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The Features of Rotary and Coil Tattoo Machines

Updated: May 9, 2019

Making the choice between a rotary and a coil tattoo machine can be challenging. Although both machines are used by professional artists to create tattoos of various kinds, their mechanisms are quite different. Coil tattoo machines use electromagnetic current that passes through two coils, enabling the armature bar to move. This creates a hammer-like motion which is exactly what pushes the needle of the machine up and down to pierce the skin. Rotary tattoo machines, on the other hand, feature a slick electric motor that uses a cyclical motion to move the needle nice and smoothly. Here are the features of the two in detail.

Coil tattoo machines

Coil tattoo machines come in three variants- liners, shaders, and color packers. Liners are used to create fine and precise line work, and shaders to fill in color and shading in different gradients. Color packers are more used to pack in colors solidly and deeply. Although coil tattoo machines can be a bit noisy, some artists believe that the buzzing sound allows them to focus better on their work and create fantastic tattoos. Tattoo artists wanting to have more tactile and organic connection with the skin, can invest in a coil machine.

Rotary tattoo machines

Rotary tattoo machines are efficient and versatile, allowing artists to draw lines as well as shade by using the same machine. Even complex tattoo designs can be created easily and smoothly. The motor encased moves the attached needles in and out of the skin more fluidly and evenly, making the sound created while tattooing almost unnoticeable.

Final thoughts

Both coil and rotary machines have their own set of features which have attracted tattoo artists to make them their most critical tools. Get one for yourself and start tattooing!

Check out Hatch Back Irons’ exclusive range of some of the best hand-built rotary and custom coil tattoo machines.


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