Which Smart Vape is for You?
Deciding Between the PAX 3, Firefly 2 & the DaVinci IQ
The current most popular portable vaporizers on the market right now are the PAX 3, Firefly 2 & the DaVinci IQ. All three on the leading edge of vaporizer technology, all three produce great quality vapor and all three are priced from the high $200s to the low $300 range. So which one do you choose ?
We are going to give you an in depth run down on which of these three portable vaporizers would best suit your needs by sharing some quick facts about each and then offering our opinion on how they fare in daily use. What we love what we hate and which is best suited for what kind of lifestyle.
|Specs||Davinci IQ||PAX 3||Firefly 2|
|Size (L x H x W)||1.65” x 4.25” x .95”||1.2” x 3.85” x .85||1.4” x 5.1” x 1”|
|Chamber Size||.4 grams||.3 grams||.15 grams|
|Construction||Ceramic Zirconia & Brushed Aluminum||Anondized Aluminum||Magnesium Alloy & Borosilicate Glass|
|App Integration (Bluetooth)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Temp (F)||350 - 430||360 - 420||340 - 500|
|Heat up Time||< 45 seconds||< 20 seconds||< 10 seconds|
|Battery||3500 MaH (removable)||3500 MaH (internal)||770 MaH (removable)|
|Materials||Herb||Herb & Concentrates||Herb & Concentrates|
|Charge time (min)||220||90||75|
|Warranty||10 year||10 year||2 year|
When choosing between the PAX 3, FIrefly 2 & the Davinci IQ the thing biggest variable to consider is yourself and what are your must haves or deal breakers. These are the top three portable vaporizers at the moment, if you are not too picky you can’t go wrong with either of them.
WHICH VAPORIZER DO YOU CHOOSE ?
Intuitive Design / Ease of Use
The PAX 3 wins for ease of use. It’s intuitive design make using it a breeze. You know where your herb goes, you know where you need to draw from and a simple press of the power button turns it on. With the PAX 3 the smart phone application is not essential to turn your device on or switch between temperatures. Granted if you don’t want the extra accessories or ability to take advantage of what the PAX 3 app has to offer, you should look at checking out the PAX 2.
#VAPEHACK , The PAX 2 will do concentrates with the PAX 3 concentrate cartridge
The Firefly 2
The Firefly 2 is designed like a pipe. You know exactly where the herb goes and you know exactly where to draw from. The unit only heats up when the buttons are pressed. On the surface the basics are easy. Where the Firefly 2 becomes a bit hard to use has to do with finding your ideal temperature setting , heat time ( how long you hold the temp buttons down ) and your draw. Another added level of complication to using the Firefly 2 is the smart phone app. Unlike the Davinci IQ and the PAX 3, the Firefly 2 requires the app to change between the different heating profiles.
The Davinci IQ
One cool thing DaVinci did was put a sticker on the back of the IQ which gives a instructions on how to get started out of the box. This really goes to show that they thought of the first time vaporizer user who would be opening this device up and wondering how to use it without reading any instructions.
The Davinici IQ comes with a recessed mouthpiece across the top and your herb chamber on the bottom. Both sides open up. Underneath the mouthpiece you will find the flavor chamber and battery – both removable. On the bottom is the herb chamber. What initially confuses some about the removable air path is if anything is supposed to go in it. The answer is no, but you can store herbs in there or use it as a flavor infuser, they will not get hot enough to vaporize any plant material.
Another thing I found problematic about the IQ was switching between the flat mouthpiece and the raised mouthpiece. The rubber which holds the mouthpiece in place will not always seat evenly and misplacing the rubber or the mouthpiece I assume could become an issue if every trying to change mouthpiece on the go.
Customizing your IQ’s vapor paths is yet another aspect which ads a level of difficulty to initial use. I shouldn’t complain about this at all as the amount of customizations offered by the IQ is without a doubt one of it’s greatest benefits the IQ offers.
The Firefly 2 really does it for the connoisseur and wins in the vapor quality realm. The on demand vapor capabilities, temperature profiles and convection heating bring out the best flavor and vapor texture in your herb and concentrates. While true dabbers will balk at the Firefly 2 being a viable option for concentrates , the option exists and it is a tasty option.
Another benefit to the Firefly 2 convection heating is that when the heat (power) is not being pressed, your herb is not being heated and you are conserving more throughout your session and the flavor integrity of your plants.
PAX 3 – The PAX 3 has good vapor quality which ranks near the top of all the portable herb vaporizers out there and like the Firefly 2, the PAX 3 lets you enjoy concentrates. Being that it maxes out at 420 degrees, the concentrates will be very mellow and I personally recommend mixing in some herb, which will also help for cleaning out the concentrates at the end of your session.
Being a conduction vaporizer the PAX 3 will continuously bake your herb during your session and towards the end of your sessions the initial flavor and texture will diminish. There are some accelerometer updates which make the PAX 3 better at heating when you draw and cooling down when you don’t and other settings in the app which you can use to better customize your vapor experience, but for me personally I find the vapor quality and flavor much like the PAX 2 – which is fine by me.
DaVinci IQ – The IQ has some of the best vapor for being a conduction vaporizer and many of the top critics have touted it as the best vapor quality for a conduction vaporizer. This has to do with the Zirconia mouthpiece, vapor path and the chamber pearl which deflects heat back into your herb allowing for a more even bake. Personally I love vaping at high temperatures and the IQ is great for this. Whereas other vaporizers at 400+ produce hot vapor with a burning flavor , the IQ gives me an easy texture and good clouds… and alot of them.
Out of the Three ( Firefly 2, PAX 3 and IQ) The IQ and the PAX 3 are the only ones I now put in my pocket and bring along with me. While the Firefly 2 has made some serious improvements in size and weight over the original, the short battery life, need to remove the top lid to fill the chamber, the charging cradle and the inability to change temperature without a smartphone all have presented issues for me when bringing it on the go (see our weekend with the Firefly 2 post)
The other issues I have come up against with the Firefly 2 on the go comes from dropping it. The outside of the Firefly 2 is as strong as it gets, being composed of magnesium alloy and the herb window of gorilla glass. Yet a 3 foot drop caused the inside borosilicate glass to crack. Thankfully for me this is purely cosmetic and I still enjoy my Firefly 2 almost daily. To be fair I haven’t dropped my PAX 3 or IQ yet =).
Side Note: one unfortunate issue which can occur with these new smart vapes is the software integration. It’s not the cosmetic damage you need to worry about but the internal damage to the advanced electronics inside.
Where the Firefly 2 wins in the portability realm is the on demand heating. With the IQ and PAX 3 if you want to take a few rips you are going to have to turn it on and turn it off. Being conduction vaporizers when you turn them off your plants will continue to heat. With the Firefly 2 , you press the buttons when you want to have a quick session and that’s it. When you let go the heat stops.
I love the DaVinci IQ on the go without the raised mouthpiece and really like the fact that I can replace the 18650 battery easily if it comes to that. Better yet if for any reason if I do need to charge the IQ when I’m at a buddies house I just need a micro USB cable and not a specific charging dock or cradle as I do with the PAX 3 or Firefly 2.
My biggest issues with the IQ on the go would be loading and unloading the chamber and the chamber depth. The DaVinci IQ has an angle shaped stainless steel area which feeds into the chamber, but when I pinch my herbs and put them in I almost certainly have some fall to the wayside. Getting a good pack also does require a packing tool, which does come with the IQ, but when mobile I like to be able to load and unload my herb chambers with no additional gadgets required.
Another big sell of the DaVinci IQ for me when mobile is the Boost mode. I can hold the power button down, the LED display shows a cool upward lighting pattern and the IQ heads to 430 as quickly as possible until I let go of the power button. Although the DaVinci IQ takes the longest to heat up , this feature is really awesome when you need a power up for one last quick strong draw.
The PAX 3 is my top pick of the group for overall portability. The obvious reason being that it is small, compact, lightweight and durable. Other reasons I like it for the portability are that it is nearly an all encompassing device. Meaning I don’t need to worry about a bunch of pieces falling off or getting lost. The mouthpiece and the oven lid are the only parts which can get misplaced and they tend to do a great job of staying put. With the ½ pack oven lid I don’t need much herb and with a 15 second heat up time the PAX 3 is ready to go when I am. I really value these features when out and about.
Both the IQ and the PAX 3 also do not require a smartphone to adjust between temperatures, allowing you more freedom and versatility with your device when in public.
Where the PAX 3 loses to the IQ on portability points comes with the IQs removable battery and ability to charge without needing a cradle. Like the Firefly 2 the PAX 3 requires it’s own charging dock and with an internal battery you can’t swap out batteries in a jiffy.
That being said I personally have found the PAX 3 to offer a more than sufficient battery life when taking it to a concert or on a hike.
One of the things I am liking the most with the newest vaporizers are their smart phone apps. For the most part the apps serve to adjust temperature , let you know battery life , track usage and give you instructions without needing a manual. These are all pretty simplistic features but being relatively new technology for vaporizers the whole concept is neat. Now for functionality you will need to use your app on the Firefly 2 to change temperature settings. I like to use my Firefly 2 at medium high and then finish off the night with some concentrates. This is pretty cut and dry and there is not much more to the Firefly 2 app, than the aforementioned above.
With the PAX 3 app you can adjust the temperature settings , pick a specific temperature, dim the LED lights or change their colors , play a few games or choose a pre customized vapor path – default , flavor, boost, efficiency, stealth. What PAX did here is pretty cool with the sensory technology in the device’s accelerometer itself. The PAX 3 will adjust heating patterns (heating and cooling) based on when you pull to when you put the device down. There are some other features which we go further in depth with on our PAX 3 review.
The DaVinici IQ takes the cake for the customization I can do with the app. I can customize and name four of my own “smart paths” as they are referred to. This allows you to set what temperature your vaporizer will be at throughout your session. You can adjust a sessions time from 2:27 to 10 minutes long and select where you want your IQ’s temperature to be at during that time. They come preset where they will gradually increase between a 20 degree range over 10 minutes, but you can customize them to be as crazy as you want. Once you set your smart paths you will be able to take your IQ out and about , switching between your smart paths and manual temperature modes.
My favorite part of using these vaporizers is cleaning. Not really, but I do like that cleaning is simple with each of them. The Firefly 2 has proven to be the easiest to clean, a swab of the chamber with an iso soaked Q tip and wipe down of the glass with an alcohol wipe does the trick. The mouthpiece is easily removed and the mouthpiece’s particle filter will clear up with a good blow on it.
The PAX 3 is cleaned the same way the PAX 2 would be cleaned. I like to remove the mouthpiece , oven lid and screen and throw them in some boiling water. I have found the PAX screens clean easier when boiled and quickly wiped down, over soaking them in ISO. Running a pipe cleaner with some ISO through your PAX vapor path will get out all the gunk and going through it again with a lightly wet pipe cleaner will remove the ISO flavor. I then hit the chamber with an iso q tip and go over it again with a dry q tip. If you turn your PAX 3 on when you wipe it out with a dry q tip it will greatly increase the amount of junk you get out and help burn the alcohol off.
A drawback about the PAX 3 having a concentrate cartridge is that concentrates will gunk up your device faster and concentrate resin is a bit harder to clean.
Being able to remove the flavor chamber on the IQ makes for an easier clean of the vapor pathway and the mouthpiece, flavor chamber and pearl being made of high grade zirconia permit a good scrubbing without having to worry about breaking (as is always an issue with glass parts) . Out of the three the IQ requires the most disassembly and elbow grease to make squeaky clean. Also the depth of the oven requires a good brush for a sufficient deep cleaning.
For all the vaporizers it is best to clean them every 10 sessions or so for best performance and do a deep clean every 25 sessions. This not only prevents permanent staining , but makes your devices perform better and enhances your vaporizer’s longevity.
So I’ve covered a few major facets you may consider when pulling the trigger on the PAX 3, Firefly 2 or DaVinci IQ. If you have any other questions or comments please shoot us an email or chat with us during business hours.
If you do want to try one or all three of these vaporizers, To the Cloud Vapor Store offers a 60 day trial period with each and lifetime trade ins for store credit.