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Variations of Tattoo Needles

Posted on March 04 2019


Without doubt, professional tattoo needles are the most safe, inexpensive and precise pieces of stick and poke tattooing equipment. They possess a great amount of precision especially when compared to sewing needles, which are not recommended.
With regards to professional tattoo needles, there are a wide range of options. Whilst each of them possesses their own advantages, one of the most common ones are round liners.

Tattoo needle properties

All professional tattoo needles are designed to be used for machine tattooing, but you can however use them for hand poke tattooing. These needles are generally compromised of a group of small needles that are soldered around the central shaft. When the shaft is composed of one soldered needle, it is called a single needle, or one round liner.

The name of each tattoo needle is defined fundamentally by four properties: diameter, taper, count and configuration.


The diameter of the tattoo needles is measured in millimetres but is marked in round numbers. An example of this would be 25 standing for 0.25 millimetres.


The taper, or point length, indicates what shape the needle point is. Varied manufacturers will use their own specifications for what kind of taper they use. Often, a standard short taper will be 1.5mm, whereas a long taper will more commonly be 2.00mm. Extremely long tapers can be as long as 7mm.


The count describes the number of needles that have been soldered together at the tip of the bar.


The word configuration in the world of tattooing, indicates in what way all of the needles are grouped together. There are undoubtedly an infinite amount of possible needle configurations, however they all fall into four basic categories;


Round tattoo needles are soldered around a central shaft in round patterns. Round tattoo needles can be used for lines and shading, all depending on how closely together the dots are placed.


Flat tattoo needles are soldered in a straight line onto a needle bar. These are the most popular needles to use to create lining.


Magnum tattoo needles are used for practically all shading work. These formations have a slightly longer taper than that of those found on regular shaders. There are a range of styles of the magnum needle. These are weaved, stacked, round and curved.

Which stick and poke needle to choose?

All of the previously mentioned variations of needle will be listed on the needle’s packaging, on the product description. The method to the presentation however will vary from retailer to retailer. Each individual sterile needle packet will also display an expiration date.

A common format that is used by stick and poke retailers are the acronyms RL and RS, RL here being an acronym for Round Liner and RS being Round Shader. The round needle’s formation of needles is in a tight, circular formation. This is commonly used for lining or shading and are certainly the most popular choice amongst hand pokers. It is important to remember however, that it is important to experiment with different needle configurations and combinations in order to develop your style. You will be able to find cheap packages of varied needles online.


- Use professional tattoo needles over sewing needles

- If you are in doubt, start with either 3 or 5 round liners

- Try and experiment with various stick and poke needle types on fake skin

- Only use each stick and poke needle ONCE.




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