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Article: How to choose the most suitable stroke?

How to choose the most suitable stroke?

It is normal for beginners that you will encounter challenges with the parameters and practical operation of the machine. Understanding and mastering these tools is a surefire way to become a professional tattoo artist.

What is a stroke? what does it do?and how do I choose the best stroke for me?The best pepax H2 wireless machine is specifically set up with two strokes, and artists are hesitant to choose which stroke to go for when shopping. So in response to these questions, we will give a detailed answer to the question of stroke.

1.What is the stroke?

The mainstream tattoo machines on the market today can be roughly categorized into two types: coil machines and rotary machines.

So there are also 2 different definitions of stroke length:

  • For coil machines, the stroke length is the distance traveled by the armature bar before it hits the needle.
  • For rotary machines, the stroke represents the stroke required to rotate one week. Stroke length increases as the bearing moves away from the center of the cam.

Our rotary machines are still by far the most popular among tattoo artists, so in the next article, we're going to take a deeper look at the stroke of a rotary machine, mainly as a case study.

The difference between needle depth and stroke?
  • Needle depth: how far the needle extends out of the test tube.
  • Stroke length: the length of time the needle travels on its path in and out of the cartridge housing. It represents the movement of the needle from its initial position to its final position as it pierces the skin during the tattooing process.For example, a 4mm stroke length means that the needle will extend 2mm from the tip of the cartridge and be pulled back 2mm into the cartridge when in the middle position.
The connection between the two?
Stroke length affects how far the needle retracts into the cartridge, which affects tattoo ink uptake. Therefore, if your needle depth is very long and the stroke length is too short, your needle will not retract far enough to take up more tattoo ink. The result will be a patchy tattoo effect.

2.What the stroke length affects?

  • How hard it hits: the longer the stroke of the machine, the more power it produces, which makes it easy for the machine to push the needle into the skin. At the same time this means a greater likelihood of skin damage. Therefore, in practice, please check the appropriate force by practicing on a practice skin.
  • Needle speed: When the stroke is long, the needle speed decreases.
  • Maximum needle depth: A short stroke limits the distance the needle can be extended. The needle depth must be short enough so that it can reach the ink inside the tip of the tube in each up and down movement.

3.How to choose the right stroke?

Longer strokes result in greater stabbing force, which is very beneficial for lining and color packing. Conversely, shorter stroke lengths have shallower penetration, which is more suitable for finer details and lighter shading. So you can pick the more appropriate product for your specific needs.Pepax has designed a wide range of stroke length tattoo pens for this purpose.

  • Long stroke length (4mm+):Usually used for lining only, it easily pushes the large needle set into the skin and allows you to extend the needle farther out of the tip, thus increasing precision during the lining process. However, due to the long stroke, the needle speed drops and multiple passes are needed to get better shading. So comparatively long stroke machines are slightly inferior in creating soft shading.Pepax Leve H2 Tattoo Pen Machine is specially designed with 4.2mm long stroke machine for more accurate lining experience.Click for more professional tattoo artist reviews.

  • Medium Stroke Length (3.5mm):3.5mm is known as the standard stroke length. It is the more common stroke length on the market. It is commonly used to create lines and fills, making it a popular choice for realistic tattoo styles that require versatility.The Pepax H1 Tattoo Pen Machine is a 3.5mm stroke.

  • Short stroke length (1.8-2.5mm):Ideal for soft shading and detailed tattoo work on areas with thin skin thickness. The softer strokes create more natural blacks and grays. But it is clear that the short stroke does not have an advantage in lining work, he does not have enough force to push the needle.

In the meantime, to make it easier for tattoo artists to buy, pepax has launched a wide range of professional tattoo kits, which contains the basic items needed for tattooing.


  • You can perform this exercise on tattoo practice skin to make detail adjustments during the tattooing process.
  • Before shopping for a machine, you need to confirm your tattooing style; tattooing styles vary and require different stroke lengths.
  • With a long stroke machine, the needle will stay in the client's skin longer and will hit the skin harder, which can cause damage to the skin. When you are pulling threads with very long strokes, you need to work quickly to prevent additional trauma from overworking small areas.

5.In conclusion

If you want to continue to improve your tattooing, you have the option to keep trying out machines with multiple strokes, and mastering machines with different strokes is an important step in your tattooing career. But if you are new to tattooing, there is no way to shop for the best machine without the right knowledge. That's why we've written this article to help you learn more about strokes.

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