What is a bug pin tattoo needle?

In tattoo speak, the term "bugpin" means a tattoo needle size other than the standard size. Tattoo needles are made in different size diameters. The standard size of a needle is 0.35 in diameter.

A standard needle, means you are getting a #12 gauge or 0.35 diameter size needle.

A bugpin or "tight" needle means you are getting a #10 gauge or 0.30 diameter size needle.

A super-bugpin or "super-tight" needle means you are getting a #08 gauge or 0.25 diameter sized needle.

Here's a helpful chart to keep things straight....



Bugpin or

Super-Bugpin or

#10 #08



Before taking the cartridge out of its sealed package, read the label information. If the tattoo needle you are using is a standard-size needle, the part number should start with C12.

For example, a LOW PROFILE Cartridge standard 9-round liner would read: C1209RL 

If it is a bugpin 9-round liner, it would read: C1009RL

Do not confuse needle size with needle grouping. The needle grouping is referred to as the number and the arrangement of the tattoo needle.

For instance, a 9-round Liner standard is 9 #12 gauge needles arranged in a tight configuration to be used as a Liner.

So, to order a LOW PROFILE 9-round liner bugpin is to order a 9-round liner with a needle size of 0.30 diameter.

Why would you order such a thing? Well, stay tuned, and I'll write another blog that will help you understand why and when you would use a bugpin cartridge needle.


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  • James Vance

    Very informative article. Thanks and please keep posting value-added content tattoo needles.

  • Hannah Morison

    Thanks for the valuable information about what is a bug pin tattoo needle. Please keep posting value-added content for the tattoo community.

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