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Finding the right tattoo machine is paramount—you’ll be spending up to eight (maybe more) hours with it a day. You also want a tattoo machine that brings out the best of your capabilities as an artist. Regrettably, choosing a tattoo machine can feel like swimming in a never-ending river of confusion.
That being said, one of the tattoo machines made by Cheyenne may just be your perfect fit. This manufacturer is renowned for its technological innovation and high quality all around the globe. You’ll be spoilt for choice once you look through their catalogue of liners, shaders, and all-rounder tattoo pens.
To make your choice a little more straightforward, this in-depth buyer’s guide will look at some of the most popular Cheyenne tattoo machines and give you a breakdown of what you need to know.
What you need to know about Cheyenne Tattoo Machines
Cheyenne started in Germany in 2006. They’re by no means an experienced brand but backed by German quality assurance and innovative design, they’ve taken the tattoo industry by storm. They offer several different styles of tattoo machines and release new rotary models regularly. But no matter the machine you pick up, you can expect precision and definition every time.
There are two families of tattoo machines in the Cheyenne stable: SOL and HAWK.
The machines in the HAWK series are built to resemble the ‘classics’ in the tattoo industry but with Cheyenne’s own design twist that ended up revolutionising the tattoo market. These machines have a considerably lower weight when compared to others. They have hardly any noticeable vibrations, which makes tattooing for long stretches while maintaining precision a possibility.
The SOL tattoo machine series is where this manufacturer’s innovation shines. They come equipped with brushless DC motors and a balanced drive mechanism. That’s a very technical way of saying you can expect a durable and reliable tattoo machine that isn’t noisy and won’t tire your hand out with endless vibration. These machines offer constant hit and stitch frequency.
Now that we covered that, let’s look at the Cheyenne tattoo machines.
4 Best Cheyenne Tattoo Machines on the market now
1. Cheyenne SOL Nova: Tattoo Pen
Looking at all the Cheyenne tattoo machines it is clear that one of the manufacturer’s goals is to create a machine that makes limited noises. When compared to its predecessor, and first-ever pen tattoo machine, the HAWK pen, the SOL Nova is the quietest tattoo machine Cheyenne has yet produced.
Don’t for one moment think that Cheyenne sacrificed any power to create such a quiet machine—the SOL Nova runs like a beast. The brushless DC motor ensures effective impact that leads to faster ink saturation. That being said, for all its power, it remains gentle on the skin.
The low vibration of this machine is also worth noting. You’ll be able to tattoo for longer sessions without a shaking machine contributing to hand fatigue.
The SOL Nova’s frequency range makes it a very versatile tattoo machine. At its lowest frequency (25 Hz), you can use it for dot work or pepper-shading and at its highest (150 Hz), you can expect precision lining.
It should be clear that the range offered by SOL Nova is out of this world. But wait, we’re not done yet. This Cheyenne tattoo machine’s ergonomic design is outstanding.
The pen size is small and weighs approximately 150g. It is well-balanced and the weight distribution is spot on. Designed so that the weight is mostly in the front, tattooing for longer stretches at a time shouldn’t be a problem. We do have to mention that the SOL Nova is slightly thicker—and thus heavier—than the Cheyenne Hawk Pen model. This is due to the motor configuration, but as mentioned, the location of the motor helps distribute the weight evenly.
We appreciate the fact that the stroke length adjustment doesn’t require disassembly—you can go from lining to detailing to shading with little fuss.
As with all other Cheyenne tattoo machines, ISO standards for medical equipment are used when manufactured.
If you’re still not sure about the Cheyenne SOL Nova tattoo machine, consider:
- It’s easily adjustable.
- Works well on all skin types thanks to the motor’s low vibrations.
- It makes virtually no noise.
- It’s fast and easy to set up.
We do have to mention that replacement cartridges are priced quite high, which may be a turn-off to some buyers.
2. Cheyenne SOL Luna and SOL Terra: Shading Black and White
You can think of these two Cheyenne tattoo machines as twins—not identical but similar.
The Luna was designed with a focus on shading, especially black and grey shading work, but the machine can work for lining as well. This is thanks to the two available operating modes: Sensidrive and Hardrive (available on the Terra, as well).
The Sensidrive mode adjusts the speed of the motor and consequently the give. This is advantageous when you know you’re going to cover different areas of skin. Taking into account the type of skin you’re tattooing on, you may need to go softer in some areas, decreasing the give.
You can think of Hardrive mode as “standard operating mode.” The power of the motor won’t change. The hit on the skin will stay hard and consistent. You will need to use your experience to adjust the give.
The two main differences between the Luna and Terra Cheyenne tattoo machines is the stroke length and shape of the motorhead.
The Luna has a stroke length of 2,5 mm, which is perfect for shading black and grey work, while the Terra has a stroke length of 4 mm. This makes the Terra better for lining and colour packing. Switching between the modes mentioned above will enhance either the shading or lining.
The Terra’s motorhead is slightly wider than that of the Luna.
Both these Cheyenne tattoo machines have very minimal noise levels. Again, this is advantageous if you plan on tattooing for hours on end—both your and your client’s ears will thank you.
3. SOL Nova Unlimited: Wireless Cheyenne Tattoo Machine
If you take the excellent features of the SOL Nova but strip it of all the limitations that come with wires, then you get Cheyenne’s first wireless tattoo machine, the SOL Nova Unlimited.
It functions exactly like a power unit but all it takes is the push of a single button and you’re ready to get inking, and of course, you have an extended range of movement thanks to the unit being cordless.
When it comes to innovative design, the SOL Nova Unlimited is testimony to the manufacturer’s ability to think out of the box. The Cheyenne SOL Nova Unlimited also works through motion control. That is a first in the tattoo industry! If you want to make any adjustments to the settings, all you need to do is hold the button and tilt the machine. This cuts down on time wasted on stopping, adjusting, and starting again.
Furthermore, the machine runs longer than the spare battery needs to charge, so you can expect to operate the Cheyenne SOL Nova Unlimited for long periods. You’re looking at a minimum running time of five hours, while the spare battery only needs three hours to charge. The machine weighs 184 g with the battery inserted.
There are two versions for you two choose from, each with a different stroke length. The Unlimited 3.5 works great for lining and shading, while the Unlimited 4.4 is best suited for extensive lining and colour packing.
These machines offer two operating modes: steady and reactive. Steady Mode keeps the hit and frequency constant, whereas Responsive Mode switches the machine to have a more reactive hit and frequency.
4. Cheyenne HAWK Thunder: Robust Liner and Colour-Packer
Under the HAWK stable, Cheyenne took the tattoo industry by storm. The introduction of the original HAWK to the rotary tattoo machine market was a momentous occasion and from there on, Cheyenne rotary tattoo machines have gone from strength to strength.
The low weight and low vibrations of the HAWK changed the game by allowing artists to create precision tattoo designs for longer stretches at a time.
Cheyenne’s focus has been on manufacturing machines that combine smooth running, ergonomics, quality, and low noise. They succeeded and have set the bar high for other rotary tattoo machine makers.
The Cheyenne HAWK Thunder delivers strong pigmentation thanks to its 4mm stroke. The machine is robust and perfect for bold lining and color packing. It also comes with Responsive Mode that regulates the hit rate and frequency.
As with all other HAWK rotary tattoo machines, the HAWK Thunder has a low weight, great ergonomic design, and excellent workmanship. It is a powerful machine yet gentle machine of superior quality.
The Cheyenne HAWK Spirit is the Thunder’s gentler sister—but she still packs a punch. With a 2.5mm stroke, the Cheyenne HAWK Spirit is best suited for shading and filling. These two machines are frequently bought together. They both have an unmatched price-performance ratio and belong in any serious tattoo artist’s kit.
As far as innovation goes, Cheyenne tattoo machines are top of the range. The brand’s emphasis on creating powerful yet light-weight and quiet guns have revolutionised the tattoo machine game.
The fact that all the machines are perfect all-in-one tattoo guns, yet each model comes with its own distinguishing features makes the Cheyenne brand perfect for beginner and pro tattoo artists. This versatility is unmatched in the industry.
One thing is sure, you can’t go wrong when you buy any of the Cheyenne tattoo machines on the market. All you have to do is figure out your style and what machine best suits you.
One of their machines is sure to fit your hand perfectly and if not, then you can wait until they drop another mind-blowing model on the market.