Coil Vs. Rotary Tattoo Machines: Which One You Should Buy

Coil and rotary machines are the two most widely used and popular tattoo equipment. Their excellent performance and advantages make them top preferences of professional tattoo artists among other available tattoo devices. That always puts an enthusiast or a beginner in the confusion of coil vs. rotary tattoo machines. Which one should they choose?

The making and way of performing are the key differences between a coil and a rotary machine. The first one runs with a coil and armature bar, which gives it a complicated design. Contrarily, the latter has a simple structure with a small motor that enables it to perform.

They also differ in other aspects like weight, sound level, utility, needle movement, and ease of use. These differences make them unique and better suited for various tattoo works.

However, it is usual for beginners to wonder which one they should try first. To decide on that, it is imperative that they get a thorough comprehension of the two machines on which this article will focus.

So, without delaying anymore, let’s jump into the discussion!

Coil Vs. Rotary Machines: A Comparison Table

The comparison table below is to brief you about their differences. Have a read, and then scroll down to learn more!

Features Coil Tattoo Device Rotary Tattoo Device
Main Components Coil, armature bar Motor
Structure and Design Complex Simple
Frame Material Iron Aluminum alloy
Weight Heavy Light
Level of Sound Noisy Silent
Ease of Use Practice required No practice required
Needle Movements Rough Gentle
Capable of Performing as Either liner or shader Liner and shader both
Ability to Pull off Complex Designs High Low

What Is A Coil Tattoo Machine?

Most tattoo professionals use coil tattoo machines. Even many beginners begin their professional careers with it. The main components of a coil device are its armature bar and coil. When the electromagnetic current moves through its coil, the bar gets let out. Then it creates an effect like a hammer, and that is when the needle gets into the skin and inserts ink.

As it is tied up with a spring, the bar gets back to its place. Then the field of the electromagnet reestablishes itself. It again moves through the device’s coil and releases the bar. The cycle keeps repeating until the electromagnetic area stops reestablishing.

What Is A Rotary Tattoo Machine?

A rotary tattoo machine follows scientific principles and specific mechanisms to create a tattoo. It has a tiny electric motor to power its needle to make movements. It moves gently and gives a soft feeling to the skin.

The recent models of rotaries come with an armature bar to assist them in hitting with higher efficiency. It is, as you have already read, originally a feature of coil machines. Either an air compressor or electricity is used to power rotary tattoo machines.

Coil Vs. Rotary Tattoo Machines: An Elaborate Discussion

Coil Vs. Rotary Tattoo Machines

Weight

The materials of the coils of coil devices are iron bars, so they are noticeably heavier than rotary devices. On the other hand, the central part of rotaries is their electric motors, and they have aluminum frames. Both of them cause rotaries to weigh less.

Some tattooists prefer working with bulky coil devices, mainly professionals. But if you are a beginner, drawing large tattoo designs will wear you down since that would require you to carry the machine for a long time.

Level Of Sound

If you have ever passed a tattoo parlor on your way to somewhere, you have undoubtedly heard a noise, more like buzzing. That came from a coil device. It creates a constant buzzing sound while functioning. Its armature bar’s continuous hammer-like effect generates the sound.

Unlike coil machines, rotaries have a simple design and structure, enabling them to perform without making loud noise at all.

Movement Of Needles

The needle movements of a coil device are rough due to the breaking and reestablishing of the electromagnetic area in each cycle. That is why it does not feel gentle on the skin.

But in the case of rotary tattoo machines, it is quite the opposite. Since the electricity of a rotary has consistent flow, it makes needle movements smooth.

However, its buzzing sound and needle movements make people think that getting tattoos with a coil device is excruciatingly painful. But that is entirely a misconception.

Ease Of Use

Rotaries are lightweight and silent. So, working with them does not bring you any hassle. Plus, it does not require a beginner to have practice or skill.

In contrast, you will need some practice and skill to operate a coil device. Moreover, they are heavyweight, so it is not that comfortable to use them with little or no previous experience.

Versatility

The most advantageous point about rotaries is that they can perform as a liner and a shader. You can meet your lining and shading purposes with a single rotary device. You will only need to adjust its tube stem to change its operating method. Therefore, you will not need to change machines frequently.

But that is not possible with a coil tattoo device. Each coil machine can do one function only, meaning you will have to buy a shader and a liner separately.

On the other hand, a coil machine is adept at making different types of tattoos with large and complex designs with precision. But you cannot get that from a typical rotary tattoo machine. That is why many artists prefer coils to rotaries.

Coils Vs. Rotary Tattoo Machines – Which Is The Better One?

Tattoo artists prefer a coil tattoo device because of its precise work. Rotaries also work efficiently enough, but not like coils. If the priority is accuracy for a tattoo project, a coil machine should be your best pick.

However, you cannot rule rotaries out at all because they have their uniqueness too. They are light, small, and quiet, making sure not to distract you at work. Besides, they will not exhaust you during lengthy tattoo sessions. They are beginner-friendly, while experts also use them for their convenience.

Setting up a rotary tattoo machine is a piece of cake. You need to plug its needle into a suitable power unit, and then the device is prepared to operate. Cleaning it is also simple after tattoo sessions.

Final Words

Coil and rotary machines complement each other with their unique characteristics. One cannot beat the other because they also have their drawbacks. And it is not like you cannot switch between them. You always have that choice. Starting with the more suitable one is the main thing here.

Now that you are well informed about the two types of tattoo machines, what are your thoughts and decisions regarding them? Have you already figured out which one is more your type?

Even if you have not, do not worry. It will not take much time since you know which machine does what and how. Think about what your requirements are for a tattoo device and how that can change you into a better tattoo artist. That should lead you to make the right decision.

Thanks a lot for reading. I hope you found the article informative. Good luck getting yourself a tattoo machine!