Best Tattoo Machines of 2023 (So Far) | Painful Pleasures Community

Best Tattoo Machines of 2023 (So Far)

The best tattoo machines of 2023 (so far) are really changing the game! Check out the rankings and choose the best tattoo machine for you.
by Danny Tress Last Updated: August 1, 2023

We’re just about halfway through the year, and already we’ve seen incredible machines soar to insta-popularity. I’m going to lay out the best tattoo machine sof 2023 below. 

Having gotten up close and personal with a few of these machines, I can confidently say every machine on this list is worth the price tag. But finding the right machine for you is important. Check out the full roundup below to see which machine you’d like in your top drawer. 


Peak Solice Mini machine on a black background 

Don’t let the 4mm stroke fool you—it’s not fixed. Peak’s Solice Mini also comes with a 3.5mm stroke wheel that you can swap out for more versatile tattooing. So, whenever you need to pull bold lines and pack in color, stick to the 4mm stroke, then swap to the 3.5mm option to take on less aggressive techniques. This machine is also a reasonably moderate hitter leaning on the soft side, so it’s excellent for black and gray shading. 

But it isn’t just the stroke length that makes this machine so flexible. This small guy is ultra-lightweight with zero backweight. That means it’s easy to maneuver, which is great for working in tight areas and for relieving hand fatigue during longer sessions.  That’s one of the key reasons it’s made the best tattoo machines list for 2023. 

A minor downside to this machine is that it has an average run-time of 5 hours of battery life, which is reasonable, but not as powerful as other pricier batteries on the market. It also depends on your settings, so if you’re running the Solice Mini at a high voltage, be prepared to have a spare PowerPack battery charging.  

Price:  $299.99

BEST SPECIALTY PERFORMER: Cheyenne Unlimited 5.0 / 2.5

Cheyenne Sol Nova tattoo machine on a blue background

The Sol Nova Unlimited has been around for a while now and it’s always been in my personal “Best tattoo machines” list. Its cord-free design, motion-activated speed adjustments, and super-quiet, vibration-free operation makes it a fan-favorite. But this year, Cheyenne released two new stroke options for this quiet powerhouse. If you’re a specialty artist who sticks to one particular style or technique, you’ll want to check out these new models… also if you’re just a die-hard Cheyenne fan, these could be your new faves: 

The 5.0 Unlimited is aptly called “The Beast.” As you probably guessed, it has a 5mm stroke that takes your linework to all-new heights. You can definitely pull your fattest, boldest lines with the Beast, so if you’re a new school, traditional, or anime artist, this could be the right choice for you.  

The 2.5mm Unlimited is “The Beauty.” Another apt name. This is great for artists who use more delicate techniques: soft shading, delicate linework, and subtle details. Realism and abstract artists might consider adding this model to their top drawer. 

Of course, the downside to this model is… you can only choose one fixed stroke length per each Sol Nova Unlimited. So, if you want to work in beautiful AND beast modes, you’ll need both machines. Consequently, that means a higher price tag. But, as with all Cheyenne Sol Nova Unlimited machines, you’ll also get steady and responsive modes. Steady mode gives you a consistent, reliable hit while responsive mode adjusts intuitively to the way you work.  

Price: $998.99


FK Irons ONE Machine with a red background

FK Irons ONE was designed with accessibility in mind. It’s built for artists of all experience levels, and it’s your best bet if you want a straightforward machine for everyday appointments without too many bells and whistles. This machine comes with a drop-in rechargeable Panasonic battery and comes with a two-slot battery charger… so you can always have batteries charging. It’s not as quiet as Cheyenne, but still gives you a mostly vibration-free performance. Plus, it has an ergonomic design that feels really good in your hand. And for a wireless machine from a top brand like FK Irons, the price tag is extremely reasonable and accessible. You’ll still get the highest-quality design we’ve come to expect from this innovative brand, including a brushed motor that’s durable, powerful, and smooth. It’s one of the best tattoo machines to use as a handy daily driver.

The primary downside to this machine is it doesn’t come with a high-tech battery pack like other wireless models. So, you won’t get Bluetooth-enabled access to eGive features or a clear readout screen that shows your session timer. But you’ll still get an LED light indicator that shows your operating voltage, and a good-looking, high-performing machine overall. With a 4mm stroke length and total freedom of movement, this is an excellent daily driver for a wide variety of styles. 

You can see more technical details about this machine in this blog here. 

Price: $799.99

BEST HARD HITTER: Critical Torque

Critical Torque Machine held by a gloved artist hand

If you’re into maximum torque, then we’ve saved the best for last. 

The reason this machine has so much power and torque is largely because of its motor. It works on a German brushless motor that’s specifically designed to make this machine a hard hitter. Every hit packs a punch, so artists who prefer bolder work will probably favor this one, especially if you already use Critical supplies and tech. This machine is also compatible with Critical Battery Packs, so if you already have those in your arsenal, you can hook them up to this machine for extra power.  

The Critical Torque machine also offers a few sparkly “industry firsts” you won’t find in any other models. One of those things is “precision strike technology” which sounds fancy, sure. But all it means is you’re going to get a really fast, smooth performance with an innovative stabilizing system that keeps you steady. This is one of the best tattoo machines for pulling fast lines. You’ll also be able to pack in color quickly in as few passes as possible. Another great feature is its vibration dampening system, making it a super-quiet operator for less strain on your hands… and your eardrums too.  

Only downside to this machine is, given its high price tag and high-tech features, it’s really intended for experienced artists. If you’re just starting out with wireless machines (or any machines), you may want to start with a more accessible, versatile option. Choose the Critical Torque as a standalone machine, or as a comprehensive kit complete with a travel case and bonus accessories!

Price:  $1,099.00

Price for Full Kit with Travel Case + Bonus Accessories: $1,299.00


There are plenty of months ahead for more innovations and machines that change your game. For now, check out the best tattoo machines from this list and consider how they’d look in your top drawer. Keep your eyes on all the brands above for bigger and better innovations in years to come. 

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