How Much Do Tattoo Machines Cost?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on November 15, 2020
    Last Updated: January 3, 2021

Good tattoo machines don’t come cheap, but they do vary widely in price. Keep reading to learn about tattoo machine prices and what you can do to save money on one while still choosing a great piece of equipment.

Tattoo Kit Cost

The average tattoo kit costs anywhere from $50 to $1,000. It depends on the tattoo kit’s quality and contents, and it’s a great option if you’re a new tattoo artist. A basic kit with a tattoo gun and a few supplies will cost closer to $50.

Nevertheless, you won’t get the extra supplies that you get when you pay for a bigger tattoo kit. A kit can include a power supply, a clip cord and a foot pedal. You may also get some tattoo ink and needles to get you started. The bigger kits can cost close to $1,000 or somewhere in between.

Tattoo Gun Cost

If you already have access to some supplies, you may only need to buy a tattoo gun. The average cost for a tattoo machine is $400 to $900, and that doesn’t include the cost for other tattoo supplies.

You’ll get an excellent quality tattoo gun for that price, though. If you work at a tattoo shop but need to buy your own gun, $400 is a great budget to start with. Still, if you can afford to pay closer to $900, you can make sure to get the best quality tattoo machine.

Coil vs. Rotary Tattoo Machines

When considering tattoo machine costs, you should choose between coil and rotary machines. While the price may not vary significantly between the machines, they have different features.

You will have to choose between shading or lines with coil machines. Therefore, you’d need to have two coil tattoo machines to do both in one.

Yet you can do both on one rotary tattoo machine without switching. Thus, a rotary machine may be the more economical option if you’re on a budget. Rotary tattoo machines are also less noisy than coil machines, so that’s another benefit to consider.

Additional Costs

Whether you get a tattoo machine or a standalone tattoo machine, your costs won’t stop there. You’ll need to get some extra supplies that you will use every time you do a tattoo. In both cases, you’ll need to get disposable or reusable tubes.

You will also need to get needles and possibly some tattoo ink in different colors. If you don’t get a tattoo kit, you may also need a foot pedal to control your tattoo gun.

If you opt for disposable tubes, you will need to buy those every time you start to run out. All tattoo artists will need to buy cleaning supplies to sanitize needles and reusable tubes for tattooing.

How to Save Money on a Tattoo Machine

Whether you’re a new tattoo artist or need to replace an old machine, you shouldn’t have to spend a ton of money. You will need to invest a decent amount in your equipment, but you can save.

Here are a couple of ways you can lower the cost of your next tattoo machine.

Look for a Sale

If you don’t need to buy a tattoo machine immediately, you can look for a sale. You can shop around and consider a few tattoo equipment manufacturers. Then, you can find the best deal, or you can wait a while until a company offers its machines on sale.

Buy in Bulk

If you need to buy more needles and ink, you should buy that in bulk. The same is true of cleaning supplies and disposable tubes if you use those. If you work at a tattoo shop, consider ordering your supplies as a group with the other artists.

The per-unit rate will most likely be lower, therefore, you can all save money. Then, you can put the savings toward other tattoo supplies or a better tattoo machine.

Think Long Term

When you first buy a tattoo machine, you may think you don’t have to put more money into it. Though, if you get a low-quality machine, it won’t last very long. Perhaps you buy a machine for $100, but it only lasts for a year.

Compare that to a $500 machine that lasts for almost 10 years. Spending more money up front may save you money in the long term, and you can use your first few clients to pay off the amount of the machine.

Final Thoughts

A tattoo machine can cost anywhere from $50 to over $1,000 depending on the machine quality and what you get with it. If you get just a tattoo gun, that will be cheaper. Still, you’ll also need to pay for ink and needles.

On the other hand, you can invest more in a tattoo kit that comes with supplies. If the machine is of better quality, it will last longer, so you can save money over time.

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