As a tattoo artist, choosing a tattoo machine is one of the biggest decisions.

In order to choose the best machine for you, it is essential to analyse the different features that come with both the rotary tattoo machine and the coil tattoo machine.

With this in mind, let’s look at the differences that set apart the Rotary and the Coil.

The Differences Between the Rotary and the Coil

Both the rotary tattoo machine and the coil tattoo machine can be used to create great tattoos but they offer two different methods. A coil tattoo machine relies on an electro magnetic current to drive the armature bar while the rotary uses a more gentle process. The coil is perhaps the most common of the two and can be found in most tattoo shops.

Noise Output

One of the main differences apart from the method is the noise output. Rotary tattoo machines are fairly quiet when compared to the coil which emits a loud buzzing sound. This is simply because the inner mechanics of the rotary machine are simpler, while the coil machine emits a constant clicking sound due to the armature bar being released.


The rotary machine is more versatile as it can be used for both lines and shading. The coil tattoo machine can only be used for one or the other.

Needle Range

Another thing that must be taken into account when choosing a tattoo machine is needle range. A rotary tattoo machine has a more fluid needle movement however the coil uses a choppier movement.

Pros and Cons of Rotary and Coil Tattoo Machines

The rotary machine is quite simple to use and is less damaging to the skin but it lacks the punch and recoil that you get with a coil machine and as a result it isn’t as effective with larger needles. The rotary is loved for being low maintenance and its fast needle movement but shading tends to be easier with a coil machine.

The coil is often preferred for its intricate line work but it requires a high skill level to use it. While it isn’t as low maintenance as the rotary, the coil provides a number of benefits such as its ability to create smooth fine lines with ease. When it comes to choosing between the two different types of machines, there is no right answer, it is simply about choosing the tattoo machine that complements your personal style of tattooing.

Once you have made a decision between the coil and the rotary, it’s time to navigate your way through the many brands and models. Amongst the most popular are the Cheyenne tattoo machines, the Bishop rotary machine and the Eikon tattoo machines.

Eikon Coil Machine Eikon Green Monster Coil Machine