Tattoo prices depend on a number of factors, including size, placement, where you live, the skill and experience of your artist, their hourly rates, and the complexity of the tattoo design. For this reason, the cost of a tattoo can range from $50 to $300 per hour. You’ll likely find a small tattoo costs between $100 and $250, while the average tattoo cost is about $250 to $450.
Ultimately, if you have a design or idea in mind, figuring out how much a tattoo will cost comes down to finding good artists and asking them to quote the work. To help you estimate the price of your tattoo, our guide will give you the cost of different types of tattoos by size and examples.
- 1 Average Tattoo Cost
- 2 Tattoo Prices
- 3 Tattoo Cost Calculator
- 3.1 Tattoo Cost Estimator
- 3.2 Full Sleeve Tattoo Cost
- 3.3 Half Sleeve Tattoo Cost
- 3.4 Chest Tattoo Cost
- 3.5 Back Tattoo Cost
- 3.6 Forearm Tattoo Cost
- 3.7 Arm Tattoo Cost
- 3.8 Bicep Tattoo Cost
- 3.9 Thigh Tattoo Cost
- 3.10 Shoulder Tattoo Cost
- 3.11 Hand Tattoo Cost
- 3.12 Wrist Tattoo Cost
- 3.13 Full Leg Tattoo Cost
- 3.14 Ankle Tattoo Cost
- 3.15 Calf Tattoo Cost
- 3.16 Rib Tattoo Cost
- 3.17 Sternum Tattoo Cost
- 4 How Much Do Tattoos Cost?
- 5 Get Tattoo Price Quotes
Average Tattoo Cost
The average tattoo costs about $250. Most men and women will find that the average cost of a small tattoo is around $100 to $250, with a minimum price of $100. Small tattoos include tiny sizes and simple designs on the wrist, hand, finger, ankle and neck. Expect this amount to be slightly lower or higher depending on where you live.
For instance, a tattoo will naturally be more expensive in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and Houston. Meanwhile, your tattoo will be cheaper in Memphis, Indianapolis, Omaha, Columbus, Las Vegas, or San Antonio.
Furthermore, you should budget to spend about $250 to $500 for a medium-sized tattoo. Medium-sized tattoos are often found on the forearm, shoulder, bicep, and part of the chest, back, or leg.
Finally, large tattoos start around $500 and up. While it is difficult to estimate how much a sleeve tattoo costs because there are several factors that can affect the price, a good full sleeve will likely come out to at least $1,500. The cost of a half sleeve, chest, thigh, and back tattoo will be at least $1,000.
Average tattoo prices can also be calculated by size. The amount of time and work involved is generally highly-correlated to the size of the design. Although intricate, detailed drawings may require more hours and skill, and can result in your artist charging a higher hourly rate, this pricing guide can be helpful in setting your expectations on cost.
Tattoo Prices By Size
Tattoo sizes and prices can fall into four major categories: tiny, small, medium, and large. Here are the descriptions of different sized tattoo designs.
- Tiny: think about a little heart or an outline of a drawing that is less than 2 square inches. A tiny tattoo will likely cost between $50 and $100.
- Small: a small tattoo design can range from 2 to 6 square inches, and allows for some detailed work from a skilled artist. The average price for a small tattoo is around $150, but ranges from $100 to $250, depending on artwork and an artist’s experience.
- Medium: medium-sized tattoo designs range from 7 to 16 square inches of canvas space, and can cost from $250 to $500, with the average around $300.
- Large: large tattoos vary in size the most, which is why the price range is huge. Half and full sleeve as well as full chest, back, shoulder and thigh tattoos can cost you between $500 and $5,000.
Remember to use common sense when thinking about the relationship between pricing and size. While maintaining a budget and saving money can be important, when it comes to getting tattooed, we always recommend favoring quality. After all, a cheap tattoo that looks bad can haunt you for a lifetime.
Tattoo Prices Per Hour
Tattoo artists usually charge about $50 to $300 per hour. Hourly rates are typically determined by experience and skill.
An amateur or new artist with 0 to 3 years of experience will probably price their work at the lower end for $50 to $75 per hour.
An established artist with 5 to 10 years of experience can command between $100 and $200 per hour, meanwhile an experienced professional tattoo artist will get $200 to $300.
Finally, famous artists who have worked on celebrities, enjoy a massive following on Instagram, and offer their services in high cost-of-living cities can cost from $300 to $500 per hour.
As the saying goes, “A cheap tattoo is never good and a good tattoo is never cheap.” Ultimately, when you factor in tattoo removal costs, potentially covering up bad artwork or the fact that you and others will see this tattoo for the rest of your life, a great tattoo isn’t expensive, it is priceless.
Tattoos Cost Per Letter
If you’re thinking about getting letters, words, names, or quotes tattooed, you may be curious about how much each letter will cost. While we can estimate that one short word that covers 2 to 4 square inches may be priced at $50 to $200, there is no industry standard pricing for text.
Since even lettering depends on the size, font, coloring, detail, location, and time required, you’ll have to request a quote for this type of design work.
Small Tattoo Cost
On average, a small tattoo costs $100 to $250. But it is important to note that many parlors and artists have minimum prices, which means that regardless of the size, you will have to pay the shop the minimum fee.
Tiny Tattoo Cost
A tiny tattoo costs $50 to $100, depending on the shop minimum. Tattoo shop minimums are the fixed expenses of tattooing a customer regardless of size, styling, detail, and design complexity. These minimum fees cover the needle, equipment maintenance and cleaning, ink and basic costs, and generally come into play with little tattoos.
This is why a tiny heart, flower, star, crown or name tattoo can cost $50 to $100, whereas a small design that isn’t much bigger can cost about the same.
Tattoo Cost Calculator
A tattoo cost calculator might be able to give you a price range for your design based on size and location, the most accurate estimates are ultimately going to require visiting a tattoo shop near you. To get a quote, be prepared with design ideas, especially if you want custom art.
Worst-case scenario, it can be educational to talk to an artist and get an in-person consultation. In addition to giving you a range on how much your tattoo will cost, you’ll learn about their process and services. If you are getting your first tattoo, becoming comfortable with the idea of getting tattooed is a critical step.
Tattoo Cost Estimator
Use the following tattoo pricing guide to set your expectations when getting a cost estimate.
- Half Sleeve Tattoo: $800 – $2,000
- Full Sleeve Tattoo: $1,500 – $4,000
- Forearm Tattoo: $300 – $1,200
- Back Tattoo: $400 – $5,000
- Chest Tattoo: $400 – $2,000
- Shoulder Tattoo: $600 – $1,200
- Bicep Tattoo: $350 – $600
- Triceps Tattoo: $300 – $500
- Sternum Tattoo: $400 – $1,000
- Rib or Side Tattoo: $400 – $800
- Hand Tattoo: $100 – $800
- Wrist Tattoos: $75 – $400
- Finger Tattoo: $50 – $250
- Thigh Tattoo: $300 – $3,000
- Hip Tattoo: $200 – $1,200
- Calf Tattoo: $350 – $600
- Leg Tattoo: $500 – $2,000
- Ankle Tattoo: $75 – $350
- Foot Tattoo: $100 – $500
Full Sleeve Tattoo Cost
A full sleeve tattoo will cost $1,500 to $4,000, and can take multiple sessions to complete. Your design will certainly impact the price. Black and grey coloring is cheaper, but watercolors and colorful shading will cost more. Similarly, custom work and very detailed design ideas may require more time and money.
Half Sleeve Tattoo Cost
A half sleeve tattoo will cost you $800 or more. If your artist creates an original design with several images and in full color, you should expect a higher amount. Fortunately, half sleeves are totally badass, and you’ll appreciate your ink.
Chest Tattoo Cost
A chest tattoo will cost you $400 and up. A small chest piece can be priced at the lower end, but a half chest tattoo may be quoted at $500 to $600. Lastly, a full chest tattoo price will range from $600 to $1,500. Expect to pay more for color, shading, and detailed work. A simple black and grey design will always be more affordable.
Back Tattoo Cost
The cost of a back tattoo can vary greatly. Because of the size of your back, the amount of time depends on what you want tattooed and how much of your back you want covered. A full back tattoo will cost you between $2,000 to $4,000. A lower or upper back tattoo that covers about half the back will be priced around $800 to $1,200. Finally, you can estimate a small back piece to be quoted between $400 and $800.
Forearm Tattoo Cost
The cost of a forearm tattoo can range from $300 to $1,200. The variation in pricing can be attributed to the size and design. A small or simple forearm design near the wrist can be cheap, but a forearm tattoo that is effectively a half sleeve will be closer to $1,000. Naturally, full color sleeves will increase the price no matter the size.
Arm Tattoo Cost
An arm tattoo costs $300 to $2,000, and fully depends on the scale of your design. Because the arm is made up of so many different parts, you can start with a bicep piece and expand to the shoulder, triceps, armpit, upper and lower arm, and into the chest or back. See the rest of our pricing guide to calculate your costs.
Bicep Tattoo Cost
The price of a bicep tattoo can get quoted between $350 and $600 or more. Small and simple bicep tattoos with black ink are reasonably affordable, but cool 3D designs filled with color will run you more.
Thigh Tattoo Cost
A thigh tattoo can cost you up to $3,000. Prices for a small design on the hip, side, back or front of your thigh may be as cheap as $300. Even the cost of an upper thigh tattoo may be $600 to $1,000, if you have clean artwork and want black and grey styling. However, a full thigh tattoo will range from $1,000 to $3,000. A custom design with vivid coloring and creative shading requires a serious time commitment.
Shoulder Tattoo Cost
A shoulder tattoo that covers your entire upper arm costs about $600 to $1,200. Shoulder tattoos are popular, and most designs here are filled with intricate details, shading, and color. Since it can be easily hidden for working professionals, consider going all out with a super cool idea.
Hand Tattoo Cost
Hand tattoos can be priced at $100 to $800. While the hand is generally a small area, there are some awesome hand tattoo designs that are expensive. Small and simple artwork will likely be bumped up to the shop minimum, but a full hand tattoo will cost you something on the higher end. Given the delicate, sensitive and highly-visible area, always invest in an experienced artist when getting your hand tattooed.
Wrist Tattoo Cost
The cost of tattoos on the wrist is $75 to $400. The price will depend on whether you’re getting symbols, roses, letters, quotes, hearts, scripts, compass, anchor, or whatever design you want. Simple designs in black are the cheapest, while colorful art runs higher.
Full Leg Tattoo Cost
A leg tattoo starts at $500 and can cost as much as $2,000. The pricing is contingent on the size of the design and how many body parts are included. A full leg tattoo that covers part of your thigh, shin, and calf may easily cost up to $2,000.
Ankle Tattoo Cost
Ankle tattoos go for $75 to $350. A small ankle tattoo will cost between $75 to $150, while more elaborate designs can increase the price.
Calf Tattoo Cost
The cost of a calf tattoo ranges from $350 to $600. Size, shape, detail and coloring will affect the price. Simple or little tattoos can be subject to the shop minimum. Designs that cover the full calf can be quoted at $500 or more.
Rib Tattoo Cost
Rib or side tattoos can cost between $400 and $800. Because of the particularly sensitive and painful location, rib tattoos can be time-consuming. You’ll need to factor this into your pricing, especially if you decide to pay an hourly rate. Plus, it’s definitely worth it to find a skilled artist with a light touch.
Sternum Tattoo Cost
A sternum tattoo will cost you $400 to $1,000. For women, an under-the-breast tattoo can be a sensitive spot since the needle will be hitting bone. In addition to the location, the price can increase if you expand the design to cover your ribs, stomach and more of your torso.
How Much Do Tattoos Cost?
There are many factors that can influence the cost of your tattoo. From size and placement to design, styling, colors, artist skill and shop location, here are a few details to keep in mind when researching tattoo prices.
Tattoo Shop and Artist
Like any other professional, tattoo artists have different levels of skills, experience, popularity, and reputations.
For starters, where a tattoo shop is located will impact their prices. High cost-of-living areas have high rents and more upscale clientele, meaning more is expected of the artist in terms of care and service. Similarly, successful artists in big cities understand they can charge more for their work.
However, the most important consideration in this category is your artist’s skill and experience. This is why you can have different artists at the same studio charge completely different rates. An experienced artist will have a massive portfolio for you to review, which will give you an idea of the quality and styling you can expect.
Furthermore, some artists are specifically skilled in certain types of designs and artwork. If you’re looking for custom work or a special design, hire an artist that has a good reputation for doing that kind of tattooing.
Lastly, the best tattoo artists invest in their equipment and are always refining their technique. Quality equipment, regular maintenance, cleanliness, and high standards of hygiene are necessary.
Moreover, some of the top professionals in the industry have the lightest and softest touch. While the most painful tattoo spots will always hurt, a good artist can reduce the pain and help avoid a longer healing process.
Naturally, tattoo ideas and designs will heavily influence your price. The complexity and styling of different drawings can impact the amount of time necessary to do a good job.
The cheapest tattoos are small, simple, and outlined in black. Intricate designs with unique styling, cool shading effects and a number of colors are expensive.
Likewise, color tattoos cost more than black and grey tattoos. The difference in price comes down to how many different colors you want, how those colors are used, and the blending or shading required.
Because shading and colored-in sections use a larger amount of ink, you can expect to get charged for these additional materials.
Placement and Location
The part of your body you want tattooed can impact the complexity and time commitment. For example, your chest or back offers a flat canvas, making it easier for your artist to work on.
However, the ankles, hands, knees, and other curved areas need extra care. You’ll want an artist who can keep the design fluid and uniform between different textures and levels.
Get Tattoo Price Quotes
The best way to get a fair price and a great tattoo is to comparison shop. This doesn’t mean bargain hunting and we don’t mean going on Groupon to get a deal. Find reputable tattoo shops through referrals and recommendations, checking out online reviews, or by seeing the artist’s portfolio. Then visit their spot in-person for a consultation and get a feel for the location.
If you really want to know what your tattoo will cost, bring an example and ask. Given how permanent a tattoo can be and the prohibitive cost of tattoo removal, doing your due diligence to get it done right the first time is worth your time.