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If you want to up your game as a tattoo artist then owning a tattoo stencil machine is a must. Drawing the design on transfer paper by hand takes a lot of time—time you could be using to do the actual tattoo.
In this tattoo stencil machine 2023 buyers guide you will read what exactly this machine does and we will list the top four best thermal tattoo stencil machines to choose from.
First things first; what is a tattoo stencil machine? Well, it is a quick and easy way to get your tattoo design on stencil paper, which you can then transfer to the skin. Without a tattoo stencil machine, you would have to copy the design onto the transfer paper by hand. This can be very time consuming if the design is very large with intricate detail.
These kinds of printers vary from traditional ink printers. They’re called thermal printers because heat is used to transfer the image onto special carbon paper. You can imagine that such specialized equipment isn’t cheap to buy. If you compare them to other tattooing equipment, they’re a little costly but well worth the money.
We put together a list of the top four tattoo stencil machines to help you make the right choice and not waste money on a subpar piece of equipment.
What Makes a Good Tattoo Stencil Machine?
Before we look at the best tattoo stencil machines, let’s break down what constitutes a good thermal copier.
Quality is the most important thing to consider. Remember that the stencil is a vital part of the tattoo. If it is badly printed—creating an unclear or incomplete image—it will be near impossible to do the tattoo. Since you’ll be spending a significant amount of money on your thermal tattoo stencil machine, make sure you get a model that offers high quality and can do what you need it to.
The machines listed here basically have the same settings—deepness, mirror, copy, etc. These are important settings to look for when you choose your tattoo stencil machine. Although you get cheaper machines, they don’t come with all the necessary settings and will end up being a waste. What’s more, you want a machine that has an error light to warn when something is wrong such as when it is overheating.
Cheaper models tend to overheat easily due to low-quality parts used in manufacturing. Avoid any machines with hot bulbs or rods inside—using the machine once may cause these kinds of machines to run hot.
If you’re a traveling tattoo artist who sets up shop around the country, you have to buy a machine that is light in weight and easily packed and stored.
Easy to Use
Some tattoo stencil machines are overly complicated. Although most settings—especially between the machines listed in this article—are universal, you do get models that are more difficult to understand and not as user-friendly.
Now it’s time to reveal the best of the best tattoo stencil machines.
Best Tattoo Stencil Machines overviewTable could not be displayed.
4 Best Tattoo Stencil Machines
1. Life Basis Tattoo Transfer Machine: Best Pick
This is one of the most popular thermal printers on the market currently. Tattoo professionals are especially fond of this machine due to its functionality—it has copy, mirror, and deepness settings, which can be tweaked for best results. Furthermore, it’s not only a tattoo printer but also a thermal copier machine. This means copying an already sketched design or printing out a digital one is the press of a button away.
The Life Basis thermal tattoo machine ticks another box: it weighs in at 2.5 lbs (1.17 kg) making it lightweight enough to move around easily or travel with. It’s also compact, so you won’t be wasting a lot of counter space.
When it comes to usability, it’s simple to understand and operate. It doesn’t have unnecessary knobs or parts that you need to set up to get started. Just feed it some thermal transfer paper, press a button or two, and in less than a minute you’ll have your stencil. That’s considerably less time than it would’ve taken you to draw it out by hand, right?
Reasons why you should invest in the Life Basis tattoo stencil machine, include:
- It’s a thermal copier and a tattoo printer.
- It has two deepness settings.
- It’s super lightweight and compact.
2. Yilong Tattoo Transfer Stencil Machine: Most Durable
If you’re in the market for a high-quality tattoo copier that’s durable, then you should consider buying the Yilong tattoo transfer machine. Like the Life Basis, this machine is a normal copier as well as a tattoo stencil printer.
With this machine as part of your tattoo equipment, your hand will get a well-deserved break from tracing designs over and over again. You’ll have more time to do what you love: tattooing.
The mirror copy mode gives this machine an extra tick in the pros box since you no longer need to flip your tattoo designs on a computer. Just press the mirror button and you’re set to go.
The fact that it is easy to use makes it a solid pick as a thermal tattoo stencil machine. But that’s not all; it is made with ABS plastics, which makes it sturdy and resilient.
If you travel all over the globe to practice your art, you’d be happy to learn that you can take your Yilong with you anywhere in the world since it is dual voltage.
Why should you make the Yilong tattoo transfer machine part of your tattoo kit?
- It’s quiet and fast.
- It has dual voltage.
- It takes A4 and A5 thermal paper.
3. ATOMUS Tattoo Stencil Machine: Budget-Friendly Option
If you’ve been in the tattoo industry for a while you’ll be familiar with the Atomus brand—they manufacture other tattoo equipment too. Since this brand knows all about tattooing, it knew what features to include to make it one of the best tattoo stencil machines available.
It comes with everything you need and you can expect to get only the best results. The quality of the printing is impressive and this is extra impressive considering that the Atomus is somewhat cheaper than the other brands on the list.
One of the other positives of the Atomus is that it works fast. This means that overheating is very unlikely.
Something else that is worth a mention is the brand’s thoughtfulness—they provide enough information so that you can make an informed decision and not buy a machine that won’t meet your needs.
The only downside is that there are a lot of fakes going around. So, to avoid buying a printer that is guaranteed to break, make sure you shop at reputable places only.
The Atomus is the best tattoo stencil machine for you because:
- It is more affordable than other brands.
- Offers high-quality printing.
- 100% money-back guarantee.
4. Zinnor Tattoo Transfer Copier: Good Resolution Output
If you buy the Zinnor, you can look forward to long-term use since it is made from durable ABC plastic. It also comes with all the necessary features, including changing the deepness and resolution of the image.
The quality of printing you can expect is good—nothing more and nothing less. This is unfortunate considering that the Zinnor is more costly when compared with other choices on this list.
The only reason why the Zinnor made the cut is the machine’s resolution output. It comes with a scanning resolution of 8dot/mm (horizontal) and 7.7line/mm (vertical). When combined with the Deepness setting, you’ll end up with a tattoo design with clearly defined detail.
The Zinnor is the machine for you if:
- You’re looking for a durable machine.
- You want a machine that is easy to use.
- You want a tattoo stencil printer making machine with USB.
Stencil machines are on the expensive side when it comes to tattoo equipment but you won’t regret buying one. After reading this article, you should know what to look for when buying a thermal tattoo stencil machine. You also now know the four best tattoo stencil machines on the market, which should make your decision a little easier.
Whatever brand you decide to go with, if you’re serious about being a tattoo artist, and plan on seeing clients regularly, you need a stencil machine in your shop. Not only will you look professional, but you’ll also save a lot of time you’d normally be sitting tracing designs onto stencil paper. We know you’d much rather spend your time putting needle to skin!