- Released: December 2015
- Manufactured By: 7th Floor, LLC
- Manufactured In: Colorado
- Designed In: Colorado
- Dry Herb
The SideKick is the newest portable vaporizer manufactured by 7th Floor, LLC, a Colorado-based producer of highly customizable and durable vaporizers for the past 9 years. Known most for its unique “stir while you vape” functionality, the SideKick vaporizer allows you to maintain the same great vapor quality throughout your entire session by manually stirring the bowl in between draws — and with a little practice.
The American, hand-blown glass mouthpiece gives a touch of class to the SideKick vape. Inside the vaporizer you’ll find a unit that combines the use of a ceramic heating chamber (conduction) and a vortex cooling chamber. The vortex cooling chamber is essentially a detachable piece that can be chilled in the freezer in between sessions; it’s designed to cool down the vapor once its been heated by the oven and its something I haven’t seen many other vaporizer manufacturers offer.
What’s Included with the SideKick
- SideKick Portable Vaporizer with built-in stir mechanism and vortex cooler
- Hand-made Glass Mouthpiece
- 2 Sets of Rechargeable 18350 Batteries (with external charger, storage caps, and date stickers)
- 2 Cleaning Brushes with Alcohol Cleaning Pads
- Small Phillips Screwdriver
- Stainless Steel Marble Pick
- Small Bowl Tongs/Scoop
- Stainless Steel Oil Can
- Manual – Unfortunately, I did not get one in my package but the company assures me that it is included. You can also access it online here.
The underside of the top-cap houses a 20mm screen. Attached to the screen is a sturdy and durable stirring stick that drops 14mm into the bowl. The screen and stirring stick, both made of stainless steel, are held on with a single screw and can be controlled by rotating the gear on the top of the SideKick.
How to Use the SideKick Vaporizer
Despite its odd-looking design, at low temperatures (under heat setting 5), this is one of the best tasting portable vapes I’ve come across. I opted to use dry herb, although concentrates can be used as well. At the lower temperatures you can easily get 4-5 minutes of great tasting vapor, making the SideKick ideal for people who prefer extended vape sessions vs. quick one-hitters. Additionally, I found the SideKick great for enjoying the varying tastes of different strains — especially when vaping under 340 degrees.
(Hint: You hit the power button again once you select your desired temperature).
However, as it goes with most vaporizers, the higher temperature settings (above 6) come with some disadvantages. After just a few draws, I started to experience an unpleasant burnt-popcorn flavor, and the room smelled rank. To minimize these effects when vaporizing dry herb, you may want to consider starting at a low temperature and gradually working up to the higher temperatures (6 is the maximum heat setting I preferred). This technique also allows you to enjoy the full flavor of the herbs/concentrates at the beginning of your session, and then to experience more of the fuller, thicker clouds of vapor toward the end of your session (which by this time lacks most of the terpenoids anyways). With dry herb, I found that any of the additional settings above 6 were of no interest to me — they were simply too hot for pure vaporization.
Unfortunately, there is no idle mode, which made me feel like I had to rush to take the next draw as the bud continuously vapes every second the SideKick is turned on (even if you aren’t pulling air). This led to some really quick, stoney sessions that took less than ~3 minutes to produce euphoric effects. I guess you could shut it on and off between each draw, but I’d be concerned about wear and tear on the battery and it is tiring to have to wait for the unit to heat up each time you want to take a draw. One cool feature of the the SideKick vape is that it does shut off automatically after 7 minutes of nonuse — so don’t be too worried if you forgot to turn the unit off. To turn the SideKick on/off manually, all you have to do is hold the power button for 2 seconds.
The built-in stir tool has its advantages and disadvantages. There is no doubt that having the ability to mix around the herb enhanced the flavor, but stirring the herb chamber in between each and every draw was a bit too much for me. The stir tool got stuck from time to time, too. Switching directions and spinning the other way helps, but over time (coupled with the cog-design on the wheel), my thumb hurt — much like repeatedly lighting a lighter.
- The dual-use oven allows for both dry herbs and concentrates to be vaporized.
- The manual stir functionality on the top of the unit makes it easy to move your herbs around and get a more flavorful draw as you vape.
- Customize to your liking. The glass mouthpiece can easily be replaced with any glass utilizing similar stem sizes. It feels very classy compared to other handheld vaporizers that use a plastic, wooden, or ceramic mouthpiece.
- The vortex cooler extends the vapor pathway, acting as both a filter and cooler, as well as tightening the draw for thicker vapor. Pop this piece into the freezer in between sessions to make the vapor ice-cold.
- The vapor quality on the SideKick is really, really good when using low heat settings (under heat setting 5).
- The simple button design on the front of the SideKick vaporizer makes controlling the oven’s temperature a breeze. Simply tap up or down until you reach your desired heat setting and that’s it.
- The oven heats up to your desired temperature quickly (< 1 min) unlike some units that take much longer. If you use the unit on the ideal 2-5 settings, you will notice it only takes 10-15 seconds max to heat up. It’s only when you really ramp up the temperatures (which are much hotter than you need anyways) that you’ll experience a longer wait.
- There is a subtle and nifty vibration feature that notifies you when the oven has reached its desired temperature. It’s the small things that make the biggest differences…
- The digital control display provides the visual for 21 precise heat settings, battery life and run time.
The Not So Good
- The $300 price tag may be a little much for your wallet.
- Lacks portability, especially for extended daily use. Unlike other some other vaporizers that utilize a direct-charge (via USB), the SideKick requires a manual recharge. I found myself recharging the batteries before each use.
- The SideKick’s larger size and long glass mouth piece make it difficult to carry in a pocket or use stealthily in public. The company does provide a really nice hemp carrying case to take your SideKick on the go, so it’s not all bad news.
- Too many heat settings. Experimenting with all those settings to determine your sweet spot can be a downer.
- The design and functionality of the manual stir feature could use some fine-tuning.
- Maintenance is time consuming. The design of the cover / stir tool creates a mess practically every time the herb chamber is opened. This delays fill/re-fill time, unless of you course you don’t take the time to clean it up.
- Caution: Do not leave your glass mouthpiece in your SideKick unattended, as you will severely increase your chances of breaking said glass. The unit is relatively small and lightweight, which makes it a bit wobbly/top heavy with larger glass mouth pieces like the one they provided me with for the review. My SideKick tipped over when I was shifting papers around on my desk and it cracked the glass mouthpiece after the first week, so be mindful of this and use the provided case to save you time, heartache, and money.
The SideKick has lot of unique, nifty features — the vortex cooling chamber, customizable glass mouthpieces, and vibrating notification system to name a few. Its vapor quality is outstanding at low temperature settings and it’s a relatively simple vaporizer to use once you get the hang of it after 1-2 sessions. The SideKick also feels durable enough to drop off the roof of a fairly tall building without it breaking into a bunch of pieces (minus the glass mouthpiece of course) — please don’t throw your SideKick off a roof now — I’m sure that would void the warranty.
Having said that, if you are looking for a stealthy, easily portable vaporizer (especially in public settings), or have health conditions that limit your use of the fingers (especially the thumb), you may want to consider other portable vaporizers on the market. I was not disappointed with the SideKick. However, in my opinion, the overall design and functionality could use some improvement to better compete with some of the other portable vaporizers that have hit the market in 2016.
Ultimately, the SideKick may not be for everyone, but it certainly hits the mark for vaporists seeking chilled vapor from a classy, American-made portable vaporizer.