The Da Buddha is a whip vaporizer that is manufactured by the US-based company 7th Floor. It was released to the market in 2008 and has a solid fan base. In this review we look at the most important aspects for a non-portable vaporizer.
Da Buddha looks nice and minimal, with no unnecessary decorations or frills. The body is made from metal, with a sandblast textured finish. There are 2 color options – black or natural (silver). The base is made from black plastic. On the front of the unit is a small ‘Buddha’ graphic. It is nothing special, but isn’t ugly either. The logo sits just above the silver metal heat dial. The wand and the mouthpiece are made from clear glass (the wand is the part that is filled with herbs, and attaches to the unit). Da Buddha comes in a padded fabric bag, which is a very nice addition. It is ideal for transporting or storing the unit. These bags come in a variety of colors, such as red, black, grey. Also included in the package is a stirring pick, which is made from metal with a glass bead on the end for holding. This is a useful addition, and is a handy thing for any stoner to have around.
The unit is a nice size, not too big, not too small. I have the feeling it could have been built smaller, but this would sacrifice some stability. Since it is designed to sit on a table, rather than picked up, I think the size and weight is ideal. It doesn’t look like a obvious cannabis-product, especially with the tube/wand removed, so it could be considered stealthy. If it was sitting on a shelf, it’s pretty unnoticeable (although someone might still question what it was, since it doesn’t look like any other household product)
Vapor & Taste
Da Buddha produces great quality vapor. The temperature controller means the user can dial up the heat to their desired setting. Some users like the lighter, low temperature vapor, while others prefer the more smoky vapor from high temps. While Da Buddha doesn’t really make huge clouds, it is definitely not lacking in the vapor production department. The heating element is ceramic, almost the same as a ceramic soldering iron. There is a glass shell around the heating element, which attaches to the wand. I would have assumed the air intake was on the bottom of the unit, but this is not the case. The glass shell has a hole at the back for air intake – this means the hot air is not passing through any metal or plastic parts before it hits the herb. Up until the vapor enters the tube, the air pathway can be considered all glass (apart from the ceramic heating element itself). The tube is made from flexible food-grade plastic, so is tested and approved.
The first couple of uses, I noticed a faint ‘new plastic’ taste, but this disappeared quickly. I think this is pretty normal for any vaporiser that has some non-glass parts, not a big issue.
The temperature control means you can dial up the heat to get the most out of your herb. On the highest setting, Da Buddha gets very hot, and can make the herb almost black. I haven’t tested whether the herb can actually burns to the point of glowing red, but I think it quite possible. The user will need to keep this in mind. It is rare that someone would need to use the hottest setting, unless they are using alternative herbs with higher boiling points. Users aiming for maximum efficient will want to stir their herb every few hits, as Da Buddha does not heat the herb completely evenly. The hottest spot is in the centre of the bowl, closest to the heating element. This spot will turn brown first. Stirring is not totally necessary, but will make sure you are extracting the herb nice and evenly. If you have a good supply of herb, or like myself you are saving the material for other uses (eg. cooking, extracts), the stirring is not needed, and just interrupts the enjoyment of the vapor session. Personally I’d rather load a fresh bowl than spend time messing around just for an extra 1 or 2 hits.
Ease of use
When Da Buddha is new, all you have to do is attach the mouthpiece and wand to the tube. These glass pieces just slide on to the plastic tube, which is very easy. Once the unit is plugged in and switched on, you load your herb into the wand, attach the wand to the main unit, and you’re good to go. You just put your mouth on the mouthpiece and inhale – this draws warm air over the herb and down the tube. It is extremely easy to use, and can be operated handsfree if you don’t mind holding the glass mouthpiece between your lips, which quite handy for video games! Otherwise, you just need one hand free, to hold the tube up to your mouth. The only learning curve is finding the right temperature for you. The speed of your inhale also affects the temperature of the air hitting the herb. If you inhale slowly, the vapor will get stronger and smokier tasting. If you inhale quickly, the vapor is lighter with a fresh taste. The bowl size is just big enough. It could be a little bigger for heavy users, but this would decrease the efficiency, because the herb at the bottom would receive less heat. I find myself reloading the bowl a little more often than I’d like, but this is a relatively small vaporizer overall, so this is to be expected.
There is one thing about Da Buddha which you do need to be careful with. The wand attaches to the main unit by a ground glass fitting. It’s designed to stay there without any other attachment mechanism, but unfortunately it doesn’t always stay in place. If you accidentally pull the tube, it can pull the glass wand out of the unit, making it fall. This might only cause the herb fall out and make a mess, which is just inconvenient. At worst, the wand can fall out and hit the table hard, or fall onto the floor, causing it to break. For this reason, some users of Da Buddha place their unit on top of a mouse pad, so the wand falls on to something soft. Or they rig up something to hold the wand in place (such as an elastic band). It’s a shame that Da Buddha doesn’t include some way to solve this problem, such as an way to attach the wand more securely – a small flaw in the design.