all about tattoo needles

This post is all about tattoo needles, how to use them, which needles do what and what types there are. With the wide array of different types and the lack of standardization in naming for sizes and shapes, it is easy to get confused. The 4 defining properties are the diameter, taper, count and configuration.

Diameter of tattoo needle types

The diameter of tattoo needle types can be found by looking at the first two numbers of the packaging. If you look at your pre-made needle packaging, you will notice it will say something like 1207RL. The two numbers, 12, indicate the diameter. The 4 most common diameters are #12, #10, #8 and #6. #12 is the largest size diameter at 0.35mm. #10 is a diameter of 0.30mm. #8 is a diameter of 0.25mm. #6 is a diameter of 0.20mm. #12, 0.35mm diameter is the most common diameter for most needles. #10, 0.30mm is the most common diameter for ones used for lining.

tattoo needle taper

Taper, Point Length

The taper or point length indicates the shape of the point. A short taper will have a short point. A long taper will have a long point. Different manufacturers have their own specs for what taper they use. A standard short taper is usually 1.5mm. A long taper would be 2.0mm. Extremely long tapers can go as much as 7mm.


The count indicates the number of needles grouped together at the point of the bar. In the example we used earlier, a 1207RL needle, where 12 is the diameter, 7 indicates the count. So a 1207RL needle will have 7 needles soldered to the tip of