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In this week’s short article we look at the cost of setup up for your tattoo!

We have come up through a handy price of setup calculator located near the bottom the the page that supplies the numbers collected in this short article to produce a full cost. You deserve to modify it and see what a tattoo setup is worth.

You are watching: How much does a tattoo kit cost

What’s the cost of setup?

The price of setup is just how much yes, really money the artist or studio need to spend to produce that well ass tattoo you want to get.

While this may not be forefront in your mind when choosing your tattoo or selecting a ar to get tattooed, girlfriend should know why and how the shops decide the pricing that affects you, dear reader.

What is the real expense for setup up a tattoo?

All costs found space hopefully the greatest prices listed. Ns refrain indigenous attempting to use a potential midground when picking prices and hope the the high end of this pricing plan is much more beneficial to every who room concerned. We are additionally only using disposable gives in this article. The total cost of reusable commodities is as well variable depending upon artist habits and traits. Because of the variability, we decided to overlook pricing reusables.

Onto the costs!

Needle Groupings and cost

You usually need a small needle group to execute a smaller tattoo while girlfriend may have to readjust or utilize multiple needle groupings for bigger tattoos. Acquisition that into account, produce a grading system that permits for added costs come the tattooer. This will certainly be used per sitting:

For all small tattoos- (Liner Needle X 1) + (Shader Needle X 1)

For all medium tattoo sittings – (Liner Needle X 2) + (Shader Needle X 2)

For all big tattoo sittings – (Liner Needle X 3) + (Shader Needle X 3)

Keep this in mind if you desire to play around with the calculator.

Cost that Setup – Needles

Most needles chosen by artist come premade and also sterilized, personally blister packed and also are single use. They range from single needles come multiple needle configurations.

The fine arts of needle making is progressively disappearing indigenous the industry as the choices for premade needles end up being less expensive and also a far better option for conservation that time. We will certainly not be looking into the expenses of making your won needles but, please know, the prices of do your own needles is substantially much less than anything detailed below. The only price really is time, and also time as we know it, is money.

Onto the expenses of needles.

Needle expenses – Liners

Liner needles are offered to develop borders and fine details within a tattoo. While few of the larger groupings deserve to cover substantial areas quickly, they absence the softness offered by a shader needle.

Liner Needle on Bar

The average expense of a single needle top top bar, sterilized is:

 $15.00 per box of 50 needles ($15.00/50 = $0.30 every needle grouping on bar)

The average price of a standard, 7-needle ring grouping, sterilized top top bar is:

$25.99 per box of 50 needles ($25.99/50 = $0.52 every needle group on bar)

The highest expense (I could find) the a big grouping, like the exceptional graded 14-needle round liner, sterilized onbar, is:

$83.98 per box of 50 needles ($83.98/50 = $1.68 per needle grouping on bar)

Let’s take it those numbers and create and average cost of a liner needle grouping, premade and sterilized top top bar, in ~ $0.83 every liner needle.

Liner Cartridges

Another kind of liner needle used is the cartridge type. This cartridges come premade, blister packed and also sterile. Us will usage the exact same grading and also costs system as us used above to come up with an average.

$10.49 per crate of 10 needles ($10.49/10 = $1.05 per needle group on bar)

The average expense of a standard, 7-needle round grouping, sterilized top top bar is:

$20.20 per box of 10 needles ($20.20/10 = $2.02 per needle grouping on bar)

The highest expense (I might find) the a large grouping, like the premium graded 14-needle round liner, sterilized ~ above bar, i:

$22.40 per crate of 10 needles ($22.40/10 = $2.24 every needle grouping on bar)

Let’ take it those numbers and also create and also average expense of a liner needle cartridge together $1.77 every cartridge.

Needle prices – Shaders

Shader needles (associated mag needles and also bug-pin groupings) are offered to develop gradients andor fill large areas the skin once working v a tattoo. They absence the tightness the a liner needle and cannot perform the same level of detail as the liner needles are qualified of.

Shader Needle on Bar

The average price of a shader needle top top bar, sterilized is:

 $19.00 per box of 50 needles ($19.00/50 = $0.38 per 5 mag-needle grouping on bar)

The average cost of a standard, 9-needle mag-shader grouping, sterilized ~ above bar is:

$34.94 per crate of 50 needles ($34.94/50 = $0.70 per needle grouping on bar)

The highest price (I might find) that a big grouping, like the premium graded 19–needle shader, sterilized on bar, is:

$83.98 per box of 50 needles ($83.98/50 = $1.68 every needle group on bar)

Let’s take those numbers and also create and also average price of a shader needle grouping, premade and sterilized ~ above bar, in ~ $0.92 per liner needle.

Shader Cartridges

Shader cartridges come in a range of flavors. Lock are typically priced below:

$10.49 per box of 10 needles ($10.49/10 = $1.05 every needle group on bar)

The average expense of a standard, 7-needle round grouping, sterilized ~ above bar is:

$20.99 per crate of 10 needles ($20.99/10 = $2.10 per needle grouping on bar)

The highest price (I can find) the a huge grouping, prefer the premium graded 14-needle round liner, sterilized onbar, is:

$23.51 per box of 10 needles ($23.51/10 = $2.35 per needle group on bar)

Let’s take those numbers and also create and average price of a shader needle cartridge as $1.83 per cartridge.

Now that needles room taken care of, lets move onto the price of octopus (pigments).

Cost the Setup – Tattoo Tubes

Tattoo tube are provided with needle bars. Castle act choose reservoirs because that the pigment once transferring between the squid caps (listed next section below) and the skin. They also control the oscillating motion (up and also down) the maker provides.

Tattoo tube – Disposable Costs

The expense of tubes arrays from $0.69, up to $2.50, every unit (with some single units priced in ~ $25.00 being considered an outlier). The typical price gift $1.50 per tube. Cartridge makers do not need separate tubes

Cost that Setup – Ink

On average, a single ounce (oz.) of tattoo squid runs around $8.00-$9.00. Taking right into account the a solitary square inch of her skin takes about 1/25 oz. Of pigment to completely saturate. The normal, small sized ink cap (#9) requires 1/25 oz. Come fill.


Choosing octopus Caps

When setting up because that the tattoo, the artists must pick and also fill the proper sized squid cap. Ns personally use just #9 octopus caps. One huge reason why is dipping.

When working on skin the is being tattooed the needles and tube choose up things that room being excreted through the skin. Her body dumps exudate, a substance comprised of cells and also fluid ejected throughout an inflammation response(like what happens during tattooing). This fluid waters under the colors you are placing and, as soon as dipping into the octopus caps, dilutes your pure pigment.

Back come the math, lets give the average ink cap offered a total value.

#9 ink lid filled – average – $0.36 every cap

When doing larger compositions or tattoos that call for multiple colors, the expense can be multiplied by how numerous ink caps are used during the duration.

Cost of Setup – Disposables

Here is a list and the total cost linked with the average disposables used in a tattoo.


Gloves are a must have actually when doing a tattoo. The an excellent thing about the (past keeping you clean and also safe native infection) is their low cost. The industry standard is making use of nitrile, latex cost-free gloves, in ~ a 4 mil. Thickness.

The average price for a box of gloves is about $8.50. You may be able to find lock at various prices based upon your place globally. My location dictates these price estimates.

Cost per glove used throughout a tattoo is $0.01 ($8.50/1000 per instance = $0.0085)


Razors are offered to prep the skin by removed hair native the procedure site. This keeps the needles clean and free from plugs (image a round grouping filled with damaged hairs. It forces the needle right into a brand-new shape i m sorry is no round) and also allows much better adherence because that dressing adhesives after the tattoois finished.

**An aside –> over there is evidence that utilizing a razor is not as effective as clippers once prepping a site for any procedure. Clippers have been display through meta-analysis come have far better results at maintaining infections in ~ bay.**

Razors price on average $0.09 per unit ($52.50/600 per instance = $0.0875).

If you room a really hairy person, or are gaining a large area prepped, you might use an ext than a single razor per tattoo session.

Dental Bibs

Dental bibs are provided to cover prepare areas, clean sites for placing instruments and also other spaces that may encounter bodily fluids.

Dental bibs expense on median $0.05 per unit ($23.95/500 per instance = $0.0479)

I use at minimum 1 dentist bib per procedure. On typical 3 per tattoo session yet each artist has various habits.

Drop Sheets

Drop sheets are bigger than dental bibs and are offered to cover procedure areas.

The cost of a drop sheet every unit, top top average, is $0.52 ($78.00/150 per case)

I use at the very least a solitary drop paper every tattoo.

Clip cord Sleeves

These are supplied to cover and also protect the cord the powers the tattoo machine. While you have actually two options when picking to purchase these disposable covers, I will certainly stick through the precut option.

On average a clip cord sleeve expenses $0.02 every unit ($28.50/1500 per case = $0.019)

Bottle Covers

Bottle covers… cover bottles. Castle look prefer zip lock baggies there is no the zip lock. Surprisingly, there were tiny to no usable photos from Alibaba or Amazon I want to litter up here.

The average bottle cover expenses $0.02 per unit ($25.50/1500 per case = $0.017)

I typically use 4 party covers every tattoo. 2 for each to wash bottle.

Barrier Film

Whether it be a pack of saran plunder (not up to industry standard) or ideal tack-back barrier film, this is offered to cover things that might be a weird shape or room unable to be fitted v a cover.

A roll of barrier film (tack-back) costs $0.01 per sheet. ($45.00/4500 sheets = $0.01)

I typically use 5-10 piece a tattoo.

Plastic (or Clingwrap) is supplied by many artists. Go to Costco and also you can discover the megalithic rolls because that sale in ~ a expense of approximately $15.00 for 36,000 sq/ft. That’s indistinguishable to 4.16^e-4 per sq/ft. (Jesus that’s cheap… No wonder they critical 6-12 months when provided frequently)


This product is supplied to settle ink caps come a station and lubricate the skin throughout a procedure. (hydrophilic substances defeat the water-basedpigments so they nothing dye the skin during a procedure)

The separation, personal, instance packets are priced at $0.07 per unit ($63.00/864 per situation = $0.07292).

I commonly use a solitary packet for a little tattoo, 2-3 for a tool sized tattoo sitting and 4-5 (or more) because that a large sitting.

Face Mask

Face masks have to be offered in every tattoo session. While most tattooers carry out not, those that sit especially close come the skin they areworking on have to really think about getting some. (wear a plastic face shield because that a day tattooing and see how much crap gets collected on the outside of it).

Face masks cost about $0.09 every unit ($4.50/50 per crate = $0.09)

I am guilty the using confront masks just occasionally however after analysis this number… ns feel obliged to start wearing them because that every client.

Disposable Sleeves

Disposable sleeves are offered to cover the arms throughout a procedure. This are an essential to infection manage like the above stated confront masks.

Disposable sleeves cost about $0.07 every unit ($7.00/100 every bag = $0.07)

Tongue Depressors

While I carry out not utilize tongue depressors, many civilization do. Lock are provided to get products out of containers or relocate things approximately in the procedure and also equipment site. They are sticks and I hope the all artists obtain the sterilized version.

A sterilized tongue depressor costs $0.04 every unit ($25.50/600 per case = $0.0425).


Aprons save our garments clean and are necessary for epidemic control. Please don’t use leather aprons as they can not be effectively disinfected!

Disposable aprons cost roughly $0.10 per unit ($9.99/100 per box = $0.0999)

Rinse Cups

These are used to rinse out the tubes when switching in between pigments (inks). They are additionally used by part as a way to wet towels come clean an area during a tattoo (better epidemic control)

Rinse cups space cheap, and you can gain them everywhere. They method to do thee a bit more expensive was to price Red Solo Cups. Ns know, the is ridiculous.

Rinse cups price $0.05 per unit ($12.99/240 every bag = $0.054125)

Bandages – Dri-Loc

Used come cover a tattoo ~ the procedure. (I have left the end the Tegaderm/Saniderm pricing for now. Perhaps I’ll add it into the spreadsheet if civilization call for it.)

Dri-loc bandages cost roughly $0.07 every unit ($41.70/600 per case = $0.0695)

These cover roughly 12 sq/in (or 3 inches linear) the skin as soon as used.

Medical Tape

Used to stick ingredient to friend or things!

Medical ice costs around $0.13 per garden of 1-inch large tape. ($93/720 yard per instance = $0.12917)

I split the 1-inch thick piece in half and use the 2 bits for a small tattoo (approx.)

Cohesive Bandages

Many artists room using this to pad their machine tubes.

Cohesive bandages cost around $0.18 per yard ($32.95/180 yards per situation = $0.1830 per yard)

Paper Towels

We usage a lot of of paper towels in the industry. Most choices are not similar to the Scott Blue Shop Towels part artists use, yet those arethe most expensive, so they are determining prices here.

Shop towels cost about $0.03 every sheet ($17.99/550 sheets per instance = $0.032709)

I have the right to admit that the shop towels perform last longer, that price is just nuts! So here is an additional cost analysis of Costco brand record towels,per sheet Costco Brand file Towels expense $0.01 ($18.99/1920 sheets per instance = $0.00989) literally 30% the price so protect against using those shop bath towel ya wierdos! (It’s still not as wild together the pre-packaged sterile towels that go for $0.25 every sheet)

Disinfectant Wipes

These are used to clean increase the area and also disinfect every surfaces exposed or used during a procedure.

I’ll use Opti-cide3 wipes versus any kind of you-make remedies as i really choose the brand and also I don’t know exactly how you mix your solutions.

Per sheet, Opti-cide3 costs nearly $0.09 ($105.00/1200 sheets per case = $0.0875)

Cost that Setup – Non-Disposables

This is walk to acquire a small tricky. I am walking to gain assumptive here and apply life time values to various things so us can obtain adepreciation value that applies to a single tattoo. These might be much from correct and if so, i apologize.


This one is going to gain me in trouble… I understand it.

Coil Machines

Coil machines, if supplied properly and have their program maintenance done by someone who knows what they are doing, critical forever. Seriously. The average price for a decent machine runs from $250-500 and also they last 30 years. Springs are around the only thing that breaks on these an equipment types and those cost around $2.00 to purchase. I have had actually springs last 5 years at a stretch.

Cost per tattoo

Rotary machines have actually a variable lifespan. Their DC motors have something called a mean time to failure (MTTF) which have the right to make assumptions about how lengthy the motor will certainly last. Ns won’t get in detail about how you need to run your devices but, be warned: The larger the grouping and also bigger the needle (larger load put on the machine) the much shorter it’s lifespan will certainly be. I have had actually a rotary for a couple of years and also have been murderous to it. In 3-years I have replaced the motor once. A replacement motor cost me around $15.00. If the wiring start to go you space in for a whole brand-new model.

The Rotary machines run around the very same price together a coil-based machine and have the right to have an presume lifespan for those not mechanically skinny of 5-7 years.

Cost per tattoo

These are dressed up rotary equipments with a good ability to run smooth and also act favor a coil machine. The worry with these machines originates from their smaller fill capacity and greater initial load inserted on the motors. Psychic above? The MTTF is dictated by load pressures exerted on the machines during use. Greater load = much shorter lifespan.

Cartridge machines run about $500 and also have a expectation of 1-3 years. Replacement repairs are free if the an equipment is deemed worthy bymanufacturer. You room still stuck to the shipping expenses for rebuilding/replacement i m sorry is roughly $30.

Cost every tattoo

A an excellent power supply need to last girlfriend forever. I have a friend who is third gen through an analogue national “brick” strength supply. Itcost him $100 bucks. My strength supply is digital and cost roughly $250 and feels sort of cheap. If I get 5 years the end of it, I will be happy.

Just like whatever in life now-a-days, made obsolescence is a component of any new purchase. You deserve to expect a half-decent strength supply to last 3-5 years and at a cost roughly $250 per unit.

Cost per operation of tattoo power supply per day is roughly $0.14. ($250/(5*365)> = $0.1369863

Clip Cords


Clip cords affix the device to the power supply. Lock come in a pair varieties such as 2 prong, RCA, Phono, etc. Clip cords commonly cost $20 and also have a lifetime of roughly 5 years.

The price per work of utilizing a clip cord

Foot switches affix to the strength supply and are offered to operate the tattoo machine. Foot switches generally cost $50 and have a lifespan of 10 year if cleaned and also maintained.

The cost of operating a foot switch every day

This shop furniture is supplied to prop body parts up because that easy access during a procedure. Eight rests cost about $150 and have a usable expectancy of roughly 15 years. Much longer if they room well maintained.

The cost of utilizing an armrest every day

Massage tables room going to be noted here versus barber chairs because I hate moving barber chairs.

The median massage table prices $250 and has a lifespan of approximately 10 year if cared for properly.

The expense of using a massage table for tattooing

Lamps space bright. We use them and they need bulbs. The LED lightbulbs castle utilize now in these test lamps room rad and have a expectancy of practically 10 years. Which, coincidently, is about the exact same lifespan of the fixture. Test lamps run roughly $170.

The cost of making use of an test lamp for tattooing
1 tattoo every day is $0.04 {$150/(10*365)> = $0.04109589

Cost that Setup Calculator

I did increase a little calculator ~ above Google Sheets. It deserve to be clumsy yet it works well.

Here’s the connect – It’s external and also hosted ~ above Google Sheets:

Some Questions about Cost of Setup

Let’s toss the end a couple of questions the I have heard native clients concerning the price of setup . Below is a couple of that I have actually heard to begin us off:

All shops charge the same rate near where i live… no this an market standard?

No. There is no market standard that dictates what a shop or artist can charge. ~ above average, shops and artists fee what is common to keep competition focused on artwork or style. This method most the the shops in one area fill a details demand and also leave small for those much less qualified.

Why would certainly we want to talk around the prices with the artist? It provides me uncomfortable to discuss money!

If you space concerned about the price or if you have a budget, speak up. There is a have to be upfront through a person that is going to note you permanently. If you don’t feel comfortable mentioning something together trivial as pricing when noting yourself permanently, wait for that tattoo.

They claim to use just the finest supplies, is the why the expense is for this reason high?

Most most likely not. Periodically artists charge what castle do since they room really good. Other times that is since the area that operation impacts the prices.

Think about huge cities like new York or san Francisco; would you want to obtain a tattoo indigenous a person who dues $50 one hour when the tattooers on median charge $250 an hour? most likely not.

See more: 17 Very Common Reasons Why Do Dogs Pace Back And Forth ? (2021)

Why fee so much

This will certainly be extended in the following article. We have virtually hit 4000 words and also I bet, too ~ reader, you require a break.

Go, have actually fun looking in ~ the cost of setup and also don’t break my fucking calculator!