Time to set that dab torch aside and behold the future of consuming cannabis concentrates! At least that's what Puffco, the Los Angeles-based portable vaporizer manufacturer, wants you to believe — and for good reason.
Puffco released the Peak, an electronic smart rig, in January 2018. It was a major departure from the pen-style vaporizers, such as the Puffco Pro 2 and Puffco Plus, it had developed prior to its flagship device.
While vape pens provide users with a convenient and discreet way to consume concentrates, dab rigs have perks such as water filtration and, in the eyes of many concentrate connoisseurs, a more fulfilling dabbing experience. This, however, is a vaporization device that is designed to offer both.
What is Puffco Peak?
Dubbed as a “Smart Rig,” the Puffco Peak is a portable electronic vaporizer that is engineered for cannabis concentrate consumers who wish to forgo the messy and time-consuming parts of the dabbing process, such as firing up a blowtorch and waiting for your nail to start blushing red. There's a single button on the base of the device used to control the power and temperature settings, making the dabbing process fairly simple.
The Peak's technology is supposed to automatically adjust the heat and timing to provide the perfect hit, in what the company's website calls this "intelligent temperature calibration" and "haptic feedback." Additionally, the LED light band lets you know the heat cycles and battery level.
There are two different ways to load it with concentrate. You can preheat the device with the concentrate already loaded into the chamber. Or, for a more traditional dabbing experience, wait until the vaporizer reaches the right temperature before dropping a dab from the dab tool.
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“We've called it a smart rig and other stuff, but really it's a no learning curve, no stigma way of dabbing,” Puffco CEO Roger Volodarsky said in an interview on the Weed + Grub podcast released on March 25, 2019. “No torch, no nail. It's going to get it to the perfect temperature every time. It's easy to share, easy for any person to use.”
There's a lot to unpack from the compact box, but the main components consist of the base, glass attachment, atomizer, ceramic bowl, as well as an atomizer cover and carb cap. It also comes with a loading tool, cleaning swabs, carrying case, tether, and an extra ceramic bowl and carb cap.
From the perspective of consumption, the borosilicate glass attachment is filled with water to filter the byproduct of the concentrate, leaving the consumer with a clean hit to inhale. Utilizing LED light and vibration, it notifies you when it's heated up and ready to use.
The Puffco Peak also offers a unique feature that enhances the social aspect of dabbing. Sesh Mode increases the temperature and extends the functionality by 15 seconds, allowing users to take multiple hits or pass around the circle to friends.
How Do You Use the Puffco Peak?
If you've decided to take your dabbing methodology into the digital age with the Puffco Peak, it can feel intimidating to use a high-tech, lava lamp-shaped vaporizer to get high (remember the terms "intelligent temperature calibration" and "haptic feedback"? But, really, this device is designed to simplify and improve the efficacy of concentrate consumption.
Instead of filling up a blowtorch with butane, the first preliminary steps to using this smart rig is more akin to how you'd set up a new smartphone.
- Before any concentrates can be consumed, the base of the device has to be fully charged.
- The white LED light on the base will stop pulsating once the charging process is complete.
- The battery takes about two hours to fully charge, and lasts long enough for the user to consume up to 30 dabs.
- To set up the Puffco Peak, take the glass attachment and fill the chamber up with water until the water level slightly rises above the air holes.
- Keep the lower section of the glass attachment dry, as this is the part that will be inserted into the base.
- When mounting the glass piece into the base, ensure that the inlet fold on the front of the attachment is aligned with the atomizer.
- Lock the components into place by pressing down on the device's single button for three seconds.
Once the Puffco Peak is locked, it's finally time to get loaded.
- There are four different temperature settings that can be toggled by clicking the button on the base of the device.
- Depending on the size of your dab, you can select between blue (450 degrees Fahrenheit, or 232 degrees Celsius), green (500 degrees °Fahrenheit, or 260 degrees Celsius), red (550 degrees °Fahrenheit, or 288 degrees Celsius), and white (600 degrees °Fahrenheit, or 316 degrees Celsius).
- The larger the dab of concentrate, the hotter you'll want the chamber to be.
Experienced dabbers should be familiar with the final few steps, which involve loading the concentrate into the bowl.
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With an old-school dab rig, you have to rotate the tool around the red-hot nail to ensure that every last bit of wax or shatter gets consumed. With the Puffco Peak, on the other hand, the process is a bit easier.
- The Puffco Peak comes with a loading tool. Use this to scoop up your desired dab size
- Place it into the vaporizer's heated chamber.
- Simply drop the concentrate at the bottom surface of the bowl.
- To extend the battery life, Puffco suggests powering down the Peak immediately after use, which can be done by simply holding down the button.
You can also load the dab first and then start preheating the device.
Place the carb cap over the atomizer and double-click the base's button to start the heating process, which takes an average of 20 seconds.
- When the Puffco Peak starts to vibrate and the light flashes three times, gently take a hit from the top of the device and enjoy a flavorful, clean hit of concentrate.
Keeping Your Puffco Peak Clean
- The quickest and easiest way to clean the Puffco Peak immediately after use is to insert a cotton swab inside of the bowl to absorb the leftover concentrate material.
But as with every beloved piece of glass paraphernalia, there comes a time when a deep cleaning will be needed in order to restore the Puffco Peak to a pristine state.
- Similar to the method you might use to clean a bong, fill a container with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol and submerge the glass attachment in the solution for an hour. This will free up the sticky material leftover from past dab sessions. For a quicker method, you can pour the isopropyl directly into the glass attachment and give it a forceful shake.
- If the sticky leftover residue isn't coming out of the bowl with a simple swipe of a cotton swab, heat up the device to liquify the leftover concentrate. This will make it easier to clean out.
- When cleaning the atomizer, unscrew it and submerge it into isopropyl alcohol, leaving it soaking overnight. Note: Because this cleaning solution is highly flammable, it's critical that the atomizer is completely dry before putting the Puffco Peak back into action.
- Only remove the bowl from its jacket if you must, as doing so increases the risk of breaking the atomizer. If you must remove it, place it on a flat surface and gently unscrew the heating element from the bowl. Note: Do not use a cotton swab to clean the atomizer, as this will likely cause it to break.
- To clean the base of the Puffco Peak, dip a cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol and use it to remove the leftover residue. From inside the base, you'll be able to clean hard to reach areas, such as the atomizer well and the airpath.
- Puffco also recommends using the swab to clean the gold connection pins on the base and atomizer.
Is a Puffco Peak worth it?
The Puffco Peak may look sleek, friendly and approachable, but this rig is not necessarily right for everyone. Entry-level cannabis users might not think they're primed for such a high-tech device, let alone to consume highly potent THC concentrates.
With all the tech included in the device, it begs the question: how much is the Puffco Peak? At $379.99, the device isn't cheap, though compared to heady and scientific glass pieces, the price isn't too hard to swallow. Plus, you get free shipping on orders in the United States.
On the other hand, OG dab heads could be reluctant to set aside their old habits and replace their beloved torch and glass rig with a more futuristic alternative. So, then who is the ideal candidate for a device like this?
In reality, both novice and expert cannabis consumers could potentially benefit from having the Puffco Peak in their collection of cannabis paraphernalia. It's designed to make the dabbing experience more approachable for all, accessible to beginners unfamiliar with the world of concentrates, while also giving experienced users the same overall dabbing experience without the timely preparation.
“One of the reasons why it was so important for me to release the Puffco Peak was if we could remove the stigma of a learning curve, and make it something that's approachable and all your left with is the experience itself of dabbing,” Volodarsky said in his interview on the Weed + Grub podcast.
All in all, it has also been lauded by many in the cannabis community for offering a clean and convenient way to consume cannabis concentrates. But there have also been some alleged issues with the device which are worth mentioning.
One common complaint about the Puffco Peak is the tendency of some devices to malfunction. A common question you're going to see in forums is "how long do Puffco Peak Atomizers last?" This is due to reported issues with the vaporizers' battery units and atomizers, which have created a blemish, which has materialized into a class action lawsuit in Arizona. It's important to note that further investments might be required in the future to repair certain parts.
While a newly purchased Peak comes with a one-year warranty, this warranty reportedly doesn't cover the “glass, atomizers, normal wear and tear, or damage caused by accident or abuse.” Another point of criticism raised by some users is the difficulty they've had getting in touch with Puffco's customer support team.
But such difficulties can be expected with first-generation devices like the Puffco Peak (remember the first iPhone?). For those who are willing to take care of the device, are tech-savvy and have patience, and want to take their dabbing experience to a different level, the Puffco Peak is a piece of hardware worth checking out.