There are many accessories tattoo artists need to properly operate and control their machine, and tattoo tips are one of the most essential. Tattoo tips sit at the end of the grip and help control the tattoo needle as it exits the tattoo tube. There are three main types of tattoo tips, and which one you need will depend on the design you’re executing and the type of needle you’re using. While you might rely on one type of tattoo tip more than the others, you should always have a selection of all three available to make sure you can use any setup a job requires.
Types of tattoo tips
Diamond tattoo tips are V-shaped, cradling the needle as it travels for maximum stability and support. This makes diamond tips ideal for creating fine, detailed lines. They’re most often used with individual needles or small needle configurations such as 3 and 5 round liners or round shaders. Additionally, the opening on the top of diamond tips allow you to see the needle very clearly.
Round tattoo tips are round, as the name suggests, and can better accommodate larger needle configurations than diamond tips. While they don’t stabilize the needle as effectively as diamond tips, they’re a better choice for creating thicker lines. Round tips are most commonly used with various round liner and round shader needle configurations.
Flat tattoo tips have a flat opening that can accommodate flat tattoo needle configurations. Flat needles and tips are best for filling and shading, especially across large areas or inside of geometric shapes. Some experienced artists also use them for line work, since flat needles are set in a line to begin with.
Magnum tattoo tips are a subset of flat tips designed for use with flat, magnum, or stacked magnum needle configurations. These setups are ideal for large-area filling, shading and blending, or any other project that requires maximum ink flow.
Reusable and disposable tattoo tips
Stainless steel tattoo tips are autoclavable, which means they are completely reusable. While reusable stainless steel tattoo tips will save you money in the long run, they’re more expensive per piece than disposable tips, and also require you to have autoclave and all of its necessary equipment.
If that all sounds like too much hassle, you can also purchase single-use plastic tattoo tips, which typically come as a combined tube/tip or tube/tip/grip unit. These are individually packaged in sterile bags, so you never have to worry about disinfecting them. But you will have to keep a good inventory of your supply and continually purchase more of them.