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Best tattoo stencil printer 2024: our top picks for tattoo artists

Find yourself the perfect stencil printer for tattoos right here
Last Updated on January 5, 2024
Best tattoo stencil printer.

Nowadays, tattoos are more popular than ever. Consequently, many people are getting their first tattoos, creating a high demand for professionally trained tattoo artists. While the journey of an up-and-coming artist can be exciting, it also comes with lots of pressure since a slight mess-up during a tattoo session can’t always be undone. The best tattoo stencil printer can alleviate some of the stresses since some complex designs are difficult and risky to draw freehand.

To assist, we’ve compiled a list of the best printers on the market for your stencils.

Products at a Glance

How we choose the best tattoo stencil printer

The best tattoo stencil printer should meet the needs of the average tattoo artist. While some stencil printers cater to specific needs, like speed or budget, the best printer should have a balance between all the useful features.

Therefore, we looked at things like printing quality and assessed the clarity of the lines and shadowed areas. We also reviewed operating system compatibility, paper brand compatibility, and connectivity options.

Our Recommended

Product Reviews

1
PROS
  • Works as a tattoo printer and a thermal copier
  • Modes for inverting images and line thickness
  • Accepts print requests sent through Wi-Fi
  • Compatible with A4 and A5 transfer paper
CONS
  • Long waiting time in between prints

The Life Basis printer serves two functions. Besides being a powerful tattoo stencil printer that prints digital images on the stencil, the Life Basis doubles as a thermal copying machine—allowing you to draw freehand designs on carbon paper before transferring them onto a stencil.

Therefore, by using the printer and copier functions simultaneously, you can combine online images with freehand designs in no time.

Another feature of the Life Basis Stencil Printer is its two built-in printing modes: mirror and copy. This feature comes in handy when doing symmetrical, mirrored designs since you won’t need external photo editing software.

You can also easily adjust your tattoo line thickness using the deepness setting on the Life Basis Printer. Adjusting the settings to “Deepness 1” gives you thick lines, while switching to “Deepness 2” prints your design using fine lines.

A central selling point of the Life Basis is its printing speed. This machine can print out a complex stencil design in under 60 seconds. However, the manufacturer recommends that you rest the printer for at least two minutes between uses, which is relatively slow.

Also, thanks to the intuitive mode selection buttons, you won’t need to flip through the manual whenever you want to use a function.

On top of that, if your workspace isn’t spacious, you won’t have to worry about where to store the printer since it’s relatively compact and weighs less than 3 pounds (~1.4 kg).

When you buy the printer, you get a power cable, a USB cable to connect to your phone or computer, and ten sheets of transfer paper.

And when you run out of paper, you won’t struggle to find compatible sheets since Life Basis is compatible with standard A4 and A5 transfer paper. However, some users find it tricky to load paper into the printer.

2
PROS
  • High printing speed
  • Doesn’t produce noise and cold to the touch
  • Indicator lights for errors and internal overheating
  • Rigid ABS plastic frame that’s environmentally conscious.
  • Connects with ethernet or Wi-Fi
CONS
  • Transfers aren’t too crisp when using heavy shading

If you have experience with tattooing hardware, you’ve probably heard of Atomus’ high-quality tattoo machine. The good news is their stencil printer sports the same quality and performance.

The Atomus tattoo stencil printer is packed with all the features an artist needs. For instance, a built-in image inversion function for convenient designs, intuitive deepness settings for line thickness, and the ability to print through Wi-Fi or an ethernet cable

Also, you won’t struggle to find compatible paper since the Atomus printer supports thermal and standard A4 transfer paper.

The Atomus tattoo printer is ideal for artists with busy schedules since the printing speed is superior to most printers on the market, pumping out complex designs in less than a minute. However, while the Atomus prints crisp lines, it lacks detail in heavily shaded areas.

And if you thought that speed comes at the cost of noise and heat, you’d be mistaken. The Atomus stencil printer is pleasantly quiet and rarely overheats, considering you allow it to cool down occasionally, as recommended.

The Atomus printer is reliable and built with a sturdy ABS chassis to lower the chance of dents and breaks. Also, to prevent accidentally using the printer during a malfunction, the Atomus has an error indicator to inform you of things like paper jams.

Additionally, since tattoo stencil printers are susceptible to heat damage, the Atomus has an overheating indicator that alerts you when it’s too hot.

Also, this printer comes in black and white. This way, you can choose a shade that suits your aesthetic or matches your other equipment and decor.

3
PROS
  • Compact and portable design
  • Strong ABS plastic frame
  • One year warranty
CONS
  • Thermal bulb isn’t included with the purchase
  • Not suitable for overshadowed designs

The first thing you notice when you look at the BMX stencil printer is its size. The printer’s dimensions are 13 x 12 x 5 inches (33 x 30.5 x 13 cm). It’s small enough to fit inside a backpack comfortably, making it perfect for artists who regularly pack their equipment for conventions, traveling, or private sessions.

Compact design isn’t the BMX’s only traveling advantage. The external frame is made of ABS plastic, a study material that can take all the knocks and dents you can expect while traveling.

Further, the manufacturer offers a one-year warranty as a testament to their product’s reliability.

Additionally, the BMX stencil printer has some impressive features. For instance, the machine requires absolutely no setup. You can use it instantly once taken out of the box.

Also, the printer pumps out designs relatively quickly with low noise and heat. Although, like all other printers, it needs a cooldown between prints. Moreover, the BMX supports small A5 paper, standard A4 paper, and thermal paper.

On top of that, if you prefer the aesthetic of less wiring, you can use the wireless connection feature to print your designs without having to mess with connection cables.

4
An Auto Draft printer with a sheet of paper.

TATELF Tattoo Stencil Machine

PROS
  • Budget friendly stencil printer
  • Mirror, copy, and deepness printing modes
  • Lightweight ABS plastic frame
CONS
  • Print quality isn’t on par with premium products
  • Overheats relatively more than premium products

If you don’t want to spend a fortune or lack the budget for a premium printer, The TATELF printer is for you.

Some associate budget-friendly options with mediocre functionality. TATELF is an exception to the rule. Like most stencil printers, TATELF has a few printing settings that make your designing experience smoother. The machine’s default setting is the mirror mode, which a mode light indicates.

Additionally, the copy setting prints the image without mirroring it while adjusting the deepness setting controls the thickness of your lines.

The TATELF stencil printer is also relatively sturdy, with a high-quality ABS plastic external frame and compatibility with up to 240 volts.

The printer is excellent for those who don’t like assembling products since it’s ready to go out of the box. However, since this is a budget option, TATELF can’t produce designs as clean as premium printers like Life Basis or Atomus. 

Also, keep in mind that the TATELF printer overheats relatively quickly compared to a premium machine, forcing the user to let it cool down after only two transfers. According to the manufacturer, cooldowns should be at least two minutes, ideally three.

A perk of buying the TATELF printer is the manufacturer’s one-year warranty. This way, you get extra peace of mind while investing in this printer.

5
PROS
  • Compatible with lots of paper brands
  • Portable compact design
  • Intuitive photo editing app
CONS
  • Relatively low printing speed

The TOEC printer is ideal for beginners since the design and functionality are intuitive and unintimidating. For example, TOEC makes designing easier with its simple photo editor. Meaning you won’t have to learn complicated photo editing software like Photoshop.

Suppose you don’t know your way around a computer. In that case, TOEC makes printing images easy from their mobile application, which is available on Apple’s App Store and the Android Play Store.

Also, you can connect to your printer via Wi-Fi, which means fewer cables and a less cluttered workspace.

On top of that, the TOEC printer is compatible with many paper brands, including S8, Spirit, Ghost Paper, Atsui, and ReproFX. Therefore, beginners won’t struggle to find suitable paper for their printer.

The printer comes with a thorough manual, which you won’t probably need since the TOEC only has four buttons: setup, feed, wireless LAN, and power on/off. Moreover, TOEC has a reliable tech support service ready to help you troubleshoot any problems.

Also, if you often travel for work, you’ll find the TOEC convenient since its compact design makes it easily portable. You also get a complimentary traveling pouch when you buy this printer.

Nevertheless, with the many perks of this printer comes a hefty price tag. Also, the printing speed won’t blow you away by any means.

Best tattoo stencil printer: features and considerations

Some of the features to consider when shopping for a tattoo stencil printer include:

Printing and Build Quality

Before investing in a stencil printer, make sure the paper fits well and doesn’t jam. Also, the printed images should have crisp lines and detailed shadowing.

Furthermore, inspect the build quality of the printer. If the plastic is weak and flimsy, the printer won’t survive the test of time. Ideally, you should choose a printer with durable ABS plastic.

Connectivity

For more comfortable use and less clutter, buy a printer with a wireless connection. And if you prefer old-school connection cables, make sure the printer you’re buying comes with its connection cables to avoid further unnecessary purchases.

Type of Printer

There are different kinds of tattoo printers out there. Some are designed specifically for transferring tattoos, while others can simultaneously function as office and stencil printers.

Thermal

This is the most common type of tattoo printer; they’re usually pricier than inkjets since they don’t require ink refills. They also print a relatively high resolution quickly.

Dot-Matrix

Some tattoo artists favor a dot-matrix printer since it prints a higher resolution than thermal printers. However, it takes significantly longer to print a single transfer.

Inkjet

If you’re a hobbyist artist or don’t want to invest in a single-use printer, you can use a standard office inkjet printer with tattoo transfer paper to make stencils. However, the resolution will be mediocre.

Compatibility

There are two areas of compatibility to consider when buying a stencil printer. First is software compatibility. Some tattoo stencil printers are designed for specific operating systems and are incompatible with others.

Secondly, transfer paper. Avoid buying a printer compatible with a single brand of stencil paper since that creates a potential hassle. Most decent stencil printers allow the use of other paper brands.

Portability

Frankly, thermal printers such as tattoo stencil printers are simple machines that don’t need a large chassis to do their job, so when a brand makes a bulky stencil printer, that can be attributed to bad design.

Also, if you enjoy attending conventions or doing shop guest spots, it won’t hurt to have compact, portable equipment you can easily take along.

Functions

Before buying a stencil printer, make sure it has mirror settings to invert a design without photo editing software—and a deepness setting for controlling the thickness of the lines.

Speed is also a crucial factor. Premium printers can print a detailed image within a minute. Any printer that takes over two minutes to print a shaded design is considered slow.

Heat

Since you’re buying a thermal stencil printer, it’s understandable for heat problems to emerge. But how much heat is overheating? A printer should print two or three transfers before it gets too hot. If you find a printer that overheats after one transfer, you should look for other options.

Also, the cooldown between prints shouldn’t be longer than two minutes.

Our Verdict

Ultimately, Life Basis takes the cake for the best tattoo stencil printer. Not only does it print clear, crisp lines, but it also works as a thermal copier for more freehand design freedom. It’s also quick, pumping out detailed designs in less than 60 seconds. Lastly, its compact design makes it portable and doesn’t take up space in your workspace.

However, if Life Basis is outside your budget, the TATELF printer may be for you, a capable stencil printer that won’t break the bank.

It has multiple printing settings such as mirror, copy, and deepness. It’s also made out of sturdy ABS plastic and comes with a one-year warranty.

Alternatively, if this is your first stencil printer and you want something intuitive and straightforward, go with TOEC. It has simple editing software, and it’s compatible with many operating systems and paper brands.