Cheap Vs Expensive Tattoos: How Different Are They?

Tattoos have gained popularity for the past few years, especially among the young, as symbols to express the inner selves of tattooed people. Yet, since there are several options in the market, it may be pretty confusing for beginners to know which they should go for exactly. 

Don’t worry! There are several critical differences between cheap vs expensive tattoos. Check out our article below to understand each option better and make an informed decision! 

Overview Of Cheap & Expensive Tattoos

Without a doubt, tattoos have long-lasting impacts on everyone’s life. Indeed, they are not stickers, which you can detach anytime you want, or henna, which often fades off after a few weeks. 

Instead, tattoos forever stay on your skin. Also, you may go through some pain during the process of tattooing since these needles do hurt. As a result, experts suggest that you should choose your tattoo artists wisely.

It is vital to choose your tattoo artist wisely.
It is vital to choose your tattoo artist wisely.

Nevertheless, there are tons of tattoo artists around who offer a variety of price ranges. Some cost you more than 800$ for a tattoo, while others only charge less than 100$. 

So, let’s explore our brief explanation of these two tattoo types: cheap and expensive so that you can obtain some general ideas before the detailed comparisons. 

Cheap Tattoos

The cost for tattoos is based on several characteristics such as size, artist’s popularity, design, equipment, and placement. Yet, there are average price ranges for tattoos depending on their sizes. For example, a heart tattoo under 2×2 inches may cost from $30 to $100, while a 4×4 tattoo is charged for over $250.


Therefore, those which offer way below the average prices can be considered cheap tattoos. For instance, if the tattooist, who is not your friend, asks for only $100 for a tattoo that covers all your shoulders and usually takes more than five hours to finish while it is not Black Friday, the final product is indeed a cheap tattoo. 

Expensive Tattoos

Expensive tattoos, on the other hand, cost more than the average price range. A good example is a 4×4 inch tattoo that charges you more than $800. 

Some tattoo artists also estimate the value of their masterpieces by calculating the time spent to create a tattoo. These artists with less than ten years of experience are paid around $100 to $200 per hour. Hence, a 6-hour big tattoo should cost you at least $600.

A meticulous & gorgeous tattoo on a man’s arm

If an artist charges you more than 850$ for a 6-hour big tattoo, the tattoo you get can be perceived as an overpriced one. 

As can be seen, there is a remarkable difference in the cost of cheap and expensive tattoos. Yet, we still have three more main differences between these two. Keep reading!

Cheap Vs Expensive Tattoos: 3 Main Differences 

Skill Level 

The price you pay for each tattoo may be based on the artist’s experiences and skill level. 

Usually, a tattooist working in the industry for a decade will present you with a better tattoo since it results from his several years of learning and improving the skill set. Thus, experienced artists may charge you a bit higher than the average price.

On the other hand, it often costs you less than average if a junior tattooist, or someone who has just started their tattooing career, practices their skills on your skin. In addition, they usually offer a good deal since you have taken some risks when choosing to work with them.

Cheap Vs Expensive Tattoos


Different skill levels result in different outcomes.

Preparation Work 

Expensive tattoos also differ from cheap tattoos in the work preparation. It is observed that high-end artists spend a lot more time preparing for your tattoos than low-end ones. 

They may set up a consultation section with you beforehand. In the section, you can share some of the memories, the pain, the hardship you faced in life, and the motivation behind the tattoo you requested. 

Then, it takes them around 1 or 2 days to brainstorm, visualize and hand draw the patterns that are genuinely relevant and inspirational to you. When you are satisfied with the tattoo picture, the artist will begin performing the tattoo on your skin. 

On the other hand, cheap tattoos may take you just an hour or a few to finish. 

Check out this video for further understanding of how a tattoo artist may prepare for your expensive tattoos!

Equipment Costs

When setting the price, an artist needs to consider all the costs of tattoo machines, inks, needles, and other necessary equipment. Thus, cheap tattoos may result in severe consequences in many cases because the artists use unqualified inks or unsanitary machines to lower the cost. On the contrary, since quality equipment requires more investment from the tattoo shop owners, they may charge you a little extra money to compensate. 

Should You Go For A Cheap Or Expensive Tattoo?

Cheap Vs Expensive tattoos


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Which is better: cheap or expensive tattoos?

Apparently, it is always better to choose a talented artist who willingly spends some days preparing for your tattoos and has equipped their shops with the best products. These expensive tattoos are usually worth your enormous investment because they ensure magnificent and meaningful symbols that accompany you through ups and downs. 

Nevertheless, it is vital to emphasize that they are not always affordable. If you cannot save enough money, the only option available may be a cheap tattoo. But isn’t that option pretty risky? 

Don’t worry! As long as you choose the artist wisely, he will provide you with a reasonable yet quality tattoo. Thus, it would be helpful to read through or ask for some reviews about the shop before using its service. Besides, you should closely observe the shop’s sanitary and some of the tattooist’s former designs to ensure they have enough skills to perform the tattoo on your skin. 

Final Thoughts 

In the worst scenario, when you eventually go for a cheap and horrible tattoo, it may cost even more money and pain to remove from your skin. Thus, always consider everything thoroughly. With these above-mentioned detailed comparisons between cheap vs expensive tattoos, we hope that you have enough resources to make a wise decision.

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