A tattoo power supply is as important to the creation of tattoos as the needles and guns are. The power supply regulates the current that the machine receives so it can control the movement of the needles. All tattoo artist needs a power supply.
We talked to several tattoo artists to find out what they considered to be the best tattoo power supply. We got recommendations from single artist shops and from shops with multiple artists. We also got the artist to explain what features the power units had that made them more beneficial for some artists than they are for others.
Top 6 Tattoo Machine Power Supply
#1. Tattoo Power Supply by Aurora
This power supply will work with virtually any tattoo machine. It is a versatile unit that has the ability to be compatible with both rotary machines and coil machines alike.
The foot pedal controls have two selections. You can have the momentary control that gives spurts of power when you need them. You can also have a constant power supply that is beneficial during shading.
The base of the unit is designed with a non-slip feature so the pedal does not run from your foot. It stays in position and is ready to use whenever you are ready to use it.
You tune the device and set the voltage that you need so it is customizable to suit your needs. The voltage is changed with a gentle touch to the screen and it has a one-button start that makes the device easy to power up.
- Pedal is easy to operate
- Can be used with almost every tattoo gun
- Touch screen is sensitive and you can accidentally make changes to voltage without realizing it
#2. Dual Digital Power Supply by Pirate Face
Pirate Face has designed a dual digital power supply that works with the majority of all tattoo machines. It has an easy-to-read digital display so there is never any question about what voltage you have the machine set to.
There are three connections on the front of the machine. One for lining work, one for shading work, and one that supports the foot control pedal. These plugs are standard audio jack-style plugs size 6.3 mm.
The power supply works flawlessly and provides you with the precise amount of voltage you need for the work you are doing. It is easy to set up and easy to use.
The machine is affordable and durable. It can work all day and always provide you the exact power you need without overheating or fluctuating.
- Uses common audio jack plug so you always have the right plug handy
- Connects more than one gun
- Easy to operate
- Foot pedal control only
#3. Dual Tattoo Power Supply by Dragonhawk
Versatility is designed for this power supply unit. You can operate both the coil tattoo machines or the rotary machines. You do not have to make any mode changes or switch anything to go from one gun to another gun using this device.
The power supplied to your machines is going to be smooth and flawless. That means the performance of your tattoo gun is going to be flawless, and the design you create is going to be more precise.
The machine comes with a clip cord or a foot pedal. You choose how you like to work. It is small and easy to transport so you can work from any location.
When making the adjustments you will notice the audible clicks each time the setting is increased or decreased. The knob is not overly sensitive and you have more control than with many similar devices. You can operate two machines from the same unit.
- Works with more than one type of machine
- Easy to transport
- Control knob eliminates accidental movement of setting
- Does not have digital read out for voltage amount
#4. Tattoo Power Supply by BRONC
The touch screen on this power supply sets it apart from the majority of similar devices. You easily control the settings by touching the screen. This screen is about the size of your smartphone, and it is backlit and easy to read.
The machine will remember your favorite settings so you can use the same model for lining on different designs without setting the machine up each time. This interactive device is designed to make your work easier and your choices more visible. It has a digital display that displays the current voltage, modes, and settings so you know what changes are needed in an instant.
This is a convenient device that is small, easy to use, and adjustable. You can use it with a clip cord or a foot pedal. You decide how you like to work and then let the machine work with you.
- Touch screen technology makes it user friendly
- Not compatible with every piece of tattoo equipment
#5. Battery Operated Power Supply by Mast Tattoo
You can go anywhere you want and create the most intricate tattoo designs using this battery-powered power supply. Your power source can power your tattoo guns and pens even if you are in a remote location that has no electrical supply.
This device is compatible with the majority of rotary tattoo machines. It will even provide a jump start to any machine that is a little sluggish or hard to get going. It is adjustable in 1 volt increments so it is capable of being set to the perfect voltage with little chance of mistake.
It is small and easy to carry. It is affordable for most budgets. It is practical and durable. It is user-friendly and strong enough to give you up to 11 V of power.
- Settings are precise so your voltage is never wrong
- Helps older equipment to run better
- May not last as long as some other power supplies do
#6. USB C Power Supply for Rotary Tattoo Machines by Illusionist
This is a new and innovative piece of equipment created by Illusionists. It weighs less than three ounces and is a cube designed to create perfect symmetry and balance.
This power supply can operate for up to 8 hours on one battery. If you are requiring a higher voltage the amount of time the battery can power the unit will be reduced.
The voltage adjustments are set in 0.1 volt increments. You can set this device for as many as 11 volts. It can be recharged by using the USB cable to plug it into a USB-supported device like a computer.
This unit is portable. It is easy to carry and easy to set up. It is user-friendly and will give you many hours of working voltage to practice your craft with.
- Precise adjustments allows you to have precise power
- Small and indiscreet
- Very easy to operate
- Not compatible with all tattoo equipment
Things to Remember Before Buying the Tattoo Machine Power Supply
The power supply you choose to hook your tattoo equipment to is a large part of the tools you will need to have a successful operation. In order for you to buy a power supply unit that is capable of creating enough power for your needs, you have to know the basics of these appliances.
I suggest making a list of the things you want your power supply to offer you. Then as you review different units you can see how many of your requirements the unit meets. This will allow you to choose a device designed to be beneficial to you.
110V or 220V
The 110V units are designed to work with the traditional electric supply in North America and the 220V are designed for European compatibility.
You have to consider how many tattoo machines you need to connect to the power supply. You might be just starting out but consider how many machines you might want to have in your shop in the next year or so. This will help you to decide which power supply is best for your circumstances.
The voltage number details the amount of power the device has. Higher voltage devices are more powerful than low voltage devices.
These devices customarily have voltages between 1 (the smallest) and 15 (the larger machines).
Digital or Analog
The digital power supply has a digital readout that is easy to see while you are working. The digital units are generally capable of delivering a greater amount of voltage. Many of these machines can provide 18V or more.
Analog machines are the less expensive of the power supply sources. They are an older style of equipment and it can take some time to get used to reading their displays. They do not have a simple read-out like the digital. They have a compass-style face that you must learn to decipher to be able to read the machine properly.
Some of the power supplies are small enough that a tattoo artist can easily carry them wherever they need to go. Since a large number of artists travel to do their work instead of having a brick-and-mortar establishment the portability, size, and weight of the power supply factor heavily into the choice.
The fluctuations of the machine are seen because while you are working you will need to apply differing amounts of pressure on portions of the tattoo design. When you apply greater pressure, the machine requires more power.
To handle the power fluctuations, you should choose a regulated machine. They are a little more costly but they can compensate for the fluctuations and allow the power to be uninterrupted so your machine works smoothly. If you are interested in tattoo stencil machines along with tattoo power supply, don’t miss our extensive article on tattoo stencil machine reviews.
We all know that we have to buy items that fit within our budget. It would be nice to simply buy what we wanted and not have to consider how much it cost, but the reality is that we have specific amounts we can afford to spend.
Most tattoo artists have to start out small with their equipment and then gradually buy higher-grade or more powerful items. You have to establish how much you can afford to spend, and then look at the devices that offer the greatest amounts of benefits within that price range.
Easy to Use
The number one feature that makes one power supply better than another is the difficulty in using the device. You want something you can easily set up and that is not difficult to operate and use.
Tattoo power supply and Foot pedal
The foot pedal of the power source controls the vertical movement of the needle on the tattoo machine. The foot pedal is the easy control that allows a tattoo artist to have their hands free for the work they are doing.
These pedals resemble the pedals on sewing machines. You depress the pedal with your foot to increase the power or speed, and you let up on the pedal to reduce the power or stop the machine.
By using the foot, the artist has both hands available. Most artists do their work from a seated position so the foot pedals are convenient and easy to use.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How important is power supply for tattooing?
Without a power supply, the tattoo artist would not have the ability to regulate the current of electricity that is sent to the tattoo machine. The power supply regulates how fast the needles move and give the artist a greater amount of control over the creation of the ink design.
What should the tattoo power supply be set at?
The most frequently used setting on a tattoo power supply is between 7.5 volts and 8.5 volts. This provides ample power for the majority of tattoo equipment and designs. When doing shading the artists usually set their machines between 8 volts and 10 volts.
How does a tattoo power supply work?
A power supply transfers the electricity from your standard outlet to the equipment you are using. The power supply can limit or control the amount of electricity pulsing through a machine to make the machine able to work faster or be capable of more detailed and precise work.
What is the best power supply for tattoos?
The best power supply is relative to the equipment you have and the type of tattoo work you will be engaged in. Shading requires greater voltage than the simple lining. Multiple tattoo guns will require a machine that can support them. Digital machines are the easiest to use and read, but they are also the costliest.
If you do not currently have a tattoo power supply then finding the perfect device at the best price is likely your goal. To find the perfect device you have to know what you need from the machine, and how much money you are able to spend on the machine.
Many artists like to have a gun set up to do the lining of the design and another gun established and ready to do the shading work with. They require a power supply that can support both guns and one that allows them to easily transfer the volts from one gun to the other with a simple flip of a switch.
To get the power supply that is going to be best for you review as many as possible, and pay close attention to the things people who own the devices have to say about them. You want dependability, durability, and flexibility.