What’s The Right Voltage for A Tattoo Machine

What’s The Right Voltage for A Tattoo Machine

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What’s The Right Voltage for A Tattoo Machine

Tattoo machine voltage is the number of volts that pass through the machine when running. Most machines run on 110v or 220v, ranging from 6 to 10 volts. This will depend on what type of equipment you are using and how old your machine is.

An alternating current power a tattoo machine with a rating of 7.5-10 volts. You can change this depending on the type of needle or coil used and the design’s size.

There is a multitude of tattoo types, each requiring different voltages because they operate at different speeds. Here is a table showing different voltages for different machines

Coil7v-9v for lining (8 is a good start) and 8-10v for shading.
Needle7-9v for lining and 8-10v for shading
Rotary machines9v or higher (depends) when using an RF rotary tattoo machine
AC liners and Shaders6v, but you can increase them to 8v depending on the needle size and the design you apply.
Pneumatic10v for lining and 10-12v for shading.

How to Set Tattoo Machine Voltage

Start by disconnecting the machine from the outlet. When you are sure the machine is not conducting power, insert a voltmeter into one of the two black-tipped plugs on the cable that runs from your power supply to your tattoo machine.

Set your meter to read volts and then push down on any foot pedals an artist uses to control when they deliver electricity at their workstation.

This action will cause a small jolt or pulse of electricity and should show a voltage reading between 50-5000 volts. 

If you use an unregulated power supply, the voltage of your tattoo machine will fluctuate with the speed of the pedal;

The higher you press the pedal or the ‘amperage’ you push, the higher the voltage will be at whatever point in time it is.

That’s why it’s important to check for a voltage reading at rest, as mentioned above, and to check for a reading while pushing down on a foot pedal.

If you use a regulated supply and your tattoo machine has a multi-voltage setting, you will see the voltage change as you adjust the voltage knob.

Set the voltage to what your owner’s manual for your machine recommends. If you are using an unregulated reading, always check for a voltage reading at rest before using it on clients and readjust if needed. 

Tattoo Machine Voltage Chart

A tattoo machine is usually powered by a high-voltage electric current, which is transferred through the flexible wire cable from the power supply and connected to a control unit that regulates the flow.

The voltage required to operate a tattoo machine will depend upon its wattage specification, with most machines needing between 7- 12v.

The higher the volts, the greater the power of the machine and, therefore, its ability to penetrate deeper into the skin.

Tattoo machineLiningShading

Factors that Can Affect Tattoo Voltage

1. Type of Tattoo MachineDifferent tattoo machines boast different voltages. Some machines will have a higher voltage for more coverage, and others will have a lower voltage for more detail.
2. InkThe Type of ink you use also affects the voltage you need to counteract the friction you need to pull it into the skin.

For example, you can’t do black tattoos with 3 volts because it won’t penetrate that deeply, and you will need too much friction to move the needle over the skin.
3. Tattoo AreaTattoos on areas with much blood flow will require more voltage than covering a more superficial area.
4. Color of TattooAlso, colored tattoos require higher voltages because there is a lot of friction, and the skin surface is constantly moving.
5. Tattoo Size or ShapeThe size or shape of the tattoo also plays a huge part in the voltage needed. For example, you can do a full back tattoo with an area of up to 5 volts because there is no blood flow in that area.
6. Skin ConditionInk and needle friction can damage your skin if you use it improperly on an unhealthy skin layer.

You need a higher voltage to protect you from this type of damage, so if you have a lot of stray hairs or are suffering from dry skin, you may need extra voltage to avoid such damage.

Best Voltage for Tattoo Lining

The power supply settings for a tattoo gun are an important factor in deciding how quickly the hilt will respond to your movement.

Many tattoo artists will have a personal preference for what settings they like to use, depending on their preferences and the type of work they are doing.

One thing will be constant; however, the power supply settings will directly relate to the speed at which the needle bar moves.

Having the right settings on the tattoo machine power supply is essential because it will give you more control over how your tattoo looks.

Here is a break of tattoo power supply settings for different speed guns.

7.5 to 8.5Guns under about 3,000 rpm
9.0 to 10.5Guns of 3,000 to 4,500 rpm
11.5 to 12.5Guns over 4,500 rpm

Types of Tattoo Power Supply for Tattoo Guns

1. Aurora Power Supply Colorful Voltage Fits All Tattoo Machine (Black)

This power supply boasts compatibility with almost all coils and rotary machines. They design it with a voltage control feature for customizing your machine to the desired power.

The ultra-bright color of the power cord makes it easy to find amid the clutter that often happens at a tattoo shop. The package has an instruction manual, power cord, and plug adapter.

2. Pirate Face Tattoo Dual Digital Tattoo Power Supply with Foot Pedal and 2 Clip Cords, Black Color 5 Count (Pack of 1)

Thanks to its multiple flip switches, you can connect your liner and shader to the power supply. They craft it with a durable casing, dual power indicator lights, and a foot switch.

You can also plug your tattoo machine into the voltage selection switch to adjust it to your desired power. This power supply comes with a 12 months warranty card.

3. Mast Halo Tattoo Power Supply Box LCD Digital Display for Tattoo Machines

The power supply has 360 degrees rotating ability on an OLED white display screen that you can view from any angle.

It has built-in circuit protection, which keeps the machine safe from overloading, overcurrent, and overvoltage.

It has an instruction manual, a one-year warranty card, a rotary tattoo machine foot switch, and a power cord.

4. Infinity Tattoo Supply Tattoo Machine Power Supply with Adapter Plug and Cigarette Lighter (Black)

It has a sleek design that fits in almost any tattoo machine case. It comes with a power cord and adapter plug for direct connection.

The Infinity Tattoo Supply Machine Power Supply has an integrated circuit protection system from overloading, overcurrent, and short-circuiting.

5. Tattoo Power Supply

This sleek power supply has a flip switch for changing your needle position. It also has tattoo indicators that supply power lights that tell you when the machine is on and off.

The package also comes with an instruction manual and foot pedal that fits in most cases.

What Certain Settings Mean in Your Tattoo Power Supply

Below are some of the most common settings and their intended effect on your tattoo power supply.

1. Power switch

This is the default setting for your power supply. When you turn the power on, it will start in this setting and remain there until you manually change it.

What’s The Right Voltage for A Tattoo Machine

2. Restart/Shutdown

This major power switch turns off all current flow to your tattoo machine to turn it back on again quicker and save energy.

However, it does not restart the machine, so fully unplugging the outlet and plugging it back in doesn’t work. You have to re-plug it in and then turn the power on.

3. No Load

This will disable the internal power supply of your machine. This is useful for troubleshooting purposes, but you should NEVER leave this setting in place for longer than necessary.

It will dramatically lower your machine’s performance due to the loss of AC inputs.

4. Diagnostic Mode 

Most machines come with a diagnostic mode which allows you to test the various components of your machine with a small circuit plugged into one end.

5. Strobe Mode 

Some machines come with a strobe mode which allows the use of your machine without the power cord and a foot pedal or finger switch.

This saves a lot of weight and prevents accidental activation if you set it up beside your pre-mix bottles and tubes.

What Speed Should I Set My Tattoo Pen At?

Tattoo pens are an effective way to ink your skin with a design. They usually have replaceable ink cartridges, allowing good control in creating your desired art.

However, you must know what speed to set your tattoo pen at. Here is a list of tattoo pens and their speeds

Tattoo PensSpeeds
Cheyenne Sol Terra25 Hz to 150 Hz
Dragonhawk Cartridge Tattoo Machine Kit Pen50 Hz to 250 Hz
Stigma Spear 50 Hz to 150 Hz
BMX Rotary Pen Tattoo Machine50 Hz to 150 Hz
Spektra Xion50 Hz to 100 Hz
Equalizer Proton50 Hz to 100 Hz

How Many Amps Does A Tattoo Machine Draw?

Tattoo machines usually work between 5-13vdc at less than 1 amp. You can run a tattoo machine off 6-volt batteries or a 12vdc power supply.

Under normal operation, your tattoo machine will draw less than 0.5 amp on the 6-volt batteries and less than 0.75 amps on the 12vdc power supply.

However, if you use larger gauge needles and ink with higher viscosity, this could rise to up to 1-2 amps draw on the 6-volt cells or up to 2-3 amps draw on the 12-volt setup.

If you use low-voltage battery packs (6v or less) and are not pushing the machine too hard, you will stick fine with a 6-volt power supply. If you want to set some hair on fire and push your machine to the limit, plug it into 12vdc.

It is best to stay between 7-10 amps for both tattoo machines. I usually go up to 10 amps using thicker needles and faster ink flows.

How Do You Use a Mast Tattoo Pen?

First, you can start using a q-tip to clean the area where you’ll place the tattoo. Once you’ve done this, wash the area with soap and water. It would be best to start with a new needle for each session.

Then, push down on the foot pedal of your tattoo machine to get it to run. Step 2 is to fill up your pen with ink. Use your ink bottle to fill the reservoir and replace the cap.

It would help if you also wrapped a piece of paper around your needle, so you won’t have to stick yourself repeatedly.

Finally, put on your gloves and give yourself a test run.

What’s The Right Voltage for A Tattoo Machine

Start by setting the needle down on a piece of paper, moving it back and forth using consistent pressure, applying light hand pressure, and then letting go.

You can then practice on areas that aren’t visible, like your arm.

When you’re ready, set the speed at about 5 and the pen pressure at about 5. You should practice with one or two slow passes and increase speed as you get comfortable.

Once you’re ready to do the tattoo, sterilize your client’s skin with antiseptic soap or alcohol before placing the needle on their skin.

When you place the needle against the skin, hold it there for about one second and lift it. Don’t go over the same spot for more than a few seconds.

If you notice bleeding, stop immediately, wash off your client’s skin, and see if he has an injury or something stuck in his skin that could be causing this.


Tattoo machines and pens have revolutionized the art of tattooing. By making it quite easy and convenient for people to take up the profession, it has gained much popularity with young people worldwide today.


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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