A pen style tattoo machine with adjustable stroke lengths, the Axys Valhalla is a great choice for new and experienced tattoo artists.

Axys Valhalla Machine Review

*Price at time of publishing

The Axys Valhalla works as well as our favorite tattoo machines. However, the claim that it eliminates traditional dirt traps can be misleading, making buyers think that a high performance seal means they don’t have to follow traditional cleaning methods. 

Video Transcription: Axys Valhalla Machine Review

What's up, everybody? So I've been looking at the comments for review videos and it came up the AXYS Valhalla quite a few times, so I decided to order one and I just got it in the mail today. So I'm really pumped about this machine. A lot of you have been asking about doing a review on this machine and checking it out. So I decided it'll be the perfect one to do next.

If you're new to this channel and want to keep up to date on not only review videos like this, but any other tattooing content we make each week, make sure you like and subscribe down below and hit the little bell notification so you can keep up to date on all of the new content. So let's get into the AXYS Valhalla. Okay, so I not only got the machine, but I also got some disposable grips.

This is super important when it comes to tattooing, if you are tattooing on people, that you need these unless you have an autoclave. So I wanted to touch base with that first. Second, we'll get some gloves on since we are going to be touching these things. Awesome. So we'll open this up and check it out. So inside the box, you'll get some directions, I believe this is. Let's see here. The Valhalla is designed to push cartridges, not to run empty. Do not leave the machine running without a cartridge installed. And it says important very clearly on this piece of paper, so do not run this machine without a cartridge, which is different. I do that all the time with my Cheyenne, so yeah, don't allow fluids to enter machine. Yeah. By spraying it. That's normal. Never operate without O rings. That's obvious.

Voltage is seven volts to 10 volts, so it will not go super low. So if you're doing things like some really soft light shades or even simple shading, you're going to have an issue with this machine. And it does say lower voltage, softer hit, fewer punctures per second. Higher voltage, harder hit, and more punctures per second, which is obviously if you've been watching my videos, we've gone over that plenty of times.

The Valhalla has five different strokes starting from 2.5 millimeter, which is honestly probably the lowest I've ever used in my life will be today because I've never used a 2.5 millimeter stroke. It also has a 2.9, 3.4, 3.8 and 4.2 that it says all you do is simply twist the ring to set. Shorter stroke equals softer hit. Longer stroke equals harder hit. Okay. Rotate the grip. So you change the needle depth by just turning it, like all other ones do. Yeah. So basic stuff after that. That was the most important things. Okay. So satisfied. Yeah. Just a little satisfied card and let's check out the machine. So here it is.

Just looking at it, it's a lot smaller than I would've thought it was going to be. I was expecting it to be way thicker. I'm used to my Cheyenne Sol Nova, so yeah, it's really, really tiny. I really like the color. They have olive. I think they have a pink, a gold, a couple other colors out there that I'll leave a picture right here, so you could check them out. That's the different colors they have. I went with olive just because it's a cool color. It's kind of like my shop's theme, too. With Arrowhead, I felt like earthy tones would be cool. So here is the machine.

It looks really cool. Changing the stroke. You're supposed to just be able to twist it and, yeah, it twists really easy. Very free flowing. So yeah, it should be fairly easy to do. The only thing I would like to check out would be whenever you are mid-tattoo and you want to switch it out and everything's wrapped up, the issue you would have switching it, which it shouldn't be too much of an issue. The other thing of changing your actual needle depth is it doesn't click, so it's more like a Cheyenne Sol Nova.

A couple of the other ones that I've used actually click when you're getting your depth and everything, so this one does just spin and it's a little rough to spin as well. So it might be a little bit of an issue if I'm changing that mid-tattoo, going from a liner to a shader, which they might have done that because you're supposed to shut it off and making it easy would be way too easy to just pop one in there and do it that way.

So that's possible. So there's the machine. Set that right there so you could take a look at it and then it came with, yeah, some other looks like a cam bearing and some O-rings. And these are the disposable grips right here I got with it, supposedly so you don't have to use an autoclave. You could just throw these away every [inaudible 00:04:20]. You still want to wrap it up, your machine, completely. But I'm opening this up right here. I've never opened this up before. And any other disposable grip that I've gotten in my entire life has came sterilized in a sterilized container showing that it went through the process of sterilization. So these aren't. There's nothing keeping these sterile, so you go to tattoo with these and they're not sterile.

So what is the point? Which is super annoying, because this is the only one I found and I was super pumped about them actually having disposable grips, so I could do a review on a machine that is made for artists. You want to be becoming a tattoo artist and tattooing for a living, so you need a disposable grip unless you have an autoclave. And it says the real deal for professionals only, but you can't be a professional if this is the disposable grips they give you. And I got these things straight from AXYS, right? AXYS. Yeah. Straight off their website, so it wasn't a third party or anything. This is straight from them.

So these are the disposable grips. Obviously not sterile at all. Honestly, if I'm being a hundred percent with these, they are 3D printed. You could feel the ridges on them from the 3D printer. If you can see it, there's little plastic pieces in there that are just floating around, which you don't want to have excess plastic and everything.

If that gets into your ink or into your needle or anything like that, it's going to cause issues. So once again, pen machines are just not made for you to tattoo with unless you have an autoclave, I guess. I mean my Cheyenne Sol Nova Unlimited has ones that come sterile, everything. You just put them in your machine and you're good to go. So yeah. Super weird. So it's one thing to think about. I ordered these for no reason because I'm obviously not going to use them. Even if they were just packaged up individually and wrapped up, there's random dust and stuff at the bottom of this box and these are just sitting there, so yeah. I'm not going to use these. I guess I'll display this on my back wall because it's a cool box, but at the end of the day, that's all it's going to be is a cool box.

Cool. So after that, kind of discouraging when it comes to the actual disposable grips. I was really pumped about that. But now we get in it to the actual review. I will use one of these disposable grips to show you if they actually work with the machine, but only on fake skins. Obviously I'm not going to be tattooing any human beings with any of this stuff yet, obviously because I use disposables, fully disposable, just so I don't have to worry about an autoclave.

So let's get into the review. All right. So this is what we're going to be tattooing for the review today. It's just a little Naruto flash that I had. So before we start, we're going to make sure that we wrap up the AXYS Valhalla, making sure everything's covered before starting. And also what I'm going to be using today is an 11 round liner, a seven round liner and 11 curved mag, so that is what we're using.

And then colors. My straight black, my three drops, red, pink, yellow, and those are solid colors, and that's what I'm using. Okay. So we're going to get our one-inch bags and slide it over the top. Then we're going to wrap up our bottom with our bandage wrap, right like this. So I'm really used to a way bigger grip, so this is definitely going to be weird for me. This is a really small, tiny pen-style machine. But through the bag, you can still see the stroke that you want to go on. So let's see if you could. Yeah, you can twist it. It's a little awkward, but you could get it done. And then changing the needle depth, you could do as well. Okay. So before we get started, we're going to make sure that we put a cartridge in this machine because you're not supposed to run it without one. That was said a few times inside the box.

So put a cartridge in the machine. We're going to change our depth because it's sticking out really, really far right now. Another thing that seems to be happening is whenever I'm trying to change my depth, it's changing my stroke, too. So when I turn it, it just turned cleared down to the smallest stroke and then I could kind of move it around, which kind of sucks. So it's a lot harder to kind of do it on the fly. Okay. So let's start it out on a 3.8. I normally use a four, so this is about exactly where I'd be normally running it.

Okay. We'll start out at the very bottom. Awesome. So I made some really, really nice lines first starting out. You could definitely tell that this is a quality tattoo machine. Awesome. And what I'm running my voltage at right now is at an 8.5, if anyone was wondering what I'm running it on. All right, we're going to test out this long line.

Yeah, so this machine is running perfectly. It is a professional tattoo machine. One thing you want to think about is the other ones were priced fairly cheap. This one is going for about $600, depending on where you get it from. So that's one thing you want to think about, that it is a little bit more expensive as well.

But it is good to see that when you do pay more money, you do get a better product. Sometimes you'll pay more money and then it still sucks. This one is actually working really, really well. I'm not having any issues at all. And if you know what you're doing, you could just pretty much pick this one right out of the box and tattoo with it, setting it up exactly how you want it because of the different strokes. So you can pretty much set this up for anything.

Which we're going to try out the different strokes here in a second after I get done with this big liner. Yeah. So it comes with the big liner. This is Brandon approved. We're going to fast forward the thick lines and then we'll get onto changing up the strokes to do some smaller lines. All right. Now that we have our thick outline done, I'm going to switch out to my seven round liner and clean it off really good, and we'll try out on a different stroke. Yeah. As you could see, the lines went in really good for an 11 round liner. Didn't have any issues at all. It went in perfectly exactly how it should.

Okay. So I turned off my machine before putting the cartridge in. That's something I have to say out loud because I will forget to do that because I don't do that with my Cheyenne. So you'll probably hear me say that a few times. All right. So we're going to turn the stroke down to, let's go with a 3.4. So this is the one I would recommend if you are first starting out that you should be using is a 3.4. So let's see how it works.

We're going to go and do all the little detailed lines with it. Yeah, the only thing I would say that I don't really like so far, besides obviously the disposable grips, would be how hard it is to change the needle depth whenever you are using the machine and have it wrapped up just because it just keeps changing the stroke whenever you're trying to change that. So that could be a little bit annoying when you're using it, but that's not something detrimental that you just shouldn't get the machine because of that.

Yeah. So it's running really smoothly with this really small liner, which is awesome. I'm not having any issues with it either, so this is a great lining machine. It has the push needed to be able to push big liners and you could turn the stroke down and push some small lines as well, so it did great with lining. I definitely recommend this machine a hundred percent if you are working on fake skins. I wish that I could say that this is a machine for everyone tattooing on human beings, but if you don't have an autoclave, which I'd say that really 80% of the shops out there nowadays just do full disposable. They don't even want to worry about an autoclave. So it's going to be really hard to try to find a shop that still does that, but that could just be me and just the shops that I know and the people I talk to could just be like me and that's how they do it.

So don't quote me on that. Okay. So now with the shading, we're going to do some black and gray shading first. So let's turn it down to the lowest it'll go, which is a 2.5. So whenever you are using a really small stroke, you want to make sure that whenever it is turned off, that none of the needles are sticking out. So you could see that my needles are not protruding out right there, but when I turn it on, it does come out. So that is exactly how I want it set up. And you'll have to change that depending on the strokes that you're doing. All right, we'll go in here and do some very light shading.

Yeah, so this is doing really great for shading. The one thing I like about the machine a ton is that you can change the stroke. That's not a luxury I have with my Cheyenne Sol Nova Unlimited. Obviously this one, you do have to have an RCA cord. My Cheyenne, you do not. It runs on batteries, but honestly the RCA cord doesn't really bother me too much. I feel like, yes, it is easy, but it's not really detrimental. I feel like a lot of new artists just want that ability of being wireless, but don't let that hold you back from trying out a machine because it really isn't that big of a deal. You could learn to use a cord. Just make sure you're wrapping it up.

And yeah, I still use my Inkjecta all the time that uses an RCA cord. So I say in the handle we'll do more of a traditional shading, so I'll kick it up to... Turn it off. Let's go up to 3.8, which is about a four stroke. So this is kind of how I do my traditional shading. I like that you have a really big stroke. That's not for everyone. So test out and use what works for you, but it works really great for me being able to do transitions with pepper shading.

Cool. So it's doing great. Just like everything else, I'm able to make transitions. You can see the little dots because my hand speed and the machine is keeping up with me. So, yeah, it will do traditional style tattoos, no issue. Yeah. So I love this machine. I really, really hope that they do something about these disposable grips. It's just really, really upsetting that they made such a good machine, put all this time into making it correctly, and then just falling short on the disposable grips. This doesn't make any sense to me at all.

All righty. Let's clean it up really good and check out that shading. Awesome. So that is exactly how I wanted it to turn out. So it did a great job. All right. So now we're going to get into color. So I'm going to stick with this four, 3.8 stroke because I like a longer stroke whenever I am doing my color, just because it hits a little bit harder and I don't have to go into the skin multiple times. The way I tattoo, I like my color to be in there right away, so I don't have to go back, which can cause issues with healing.

I always put down Vaseline because color can be messy. Just start out with red. I'm not going to put a ton of red, just in some areas to have some dark so it's not just solid pink. We're just going through here doing some red and it's working great. Just pushing it in there without me having to go over it multiple times and overworking the fake skin. I also just now realized that I'm going to have to pour some green ink. I didn't even think about the leaves.

This will be the point of the tattoo that I take a break and pour myself some green ink because I completely forgot. All right, let's get onto the pink. And I'm going to be running the exact same way for the pink as well. Pink's a light color, so it can be a little bit tricky whenever you are putting it in there, but I'm not fighting with it at all. It's just going in perfectly.

Yeah, I tattoo a lot of colors, so one thing I really look at whenever I am working with a tattoo machine is if it has the umph to be able to put it in there and I don't have to go over it multiple times because you could really mess someone up by doing that, which this machine is doing a great job. So if I was to use this on a human being, I would have no issue. I'd be able to tattoo exactly the way I would with my Inkjecta, with my Cheyenne Sol Nova. Yeah. And really wouldn't have to change really anything I do to be able to tattoo the exact same way, so that's a great thing to know.

So if you do have this machine, if you are using it right now, if you do have an autoclave or if you're only working on fake skin, you did pick the right one for sure. Because no matter what, no matter how you wrap this machine up, there is still going to be areas to where blood plasma, ink are going to get into the machine, which causes problems with bloodborne pathogens. So, yeah, I think that's the biggest misconception in the tattoo world right now is with pen-style machines and people getting away with just wrapping them and not having to autoclave it, but just know that that is not the case. That's not sterile. Yeah. And if you're in place with the health department, you're going to get into issues with that for sure.

Okay. Let's add some green to it. You can see when I'm tattooing with this, I did put pink in there and I'm wiping away from the pink. I'm not wiping towards it because it'll muddy up the pink because of the green is a darker color. So that's one thing you want to kind of pay attention to when you are tattooing is you always want to do the darkest colors first and the lightest colors last. But if you do come to a situation where you need to do it this way, you just wipe away from it and you will be fine, but do your best just to not do dark colors with light colors around. All right. And our last step is going to be the yellow. Switch back to our mag for this. I'm just going to do the middles of the flowers yellow, right like this.

Especially with yellow, you don't want to be in one area too long. I see people really overworking the skin with their yellow, which can cause issues with healing because what happens on actual human skin is when you go over it and wipe it away, the blood kind of mixes in with the ink, so you can't really tell that there's any ink there. So you go over it multiple times, keep trying to go over it to see it and it never happens, and then you get to a point where it's just really overworked and oversaturated to the point that it's going to fall out completely and obviously cause complications with healing.

So here is the final design. We'll clean it up really good and check out how it turned out. But as the review, so is the AXYS Valhalla worth it? As a standpoint from a machine, it is a very professional, high-quality machine that works really, really well when it comes to tattooing. With the disposable grips, before we get off here, I'm going to put one of those on and see how it works with the machine. I didn't want to do it with wrapping it up and everything. I just want to see and be able to see kind of what it's doing and kind of how it fits and everything, so I want to do that after we get this cleaned up. Here it is. It made a perfect tattoo. I would have no issue putting this on human skin with this machine, so it did a great job.

So I highly recommend it if you are just tattooing fake skins or even if you have an autoclave, by all means, get this machine, but make sure you are running these grips through the autoclave. Awesome. So let me get this out of the way and get back on here and see how it looks with the disposable grip.

Okay. We're back. And here's the machine. Obviously here's the disposable grip. And usually sometimes with pen-style machines, they do get a little hot. This one didn't get hot. I've been tattooing that for about 45 minutes and no issue. So let's try the fit on this. So, yeah, it goes on. Man, it goes on really, really tight and you can actually feel this kind of moving when you put it on, so it's a little bit small. It's really hard to kind of put on. Let's just check the fitting of a cartridge. So the cartridge did go on okay.

You could change the depth fairly easy. See, I guess these are okay if you're just wanting to focus on holding it. Yeah, I don't know. These really aren't worth it. Just wrap up your machine. Use the actual grip that comes with it because you obviously can't tattoo with these. They're not sterile. That's why I'm not wearing gloves because they're pretty much pointless. I can't use them for anything other than just sitting around. I guess I could tattoo fake skins with them, but what's the point when I could just wrap up the actual one that came with it? So AXYS Valhalla. Totally worth it. I love the machine. One thing that they could definitely improve on this machine would be the disposable grips. If you get those figured out, I'll be using your machine every single day when it comes to actually tattooing on clients, but for right now, I cannot.

I hope this was able to help you guys out and like and subscribe down below if you want more content like this. And also if you have any reviews you'd like me to do, leave a comment down below as well. And, as always, I hope you guys have a wonderful day and thank you for watching.

If you have found this video helpful and you would like to be mentored by artists like me and other mentors from Tattooing One On One, I left a link underneath this video for you. Inside our artist accelerator program, we break down step by step how to tattoo from start to finish, even if you are just a beginner. So if you're tired of trying to figure out everything on your own and want to skip years of trial and error to become a professional tattoo artist, I recommend you check it out. 

Our Score



Price: $590.00 (6/10)

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The Axys Valhalla pen machine is expensive, especially compared to beginner pen machines like the Archer Mast. However, the higher price tag does mean higher quality with this machine.

Quality (9/10)

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The Axys Valhalla is a high-quality machine that can handle running a thick liner and soft shading.

We would use this in the shop if the disposable grips available were sterile - this is the only thing that keeps us from giving the Axys Valhalla a 5.0 star rating.

Handling (8/10)

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This pen machine is easy to use and works well for any tattoo you do, since it has five adjustable stroke lengths.

The only negative we found was the fact that trying to change the needle depth while the machine is wrapped can make it easy to accidentally change the stroke instead.
  • Adjustable stroke lengths
  • Easy to get crisp lines and smooth shading
  • Comparable to our favorites - Inkjecta Flite Nano and Cheyenne Sol Nova
  • Disposable grips for the Valhalla pen are not EO gas sterilized
  • Several customer complaints about needing to get the machine serviced a few months after purchasing 

Product Details


4.5oz/130 grams


Five adjustable stroke lengths: 2.5mm, 2.9mm, 3.4mm, 3.8mm, 4.2mm


6061-T6 aluminum construction; Mil Spec Type II anodized finish


10w, high-torque, Swiss-made Maxon motor (direct drive)


5-14V (starts at 3V)


RCA connection

Product Details


4.5oz/130 grams


Five adjustable stroke lengths: 2.5mm, 2.9mm, 3.4mm, 3.8mm, 4.2mm


6061-T6 aluminum construction; Mil Spec Type II anodized finish


10w, high-torque, Swiss-made Maxon motor (direct drive)


5-14V (starts at 3V)


RCA connection

Axys Valhalla Pen Tattoo Machine - Our Review:

The Axys Valhalla is a high-quality machine that our instructors would compare to their favorites, the Inkjecta Flite Nano and the Cheyenne Sol Nova.

However, despite the machine’s backflow-resistant plunger bar and a construction that protects it against traditional dirt traps, you still have to have an autoclave to use this machine.

Five Stroke Lengths: 2.5mm, 2.9mm, 3.4mm, 3.8mm, 4.2mm

The Axys Valhalla pen eliminates the need for multiple machines.

You get five different stroke lengths - 2.5mm, 2.9mm, 3.4mm, 3.8mm, 4.2mm - which you can adjust with the spinning grip (it’ll “click” into place). You can also adjust needle protrusion pretty easily.

In this review, Brandon used the 2.5mm stroke to get super-soft shading, and switched to 3.8 to get traditional pepper shading. The Valhalla pen performed perfectly for both. If you use the max length of 4.2, we recommend only using it for lining

This Valhalla tattoo machine easily makes good lines. It’s worth the price in this way: it tattooed super smooth lines, even with a small liner, and had plenty of power to push a big liner.

3-D Printed Disposable Grips

The disposable grips we bought with the machine are not EO gas sterilized, which means we recommend only using this machine on fake skins. 

Additionally, because the grips are 3-D printed, they had little shavings of plastic on the inside that could easily get into the machine, needles, or ink and contaminate them.

plastic grip receiver
threads on the grip of tattoo machine

Because they aren’t sterile and have plastic shavings, the disposable grips aren’t really worth the buy since you can only use the machine on fake skins (or you’ll have to autoclave the machine anyway to protect against bloodborne pathogens). If Axys Rotary fixes this issue, we would be ready to use the Axys Valhalla in the shop.

When we tested the 3D printed grips, they were tight going ongo the machine, but worked with the needle cartridge just fine. 

The “Cleanest Pen” Still Needs an AutoClave

Some sites claim the Valhalla’s design (with single rotation threads) eliminates traditional dirt traps by having no sharp corners. They also say that the high performance seal surrounding the plunger bar keeps ink back flow from contaminating the machine. This is supposed to allow for “easy cleaning.”

While the Axys Valhalla is constructed well, it is impossible to know that the machine is completely clean unless you have a sterilized, disposable grip or the Valhalla’s grip has been run through an autoclave. 

Even though it can resist directional flow back into the machine, it cannot completely eliminate flow in both directions.

Professional-Grade Machine

The Axys Valhalla is an amazing machine. It’s on the lower end price-wise for a professional machine, and it can do everything from smooth shading to color packing. 

It didn’t heat up at all during the tattooing process, and because the tapered center limits vibrations, it’s easy and comfortable to hold.

Who the Axys Valhalla Pen Is (and Isn’t) For:

We loved how the Axys Valhalla works. If you have access to an autoclave, it’s a great choice. However, we don’t recommend this machine for beginners, as most new artists do not have the ability to use an autoclave. 

If you’re looking for a high-quality practice machine to only use on practice skin, then the Axys Valhalla is a great choice.

Get the Axys Valhalla Pen Machine

axys valhalla pen pink
axys valhalla pen teal

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Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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