The Firefly Vaporizer
The Firefly is new to the market. It was released in December 2013 making it about 8 months since its release. So far there have been a lot of mixed opinions on this unit, so let’s break it down a little. The Firefly is a hybrid convection-conduction style vaporizer. It heats quickly with the touch of a button and cools down just as fast.
The Firefly vaporizer is considered one of the larger portable vaporizer on the market. Usually, when portable vaporizers are large, the battery life makes up for it like with the Ascent and the Solo. Unfortunately with the Firefly vaporizer that is not the case. Vaporizers are usually made up of 4 main components; the battery, the pc board, the heating chamber, and the vapor path. The battery takes up most of the device, it starts from the heating chamber to the mouth piece causing it to be extremely heavy. The Firefly vaporizer is one of the heaviest portables on the market today. So does all this battery room and weight translate into a tremendous battery life? No way. The Firefly website says a full charge will get you 50 inhales, depending on how you use it, from my experience firefly works much better when you pre-heat it but this greatly reduces the amount of inhales you can get on a full charge. This means you will have to buy their $30 replaceable batteries to carry around with you in-order to finish a bowl. So a vaporizer costing $270 will also run you $30 per extra batter, plus a $30 external charger to keep that battery charged. With constant use and charging cycles, the batteries will degrade rendering them useless forcing you to purchase more. Fortunately the Firefly produces great vapor so they will make a lot of money on batteries. I tried chatting with customer service about battery degradation and they immediately recommended me a new battery. It is no secret that replaceable batteries are meant to fail, just like light bulbs but you will need to take that into consideration when you purchase the Firefly.
Of all the vaporizers we’ve reviewed, surprisingly, the Firefly vaporizer is extremely easy to operate and functions very well. Simply make sure your battery is charged, open the magnetic cover, take your herbs and lightly fill the chamber. It is a convection vaporizer, if it is too packed you may not get as good of results but play around with it and find out what works best for you. After your herbs are loaded, replace the magnetic cover, turn the power switch to on, hit the button and count to at least 5 then begin inhaling. You should see the chamber begin to glow a bright orange indicating that it is heating. Use the heating button, like a carb on a pipe,when you begin to feel the vapor in your lungs release the button to clear the vapor out. If you do not do this, there might be vapor accumulated in the vapor path that will become stale and ruin the taste of your next hit.
For the best possible vapor production, there is a bit of a learning curve with this vaporizer. You have to nail a technique down that works for you. I personally like holding the heating button down for several seconds before beginning my draw. I also like to release the heating button, and then push it again to keep it hot longer. The heater will automatically shut off after about 30 seconds. I release it and reengage it just to be sure that it won’t shut off on me without me realizing it. Do this 4-6 times then stir and repeat. The load isn’t that big so after one cycle like that you should be done. If you are anything like myself, you’ll have to repeat that several times and your battery will die mid way through your second or third session.
There are two types of vaporizers, conduction and convection. This is a hybrid convection and conduction vaporizer that has a high grade alloy heating element underneath, but not directly touching the ceramic bowl. Convection works by vaporizing the herbs and running hot air through them, not making direct contact with a heat source. There are pros and cons to both. The pro is that your herbs are not being “cooked” AS MUCH when you are not inhaling. The bowl does get hot and retain a thermal mass, which will make your herbs warm. A lot of people think just because it is not glowing red anymore that it is not hot, well it is. The other downside is there is no way to measure the temperature of the hot air in the center of the herbs. Being that the firefly has no temperature control,other than what they refer to as “vapor surfing”, this provides you with a guessing game of what temperature you’re at. If you need specific compounds that are released at certain temperatures, or if you want to experience different sterpines or flavanoids it is not possible with the firefly. It’s all or nothing.
The vaporizers reviewed in our blog are mostly based on first-hand experience. You are hearing straight from enthusiasts that are using it on a daily basis. It is noteworthy to mention that the Firefly vaporizer functions swimmingly. With the ceramic bowl and instant heating it makes it very convenient to take a quick hit and put it away. The biggest issues I have with it, is the battery life and the temperature control. With the progression of vaporizing and the ongoing discoveries of cannabinoids with their effects on the body and how we can release them, the Firefly did not do a good job. It seems as if they almost took a step back in technology. The Solo already offers convection style vaporizing, but with some temperature control and a glass mouthpiece, and has been out for years! So why make one with no temperature control and a plastic mouth piece in this constantly progressing market? Personally, I think the Firefly vaporizer was beat by its predecessors before it was even released.