Updated January 17, 2020 by Daniel Imperiale

The 7 Best Tattoo Kits

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This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in September of 2015. With one of these comprehensive tattoo kits, you can ink up any part of your body in the privacy and comfort of your own home, or take the first steps toward becoming a professional artist. Many include instructional manuals, practice skin, ink, and other materials to get you trained and ready to roll. But remember, a tattoo is for life, so don't go crazy until your skills are up to snuff. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best tattoo kit on Amazon.

7. Solong TK356

6. Hildbrandt Advanced

5. DragonHawk Complete

4. Stigma Rotary Pen

3. Rehab Complete

2. Pirate Face Grinder

1. Dragonhawk Rotary Pen Machine

Editor's Notes

January 13, 2020:

In recent years, the increased precision and popularity of rotary pen machines necessitated that we seek out some kits that included them for our list. The two most viable options among those were the Dragonhawk Rotary Pen Machine and the Stigma Rotary Pen, the latter of which may be one of the most forward thinking on the market thanks to its innovative use of rechargeable batteries that act as counterbalances to the weight of the pen itself. Unfortunately, this particular set doesn't come with any ink, so it's not ideal for beginners unless they want to seek out ink elsewhere.

We said goodbye to a number of models, including the Shark Pro, which came with a lot of cool machines, but whose power supply and foot pedal created more problems than they solved, with cut-outs, voltage regulation issues, and questionable durability. The Eyepower ER02, by comparison, had reliable components with the exception of its lackluster instructional DVD, but availability problems kept it from retaining a spot on our list.

The Five Best Reasons To Get A Tattoo

These tattoos can help keep a special memory close to your heart, literally, if you choose to put it there.

The decision to get a tattoo is an intensely personal one, not to be made lightly, as tattoo removal can be time consuming, expensive, and painful. If you find a design that moves you, getting that tattoo can be just as satisfying as a getting killer pair of designer heels. But whereas fashions come and go, tattoos are here to stay, and you can't donate them to the local Goodwill.

Getting a tattoo on a whim is the leading cause of tattoo regret. Here are some of the most popular "regret-free" reasons to take the plunge and get that first tattoo.

In Memoriam. A memorial tattoo can be in honor of a deceased loved one, or a tribute to a special time in your life. These tattoos can help keep a special memory close to your heart, literally, if you choose to put it there.

Become an art collector. The most talented tattoo artists can do so much more than copy a photo or choose a special font for your favorite quote. If you find the right artist, you can turn your arm or your back into a living, breathing art gallery.

You have traditional values. When you choose to get a tattoo, you are taking part in a group ritual that is thousands of years old. In a society that has so few rituals anymore, getting a tattoo can offer an instant feeling of camraderie with others who have been inked.

Do it for love. If you tend to wear your heart on your sleeve, here's a way to do it without even saying a word, and without any sleeves. While it might be a good idea to hold off on getting inked with the name of that awesome girl you met online last month, a tattoo honoring your significant other or children can be a beautiful thing.

Express yourself. Tattoos are all about sharing something personal about yourself in a very public way. If you are more of an introvert, in might be best to put your tattoo in a place that is easily covered, so you only need to expose your true self when the mood strikes.

Should I Become A Professional Tattoo Artist?

Most professionals will concur that the path to becoming a tattoo artist begins with being an artist. Beginner tattoo kits can be a great way to experiment and practice, but success in the industry goes far beyond following patterns and pre-made designs.

Creativity and talent is key, but art classes like art history, color theory, and composition/life drawing classes will put you on the right path of honing your skills and building a portfolio.

An apprenticeship can last anywhere from six months to two years, and this is just the beginning.

The most important and exciting step in your career as a tattoo artist is to find an apprenticeship with a reputable artist in your area. An apprenticeship can last anywhere from six months to two years, and this is just the beginning.

The majority of tattoo artists are self-employed, so entrepreneurial and customer service skills are a must. Don't panic if these things don't come naturally to you, a good apprenticeship will get you prepared. You will not just be learning how to use the tattoo machine, you will be learning how to connect with clients and run a business.

Finally, all states have licensing requirements you will need to fulfill before opening up your own shop. Since regulations vary greatly by state, here is another way you can benefit from a mentor who really knows their stuff.

A Brief History Of The Tattoo

Although the oldest-known tattoos were found on the Iceman, a 5,300-year-old mummy discovered in a glacier by German tourists, archaeologists have unearthed possible tools that suggest tattooing could have been practiced during the Upper Paleolithic period in Europe, over 10,000 years ago.

Much like today, ancient cultures had a myriad of reasons, from religious to decorative, for tattooing one another. Iceman and his unusual arrangement of tattoos have scientists convinced that some tattoos were also intended for therapeutic measures. Nearly all his sixty-one tattoos correspond to classic acupuncture points, a practice once thought to have originated nearly two thousand years later in Asia.

The first tattoo artists did not have needles and ink at their disposal, but used a similar technique by rubbing charcoal into fine incisions. And they certainly did not have access to disposable gloves and individual needles. That's a far cry from modern techniques that are now safer than ever for both tattoo artist and client alike.

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Daniel Imperiale
Last updated on January 17, 2020 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel Imperiale holds a bachelor’s degree in writing, and proudly fled his graduate program in poetry to pursue a quiet life at a remote Alaskan fishery. After returning to the contiguous states, he took up a position as an editor and photographer of the prestigious geek culture magazine “Unwinnable” before turning his attention to the field of health and wellness. In recent years, he has worked extensively in film and music production, making him something of a know-it-all when it comes to camera equipment, musical instruments, recording devices, and other audio-visual hardware. Daniel’s recent obsessions include horology (making him a pro when it comes to all things timekeeping) and Uranium mining and enrichment (which hasn’t proven useful just yet).

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