The popularity of tattoo cartridges began with the introduction of the rotary tattoo machine, taking over from the existing coil. The new rotary technology enabled tattooists to do all the work with just one machine instead of the several coil machines needed previously.
Coinciding with this, it was necessary to use a new type of needle that could not only be changed quickly, but was also hygienic and safe. The result was to adapt needle cartridges, featuring a safety membrane and used in the PMU sector, to the needs of mainstream tattooing and thus was the birth and triumph of the tattoo cartridge as we know it today. And also the end of long prep and clean up times for the tattoo session!
Tattoo cartridges are not only more hygienic and easier to use than their needle counterparts, but also incredibly practical and time-saving. In our article we show you what is important when it comes to choosing your tattoo cartridges and which ones are the best on the market.
Why Tattoo Cartridges?
The main advantage of using tattoo cartridges over traditional tattoo needles is amazingly obvious; instead of having to prepare several tattoo machines, it’s easy to just change the configuration of your cartridge, saving a lot of preparation and follow-up time.
In addition, it’s easier to work hygienically than with conventional bar needles. The tattoo cartridge is a module sealed to the machine (be sure to check the safety membrane – more on this in the next section), which prevents liquids from entering the tattoo machine. This is therefore an effective way to prevent cross-contamination and reduces the amount of machine and workspace cleaning required after the session.
There are however a few things to consider, as there is an overwhelming variety of tattoo cartridges to choose from.
What to look for when buying tattoo cartridges
The most important thing to look for when buying tattoo cartridges is to make sure that they are hygienically flawless. The needle modules should be individually packaged and E.O Gas sterilised ensuring that the needles don’t carry germs or foreign items into the tattoo.
When buying tattoo cartridges, you should also make sure that the cartridges have a membrane. This safety membrane primarily prevents liquid from running into the tattoo machine and thereby contaminating the machine. Moreover, the membrane pulls the tattoo needle back into the module after each stroke.
In addition to the above, the quality of the cartridge itself and the quality of the needles inside are also important. The material of the cartridge should be made of abrasion-resistant medical plastic, so that no plastic abrasions can accumulate and penetrate into the fresh tattoo.
When it comes to needle quality, it depends on the task. For smaller tattoos that can be done in a short session, you could use a range of needles of differing quality. Nevertheless, the needles should be sufficiently sharp and able to transport the colour well. For longer sessions, a very high needle quality is essential. The needles should be made of high-grade steel and be cleanly soldered. The major manufacturers consistently offer high quality needles and plastic.
The Best Tattoo Cartridges
Let’s move on to the best tattoo cartridges currently available on the market. These tattoo cartridges stand for the highest quality and are excellent to work with:
Bishop Da Vinci V2: When it comes to needle quality and the level of precision, Bishop Rotary sets the standard with their Da Vinci cartridges. The needle cartridges are of such high quality that even the famous Leonardo Da Vinci would probably have worked with them.
This is because they offer a unique flow of ink onto the tattoo needles, which are made of surgical 304 stainless steel and allow for perfectly smooth work. With these needles from Bishop, every line is like a brushstroke of the famous painter and brings tattoo art to its highest level.
Da Vinci cartridges are manufactured in the USA and are subject to extensive quality control, which guarantees that only perfect tattoo cartridges make it to the tattoo artist. Thanks to the excellent soldering quality and needle sharpness, the skin is less damaged with the V2 and the ink stays in the skin more effectively and heals faster than with conventional needles.
TATSoul Envy Gen 2: Envy Gen 2 cartridges from TATSoul have hit the tattoo scene like a bomb. Envy needles have been a favourite among tattoo artists for years, as the needles have an incredibly good quality and sharpness that easily holds up during long sessions.
With Envy Gen 2, TATSoul has set a completely new quality standard, as the excellent workmanship combined with automated quality control delivers needles that are always “on point” – in the truest sense of the name.
Thanks to the innovative finger bar right on the cartridge, Envy Gen 2 cartridges are easy to hold and allow you to work even more precisely. With a huge range of configurations that are constantly being expanded, there is no wish left unfulfilled and the right Envy Gen 2 cartridge is available for every style and every task.
Kwadron: Kwadron cartridges have become one of the most popular brands in recent years. And this is completely justified. The needles are of excellent quality and remain sharp and precise even during long sessions. The transparent gold-coloured housing made of abrasion-resistant medical plastic makes it easy to observe the ink flow.
Kwadron takes feedback from its customers and their Pro Team seriously and is constantly improving its needle modules to offer some of the best tattoo cartridges available. The incredible range of configurations leaves nothing to be desired with the right needle modules for every style and artist in the range.
Cheyenne Safety, Craft & Capillary Cartridges: Cheyenne Safety Cartridges are an absolute classic and have long been considered the gold standard among tattoo cartridges. One could say that Cheyenne revolutionised the tattoo world with their Safety Cartridges and thus also paved the way for rotary tattoo machines. As the parent company, MT. DERM, is active in permanent make-up, where needle cartridges and rotary machines have been used for many years, it was only a matter of time before the concept was transferred to the tattoo market.
Cheyenne since has expanded its product range to include the so-called Craft Cartridges, which are supposed to be a more economical alternative to their Safety Cartridges. The latest evolution of the Cheyenne cartridges are their Capillary Cartridges. These cartridges have spiral grooves in the inner housing that can hold much more ink than the original cartridges and can therefore be used for longer periods of time before needing to re-dip into ink.
Barber DTS Cartridges: Our in-house cartridges do not need to shy away from comparison. With our many years of experience, we naturally know exactly what is important to our customers. And with Barber DTS Tattoo Cartridges, we have managed to offer an affordable alternative that stands out in terms of quality.
In the UK, the cartridges are no longer an insider tip and they are attracting a growing number of fans on the European market. Our cartridges are competitively priced and available in many configurations, leaving nothing to be desired and no compromise on quality.
When buying tattoo cartridges, it is usually worthwhile to go to the big manufacturers. They offer excellent quality and workmanship within their cartridges. With other manufacturers, care should be taken to ensure that the module is made of abrasion-resistant medical plastic to prevent plastic from being incorporated into the tattoo. It is also important to make sure that the cartridge is sterilised and that there is no residue in the packaging.
If you want to learn more about different needles and configurations, we recommend our article “Tattoo Needle Guide“.