Different types of tattoo Needles (Complete guide)

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Different Types of Tattoo Needles

If you’re new in the art of tattooing, it might be overwhelming for you at first, therefore, you may have a lot of questions like what are needles? What are their kinds, how are they used, how is the ink used? and etc. Hold on, it’s normal.

Choosing the right needles is also a hard task for a beginner. So today, we have brought you the right information all about different types of tattoo needles and their different kinds, sizes, and uses.

For tattooing, you will need different sizes and types of needles for shadings and stylings. So for that purpose, this article will help you to find good needles and their usage and working.

One more thing you should keep in mind, a tattoo artist uses different needles for different clients. This means you don’t have to reuse a needle on other clients. Every time you are going to use a fresh new needle.

For further information let’s jump into this article. As I’m going to tell you the differences between the needles that most people don’t know. So please pay attention and read the article.

Different types of tattoo Needles

Regular coiling machine needles:

4 basic categories:

Magnum needle=M

Round liner=RL

Round Shader=RS

Flat Shader=FS

Magnum needle:

So the magnum needle is basically a needle that can color pack and shade and what a magnum really means is that the needles are connected into two rows which can help you shade in the tattoo or color it much faster rather than having one row that is mostly for shading. Magnums are organized so that the tips arch at the center.

For instance, if you had a huge piece to shade, I would recommend using a magnum instead of a regular shader. If you have a big piece to shade, use 7 or 9 sizes these are for big tattoos and wider space. 5 is small, it’s not for big pieces.

The pros to using a standard magnum are the fact it’s relatively easy to angle on its side to create a very thin line. Now, this can be done with a curved magnum but it’s not quite as easy as with the standard one.

The advantage of the curved magnum is it tends to give a softer effect on the shade and because of the way that the shape is less traumatic to the skin. They are better for the skin and are better ink dispersion. Lastly, they do less skin damage.

Regular Shader needles:

Remember that magnum has 2 rows of needles and a regular shader has only one roll of needles. As it is a round shader so the name indicates that its needles are round as well. But it’s still for shading.

So if you were to shade something really small like a circle, you would probably need to use the regular shader. You can also use the shader for small details and also color the puck with just a little tip.

Some people think that the way the needles are arranged will give a bolder thicker line. If you use these two lines. What actually happens, is if you line with these, you will get a line that has no definition and lacks a nice solid edge.

Round Liner:

Anything that says L on it in tattooing, indicates the lining needle. You can outline your tattoo with this liner. The 7 size is a very good size for traditional tattoos. It’s very thick. Generally, the round liner is the most commonly used needle in the industry.

It’s ideal for lining in big bold lines, little delicate lines, script, and dot work. Thus, round liners are tightly packed which makes them perfect for technical works.

Flat shader:

Next, we have a flat shader. These are used for shading and are arranged with a single row of needles. They are not so much used because they tend to slice the skin like a razor If you’re not too careful.

The advantage of these can’t needles is that it’s super easy to angle them and get a straight edge. Its shape lets it deliver the ink more into the skin.

The type of configuration is more popular with semi-permanent makeup artists. Using them in shading gives them good results.


 Can tattoo needles hit veins?

You don’t have to worry about your veins or something like that because tattooing is safe, your veins are not poked while tattooing, neither your skin blood is lost at all. However, sometimes your skin bleeds a bit but it’s fine and can be healed as well.

Why do tattoo artists use vaseline?

Tattoo artists generally use vaseline to gradually heal your skin, while tattooing your skin is also getting wounded so it needs to get healed quickly. And vaseline is best for healing purposes.

How do you fill a tattoo needle with ink?

All you have to do is place some amount of ink in any glass. Ensure it’s consistency is fine by steering and mixing it well. Next, you gotta dip your tattoo gun into the ink and make sure your puddle of the needle tube is filled with ink. That’s it.

 Which is the thinnest tattoo needle?

Tattoo needles are of different types and sizes for shading and different styles. The smaller the number is, the thinner your needle is. However, 3 is considered to be the thinnest needle.

Read information about how to make a temporary tattoo here


Now I’m pretty sure you have learned some new things about needles and their types to start your first tattoo. If you’re a beginner it would be a bit challenging but I know you can do it.

Moreover, now as you have also discovered how to choose a needle when working with different styles and shapes, it would be pretty easy for you to shade and color your piece of tattoo by selecting the right shape and size of needles.

7 and 9-size needles are perfect for shading big spaces, while 5 is good for small spaces or for lining as well.


Rosenkilde, Frank. “Tattoo machines, needles and utilities.” Tattooed Skin and Health. Vol. 48. Karger Publishers, 2015. 21-30.

Deter-Wolf, Aaron, and Carol Diaz-Granados. Drawing with great needles: ancient tattoo traditions of North America. University of Texas Press, 2013.

Schreiver, Ines, et al. “Distribution of nickel and chromium containing particles from tattoo needle wear in humans and its possible impact on allergic reactions.” Particle and fibre toxicology 16.1 (2019): 1-10.

Rosenkilde, Frank. “Tattoo machines, needles and utilities.” Tattooed Skin and Health. Vol. 48. Karger Publishers, 2015. 21-30.