With so many rotary tattoo machines on the market right now, finding the best model for you might seem impossible. We’re here to plug you in to everything you need to know about the top rotary machines out there. Whether you’re looking for a wireless tattoo machine, the best tattoo pen, or just something new to try, we’ve got you covered.
Let’s find the best rotary tattoo machine for you in this round-up of our top 12 machines.
FK Irons EXO
Meet FK Irons’s first-ever modular tattoo machine: the EXO. Offering you the best of both worlds, the EXO lets you tattoo wirelessly or with a standard RCA cable. It comes with a detachable RCA module for wired tattooing and two PowerBolt battery packs if you prefer working cord-free. These PowerBolt battery packs are Bluetooth-enabled, making them compatible with the Darklab app, where you can enjoy adjustable E-give features. Plus, the EXO also comes in three stroke length options — 2.5mm, 3.2mm, and 4mm — and is more than capable when it comes to color packing and bold line work. In fact, this multi-skilled powerhouse can be used for any kind of work thanks to its forward-weighted design, which encourages downward needle pressure for all kinds of tattooing.
The forward-weighted aspect of the EXO not only makes it more versatile — it relieves wrist fatigue and gives you pen-like control. This machine also comes with a 40mm large grip, which is grooved and ergonomically designed. Try it out for yourself as either a wireless tattoo machine or with your favorite power supply.
The Spektra Xion took the industry by storm when it first dropped in 2018. It was the first tattoo pen machine to be adjustable across all parameters: needle depth, give, and stroke length. To this day, some artists call it the best pen tattoo machine on the market.
Weighing in at just 5.36 ounces, the Spektra Xion is lightweight, sleek, and easy to maneuver. That means you can count on total mobility and comfort when it comes to long tattooing sessions — it’ll definitely be clutch when taking on a demanding full back panel. This pen-style classic also comes with a tapered grip measuring 32mm at its widest. If you prefer a wider grip, the Spektra Xion is also compatible with 1.5” (~40mm) Gorilla Ergo tattoo grips by FK Irons.
Plus, if you like your tattoo machines with some personality, the Spektra Xion is for you. This machine comes in a wide variety of color options, including limited edition turquoise.
If you’re a fan of wireless tattooing, the Spektra Flux is one of the top-of-the-line cord-free tattoo machines. This direct drive rotary machine operates using a state-of-the-art detachable PowerBolt battery pack, which offers up to 10 hours of tattooing power. The Bluetooth-enabled PowerBolt also lets you easily adjust your voltage with the simple press of a button. If you need to stop tattooing, the PowerBolt has a killswitch feature that allows you to shut it off indefinitely for long periods of time — ideal for traveling artists flying to their next convention or guest spot.
The Spektra Flux is also an excellent choice for artists who tattoo large-scale pieces. It operates quietly with minimal vibration and weighs in at a lightweight 6.3oz, just a bit heavier than the Spektra Xion, making it easy to handle for long periods of time. Its versatile 4mm stroke length makes the Flux great for tattooing any style including for line work, shading, and packing in color.
You can also stock up on additional PowerBolts to have on hand as a back-up, which is another convenient feature if your PowerBolt runs out of power. Just swap out the battery with an auxiliary backup and keep on tattooing.
Extra PowerBolt Battery Price: $249.99
The Peak Matrix pen tattoo machine comes in Peak’s standard color options: Black, orange, blue, red, pink, and silver. Check it out if you’re looking for a handy pen-style machine that will keep you tattooing at your best without breaking the bank.
InkJecta Flite X1
The InkJecta Flite X1 wireless tattoo machine looks the most distinctive in this round-up of top tattoo machines. Aside from its unique look and color varieties — including a striking bottle green — the Flite X1 also stands out as the only machine on this list to allow needle depth adjustment with the press of a button. Voltage adjustments are also uniquely easy, accomplished by tilting the machine to the right to increase the voltage, and tilting to the left to decrease the voltage. Enjoy a wide voltage range of 4.5v up to 16.5v.
This forward-minded rotary machine features two nano-technology motors. One motor operates the drive while one operates needle depth adjustment. You can also enjoy all of InkJecta’s accessories when using the Flite X1, since it’s compatible with all InkJecta cams and needle bars for fully adjustable give and stroke length.
This wireless machine comes with two large 18500 batteries and two small 18350 batteries. The large batteries give you up to 8 hours of tattooing power per charge; the small batteries last for 4 hours. In addition to being cord-free, the Flite X1 also has a black aluminum ergonomic grip for comfortable tattooing. You can also pair your Flite X1 with the InkJecta-designed aluminum and delrin ergonomic grips, both of which are designed for maximum comfort. With its advanced accessories, unique body, and full adjustability, the Flite X1 is a machine worth investing in.
Easily adjustable stroke length and pen-like precision are the two staples that put the Axys Valhalla on our top 12 list. The machine is equipped with a unique click system, allowing you to adjust the stroke length with a simple twist of the machine while it’s still safely bagged. Choose from 2.5mm, 2.9mm, 3.4mm, 3.8mm, and 4.2mm stroke lengths, giving you every setting you need for lining, color packing, shading, and more!
The precisely geometric body of this machine gives you all the control and accuracy of holding a real pen, featuring an ergonomic 1” grip that tapers at the center for additional comfort. Plus, it’s super easy to keep clean. Single rotation threads on the grip receiver eliminate dirt traps, and the lack of sharp corners in its sleek design make it easy to wipe down.
The Axys Valhalla looks simple and straight-forward, but it’s certainly not your average pen tattoo machine. Give it a twist today.
Hyperion Zabre V2
Adjustments with the press of a button? An LED readout screen? 8 to 10 hours of tattooing power? The Hyperion Zabre V2 has got all three at an unbeatable price.
Featuring a reliable 3.5mm stroke length, the Hyperion Zabre V2 is great for all-around tattooing. Like the Axys Valhalla, it features twist adjustments, allowing you to change the needle depth up to 4mm with ease. The Hyperion Zabre V2 also operates on a voltage range of 5v up to 12v. You can take advantage of 0.1v voltage adjustments and an LED readout screen showing your current operating voltage.
Totally wireless, the Hyperion Zabre V2 comes with two 2000 rechargeable mAh batteries that offer up to 10 hours of juice. That means you’ve got plenty of power for those longer tattooing sessions. This handy machine is incredibly affordable and comes in black.
Stigma Rotary® Spear
The Stigma-Rotary® Spear is a durable tattoo pen known for its “on the fly” adjustments. That means you can easily adjust the give and stroke length while tattooing, without having to break down your machine or take a pause. Choose from soft, medium, or hard give by spinning the top dial. You can also easily adjust the stroke length from 3mm up to 4mm by spinning the motor.
With its Swiss motor and two pre-loaded ball bearings, the Spear is a quiet machine with minimal vibration. Weighing in at roughly 5.7oz, the Spear is lightweight, compact, and features a contoured body with a long grip, making it super ergonomic.
The Stigma-Rotary® Spear comes in Stigma-Rotary’s typical bold color options: Red, black, titanium steel, and nuclear green.
Lithuanian Irons Cronus Pen
The Lithuanian Irons Cronus tattoo pen weighs in at only 4.8oz for feather-light control, accuracy, and precision that only pen-style rotaries can offer. Ergonomically designed, it comes with its own 1” grip but is also compatible with Cheyenne Ergo grips.
Operating on an 8.5W German Faulhaber motor, the Cronus Pen boasts a special slider device for punchy hits with just enough softness. You can also count on adjustability with this pen machine, since it comes with two stroke wheel options, both with high-quality Japanese-made bearings. The white 3.1mm stroke wheel is great for delicate line work. The black 3.7mm stroke wheel, on the other hand, is your go-to for heavy color packing and bold lining. One rotation of the grip also adjusts your needle depth up to 4mm.
The Cronus Pen comes in black or fire red. It’s pre-lubricated, too, so no need to stock up on machine lubricant for this little powerhouse.
Kwadron Equaliser Proton Rotary
Budget-friendly, adjustable, and super-sleek artists love the Kwadron Equaliser Proton Pen for its silent, vibration-free performance. The Equaliser Proton Pen’s advanced gear system eliminates vibration so you can enjoy comfortable tattooing without any headaches. Only a bit heavier than the Cronus, the Kwadron Equaliser Proton pen tattoo machine weighs in at 4.5oz, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful. This pen machine operates using a 5W Japanese-made Mabuchi motor and has a reliable 3.5mm stroke length. You can also enjoy needle depth adjustments up to 4.5mm.
Check out the Kwadron Equaliser Proton Rotary in black, red, or mocha, and give it a go with Kwadron’s famous cartridge tattoo needles.
Vlad Blad Ultron Pen
The Vlad Blad Ultron Pen has a special mechanism not found in any other machine on this list. This specially designed mechanism returns this pen to its initial position by way of its 7W motor rather than by the spring. This prevents any delay in your needles coming out of your clients’ skin. It’s highly beneficial when working with cartridge needles that have soft membranes. You can also work at very low speeds using cartridges that have hard membranes.
Known for their coil machines, Vlad Blad has put the power of a coil into the Ultron Pen. This tattoo pen hits like a hard-hitting coil when it comes to pulling bold lines; but it’s also skilled at soft shading and creating shadows. It has a 3.5mm stroke length, but the unique mechanism in this machine is what gives it versatility for all kinds of tattooing.
Whether you’re doing fine line work, whip shading, or dot work, the Vlad Blad Ultron Pen is ready for the challenge. See for yourself how it performs. It could be a great fit for you.
Bishop Rotary Wands
Last but certainly not least, we have to talk about the Wands by Bishop Rotary. Okay, so this is actually three tattoo machines lumped together in one section, but they’re a bit of a tri-force. These three tattoo pens are Bishop-Rotary’s flagship tattoo machines. Each pen-style tattoo machine is artist-endorsed and is designed for a specific style of tattooing. They all come with robust Faulhaber brushless motors with custom winding depending on the intended style.
The Shader Wand, endorsed by tattoo artists Carlos Torres and David Vega, is great for smooth, realistic black and gray shading. It has a 3.5mm stroke length and built-in give for softer hits.
The Packer Wand, endorsed by Nikko Hurtado and Victor Chill, is your go-to for whip shading, color packing, color realism, and ink saturation. This bad boy has a 4.2mm stroke length and is designed for maximum torque and speed.
And don’t sleep on the Liner Wand, endorsed by tattoo artist Big Sleeps. This machine has a 5mm fixed stroke length and maximum torque for all kinds of traditional tattooing – including, of course, pulling big, bold, crispy lines. A great choice for traditional artists, the Liner Wand is also adept at blackwork and dot work.
Each tattoo pen boasts a matte black cap and grip. The only visual difference is the hand-polished band across the machine body. The Shader features a gray band, the Packer comes with a copper band, and the Liner’s band is a handsome matte black.
The Wands are the lightest pen style tattoo machines on this list, weighing in at only 4oz. Choose which Wand is the best pen tattoo machine for you or combine all three for a powerful trifecta!
Price: $600.00 (same across the board for the Shader, Packer, and Liner)
Now that you’ve got the low-down on the best rotary machines on the market, it’s time to get tattooing. Ready to find which one is best for you? Check out our entire rotary machine selection on the Ultimate Tattoo Supply Web store. We’d love to see what you can create with your ideal rotary machine.