Hey guys, it’s Sneaky Pete here, and today I want to talk about butane-powered vaporizers. Butane vaporizers come in a wide variety of styles and formats, but the one thing they all have in common is their heating method, a butane torch. Some of them focus on flavour, while others are geared towards power, but all of them offer a very satisfying experience with more of an analogue and ritualistic style of operation than most other types of vaporizers.
I use butane vaporizers a lot, they’re definitely among my most used devices. To the uninitiated, butane vaporizers may seem a little hardcore and intimidating to get into, but I assure you they’re not that different from electricity based devices. So join me as I demystify and talk about some of my favourite butane vapes.
Let’s start with the king of the castle, the most well-known butane vaporizer on the market, the DynaVap. There is a reason that the DynaVap has become a fixture in so many people's collections - it does a tremendously good job and they start at a very affordable price. There are several different DynaVap models, starting with the entry-level M, going all the way up to the high-end titanium OmniVap, but they all operate in a similar fashion, and you can get a really enjoyable experience with even the most inexpensive model.
The DynaVap is a tubular device that consists of a tip constructed from metal and a body usually made from metal or glass. You load the herb into the tip, and then place the temperature indicating cap over the tip. To use it, aim your butane torch at the cap while rolling the entire device back and forth between your fingers to evenly distribute the heat and eliminate any hotspots. Once you hear the cap make a click, stop heating either right away or at least very soon after, then go ahead and inhale.
The intensity of the vapour can be controlled by where you aim your lighter at the cap. If you aim lower on the cap it will produce an intense hit, higher on the tip will make it click faster and give you a less intense, but more flavourful hit. Heat-up time will vary based on the strength of your torch and whether it has a single flame or more. Essentially, the sooner it clicks, the less intense and more flavourful your hit will be, a slower heat-up means more heat will be transferred to the oven, leading to the more intense hit. Another way you can control the vapour intensity is by adjusting the air to vapour ratio. Any complete DynaVap unit that you buy will have the means to alter the fresh air to vapour ratio with an airport hole. If you want an intense hit, keep your finger over the airport while you inhale, so you get only pure vapour, if you want a less intense hit, leave your finger off of the airport to mix fresh air in with the vapour to cool it down.
DynaVap’s have a relatively small oven size that can be made even smaller by moving the CCD to the half-bowl position. Even though you don’t load much flower in there, it’s capable of thick hits that can milk up a water pipe. This is a great device to convert a smoker because the experience is fairly similar to lighting a joint, and the thick hits can give people the throat feel that they desire.
DynaVap vaporizers have so many advantages, it’s not hard to see why they’re so popular, they heat up really quickly, as long as you don’t damage the cap they are pretty much bulletproof, and there’s a huge third party community with a wide variety of glass stems, artistic stems, and accessories to customise your experience. With the DynaVap M starting at CA$98, I really think there should be a DynaVap in everybody’s vape kit.
The Vapman is an amazing, tiny microdoser that is perfect for the flavour enthusiast. It’s been around since the mid 2000’s, it was designed in Switzerland and is currently being handmade in Italy. The engine of the Vapman is the gold-plated copper heating chamber which boasts incredible heat transference. Inside the heating chamber there’s a centre pin which helps to evenly distribute heat throughout the entire bowl, and the opposite side of the heating chamber also comes to a point, which is where you direct the butane torch. On the outside of the heating chamber there are three brass air intakes which mix convection air injection into the conduction heating of the bowl.
The Vapman is available in the Pure or the Classic model. The difference between them being that the Pure model is made completely from wood, while the Classic model adds a thin layer of formica to prevent the wood from oxidizing over time. Aside from that small difference, both models function the same. After you fill the chamber, put the middle piece on and twist it into place, heat the chamber with your butane torch in a series of three second on and off cycles, then inhale that incredibly flavourful vapour.
Compared to some butane vaporizers, I find the Vapman has a very easy learning curve, and as long as you heat it as instructed you’re unlikely to combust. The package includes comprehensive instructions that help newbies figure it out quickly. It is possible to get fake hits, but I think it’s designed as a zipper not a ripper. It’s the perfect seshing device, as you can have extended and flavourful sessions that are absolutely magnificent.
When you buy the Vapman it comes with everything you need, including a filling funnel which is super handy, and a butane torch with an appropriate size and strength of flame. When you first pick the Vapman up it will make you smile, as it’s difficult to comprehend quite how tiny it is until you get it in your hand. It’s very efficient as it comes, but can be improved even further by adding the concentrate and microdosing sieve. You can get a variety of optional mouthpieces, the Vapman package that we sell has the titanium mouthpiece, but I also really like the extended glass mouthpiece which adds a little bit of cooling while retaining the amazing flavour.
The Vapman is perfect for anyone who enjoys artisan butane vaporizers and appreciates the ritual of the vaping experience. I find the process very enjoyable and fulfilling with this device, and it’s one of the few that I have no desire to run through water.
The Sticky Brick comes in a wide variety of models designed for everything from portability, to a full-size desktop set up, to a direct to water pipe unit. The entire lineup is made in America from a variety of beautiful wood options. Each of the models operates on the same principle, a screened section which you load flower into, and a wooden section that goes on top to seal the bowl and hold the glass flame intake. You aim your torch into the flame intake to heat it up, and the Sticky Brick pumps out full convection vapour in a literal on-demand fashion. If you’re after a heavy hitter or a vape that you don’t need to wait around for it to heat up and can be hit at any time, a Sticky Brick could be a perfect choice for you.
The Flip Brick model is the smallest and most inexpensive in their lineup. It uses a clever flipping action with a rotating segment on the bowl to load up and use in a water pipe. My favourite model, the Runt, is composed of three segments - the intake segment, the bowl segment, and the main body segment which holds the mouthpiece. All Sticky Brick vaporizers are held together with magnets, and are high-quality products with some beautiful wood grains. You can also use a number of their models through water, which I would definitely recommend as it delivers a very strong, tasty, and super smooth experience.
In any Sticky Brick Labs device, you can use the optional restrictor disc which makes operation much easier for a newbie by reducing the intensity of the flame to all but eliminate chances of combustion. If you combust with a restrictor disc in place, you are either using a torch which is way too powerful, or you are placing your torch too deeply into the device.
One of the reasons Sticky Brick Labs hit so hard is the full convection vaporization, which is always going to produce the strongest vapour you can get. The other reason is the massive size of the hits, if you are coming from combustion or just appreciate a real throat kick, Sticky Bricks will satisfy even the biggest cloud chaser. They are also very efficient. The bowl can easily be stirred in between hits, and if you do that, especially while using a restrictor disc, you can enjoy multiple hits from a single bowl, with the flavour carrying over quite well between the first few. If you’re after the biggest hits possible, take the restrictor disc out and learn how to optimise your flame technique.
The Vestratto Anvil is a new entry in the vaporizer market that is just starting to get out to a wider audience, if you check out the thread on FuckCombustion.com you’ll see that quite a few people have their hands on one now. It has a massive amount of potential and is one of the heaviest hitters I have ever used.
Like the DynaVap it’s tubular, metal, and indicates temperature with a click, but the Anvil has a lot more differences than similarities. The entire Anvil oven is built around the copper core concept. This features a thin membrane of copper between layers of stainless steel, copper has incredible heat distribution properties which gives the Anvil some real advantages. The first and most obvious difference is you don’t have to rotate the Anvil while heating, as the copper will transfer the heat throughout the entire oven. The second major difference is the thermal battery, which is calibrated to store as much heat as possible and redistribute it to the oven throughout use, to keep it at a consistent temperature.
The Anvil is incredibly well calibrated and will deliver an identical hit every time, as long as you heat it in the same place. The lower that you heat it, the more heat is going to be stored and therefore the bigger hit you will get. If you heat it directly on the thermal battery, you will reach the absolute maximum limit of vaporization, right before it turns to combustion. It takes a while to heat up because you’re heat soaking quite a lot of metal, but the herb remains isolated from the outside walls, so it’s not going to roast while you’re heating. The snap disk which indicates that you’ve reached temperature sits directly over the herb chamber, to help let you know exactly when the herb is at the proper temperature.
It’s designed for use with a 14mm female water pipe and the rotation-free operation makes this a breeze. You just simply point your torch at it while it’s in the water pipe, rather than needing to heat it up and then place it in your water piece like a DynaVap. You can certainly use it dry, but if you do, I wouldn’t recommend heating it low on the oven because the vapour will be quite hot. When used through a water pipe though, go ahead and heat it really low on the oven to absolutely white wall your pipe.
Because it delivers so much stored heat to the material so quickly, I find the effects of the Anvil are absolutely staggering. After a huge and thick hit, the material is often only a dark green or even a light brown, it does a fantastic job of thoroughly and evenly vaporizing the flower without overdoing it.
Hopefully the Anvil will be available to a wider audience soon, I believe Vestratto are holding off on any more sales until they have a good inventory built up, so if you are interested, I would recommend getting in line and trying to hop on it early when they’re next available.
The ELEV8R is a very interesting butane vaporizer because it’s made completely from glass. Well, the tip is made from quartz, and they do sell a version with a metal screen in it, but usually it’s completely glass. It doesn’t have any sort of temperature indication by way of a click or anything visual, so with this one you go totally by your feel and experience. The only thing heating your flower is the hot quartz tip, and it won’t start heating up your flower until you start inhaling to extract all of the available terps.
The first thing you need is to make sure you have the right torch; a small one that you would use for a DynaVap is just not going to be enough heat for the ELEV8R, while a full on propane plumbers torch would be way too much. I would recommend using a small dab torch, anything you can find on Amazon called a crème brûlée torch is usually perfect. Then you need to do some timed heating cycles. Set your timer for 30 seconds and heat the quartz tip with your torch, then see if that was enough and increase or decrease the duration as necessary.
Once you have it dialled in, the ELEV8R gives you full convection vapour that is powered by the residual stored heat in the quartz tip. The vapour is incredibly tasty, the air path is very pure in whichever version you choose, and you can use it either dry with a wand or J hook, or with the bowl directly in a 14mm water pipe. The quartz tip is secured to the bowl with a clip, and as long as you have it hooked up correctly it is incredibly secure. You can actually stir this one without having to take the tip off, simply giving it a gentle shake will stir the material around, which I would recommend doing for the best efficiency and flavour.
You can also use the ELEV8R with either dry herb or concentrate by way of the flavour disk. It works really well for concentrate, and you can even fill the bowl with dry herb while the flavour disc is in there with concentrate to get some double decker action going. The effects are different when you combine the substances, so it’s definitely worth giving it a try.
Since the quartz tip can hold heat for a long time, you should be careful when using it with the wand, make sure you set it down with the kickstand in a safe place, but if it’s sitting in a water pipe then as long as you don’t try to reload it too soon you will be fine. For someone who is craving super tasty and strong pure convection vapour that comes from a pure air path, you won’t find too many other options that fit the bill like the ELEV8R does.