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High Surface Area 18mm On-Demand Vape Comparison

Discussion in 'Ask FC' started by ZC, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. ZC

    ZC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    871
    Alright, these are my favorite kind of vapes and I want to compare the pros and cons of each. This is not a place for fanboy nonsense, just a comparison of the function and feel of the products themselves.

    The Zion: This is the "original" I suppose. It's got a ton of power, and it's a big wooden brick. I get great results from the Zi but it isn't my favorite of these vapes for a few reasons. For one, I find the knob to be kind of useless. Maybe my unit runs cool but I never turn the knob, I keep it turned all the way up at all times. I also find it's easy to overpower the heater, so I tend to feather or partially cover the air inlet. I don't have to do this on any of my other vapes in this category.

    The fit and finish is pretty damn good. The magnetic cap and battery door are well made and satisfying to remove/replace.

    I use this one in the same vein as a "desktop replacement" laptop. That is to say it's not something I carry around with my everywhere but if I'm going to a friends place or camping and I want a desktop experience this is the one I'll take.

    The Milaana: This was my favorite for a long time, and for good reason. It's dead simple well built, and Performs like a champ. No feathering of the intake necessary. It's small, comfortable, and cool-looking. I do not particularly like the "guitar pick" method for battery safety, but it works well enough.

    The Splinter: I got to admit, I'm not a fan of the 510 form factor at all. My splinter broke after 2 hits and Ryan has agreed to fix/replace it but I haven't had the time to send it back. That said, it worked fantastically for those two hits. The 510 connector is better quality than the one used in the IH, but the wood was fastened to the metal with some sort of adhesive which I believe is why it failed.

    The Insta-Heat 510: On the surface it's similar to the splinter but there are key differences. The 510 connector I'm sorry to say just doesn't feel as well made, it doesn't thread as smoothly and I'm concerned about long term wear if I were to constantly switch what it's on. But the unit is fit to the 510 connectors O-rings, so the wood slides on and off if needed for service and it will never fail in the same fashion that the splinter did.

    The Insta-Heat Plug-In: I find this one to be noticeably more powerful than the others on this list. I keep it at just above 50% power. It still uses a 510 connection but has a base unit that plugs into a power supply. The 10A PSU is quite large. This is my go-to desktop solution because it provides all the benefits and power of these other heaters with a tiny form factor and no need to hassle with batteries. It's probably the most versatile on the list because you can take the 510 heater off and use it with a box mod if you wish.

    The Lil' Bud: Similar in form factor to the Milaana. Uses the same spiral heater and all-wood, no glass heater design as the Insta-Heat. It has a magnetic battery door and a little tab for battery cut-off. I definitely like the battery door a lot more than the thumbscrew/copper plate on the Mi, but unsure on how I feel about the cutoff tab. Seems like it could easily get lost. Also not a fan of the shape of the battery door. It's got squared off edges that dig into your palm, vs. the fully rounded side of the Milaana in you palm when in use.


    Heater differences between RBT's Heater and Alan's Spiral Heater:
    RBT's heater is a mesh folded in a Christmas tree shape with a mica plate down the middle to insulate it. The sides of the mesh may touch the glass insert, which is glued to the wood at the top rim. This top rim is cool to the touch even after abuse, so the glue isn't a safety/health issue.

    Alan's Spiral heater is a mesh spiral that is held up on two poles. There is no glass insert and the spiral doesn't touch the wooden sides of the heater cavity at any point. The wood is tapered to a 18mm glass connection so it works with all the same stems and accessories as RBT heaters or any other 18mm glass vape product.

    This has two effects. One is that heat up AND cool down times are faster. Less mass to heat up. Because of this you don't "ride the wave" quite as much, since the heater isn't holding onto all that heat.

    In practice this means a slight variation on how much you hold the button on subsequent hits

    With the spiral if you hold the button for too long you'll get a "hot spiral" where with the RBT products if you hold it for too long you get a hotspot. It's a minor difference honestly and with proper technique you shouldn't be seeing hot spots or hot spirals with either device.

    If you tap on the side of a vape with the spiral heater you can hear and feel a bit of "springiness" as the heater warps slightly and then returns to form. Kinda fun, but has no effect on functionality.

    TL;DR

    The short version is that all of these vapes are well made and produce great vapor. They all have design and form factor differences that make them each unique.

    I use my Zion for camping/friends houses, my LB or Mi as the stealthy on the go/movie theater vape and the IH as my home vape. I haven't found a good fit in my life for the 510 versions, but they might be the right fit for someone else.

    Missing: What other vapes belong in this category? The Mistvape Touch? What else am I missing? How do they compare to the vapes listed above? What are your experiences with these vapes?
     
    lazylathe, seaofgreens, btka and 8 others like this.
  2. VaporWare

    VaporWare Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    342
    You’re missing one of the nicest looking vaporizers in existence: The Nomad.

    It’s been in development for a couple of years, but the first 25 shipped Monday so we should have reports from users in the next few days at least!

    There’s plenty of info on the heater in the Nomad thread, but if you want the latest version look more toward the end of the thread. It went through a bit of modification fairly recently, but it’s not dramatically different from what it was. It is different from either of the designs you talked about though, while being overall a similar concept.

    They’re also replaceable cartridges, so right now there’s a low-medium heat option, and a medium-high, but @Dan Morrison (the creator) wants to make more heater options in the future.
     
  3. ZC

    ZC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    871
    The Nomad was definitely a consideration for this thread, I figured I'd just wait till they started hitting peoples homes so we know more about it. It's an exciting one though, I'm waiting for mine in the second batch!
     
  4. KeroZen

    KeroZen Chronic vapaholic

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    Nice thread @ZC!

    But you forgot to mention the difference that the heater glass sleeve around RBT heaters makes compared to the IH and LB which have none.

    While RBT vapes are less efficient from a thermodynamics point of view, as the glass mass definitely robs heat out of the system (while at the same time providing some kind of smoothing out that is part of the "riding the wave" experience, like a low-pass filter if you will, and contributing to it in a nice way), from a purist/connoisseur perspective, it removes a good deal of the (hot) wood from the air path.

    I still do find that my iHeat has a distinct woody taste, especially near the end of the session when the shell has accumulated much heat and where I tend to either raise the temperature or draw harder to finish the bowl.

    Of course those knowing me will see that I'm again nitpicking: the taste of all these devices being brilliant clearly.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
  5. sickmanfraud

    sickmanfraud Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,539
    IMHO you are missing the "best" on demand convection contender, The Tubo Evic.

    The Tubo is not only high surface on-demand, it can be used in used manually and in an "auto" mode that @funkyjunky calls "cruise" mode.

    Tubo makes great vapes.
     
  6. btka

    btka Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,017
    so the vapor of the splinter is cooler then IH510?

    In general I find High Surface Area 18mm On-Demand Vapes a little bit harsh when used native (I used a milaana and IH510... do not know why maybe because of 18mm or the heating element which have to be really hot (in and for a short time) to heat the air for vaporization... did not have this problems with my HI, e-nano log...(fpsh))... I think the difference is in the heating mass...

    @ZC do you experienced differences in vapor harshness (hotness) of the vapes you mentioned above....
     
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  7. KeroZen

    KeroZen Chronic vapaholic

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    I don't think the internal glass sleeve affects the vapor temperature you get, only the vape efficiency (and taste according to my own experience) But on the other hand, I feel a clear difference between a glass stem and a wood stem: the glass one robs heat away from the vapor (at the cost of more condensation and thus reclaim) as it has a higher thermal conductivity coefficient and yields a cooler vapor.

    The most important factor is the stem length. I find both the Milaana and iHeat to be really borderline in that regard. You can easily get the "sucking a hair drier" effect with such short vapor paths. Cooling units and other gizmos in other devices really do have a positive effect. And throughout the forum I noticed a clear correlation between the subjective taste quality and the amount of vapor cooling: it clearly seems that cooler vapor is almost universally reported as being more tasty (cooler not in terms of extraction temperature, but in terms of what happens to it after it's generated)

    But you would be surprised how just a few centimeters in stem length can make a difference. The problem is: we can't use ridiculously long stems on our portables because it just looks silly and out of place, on top of being impractical for transport and stealth etc...

    PS: but yes overall it's an issue with convection vapes, you need to move a lot of hot air around to extract and it's less comfortable than conduction ones usually, where you can gently sip like a cig without having to perform a direct-to-lungs inhalation...
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
  8. Hippie Dickie

    Hippie Dickie The Herbal Cube Manufacturer

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    where the Cube rules!
    also, a volume increase cools the vapor nicely ... such as, going from the 11 mm vial in the heater into a 18mm dia x 150mm long stem, which is a noticeable improvement over a 14mm dia x 100mm stem, so maybe wider rather than longer. it is also very satisfying to see the bigger tube fill up with vapor.
     
  9. KeroZen

    KeroZen Chronic vapaholic

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    ZC and lazylathe like this.
  10. ZC

    ZC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    871
    I find that my iheat doesn't have a woody taste, but my Lil' Bud does. I wonder if wood species has anything to do with it. The RBT vapes definitely still have hot wood in the air path. The Mi and Zi more than the Splinter, but as you said, all the vapes taste fantastic and the differences are subtle.

    Tubo seems to be a great addition to this thread, I have no experience with it but perhaps someone who does could chime in with more comparisons. It's very different from the others since it uses quite a unique heater design and it has custom firmware with temp control as well as the standard wattage mode.

    As for the differences in heat efficiency and heater mass, at the end of the day for me they all can achieve the same results, from the tastiest, wispy hits to lung-busters and everything in between. The difference between models is simply how long/often you hold the button and how early/late you draw.

    I feel that the nomad will have an advantage in this "long airpath" aspect because the heater is so low on the unit and the stem actually goes down a great deal into the body. It's able to have a longer airpath than say, a short stem Mi without being as tall with the stems inserted.
     
    KeroZen likes this.
  11. wall

    wall Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    205
    So I have both a evic and a Milanna and my only real dislike is how open draw is, maybe I'm just weird but I like restriction, I'm on the list for a modpod and they will have a way to adjust draw restriction which will be nice, I'm also on the list for a splinter and hope it wont be as open but thats just my 2 cents, maybe I'll look into ways to restrict the evo and milanna and report back
     
    KeroZen and ZC like this.
  12. PPN

    PPN Fleurs&Vapeur

    Messages:
    3,478
    MVT is 14mm so I suppose it to be off-topic...
    but
    this is the reason I like a lot the MVT, draw restriction !

    About the IHeat 510 version I have to say it's a very good unit in term of performances but you have to find your sweet spot which depends the people, some guys like to use it as low as 25w and others run it at 40w, personnaly I'm using 28-30w. The TC issues seems to come from the 510 connector but I'm not sure it's cause the one of the IHeat or the one of the mod box since I get issues with others attys too (especially the QQ&DT dry herb atty), always when paired with my Evic mini. I have to terst them with another box... but my Movkin Disguiser is outdated, the TC feature it offers doesn't works well and the mod which comes with the Dabstorm 2.0 (rebrand from an Atmos i....?) offers a Joule mode I have problems to master... it's time for new mod I think...
    Sure but it appears, sometime and for some guys like our friend @Vitolo , there is some like for a short vaporpath to get hot vapor ... sometrime I appreciate that too cause it remind a sort of smoking feeling but, all in all, I still prefer a smooth and cool vapor (but I hate to hit a cold vaporbag from my HerbalAire) and have to agree a bit more volume or length is nice to get smoother vapor!

    A last thought about the 18mm surface area, I had the Herborizer Ti which uses a 18mm heat injector on top of a 18mm femal bowl. Bowl comes in 2 versions to connect it to a 14mm or 18mm joint and there was a huge difference in performance cause the 14mm was slightly restricted and helps to keep t° as high as you set it.
     
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  13. Gray Area

    Gray Area Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    753
    I have two of them and they're fantastic vapes. My favourite device ever (to date). :nod:

    It's not really designed for wattage mode, the brains of the device is a joytech evic mini, with custom firmware that essentially lets you choose from regulated on demand use, or more like a session vape with cruise mode (which is like having the button pressed constantly for a set period of time). There's warm-up, battery eco settings and temp stepping you can tweak on top of that too of course, but that's just the tweaking and added cool extras... makes the Tubo very adaptable to different usage requirements.

    The heater is an female 18mm to female 18mm glass joint with a screen set in the middle. Top half is for the stem and the lower half houses the heater, which is three boro tubes (maybe an inch long - ish) set vertically in a sort of triangle configuration, each containing a ss coil. Air path consists of glass, ss coils and ss screen.
    I'd post some pics but I'm on my phone on the train currently so you'll have to check the Tubo thread for pics as I imagine you're utterly confused with my attempt to explain how the heater works. It is simple, and very effective. The coils heat the glass tubes as well as the air passing through them and the whole thing works great.

    You can sip at it or take huge rips at it, it'll do both fine. Seems to like a good pull slightly better than the sips. Very open draw, little to no restriction.
    I have a PA for one of mine too, which is fantastic for on demand, essentially like a full battery charge on every hit.

    I don't have any of the other models listed (although am on the list for both a splinter and an iHeat when my name comes up), so can't compare performance I'm afraid.

    I'm sure @funkyjunky or @Padriano will chime in if I've omitted anything, or got anything wrong :D
    :peace:
     
  14. wall

    wall Well-Known Member

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  15. PPN

    PPN Fleurs&Vapeur

    Messages:
    3,478
    Not a lot but just enough for my enjoyment!
     
  16. wall

    wall Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    205
    Hmm might have to look into it
     
    PPN likes this.
  17. Hippie Dickie

    Hippie Dickie The Herbal Cube Manufacturer

    Messages:
    2,561
    Location:
    where the Cube rules!
    i made this calculation for my Bud Toaster vape back in 2015 when the topic first came up ...

    Surface area of the heater tube exposed to the air flow = 1552 mm^2
    Volume of air being heated = 842 mm^3

    So, Surface Area to Volume is 1.84 ... i can't remember: did RBT ever state his ratio? i know it was high.
     
  18. little maggie

    little maggie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,184
    Thanks for the comparisons. I don't have my iHeat or Nomad yet. I use the Splinter and Tubo the most right now. The tubo is easiest for me because the software is already set up and ready to go. The firmware gets updated periodically by FJ to improve its functioning. With the Splinter I've had to fool around and try to find the settings that work best.
     

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