Cost of Tattoo Machine
A tattoo machine is the tool that a tattoo artist uses to create beautiful works of art on their clients body. These tattoos are permanent and can only be removed using special laser tattoo removal processes which are very expensive and can be painful. A tattoo machine is the most common tool used by tattoo artists in the United States as it is the most accurate and sanitary. The most recently designed version of a tattoo machine uses electromagnetic coils. When power runs through the coils, the armature bar comes in contact with the contact point which then moves the needle up and down, hence creating a tattoo. Most seasoned tattoo artists will have at least 5 different machines, but the two most common types of tattoo machines are liners and shaders.
Factors of Cost
Although there are many different types makes and models of tattoo machines, they often run around the same price unless they are substantially low or high quality. Most of the times, machines come as part of a kit which also includes a power supply, clip cord, foot peddle, ink, and needles. Depending on the size of the kit and what’s included, a beginner tattoo kit could cost from as minimal as $50 up to as high as $1000. On average a tattoo artist working at a licensed shop will own a tattoo machines ranging from $400-$900.
When purchasing a tattoo gun, that is typically the only thing included unless you order a kit, which are mainly for beginners. The initial investment in a higher quality machine will benefit you greatly in the long run. Your tattoos will be cleaner and your clients will be happier. Not to mention it should be paid off after completing only 1-3 tattoos, depending on the size.
After the purchase of the machine, almost all your other materials will be extra costs. Professional licensed tattoo artists are required to use sanitized, disposable needles for every new client and sitting so that will always be an ongoing cost for any tattoo artist.
The next additional cost would be ink and tubes. Tubes can be purchased in either disposable plastic tubes or reusable stainless steel. Both can have advantages and disadvantages. Sanitizing of the reusable tubes can be time consuming and you will also need to purchase an autoclave. Disposable tubes are convenient as you can just throw them away but in the long run, that will be a cost you will always have.
Ink is an ongoing cost for any tattoo artist. Once ink is poured out of its original container, for sanitary purposes it must be disposed of if not used. Depending on how often you are tattooing, ink is going to be the material that you purchase the most often.
How Can I Save Money?
Future replacement and repair costs can be avoided if you choose to make the investment of a higher quality tattoo machine in the beginning. Low quality machines will malfunction and break much sooner than a well-known maker and a more expensive machine.
A way to save money in the short term would be purchasing a machine from a friend or off a resale website such as Ebay. By doing this, you can still get a high quality machine but at a reduced price.