Last Updated on December 29, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Although many people have the impression that tattoos are a current invention of young people who want to rebel and get out of anonymity, this is not the case at all. This art has existed since ancient times, but in the past, it had other purposes, not only purely aesthetic.

The art of tattooing is often compared to acupuncture because, despite the pain that some complain about, it has the power to relax and induce a state of well-being that is hard to match.

How Much Does a Tattoo Machine Cost?

If you are thinking about purchasing a tattoo machine then you should know that you have to budget anywhere between $410 and $950, without including the expenses with other supplies.

In case you want to start your own tattoo business then a tattoo machine that costs around $410 is a good option to stay within a decent budget, at least at first. However, if you can afford to spend around $950, then you should not hesitate to purchase the best quality tattoo machine.

Usually, there are two choices when you want to purchase a tattoo machine. There are rotary tattoo machines and coil tattoo machines. The costs are almost the same, the only difference between these two being some of their characteristics.

The price of a tattoo gun may vary depending on the quality of the equipment. Though, you will have to pay less just for the tattoo gun than for the entire setup which includes needles and ink.

However, you can invest in a tattoo kit that is sold with all the tattoo supplies.

The cost of coil tattoo machines

This type of tattoo gun is using an electromagnetic current that passes through two coils and enables the movement of the armature bar. Expect to pay around $550 for such a tattoo machine.

Coil tattoo machines can create better shading and smooth lines.

The cost of rotary tattoo machines

This type of tattoo machine is lightweight and can be used very easily. Because it is not that heavy, it is also more convenient to use. Tattoo artists can work longer without getting cramps in their fingers and hands. Another great advantage of this machine is the fact that it uses a cartridge system, so you won’t need to use more machines.

Though, the cost of a rotary tattoo machine is almost double the cost of a coil tattoo machine. Expect to pay around $850 for such a machine.

The cost of a tattoo machine setup

The price of a tattoo machine kit starts at just $55 and can go up to considerably more than $1,000, depending on the contents and quality.

You might also like our articles about the cost of a spine tattoo, a butterfly tattoo, or a word tattoo.

These kits are a great option for tattoo artists are the beginning of their careers. They come with all the necessary supplies and you will not have to purchase any other tools.

What are the extra costs?

Tattoo Machine WorkingYou will have to consider some other costs when you want to make a tattoo besides the cost of the tattoo gun.

The cost of needles

The tattoo artists have to change the needle after each use and when they get punctured or torn. There are many different types of needles on the market at various prices. You just have to buy the ones that fit your needs and budget. But you can also use the same needles after you clean and sanitize them.

The needles can be cleaned and sanitized with the help of an autoclave. The cost of such a device will add to your expenses.

The cost of ink

When tattooing you will need different colors of ink. In general, a tattoo ink kit costs around $185. Surprisingly, colored inks are cheaper than black ink. This is because black tattoos are in more demand and last longer.

The cost of tubes

You should use the tattoo tubes only one time, but you can use them more than once if you are tattooing at home. However, you have to be very careful. Expect to pay anywhere between $0.70 and $3 per tube.

The cost of the foot pedal

You will need a foot pedal to control the tattoo gun in case you don’t use a tattoo kit. This is an essential tool that represents an extra cost for you.

This pedal is very important as this controls the vertical movement of the needle while tattooing.

How can I save money?

You will have to consider a lot of costs when starting a tattoo business, but there are some tips on how to save some money on the tattoo machine.

One of the easiest ways to reduce the budget is to wait for sales and discounts in order to purchase a tattoo gun at an affordable price.

Another way to save money is to buy in bulk. Consider buying more tattoo supplies such as needles, ink, tubes, or cleaning products at once. This way the cost per unit will be lower.

Consider purchasing an excellent quality tattoo machine from the beginning. Even it will be a huge cost at first, it will save you more money on the long run. A cheap tattoo machine, that costs around $150 may get damaged really quickly and you will have to buy another one even after one year. A good quality tattoo machine costs around $550 but can last around ten years.

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