top of page


Updated: Mar 27, 2023

What's the Difference?

One thing has been constant since the inception of tattooing — you need something that can puncture the skin and deliver ink at the same time. That thing is the tattoo needle. Over the course of centuries, the technology of tattoo needles has evolved from primitive, sharpened bone spikes, to the modern surgical needles we use now. Recently, however, you may have started to see the term “cartridge” pop up in discussions regarding tattoo needles.

Tattoo Needles

Let’s talk about what the tattoo needle is first. It’s a simple piece of equipment; usually a long metal rod with a hook to connect to the tattoo machine on one end and an array of small needles adhered to the business end. The machine causes the entire needle to rapidly shift up and down. When this happens at full speed that’s what gives tattoo machines their trademark hum and what also allows the tattoo artist to penetrate the skin and create amazing works for permanent art.

The needle itself is just one piece of the overall tattoo machine. For traditional machines, the 4 main components are the front and back coils (these are the parts that make the needle move), the needle, the grip, and the tip. The grip is what your tattoo artist holds onto and the tip is what confines the needle tip so your artist can draw straight lines and smooth shading.

Tattoo Cartridges

Where cartridges come into play is that they combine the tip and the needle into one manufactured piece as opposed to two separate pieces. This is helpful for a few reasons. First and foremost, it means the tip and the needle type can be designed to work together perfectly. The last thing you want is for your needle to be contained within an incompatible tip – this would wreak havoc on the tattoo process. Needing several types of needles and tips often meant your artists also needed several machines ready to go. That just creates more mess, wastes time, etc – you get the point.

A needle and tip combo means you can use one machine, swap between cartridges as needed, reduce waste, and most importantly, get the best possible artistic results. This is why you’ll see most of us here at the Inkeeper’s working with Cheyenne brand tattoo cartridges and Pen-style tattoo machines. It’s more natural, it gives better results, and you get a better tattoo!

If you want to learn more about Cheyenne Tattoo Cartridges and Pen Machines, you can check out our shop at

Rest easy and we’ll see you soon.

~The Inkeeper's

241 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page