2024 Tattoo Cost Guide: Average Prices

by Tori Jones
Your Guide to Average Tattoo Prices

Tattoos, in their marvelous and indelible nature, can be potent storytellers, whether they be tales of teenage rebellion, heartwarming tributes, or simply a love for fine art. But what happens when the story told is no longer relevant, or worse, when the art itself falls short of expectations? Many of my clients wander into the studio carrying these stories etched onto their skin, like that classic rose-and-skull combo they thought was a cool idea after a couple of beers or that love declaration in Kanji that, it turns out, means ‘chicken noodle soup.’

Your Guide to Average Tattoo Prices
Julia Giacomini via Unsplash – Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

Hence, one key piece of advice: patience, my friends, is a virtue, especially in the world of tattoos. Save up for the masterpiece you really want, instead of the doodle you can afford right now. Tattoo removals and cover-ups are increasingly common, and our team has spent years turning regrettable tattoos into amazing works of art, but wouldn’t it be better to get it right the first time?

The big question still remains: How much will this masterpiece cost? Tattoo pricing, much like abstract art, can be rather elusive. There are countless variables involved – size, complexity of design, artist popularity, even geographical location. But generally speaking, you can expect to dish out somewhere between $150 to $450 for a standard piece. Larger and more complex pieces, of course, can rack up a much higher bill.

Remember, a tattoo is a long-term investment. Like my old pal Marv used to say, “It’s like wearing your heart on your sleeve, or your love for grilled cheese, or that weekend in Vegas…” So, seek an artist whose work resonates with your aesthetic.

I often liken the process of getting a tattoo to a lifelong dance. You’re committing to a rhythm, a movement that will be with you every day, telling your story to the world. So don’t scrimp on safety and quality.

Your Guide to Average Tattoo Prices
José Pinto Via Unsplash- Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

Through years of transforming tattoo regrets into wonders and providing insights into tattoo costs, we’re more than equipped to guide you on your inking journey. Whether you’re considering a modest minimalist design or flirting with the idea of a half sleeve tattoo, we’ll provide all the necessary intel. After all, every tattoo has a story. Make sure yours is one worth telling.

How Much Does a Tattoo Cost?

Cover-ups and reworks come with their own costs, including removal or fading of the old design. But don’t let this deter you. Think of it like this: Some artists are like the friendly neighborhood diner, serving up classic pieces, pre-drawn designs, or “flash” in the industry lingo, for a flat rate. You walk in, you like the cheeseburger special, you know exactly how much it’ll cost you. Such pieces typically range from $100 to $200, depending on size and other specifics.

Your Guide to Average Tattoo Prices

Yannic Läderach Via Unsplash- Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

Then you have your ‘a la carte’ artists. These Michelangelos of the modern world charge by the hour, typically falling between $100 to $250. Of course, for those who’ve reached the ranks of ‘celebrity tattoo artist’ – think vibrant Instagram presence, awards galore, a client list reading like the end credits of an Avengers movie – their rates can climb accordingly.

For those of you envisioning larger pieces, the full sleeve or back piece kind, you’re likely looking at half or full day rates. This is like a weekend getaway at a luxury resort, with touch-up sessions serving as delightful, all-inclusive spa treatments.

Now let’s talk real estate. Your body, much like the streets of Manhattan, has premium spots and challenging corners. A smooth expanse like the back can be a dream to tattoo, whereas bonier parts like ankles can prove to be trickier terrain. A tattoo on a sensitive area might require more of an artist’s skill to ensure your comfort, thereby affecting cost. So remember, your choice of canvas plays a significant role in the final price tag.

Stay tuned for the next piece, where we’ll delve into more details on the most popular body spots for tattoos, complete with average price ranges and timelines. Until then, dream big, ink responsibly!

Factors That Impact Tattoo Prices

Your Guide to Average Tattoo Prices
ALEX Trajilovic Via Instagram – Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

As for design complexity, think of it as the vintage of your tattoo wine. A simple flash might take the artist no time at all, while a custom full-back tattoo could involve hours of dedicated crafting. The intricacies of your chosen design, whether it’s a photorealistic animal, a tender portrait, or a vibrant cartoon character, add layers of skill and time to your tattoo process.

And then comes the color. A grayscale tattoo presents a different challenge than a fully colored one. It’s like choosing between a robust red wine and a crisp white. Both have their merits, but a full-color tattoo can offer a greater stylistic spectrum.

When picking your tattoo artist, you’re essentially choosing the vintner for your wine. Experience, popularity, and personal style – these are the deciders for what you’ll be paying. This is why it’s important to explore multiple artists, much like tasting different wines, to find the right fit for your vision.

Moving on to the location of your tattoo studio, it’s all about the terroir. If your chosen studio is in a bustling city like New York, or a tourist hotspot, expect higher rates mirroring the living costs in such areas.

Your Guide to Average Tattoo Prices
GRAHAM MANSFIELD Via Unsplash – Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

Lastly, consider the professional equipment, akin to a wine cellar’s conditions. Prioritize a safe, hygienic studio, with a strong reputation, proper licensure, and impeccable sanitary practices. Yes, it may cost more, but like a well-aged wine

Please note that these are only estimates. The exact cost will depend on the complexity of the design, the expertise of the tattoo artist, and the geographic location of the tattoo parlor.

SizePlacementEstimated Cost Range
SmallWrist, Ankle$50 – $150
MediumForearm, Calf$150 – $450
LargeBack, Chest$450 – $1500
Half SleeveArm, Leg$750 – $2000
Full SleeveArm, Leg$1500 – $6000

As you can see, smaller tattoos on less complex areas like the wrist or ankle can be relatively affordable. However, if you’re looking for a larger, more intricate design like a full sleeve, you can expect to invest a significant amount more. Always remember that while the price tag can be a factor, the most important thing is finding a skilled artist who can bring your vision to life in a safe and clean environment.


As our journey through the fascinating world of tattoos comes to a close, it’s clear that every decision—from where you ink to how much you pay—is deeply personal and unique, much like the tattoos themselves. Choose the spot on your body with care; consider how your design will flow with your body’s natural curves and contours. It’s not simply a matter of bearing the pain—although remember, bonier areas like the ankle do tend to be more sensitive—but about how the design will age with your skin.

Keep in mind, the cost can vary greatly, as it’s shaped by various factors like size, complexity, colors used, and the artist’s skill. A small, simple tattoo may cost as little as $50, while an elaborate full sleeve might set you back a few thousand. But remember, this is a piece of art you’ll carry for life—it’s worth investing in quality work.

Your Guide to Average Tattoo Prices
Tetiana Shadrina Via Unsplash- Want your tattoo to look brighter? Try tattoo balm 

Yet, tattooing, as a process, does not come without risks. Infections, allergic reactions, and even MRI complications are potential side effects. Then there’s the chance of ‘tattoo regret’—styles change, as do personal tastes and life circumstances.

So, whether you’re a first-timer, a tattoo enthusiast adding to your collection, or someone looking to replace an old design with a fresh one, make your decisions wisely. Arm yourself with knowledge, patience, and a clear vision. After all, this journey is not just about getting inked—it’s about creating a piece of personal history, a story written on your skin. Here’s to your story being as captivating and unique as you are!

You may also like