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hydrology9nx review

Hydrology 9NX Review | A True Dual Use Herb & Extract Vaporizer

The Hydrology 9NX Vaporizer is the second edition of Cloudious 9’s flagship vaporizer – the Hydrology 9. The Hydrology 9NX was beta released in March 2021. At first it was a tad confusing with Cloudious9 brainstorming how to release the device given it has two separate external cartridges – one for herb and one for extracts. The original only vaped herb and did this without an external cartridge via the herb chamber on the bottom of the device. Cloudious9’s dilemma was how to release the vaporizer for those who may only want to do herb but not concentrate or vice versa. The initial release was the 9NX unit which came with a concentrate cartridge and the option to buy an herb cartridge for extra. This however put those who may only want to use the 9NX as an herb vape at a disadvantage.

Hydrology 9NX Beta release
Initial Hydrology 9NX Beta release

Then the news of the PACT act hit. The uncertainty and gray area surrounding how and what could be shipped with what carrier to which locations took some time to hash through and the production and release of the new Cloudious 9 Vaporizer hung in limbo for some time. This in a sense stifled the release of the Hydrology 9NX Vaporizer and with Cloudious9 navigating the release and the ins and outs of how this affected their distribution channels along with how to package it they began selling it themselves on their website.  

Fast forward to now and the decision was made to include both cartridges – herb and extracts in one single package. When we received our Hydrology 9NX to review, I thought “wow for a 7 inch device this thing sure has a giant and heavy package, it looks expensive to ship”

Price

The Hydrology 9NX is $250, which is a solid price given in includes both herb chamber and a concentrate chambers. Even if you are only going to vape herb, the function and vapor quality is a tad better than the original Hydrology 9 which is $50 cheaper at $199. 

Making this even nicer was the fact the Hydrology 9NX was slated to be released at $300 if you wanted both herb and concentrate chambers. So while inflation is making everything more expensive, vaporizers seem to be coming down in price.

Packaging

Hydrology 9NX packaging

Unboxing the 9NX is a tad overwhelming for the vapor newbie, hell this one was a tad overwhelming for myself and I was a frequent user of the original Hydrology 9. Everything comes nicely laid with nothing special or spectacular about the packaging. You will want to save it for reselling or storing your vaporizer if you ever do go on hiatus from vaping, but expect to have your Hydrology 9NX permanently out on the coffee table or bedside, especially given the unit is water filled and filling and discarding then putting away after every session would be a huge pain. For those looking for a sleeker way to store Cloudious9 offers the Hyrdrology9 Case, however this is better suited for the original as with the 9NX you are still going to have to put the cartridges somewhere. 

Design

Hydrology 9NX parts

The vaporizer itself looks like a piece of lab equipment and keeps with the same design as the original Hydrology 9. One of its neater features is the multi-colored LED lights. Cloudious9 was one of the first to get into this which has become the industry standard providing a fun vibrant appeal that you now find on everything from the Puffco Peak Pro to the Arizer XQ2. 

The Hydrology 9NX comes in three main parts. The device itself is the cylinder tube which you draw from. The body is made of space grade anodized aluminum alloy and borosilicate glass. The mouthpiece screws off intuitively with ease so the device can be filled with water. It would be nice if Cloudious added a fill line. It is important to never overfill these water chambers on the e-rigs. Generally a less is more approach suffices. Think of it like salt or sugar in a recipe. You can always add more if need be. On the Hydrology 9NX mainframe you will find the main power button and the temperature gage on the bottom which you twist to change temperature. 

The flower chamber is made of the same alloy exterior as the body with magnets on the side for easier placement into the unit. The herb chamber also utilizes the same ceramic material found on the original Hydrology 9. The new herb chamber on the Hydrology 9NX however uses hybrid convection and conduction heating. The same kind Cloudious 9 outfit their budget herb vape the Atomic 9 with. Alot of companies are claiming this dual heating and the Hydrology 9NX does appear to be more on the conduction side. 

The top of the flower chamber has a screw off cap, which I wish was magnetic as little herb particles get stuck and pressed down into the grooves making it harder to clean. Also being magnetic would make it harder to lose. If you lose the top, you are out of luck for vaping any herb. 

The herb chamber also has two removable silicone grommets in the vapor path and Cloudious9 includes extras with both herb and concentrate chambers. 

The concentrate chamber is of the same material and design with two removable buckets – quartz and ceramic. The buckets are secured in place via a magnetic top and heat from the heating element on the bottom.

Besides the extra silicone vapor path replacement pieces, both chambers come with aluminum alloy magnetic mouthpiece covers, the concentrate chamber with a basic glass carb cap on top.

The charger is a proprietary magnetic snap on connection which uses a Micro USB cord to charge. This is the same type of magnetic charger the PAX 3 utilizes for reference. It is a tad confusing why they just didn’t build the charger into the base of the unit, but I also am not a product development engineer. Another unfortunate aspect of the magnetic snap on charger is if you lose it you will not be able to charge your Hydrology 9NX Vaporizer. 

Along with the main components you get a cleaning brush, dab tool, silicone heat protection sleeve, vapor path replacement parts and directions. 

Hydrology 9NX Dimensions

Dimensions 7 " x 1.7" (in.)
Weight 1.1 (lb.)

Heating

The Hydrology 9NX heats with dual convection / conduction heating for herb. Bottom direct contact heating for the quartz and ceramic bucket. Cloudious9 claims the concentrate buckets as well provide convection,but this is kind of a stretch.  Arizer has made similar claims with their portable line up as there is a stand off distance provided by the glass barrier, but I would argue this is certainly more conduction on the concentrate chamber.

  • The herb chamber heats up to the highest setting of 455°F  in one minute.  
  • The concentrate chamber will reach 770°F in 27 seconds

The Hydrology 9NX comes with 6 temperature settings for both the concentrate and herb cartridge. This is represented by the corresponding colors below. 

Hydrology 9NX Insert Concentrate Atomizer  Flower Chamber 
Blue  554 °F 356°F
Green  590°F 383°F
Yellow  626°F 401°F
Purple  662°F 419°F
Red 716°F 437°F
White  770 °F 455°F

Multi Use | Concentrate or Herb

As if we haven’t said it 20 times by now in our Hydrology 9NX review, it does both herb and concentrates. And not in the way the Davinci IQ2 comes with some cotton pads and a stone claiming it can do concentrates or how the Carta V2 has an herb atomizer which can be purchased making it a “dual use” vaporizer. The Davinci IQ2 is designed for herb and is awful for concentrates, as the Focus Carta is a concentrate vaporizer which will do a subpar job vaping herb. 

The Hydrology 9NX on the other hand does herb and concentrates splendidly. This is certainly the fact it has two separate chambers and heating elements for the respective material (herb or concentrates) whereas many herb vaporizers come with a liquid pad and say “hey look it can do both”. In theory yes the Dr. Dabber Switch can vape herb (even though it ends up combusting) and the Firefly 2+ can vape wax, but it won’t heat up hot enough, will kill the battery and will clog up your device. In theory my microwave can cook a steak, but I am probably going to opt for the grill. Use your concentrate vaporizers for dabs and your herb vaporizers for flower. 

Going back to the 9NX it’s design and water filtered chamber make it amazing for both. I had low expectations for the concentrate capability and wow did it surprise me how well it worked. I assumed because the original Hydrology 9 was an herb vaporizer, that the second generation model’s function as an e-rig would be nominal. This is really a huge selling point for the Hydrology 9NX and if you vape both herb and extracts this is a must have vaporizer. 

Chamber Capacity

Hydrology 9NX chambers

The chamber capacity for the herb cartridge is rather small.  You could fit about .2-.25 grams. Being narrow it vapes the herb more evenly which is nice. The original Hydrology 9 had a similar long narrow chamber too. However I feel it was deeper. Ironically being this size does make it ideal for micro dosing as you can get 1-2 good consistent draws with the chamber half packed. 

The quartz and ceramic buckets are huge. Chamber capacity is not much an issue for doing dabs and if you want the best flavor and to not make a mess you are best loading rice grain sized amounts per session. 

Sessions & Using the Hydrology 9NX

using the Cloudious 9NX

Unscrew the mouthpiece and fill with water roughly ⅕ to ¼ the way. Gripping with your forefinger and thumb is a good tool to measure, do not fill past that. Screw the mouthpiece back on, load your selected cartridge and slide into the lower portion of the unit. The cartridges have arrows to let you know which way it goes in. You power the 9NX on by pressing the power button three times. Once powered on the LEDs will pulse as the unit begins to heat to whatever temperature you have selected. You can adjust the temperature with the dial on the bottom of the device. When ready the pulsing lights will change to a solid green and you inhale. After it reaches temperature, The Hydrology 9NX will automatically shut down after 120 seconds for herb and 45 seconds for concentrates, however if you want to end your session earlier you can press the power button another three times. As with all other e-rigs it is important to clean out the concentrate buckets with a q-tip after each session. 

In a way I did enjoy the fact the 9NX powers down after 2 minutes. I called the original Hydrology 9 the water pipe vaporizer and this shutdown feature makes it  feel alot like passing around the water pipe and loading up snaps in college. Everyone gets their session and then you pass it to the next buddy. Also to be noted is it can easily be powered on again and will not skip a beat if you want to keep your session going past two minutes. 

Vapor Quality

On a fully loaded herb chamber you really do not get many hits, about 6 total with  the first 4 quality, the last two are so so. I am also noticing smoother & more consistent  vapor even on the 455°F temperature setting than I recall having on the Hydrology 9, so the adjustments in regards to the heating element from the original to the 9NX must have done something right and there must be more convection to the heating element than I am giving Cloudious9 credit for.  

The concentrate vapor quality was also quite surprising.The Quartz bucket gave me an initial hit that was on par with the Ispire Daab,  which I have found to be one of the best electric rigs for flavor and terps. The second hit was pretty bad and I think using the Quartz bucket on a higher setting was the culprit. For concentrates the Hydrology 9NX is not half bad. Is it the Puffco Peak Pro or Daab ? Certainly not, but it was still of high quality. 

For both concentrates and herbs the vapor quality is very smooth and pretty tasty for getting filtered. The water filtration and mouthpiece design also allow one to draw for extended periods of time with little effort for larger hits. 

I would not say the Hydrology 9NX has the best vapor quality for herb or concentrates, but probably the best vaporizer for the combination of the two. 

Battery Life and Charging

The battery is 1900 mAh lithium polymer battery (safe cell phone grade). It is internal, but easily accessible so you don’t might not need to be an engineer or electrician to swap it out like you would on the Mighty+. That being said, if you mess up this will void your warranty, so just make sure you know what you are doing 😉

The unit charges with a magnetic attachment which snaps on to the side charging pins and then plugs into a micro USB. 

The Hydrology 9NX has one of the slowest charging times of over 4 hours. Cloudious 9 stated this was by design to not degrade the battery as much over time as fast charging does. This is one of the reasons the Crafty+ battery goes south so fast. 

With these long charge vaporizers you are rewarded with long battery life. The Hydrology 9NX can do between 75 -120 sessions on a single charge depending on temperature setting. I was not able to independently verify, but after 20 sessions the battery life was still in the green. 

To check the battery life, hold the main power button down for 3 seconds. Red battery is less than 25% battery, Yellow is between 25%-70% percent battery, and Green is 70%-100% battery.

The unit does not offer pass through charging, this will also degrade the battery. Your best bet is to charge overnight and then you will be good for a few days. The automatic session timer and the fact the Hydrology 9NX will not turn on without a cartridge inserted really does preserve the battery life. 

Cleaning

The herb chamber screw lid does make the herb chamber get dirty rather fast and concentrates will really gunk the unit up especially if you input larger sized dabs which splash into the water filtration area. Cleaning the unit is essential to longevity and here it is a bit of a process to clean. While not hard, it is just more involved than other vapes. The Hydrology 9NX comes with alot of moving parts. Cloudious9 does include spare silicone pieces for the mouthpiece and cartridges. These along with the glass on the unit are dishwasher safe. The quartz and ceramic buckets can be tossed in isopropyl while the herb chamber will need to get brushed out and then hit with an iso q-tip. Thankfully the directions explain in great detail the do’s and do nots  of cleaning the Hydrology 9NX as well as disassembly instructions.

Hydrology 9NX Review Final Thoughts

Hydrology 9NX vaporizer review

The Hydrology 9NX sure vapes like an improvement over the original just on its herb quality alone. Add in the fact it does extracts to boot and does them pretty darn good and this is as well rounded and quality a vaporizer that you will find for $250. 

I will say the original had its fair share of haters who found it a novelty and way too complicated a device for a simple vape session. And they are not wrong, it’s not for everyone and is not very versatile.  I personally was a fan of the original as I liked the way it vaped, much like using a glass water pipe. I also liked the colored lights which are pretty commonplace now on many other vaporizers.  

It is pretty much an at home vaporizer. Packing this thing even to bring over to a friend’s house would be a  hassle and then needing to fill with water, bust out your cartridge and other pieces… 

There is a decent amount of set up to it and alot of moving parts. Unfortunately proprietary parts that if are lost you will need to buy new ones from Cloudious.

However if you want the best of both world’s and have a designated place on the nightstand or coffee table, the Hydrology 9NX will serve you well. It is also a fun unit to pass around with friends and the design makes it a conversation starter. While it’s long battery life, easy to fire up capability and good vapor quality make it a great solo vaporizer for a night cap as well. 

When customers ask us what vaporizer is best for herb and concentrates we always say, just get a good primary one for herb and a cheap secondary one for concentrates or vice versa if they are mainly doing extracts (but do want the option for flower from time to time). The Hydrology 9NX really is the exception to that rule, this thing does herb and extracts equally well while providing smooth and tasty vapor at the same time. 

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