The average cost for a tattoo is $200. Hiring a tattoo artist to get inked, you will likely spend between $40 and $1500 depending on many factors. The price of a tattoo can vary greatly by region (and even by zip code). View our local tattoo artists or get free estimates from pros near you.
Depending on the country you live in (or the country you want your tattoo done in), the cost of your tattoo will depend on a wide range of options and styles. Because of the range of options available and the work being done, asking how much a tattoo costs is almost like asking how much a painting costs.
The main variables that contribute to the final price include, but are not limited to, the artist, the artwork, and the studio.
Keeping all the factors mentioned below in mind, artists typically charge in one of a number of ways. For most work commissioned, they will either charge you per piece or per hour, while a small subset will have a per minute rate.
Average Tattoo Costs by Size:
|Tattoo Size||Average Cost|
|Small Tattoo (3 - 8 in)||$30 - $250|
|Medium Tattoo (8 - 15 in)||$150 - $450|
|Large Tattoo (15+ in)||$500 - $4,000+|
|Wedding Ring Tattoo||$50 - $250|
|Eyebrow Tattoo||$300 - $500|
|Half Sleeve Tattoo||$500 - $1,500|
|Full Sleeve Tattoo||$1,500 - $3,000|
|Full Back Tattoo||$2,000 - $5,000|
|Hourly Rate||$75 - $200|
|Tattoo Removal||$50 - $250|
For example, Clay Tattoos in Austin, Texas, has a flat rate of $4/minute. His work covers custom drawings, portraits, and realism. He says he gets lost in his work and says, “I haven't come across anything I can't draw or tattoo.”
The Red Baron Ink studio in New York quotes a shop minimum of $100 for smaller pieces, a flat rate of $250–$500 for palm-size pieces, and hourly rates ranging from $200–$250/hour—which varies by artist.
Floating Lotus Tattoo Studio in Portland has a flat rate of $140 per hour, with 12 years’ experience.
For example, if you want it fast, it is almost definitely not going to be of a high quality. If you want it cheap, it is not likely to be of a high quality. If you want it to be high quality, it will likely neither be cheap nor fast.
This is, of course, a generalization, because many people work at different speeds. As a general rule of thumb, depending on the complexity of the design, a more seasoned tattoo artist with eight to ten or more years of professional experience could be faster than a less experienced artist.
Typically, the more the years of experience your artist has, the higher the price will be. On average, a tattoo artist is viewed as a:
If the artist is famous because of social media or TV, then you can expect to pay a lot more than the prices detailed below.
The tattoo itself is the next big contributor to the final price you pay for your ink. The variables in this category can be broken down as follows:
Artwork size falls into either small, medium, or large.
As with everything else, time is money, and the longer an artist spends on your artwork, the longer the meter will keep running, unless you established a fixed fee at the start.
Where you want the tattoo to be on your body can affect the price too. Most locations on your body are pretty straightforward re tattooing, but some areas can pose challenges to make sure it looks as intended, especially if there is a range of motion in that area.
A single color (usually black) tattoo will typically be cheaper than one with a range of colors, since color tattoos require more detail and blending skills. Another factor is that with a color tattoo, the artist will normally (if not always) start out with an outline in black that will get filled in with color at a later time, so it is almost like getting two tattoos.
The options range from a custom original piece you and the artist agree on (after your initial consultation) to a design you select from a catalog at the studio, or a picture of something you want them to replicate. Depending on the complexity, custom artwork will typically take longer and generally involve the artist taking time to render the artwork on paper for you to approve before the project begins.
Tattoos can range from a traditional depiction of a five-pointed star all the way to an accurate depiction of the universe in the clouds around the "Pillars of Creation" from the Eagle Nebula, with perfect color blends. In this respect, you are looking at both:
The average person on the street won’t normally know the difference, but a high-end studio (and artist) will only conduct the work with the best brands of ink, best safety procedures, and equipment required to deliver the best results; while your eighteen-year-old neighbor could be quite happy to tackle the task with a sewing needle and some fountain pen ink.
Unless you live in a major metropolitan area, the best studio in your area is likely to cost a lot less than some of the top studios in New York or Los Angeles. Their geographic location has the potential to up their score in relation to their fame and popularity. This doesn’t mean that a studio in a smaller location can’t have incredibly popular and talented artists with a long waitlist, but it’s unusual.
For an idea of the difference, Dark Star Tattoo in Portland, OR, charges $120–$140/hour and is an award-winning studio with 20 years of experience. Gonzo Tattoos in Lynwood, CA, has prices starting at $50 for a small tattoo. He has ten years of experience. Sacred Art LA runs a private studio in CA and charges from $160/hour. He started tattooing in 2000. Daydream Tattoos in Phoenix, AZ, starts pricing at $30. He has ten years’ experience.
If you get back from that bachelor party in New Orleans and discover a tattoo you don’t remember getting, or things didn’t work out with “Amy”, then you may want to wipe the slate clean. Small tattoos can be removed relatively easily with laser treatments starting just south of $50, but larger pieces, like a full arm sleeve, would be broken out into multiple treatments.
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