Even the best tattoo machines in the world are of no use without a quality tattoo power supply. At the basic level, a tattoo power supply does just what it sounds like: provide the electricity that allows the tattoo machine to operate. But there are a lot of options out there, and choosing the best tattoo power supply can be tricky if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for. Choosing the right power supply for your tattooing setup is seriously important, since the wrong choice might mean you aren’t getting the best out of your tattoo machine.
Tattoo Power Supply Basics
The power supply controls the voltage flowing to your tattoo machine, which determines how hard the tattoo needle hits. There is no single ‘correct’ voltage at which you should run your tattoo machine, since the appropriate voltage depends on the style and specs of your tattoo machine, the style of the tattoo, your preferences as an artist, and the location on the body being tattooed. Generally speaking, lining and bold tattoo styles will want higher voltages (~5.5V and up), while shading, blending, and softer tattoo styles will want lower voltages. All tattoo power supplies offer some range of voltage adjustments. Most tattoo power supplies use clip cords or RCA cables to transfer power between the power supply and the tattoo machine. Most tattoo power supplies also provide the ability to connect accessories like a footswitch, allowing you to turn your tattoo machine off and on while keeping both hands available.
Types of Tattoo Power Supply
There are three basic styles of tattoo power supplies: analog, digital, and wireless. There are no major operational differences between the three types, but they do offer different conveniences. Analog machines are the oldest style, and their voltage meters are analog. Generally speaking, analog machines have lower maximum voltage outputs. Digital machines are newer and feature easier-to-read digital voltage meters. Wireless tattoo power supply units are the newest style, which typically feature digital voltage meters and do away with the cables and cords that run between the tattoo machine and the power supply. While they’re arguably the most convenient, they’re also the most expensive.
Picking the Best Tattoo Power Supply
There are hundreds of tattoo power supply options, but which one is best will depend on who you ask. To choose the correct tattoo power supply, consider your artistic style and your tattooing setup. If you have a bold style that needs a strong, consistent hit, you might want a power supply with a higher voltage threshold. If you regularly use multiple machines in a single session, perhaps you want a power supply that allows for multiple machines or for the storage of different power settings. Ultimately, knowing which power supply you need will depend on understanding the rest of your equipment and setup.
Browse our full collection of quality tattoo power supplies and accessories from industry-leading brands like Cheyenne, Critical, FK Irons, Peak, and Precision.