Do All Rotary Machines Use Cartridges?(Guide)

Do Rotary Tattoo Machines Use Different Needles?

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Do All Rotary Machines Use Cartridges?

As opposed to coil machines, the use of cartridges is only applied when using rotary tattoo machines. However, does this mean that do all rotary machines use cartridges? 

To adequately answer this, let’s look much into details at the different types of tattoo machines and their modes of operation, as well as which ones could be better than the other.

Yes! All rotary machines use cartridges, unlike coil tattoo machines, the rotary machines are relatively quiet during operation.The whole process is smoother and more fluid than that of coil tattoo machines.

Tattoo Machines

Tattoo artists often prefer to use different types of tattoo machines to perform their artistic work.

However, there are different types of tattoo machines in the industry; thus, it’s not mind-boggling to notice that various artists prefer a different set of tools.

More of the same result shall already be achieved. One only has to choose the type of machine they are comfortable with.

Nevertheless, some can work comfortably with any tool; these are the masters of the game.

If you are one of the artists who face an overwhelming dilemma on which machine to settle for, then this article is just perfect for you. Let’s dive into it.

There are mainly two kinds of tattoo machines;

  • Rotary tattoo machines
  • Coil tattoo machines

Coil Tattoo Machines

Coil tattoo machines are known as the modern tattoo machines in the industry. They have been in use for a relatively long time.

Most artists who have been in the business for decades can attest to you that coil tattoo machines could have been the first tattoo machines they learned with;

And used at the beginning or still prefer using them.

Do All Rotary Machines Use Cartridges?

Well, there is no better tool to use than the one you used to train, or is it not? The probability is high.

How Do Coil Tattoo Machines Work?

There is a pair of coils within the machines, which electromagnetic current is passed through. The passed current makes the armature bar perform a draw and release activity.

The needles which are supposed to stick into your skin during the process are tapped by the armature bar as an effect of the electromagnetic current.

If you look at the whole system operation, you may notice it resembles a hammer-like effect.

As a result of the whole process recurring, a buzzing sound is produced. The buzzing sound is mainly associated with tattoo shops.

So, if you had at one time passed by a tattoo shop and heard the buzzing sound, then most probably they were using coil tattoo machines.

What Are The Advantages Of Using Coil Tattoo Machines?

If you are considering using coil tattoo machines, here are some merits;

Reassurance; Coil tattoo machines have been in use for a long time and are widely recognized by their buzzing sound.

Therefore, customers may feel more reassured that they are indeed being tattooed efficiently as they get the sound from the machine in the process. 

Confidence; Some tattoo artists have used the coil machines for so long that whenever they try other available options, they may lack confidence regardless of how efficient they are.

The background buzzing sound makes them confident that there is some work being done on the skin.

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What Are The Demerits Of Using Coil Machines?

As you well know, whatever has merits is also accompanied by some demerits. Here are some to pay attention to concerning coil tattoo machines;

Noise; Since some of the buzzing sounds could be reassuring to customers, some may consider it noise and get irritated.

It may worsen if the customer does not like the buzzing sound that much and wants to get a tattoo around the neck or next to the ears.

As a tattoo artist, always consider asking your clients if they are okay with the buzzing sound from the coil tattoo machine before you set up.

Sometimes you may realize the client finds the buzzing irritating; hence you should consider using other machines.

Weight; This one applies to the tattoo artists who will be on duty for long hours completing their customers’ work.

The coil tattoo machine is relatively heavier when compared to rotary tattoo machines.

Do All Rotary Machines Use Cartridges?

Therefore, in cases where the client’s work is supposed to take long working hours, you may feel fatigued sooner and interfere with the output quality.

You should consider going for lighter options so that you can operate for longer hours before your hands and fingers are tired.

Rotary Tattoo Machines

Rotary tattoo machines are contemporary and can be found in most modern tattoo shops.

Most upcoming tattoo artists probably have some experience using rotary machines since the tattoo industry is steadily transitioning into the modern era.

How Do Rotary Machines Work?

The needles present in rotary tattoo machines are attached to a small motor.

When powered, the motor creates upward and downward movement to the needles as they move in and out of the skin.

Unlike coil tattoo machines, the rotary machines are relatively quiet during operation. The whole process is smoother and more fluid than that of coil tattoo machines. 

There is no buzzing sound, and the whole operation could be done without the person in the next room knowing what’s going on.

Oh! You may end up passing a tattoo shop without knowing it’s one if it is not labeled. All thanks to the rotary tattoo machines. 

What Are The Advantages Of Using Rotary Tattoo Machines?

Since the rotary tattoo machines have modern designs, they present some operational advantages which you may find useful. Let’s look into some of them;

They are quiet; Rotary tattoo machines do not produce the buzzing sound associated with coil tattoo machines.

Therefore, some clients may find the tattooing environment to be quiet and more accommodating.

If the process takes longer, they may end up falling asleep and waking up when the job is done.

Light; Rotary tattoo machines are not designed to be weighty. They weigh lesser compared to coil tattoo machines, thereby being advantageous to the artists using them.

The tattoo artists can carry out long tattooing operations without feeling fatigued. Therefore, their hands and fingers maintain their stability for longer.

When the job is done, the tattoo quality shall not have been compromised in any way.

What Are The Demerits Of Using Rotary Tattoo Machines?

Most tattoo artists may say the rotary tattoo machines do not have many disadvantages.

However, I would like to point out that one of the disadvantages an artist may face is in the process of adjusting to its use.

As one shift from using coil tattoo machines to rotary machines may have to deal with some factors such as a change in operation.

Lack of reassurance; Some clients are comfortable while getting their tattoo as long as they also hear the buzzing sound during the action.

That is one way they can affirm there is some quality work going on. Don’t’ worry; some people are just wired that way.

The same goes for tattoo artists who have been in the industry for a long time using the coil machine; the sound matters a lot.

Do All Rotary Machines Use Cartridges?

All in all, perhaps if you are a beginner in the tattoo industry and you are on the verge of climbing your way up the ladder,

It is better if you consider learning to on one type of machine and perfecting your skills first before you try out the other types.

Are Rotary Tattoo Machines Better?

Rotary tattoo machines are contemporary; therefore, in most ways, they may be considered better than coil tattoo machines.

For instance, when needle movements into the skin are considered, the rotary tattoo machines provide more fluid and quicker movements than coil machines.

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Also, the artist’s handling is much better when using rotary tattoo machines. Longer working hours backed with higher precision work are guaranteed.

So, it’s satisfying to say that in many ways, rotary machines are better than coil tattoo machines.

Why Are Coil Tattoo Machines Considered To Be Behind Rotary Tattoo Machines?

The coil tattoo machines are basically behind the time when compared to rotary machines. The coil tattoo machines have been in use for several decades.

Every teenager or older tattoo enthusiast can tell they are around by hearing the buzzing sound produced as they operate. 

The rotary tattoo machines came with new designs with eliminated the buzzing and some extra weight.

No artist wants to strain their fatigued hands to finish a client’s job, which may result in inadequate quality work done.

So the strain is significantly eliminated by light-weight rotary tattoo machines.

In many aspects, the coil tattoo machine is considered to be somehow behind in the industry.

Between The Rotary Tattoo Machine And The Coil Machines, Which One Hurts More When Used?

One of the main reasons some people may shy away from getting tattoos is the perception that it hurts a lot. Well, I would not blame them.

The needle going in and out of the skin may probably create a slight pinch, especially if it is your first time or if you do not like needles.

However, the fear may be magnified further by the buzzing sound produced when coil tattoo machines are used.

You may probably feel a slight pinch when using either a rotary tattoo machine or coil tattoo machine to get your tattoo.

However, the relatively quiet rotary tattoo machine is likely to convince you the process is not quite painful; this is unlike the coil tattoo machine.

Are Coil Tattoo Machines Versatile?

For tattoo artists, both upcoming and the masters, both can agree on one thing. The main challenge faced when using the coil tattoo machines is their lack of versatility.

One coil tattoo machine performs a specific role, and if you want to tattoo something else, you have to change to a different machine.

I mean, with coil tattoo machines, you can perform only one task at a time; that is, you can either only create lines or shades, but you cannot do both.

Creating a much-involving design tattoo is a lot of work as the artist will have to change the machines constantly.

If much attention is not paid to the process, there may be confusion and the art interfered with. 

Therefore, apart from the high attention required, the tattoo artist may get fatigued sooner in the process.

Are Rotary Tattoo Machines Versatile?

Unlike coil tattoo machines, one rotary tattoo machine can shade and create lines; thus, versatile.

All the tattoo artist probably has to do is select a different type of needle to accomplish the task.

The ease of use and fewer movements involved when using the rotary tattoo machine saves more time resulting in less fatigue.

The tattoo artist can work for longer hours, thereby carrying out long work hours without getting tired sooner.

Chances of producing low quality are significantly reduced than when using coil tattoo machines.

Are Rotary Machines With Cartridges Safe?

Cartridges are the safe way to go when you are getting your tattoos. However, they are only used with rotary tattoo machines.

The cartridges are safe since they are not reusable. Once a client has been tattooed, they are disposed of, and new sterile ones are put in place.

Therefore, they are relatively safe, and I would advise it as a choice you may consider when deciding to go for your tattoo.

What Is The Demerit Of Using Rotary Tattoo Machines With Cartridges?

The main drawback faced while using rotary tattoo machines with cartridges will be felt by the business owner.

The disposable state of cartridges makes it expensive since they have to be replaced with new ones after every use.

Well, this may also translate to a higher cost of getting your tattoo. 

Final Thoughts

Rotary tattoo machines are slowly but steadily taking over the tattoo industry due to technological advancements, and soon, the coil tattoo machines may be forgotten.

Rotary machines with cartridges are the best way you may consider to ensure you get your tattoo safely since the cartridges are disposed of after every single use.


I'm Vincent, a registered skincare specialist and an award-winning tattoo artist. I've been in the industry for over 10 years and have worked with some of the best tattoo artists in my field. I've loved everything to do with tattoos and arts in general, as well as exercise and wellness! This site is a place for me to share some of the expertise knowledge I have, as well as keep up-to-date with current research and studies. Tattoos are a huge passion of mine, I faced many questions from customers about different products, and there was hardly any help on the internet. I decided to start a blog and help other people!

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