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Tattoo Needle Guide NZ - The user friendly guide for sizes and types of tattoo needles

tattoo needle types

The Ultimate Guide to Tattoo Needles in New Zealand

Are you considering getting a tattoo in New Zealand? If so, it's essential to educate yourself about tattoo needle types and when to use each different needle. Welcome to "The Ultimate Guide to Tattoo Needles in New Zealand: Your Complete Resource for Tattoo Needle Types and Info." In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know about tattoo needles, including their types, sizes, and uses. From the traditional round liner to the magnum shader, each needle type serves a specific purpose. Understanding the differences between them will help you make an informed decision on which needles you will need in your inventory. We will also delve into the importance of needle sterilization and proper needle disposal, ensuring a safe and hygienic tattooing experience. With detailed tips and insights from top tattoo artists in New Zealand, this guide is your go-to resource for all things tattoo needles. Whether you're interested in learning about the best needle types for different tattoo styles or want to expand your knowledge of the tattoo industry, this guide has you covered. So, let's dive in and discover the fascinating world of tattoo needles together!

Understanding Different Tattoo Needle Types

Tattoo needles come in various types, each designed to achieve specific effects and styles. Here are some of the most common tattoo needle types used in New Zealand:

1. Round Liners

Round liners are among the most basic and essential needle types used in tattooing. They consist of tightly grouped needles arranged in a circular formation. These needles are primarily used for creating clean and precise lines in tattoos. When a tattoo artist aims to outline a design or add fine details, round liners are their go-to choice. The number of needles in a round liner configuration can vary, with common options being 1RL (single needle) or 3RL (three needles).

2. Magnums

Magnum needles, also known as flat needles, are used for shading and coloring larger areas of a tattoo. They are characterized by a rectangular formation of needles that allow for better ink saturation in wider spaces. Magnums are available in various configurations, including single stack magnums (M1) and double stack magnums (M2), which determine the number of needles in each configuration. These needles are ideal for creating smooth gradients and softer tones in a tattoo design.

3. Curved Magnums

Curved magnum needles are a variation of magnum needles that come with a gentle curve. This curvature helps the needles follow the natural contours of the body, making them suitable for areas with more curvature, such as limbs and certain body parts. The curve allows for smoother application and better ink distribution, ensuring a consistent result across various body shapes.

4. Round Shaders

Round shaders are a versatile needle type that falls between round liners and magnums. They are commonly used for both lining and shading purposes, making them a popular choice for achieving gradient effects and subtle shading in a design. Round shaders come in configurations like 5RS or 7RS, where the number of needles determines the thickness and effect achieved.

5. Bugpins

Bugpins are characterized by their thinner needles, which are tightly grouped together. The term "bugpin" refers to the smaller size of the needle's diameter, allowing for more intricate and detailed work. These needles are ideal for fine line work, intricate patterns, and delicate details in a tattoo design. The smaller diameter of bugpins allows artists to create incredibly intricate designs that demand a high level of precision.

Needle Sterilization and Disposal

Apart from understanding the different needle types, it's crucial to prioritize needle sterilization and proper disposal. In New Zealand, tattoo studios are required to adhere to strict hygiene and safety guidelines to ensure the well-being of both clients and artists. Needles must be sterilized using autoclaves, which are devices that use steam and pressure to eliminate bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants from the needles.

Additionally, proper disposal of used needles is paramount. Used needles should be placed in designated sharps containers to prevent accidental needlestick injuries and minimize the risk of spreading infections. Tattoo studios in New Zealand must follow guidelines set by the Ministry of Health to ensure the safe and responsible disposal of used needles.

Insights from Top Tattoo Artists in New Zealand

To provide you with expert insights, we've reached out to some of the top tattoo artists in New Zealand for their thoughts on tattoo needle types:

Jane, renowned tattoo artist in Auckland: "When it comes to tattooing, selecting the right needle type is like choosing the perfect brush for a painting. Each needle type serves a unique purpose, and each with our own favourite - allowing us to create intricate details or smooth gradients. My personal favorite is the curved magnum, as its contouring capability helps me achieve a seamless look on any body shape."

Mark, owner of a tattoo sudio in Auckland: "Bugpins are the unsung heroes of the tattooing world. Their fine needles are a game-changer for achieving stunningly detailed designs. Whether it's a delicate floral pattern or intricate geometric shapes, bugpins allow us to elevate the artistry in our tattoos."



Tattoo needles are the backbone of any tattooing endeavor. Whether you're a tattoo artist or someone interested in getting a tattoo in New Zealand, understanding the different needle types and their uses is crucial. From the precision of round liners to the versatility of magnums and the intricacy of bugpins, each needle type brings its own unique qualities to the art of tattooing. Remember, alongside needle selection, needle sterilization and proper disposal are essential for a safe and hygienic tattooing experience. Armed with this knowledge, you're ready to embark on your tattoo journey, informed and inspired by the diverse world of tattoo needles.

We hope this guide has illuminated the fascinating world of tattoo needles for you. Whether you're a seasoned tattoo enthusiast or someone considering their first ink, this knowledge will help you appreciate the artistry and expertise that go into every tattoo.

For a further breakdown on how to read a tattoo needle grouping check that out here!


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