How Much Does Tattoo Ink Cost? The Ultimate Guide

Tattooing has become an increasingly popular form of self-expression and can be a way to memorialize important moments or individuals. The cost of a tattoo is usually dependent upon the complexity of the design and the artist’s rate per hour. Another factor that typically plays into tattoo pricing is the cost of the ink used. In this article, we will take a closer look at tattoo ink cost and what factors may influence the price.

The Different Types of Tattoo Ink

There are several types of tattoo ink available, each with its own unique properties and price point.

1. Traditional Ink

Traditional tattoo ink is made by mixing a combination of pigments and liquid, usually consisting of water or alcohol. The pigments used can be created from natural substances, such as vegetables or minerals, but are more commonly synthetic. Traditional ink is generally the most affordable, with prices varying based on the quality of the pigments used and the number of colors needed for your design.

2. UV Ink

UV ink, also known as blacklight ink, is a type that can usually only be seen under UV light. This ink is made with a phosphorescent substance that glows when exposed to ultraviolet light. UV ink usually costs more than traditional ink because it is more specialized.

3. Vegan Ink

Vegan ink is made without the use of animal products and is often preferred by those who follow a vegan lifestyle. This type of ink is generally more expensive than traditional ink because the ingredients used to create it are usually more expensive.

Factors That Affect Tattoo Ink Cost

There are various factors to consider when determining the cost of tattoo ink. Some of the most common factors are:

1. Tattoo Size and Design

The size and complexity of a tattoo design usually affect how much ink is needed. Smaller tattoos will generally require less ink and be less expensive, whereas larger tattoos with intricate designs will cost more due to the amount of ink required and the time it takes to complete them.

2. Quality of Ink

Higher quality ink can be more expensive than lower quality ink. It is essential to use the best quality ink possible to ensure that your tattoo turns out looking great and that it will last for a long time. Lower-quality ink may cause your tattoo to fade or discolor over time.

3. Location of Tattoo Shop

The location of the tattoo shop can influence the cost of tattoo ink depending on the economy in that area. More affluent areas may have tattoo shops that charge more for their services and ink than less affluent areas.

4. Artist Skill Level

Tattoo artists have different levels of experience and talent. Artists with more experience and better skills will usually charge more for their services and use higher quality ink. The level of detail and artistry of the design will also affect the price of the tattoo.

Tattoo Ink Cost Comparison

Here is a quick comparison of the average cost of tattoo ink in the United States:

Type of Ink Average Price per Ounce
Traditional Ink $5-$20
UV Ink $10-$40
Vegan Ink $30-$40

Budgeting for a Tattoo

When budgeting for a tattoo, it is essential to keep in mind the factors mentioned above that influence tattoo ink cost. While a smaller tattoo or one with a simple design may only cost a few hundred dollars, larger or more complex tattoos could cost upwards of $1000 or more. It is best to speak directly with your chosen artist about a budget.

The Importance of Ink Quality

It is essential to use high-quality tattoo ink, especially since your tattoo will be with you for a long time. While high-quality ink may cost more initially, it has several benefits:

  • Longer lifespan, ensuring that your tattoo looks great for many years
  • Lower risk of allergic reactions or infections
  • Better saturation, making the colors of the design pop.


Tattoo ink cost can vary depending on the type of ink, the size and complexity of the tattoo, and the artist’s skill level. It is best to budget for a tattoo and to choose an artist who uses high-quality ink for the best results. With this guide, you can make an informed decision when planning your tattoo, knowing what to expect in terms of cost and the different types of ink available.

Most Common Questions on Tattoo Ink Cost

  • How much does a tattoo cost?
    • The cost of a tattoo is dependent on several factors, including size, design, artist skill level, and location of the shop. Expect to pay $100 – $400 for a small tattoo, $500 – $1500 for a medium tattoo, and $1,500 or more for a larger tattoo.
  • How much does tattoo ink cost?
    • Tattoo ink cost varies depending on the type of ink. Traditional ink is usually the most affordable, ranging from $5 to $20 per ounce. UV ink can range from $10 to $40 per ounce, and Vegan ink costs between $30 to $40 per ounce.
  • What are the benefits of using high-quality tattoo ink?
    • High-quality tattoo ink has a longer lifespan, reduces the risk of complications such as infection and allergic reactions, and is more capable of producing better saturation in color.
  • Should I take the artist’s price at face value when considering getting a tattoo?
    • No, be sure to speak with your artist about your budget and discuss the factors that will contribute to the cost of your tattoo.


Forbes. (2019, June 20). More Than Skin Deep: The Cost of Getting Tattooed. Retrieved from

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BuzzFeed. (2018, October 15). 19 Things to Know Before Getting a Tattoo. Retrieved from

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