How Much Do Tattoos Cost? Time to Fork Out The Cash!

So, how much do tattoos cost? The cost of tattoos can vary. The size, the design. The popularity of the tattoo shop likewise adds up to the price of your tattoo. Regardless, tattoos aren’t supposed to be cheap. It is a commitment. 

Tattoos are considered art. Art doesn’t come cheap or free, nor should it. Not unless you have a tattoo artist friend who’s willing to create art on your skin for free.

However, if you want high-quality marks on your skin, you will need to pay the price. So, how much do tattoos cost?

how much do tattoos cost

Imagine glancing at a tattoo you don’t like. An image etched on your skin that possibly you can’t erase anymore.

Don’t look for a bargain tattoo price, instead, search for an artist you like that produces quality work.

Don’t let price be the indication.

But, if you are interested in the prices of tattoos, read on.

Tattoo Price Chart

Below are approximates after researching different artists across America.

Tattoo Average Cost by Size

Tattoo SizeTattoo Average Cost
Tiny Tattoo $30-$90
Small Tattoo $60-$300
Medium Tattoo$150-$500
Large Tattoo$500-$5000
Tattoo prices may vary due to design, size, and artist level.
tattoo artit drawing fine flowers on a womens side

Tattoo Average Price According to Artist’s Expertise

Tattoo Artist LevelRate Per Hour
Beginner (1-3 years)$90-$130
Experienced (5-10 years)$120-$200
Expert (10 +)$180-$300
Tattoo prices may vary due to design, size, and artist level.
up close of a tattoo artist drawing a colourful tattoo

Average Cost of Tattoos By Body Location

Body PartAverage Price
Half-Sleeve Tattoo$1200-$2000
Full-Sleeve Tattoo$2500-$5000
Wrist Tattoo$80-$150
Lip Tattoo$120-$650
Forearm Tattoo$300-$1500
Tricep Tattoo$400-$500
Finger Tattoo$100-$150
Full-Back Tattoo$1500-$6000
Chest Tattoo$300-$1200
Ankle Tattoo$80-$300
Shoulder Tattoo$750-$900
Leg Tattoo$500-$2000
Calf Tattoo$400-$500
Thigh Tattoo$400-$3000
Rib Tattoo$600-$1000
Hand Tattoo$100-$300
Foot Tattoo$200-$400
Tattoo prices may vary due to design, size, and artist level.
tattoo artist wirking on man with full body black tattoos

How Much Do Tattoos Hurt?

It is inevitable. Getting a tattoo hurts. No matter where you put the tattoo, you are still likely to feel the painful tingle of the needle being pushed into your skin.

As the saying goes, beauty is pain, and so are tattoos. 

man getting tattoo sleeve by artist

Tattoo Pain Scale

Body PartTattoo Pain Scale (1 least painful & 10 most painful)Description
Head Tattoo9The head area is considered one of the most painful. It contains multiple nerves and has very little to no muscle. The head is the nerve capital of the body. The cranial nerve that connects the spine, neck, and brain is located in the head area. Thus, having your head tattoo can be very painful.
Face Tattoo7The face area is less painful than the head area. The chin, forehead, nose, cheekbones, and around the mouth are tolerable. However, the undereye skin can be more painful in contrast to other parts of the face. 
Neck Tattoo7The front neck has cartilages and bones near the skin. This area tends to be very painful when the needle hits it. The front neck area, additionally, has less muscle. Thus, it is quite painful when get tattooed. On the other hand, the back area is not too bad. It has thicker skin, and muscles can grow in this area. 
Shoulder Tattoo4The shoulder area is one of the ideal body parts for getting a tattoo for first-timers. It is less painful due to the fats and muscles that surround it. 
Inner Bicep Tattoo6The inner bicep contains a few sensitive nerves; hence, it is fairly painful. Moreover, this area’s thin and sensitive skin also contributes to the pain. Tender body parts mean it has very little muscle to resist the pain. Therefore, inner bicep tattoos are painful. 
Armpit Tattoo9The armpit skin is very sensitive. Because of it, having this part tattooed is very painful. You have to have high pain tolerance to get through it. The lymph nodes around the armpit area swell as soon as the tattoo needle passes by it. Thus, the whole process of tattooing will be painful. Moreover, the healing period is another kind of pain. The friction can cause the tattoo to heal even longer. 
Elbow Tattoo8Several nerves in the arm run through the elbow ditch area. Typically, it is also one of the most challenging to get tattooed. This area provides very little padding between the needle and the nerves, making it painful to get tattooed. Hitting those nerves can cause numbness to your arm while your upper elbow suffers most of the pain. 
Forearm/Lower Arm Tattoo3The forearm is another body part ideal for first-timers. The skin is thick, and it is surrounded by muscle. 
Hands/Fingers Tattoo8The hands and finger areas are boney. Once the needle hits the bones, it causes quite a painful vibration. Also, there are major nerves in these extremities, making them more painful than other body parts. The fingers or hands are also prone to infections due to constant exposure to contaminants. Thus, having tattoos in these areas has a longer healing period. Lastly, the ink will fade faster in the finger and hand area.
Upper/Mid/Lower Back Tattoo7The back area generally is not that painful. However, the spine area can be quite agonizing. The parts, such as the shoulder blades, are boney. So, every time the needle hits this area will bring along painful sensations. 
Chest Tattoo7For chest tattoos, males will experience more pain than females. Females have more padding in this area than males. Also, the chest area contains a number of nerve endings and collarbones. These parts of the chest are awful when getting tattooed. 
Rib Cage Tattoo9The rib cage is notably one of the most painful. The bones are literally on the way. On top of that, the skin that surrounds the rib area is sensitive and thin. No fats or muscles are found in this area, making it even more painful. 
Sternum Tattoo7The sternum area has tender and thin skin. The surrounding areas are sensitive due to the lack of muscle and fat that adds extra cushion. If your tattoo design extends to the rib part, it will add a significant amount of awful pain. The healing process can also be quite uncomfortable. After getting a sternum tattoo, it is ideal not to wear tight clothes and sleep on your stomach. The friction can cause it to heal longer. 
Stomach Tattoo6The stomach area is also painful, however tolerable. The stomach area has no bones and nerves that make tattooing painful. Moreover, this area is easy for tattoo artists to work on. 
Groin Tattoo8The groin is not only painful but also one place that houses a lot of sensitive nerves. Healing tattoos in this area is also extra challenging. Moreover, the groin area is literally where the lymph nodes are located. Hence, making it one of the most painful areas for tattoos. The healing process brings another kind of pain. It is unpleasant and uncomfortable, and it takes time. This area is not for the faint-hearted or first-timers, that’s for sure!
Butt Tattoo8The butt area is also one place that is challenging to get tattooed. It is extremely agonizing. On top of that, the artist will also find it difficult to root the ink in this area deeply. It is because this area has tendencies to clench during the tattoo process. Hence, sometimes, the artist has to run through the same area to make sure the ink is embedded properly. 
Knee Ditch Tattoo9The knee ditch is not only painful for the one getting the tattoo but also for the artist. The knee ditch houses sciatic nerves that are very sensitive and by far the largest. The sciatic nerve runs through the back of the leg. It is also covered with very thin and sensitive skin. So, once the needle pierces this part of the body, you might want to hold on tight. The healing process, on the other hand, is another challenge. Given that this area is often moving, the healing process can be prolonged while feeling the discomfort. 
Calves/Shin Tattoo6The shin bone can be painful but not as painful as the calves. The calves are near the back knee area. These parts are fairly painful but not as extreme as the back knee or the head. 
Feet/Ankles/Toes Tattoo9These areas are considered painful not only during the tattooing process but also when healing it. The nerves around the feet, toes, and ankles are rampant and essential for motion and balance. Thus, this part is very sensitive. 
tattooed women with full body tatoos looking for tattoo ideas

Tattoo Pain Reduction Guide

Ok, so there are a few things you can do to assist a little in reducing the pain of getting a tattoo. Read on.

Hydration is Essential

A couple of weeks prior to your tattoo session, you need to increase your water intake. Hydrating your skin will give your tattoo artist a better canvas.

If your skin is hydrated, the ink will penetrate better, and it will be more receptive to every needle movement. Also, hydration will help lessen the pain. 

Eat a Proper Meal

It is critical that you must not be hungry during the tattoo session.

It is also ideal to bring a high-glucose snack to keep you from fainting.

Apples and fruits are recommended for munching. Having a high sugar level will help you tolerate the pain.

Moreover, it will also keep you from experiencing cold chills and shocks.

Speaking of food, if you are vegan, vegan tattoos are an option and becoming more popular now too! 

Avoid Alcohol Intake

Alcohol will thin your blood. If you are intoxicated during the session, your tattoo or the wound will be more bloody. Hence, making it difficult for the artist to inject ink into your skin. 

Tattoos are inevitably painful. It is one thing that you can’t avoid when getting a tattoo. On a brighter note, if you are mentally prepared for it, tolerating the pain can be easy.

man getting symbol tattoo on shoulder

Conclusion – How Much Do Tattoos Cost

Firstly, only get a tattoo when you find that perfect piece and ideal artist.

Tattoo artists have specific specialties. Some artists are good with lines, some are good with black and white designs, while some are experts in colors.

If you find the right artist for your design, the tattoo generally gets done faster and more professionally, limiting the period of pain.

The cost of a tattoo should be a secondary question, but I get we all have budgets. So, tattoos range anywhere from tens of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, with the variables previously mentioned determining the cost.

Look for an artist that does what you like, make sure they charge reasonably for their craft, then book on in.

Remember, tattoos are not a sin!

Happy Tattooing!