Professional Tattoo Needles

Sometimes it can be really hard and even impossible to look at all types of tattoo needles and try to choose the right one for each situation. What do all the codes mean? How is a round liner tattoo needle different from a magnum? But this should not be a big deal if you understand the four defining properties of a tattoo needle. Those four defining qualities are needle diameter, needle count (number of points), needle configuration and needle taper. On top of those four defining properties, you have a bunch of brands from which to choose.

The most common diameters are 0.25mm (#8), 0.30mm (#10), and 0.35mm (#12). The other less common options are 0.40mm (#13) and 0.20mm (#6). #12 is the most popular diameter for tattoo needles overall, and #10 is the most popular size for lining. Please note that when we talk about "needle diameter", we're talking about the diameter of each individual needle in a grouping/configuration.

Typical Needle Counts are 01 (one needle), 03 (three needles), 04 (four needles), 05 (five needles), 07 (seven needles), 08 (eight needles), 09 (nine needles), 11 (eleven needles), 14 (fourteen needles), and 18 (eighteen needles). So in the case of 1005RL, you're looking at a group of 5 #10-diameter tattoo needles.


The needle configuration indicates how the needles are grouped together. The most common needle configurations are Round Shader (RS), Round Liner (RL), Flat (F), Magnum (M1), Curved Magnum (M1C), and Stacked Magnum (M2).

Although the type of taper a needle has isn't typically included in tattoo needle codes and is only sometimes included in the product names, it's another aspect of tattoo needles that tattoo artists typically take into consideration. There are short taper, long taper, extra long taper, and even super long taper tattoo needles.

It's really important to choose the right needle for a certain type of work. Round Liners are typically used for creating an outline of a tattoo. Round Shaders are used for filling in color, blending and shading a tattoo after the outline has been done. Flats are used to achieve tonal gradations in tattooing. Magnums are used for filling in color, blending and shading a tattoo after the outline has been done, and they can also be used for lining if turned to the side. Stacked Magnums are used for color, blending, and shading tighter large areas.

It’s important for you to try out different brands and types in order to choose the needles that work best for your work and your tattoo machine. You'll have to go through a degree of experimentation to find out which needles yield the best results in your hands.

Please keep in mind that all tattoo needles are disposable and can not be used twice, so you should always have the necessary amount of needles.

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