50+ Unique and Stylish Small Tattoos for Men with Meanings

Small tattoos for men
50+ small tattoos for men: from animal to skull ideas in our article. Choose the most suitable design, the meaning of which will emphasize your character.

Men’s tattoos as a phenomenon appeared about 6000 years ago. Warriors, tribal leaders, or priests got them as a talisman against evil spirits, the evil eye, or even death. Often these were large designs made on one or more body parts.

For this reason, most men’s designs have always been large. Sleeve and chest tattoos are the most popular. Despite this, small designs are now gaining popularity. They are chosen not only by those who want to get their first tattoo but also by avid tattoo fans.

We explored this trend and decided to collect 50+ designs of small tattoos for men, highlight the most popular ones, explain whether they are worth getting, and find out their meanings.

My body is my journal, and my tattoos are my story” – Johnny Depp

Real Insights: Should You Get Small Tattoo Designs for Men?

mall Tattoo Designs for Men

Before getting a small tattoo, men may wonder whether such designs are worth it. Of course, large ideas look spectacular and attract the attention of others. However, small designs also have their advantages over others.

  • Quick to get. The average time to get a small tattoo is 1-2 hours. Large designs require a minimum of 2 sessions of 2-3 hours. It is 3-4 times slower. Moreover, preparation for getting one will also take less time because the tattoo artist will not make a complex sketch.
  • ? Inexpensive. For example, a small American Traditional tattoo will cost no more than $230, while a big idea will cost you about $1800. It’s almost 8 times more expensive!
  • ? Less painful. Often men choose small minimalist tattoos that do not require the use of different colors or fills. Accordingly, there will be fewer wounds on your skin from the needle of a tattoo machine.

Small tattoos are the perfect choice for a first design. If you like tattoo culture, you can easily add other ideas. Otherwise, a small tattoo can be covered or removed with a laser.

What Are the Most Popular Small Tattoo Designs for Men?

What Are the Most Popular Small Tattoo Designs for Men?

The most popular medium to large tattoo design ideas are animals (wolves, lions, bears, and so on), religious, nautical, and tribal tattoos. However, in the case of small designs, minimalist ones have now gained the most popularity.

This style is used everywhere: in website interfaces, programs, advertisements, etc. It allows the creation of a composition that is not overloaded with unnecessary elements. Therefore, designs of interfaces and programs in this style are easy to learn and understand. Take a look at Windows 10 and 11: These operating systems are based on the principle of flat design, which is a part of minimalism.

The ubiquitous use of the minimalist style has made it popular in tattooing. It has such distinctive features:

  • Minimum details
  • Monochrome
  • Plane

? Note:
If you want this kind of design, check out the list of the best minimalist tattoo artists.

50+ Small Tattoo Designs for Men

We have already figured out that the popular designs of small and large male tattoos are different. However, we only learned about one of the many ideas existing. Therefore, we suggest you get acquainted with 50+ male small tattoos and explore their meanings.


As we said earlier, minimalist tattoos are the most popular small men’s ideas. Therefore, below we list specific minimalist ideas that are most popular:

  • ? Flowers
  • ? Ouroboros
  • ☠️ Skull
  • ? Blooming tree
  • ? Geometric figures

Also, the most popular body parts to get minimalistic small tattoos are the following:

  • ? Arm (forearm, hand, wrist, on fingers)
  • ? Leg (on the thigh, lower leg)
  • ?‍♂ Stomach (on the side or ribs)


The second most popular design for men’s small tattoos is inscriptions. They are unique because they can carry both a hidden and obvious meaning. For example, you can get a tattoo with a significant date for you, the events of which others will not guess. Or you can choose an inscription or quote, the meaning of which is known to many.

Inscriptions or quotes are a great way to express your thoughts or emphasize character and masculinity. Therefore, we provide you examples of 10 meaningful quotes:

  • ? Live to dominate
  • ? No Excuses. No Regrets
  • ? Die with memories, not dreams
  • ? We live with the scars we choose
  • ? Pain is temporary. Pride is forever
  • ? Never let your fear decide your fate
  • ? It starts with a dream and ends with success
  • ? Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future
  • ? Never compromise. Not even in the face of Armageddon
  • ? The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams


Tribal tattoos are the very first tattoo design in human history. They appeared about 6000 years ago. In such tattoos, people encrypted information about themselves or captured amulets from evil spirits and death.

The tribal tattoo has the following distinctive features:

  • Clear contours
  • Use of black or gray colors
  • Pointed ends of patterns
  • Hidden symbols or images of animals


Travel is a significant event in the life of every person. Trips inspire, impress, motivate, and relax. If you want to capture such emotions forever, get small travel tattoos. Moreover, you can mark each of your trips, forming a kind of roadmap of visited places.

Men’s small travel tattoos can have the following meanings:

  • ✈︎ Desire to explore the unknown
  • ✈︎ Inspiration
  • ✈︎ Freedom
  • ✈︎ Reverie
  • ✈︎ Creative personality
  • ✈︎ Love for aesthetics
  • ✈︎ The desire to achieve goals


The skull is a very meaningful symbol. In religion, it is interpreted as forgiveness and sacrifice. In many cultures, it is associated with the bitter truth that can destroy everything. However, the general meaning of the skull tattoo is a talisman against evil spirits.

Also, there are such meanings of the skull symbol:

  • ☠️ Protection from death and misfortune
  • ☠️ Filling life force
  • ☠️ Healing of the sick
  • ☠️ Attracting good luck
  • ☠️ Help to win

Small Tattoos on Different Body Parts


A man’s tattoo on the forearm has its advantages. Firstly, getting designs in this place is almost painless due to the layer of muscle and fat. Secondly, the design can hide noticeable skin damage like scars and diseases like nevus, dark spots, etc.

When it comes to small forearm tattoo designs, one of the most popular is the branch that wraps around the arm. This idea has the following meanings:

  • ? Maple branch – high morality, intelligence
  • ? Laurel branches or a wreath – triumph and victory
  • ? Oak branch – wisdom and strength


A man’s arm tattoo is an opportunity to draw attention to your dignity. For example, if you have developed muscles in this body part (biceps or triceps), you should consider a design that emphasizes their relief.

Unlike a large or sleeve tattoo, a small design will perfectly cope with this task. It will draw attention to a particular place but not concentrate only on itself or hide muscularity under a layer of ink.


When choosing a tattoo on the neck, 70% of men prefer monochrome designs. Perhaps they like such ideas because they look discreet, concise, and aesthetically pleasing.

The most popular neck tattoo designs are flowers, small animals, and symbols. They have the following meanings:

? RoseEternal youth
PassionThe beauty
? RabbitAgility
? Trident symbolPowe


The wrist is the body part that we see more often than others. Therefore, you should be attentive when choosing a design. It is possible that after a while the tattoo will get boring and will need to be removed with a laser or covered up. To avoid such occasions, tattoo artists recommend choosing not only attractive but meaningful designs. Your tastes may change, but a meaningful idea will always remain so.

We advise you to pay attention to unique symbols that are rarely seen among small wrist tattoo ideas and learn their meanings so that they emphasize your character.

An example of an interesting wrist tattoo design would be the moon. This idea has the following meanings:

  • ? Masculinity
  • ? Intelligence
  • ? Logics
  • ? Knowledge


When choosing a men’s tattoo on the thigh, you should consider the size of the design. All its elements should be seen from one angle. In this case, a small tattoo will be the best option.

Most often, men choose small inscriptions of one or more words. This allows them to express their life position within a small tattoo. That is, such designs are intimate for their owner.


The leg is one of the most visible body parts unless you are a jeans fan. Therefore, such designs make the men who got them more noticeable and charismatic. Among the most popular male leg tattoos are any small symbols that you like or are related to your hobby.

For example, you can get a skateboard or palm tree tattoo. These symbols have the following meanings:

? SkateExtreme
?️ PalmMasculinity
The victory of life over death


The chest is the gateway to man’s soul and heart. Therefore, you should choose the design very carefully to emphasize your character.

Among the most popular small men’s chest tattoos is the wolf design. This symbol has the following meaning:

  • ? Power
  • ? Devotion
  • ? Superiority
  • ? Nobility


When meeting people, they immediately pay attention to faces and hands. We greet and gesture with them, so when choosing a small hand tattoo design, it is necessary to consider the meaning to reflect your character.

For small hand tattoos, men often choose nautical-themed designs. Below, we describe the meanings of two possible ideas.

Faith in the salvation of the soul
? ShipStriving for change
Love for travel
The desire for well-being
The search for a better life


Small tattoos for men are interesting and meaningful designs that are great for those who want to get their first tattoo, as well as those who like to complement existing ones. However, choosing one among millions of others is very difficult. Therefore, we have collected 50+ small tattoo ideas for men, listed the reasons for getting them, and explained their meanings.


❓ Where Should Guys Get Small Tattoos?

The most popular body parts for small male tattoos are the arm, neck, wrist, thigh, leg, chest, and hand. However, if you don’t know how to choose a body part to get a tattoo, we advise you to read this article.

? What Are the Most Popular Tattoos for Guys?

The most popular tattoo designs for men are tribal, religious, animal, colored, and nautical.

? What Are the Most Popular Small Tattoo Designs for Men?

The most popular small tattoos for men are minimalist designs. The second and third most popular are tribal ideas and inscriptions.


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