Vaporization has easily become one of the most popular non-combustion methods of cannabis consumption for both medical patients and recreational users. The herbalAire Elite is a unique multipurpose vaporizer made by a Canadian company based in Alberta. herbalAire has been in existence for around 10 years and is one of the oldest vaporizer companies on the market. In addition to being around from conception of this popular method of consuming herbal essences, they remain one of the most customer focused companies. If you contact them you will get an informed response that will answer all your questions or concerns. They are the only company that I am aware of that offers a money back guarantee on their vaporizers. If you are not satisfied with the product, you have 30 days for a hassle free refund if you bought the unit directly from their website. This is an enormous advantage when compared to other manufacturers and is the first layer of many attesting to the performance capabilities of this unit.
The safety of the unit is also very important. The entire air pathway is isolated from any electronics, wiring or soldering so you can rest assured you are getting a medical grade air path. This is important for medical users like myself who use cannabis to manage various symptoms as you can't be using a vaporizer that is harmful to your health. There are horror stories of many other units on the market where the air path passes over the solder and electronic components. This is assuredly a safe and effective device manufactured to the highest of standards. I have been using one for 9 years and can safely say my health has only but improved since using this unit. The herbalAire also uses Teflon fittings which are highly heat resistant. The temperatures the unit reaches are far within the limits for Teflon.
The herbalAire has a reputation for being durable. There are videos on the internet showing the manufacturer demonstrating the unit's durability by dropping it and throwing it against the ground and showing how it still functions. There is also another video from a Treating Yourself Expo where they are banging it off the table and throwing it against the floor and it still functions just perfectly. The unit also comes with a 3 year warranty to further the manufacturer's guarantee of durability. And with such a customer focused company like herbalAire you can rest assured your concerns will be taken care of.
The herbalAire Elite is an upgraded version of the herbalAire H2.2 as well as their newest device to hit the market. The Elite features a modified crucible insertion system, digital temperature control with an adjustable automatic pump timer and the ability to directly adapt to 14mm/18mm glass connections. It also offers a new slip ring bag assembly that makes assembling new bags a breeze and keeps them looking sharp. This makes this a quad-function vaporizer as you have the bag system, direct draw, whip and the ability to adapt it to glass without any additional attachments. The previous model of the herbalAire was quite popular with the TonG (Teflon on Glass) accessory. This model eliminates the need for an additional accessory by integrating the glass adaptability right into the mouthpiece.
The external design is quite similar to the previous model with the same external shell and pump. What is particularly different with this model is the high end electronics including digital temperature display and operation as well as the integration of the pump switch into the main unit. You also no longer need two electrical outlets free as it only plugs into one and the pump now plugs into the main unit for power. The new electronics integrate a pump timer so you can preset it to fill and shut off at any time you choose. This is great as it allows you, with the push of one button on the unit, to have the pump turn on, fill the bag and shut off at just the perfect time with no human intervention. This convenience can help ensure you never pop a bag again. It still has an air connection from the pump to the herbalAire like the previous versions did, but this is purposeful as when you use the device with your glass or for direct draw, you wouldn't want the pump attached as it would make its use cumbersome. However, you can use the pump when connected to your glass or the whip for some assistance. This is also helpful for patients with more fragile conditions as they may not have the strength to pull very hard.
The default pump time with one of the manufacturer's vapour bags as a standard size would require about 1 min and 40 seconds to fill. This can be sped up with the High Output Kit which is available for the unit and can fill bags in as little as 20 seconds. I personally use the High Output kit for my herbalAire Elite as it comes with an air choke/throttle that you can adjust to change the speed at which it fills bags. It lets you adjust the fill time to anywhere from about 30 seconds to a few minutes. I like the pump to be set anywhere from 1 min - 1 min 20 seconds depending on the potency of the material. This really gives you the versatility as if you have some bud without a high resin content, it usually leads to less dense vapors, but you can now slow the pump down to increase the density. You can also do the same thing with very potent buds that make too dense of vapour (yes, this is possible with the herbalAire) by speeding up the pump to help thin out the vapour. This can also be done by adjusting the temperature as well, up if you want more dense vapour and down if you want less density.
The unit features a 3 and 5 bag fill system accessory that allows you to fill 3 or 5 bags at the same time. The utility of these makes for an enjoyable experience among a crowd. Everyone can have their own bag and sip at their own pace. Additionally, for medical patients where hygiene is of great concern there would be no need to share the bags as each patient would have their own. You also get to experience the full flavour of the extraction in each of those bags where typically it begins to fade after each consecutive fill. This ensures everyone gets to taste from the first bag to the last. You can even use the multiple bag mouthpieces with the whip on top and bags on the sides so without even detaching the bags you can just pull from them through the whip (see pictures). I saw this in one of the manufacturer's videos and thought it was a great idea, they referred to it as a reservoir.
The modified crucible insertion system consists of a new mouthpiece, which is the topper for the chamber as well, that snaps into the crucible for easy loading and unloading. For those who aren't familiar with the previous model, the crucible is a hollow cylindrical object with a screen in the bottom that is meant for loading with herb. You can see it pictured individually as well as attached to the mouthpiece. This modified system is very convenient for unloading a hot unit as when you pull off the mouthpiece the scorching hot crucible comes with it. There is even a nifty "jacket" which houses the crucible and mouthpiece and can also be used to just snap off the hot crucible by just inserting the crucible and gently pushing the mouthpiece to the side. The jacket is made out of the same heat resistant materials as the mouthpiece so you can be assured it safely handles the temperatures of the contents, which also cools very rapidly. The new mouthpiece feels robust and well designed and as mentioned earlier, also functions as a glass adapter to adapt directly to 14mm/18mm female connections. YouTube has many videos out there of people "vapour bong-ing" with their units.
The electronics function very intuitively. The new interface is excellent and easy to operate. It powers on with the main power button by holding it down for a second or two. You are greeted with the word Elite on the digital display and then it defaults to the last temperature you have it at. This is excellent because if you have a set favourite vaporizing temperature it will always remember it. Once the initial set temperature is displayed it shows you the actual temperature of the heating element which usually starts around 87 F or so for me. It takes about 2 minutes to heat up to temperature and has to be one of the fastest heating vaporizers on the market. The display also shows the pump's fill time below which can be easily changed depending on your needs and this is also kept in memory so you don't have to adjust it each time. Overall, the functionality and programming of the electronics are top-notch. Logical and easy to operate.
The efficiency is where the herbalAire really shines. It is the only vaporizer on the market that allows you to use unground herb. This allows you to experience the fullest flavour your herbs have to offer. Grinding up the herb damages the trichomes which contain the THC and other cannabinoids and also exposes the more sensitive terpenes and flavonoids to early degradation. I also believe that once you grind the material you are also tearing into the plants cellular walls and exposing the starches, waxes and other compounds of the plant material which can sully the flavour. I have never tasted a more pure vapour than what the herbalAire can produce. This is also markedly the best example of why this device outperforms any other unit on the market. For example, the Volcano requires you to grind up the material very fine before loading it. You can't pack it down however or the extraction will be extremely inefficient. You have to leave it loosely packed. This is true for almost all vaporizers on the market. The trouble I find with this comes down to inconsistency as if you don't pack it perfectly each time, you won't get the same experience time after time. The herbalAire eliminates the issue of consistency as no matter how you load it, tight or loose, whole buds or ground herb, it will extract everything completely. It is the only espresso mode vaporizer on the market allowing you to pack it completely full, compressed with herb and it can pull an incredible 25 dense bags of vapour. You also don't ever have to stir the contents which is another sign of an ineffective extraction engine. If your vaporizer instructs you to grind your material or stir it mid-session then you don't have anything nearly as efficient as the herbalAire.
The previous model, herbalAire H2.2, had the ability to insert the crucible upside down and push the screen down to hold the herb right at the bottom of the chamber so it is in direct contact and closest to the heat source and entry point. This allowed me to pull cloudy bags, from very little material, that on the first bag would make even the most experienced vaporizer enthusiasts choke and ask for water. This versatility in the H2.2 made it a truly amazing unit that could blow any other vaporizer on this planet out of the water when it came to vapour cloud production. Also, this was done all at 350-360F, depending on material. This can be done in the Elite, but a little differently as the crucible has to go in right side up. What I would recommend is the push the screen from the bottom of the crucible midway up the shaft and leave it there. When you load your herb, load the bottom end of the crucible. As the manufacturer states, you don't need to grind the material so you can really just shove it in the bottom and try to pack it down evenly and tightly. Make sure you cover as much of the surface area of the screen to ensure the air will be forced evenly through the load (if you leave a gap, air travels the path of least resistance), so you want to almost plug up the airway. You then load the crucible as per the manufacturer's instructions and get ready for the magic to unfold before your eyes. One thing to remember, is you don't need to loosely pack it or grind the material at all. You can grind the material if you like and this will produce a cloudier first bag, but then the load gets spent really fast and the flavour gets muddled and disappears much quicker. The unit is amazingly efficient that no matter how tight you pack it, you will always get even vaporization throughout the whole piece. This is incredible to see and experience as you never feel like you are wasting material, ever!
For amounts larger than 0.5g, you can just throw the whole bud in the chamber and forget about loading it any special way. I find as long as the piece is secure inside the chamber it allows the air to consistently pass through it and a piece like a 0.5 is often big enough to lodge itself securely inside the crucible. For smaller amounts, like 0.10-0.15 follow the instructions above.
Overall the Elite is essentially the Cadillac of the herbalAire lineup. It offers high end vaporization and electronics as well as the proven technology and reliability from a company that first launched their original product in 2004. It is a fraction of the price of some of the most expensive units on the market and performs much better. You can get the equivalent functionality with their entry level unit, the herbalAire H2.2, but if you have the funds and would like to go a little higher end, you are getting more functionality, higher end electronics and the latest device that herbalAire Ltd has released on the market. From a medical user's perspective, this is the only vaporizer you will ever need!