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28 Best Black Tattoo Inks (Reviews & Buying Guide)

by  Kin Liu -  Last updated on February 9, 2022
Best Black Inks for Tattoos

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Since ancient times, black tattoo inks have been an essential tool for tattooing.

It’s been made with various ingredients like soot, bone black, and rusted metal.

Some tattoo inks included pigment from printer toner and automotive paint.

Needless to say, it wasn’t always the healthiest thing to inject into the skin.

But the top black tattoo inks are safer than ever before.

They are made from rich pigments suspended in a non-toxic carrier liquid.

Plus, they are sterilized to prevent infections.

Instead of turning green over time, modern black tattoo inks retain their deep, dark color ink.

And it’s possible to find the exact shade of black you need for portraits, tribal sleeves, and more.

Today, we’re going to review the best black inks for tattoos from the best brands of tattoo ink.

Quick Comparison

If you don’t want to read the full article then check out our favorite products in the table below.


Why Does Black Ink in Old Tattoos Turn Green?

In decades past, tattoos were often done with Indian ink that was composed of dark green and blue pigment.

Over the years, the pigment breaks down into its composites. That’s why old black tattoo inks tend to turn greenish-blue.


What’s in Modern Black Tattoo Ink?

Modern tattoo inks consist of pigments like carbon black, iron oxide, powdered magnetite, and jet. The pigment is suspended in a carrier like glycerin, pure water, or witch hazel.

If you request an MSDS sheet from the ink manufacturer, you’ll get an idea of what’s in the inks you’re using.


3 Reasons Why You Should Only Buy Black Tattoo Inks from Reputable Manufacturers

Obviously, if you buy cheap black tattoo inks, you won’t get the performance of high-quality tattoo ink.

The color won’t be as crisp.

But worse, cheap tattoo inks use sketchy ingredients like heavy metals. Those toxins travel throughout the body and lodge in lymph nodes where they’ve been mistaken for cancer.

Also, bargain tattoo inks may not be sterilized. They may use carrier liquids like alcohol that slow down healing or cause infections.

Trust us; the price difference isn’t worth the consequences.

You and your clients will be much happier using the best black tattoo ink.


Ideas for Your next Black Ink Tattoo

If you’re not sure where to start, where to go next with your art, check out this free resource for ideas.

Tattoo Johnny provides thousands of ideas organized into categories like Polynesian, lettering, gangster, funny, and Gothic.

You can also browse through flash books. We recently reviewed more than 30 of the most popular tattoo books.


Go Old School and Make Ink Yourself

Would you like to experiment with making your own black tattoo ink? There’s a recipe online that’s easy to follow (4).

You’ll need medical-grade glycerin, propylene glycol, vodka or witch hazel, a blender, and pigment.

It’s possible to order dry pigment from a tattoo supply house. Or you could make your own by burning wood.

Don’t forget gloves and a dust mask to protect your skin and lungs from the pigment.

But if it seems like too much work, we hope you found what you need among the best black tattoo inks for tattooing.


28 Best Black Tattoo Inks (2021 Update)

1. Kuro Sumi Tattoo Ink, Double Sumi Tribal Black

Kuro Sumi Japanese Tattoo Color Ink Pigments, Vegan Professional Tattooing Inks, Double Sumi Tribal Black, 4 Fluid Ounce
  • VIVID COLOR AND DIMENSION - Originally formulated in Japan, Kuro Sumi tattoo inks give your tattoos life and dimension. The molecular structure of our ink provides long lasting vivid color.
  • JAPANESE TRADITION– Tattoo artists around the world choose Kuro Sumi tattoo inks. We incorporate the art of Japanese tattooing and traditions handed down from generation to generation.
  • TRIBAL BLACK TATTOO INK – The blackest tattoo ink that’s vegan-friendly and free from harmful chemicals. The perfect black outline tattoo ink for shading and lines and tribal work, this tribal tattoo ink makes a great lining tattoo ink.

Kuro Sumi is a Japanese brand that’s now manufactured in the United States. They are one of the most popular and trusted tattoo inks on the market.

Artists like Tattoo Lou, with 50 years of experience, recommend them as a superior choice.

There are two crucial points in Kuro Sumi’s favor.

First, their tattoo inks are vegan friendly, and they contain organic pigments.

Second, each color is bright and long-lasting.

As for the Double Sumi Tribal Black, artists say that it’s the ideal solid black shade for filler. It’s very smooth, it saturates perfectly, and doesn’t fade.

Keep in mind that Kuro Sumi, like all popular tattoo ink brands, has a problem with counterfeits. If you receive a bottle with a black and white label, it’s not the real deal. Their labels are maroon and white.

2. Kuro Sumi Tattoo Ink, Eggplant and Purple Black

Kuro Sumi Japanese Tattoo Color Ink Pigments, Vegan Professional Tattooing Inks, Eggplant and Purple Black, 4 Ounce
  • VIVID COLOR AND DIMENSION - Originally formulated in Japan, Kuro Sumi tattoo inks give your tattoos life and dimension. The molecular structure of our ink provides long lasting vivid color.
  • JAPANESE TRADITION– Tattoo artists around the world choose Kuro Sumi tattoo inks. We incorporate the art of Japanese tattooing and traditions handed down from generation to generation.
  • EGGPLANT AND PURPLE BLACK TATTOO INK – Our Eggplant and Purple Black tattoo ink is vegan-friendly, and free from harmful chemicals, they are made with natural components instead. Our products are never tested on animals.

Try the Eggplant and Purple Black shade to add a zing to portraits.

3. Kuro Sumi Tattoo Ink, Outlining

Kuro Sumi - Outlining Black Tattoo Ink - Professional Tattoo Ink & Tattoo Supplies for Outlining & Shading - Skin-Safe Permanent Tattooing - Vegan (6 oz)
  • Outling Black Tattoo Ink - Our darkest black, this super thin viscosity ink flows into the skin with a quickness that will make you grab for it first every time. Kuro Sumi is the absolute blackest pigment in the entire industry, world known for its quality and consistency for all tattoo supplies & tattoo kits. It also has the best flow.
  • Professional Tattoo Ink - Kuro Sumi tattoo ink brings high-quality formulas with world-class ingredients for a truly safe, long-lasting result.
  • Give Your Tattoos the Ink They Deserve - From the hills of Japan comes a timeless tattoo ink formula for truly organic ink that will stand the test of time. Made from the best vegan-friendly ingredients and inspired by ancient art, Kuro Sumi tattoo inks come in over 59 ultra-concentrated colors for the superior quality your work deserves.

If you do stick and poke tattoos, the black outlining ink from Kuro Sumi is of high quality and is highly recommended.

Otherwise, it lays down a deep black color for lining and filling.

4. Kuro Sumi Tattoo Ink Lining and Shading Set

Kuro Sumi Japanese Tattoo Color Ink Pigments Set, Vegan Professional Tattooing Inks, Grey Wash Shading and Outlining Black
  • VIVID COLOR AND DIMENSION - Originally formulated in Japan, Kuro Sumi tattoo inks give your tattoos life and dimension. The molecular structure of our ink provides long lasting vivid color.
  • JAPANESE TRADITION– Tattoo artists around the world choose Kuro Sumi tattoo inks. We incorporate the art of Japanese tattooing and traditions handed down from generation to generation.
  • OUTLINING AND SHADING TATTOO INK SET – Our grey wash shading ink and black outlining tattoo ink is vegan-friendly. Perfect for black and grey tattoos, black outline tattoo ink for shading and lines, and tribal tattoo ink.

Save a little money by getting a set of Kuro Sumi tattoo inks. This one includes black and two shades of gray wash for lining and shading. It makes transitions straightforward as you won’t have to blend your own washes.

Ingredients include pigments in a base of glycerin and witch hazel.

5. Dynamic Color Triple Black Tattoo Ink

Dynamic Color Co Triple Black Ink Bottle 8oz
  • Triple Black Tattoo Ink: Dynamic Color Co's triple black tattoo ink provides an intense, vibrant black that stands the test of time, ensuring your clients' tattoos remain as striking as the day they were inked.
  • Dynamic Color Co Heritage: Providing quality tattoo inks since 1990, Dynamic Color Co is a brand trusted by tattoo artists worldwide. Our triple black tattoo ink is a testament to our commitment to excellence.
  • Deep Black Shade: Our unique formula ensures a dynamic, solid black that enhances the depth and detail of any tattoo. This triple black tattoo ink will ensure your artwork stands out and remains vibrant.

The Dynamic Color Co. has been in business in the USA for almost three decades. Their Triple Black ink has a very high black pigment load which leads to a deep, intense color.

Some artists find that this is their favorite shade for the lining. It’s also frequently suggested for cover-ups and reworking.

Ingredients include carbon black, isopropyl alcohol, acrylic polymer, and water.

6. Dynamic Black Ink Bottle

Dynamic Color Co Black Ink 8oz Bottle
  • Professional Quality Pre-Dispersed Inks: Proudly made in the USA, Dynamic Color provides premium quality tattoo ink with the most impressive pigment content in the business. Noted for its smooth flow rate, our inks are up to piece — from precise detail work to outlining and shading.
  • Authentic and Hygienic: We’re aware of the large volume of fraudulent products on the market, which is why all Dynamic Color inks arrive in crystal clear PET bottles with a Dynamic logo anti-counterfeiting coating. Even our heat seals, which secure your sterilized product, hold the Dynamic Color stamp of approval.
  • Dynamic Color tattoo pigment helps create noticeably vivid pieces that can stand the test of time. And while being in the game since 1990, we mean it when we say our inks are time-tested.

Dynamic black regular black tattoo ink is ideal for tribal tattoos and outlining. It comes in a convenient eight-ounce bottle.

7. Millennium Moms Black Pearl Outlining Tattoo Ink

Mom's Black Pearl Outlining Tattoo Ink 12 Oz. - Plus Ten 5 Round 1 Inch Grip Disposable Tubes
  • This Is By Far The Darkest Black Tattoo Ink You Will Ever Find.
  • Manufactured by Technical Tattoo Supply.
  • 10 Years In The Making. Black Pearl Defines Black.

Millennium Mom’s Black pearl  Ink contains homogenized, uncut pigments in a base of water and glycerin. The result is ink that flows fast and smooth.

It’s another US company that’s been around for almost three decades. They offer more than 60 colors, including black-light ink.

The Black Pearl shade is perfect for lining and shading. Tattoo Artists have commented that it doesn’t dry out in the ink cups and they never have to go back over lines.

Why do we advise buying tattoo inks from American companies? It’s because the FDA has rules regarding ink safety.

8. BLACK ONYX Millennium Moms

Moms Millennium Black Onyx Half Oz Bottle Tattoo Ink 1/2
  • Smooth: A homogenized carrier/pigment mixture that flows easily
  • Vibrant: Highest possible pure pigment content ensures your work stands out
  • Consistent: Receive the color and quality you expect, each and every time

The Black Onyx color from Mom’s Inks is used by famed tattoo artists like Brian Murphy and Marcus Kuhn.

9. Millennium Mom’s BLACKOUT Tattoo Ink Color Shader Artist Liner All Purpose

Millennium Mom's BLACKOUT Tattoo Ink Color Shader Artist Liner All Purpose 8 Oz
  • Smooth: A homogenized carrier/pigment mixture that flows easily
  • Vibrant: Highest possible pure pigment content ensures your work stands out
  • Consistent: Receive the color and quality you expect, each and every time

If you can only afford one black ink, get the Blackout. It’s a deep, dark black for lining, lettering, shading, and tribal tattoos.

If you’re hunting for a black shade based on the tattoo pigment color, this one uses 77226.

10. Intenze Tattoo Ink True Black

Intenze Tattoo Ink True Black 1/2 oz
  • 100% Authentic INTENZE Ink
  • World's safest, most sterile, and best looking tattoo ink.
  • Tested and developed with top Tattoo Artists

Intenze professional tattoo ink just hit the two-decade mark. They involve artists in the creation of their tattoo inks. Some of the big names that promote Intenze inks include Mark Mahoney and Bob Tyrell.

The company employs biochemists to keep their inks sterile. Then they test them by way of a third-party laboratory. But that’s not all.

Intenze stores their inks in controlled conditions to keep them fresh and sterile.

When you buy Intenze tattoo inks, you can make sure that they are free of mutagenic toxins, yeasts, spores, and bacteria. They abide by FDA and EU quality standards.

That all sounds great, but what about the color? Happily, True Black is a favorite lining ink of artists around the world.

11. Intenze Professional Tattoo Ink Zuper Black

Intenze Professional Tattoo Ink Zuper Black 12 oz
  • Unleash the Darkest Depths: Zuper Black Tattoo Ink delivers unparalleled darkness, creating strikingly bold and intense tattoos that leave a lasting impression. Experience the true power of black ink like never before.
  • Enduring Brilliance: With exceptional fade resistance, Zuper Black Tattoo Ink ensures your artwork remains vibrant and captivating over time. Create timeless masterpieces that stand the test of time and mesmerize your clients for years to come.
  • Trusted by Artists Worldwide: Renowned tattoo artists across the globe rely on Zuper Black Tattoo Ink for its unmatched performance and superior quality. Join the ranks of industry legends and elevate your tattooing game with the ink trusted by professionals.

Professional tattoo ink Zuper Black is the deepest black ink that Intenze makes. You can purchase it in either small 1-ounce or large 12-ounce bottles.

12. Intenze Professional Tattoo Ink Suluape Black

Suluape Black ink was designed in collaboration with the Suluape Tatau family of Samoa. It’s a rich shade that’s perfect for tribal tattoos.

The artist Petelo Suluape says he’s proud of its blend of traditional and modern formulas that gives his work a “unique radiance.”

13. HAWINK Tattoo Ink

Hawink Tattoo Ink, 1/2oz (15ml) Tattoo Supply Ink USA Vegan Pigment linnig True Black TI203-15-1
  • 100% new brand and high quality. Favored among professional tattoo technicians.
  • Color stability,Easy to use, pure color.Durable and low consumption. Safe and easy to use, long duration.Create dynamic shades and easy absorption into the skin.
  • HawinkTattoo Ink Skin easily absorb pigment, no fade after the repair, color is very positive.

HAWINK created this vegan-friendly and high-quality tattoo ink. It is pure, absorbs easily, and is positive.

If you do precision work with fine lines, get this one. We consider this some of the best tattoo inks out there.

14. Dimension Black By Bob Tyrrell – Intenze Tattoo Ink

Dimension Black by Bob Tyrrell - Intenze Tattoo Ink - 1oz Bottle
  • Pre-Dispersed Tattoo Ink
  • Bob Tyrrell Black and Grey Series Intenze Tattoo Ink
  • Color: Dimension Black

Artist Bob Tyrell is famed for portrait work. He created the Dimension Black ink for Intenze.

15. Radiant Colors – Tribal Black

Radiant Colors is a US company that makes pre-dispersed black tattoo inks. The pigments are uncut and homogenized. Then the tattoo inks are irradiated for sterilization.

It’s possible to find their vibrant inks in ½ ounce bottles which allows you to try them without investing a lot of money.

Artists who prefer Radiant Colors say that they have a thin consistency and flow quickly.

16. Drawing Ink Tattoo OutliningTribal

Drawing black Ink manufactures black tattoo inks in the USA. They have bright colors that flow easily. There are economical prices that make them a favorite choice of new artists.

Moreover, each tattoo ink is sterilized by irradiation to kill harmful microorganisms.

17. StarBrite Colors Sterilized Tattoo Ink Tribal Black

No products found.

If you do heavy black lines and tribal work, give StarBrite’s Tribal Black a try.

18. Skin Candy tattoo ink, all-purpose black

Skin Candy and Bloodline tattoo ink are the same company based in California. They’ve been around since 1996. We feel this is one of the best tattoo inks out there.

Their manufacturing facility is state-of-the-art with a special pigment dispenser that ensures consistency between batches.

The carrier for the pigments is something “zero water.” It’s purified with UV filtration and reverse osmosis.

The company suggests shaking the bottles before dispensing the tattoo ink, then stirring with a handheld mixer.

The all-purpose black ink is thick and dark. Combine it with Magnum needle groupings for tribal work, but cut it with distilled water for outlining and shading.

19. Stigma Black Color Scale Tattoo Ink

STIGMA Tattoo Ink Black Shading 2 Stage Grey Wash Black 4oz (120ml)USA Standard Pigment Tattoo Ink Black Set (Dark Black)
  • 1.100% new brand and high quality. Color stability, pure color, durable and safe,with a formula containing a high concentration of pigment, long duration, make your tattoos have a great texture.
  • With 2 color numbers, make your tattoo has a more professional layering and you don't need to spend a lot of time to adjust the color density and brightness.
  • 3.Tested by thousands of tattoo artists, easy and convenient to use. Uses imported materials from the United States and is sold directly in local. Has professional testing reports, CE certificates, and efficient delivery.

Stigma Black Color Ink has a shelf life longer than two years. Just make sure to mix it well before using it.

20. Allegory Premium Lining & ShadingTattoo Ink Black

Allegory Tattoo Ink – Blak, Premium Black Tattoo Ink, Perfect for Lining and Shading, Smooth, Consistent Pigment, Vegan Friendly Tattoo Color, Organic Ink, Crafted in The USA, 8 oz
  • Premium Tattoo Black Ink – Allegory BLAK is a smooth, consistent blend of liquid dispersed pigment. Many of the most popular tattoo artists around the globe uses Allegory BLAK Ink for precise lining and shading. Allegory BLAK is the stepping-stone to the future of tattooing.
  • Consistent in quality: Smooth, consistent, easy to pull lines, while still maintaining a rich darkness to shade. The colors have stood the test of time by staying bright in the skin many years later after receiving their tattoo.
  • Vegan and Never Tested on Animals: Allegory Ink products are vegan friendly and free from harmful chemicals. Also, they do not contain any animal product and never tested on animals. The tattoo inks are safe on the skin, better for the environment, and ultimately preferred for your overall health.

Allegory black tattoo ink is designed for shading, outlining, and tribal art. It’s made in the USA from organic pigments and packaged in a plastic bottle free of PET.

The company does not use acrylics or solvents in its ink.

21. Panthera Tattoo Ink – XXX TRIBAL BLACK

Panthera is made by an Italian company called Futura. It’s popular throughout Europe and has a growing presence in the USA.

Interestingly, Panthera only makes a range of black colors and one shade of white. Each one withstands fading in sunlight.

The XXX Tribal Black tattoo ink is the deepest color they offer. It comes in a five-ounce bottle.

22. Panthera Black Liner Tattoo Ink

Panthera Tattoo Ink - Black Liner - 5oz Bottle
  • Black ink in a deep velvet gloss.
  • Size: 5oz (150ml)

Panthera’s liner black tattoo ink has a dark velvet sheen. It’s also resistant to UV light to keep it from fading in the future.

23. Panthera Artist Series — Ralf Nonnweiler Smooth Blending Black Tattoo Ink

No products found.

Artist Ralf Nonnweiler collaborated with Panthera to formulate this smooth black shade. It’s superb for subtle details.

24. Viking Tattoo Ink Black Liner & Black Tribal

Viking Ink Tattoo Ink KIT Black Liner + Black Tribal (2 Units x 1 oz)
  • This Kit is made up of: Black Liner and Black Tribal.
  • Available in 1 oz size.
  • They have a security seal that guarantees their sterility.

Viking Tattoo Ink manufactures in the USA. It’s one of the few brands licensed for use in Spain. These inks are popular throughout the rest of Europe and the USA, too.

The vegan formulas are sterilized for safety. They saturate well and are vegan friendly.

Although there are more than 150 colors available, we selected just two shades for this review. The Black Tribal doubles as a liner.

25. Viking Tattoo Ink, Black Fill

VIKING INK Tattoo Ink BLACK FILL 0.5oz (15ml)
  • Powerful, bright black, versatile for line, filling and shadows
  • Perfect for realism and black and gray easy penetration
  • The consistency is perfect for areas with excellent saturation

The Black Fill tattoo ink also performs well for lining and shading.

Practice Inks

Expand your skillset with inexpensive black tattoo inks and practice skin.

26. Kokkai Sumi Tattoo Black Lining Tribal Shading Ink

Kokkai Sumi Tattoo Black Lining Tribal Shading Ink 4-oz -Tattoo Supplies-
  • Kokkai Sumi Japanese Blended Ink
  • Perfect for people that like Thinner blended Ink
  • Great for Lining, Tribals, and Shading

If you’re familiar with DragonHawk, you might recognize the Kokkai Sumi tattoo ink.

This is a black shade with a thin consistency that you can use for shading, lining, and tribal work.

27. Element Tattoo Supply Dark Black Tattoo Ink

ELEMENT TATTOO SUPPLY - Black Tattoo Ink - Lining - Shading - Outlines - Color - Solid - Professional - Permanent - Tattooing Inks - Nighthawk - 1oz Bottle
  • DARKEST BLACK INK FOR ALL STYLES - Experience the tattoo world's ultimate darkness! Ideal for bold lines, intricate shading, and tribal designs. Unleash your artistic potential with our Nighthawk Black Ink.
  • CRUELTY-FREE INKS - Our inks are never tested on animals, reflecting our commitment to ethical tattooing. Create stunning, meaningful tattoos knowing no animals were harmed in the process.
  • TRUSTED BY TATTOO PROS - Our ink is known for its top-quality and deep black pigment. Tattoo artists choose it for outstanding results and deep, uncompromising darkness in their artwork.

Aspiring artists have commented that Element’s dark Black tattoo ink dries quickly and tends to fade, but it’s just fine for practice work.

28. Solong Tattoo True Black Tattoo Ink

Solong Tattoo Professional Ink Black Tattoo Pigment for Shading and Lining 4oz (120ml) TI302-120-019
  • Solong Tattoo high quality true black ink,120ml(4oz)
  • Pure, homogenized pigment dispersion
  • High Quality Inks which Vibrant, Smooth and Long-lasting

Solong’s black tattoo ink comes in a four-ounce bottle. The pigment is water-soluble, and the ink is sterilized by gamma rays.



You have a lot of choices when it comes to the best black tattoo ink.

Some are formulated especially for lining, others for shading, and still others for precision work.

Modern black tattoo inks are ready to go right out of the bottle as they are pre-dispersed and sterile.

Furthermore, they are available in a wide variety of shades for every imaginable type of art.

Let us know what your favorite black tattoo ink is and why you love it in the comments below.


1. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/think-you-ink-are-tattoos-safe

2. https://www.thoughtco.com/tattoo-ink-chemistry-606170

3. https://www.livescience.com/60503-tattoo-ink-body.html by Amanda Onion,

4. https://www.thoughtco.com/mix-your-own-tattoo-ink-602245 by Anne Marie Helmenstine,

Last update on 2024-05-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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