Wireless vs Wired Tattoo Machine: What You Need to Know

Are you considering buying a new tattoo machine? If so, you may wonder if you should buy a wireless or wired model.

Choosing the right kind of tattoo machine is essential for producing great work. Wireless and wired machines have advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to understand their differences before purchasing.

Here’s a look at what you need to know about wireless vs wired tattoo machines to help you decide.

Key Takeaways:

  • Both types of machines have advantages and disadvantages depending on the application they’re used for.
  • Consider factors such as power, portability, cost, and ease of use before deciding which type of machine to purchase.
  • Research thoroughly to ensure you purchase a high-quality tattoo machine that meets your needs.

Wireless Vs Wired Tattoo Machine: Overview

Wireless and wired tattoo machines are the two main types of equipment available to tattoo artists. 

The discussion about a wireless vs wired tattoo machine often centers around two main features:

  • Power
  • Portability

Wireless tattoo machines offer the CONVENIENCE of being cordless but may be more expensive than wired models. 

Wired machines are typically CHEAPER but require a power source, such as a generator or outlet.

Both types have unique features and benefits, so it is essential to consider your needs before making a purchase.

5 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Tattoo Machine

When choosing a tattoo machine, there are a few key factors to consider. Let’s take a closer look:

1. Type Of Work

The type of work you plan to do will determine which machine is best for your needs. 

If you plan to do a lot of DETAILED work, then a wireless model may be more suitable due to its flexibility and convenience.

On the other hand, if you mostly create outlines or LARGER pieces, then a wired tattoo machine may be more suitable due to its lower cost and higher power output.

wireless vs wired tattoo machine, what to choose

2. Ergonomics And Comfort

If comfort is important to you, it’s worth considering how EASY it is to use each type of machine.

Wireless machines are generally easier to operate and can provide greater freedom of movement than their wired counterparts. 

However, wired machines offer more control over the needle speed, power, and depth settings.

3. Budget Allocation

Another important factor to consider is your budget. 

Wireless tattoo machines are often more expensive than wired models, so a wired machine may be the better option if you’re working on a tight budget.

However, it’s important to remember that QUALITY matters when it comes to tattoo machines, and cheap price tags don’t always mean good quality.

4. Reviews

It’s also a good idea to read reviews from other tattoo artists to get an idea of which machines are the best. 

This will help you make an INFORMED decision when choosing between wireless and wired tattoo machines.

5. Brand Reputation

Lastly, choosing a reputable brand known for producing high-quality products is essential when buying a tattoo machine. 

This will ensure that the equipment you purchase is built to LAST and can give you professional results.

Pro Tip: No matter which type you choose, always keep the machine clean and lubricated to avoid any problems during use.

6 Advantages Of A Wireless Tattoo Machine

Wireless tattoo machines offer several key benefits. Take a look at a few of them below:

1. Convenience

Going cordless offers the added FREEDOM of moving around without worrying about finding a power source. 

This makes wireless machines ideal for those who travel frequently or perform tattoos.

2. Improved Design

Due to their cordless nature, many wireless models feature ERGONOMIC designs that are comfortable and easy to use.

artist tattooing with wireless tattoo machine

Wireless tattoo machines also tend to be LIGHTWEIGHT and portable, making them ideal for artists who are short on space but still want great results.

3. Enhanced Performance

Thanks to their superior design and build quality, many wireless models offer IMPROVED performance compared with their wired counterparts. 

In general, they run more smoothly and quietly than wired machines.

4. Flexibility

Wireless machines can be used in any environment, even OUTDOORS. 

This makes them great for outdoor tattoo events or conventions that require a more flexible setup than a wired machine might provide.

5. No cords

Without cords, there is no need to worry about tripping over wires or plugging into outlets. This increases SAFETY in the workplace and allows for a cleaner workspace overall.

6. Reduced Setup Time

Since there are no cords, setting up a wireless machine takes much LESS time than a wired one. This makes it perfect for those who are pressed for time or need to get a tattoo done quickly.

4 Disadvantages Of A Wireless Tattoo Machine

While wireless machines offer several advantages, they also come with drawbacks. Some common disadvantages associated with wireless tattoo machines include the following:

1. High Cost

Because of their advanced design and construction, wireless models tend to be more EXPENSIVE than wired ones. 

This can make them unaffordable for some artists, especially those just starting.

2. Short Battery Life

The battery life of most wireless machines is LIMITED and needs to be recharged frequently. This makes them unsuitable for long sessions or tattoos requiring extended periods without interruption.

3. Limited Power

Most wireless machines have limited power output compared to wired models, making them less effective for shading and other detailed work. 

They may also STRUGGLE with thick lines due to reduced power.

4. Inability to Upgrade

Since wireless machines are typically pre-assembled, they cannot be easily upgraded or modified with additional components. 

This means that artists may have to PURCHASE a new machine if they need more features or better performance.

Pro Tip: If you’re looking for a machine that can do shading and outlining, choose a model with adjustable power levels.

5 Advantages Of A Wired Tattoo Machine

Wired tattoo machines offer several advantages over their wireless counterparts. Some of the most notable benefits include:

1. Better Cost

Due to their simpler design and construction, wired machines such as rotary tattoo machines are typically much CHEAPER than wireless models.

This makes them great for those on a tight budget or who want an affordable option with good performance.

2. Greater Power Output

Wired machines have a GREATER power output than wireless ones, allowing for more efficient shading and detailed work [1].

artist doing shading with wired tattoo machine

They can also handle HEAVIER lines without struggling as much as a wireless machine might. For example, a rotary tattoo machine would be great for shading.

3. Easy To Upgrade

Since wired machines use parts that can be removed and replaced, upgrading is SIMPLE and cost-effective. Artists can add features like rotary motors or change the design to suit their needs.

4. No Battery Concerns

Unlike wireless models, wired machines DON’T require batteries and therefore have no battery life concerns. This eliminates any worries about running out of power mid-tattoo.

5. More Reliable

Wired machines are generally more RELIABLE than their wireless counterparts since they don’t require batteries. 

This means they can be used in environments where battery life is an issue, such as conventions or outdoor events.

Pro Tip: In the tattoo industry, conventions are an essential part of business, so make sure you invest in a reliable wired machine.

4 Disadvantages Of A Wired Tattoo Machine

While wired machines offer several advantages, they also come with their own set of drawbacks. These include:

1. Cords

Wired machines require cords to connect to a power source, which can be INCONVENIENT and potentially dangerous if not handled properly.

This means setting up the machine safely so the cords won’t cause tripping hazards.

2. Restrictive Movement

Since they are tethered to one spot, the cords make it difficult for artists to move around FREELY during tattooing sessions. 

This makes them less suitable for larger tattoos or those that require frequent movement.

3. Noise

Wired machines produce MORE noise than wireless ones due to their high-power motors. 

This may be an issue in areas where noise levels, such as hospitals or residential homes, must be low.

4. Limited Range

Because of the cords, wired machines have a LIMITED range and cannot be used in remote locations without access to a power outlet. 

This may make them unsuitable for specific applications, such as outdoor events.

Pro Tip: When using wired tattoo equipment, use an extension cord to move around freely during the tattooing process.

Choosing Between Wireless And Wired Tattoo Machines

Choosing between a wireless and wired tattoo machine will DEPEND on the artist’s needs and preferences.

Wireless machines are great for those looking for convenience, portability, and affordability, while wired machines offer greater power output, reliability, and upgradability.

Ultimately, it comes down to finding a BALANCE between performance and practicality that works best for the individual user. 

It is important to consider all the pros and cons before deciding, as both types have advantages and disadvantages.

Additionally, doing some RESEARCH into different brands can help determine which type of machine would suit your specific requirements.

Once you’ve decided which machine is suitable for you, purchase one with quality components to get the best performance and results from your tattooing sessions.

9 Tips For Buying The Right Tattoo Machine

When shopping for a tattoo machine, here are some tips to keep in mind:

understand the rotary tattoo machine anatomy

1. Look At the Power Output

Wireless machines often have LOWER power output than wired ones, so consider the type of work you will be performing when making your decision.

2. Evaluate Upgradability

Wired machines allow for EASY modifications and upgrades, while wireless models may require more complex changes to achieve desired performance.

3. Think About Convenience

If PORTABILITY is essential to you, then a wireless machine may be the best choice since it does not require cords or batteries.

4. Assess Noise Levels

Some wired machines can produce more noise than wireless models, so consider your ENVIRONMENT before making a purchase.

5. Consider Battery Life

Wireless machines require batteries and must be recharged FREQUENTLY, while wired models do not have this limitation.

6. Take Note Of The Range

Wired machines can only work within a CERTAIN distance from the power source, so think about how far you need to move when tattooing before deciding.

7. Read Reviews

Again, please research and read reviews from other artists who have used both kinds of tattoo machine to get an HONEST opinion on what works best for them.

8. Talk To Professionals

If you’re still unsure which machine is right for you, seek advice from an EXPERIENCED tattoo artist or technician who can offer their expertise.

9. Test The Machine

Ultimately, it’s essential to test both a wireless and wired machine BEFORE committing to one to ensure it meets your needs and preferences.

Pro Tip: If all else fails, consider hiring a professional to help you find a model that meets your needs and budget.


Which Type Of Tattoo Machine Is Better For Beginners?

artist using wireless tattoo machine

Wireless is the best type of tattoo machine for beginners. It is often the best choice as it is usually easier to use and requires less maintenance.

Will I Need Additional Tools Or Accessories If I Purchase A Wired Machine?

Yes, you may need to purchase additional accessories, such as an extension cord or power supply, to use a wired machine.

What’s The Average Battery Life Of A Wireless Machine?

The average battery life of a wireless machine can vary greatly, depending on the make and model. Generally speaking, most models last between 4-6 hours when used continuously.

How Often Should I Replace Components On A Wireless Or Wired Machine?

The frequency of component replacement will depend on the type of machine and how often it is used. Generally, components should be replaced every 12-24 months or sooner.


As you can see, when asking yourself what you need to know about wireless vs wired tattoo machines, there are many things to consider.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference and what will work best for your individual needs as an artist.

If you’re still unsure which type of machine is right for you, reach out to a professional tattoo artist or shop owner for his/her opinion.

With so many options on the market, finding the perfect tattoo machine doesn’t have to be difficult – it takes a little research (and some trial and error) to find the one that works best for you.

wireless vs wired tattoo machine, what to choose

So, which one are you going to buy? Let me know in the comments section!


1. CHOOSING A TATTOO POWER SUPPLY [Internet]. Painful Pleasures. Available from: https://www.painfulpleasures.com/community/help-center/tattoo-information/choosing-tattoo-power-supply/

About Edith Russo

Edith is a self-made entrepreneur with a keen business sense that others admire and a total “can-do” attitude. She’s always coming up with new ideas to anticipate her readers’ needs and help solve all their toughest beauty and skincare problems. READ HER LATEST ARTICLES. FOLLOW HER on Linkedin and Twitter. Learn more about her HERE.