor, but they play a major role in ensuring your designs come out just the way you want them to.

Tattoo Aftercare Products

What happens after the tattoo session is as important as the session itself. This is where tattoo aftercare products come into play in our tattoo equipment guide. They are vital for the healing process and for maintaining the vibrancy of the tattoo.

Tattoo Ointments are a must-have in every tattoo shop. They're applied right after the tattoo is done to start the healing process. They keep the skin moisturized, prevent infection, and help reduce swelling. Brands like Aquaphor and Bepanthen are great picks.

Next, we have Tattoo Lotions. Unlike ointments, which can be heavy and greasy, lotions are lighter and suitable for daily use. They keep the skin hydrated and help the tattoo heal properly. Aveeno and Lubriderm offer some good choices.

Lastly, we have Tattoo Sunscreens. Yes, you heard it right—sunscreen! Newly inked skin is sensitive to UV rays, which can cause fading. A good sunscreen can protect your artwork. Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

So, there you have it. Tattoo aftercare products are pivotal for a satisfactory tattoo experience. Remember, a happy client is likely to return and recommend you to others. So, invest in some quality aftercare products to keep those tattoos looking fresh and your clients happy!

Disinfectants and Cleaning Products

Let's talk about hygiene, folks. In a tattoo studio, cleanliness is not just important—it's non-negotiable. Our tattoo equipment guide would be incomplete without considering the role of disinfectants and cleaning products.

Tattoo Disinfectants are crucial in keeping your workspace safe and free from harmful microbes. You'll need these to clean your equipment, surfaces, and even your hands. Popular options include Cavicide and Madacide, known for their effectiveness in killing germs.

Then there are Ultrasonic Cleaners. These handy machines clean the small parts of your tattoo machines using sound waves. It's a quick and efficient way to ensure your equipment is as clean as can be. Brands like iSonic and Magnasonic are go-to choices for many tattoo artists.

Don't forget Disposable Gloves. They're your first line of defense against cross-contamination. Nitrile gloves are a favorite among tattoo artists because they're latex-free and resistant to punctures.

In essence, cleanliness is the key to a safe tattooing environment. So, don't skimp on quality when it comes to disinfectants and cleaning products. Remember, a clean studio means happy customers—and a successful tattoo business!

Tattoo Furniture

Ever thought about the furniture in a tattoo studio? No, we're not talking about the couch in the waiting area. We're referring to the specialized tattoo furniture that plays a pivotal role in your tattooing process. Our tattoo equipment guide wouldn't be complete without discussing these pieces.

First up, the Tattoo Chair or Bed. This is where your clients will be positioned while you work your magic. Comfort is key here – uncomfortable clients tend to fidget, and no artist wants a moving canvas. Brands like InkBed and Earthlite offer adjustable, padded chairs that both you and your clients will appreciate.

Next, we have the Artist's Chair. An ergonomic design is essential here, as you'll be sitting for long periods. Some artists prefer stools, while others like chairs with back support. Either way, comfort and mobility are your two main considerations.

Lastly, don't forget about the Workstation or Cart. This is where you'll keep your inks, needles, and other gear within easy reach. A good workstation should be easy to clean and have plenty of storage space.

In short, the right tattoo furniture can make a big difference in your work. It's not just about aesthetics—it's about creating an environment that allows you to do your best work. So, make sure to invest in quality pieces that will stand the test of time. After all, comfort and efficiency never go out of style, right?

Why Quality Matters

So, you've got a handle on the tattoo equipment basics. But there's one more thing this tattoo equipment guide needs to address—why does quality matter?

Well, let's start with the obvious: Professional Results. High-quality tattoo equipment allows for precise, professional tattoos. Whether it's a sharp, reliable needle or vibrant, long-lasting ink, quality equipment makes a noticeable difference in the final product. In other words, if you want your tattoos to look like they were done by a pro, you need to use professional-grade gear.

Then, there's the matter of Safety. Tattooing involves breaking the skin, which means there's a risk of infection. High-quality equipment is designed to be sterile and safe to use, reducing the risk of complications. Plus, premium brands often have more robust safety standards, giving you and your client peace of mind.

Finally, there's Durability. Let's face it; tattooing is tough on equipment. Needles dull, machines break, and chairs wear out. Quality equipment might cost more upfront, but it's built to last, making it a better investment in the long run.

In conclusion, quality matters because your clients matter. They trust you with their skin and their vision—don't let them down by skimping on your equipment. Remember, the right tools not only make the job easier; they also make the results better. And isn't that what tattooing is all about?

If you're interested in exploring more about the creative arts, don't miss the chance to check out 'Starting Out In Fashion Photography' workshop by Tiffany Mumford. Although the focus is on fashion photography, the skills and techniques taught in this workshop can help you grow as an artist in other fields as well. Additionally, don't forget to explore other Daisie's classes for more inspiration and guidance in your creative journey.