When you’re starting out as a new artist, the best tattoo ink sets will help you equip your studio.
Instead of buying single bottles, it can save time and money to get an ink kit. It gives you a palette of colors to work with right from the start.
But the moment you search for professional tattoo ink sets, you realize there are lots available. How do you know which ones are high-quality and which tattoo ink brands to avoid?
Best Tattoo Ink Sets in 2023
We’re sure the reviews below will help you find the best tattoo inks.
Basic ink colors
As you may already know, it’s smart to choose pre-sterilized tattoo inks. Buy them from reputable brands that go the extra mile for safety (1).
In this section, you’ll find basic tattoo ink sets with colors you can blend to make unique shades.
Bloodline 12-Color Tattoo Ink Set
Bloodline used to be known as Skin Candy. They started manufacturing inks in 1995. The founder is a perfectionist, and the company still abides by his high standards today.
Not only do they mix inks in a clean room, but they use a special dispenser for the pigment. It measures the quantity for each batch so that it’s the perfect color and consistency.
Moreover, each of their inks has a minimum of a 2-year shelf life. Therefore, if you don’t use all the colors immediately, they won’t go to waste.
Here’s an excellent starter set with a dozen half-ounce bottles. The shades include All-Purpose White, All-Purpose Black, Canary Yellow, Golden Lotus, Morning Glory, Marz Redd Kross, Stem Green, Tasty Waves, Candy Lime, Bright Red, and Bellbottom Blue.
Radiant Colors 7-Color Primary Set
Radiant Colors is based in Los Angeles. They are associated with the artist Victor Portugal.
They’ve been a trusted brand for a number of years, but they underwent an intense transformation in 2016. At that time, they reformulated the ink and incorporated several improvements. As a result, they ship only sterile ink with uncut homogenized pigment.
This 7-color kit comes with Super White, Tribal Black, Canary Yellow, Tiger Orange, Scarlet Red, Lime Green, and Blue.
Artists say these are good inks at a great price.
Kuro Sumi Colors Tattoo Ink – Master Set of 7 Best Sellers
Kuro Sumi makes the best tattoo ink for sensitive skin because it doesn’t cause irritation, and it heals fast. The vibrant inks are internationally recognized as an excellent product that’s trusted by artists around the world.
Each one is vegan and non-toxic. They are made in the USA from organic pigment.
Happily, it appears that the brand has updated its packaging to use bottles that are resistant to leaking.
This set of 7 colors includes Green, Orange, Yellow, Red, Blue, White, and Black.
World Famous Primary Color Ink Set #1
World Famous Tattoo Ink is an American brand established by founders with a combined 50 years of experience in the industry. Each ink is vegan and approved for use in the European Union (where the standards are stricter than in the USA).
All the ink is sterilized with gamma radiation and securely packaged in crystal-flex bottles. You can see at a glance how much is left inside. Plus, each bottle has a twist cap to prevent leaks as well as a waterproof label.
This set of a dozen colors comes with Paul Rogers Red, Everest Orange, Great Wall Yellow, Northern Lights Green, Napa Valley, Rolls Royce Purple, Galaxy Purple, Nile River Blue, Vegas Green, Hoover Dam, Pitch Black, and White House. Each bottle holds 1 ounce.
Millennium Mom’s Tattoo Ink Set, 14-Bottles
Mom’s ink is made in the USA by Millennium Colorworks. It’s a favorite choice of professional artists because it has a smooth consistency that flows evenly and quickly into the skin. Then, long after healing, the colors stay bright.
The ink color names might make you giggle: Fleshy Flesh, Ectoplasmic Green, Ice Blue, Pretty Boy Blue, Brown Sugar, Forest Gump Green, Violent Violet, Purple Nurple, Marvelous Magenta, Monthly Red, 14kt Gold, Hello Yellow, Power White, and Black Onyx.
Intenze Tattoo Ink Artist Series Set (Mario Barth Gold Label Tattoo Ink Set)
Intenze is an American brand that offers a variety of different ink sets. This one is a selection created by top artist Mario Barth. It comes sterilized, but not with radiation.
It comes with his favorite shades of the primary colors and more, including Lining Black, Snow White Opaque, Bright Red, Flesh Pot, True Magenta, Flesh, Bright Orange, Hard Orange, Blue Sky, Light Purple, Banana Cream, Lime Green, Light Green, Cherry Bomb, Light Brown, Lemon Yellow, Dark Chocolate, Mario’s Blue, and Mario’s Light Blue.
Eternal Authentic Tattoo Ink
Sometimes Eternal Ink is confused with foreign brands. But this is an American company that sells only sterilized and sealed ink. In fact, you can visit their website to see safety data sheets and third-party lab test results proving that their ink is toxin-free.
This selection of half-ounce bottles includes Lining Black, White, Bumble Bee, Bright Orange, Lipstick Red, Lime Green, True Blue, Robin Egg, Light Magenta, Light Purple, Dark Brown, and Caramel.
Dynamic Tattoo Ink – Master Collection
Go big or go home. This is the ultimate collection of Dynamic Ink colors. You’ll get 1-ounce bottles of all the reds, yellows, blues, greens, and so on. Yes, there’s also Triple Black and Heavy White for blackout tattoos.
Dynamic ink has a thin consistency that flows rapidly into the skin. It saturates well – so well that you might want to dilute it for soft tones.
Lining, Shading, and Greywash sets
You’ll find some of the best black tattoo ink in these lining and shading sets. These will set you up to do stunning tribal and black and white portrait tattoos.
Viking Kit: Black Liner, Black Tribal, White Ultra
Viking ink is made in the USA with vegan ingredients. Their black shades are extremely dark. They won’t fade to blue or green years down the road.
Furthermore, the balanced consistency meets the needs of both lining and shading. The ink has ultrafine pigments with excellent saturation for both tribal tattoos and shading alike.
The white ink, meanwhile, is extra bright and opaque. Try it for white ink tattoos as well as highlights.
Element Tattoo Supply Gray Tattoo Ink Set
Element Tattoo Supply is based in California. It was started by an experienced professional artist.
The greywashes in this set include light, medium, mid-tone, and dark gray. They blend perfectly with other colors from the same company as well as all major ink brands.
FYI: the carriers are sterilized water and alcohol, so the ink may dry a little faster than others. Keep an eye on your caps.
Formula 23 Shading Series — Intenze Tattoo Ink
Intenze’s founder Mario Barth teamed up with artist BJ Betts to create the Formula 23 line. They wanted flawless ink for professionals who demand smooth transitions from light to dark.
This kit comes with three greywashes: light, medium, and dark, plus black ink. They are perfect for precision work, and they heal well.
Nocturnal Tattoo Ink West Coast Blend Grey Wash Set
Have you heard of Jack Rudy and Franco Vescovi? They established Nocturnal Tattoo Ink.
The unique inks have only three ingredients, which are sterilized water, ethyl alcohol, and organic pigment. They have the same fluidic consistency as drawing ink for even shading.
This three-color set comes with West Coast Light, Medium, and Dark. These greywashes blend smoothly with any ink brand.
World Famous Tattoo Ink Greywash Shading Set
One artist hit the nail on the head when he said this ink falls into the skin nicely. If you want to do more with greywash, try this set with Dark, Midtone, and Charcoal.
Kuro Sumi Tattoo Ink Lining and Shading Set
This set of inks reflects back to Japanese calligraphy. It’s perfect for crisp, clear lines and even shading. It will still look good years after it heals.
The colors include regular greywash, soft greywash, and black lining ink.
Portrait ink sets
Whether you’re into black and white or photorealistic portraiture, these are the inks that will give you professional results.
Viking Ink – Tattoo Ink – KIT Portrait
You’ll have to get black and white elsewhere. This set features only earth and flesh tones for photorealistic tattoos.
Here’s a fun fact: Viking Ink is one of the few tattoo inks licensed for legal use in Spain. Bring these along when you travel to the Iberian Peninsula.
Starbrite Skin Tone Tattoo Ink Set
Starbrite isn’t as pricey, but they have high standards. They manufacture in a Class-A clean room in Connecticut. They are also ISO-certified. Each ink is sterilized with gamma radiation to kill bacteria before shipping.
The fleshy colors in this kit include dark, medium, and light skintone, Tribal Black, and Brite White.
Intenze Earth Tones Color Tattoo Ink Set
Intenze developed this portrait set with colors that are difficult to re-create. They are uniquely formulated to serve as the foundation for color portraiture.
There are ten colors, including Desert Sand Light, Medium, and Dark, plus Ochre, Auburn, Rusty Brown, Milk Chocolate, Army Green, Mud Green, and Earth.
Exotic ink colors
Whether you want pre-mixed pastels, neons, or UV-reactive ink, it’s all here.
Starbrite Glowing Neon Tattoo Ink Set
Although the name says “glowing,” these aren’t blacklight inks. They look fluorescent, but they don’t glow in the dark. What’s more, they don’t burn going into the skin because they don’t have phosphorus like some UV inks.
The set comes with Mango, Lime Green, Canary Yellow, Bubblegum Pink, and Blue Freeze.
Intenze Tattoo Ink – 10 Pastel Color Set
This selection of ten half-ounce bottles includes all the shades you hate mixing by hand. When you buy these colors ready to use, it saves time and frustration.
The colors included are Sea Foam Green, Platinum, Peach, Lavender, Creamsicle, Carol’s Pink, Bahama Blue, Baby Blue, Banana Creme, and Rose Pink.
Reviewers say the colors pack well and stay true.
Radiant Colors Pastel Tattoo Ink Set
Here’s a dozen more pastels that are unique to Radiant Colors. Each bottle contains a half-ounce of ink for multiple projects.
The selection encompasses Cream Green, Cupcake Pink Frosting, Matcha Green, Mint, Pistachio, Saffron, Sprinkle Pink, Vanilla Yellow, Jasmine Purple, Lollipop Purple, and Velvet Purple.
By the way, Radiant Colors is registered with Health Canada’s Cosmetics requirements to make sure the inks have no toxic ingredients.
Millennium Mom’s Nuclear UV Blacklight Tattoo Ink
Go ahead; you know you want to try doing UV tattoos. It’s not easy to work with these finicky inks, but the results are stunning.
If you’re new to tattooing, try adding some blacklight highlights. They will look pale or invisible in daylight, but will fluoresce under UV light. Take a minute to scroll through Instagram, and you’ll be astonished by what artists can do with Mom’s Nuclear ink.
This set includes every UV-reactive color they make: Invisible Fallout, Blue Smoke, Afterglow Yellow, Smoldering Orange, Radiant Pink, Red Dawn, Raging Magenta, Atomic Green, and Purple Haze.
Bloodline 6-Color Tattoo Black Light UV Ink Highlight Set
Bloodline also makes blacklight colors for highlights and UV tattoos. Their set is a little smaller than Moms as it has only six colors compared to nine. Yet, it’s very popular as the colors fluoresce brilliantly and resist fading better than some brands. (UV ink is notorious for fading faster than regular colors).
The full set comes with invisible, yellow, green, pink, red, and orange. The invisible “color” glows blue under black light.
Budget tattoo ink sets for practicing
Pull out the practice skin and get familiar with your tattoo machine. These are cheap tattoo ink sets for beginners – but not for use on humans.
HAWINK Tattoo Ink Set
Well-known tattoo industry supplier HAWINK offers fourteen half-ounce bottles of brightly-colored inks at a budget price.
The colors include True Black, Super Black, Venetian Brown, Lime Green, True Green, Atomic Yellow, Bright Orange, Fire Red, Scarlet Red, Light Purple, Country Blue, Royal Blue, Japanese Pink, and Bright White.
STIGMA Tattoo Ink Set
STIGMA also offers over a dozen half-ounce bottles with frequently-used colors like Lemon Yellow, Bright Orange, Dark Red, Dragon Green, and True Black.
Unlike some overseas brands, they do carry CE certificates and are sterilized with gamma radiation before shipping.
Remember how fun it was to crack open that fresh box of crayons or pack of markers? Just wait until you get a new tattoo ink set. You won’t want to put down the machine until you’ve tried all the colors.
If the reviews above helped you find your new favorite ink, we’d love to hear about it. Feel free to drop us a comment below.
1. https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetic-products/tattoos-permanent-makeup-fact-sheet updated 08/24/2020, accessed 01/12/2021