How Much Does a Tattoo Cost in the US?

If you are thinking about getting a tattoo, make sure you are getting what you paid for. Many people wonder about tattoo prices. How much does a tattoo cost? Is it worth it? The cost of tattoos fluctuates depending on different factors. Tattoo costs can range from thirty dollars to thousands of dollars. The national average ranges from $200 to $300. It is important to know about tattoo pricing to settle on one that fits into your budget. A tattoo will be permanent body art that you will wear and represent every day, so you want to consider all your options before choosing something that you might not want. This article will provide a brief pricing guide to help you understand how tattoo prices are created.
How Much Does a Tattoo Cost in the US?

What Does the Price Consist of?

Tattoos are expensive. There is no doubting that, but it is because of everything that goes into the experience and final product of getting a tattoo. When getting a tattoo, the customer is not only paying for the final artwork but the work that the artist put into the design, the materials used, etc. How do tattoo shops charge and create a price? This is what the pricing usually consists of.

  • Equipment and machines: Even though artists are different, they will all still be using some sort of equipment. The machines that they use cost a large sum of money, so a small fraction of that cost will be incorporated into your tattoo price to justify machine use and depreciation. How much tattoo machine costs will influence the price.
  • Ink: The ink used by tattoo artists is very special. They have to use ink that is safe and approved to be used on your skin. This is important due to safety concerns. Because the ink needs to meet regulations and satisfy health concerns, it ends up being quite pricey.
  • Time: Some tattoos can take only a few minutes while others can take up to many hours. A customer pays for the artist’s time as well. 
  • Treatment & advice: After getting a tattoo, artists will treat it to avoid potential infection. They will typically use a lotion or ointment with antibacterial properties and will wrap the area to limit exposure to germs.

What does the Price Depend on?

Obviously, not all tattoos are going to cost the same. Tattoos vary in style, size, color, etc. Many factors will determine how expensive a tattoo will total. The following factors will cause the price of a tattoo to vary the most.

  • Where you live: Tattoos are going to have different costs depending on where you get them. Cities such as Los Angeles is going to have comparatively high prices compared to elsewhere. If you are on a budget, it may be smart to look at cities that have lower labor costs.
  • Artist experience level: If you choose to go to an artist with many years of experience, you will get a high-quality tattoo. This will translate into a higher price. If you want a more experienced artist, make sure you are aware that they will charge more money.
  • Hourly rates: Artists charge an hourly rate on top of the base price. Every hour that your tattoo takes is going to increase the bottom line. How much a tattoo costs per hour is going to depend on the artist and location as well.
  • Tattoo style: Tattoos have the option of coming in different styles. A more intricate design is going to cost much more than simplistic artwork. Keep this in mind. 
  • Tattoo Sizes: Tattoo size matters when it comes to the final price. A larger tattoo will take up more surface area and therefore will be priced higher than a smaller tattoo. 
  • Body Place of Tattoo: Tattoo price also depends on the area of your body the tattoo will be in. Areas such as your ankle or wrist will cost significantly lower than areas such as your back or chest.

Average Tattoo Prices in 2021

Tattoo prices are increasing every year meaning that in 2021, they are higher than ever. At the same time, there is a larger variety of The following table depicts the average tattoo costs. These prices will not always match up with the actual cost, but it should provide a rough estimate. 

National Average Cost$250
Average Minimum$30
Average Maximum Cost$4,000
Average Range$150-$450
Most customers will be paying around these prices for their tattoos. Prices will fluctuate depending on the cost of living, skill level, your design requirements, artist’s demand, and much more. Keep in mind the factors that pricing depends on when creating an estimate for yourself.

How Much Does Tattoo Removal Cost?

Some people choose to get their tattoos removed by laser. These lasers utilize light absorption to remove the ink from your skin. On the downside, tattoo removal is expensive. This is why it is important to be sure about the tattoo you decide on and its placement. To get a smaller tattoo removed, the average price will range from $250 to $300. For a larger tattoo, you could be paying upwards of $1,000. However, tattoo removal is not always successful. Depending on skin type, ink type, and some other factors, tattoo removal will work better for some rather than others. Be aware of this risk before choosing to get a tattoo removed.

How to Prepare for a Tattoo

After you are certain of the tattoo that you want, there are many things to consider before getting it done. Do not jump the gun and run to the first tattoo parlor you find. Do your research. Look for artists that have experience in the style of artwork that you are looking for. Most artists have extensive portfolios of their artwork and past tattoo designs. Make sure to look at multiple artists so you can find the one that best suits your style. 

Pay attention to the thickness of their design, the colors they use, and their inspiration. Once you find a style that you like best, you will be confident that you will receive artwork that you really love. Once the artist creates a personalized design for you, do not be afraid to tell them if you want something changed. This artwork will be on your body permanently, and there is nothing wrong with wanting it to be perfect. Talk to your artist about how much the tattoo will end up costing. It is important to get a quote early instead of being surprised by your ending bill.

On the big day, you are going to be very excited to get your tattoo, but there are a few things that you should not forget to do. You should eat a large meal beforehand. The process of getting a tattoo can make you lightheaded, and an empty stomach will only make that worse. Eating before will actually lower your sensitivity to pain from tattoos, and you will have a better chance of staying conscious with a clear head. 

Foods that contain vitamin C such as citrus fruits, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and broccoli are proven to be helpful to repair and recover body tissue. It could also help to drink healthy fluids such as water and herbal teas beforehand. Avoid alcohol 24-48 hours beforehand because it typically will thin your blood and cause unwanted bleeding. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep and are well rested the day of to have the best experience possible.

tattoo cost

After You have Gotten a Tattoo 

Many people forget that getting a tattoo is a medical procedure and requires the same amount of aftercare and healing. Since the tattoo needle is opening your skin, it is highly prone to unwanted scaring and infections. Caring properly for a tattoo can prevent these complications and make sure you have a quick and steady tattoo healing process. Your artist will immediately cover the area with a bandage to prevent bacteria from reaching the exposed skin. Make sure you keep this on for at least a couple of hours. Once you remove the bandage, you can wash the new tattoo with unscented soap and water. Pat the skin dry instead of wiping. 

For the first couple of days, you may experience itchy, red, sore skin. You may also notice excess ink, blood or fluid leaking from your skin. Do not worry, this is normal and just part of the healing process. Every day after, you should wear clothing that protects the area from the sun until the tattoo is healed. Be sure to moisturize daily and wash it one to two times per day. The tattoo should be healed within fifteen to thirty days if everything goes well. If you notice any signs of infection before this point, call your tattoo artist and a doctor, so they can help you find a solution.


Tattoos are beautiful pieces of artwork, but just like every work of art, they come with a price tag. It can be difficult to estimate the price of a potential tattoo by yourself, so do not be afraid to call potential artists and ask them for a rough quote. This way you can have an idea of what you will be paying, and you can compare the prices of multiple artists. The cost to get a tattoo is going to depend on so many things, and it’s difficult to keep track. Understand exactly what kind of tattoo you want for artists to give you a more accurate quote. How big will your tattoo be, where will it be, how detailed, what style? These are all questions that will help them determine the final price for your new tattoo. 

Once you decide on your tattoo and artist, feel free to work with them. You can be as vague or specific as you would like when choosing a design. Some people like the artist to take the reigns and create a beautiful, unique, one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Others like something that they were able to create themselves. Whatever your preference is, the tattoo artist is there to help you and assist you with any of your needs. They can improve a design you already have, and can also create something described to them verbally. Take advantage of their skill and talent to find the perfect design that you will stay with you forever.

Do not forget about aftercare. It is arguably the most important step in the process. Your tattoo artist will give you tips about how to care for your specific tattoo. Each tattoo is different and requires different methods. Smaller tattoos will have a simpler healing process, while larger tattoos might take up a lot of time. Tattoos on different parts of your body will require different caring methods as well. Feel free to ask your artist any questions. Getting a tattoo is exciting, and it is key to understand pricing, preparation, and aftercare before getting a tattoo, so you can be ahead of the game.