prinker review


Prinker tattoo printer makes quick and painless art on your body

A painless, poke-less tattoo solution


Jaime Carrillo

Dot Recs

Published Feb 15, 2021   Updated Feb 22, 2021, 2:09 pm CST

I’m a big fat baby. I live a charmed little life and simply can’t and won’t deviate from my comfort zones. And while I did promise my best friend and tattoo artist she could have a crack at my arms once the pandemic fades, I’m still dreading the pain of the poke. But what if there was a way to tattoo yourself quickly and without the pain of a needle stabbing you over and over? Prinker tattoo printers claim to do just that. But does it live up to its goal?

What is Prinker?

In short, Prinker is a high-tech temporary tattoo printer. It works in conjunction with the Prinker app, which serves as a massive database for designs. Users can also upload their own custom designs as well, or even create designs in the app itself. 

The tattoos are both safe and non-toxic, and use cosmetic-grade inks to keep your skin safe. Individual tattoos have a max image size of 39 x 0.9 inches, though if you’re industrious enough to try, you can combine tattoos by spicing together a few different ones.

How does Prinker work? Here’s the rub, from soup to nuts.

  1. Prime whatever spot on your body you want to tattoo using the Prinker Skin primer. 
  2. Pick a tattoo from the Prinker app. Send it to your Prinker tattoo printer via bluetooth. 
  3. When you’re ready, push the print button and roll the Prinker over your skin. 
  4. Spray once more with primer to help it set.

Prinker Review: Is Prinker worth it?

When it comes to a device like Prinker which promises space-age things like tattoos on demand, I try and do as much research as I can into the process. Yes, Prinker came with a manual with tiny text to cover any hiccups. I flipped through it as the device charged up for the first time. I always seek to use a device the way the manufacturer intends, especially if I’m going to review it.

Prinker also came packed in with a little piece of paper with a QR code which linked to a YouTube video showing new users how to use the device. The video is quick, and lays out the tattooing process quite nicely, and better yet, quickly. Turns out, I didn’t actually have to dedicate the grey matter to flipping through the technical manual, I simply had to sit through a quick and painless YouTube video.

Surely, there had to be a catch. It couldn’t simply be as easy as prime skin, import image, drag across flesh, could it? It was. Boy, was it ever. I don’t want to sound all giddy when it comes to the effectiveness of this machine, but I figured there may have been a few technical hiccups. 

Granted, it took a few tries to get the general rolling motion of the Prinker across my skin. I figured intricate printing required intricate speed. My first few tries were sheepish and cowardly. You simply can’t tattoo yourself with that kind of mentality. Swipe with gusto, like when you swipe your credit card at your favorite taco place. 

Once I got the technique down, I was off to the races. I was going to cover my body in goofy ink like a Soundcloud rapper. How effective would the tattoo printer be on the rest of my weird Chupacabra body? Let’s find out. Photo examples are to left to right, top to bottom

  1. Wives Rule, inside left forearm: My first attempt and pretty good considering I don’t actually have a wife, “Wives rule” is simply something I happen to firmly believe. 
  2. Rose and Thunderbolt, inside left forearm part two: Rounds two and three with the Prinker on my forearm rendered flawless prints, as I finally got the technique down pretty well. Both designs were found in the Prinker app.
  3. Baby Yoda, right forearm: I wasn’t using my dominant hand this time, so the tat didn’t come out nearly as perfect. When applying tats without use of your dominant hand, you may want to ring in a friend to help. All in all, not terrible though. 
  4. Thug Life, outer left forearm: I am closer to a pug than a thug, but I still like the sentiment. Notice my Robin Williams level of hair didn’t hinder the Prinker from its task. Pretty cool.
  5. Another rose, left bicep: I really like roses, don’t ask why. Flexing helped make this one smooth. 
  6. Daily Dot logo, face: I should say that Prinker probably doesn’t endorse face tattoos with its device considering the tattoo primer isn’t safe around mouths or eyes. I sprayed some on my fingers and rubbed it in. Getting it just right took three tries. But I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to suck up to the boss by repping the colors, so to speak. 

After a day, some of my tats faded. The ones I applied the primer to after they were set remained pretty solid. Everything, primed or not, came off in the shower. Guides recommend using makeup removal products to get rid of stubborn tats, but all of mine came off pretty simply with a little soap and water. 

Prinker tattoo printer: Final Verdict

The Prinker does exactly what it says it does. Better yet, it does it simply. Reviewing the product alone reveals no immediate downsides. But such flawless tech comes at a price. The Prinker S device with black ink and skin primer will run you $269. If you’re looking for full blown color, it’s $399. Ink refills will run you $99 for black and $149 for color. 

Then there’s the companion app. User-friendly as it is, if you’re thinking of uploading more than 20 designs a month, you’ve got to pay. Granted, it’s not a steep bill. $4.90 a month isn’t so bad if you get unlimited designs out of it. 

Still, there are a handful of folks who could easily justify the Prinker tattoo printer not just as a fun splurge, but an investment. Anyone that dabbles in cosplay online or on the convention scene would get tons of use out of this fancy little gadget. So would theater and performance art troupes looking to get a visual edge when they hit the stage. 

Are you a coach or cheerleading squad member? Nothing shows team pride like a tattoo of a mascot, or some good old fashioned gridiron stripes across your face. Then there’s the divas. Sure, your bag may match your shoes, but it’s not half as Gucci as a fresh tattoo. 

And while working tattoo artists may scoff at the idea, they too may find some real use of Prinker. Customers can see, more or less, what their real tat would look like on their skin before committing to making it permanent. If you too wish to go tattoo crazy, the Prinker tattoo printer is available on Amazon for $237 for a limited time.

If you have an interesting product you’d like to be featured in an upcoming review, reach out to [email protected] and it just may be!

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*First Published: Feb 15, 2021, 3:33 pm CST