Best Tattoo Ink Sets RANKED | Painful Pleasures Community

Best Tattoo Ink Sets RANKED

Level up your palette with the best tattoo ink sets in the game! Check out all the best tattoo ink sets ranked in this blog.
by Danny Tress Last Updated: August 15, 2023

Nothing hits quite like a tattoo ink set that perfectly meets your needs…so we’ve rounded up the best tattoo ink sets out there. Your palette is the meat and potatoes of your setup… so why not kickstart it with a quality ink set? Starting things off with an ink set from a reputable brand not only gives you a good foundation. It also makes your work more even and consistent. All your colors and tones will complement each other and marry well when the tattoo heals. 

Check out these five-star ink options to upgrade your existing selection, build a palette from scratch, or try out a new brand altogether. 


Who doesn’t love a fresh start? This first list is for you if:

You’re a color artist who’s just starting to build your ink selection.

You’re looking to do a complete palette overhaul and try a new brand.

These high-quality sets are reliable for any color-based style. 

World Famous 25- and 50-Color Sets

World Famous 50 Color Set

World Famous 50-Color Set

World Famous 25 Color Set

World Famous 25-Color Set

The Pros

We’ll start with crème de la crème: the World Famous 25- and 50-Color Sets are the quintessential foundational “starter packs.” Only, “starter” isn’t 100% right because these sets are ideal for beginning artists and seasoned professionals alike. World Famous Ink put a ton of thought into the color selection for these sets so you can: 

  • Achieve depth and dimension. 
  • Improve your contrast. 
  • Add killer highlights and subtle details for more realism. 

Mission accomplished across the board. Both sets give you a broad range of color options, including Outlining Black and White House for your linework and finishing touches. In fact, unlike other starter sets on the market, these sets give you two blacks: Outlining Black and Triple Blackout, so you can do black saturation as well as linework. Plus, as always with World Famous, these colors heal brightly and vividly to bring your work to life. The consistency is smooth and workable and doesn’t vary from bottle to bottle. In other words… the consistency is consistent. 

The Cons

The only potential downside to these starter sets is that they’re best for extremely discerning artists. What we mean by that is: some of the colors in the set are very similar, particularly in the 50-color set, which literally gives you five shades of red. This is a plus for artists who love subtle variation in the color selection for added dimension. But if you’re looking for a no-frills foundational set, these larger sets might not be for you. The high price tag might also be a drawback for you… but consider that you’ll be getting a ton of bang for your buck. 

If you think these sets are for you, you might be wondering if you should go with the 25-color or 50-color option. It all comes down to how much variation you’d like in your palette. If you’re just starting out with World Famous, we suggest sticking to the 25-color option. But if you’re a diehard World Famous fan and want every variation they have to offer… it’s time to go big: invest in that 50-color option and count on outstanding results.

Set Size, Cost, and Colors

Size: 1oz 

25-Color Set Price: $265.00 

Colors in Set: Acropolis Orange, Amsterdam Purple, Bombay, Blackberry, Bali Pink, Barrier Reef Blue, Caramel, Canary Yellow, Dubai Gold, Everglades Green, Everest Orange, Flying Pig Pink, Navy Seals Blue, Nile River Blue, Legendary Outlining Black, Purple Kush, Paul Rogers Red, Portrait White, Rainbow Blue, Rushmore Magenta, Sinatra Blue, Sailor Jerry Red, Triple Blackout, Vegas Green, White House 

Size: 1oz 

50-Color Set Price: $520.99 

Colors in Set: Flying Pig Pink, Bali Pink, Pink Panther, United Ink Red, Sailor, Jerry Red, Paul Rogers Red, Big Apple Red, Alaskan Salmon, Acropolis Orange, Everest Orange, Caramel, Salvador Dali Gold, Dubai Gold, Michaelangelo Yellow, USA Yellow, Straight Yellow, Canary Yellow, Yellowstone, Mint Green, Ireland Green, Everglades Green, Vegas Green, Dead Sea, Barrier Reef, Blue, Miami Blue, Sinatra Blue, Rainbow Blue, Greenland Ice Blue, Blue Oyster Cult, Navy Seals Blue, Nile River Blue, Amsterdam Purple, Purple Haze, Leaning Tower Of Purple, London Lavender, Purple Kush, Blackberry, Rushmore, Magenta, Bombay, Liberachi Red, Hoover Dam, Tobacco Dock, Sicilian Olive, Dark Greywash, White House, Mid-Tone Greywash, Portrait White, Charcoal Greywash, Legendary Outlining Black, Triple Blackout

Industry Inks Primary Color Set

Industry Inks Primary Color Set

The Pros

Some artists may consider choosing Industry Inks to be risky. But countless other artists say it’s the best move and that Industry Inks is their new favorite. Artist-made, tested, and approved, Industry Inks are formulated for ideal color saturation. So, color artists seeking something fresh and new: this Primary Color Set might just be the one for you.  

For one thing, it’s less pricy than the World Famous options above without sacrificing quality. You’ll also get far fewer inks since this set only offers 12 colors. But that might be the best choice if you’re testing the waters or you already have a robust palette you’re just looking to bolster with the basics. Included in the 12-bottle set is Everyday Black and White, so you can line and add shadows or highlights. Plus, since it’s a primary color set, it gives you the basics you need to mix and create new colors. Consequently, if you think about it, twelve isn’t really twelve at all. 

The Cons

In a nutshell, the only downside is that this set is considered a sampler, which means it isn’t a huge or robust addition to your ink selection. But maybe that’s just what you’re looking for. If so, check this sampler set out today, and count on the perfect consistency for rich saturation.

Set Size, Cost, and Colors

Size Options: 1oz, 2oz  

1oz Set Price: $120.00 

2oz Set Price: $220.00 

Colors in Set: Everyday Black, White, Magenta, Hot Pink, Scarlet Lake, Orange, Canary Yellow, Spring Green, Grass Green, True Blue, Parma Violet, and Espresso 

Solid Ink Spectrum Color Set

Solid Ink Spectrum Set

The Pros

If Industry Inks is a little too “new age” for you, here’s another small-scale primary set, this time from a brand that’s been around a few years. Artists everywhere rave about Solid Ink for—yeah, we’re gonna say it—the “solid” healed results it yields. Basically, that means each color gives you a lot of capacity and vivid brightness that holds true when they heal.  

The Spectrum Color Set is comprised of twelve colors that give you a little more than a taste of what Solid Ink has to offer. This differs from the Industry Inks Set in that it also comes with a special mixing solution. Use the solution to dilute or alter the viscosity of your inks. That’s a really nice perk to this set if you’re picky about the consistency and shade of your colors. The affordable price tag is a nice benefit too. And, as with all the sets in this starter list, you’ll get a Lining Black and White for foundational work and finishing touches. 

The Cons

Your downsides here are similar to the Industry Inks Primary Color Set. Overall, you’re only getting twelve inks, which for some of you may not be enough to kickstart a strong palette. But for others… this could be the perfect sample size. And with the ability to alter your consistency and color opacity, the set certainly showcases Solid Ink’s versatility.

Set Size, Cost, and Colors

Size: 1oz 

Set Price: $130.00 

Colors in Set: Yellow, Violet, Medium Green, White, Orange, El Dorado, Nice Blue, Red, Magenta, Brown, Pink, Lining Black, Mixing Solution 

Oh, and P.S. If you really wanna take the plunge into the full gamut of Solid Ink Colors, check out the 60-Color Mega Set. It didn’t beat out World Famous in this official list, but it’s still a “solid” choice if Solid Ink is a brand you’re really eyeing. 


 Alright black and grey realism artists, this next list is for you. This list doesn’t contain any new sets, because when it comes to graywash, the classics have withstood the test of time. Check out our top-selling and top-ranking sets for your best portraiture, photorealism, and landscape work. 

Empire Inks Graywash Series

Empire Ink Graywash Set

The Pros

Empire Inks was created by portrait artist Colt Brown in 2012, and his understanding of the style is obvious. Empire’s greywash inks are consistently workable. If you’re an experienced realism artist, you can create your smoothest gradations and transitions with this brand. The inks are also formulated to help you avoid any unintentional pepper shading. 

This high-quality formulation is one of the reasons this Graywash Series makes the list of best tattoo ink sets. But another reason is the sheer range you’ll get in this six-bottle set. Classic Black works as your foundation, followed by four graywash options for all your shading work. What’s remarkable about this graywash ink is how uniquely it heals on the skin. Known for its cool blueish undertones, Empire Graywash inks contrast starkly with warm skin tones, making for more striking work. If you’re already a fan of Empire, you know this to be true. 

This set also gives you a perfectly formulated white with twice the pigment of other whites on the market. Your highlights, like your shades, will be striking. This white also mixes well with other colors. Plus, it comes in a variety of sizes according to your needs. 

The Cons

The only drawbacks to this graywash set are that A. it’s one of the pricier graywash options on our site (for good reason) and B. if you’re already passionately invested in a different brand, the distinctive, striking cool tones Empire is known for might not be your cup of tea. 

Set Size, Cost, and Colors

Size Options: 2oz, 4oz 

2oz Set Price: $94.99 

4oz Set Price: $189.99  

Colors in Set: White, Classic Black, Xtra Light, Light, Medium, Dark

Eternal Ink Graywash Set

Eternal Ink Graywash

The Pros

You knew Eternal Ink would make this list of best tattoo ink sets at some point. The Eternal Collection is massive and artists everywhere still favor it as one of the most varied and highest quality brands. So, yeah, of course they have a 5-star graywash set. 

This set gives you five graywash colors without the white you get from Empire. But even without the white for highlighting and mixing, you get more graywash variety from this set, ranging from light to darkest. You can definitely count on true-to-bottle healed results, which takes the guesswork out of knowing how your graywash will heal over time. Eternal is backed by artist field testing and passionate approval, so reliability is a key factor here.

The Cons

One drawback to this set is how soft the washes are. As with any premixed graywash set, you miss out on the benefit of mixing your own to your ideal consistency and shade. So, even the darkest option in this set may be lighter than you imagine. But if you love Eternal and you prefer premixed graywash, the set is 100% worth a try, especially at the competitive cost.

Set Size, Cost, and Colors

Size: 1oz 

Set Price: $40.00 

Colors in Set: Light Gray Wash, Medium Gray Wash, Dark Gray Wash, Darker Gray Wash, Darkest Gray Wash


Now it’s time for the oddball group. If your style is a little more niche or you’re looking for something a little more specialized than primary colors and graywash… these sets might catch your eye.

World Famous A.D. Pancho Pastel Grey Set

A.D. Pancho Set

The Pros

Say hello to one of our fastest-selling ink sets: the A.D. Pancho Pastel Greys Set. This set shouldn’t be mistaken as a graywash set. It’s a little more specialized than that. Each color is hand-selected by A.D. Pancho, a tattoo artist of over two decades known for his incredible works of color realism… and countless other styles. Fan of his work? Check it out here if you haven’t seen it before (it’s worth it AF). 

This set is so sought-after because of how dynamic it is. Each pastel gray has varying opacities and undertones, so you can create soooo much dimension and contrast in a variety of styles. This set is especially perfect for striking monochromatic work. Take on a classic St. Michael piece and make it more dimensional, pastel, and eye-catching than any of them out there. Because of the rich color opacity, these pastel greys are also a great choice for cover-ups. 

The Cons

What are the cons to this set, you may ask? So… we’re gonna be real here: none, unless you have something against pastel greys.

Set Size, Cost, and Colors 

Size Options: 1oz, 4oz 

1oz Set Price: $90.00 

4oz Set Price: $240.00 

Colors in Set: Pastel #1, Pastel #2, Pastel #3, Pastel #4, Pastel #5, Pastel #6 

Industry Inks Anime Color Set (Light and Dark)

Industry Inks Anime Set

The Pros

If you haven’t noticed, anime and pop culture tattooing has really taken off over the past five years. This is the best tattoo ink set for you if you’re an otaku artist who loves breathing life into iconic characters. The set is broad, giving you light and dark tones that add so much depth to beloved anime and cartoon characters. In fact, each color name is inspired by an anime character you’ve probably heard of, you sweet nerd, you.  

The set combines the smaller Dark Anime Color Set and Light Anime Color Set that Industry Ink offers… so if you’re looking to spend a little less money and stick to a specific tone, you might be interested in the separate, smaller sets.

The Cons

Cons? Hm. Well, as we mentioned before, Industry Inks might come off as new age or risky to you… but rest assured you’ll get a smooth-flowing consistency and plenty of variety. Additionally, the title of this set can be a little misleading. Sure, it’s perfect for pop culture, but it’s truly a dynamic set for any color work.

Set Size, Cost, and Colors

Size Options: 1oz, 2oz 

1oz Set Price: $206.00 

2oz Set Price: $366.00 

Colors in Set: Soft Haruno, Mizuki, 9 Tails, Sunbreather, Moegiiro, Matcha, Haku Iro, Kumo, Kyoho and Taro Mochi, Sakura Deep, Kaioken Deep, Pochita Fruit, Katana, Shinigami, Murasaki, Usagi Blue, Konoha Green, Akira Deep, Ube Butter 

Fusion Ink Kirsten Pettitt Signature Set

Kirsten Pettitt Set

The Pros

We’re ending things off with a smol boi of a set. After all, we’ve hit you with some high bottle counts in this roundup. But small doesn’t mean limited. The Kirsten Pettitt Signature Set is perfect if you’re a color realism artist… or if you’re discerning and looking for a highly specific palette. Kirsten Pettit has tattooed the faces of cultural icons to perfection, from Danny DeVito to Taylor Swift to Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman. Moreover, her realism is striking but also playful, and that’s precisely how we’d describe the colors in this ink set.  

The set marries the practicality of flesh and neutral tones with playful pastels and color pops. No matter your style, using these colors together will make your work distinguished and striking. 

The Cons

The downside is exactly what the plus side is: if this highly specialized set of highly specific colors doesn’t tickle your fancy, it isn’t for you. If it is? And you’re a passionate Kirsten Pettitt fan? Add it to your palette and make your dreams come true.

Set Size, Cost, and Colors

Size Options: 1oz, 2oz 

1oz Set Price: $63.99 

2oz Set Price: $103.99 

Colors in Set: Buffalo, Frozen Yogurt, Gherkin, Peaches & Cream, Roasted Peanut


If the sets in this roundup aren’t for you, we still highly recommend each brand we name-dropped. Check out our full variety of top-selling inks for any style. You’ll find more specialty sets, old favorites, and singles for all your refills.  

If you use any of the sets in this blog, give us a shout on social media! We always love to see what you can do. 

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