Tattoo Needle Sizes and Uses Chart: Complete Guide

Tattoo Needle Sizes and Uses Chart: Complete Guide

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tattoo needle sizes

If you are entering the world of tattooing, you might be a little bit confused by all the different types of tattoo needles available. How is a round liner tattoo needle different from a magnum or a Bugpin tattoo needle? How do you know which one to use with different kinds of tattoos? Our guide features different tattoo needles explained for you to understand them. 

Understanding the tattoo needles cannot be as complicated as you think. In this guide, we’re talking to you through the sizes and uses of different tattoo needles. Finding tattoo shops nearby will help you to have a strong understanding of the different styles that are available and which needles are used. 

Enjoy our tattoo needles 101 below with our tattoo needle sizes and uses chart, and try not to get overwhelmed by the different sizes and gauges. There is a lot to learn on the road to becoming one of the best tattoo artists.

Tattoo Needle Sizes and Uses Chart

Round Liner Needles 

These have a round pattern and are good for clean lines. For instance, you could use them for outlines. The thickness is described by a numerical value. 01 would be really fine and 14 is extremely thick. These types of needles don’t let a lot of ink out at once so they can be used for details and dot work.

Round Shader Needles

These are similar but the pins within the needle are not close together so they are suited to shading and filling in the outlines with coloring.

Magnum Shader

 The magnum shader needles are preferred for a lot of different types of shading and are great for bigger areas. They can allow a lot of ink to be transferred at once so these types of needles are fantastic for covering larger spaces within tattoos. 

Curved Magnum Shaders  

These are sometimes called soft edge magnums too. They’ve similar because they can disperse a lot of ink but they are designed to do so very evenly and not cause anywhere pain or damage to the skin. These types of needles are great for delicate shading.

Double Stack Magnum Shader

Needles are similar, but they have gone out of fashion somewhat. They have multiple pins but they aren’t spaced out as much.

Flat Shader Needles are Straight

They are good for lining and can deliver lots of ink into the skin at once for dark shading. For instance, if you need a dark, black outline or even some intricate shading such as in mandala-style tattoos. The flat shader needles can be used for certain types of makeup, semi-permanent styles of makeup tend to use flat shaders.

Tattoo Needle Sizes and Uses Chart

The table below, our own tattoo needle sizes and chart, will show both tattoo needles and what they are used for. There are different groupings, and these have different common uses based on what they are most suitable for.

Needle Grouping

Tube Size

Common uses

4F, 5F 4 – 5 flat Lines and detail
6F, 7F 6 – 7 flat Shading, thick lines, and color fill
9F 8 – 9 flat Shading and color fill
5M1 4 – 5 flat Thick lines, color fill, and shading
7M1 6 – 7 flat Lines, shading, and color fill
9M1 8 – 9 flat Thick outlines, shading, color fill
11M1 11 flat Color fill and shading
13M1 13 flat Color fill and shading
15M1 15 flat Color fill and shading
5M2, 7M2, 9M2 4 – 5 flat Outlines, lines, detail, and shading
11M2, 13M2 6 -7 flat Thick outlines, thick lines, shading, and color fill
15M2 8 – 9 flat Color fill and shading
5MR 4 – 5 flat Small lines, detail work, and intricate shading
7MR 6 – 7 flat Lines, shading, color fill, and detail work
9MR 8 – 9 flat Outlines, shading, and color fill
11MR 11 flat Color fill and shading
13MR 13 flat Color fill and shading
15MR 15 flat Color fill and shading
1RL, 3RL 1 – 3 round Lines, intricate shading, and fill-in
4RL, 5RL 4 – 5 round Outlines, shading, and fill-in
7RL 7 round Shading and color fill
8RL, 9RL 8 – 9 round Shading, thick outlines, and color fill
11RL, 14 RL 11 – 14 round Shading and colors
3RS 1 – 3 round Lines and detail
5RS 4 – 5 round Lines, small shading areas, and small detail
7RS 7 round Shading, lines, small area fill in
8RS, 9RS 8 – 9 round Shading, thick outlines, and color fill in
14RS 11 – 14 round Shading and color
4F, 5F 4 – 5 flat Lines and detail
6F, 7F 6 – 7 flat Shading, thick lines, and fill
9F 8 – 9 flat Shading and color fill
5M1 4 – 5 flat Thick lines, color fill, and shading
7M1 6 – 7 flat Lines, shading, and color fill
9M1 8 – 9 flat Thick outlines, shading, color fill
11M1 11 flat Color fill and shading
13M1 13 flat Color fill and shading
15M1 15 flat Color fill and shading
5M2, 7M2, 9M2 4 – 5 flat Outlines, lines, detail, and shading
11M2, 13M2 6 -7 flat Thick outlines/lines, shading, and color fill
15M2 8 – 9 flat Color fill and shading
5MR 4 – 5 flat Small lines, detail work, and intricate shading
7MR 6 – 7 flat Lines, shading, color fill, and detail work
9MR 8 – 9 flat Outlines, shading, and color fill
11MR 11 flat Color fill and shading
13MR 13 flat Color fill and shading
15MR 15 flat Color fill and shading

Tattoo Needle Codes

Different codes stand for different things when it comes to tattoo needles. RL stands for the round liner, which gives a small circular formation normally used as lining needles. The other configurations are F which stands for flats, M1 means weaved magnum, RS which means round shader, M2 stacked magnum, and finally, RM = round magnum.

Tattoo Needle Diameters

There are different gauges and diameters out there which can be suitable for different uses. The three below are among the most commonly used tattoo needles. 

#8 gauge (0.25mm)

This is a small needle, and they are often called Bugpins, the ink flows a bit slower so it is good for intricate detailing.

#10 gauge (0.30mm)

This is very popular among tattoo artists, it tends to be the middle ground. It gives a steady flow but doesn’t restrict and slow it down as much as the #8 gauge. People referring to double zeros are talking about this size.

#12 gauge (0.35mm)

A 12 gauge might be referred to as standards, but they have a faster flow of ink which means they are good for shading and coloring even in bigger areas.

 

There are some other gauges under these, #6 is 0.20mm. #14 is 0.40 and #16 is 0.45mm. These all have specific uses. 

How to Choose the Right Tattoo Needles?

As you can see, there are a lot of different varieties when it comes to sizing. Our tattoo needle chart is designed to help you to understand the different types of tattoo needles. Choosing the right needles is all about matching up what you need to achieve as a tattoo artist, and using different styles of the needle for different uses such as shading or outlining. This will provide you with the best results in the long run.

Download our Tattoo Needles Sizes and Uses Chart Here

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