As a Company That Knew How to Produce Some Great Tattoo Needles, What Else Are They Offering?
With some skin in the game already (no pun intended), they decided to branch out and create equipment worthy of the time of all those pros who trusted their needles.
Thus, the Kwadron tattoo machines were born.
While they now have a number of those in the market today, some stand out: their pen-style rotary tattoo machines.
We take the spotlight to this catalog of wired and wireless rotary pen tattoo machines that the brand carries to see what they are made of – and how well they compare for you.
Table of Contents
Proton MX / Enduro
The Proton MX and Enduro are described under the same category because they are very similar but with a few changes under the hood.
The most telling difference between the two is that the Proton MX is well-optimized to take on both needles and cartridges, while the Proton Enduro is specialized in cartridges alone.
That said, it does sound like the Proton MX would be the best deal since it handles both. However, it would perform better with standard needles than cartridges, so know which one you’d pick based on your work needle preferences.
Now that that’s out of the way let’s scratch the surface on these two (2) units better.
What does the outline show?
If designs were the only things counted, these units would take the crown here.
The company showed exceptional attention to detail in the design department, creating an ergonomic pen that fits right into the hand of the artist.
Weighing just 130g, the Proton model is one of the most lightweight units out there, reducing wrist strain and improving the quality of the experience simultaneously.
This is what we believe; nevertheless, a heavier machine is better for some artists.
One of the approaches to getting this lightweight metric down is using an aluminum frame.
Choosing to go with anodized aluminum means they were not only concerned about the weight but also the durability and premium appeal of the tattoo pen.
We could say they did go all out at this price range.
The grip of the 3.5mm stroke machine is also worth talking about.
Made of the same material, we fancy how well this grip is designed to ensure a steady operation. The gentle beveling of the lines and form of the grip allows for a better grip.
Where the Proton MX enjoys a needle depth of 0-4.5mm, the Enduro does slightly better with depths reaching 5mm instead.
Managing the voltage
The Proton MX and Enduro feature a 5W motor that generates a voltage between 7 – 11V. This range is ideal for most operations that you would perform on either one of these machines anyway.
Due to the minor nature of the machine and the amount of power that size allows it to pack, you might need to max out to get the best with shading.
With these models, they believe a 9-10V range is best for your shading operations.
As 11V is the upper bracket, it is best to steer clear of that to prevent fluctuations and inefficiencies in the final job.
How well goes with the needle?
The Proton MX made the market first, and at that time, the manufacturer made it a general-purpose machine that could handle both standard needles and cartridges.
If there is anything we know about these rotary tattoo machines, though, they will always work best for one needle model than the other.
They also knew that, informing why they returned to bring the Enduro to work with cartridges exclusively.
Both pen machines are highly versatile enough to work with all kinds of cartridges on the market.
For the best results, the brand prefers you get the cartridges and standard needles they manufacture to be used with their machine.
As long as you get your needles from a reputable manufacturer, you can rest assured they will work well.
Where is the best performance?
The rotary pen tattoo machine set is best suited for lining and shading jobs. It handles coloring well, no doubt, but you’ll get the best results in the other two approaches.
Tattoo artists who are used to lining might have to slow down their hands to meet the output of this machine.
This is one aspect we feel the company could have done better, like increasing the output voltage.
Once you get the hang of it, though, that stops being something you have to concern yourself about.
Both machines happen to be some of the softest hitters out there. This ensures it does minimal damage to the skin but also makes it great for shading in those black and grey works.
Another set of artists who will benefit significantly from these pens are those who work in tight spots like the neck.
You can now go in there to get the best results without ” whacking” the machine against the chin and shoulders. This ease of use contributes to faster and much more efficient work in these tight regions.
For coloring operations, the Enduro fares a little better than the Proton MX.
They are, however, not advisable as your go-to machines for higher intensity coloring or packing dark blacks and other higher saturation.
What about usability?
A lightweight machine is always preferred for its reduced strain on the wrists.
At 130g, the first Proton MX is already as lightweight as rotary tattoo machines, so a further weight shaving on the Enduro is more than laudable.
One of the most impressive features of these pens is their reduced vibration while operating.
Besides conserving more energy and ensuring the machine gets the total hit, artists will also feel less discomfort when working.
If you have been working with other machines before, it might take some time to get used to the low hum of this unit.
Looking elsewhere, they made it such that the needle automatically retracts itself when the power is cut off. That way, you don’t have to fiddle with the needle after working – which is unsafe.
Although this doesn’t contribute to the usage, we also love the barebones packaging of the unit. That speaks a lot to this machine’s simplicity which works right out of the box.
What could be a dealbreaker?
It won’t become your all-rounder anytime soon for all the good that these models bring to the table.
It is excellent for extremely clean and soft hits and works well for shading and lining. When dealing with rich colors and related operations, you’d better pick another kind of brand in your arsenal.
The needle depth is also a point of note here. While you can adjust the grip up to 5mm to get varying needle depths, it can still feel like the needles are sticking out too far for comfort.
That won’t be a dealbreaker for some users, but it is worth noting anyway.
Finally, the machine must be run at full power for the best results. We believe Kwadron has tried to pack all the power it can into this small unit, but there is only so much it can do.
If you don’t mind giving the pen all the power it demands sometimes, it could be an excellent fit for you.
Equaliser Wireless Pen Stick
With the Equaliser Wireless Pen, they delivered a machine capable of handling a series of tattoo operations without ever needing to take a break for charging.
There are many things to unpack about this one, so we best get to it.
What design was brought to the table
If Kwadron didn’t launch the V2 of this machine so fast, we would not have had any issues with the initial model.
With the new launch, we see how the rotary tattoo machine can be so much more.
The device is covered in a full aluminum frame, just like the company did with the Proton line-up.
This allowed the combination of high-efficiency, quality metal build with a lightweight appeal on the scales. Here, this pen-style rotary weighs not more than 120g.
An intuitive design language saw the movement of the large LCD on the first model’s frame to the bottom of this model.
These features gave the artist a view of their voltage range, battery level, and running time at a glance without having to bevel the machine.
Likewise, the company kept things simple with the buttons on this machine: one to turn the device on/ off and the other two to adjust the voltage up or down.
Speaking of the buttons, things are sleeker and more ergonomic here than what we had on the first model.
The most significant design change between the new model and the older one is in the battery.
An in-built battery that could only be charged within the unit (via a USB-C cord) was included for the older unit. Now, users get two (2) removable batteries with an external charger and support for USB charging through the machine itself.
The voltages managed by this machine
For ease of mind, they kept the machine voltage between 5v and 12V as a standard range.
Given that the 5V is the lower region and the 12V might be too much power or not hold, it is recommended that you work within the 6-10V range instead.
This range works best for most operations, so you won’t feel anything is amiss.
A cartridge of standard needles?
Whether you love standard needles or prefer to work with cartridges, this machine was designed for everyone.
Getting standard ones to work with most tattoo equipment is not a problem. Most times, manufacturers spend more time optimizing for standard needles than cartridges.
Like they did with their Proton line-up, this machine was tuned to work with a wide selection of high-quality cartridges.
If you don’t already know, the brand also sells its own needles and cartridge sets too.
It stands to reason that these would have been tested with their machines, so you might want to go down that road. However, the company does not restrict tattoo artists to its needle catalog alone.
What works do you get the best performance?
This 3.5mm stroke machine works great for lining and shading operations.
It does a bit of color packing well, but don’t make it your go-to unit for heavy coloring jobs.
The Equalizer handles itself just fine when you are doing the occasional black and grey or packing other colors that don’t need to be laid too heavy.
Ease of Use
Everything about the machine – from the design element to the internal specs – makes it very easy to use.
The first thing to mention here is the set of interchangeable grips that Kwadron puts on the machine.
This helps artists choose what works best, beating even the Proton units in that area.
So, if you find the standard aluminum grip not fitting, you could switch to the anti-slip silicone ones with varying diameters.
We also love how the battery is set up on this wireless tattoo machine.
On the previous one, you had about 8 hours of use before you had to plug the pen again. That is a decent time for a 2-hour charge, but that’s also 2 hours you’d have to spend doing nothing.
Now, the battery system of this V2 model allows artists to keep one battery charging and the other working.
Given that the runtime is way more than the charging time, you can always rest assured of having another charged battery waiting for you when one runs out.
Finally, this model improves on the already-laudable display that the first model brought with it.
There’s simply no better way to keep track of the vital info and adjust your voltage settings on the fly than what Kwadron has managed here.
What could make you think twice?
This is a simple, efficient, low vibration, and competent rotary pen tattoo machine, so there’s little to take away from it.
It is not specialized in any tattooing tasks; instead, doing a little bit of everything might make it less than ideal for some artists.
When doing general-purpose jobs, this is one of the pen-style tattoo machines to consider.
If you were going all-in on specialist designs, especially where many high-detail colors are needed, you might want to break out the big guns instead.
They have shown that it knows its onions with these pen-design tattoo machines in the wired and wireless category.
They handle almost any operation you throw at them, bringing portability to the table and solving the noise problem.
They don’t feel flimsy and are not ‘cheap’ units.
Leveraging years of being in the tattoo industry, it is little wonder that these units are as well-made as they are.
While several pen-style designs are coming up today, only a few of them can even try to get close to these Kwadron tattoo machines.
Images courtesy of Kwadron