This is the State of Vape – January 2017. Let’s go through what things look like right now from my point of view. Scroll down the page to watch my full video update (it’s about 10 mins).
We have the DaVinci IQ which came out a few months ago – a pure conduction vape, very well-done, most people like it so far. $275 is the price on this one (more info on my review page).
The Crafty and the Mighty are still at the top of my Top Picks list, and these came out over two years ago. There’s been defect issues with both of them, more so with the Crafty. I’m personally on my fourth Crafty, but still on my first Mighty. I did get my broken Craftys replaced fairly quickly but not everybody wants to deal with that so it’s something to keep in mind. It would be really nice if S&B came out with something new soon ;)
Then we have the PAX 3 which also came out a couple of months ago. $275 is the price on this one and it’s a pure conduction vape just like the new DaVinci. It’s like an incremental improvement over the PAX 2, which was more of a drastic improvement over the original PAX. The new model performs a little better and heats up a little faster, but the outside is different the shell is polished now. I’m not personally a huge fan of the new shell but I like how this vape performs and it’s a super portable, easy to use vaporizer. Quick vapor, good quality vapor, that’s why it’s at the top of my list… still.
PAX got with the program with the new model and now includes a half-pack oven lid so that you can pack it only halfway and still get good performance from it.
This is something that’s a long time coming that more companies will hopefully start doing now, quickly. When they have a vape that has a big oven they need to include some kind of spacer to allow you to not pack as much and still get good results. Not everybody wants to pack ~0.3g at a time which is a pretty typical average for portable vapes. I would say 0.1g to 0.2g is pretty much what the majority of people want to pack at one time, from my perspective.
Now the Firefly 2, that one has been a little bit of a roller coaster for me but it’s lookin pretty good right now. The Firefly is an on-demand convection vaporizer, so there’s some technique involved, you have to work a little on your end because the vape doesn’t do a lot of the work like many other ones do. I might have underestimated that a little bit in my original review, as far as how some people might struggle a little bit to pick it up. However, once mastered the results you get from this thing can be pretty amazing. I do talk about the FF2 in three of my videos and I recommend watching them or at least skimming through them to get a good idea of how that one works, and what you have to do to get good results from it.
Basically you just have to experiment with how long to heat it for, you control the heater with your fingers, and then you also have to control your breathing or how you draw from it.
On a broader level, I really do think that convection-based portable vapes are the direction everybody should be headed in. Conduction vapes have their advantages, big time, with the PAX 3 and DaVinci IQ being examples of really really good ones. There’s not too many things I can think of to do to them to make them drastically better, just a couple of things here and there you know what I mean? However, on the convection side there’s lots of room for improvement.
One of the newer ones that’s pure convection is the Boundless CFV, which is very similar to the Flowermate Swift Pro as far as the internal components go. This vape actually works really well and the convection effect is very good, it’s nice quality vapor and the performance overall is great. The vaporizers themselves aren’t super high quality or expensive, they’re both a little over $200 right now, but I think they’re a step in the right direction performance-wise.
With convection vapes one of the things that I think needs to be solved is the need to stir your herb during your session, between draws, to get even vaporization and to get the best and thickest vapor from it. I’m really looking forward to vapes that don’t require you to stir and aren’t conduction, because there are vapes now that don’t have to stir with like the Mighty, Crafty, PAX, IQ, etc… but they’re not pure convection. Models like the Firefly 2 and Boundless CFV are pure convection and you have to stir at least once every two draws or after each draw like I usually do, and this takes away from their portability.
Now as far as vape pens for wax, I feel like we should’ve been farther along by now. The atomizers that are coming in a lot of the pens now are pretty similar to what’s been out for years, with slight variations here and there. I think we’re gonna see a lot more companies headed in the right direction with this, as far as what materials are in the atomizers and the air path and stuff like that.
Another thing about wax pens that I’m not completely thrilled with is how you still pretty much have to use all of them vertcially or at a ~45° angle, you’re really not supposed to use any of them horizontally, and definitely not angled up because they’re not sealed chambers. When the wax heats up and gets all liquidy, if the pen isn’t angled down and gravity can’t hold your oil against the heating element on the bottom it’s gonna run up the walls, and a lot of pens have air holes inside the atomizers where it can leak into. God forbid you’re lying in bed and try using a pen upside-down the oil could run right out into your mouth.
I think that would be something really cool to see solved this year – wax pens that you can use in any direction. Just like liquid pens and oil pens how they come in cartridges that you can do whatever with and they don’t leak.
Desktop vaporizers… there really hasn’t been much going on in this category (on the high-end).
The ones that are at the top of my list still are the VapeXhale EVO, going on 2 years now, the Volcano which has been out for over a decade and is still #2 on my list, which is ridiculous, and the Plenty which is excellent still. Then there’s the Extreme-Q, E-Nano, etc as far as Tier 2 vapes that are still very good.
Now I wanted to touch on the Sublimator because I reviewed it about a year ago and I kinda gave it a mixed review. I said it was strong and that the performance was great, but then I said that I wanted my money back and made a stupid joke about it and said there was some other things I didn’t like about it. I’ve been using it here and there over the last year and lately I started using it a little more and I wanted to update my review, because I don’t think it was a waste of money anymore, I like it. I still think it needs the same improvements to the build quality and general fit and tightness of the parts, but the performance is in a league of its own.
I don’t have any other straight-desktop units in my queue to review, and you know what that’s a shame, that just hit me now. Desktop units are really good – the performance, the efficiency, and the vapor quality in my opinion is still a step above portable vapes. It would really be cool to see more desktops and more advancements in them.
So that pretty much wraps it up as far as what’s going on right now – the current State of Vape.
Lemme know how you feel about where things are headed and where you’d like to see them go, I’m interested!
Check out the video (~10 mins):