Top 100 Best Back Tattoos For Men: Cool & Awesome Designs For Guys

Back tattoos are a great way for guys to show off their muscles and their personality. Get inspired with some of the best ink out there!

By Astrid Fox
Top 100 Best Back Tattoos For Men: Cool & Awesome Designs For Guys

Guys: Why Get a Back Tattoo?

There are a ton of reasons why a guy might decide to get a back tattoo. Whether it's your first time getting inked, or you're an old pro, your back is a great canvas to show off a design that says something about who you are. If you're seeking inspiration, or not quite convinced, keep scrolling to see some of the awesome tattoos that other guys have gotten and let us help you decide what design and placement might be right for you. 

From massive whole-back collages to equally cool smaller designs that might just cover a shoulder, from black and gray angel wings to full-color monsters, the 100 pictures below have something that will appeal to everyone. We honestly think that back tattoos can look great on any guy, it's all a matter of finding your unique look. 

A back tattoo will give you an excuse to show off the work you've been doing in the gym, or give you the motivation to keep up with it. It will also make you stand out in a crowd (in a good way!). 

Another bonus: there's no denying that ladies love a guy with ink! And your back tattoo will give you a great conversation starter when she sees it. 

Types of Back Tattoos for Guys: Full vs Partial

This is not a one size fits all topic. Cool back tattoos can be anything from a small geometric design on your upper shoulders to a detailed work of art that doesn't leave an inch of skin free from ink. The size of your tattoo depends on a range of factors, from the image you want to your budget and how much time you want to spend under the needle. For smaller tattoos, guys usually stick with the upper back and shoulder area, leaving the lower back designs for the ladies. 

For those with sleeves, extending a tattoo onto the shoulder and upper back can let you continue a design or theme. 

The large, relatively flat expanse of skin on the back allows for the whole tattoo to be seen at once. 

These realistic claw marks will certainly attract attention. 

Sometimes a tattoo that only covers half the back, like this angel wing design, can have more of an impact than a bigger one. 

Shoulder tattoos look equally cool on the right or left side. 

Pirate tattoos, whether big or small, are a great blend of fun and edge. 

Wider designs look great stretched across the upper back. 

Tattoos composed of or including text also look great across the upper back, whether it's a name, a meaningful quote, or a tribute to street art. 

A longer design looks bold stretching along the spine from your neck to your lower back. 

Tattoos that cover the whole back can be incredibly striking. 

#tattoo #backtatt #backtattoo #blackandgreytattoo

A post shared by 💀melissa.schade💀 (@tthats_what_she_saidd) on

Utilizing the whole back allows for awesome designs with incredible detail. 

Guys who are bold enough might opt for a tattoo like the creepy but amazing ones above. 

A design that extends from sleeves across the entire back requires a lot of patience (and money) to complete, but the results are worth it for the guys willing to invest. 

Your back tattoo will give you an excuse to show off poolside, or anywhere else where shirts are optional. 

Two connected images across the upper and lower back give a yin and yang effect. 

Angel wings and crosses are a way for guys to express their faith through their tattoos, showing the importance of it to themselves and to others. 

Single Image Back Tattoos

Whether large or small, using the canvas of your back for a single image makes a bold statement that can give people an insight into your personality at a glance. The type and details of the tattoo are up to you--it can be deeply meaningful, or just something fun. The images below are just some of the many possibilities, just be sure to have a good think about it before choosing the one thing you want to display. 

#BackTatt #angel

A post shared by Juan Carrola Reyes ⚽♉🌎 (@yosoycarrola_99) on

A kneeling figure with angel wings spread around it makes quite an impact as the only tattoo on this guy's back. 

Other variations on angel wings offer a stunning statement of faith. 

Fuck I love chill days. #chilling #tattoo #backtatt #inkrep #speedos

A post shared by Robert Page (@raziel218) on

Tribal tattoos are generally smaller, but as a large image extending from the upper to lower back it makes for a very bold, very cool look. 

Animal images, whether realistic or stylized, are an awesome look both across the shoulders or the whole back. 

#tattoo #backtatt #backtattoo #celtictattoo

A post shared by 💀melissa.schade💀 (@tthats_what_she_saidd) on

➡️➡️@vinnycaggino - Submit your ink: -

A post shared by That Tattoo (@thattattoo) on

Whole-back scenes turn guys' backs into a canvas for a work of art. 

Dope ass tattoo #gethigher #backTatt

A post shared by Doobieville® (@doobieville420) on

This back #perfection #blackandgrey #fullback #tattoos #backtatt

A post shared by • Shorty • (@shortymadd) on

Whole back tattoos give room for the kind of detail that make your tattoo look almost as realistic as a photograph. 

#tattoo #backtatt #tattooman

A post shared by 💀melissa.schade💀 (@tthats_what_she_saidd) on

This Ganesh tattoo is an artistic symbol of the wearer's spirituality. 

#tatts #tattedup #bullsfan #ink #backtatt

A post shared by JT (@callmemrtang) on

A name or phrase also looks awesome across the upper back, like this stylized jersey tattoo. 

Multi-Image Back Tattoos

Because the back is the largest stretch of skin a guy has to work with, it's also a great location for a collection of tattoo images. Whether put together to create a scene or grouped together by a common theme, multi-image back tattoos can tell a story. 

This guy's Roman-themed tattoo is both stunning and inspirational. 

A colorful undersea collage looks great even while it's still a work in progress. 

Tattoos can also be a way for guys to show their heritage. 

dead body... #bmx #bmxlife #pivn #ink #backtatt #sesh

A post shared by Kevin Nikul$ki (@kevin_nikulski) on

I want!! Please get on my back now!! #backtatt #iwant

A post shared by Anthony Brown (@ant363_mischiefcustoms) on

A tattoo can also be an insight into a guy's interests or goals. 

#tattoo #backtatt #tattoomam

A post shared by 💀melissa.schade💀 (@tthats_what_she_saidd) on

This tattoo, and the one below, are amazingly detailed and beautiful images that make it feel like the wearer carries a cathedral wherever they go. 

#ink #advisor #tattoo #tatt #backpiece #backtatt #incredible #art #follow

A post shared by (@tattooinkadvisor) on

Detailed back tattoos are a powerful way for guys to honor and display their faith and spirituality, whether they are Christian, Buddhist, or any other. 

Lots of black ink with bright splashes of red are very striking if a little disconcerting. 

There are as many different ways to display your interests through tattoos as there are interests to display. Popular subjects include movies, video games, cartoons, and more. 

#tattoo #backtatt #tattooman

A post shared by 💀melissa.schade💀 (@tthats_what_she_saidd) on

#tattoo #backtatt #tattooman #backtattoo #militarylife #blackandgreytattoo

A post shared by 💀melissa.schade💀 (@tthats_what_she_saidd) on

Military service is something else that lots of guys memorialize in ink, and is a worthy subject for a full back tattoo. 

Cool Black and Gray Tattoos

They may be monochromatic, but black and gray tattoos are far from boring. The single color lends them an air of seriousness and style. Even a tattoo of a cartoon character can look incredibly cool in shades of black and gray. 

It's the most popular choice for tattoos for a reason, as you'll see in the images below. Grayscale tattoos look great no matter the size or style chosen, so you're almost guaranteed to find something you like. 

Skilled shading adds depth and texture to intricate designs. 

#tattoo #backtatt #backtattoo #tattooman #celtictattoo

A post shared by 💀melissa.schade💀 (@tthats_what_she_saidd) on

Solid black ink really makes a tattoo design stand out. 

Ride of the Valkyries #backtatt #muchoTrabajo

A post shared by Kevin Walsh (@kevinwalshy) on

Separated frames break up a design and make it unique. 

#tattoo #backtatt #tattooman #backtattoo

A post shared by 💀melissa.schade💀 (@tthats_what_she_saidd) on

Incredible detail and realism make this tattoo a work of art. 

Even with dark ink, you can have the illlusion of light in your designs. 

#tattoo #backtatt #tattoomam #militarylife

A post shared by 💀melissa.schade💀 (@tthats_what_she_saidd) on

Simple black lines really pop. 

This incredibly detailed tattoo looks like it belongs in an art gallery.

#progress #backtatt this fuckin shit isn't fun

A post shared by Kelldoggy (@kelldoggy) on

#backtatt #ink #loveit

A post shared by Derek Hudson (@delboyhudson) on

Simpler designs look great as well. 

#tattoo #backtatt #tattooman #backtattoo #blackandgreytattoo

A post shared by 💀melissa.schade💀 (@tthats_what_she_saidd) on

This geometric design is truly stunning. 

#tattoo #backtatt #backtattoo

A post shared by 💀melissa.schade💀 (@tthats_what_she_saidd) on

This tattoo is an absolute work of art. 

The details make this tattoo look like it grew naturally instead of being inked on. 

Would love this on the thigh

A post shared by @ tattedinspo on

#tattoo #backtatt #backtattoo #blackandgreytattoo #celtictattoo

A post shared by 💀melissa.schade💀 (@tthats_what_she_saidd) on

This Celtic design looks like it was carved from stone. 

Awesome Full Color Tattoos

Full-color tattoos aren't quite as common as the black and white variety, but they are no less stunning. For someone with a bold personality, and the right design, it's a great choice. Check out the gorgeously colorful designs below and maybe you'll decide to be bold yourself. 

#tattoo #backtatt #tattooman #backtattoo #inked

A post shared by 💀melissa.schade💀 (@tthats_what_she_saidd) on

This nautical scene is stunning in full color.

This whimsical design stands out more by not being in black and white. 

An already cool grayscale tattoo gains added life as color is added. 

#backtatt finished thanx @yak_life

A post shared by Jase Callen (@that_jason_guy) on

Sometimes just the addition of a little color is all it takes to complete a design. 

The contrasting colors of the dragon and tiger show them off even better. 

If you're only going to add one color to a tattoo, red is a great choice. 

#tattoo #backtatt #tattoomam #americantraditionaltattoo

A post shared by 💀melissa.schade💀 (@tthats_what_she_saidd) on

This phoenix  seems about to fly off the skin. 

Dayum Karl

A post shared by j e s s e i c k e (@jezzzza) on

The unique colors in this pirate-themed tattoo really light it up. 

This scarab looks painted on. 

Muted tones really suit this eagle tattoo. 

#tattoo #backtatt #tattooman #backtattoo #911 #nyc #fdny #colortattoo

A post shared by 💀melissa.schade💀 (@tthats_what_she_saidd) on

This is a powerful, and colorful, memorialization. 

Even while incomplete, this full-back tattoo really makes an impact. 

#Wutang #backtatt #tattoosrock #art #ink#detailed #east

A post shared by Mr.Sincere (@slim_one_619) on

#tattoo #backtatt

A post shared by 💀melissa.schade💀 (@tthats_what_she_saidd) on

Pop culture images can be more of a standout work in their full-color glory. 

Diehard fans might even get a scene from their favorite movie tattooed on their back. 

#tattoo #backtatt

A post shared by 💀melissa.schade💀 (@tthats_what_she_saidd) on

Or a scene straight out of an ancient sailor's tale. 

#tattoo #backtatt #tattooman #backtattoo #colortattoo

A post shared by 💀melissa.schade💀 (@tthats_what_she_saidd) on

Colorful tattoos are suited to images that are both dark and whimsical, so whatever your preference, you'll find one that suits you. 

Fantastical scenes, whether dark or light, really come to life when inked in stunning colors. 

Before You Get Inked

Before you actually go in to get your back tattoo, there are a few things to consider. Especially for full-back designs, it's a big commitment of both time and money. It will likely take several sessions, spread out over time, before your tattoo is complete. You'll have to avoid sun exposure and things like swimming for a while after each session, as well, so while summer may have you dreaming of a new design, it might not be the time to start it. 

Hopefully you don't have a fear of needles--or trouble sitting still--if you decide to get your back tattoo. Especially if you're covering the entire canvas!

There you have it, 100 awesome back tattoo designs for guys, along with some information that will hopefully help and inspire you when it comes time to choose one for yourself. No matter what your personality and interests, there is enough variety available that there is sure to be something just right for everyone. 



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