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Moving artwork from the pages of a sketchbook to human skin is a big deal for any artist, but it takes more than a keen eye for color and a creative style to start inking people. Are you interested in making the switch and developing your skills as a tattoo artist?
If so, you will need to invest in some basic supplies to get started.
In our guide, we highlight some of the best tattoo kits for beginners that allow you to get a feel for the machinery and techniques before you invest in more serious kits.
Read on, and our experts will share their wisdom and advice when it comes to shopping for an entry-level kit.
Top 10 Tattoo Kits Comparison Chart
What to Expect from an Entry-Level Kit
Basic kits will contain, as a minimum, the following items.
- Power Supply & Foot Pedal
Some will throw a few extras like gloves, transfer paper, practice skin, beginner DVDs, etc., which can save you time and money up front. However, keep your expectations realistic when it comes to tools in this price range. You can’t expect top-quality gear at entry-level prices, so if while they may be good for the absolute beginner, you will want to upgrade once you gain some experience.
Ink quality is mediocre in kits like these, and some don’t come with very many colors, so you might consider purchasing a few higher quality inks to expand your selection and see what it feels like to work with the good stuff.
Does the Power Supply or the Machines Have a Warranty?
Ideally, it is worth your time and money to invest in a kit that offers some kind of warranty on the guns and/or the power supply.
Pirate Face’s Tattoo Grinder Kit, for example, offers a 6-month warranty on both, so if for some reason they experience any issues in that time frame, you should be able to replace them without a problem.
Purchase High-Quality Practice Skin
While it is nothing like the real thing, practice skin is one of the most forgiving ways to perfect the basics.
Yuelong has some decent practice skin sheets that measure 8 inches by 6 inches. You can wrap them around arms or legs to help you get the most authentic feel possible without designing directly on the subject.
Get a Biohazard Container for Needle Disposal
One thing that beginner kits don’t come with is a biohazard container where you can dispose of used needles.
Never, ever throw them in the trash. The risk of contamination is just too high, so start out your journey as a tattoo artist by adopting safe, hygienic practices.
Medline Biohazard Needle Disposal Container
Top 3 Best Tattoo Kits Reviews
Pirate Face Tattoo’s Grinder is the best tattoo kit for an entry-level apprentice or someone who just wants to see what tattooing is all about.
The kit contains everything you need to get started, including one piece of practice skin. It is easy to adjust the guns based on your needs, so whether you’re lining or shading, you can adjust them as needed. They’re fairly light, making them easy for a beginner to maneuver as he or she gets used to the feel of the gun.
The power supply was also decent, pumping out enough power to draw smooth, even lines, but in this price range, it would never compete with a more expensive model.
As we mentioned, ink is usually where they skimp, and that is the case of this kit. They’re good for practice, but plan on purchasing higher quality inks for better results.
The best part about this kit is that they provide you with the 6-month warranty on the guns and the power supply. That’s pretty impressive for an entry-level kit, and one of the main reasons it earned the top spot on our list.
- rubber bands, grommets, O-rings
This kit also comes with a few small tools for making adjustments, which you can see from the pictures. The two guns they included – one for shading and one for lining – perform well, and we were pleasantly surprised by the inks. They are much better than the inks in the previous kit.
While it’s nice that Rehab Ink gives you all of this awesome gear for the price, they do not provide a case, which is definitely a pain.
Overall, it is still a great beginner’s kit and one that will help you start off right in the world of tattoo artistry.
The final kit is perfect for the artist shopping on a budget. You get two guns – one for shading and one for lining – and all of the basics that the previous kit included for less money.
The quality, overall, isn’t nearly as good, but it gets the job done. The power supply is mediocre, and they also included some decent inks even though there aren’t very many of them.
It comes with everything you see in the picture, and we found that the razors were a nice addition that most kits don’t include (for prepping the skin).
If this is the very first time you’ll be picking up a tattoo gun, a kit like this will allow you to affordably decide whether you would like to pursue this art form in the future.