Tattoo Needles vs. Tattoo Needle Cartridges

Tattoo Needles vs. Tattoo Needle Cartridges

Since the birth of the art of tattooing, one tool has always played a vital role – a tool that puncture the skin and delivers pigment to the skin—the Tattoo Needles. For thousands of years, tattoo needles have evolved from primitive cactus thorns to the more modern needles we use today, until recently, the new word “cartridges” appeared in the tattoo industry dictionary.

What is the Difference between Tattoo Needles and Tattoo Needle Cartridges?

Traditional tattoo needle

Traditional tattoo needles are a group of needles that are soldered together with the needle bar. They form a tattoo needle configuration on the bar. There is a loop at the end of the rod that hooks to connect to the tattoo machine, the needle tips are always exposed while tattooing, such a design will bring safety risks, and tattoo artists cannot have the maximum needle control.

The tattoo cartridges is an assembly mechanism that securely holds the tattoo needles inside.

The tattoo needle configuration is glued into a tubular plastic piece called a plunger. The plunger is hosted in a plastic housing, which is sealed by a membrane cap.

The membrane (made of silica gel) is the mechanism that constantly pulls the tattoo needle back into the housing.

Tattoo Needle Cartridges Evolution

In the last few years’ needles, as used in the art of tattooing, have come a long way. As people’s requirements for safe conditions for tattoos increase, so does the demand for safety solutions. This led to the invention of the tattoo cartridge.

The principle behind the operation of the cartridge is that the needle tip is only exposed when the tattoo machine is running.

The evolutionary development of this modular system is that the inner structure of the cartridge constantly pulls the needle back to the tip, so the tattoo machine pushes the needle out.

The needle has a housing mechanism. Therefore, when you stop the machine, the needle retraction mechanism will pull the needle back into the cartridge, preventing keeps the tattoo artists and customers safe from being exposed to the needle tips.

Both the tattoo artists and the client are at risk of infection during the tattooing process, so safety always comes first in tattooing.

Traditional tattoo needles do not have any protection and if the artist is accidentally poked by the needle, he may get infected by the client’s potential disease (eg HIV or any other blood transmitted disease). That’s why the cartridge was born.

With cartridges, can only poke customers while the machine is running. In this way, the risk of cross-contamination is greatly reduced, providing highest level of safety.

Today, tattoo cartridges are all disposable. We do not reuse or sterilize cartridges; they are for one customer only.

Tattoo Needles Cartridges Features

  • Disposable: It is a single-use item. There is no chance of cross-contamination between tattoo artists and clients.
  • Safety: When the tattoo machine is running, the needle tip is not exposed. Membrane system prevent pigment back flow.
  • Reduce setup time: just plug in and spin.
  • Quick Change: Needles can be easily changed while tattooing.
  • Easy to clean: Whether changing colors or cleaning filled/clogged needles, cleaning is easy.
  • Variety: Comes in various configurations and colors.

Rhein High-quality Tattoo Cartridges Referrals


For the RHEIN® Cartridges system, each model of the needle has a matching needle shell mold. The needle shell is cast in one piece. For RL needles, we use a specialized device to stabilize the needle bar. Stainless steel needles are embedded in the needle bar to minimize soldering links. The unique needle shell design to make the overall shape slimmer effectively prevents the air pressure difference caused by the high-speed movement of the needle and effectively prevents ink-jet and backflow.

CNC Police Cartridge Needles are the Highest Quality Cartridge CNC Cartridge Needles feature the highest quality, durable, smoked clear Lexan plastic tip, press-fit into a medical-grade smoked, clear casing. CNC Cartridge Needles are a more efficient needle cartridge by design, featuring less tension than other needle cartridges on the market today. CNC Police Cartridge Needles have an incredibly smooth linear action which gives a smoother needle flow with less tension and faster retraction, which allows the tattoo machine and needles to run smoother overall. This allows the artist to achieve higher speeds with less voltage.

STIGMA Disposable tattoo needle cartridges with a Membrane system. Fully EO-gas sterilized and we adopt the sapphire color to stress the strict hygiene standards of the stigma needles. 

Quelle Premium Cartridges, made of high-quality stainless steel & medical grade materials. All needles have been sterilized by ethylene oxide before the sale and have passed the FDA and CE test and certificated. Quelle needles have been tested by many professional tattoo artists and keeping on improving by customers’ feedback. It allow you to replace the tattoo needle in seconds. You can switch effortlessly between the 68 different Quelle configurations.

In conclusion

The development of tattoo needle cartridges greatly contributed to the development of tattooing. Of course, the core of the product is still the needle and its craftsmanship.

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