A tattoo gun is a traditional-style tattooing tool. At the same time, a tattoo pen is a modern-designed tattoo machine. Both are excellent for tattooing work and can be used for various styles and techniques. However, when it comes to the comparison of tattoo guns vs tattoo pens, each offers the same and some unique features.
Typically, tattoo guns are more durable, affordable, powerful, and reliable compared to tattoo pens. Tattoo pens are lighter, more ergonomic, comfortable to use, produce less vibration, and are also excellent in terms of portability.
By looking at the features and benefits of both, an artist can decide which one is best to use according to their style, preferences, and comfort. Usually, professional tattoo artists have both types of tools in their collections.
Let’s understand the comparison of a tattoo pen and a gun in detail to decide which one is best.
What Is a Tattoo Gun?
A tattoo gun is a traditional or classic-style machine used to create ink designs. These devices are also called coil tattoo machines. When the artist turns on the device, the attached coil passes an electric current, causing the needles to move up and down rapidly. As a result, the tattoo needles penetrate the skin to create the designs.
What is a Tattoo Pen?
The tattoo pen is a pen-style tattooing machine that is also used to create ink designs. Unlike traditional tattoo devices, pen machines operate using a rotary system. It’s called a ‘pen’ because it is slender and shaped like a writing instrument, which makes it easier for tattoo artists to handle. Inside the machine, there is a small-sized motor that moves up and down needles repeatedly. This motion allows the needles to insert tattoo ink into the skin.
Pros and Cons of Tattoo Gun vs Tattoo Pen
Both of these offer beginner-friendly controls and are easy-to-use features. However, tattoo pens are known for their easy control and ergonomic design. This can be a plus advantage for tattoo artists who are just starting in the industry.
So, when it comes to ease for beginners, rotary tattoo machines are the winners as compared to coil models. Moreover, pen-style tattooing tools are the best beginner-friendly tattoo machines for learning and practicing body artwork.
Weight and Vibration
Usually, tattoo machines are more powerful and durable in their construction. This makes them perfect for heavy tattooing work, such as shading, filling in large areas, and creating bold and deep lines. However, their power comes at the cost of being quite heavy and producing excessive vibrations while running.
On the other hand, tattoo pens have a more ergonomic and lightweight design. This feature makes them ideal for longer tattooing sessions without causing wrist strain. Moreover, pen-style machines don’t generate much noise or vibration, unlike their bulkier counterparts.
Tattoo pens are versatile tools in tattooing work. These tattoo machines are equally good for lining, shading, and color packing. This versatility allows the artist to create a wide range of tattoo designs. In contrast, tattoo guns are less versatile. The reason for this is that they are primarily good for lining work and not ideal for shading.
Portability refers to how easily you can carry the machine with you when you’re on the go. Tattoo pens are designed to be lightweight, which makes them easy to carry. On the other hand, tattoo guns are heavy and bulky, which means you can’t carry them easily.
When it comes to comparing tattoo guns vs pens, the cost of tattoo machines cannot be ignored. Typically, tattoo guns are more affordable and come in a variety of budget-friendly options. Although tattoo pens are also quite reasonably priced, they are a bit more expensive compared to their competitors. However, you can check out this guide to find both kinds of affordable tattoo machines.
The durability of a tattooing tool depends on factors like brand, build quality, and maintenance of the tattoo machine. In general, tattoo guns are more durable and built for heavy work. Tattoo pens, on the other hand, are less durable. But, It does not mean rotary machines have very poor construction. Being lightweight means they’re not as durable as coil guns.
Are tattoo pens better than guns?
If you prefer beginner-friendly control, versatility, lightweight design, ease of use, and portability, then tattoo pens are definitely better. However, guns are better in terms of affordability, durability, and solid build quality.
Is a tattoo pen good for beginners?
The tattoo pen is the best choice for beginners due to its lightweight, ergonomic design, ease of use, and user-friendly controls. This makes it ideal for new artists to learn and practice tattooing on fake skin.
Which is more powerful, a gun or a pen?
Tattoo guns are more powerful as they use a direct power source from coil cables. At the same time, rotary pen machines use a smaller motor that does not provide power like direct coils.
Tattoo machines are important tools for artists, as they help to create fine designs. However, when it comes to tattoo guns vs tattoo pens, which one is best depends on individual preferences and style. The reason for this is that both offer different pros and cons.
But, in general, tattoo pens are lightweight and have an ergonomic design, making them the perfect choice for those who prefer these features. Moreover, rotary pen-style machines are also versatile, extremely portable, and do not produce much vibration during operation. However, they’re not as durable and powerful as tattoo guns.
On the other hand, tattoo guns are more durable, powerful, and affordable. Their power makes them ideal for heavy tattooing work. However, coil guns are very difficult to use, creating excessive vibration and noise. Similarly, they are not versatile for various tattooing tasks.
Flora Jones is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 5 years of experience working at various studios in Arizona. In addition to her artistry, she enjoys sharing her knowledge and expertise on various tattoo-related topics through her writing.