Home » Your Questions About Tattoo Prices, Answered

Your Questions About Tattoo Prices, Answered

Every tattoo is different, and the cost of a tattoo will vary depending on the style, size and other factors. All things considered, we answer your questions about how tattoos are priced and what should you keep in mind while comparing.

What Goes in to the Price of a Tattoo

Tattoos are individually priced if it’s a custom design. If you’re getting a flash, pre-designed tattoo, the price should be clearly stated, but it will stim mostly depend on some main factors.

1. Price based on the size of the tattoo

The size of the tattoo is the first factor of the price, and it will always be no matter if the design of the is custom or it’s a flash. It just makes sense, the size determines the amount of time the tattoo artist will need to complete it. Of course, there’s no way to estimate the cost without knowing other factors.

Woman with tattoo on back - estimated price of tattoo $250
A tattoo of this size can set you back from $250 to $350

Tattoos that can be dome within a couple of hours will usually be priced ahead, by size. That works for sizes up to half-sleeve, design complexity depending, of course. Larger pieces, full sleeves, very complex designs etc.. will be priced per hour, depending on the artist’s rates.

2. Style of the tattoo influences the pricing

Apart from the size, it’s the style that will greatly influence the final price of the tattoo. You can expect to pay less for simpler designs that don’t involve a lot of shading, color, texture and details.

Same size and design compared, a Blackwork style tattoo will cost less than a Black and Grey style tattoo. Regardless of the size, a simple, minimalist outline tattoo will cost less than a small Realism tattoo as it will take more time and effort to make it.

3. Placement of the tattoo will also influence the cost

Some areas of the body are mo difficult to tattoo than others. A neck tattoo, no matter the size, will always cost slightly more than a tattoo of same size and style done on the forearm. It’s a sensitive spot and the skin is more difficult to work with.

6. Location

Like with most goods and services, prices will vary depending on your location. Small town tattooers with a smaller client base are most likely going to charge less. Of course, there are wold famous artists working in remote locations, still charging a premium price. That leads us to the next price factor:

5. It’s the tattoo artist that sets the price

We can talk about the factors that go in to the price of a tattoo, but in the end, the price is going to be mostly dependent on how much a certain artist charges for their work

Good Tattoos Aren’t Cheap, Cheap Tattoos Aren’t Good

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You can expect to pay the lowest price for a tattoo done by an apprentice. In no way does it mean that you’ll get less value for your money, sometimes it’s quite the opposite, but generally, an apprentice is still working their way up the ladder and building their portfolio, and therefore will charge less, compared to a more experienced artist.

ExperienceHourly Rate
Apprentice / Beginner (up to 3 years)$60 – $120
Established Artist (3 – 8 years)$120 – $160
Experienced Tattoo Artist (8+ years)$140 – $250
Famous Tattoo Artists$200 –

The more popular, famous, in-demand the artist is, the more people will want to get a tattoo from them, and chances are, the more that artist will charge. It just basic economics, demand and supply.

If you want to know how to compare the cost, just ask for the hourly rate of the artist. That should give you a decent idea of what the price of your tattoo will be.

Example Tattoo Prices

Tiny to Small Tattoos – in the $50 to $250 range

For a tiny tattoo like this one, you can expect to pay the minimum charge, usually around $50 – $60
By: Playground Tattoo (not priced by the artist)

Tiny and small tattoos can cost anywhere in the $50 to $250 range, keeping in mind all the price factors explained above.

A basic tiny tattoo, a heart outline on your wrist, will cost $50. If you want a small tattoo with a very intricate design, it can cost up to $250, same goes for difficult placements. As explained, include color or shading, the price will also go up.

Medium Tattoo – in the $150 to $450 range

A medium sized tattoo, like this rose on hand by Jim Gentry, will cost in the $230 – $260 range

Medium sized tattoos, approximately palm sized, will be priced in the $150 to $450 range, depending on size, complexity of design, style and the artist doing the tattoo.

Large Tattoos

Large tattoos, hand sized and larger, such as a half-sleeve or a thigh tattoo, can cost anywhere from $450 to $1000, or even more.

For a tattoo of this size and design, you can expect to pay around $500 – $600
Tattoo by Ebony Mellowship

Questions and Answers: Tattoo Prices

How much does it cost per hour to get a tattoo?

Price per hour usually depends on the skill and experience level of the artist. Beginner, apprentice level artist will charge from $60 to $120 per hour of tattooing, while an experienced tattooist can easily charge $200 or more. On average, you can expect to pay about $150 per hour of tattooing.
Famous artists charge as much as someone is willing to pay, often in the $500+ range.

How much does a full back tattoo cost?

The final cost of a full back tattoo, greatly depends on the artist who is doing the tattoo and the complexity of the design.

Woman with a back tattoo
Full back tattoos can get pretty pricey, pretty fast

It usually takes between 20 and 35 work hours to make a full back tattoo, so you can expect to pay anywhere from $3500 to $8000, or even more, depending on the artist.

Do tattoos cost more with color?

Yes, in most cases, color tattoos will cost more when directly compared, especially when it means more work for the artist.

Use of color can mean more details the artist will have to incorporate, more time it will take to keep the tattoo and the colors in it consistent throughout the piece, but also just the time it takes to physically change, mix colors and plan their steps.

How much do small tattoos cost?

A small tattoo, depending on the design, can cost anywhere from $50 to $150. A small, simple, fine line outline of a heart on your wrist should cost in the $50 – $70 range, while something of similar size but with more complex design elements, shading and color, can cost up to $150.

How much does it cost to get a half sleeve tattoo?

Depending on the artist, design and size, a half sleeve tattoo can cost anywhere from $450 to $1500. Simpler designs, black only ink, and the cost will be lower. Complex designs with multiple colors used, or heavily shaded and detailed tattoos of the same size will cost more.

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