how many needles are in a tattoo gun

How Many Needles Are In A Tattoo Gun

Understanding the parts of a tattoo gun is crucial if you’re a beginner or expert in the tattoo industry. The needle arrangement, which can vary based on the tattoo artist’s choices, is the main component of every tattoo machine. 

In this article, we’ll talk about how many needles are in a tattoo gun and how they may be used to ink various tattoos. You can check out our article about needle size details if you’re looking for needle size for lining. Furthermore, if you have concerns about needle sterilization, you can read our recent article about sterilizing needles.

how many needles are in a tattoo gun

The number of needles in a tattoo gun might change based on what kind of needle setup is being used. Tattoo guns often employ hands arranged in groups of 3, 5, or more, known as “needles” or “pins.”
For instance, 7 to 9 needles may be used in a liner needle setup, which is utilized for lining work. On the other hand, a shading machine may employ up to 15 needles to provide a gentler, deeper look and can be used for shading or filling.

how many needles are in a tattoo gun

It’s also crucial to remember that certain tattoo guns provide rapid needle adjustment, which makes switching between different needles during a tattoo session simple.

Machine types according to needles

The quantity of needles used in tattoo machines varies. While some tattoo machines have one needle, some have several needles gathered together. The sort of tattoo being made and the tattoo artist’s preferences determine how many needles are in a tattoo machine.

Single Needle Tattoo Machines

The single-needle machine is the most popular tattoo machine tattoo artists use worldwide. They are employed to produce elaborate and precise designs that call for control and precision.

One needle is used by single-needle tattoo equipment to inject ink into the skin. Typically thin and tapered, the needle can be positioned at various depths for the desired outcome.

Multiple Needle Tattoo Machines

Tattoo machines with several needles may produce more significant, deeper patterns. These machines can simultaneously transfer more ink into the skin because their many needles are clustered together.

Tattoo machines with many needles can contain two to 14 needles. Depending on the size of the design being made and the tattoo artist’s preferences, a tattoo machine may have one or more indicators.

Different Needle Configurations

The following are some of the most typical needle arrangements you’ll see in a tattoo machine:

Round Shader Needles 

Round shader needles are commonly arranged in combinations of 3, 5, 7, 9, or 14 hands and are used for shading or filling. They are perfect for adding gradients and giving tattoos a smoother, blurred look.

Round Liner Needles

Round liner needles are often arranged in groups of 1, 3, 5, or 7 hands for lining work. They are perfect for making accurate, delicate tattoo lines.

Magnum Needles

Magnum needles, called straight needles, fill and shade large parts of a tattoo. Usually, they are arranged in sets of 5, 7, 9, or 11 needles. Magnum needles are perfect for inking tattoos with dense, solid colors.

Curved Magnum Needles

Precise tattoo designs are created with curved magnum needles, called bugpin needles. Usually, they are arranged in sets of five or seven needles.

Understanding the tattoo needle codes

Tattoo artists may more easily identify the needles they need using needle codes. Time has been saved, and the best result is guaranteed. Indeed, the needle codes do not specify if the needle has texture or how long its tapers are. Still, tattoo artists must continually broaden their understanding of the needles by using them.

The numbers on a needle’s tip are known as its needle code. The numbers stand for the needle’s grouping, its diameter, and the outcome it produces. You can asses How Many Needles Are There In The Needle Groups?

Example 1

We’ll take 1004RL as our primary example. Another name for 1004RL is “#10 4-Round Liner Needles.

RL, in this context, refers to a “round liner.” This suggests the circular arrangement of these tattoo needles, which are intended for lining work.

Within any specific category, a variety of needle quantities are typically available. You would get four #10 round liner tattoo needles if you ordered 1004RL.

Example 2

Let’s use the example code 1207RL. Now, the needle diameter is shown by the first two digits. This indicates that the needle produces extremely thin, medium, or thicker lines. The last two letters indicate the kind of needle groups, or more precisely, the impact the needles will have throughout the tattooing process. The second and third numerals indicate the number of hands in the group.

We will thus examine seven needles in a group while following the model needle code. The needles are all grouped in a circular liner cluster and measure 12 in diameter (0.35mm for our readers using the metric measurement).

How many needles are used for shading a tattoo

A combination of up to 15 needles will be needed for coloring and shading. Magnums and flat shaders have layers of soldering. The number of needles used increases with the size of the tattoo.

How many needles are used for lining a tattoo

It depends on the machine type; use 7 to 9 needles for a round liner. It may vary from machine to machine and the tattoo’s size.


Yes, a tattoo machine has multiple needles. The number of needles varies from machine to machine. Like shading machine has a different number of needles while the lining machine has different ones.

Yes sometimes needles hurt, it depends on the type of tattoo, your pain tolerance, and the machine angle.

Single needle tattoos hurt more than multiple tattoo needles.

Long Taper is 2.0mm and Standard Taper is 1.5mm. 

A tattoo needle’s typical thickness is 0.35 mm. On a pack, this is categorized as a ’12 number gauge’. Tattoo needles have different sizes because a bigger needle will allow more ink to run down it more quickly but with less precision.


Depending on the needle arrangement utilized, the number of needles in a tattoo gun might change. Tattoo artists use different needle configurations to produce various effects, such as fine lines, shading, and filling vast sections of a tattoo. You can select the ideal needle for the tattoo style you want by being aware of the various needle configurations. Remember that when tattooing, you should always use sterile, disposable needles and adhere to adequate hygiene and safety procedures.
This article discusses how many needles are in a tattoo gun. If you have further queries about tattooing, feel free to contact us. Thanks for reading!

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