The FlashVAPE: A Canadian-Made Portable Vaporizer
The FlashVAPE is a portable conduction style vaporizer that hit the market in late 2012 and retails for the affordable price of $129.
When I first read the reviews for the FlashVAPE on the FC forums, I was extremely excited to try it out. On paper, the FlashVAPE (FV) boasts a number of impressive stats such as a trademarked Direct-flow air intake that provides 100% clean vapor, 100% Ceramic Dura-core heated by a completely stainless steel element, anodized aluminum alloy body and stainless steel buttons, ability to be used with dry herb and solid concentrates, and a quick 3-4 second heat up time.
However, after receiving the product I realized that it is not at all what I had expected. We found that this vaporizer is a lot like the Magic Flight Launch Box in the way that it utilizes conduction vaporizing, but it sets itself apart with the quality of the raw materials and precision machining. Although the Direct-flow air intake does provide for a clean air path free of batteries or wiring, the vapor that is produced is far too hot and takes away from a lot of the flavors of your herbs. For that reason we would not recommend this product to anyone who values vapor quality.
While there are ways to be successful with this vaporizer in producing quality vapor, there are simply better ways to go about it. However, we have to give it to FlashVAPE for their price point and quality of manufacturing and materials. For $129 you get 1 FlashVAPE vaporizer, 1 Smart Quick Charger, 2 Glass Draw Tubes, 2 draw tube replacement seals, 1 cleaning brush, and a velvet carrying bag. The package also includes a 2-year warranty on the unit and a 90-day warranty on the batteries.
What is the FlashVAPE?
The product is rather large (about 7” tall) and looks exactly like a flashlight but without a functional light (which actually would’ve been a cool feature and could’ve helped this vaporizers stealthiness score).
When you hold the FV you can feel the quality of the manufacturing and the aluminum alloy casing feels durable. It has a rubber button on the bottom of the vape that serves as the main on/off switch and then you engage the heating element by pressing the stainless steel button on the side of the unit. Above the button on the side is a small green LED light that will t you when the heater is turned on.
The top is held on by a swivel cap that is sealed by two rubber o-rings when fit into place. This allows for easy removal and access to the bowl to refill or mix your herbs. The bowl is a 100% ceramic and is heated by a stainless steel element. When you look down the bowl you will see the stainless steel screen that lines the top of the 1” (or 2.5 cm diagonally) element. This is one of the positives of the FV. If you are going to have a conduction vaporizer, surface area is key to a nice even vape of your herbs.
A small glass tube (approximately 3”) is the delivery system for this vaporizer and is designed to be fit directly into the hole on the side of the cap. Over time the rubber fitting becomes worn and ours even tore off. This is the only part of the vaporizer we could see needing replacements for (deluxe set comes with 2 replacement rubber seals). Although this glass tube is fairly short, FV sells an extension whip attachment system with a mini bubbler in order to cool down the vapor a bit.
How The FlashVAPE Works
The FlashVAPE has only one setting and all you do to engage the heater is press and hold the button for five seconds; the temperature of your vapor depends on how long you hold the button for. You should begin to see vapor form through the glass top in the “vapor chamber” after about 2-3 seconds. After this starts to happen, begin to inhale very slowly for another few seconds and then release the button while continuing to inhale.
If you inhale the entire time, or too quickly after holding the button for 2-3 seconds, the FV will be less effective in producing vapor. Though you may achieve better tasting vapor this way, it will not be dense vapor or anything of substance. On the contrary, if you hold the button for too long your herb will combust. This can be avoided as long as you make sure not to hold the button for more than five seconds at a time. Additionally, you should not allow the batteries to overheat when you are using the unit. If you begin to feel the body getting hot, take a break and allow it to cool down before vaping again.
When you inhale through the glass tube the Direct-flow side vent technology ensures that no air passes over any components such as the battery, wiring or switches to provide you with a clean vaporizing experience. It is then passed through the stainless steel heat screens and over your herb. From there, it passes through an additional fine mesh stainless steel screen at the top of the bowl that provides another filter for anything caught in the vapor path. After collecting in the vapor chamber the vapor is sucked out the side of the cap through the glass tube when you inhale. There is literally zero resistance with the FV, it’s easier than drinking through a straw.
A half-packed bowl will last you about 10 inhales at 5-6 seconds each, and a fully charged battery should last for about 3-4 bowls before needing to be recharged. However, it is definitely evident when your battery is running low because it takes much longer to produce vapor.
Stage-2 Convection Add-On Kit
The unit is powered by a 3.2v Li-ion battery and comes with an option to upgrade to the Stage-2 3.7v batteries for use with the Convection Add-on kit. The add-on kit comes with a ceramic screen that is meant to be placed at the bottom of the bowl and then topped with a stainless steel screen in order to create some space in between the element and your herb (technically convection vaporizing).
The screen does make your vapor taste a bit better than normal, but doesn’t work unless you use the 3.7v batteries. The 3.2v batteries simply do not get hot until you hold the button down for about 8-10 seconds. However, when you use the Stage-2 batteries vapor is produced within 5-6 seconds.
My only problem with this is that it is not true convection vaporizing. I understand that heat rises, but the majority of the vaporizing that is going on here is caused by conduction. The only difference is that the ceramic insert is transferring the heat instead of stainless steel. This may have something to do with the minor improvement in taste when using the “convection” add-on kit. However, this add-on kit is not enough to make it worth purchasing because the vapor tastes the same for the most part.
How To Use The FlashVAPE
- Insert fully charged battery into the vaporizer (positive side first) and screw the bottom cap back on
- Remove the top by turning and pulling upwards to expose the bowl
- Fill the bowl with your finely ground herb or solid concentrate about halfway full (less for concentrates obviously)
- Press the main power button on the bottom of the unit one time to turn on. You will hear a click.
- Press and hold the button on the side of the unit so that the green light comes on. This is how you you will know the unit is on and the heater is engaged.
- After holding the button for 2-3 seconds, you should see vapor begin to form in the vapor chamber. Inhale for another 2-3 seconds very slowly while continuing to hold the button.
- Let go of the button and clear the vapor chamber.
- When you are ready for your next puff, give the FV a shake to redistribute your herbs and repeat the process.
Additional methods can be found at FlashVAPE.com to assist you in maximizing your vaporizing experience with the FV.
What We Like About The FlashVAPE
- Simple design and easy to use
- Affordable price: $129.99
- Easy to clean. Can be taken apart and dipped in isopropyl alcohol up to the base of the heating ceramic core, including the heating element.
- There is virtually no warm up time required, 2-3 seconds is all.
- Battery lasts longer than many portable vaporizers (especially those utilizing similar batteries)
- Made completely of safe and quality materials. All ceramic and stainless steel air path.
- Comes with a 2-year warranty on the unit and a 90-day warranty on the batteries.
- Ergonomic design makes the FV comfortable to hold.
- Discreet because of the flashlight appearance, could be mistaken.
- Works with dry herbs and solid concentrates
Some Complaints About The FlashVAPE
- Vapor quality is very inconsistent and too hot more often than not (even when using advanced techniques).
- Causes your mouth to dry out very quickly because of the hot vapor. Would not recommend for those with sensitive throats or lungs.
- You can reach combustion with this vaporizer. This can be avoided but is still an inconvenience.
- The learning curve can cause problems for new users (related to above point).
- Heavier and Larger than most portable vaporizers on the market (except the CERA).
- Although it’s portable, it does not fit in a pocket and you could not carry it around with you unless you put it in a purse or backpack.
- Bowl gets dirty quickly and tinges the taste. It is important to keep your ceramic cleanon the indide of the bowl for tasty vapor.
- The small glass tube is not the best delivery system. The unit should come with the longer hose attachment for free.
Our Final Thoughts About The FlashVAPE
It is apparent the team at FlashVAPE put a lot of care into making this vaporizer. It has a great ergonomic feel and the premium materials that were used really raises the bar for vaporizers in this price range (cough..MFLB). Although the taste of the vapor was not exactly up to par for us, it has everything to do with the temperature of the unit. If the team at FlashVAPE can figure out how to put some additional space in between the heating element and the herb, it would help remedy this problem.
QUICK NOTE: I unscrewed the top cap to expose the “vapor chamber” and put my herb on top of that screen instead of in the bowl underneath. It produced tastier vapor than when the herb was in the ceramic bowl because you are pulling the hot air over your herbs (convection) instead of frying them on a stainless steel heating element (conduction).
The FlashVAPE is a great choice for someone who is looking to purchase a portable vaporizer at an affordable price. The ability to vaporize herb and solid concentrates is another big selling point that sets the FV apart from similar units. However, if you are concerned with the discreteness and portability of your vaporizer, then we would have to suggest you go with the Magic Flight Launch Box. After all, the vapor quality is not much better in the FV aside from the air pathway being free of materials like plastic, wood, and cheap metals like the MFLB. For that reason, if you are concerned with healthier vapor and quality of manufacturing, the FlashVAPE is definitely a better choice.