Having been asked by numerous readers which budget-range vaporisers they should buy, I decided to get one of the latest models for some extensive testing. The Spirit by Storm is the follow-up to their original pen which debuted a few years ago, and at just £109 ($145) is a bargain when you compare the quality to that of vaporisers twice the price. Not content with just a few days of use, I spent the past month using it as my only unit. If you’re on the fence about vaping, please read my article detailing the benefits.
Flavour and vapour quality
I have to say that I was impressed by the flavour kicked-out by this great little device. While it can’t compete with the Cloud Evo (spoiler alert: nothing can), it’s does offer more freshness and zest of flavour than the Crafty, which retails at double the cost, and has a tendency to break-down with relatively little use. The Crafty can produce bigger clouds and feels like a more efficient machine, but if you’re in the market for a budget portable then I assume style comes after substance.
As can be seen from the above video, dabbing is incredibly easy with the Spirit (when you aren’t holding a camera in the other!). I actually prefer this device for dabs over the $500 Cloud Evo, which feels like it’s more of an effort and always kills my throat. I would go as far as to say that it has convinced me that dabbing lies in my future, despite being a big flowers person. No incredibly hot glass parts to juggle, no feeling like it was a surgical operation; I just casually hit dab after dab like it was no effort at all. If you are used to monster dabs beware that you won’t be able to take in as much at once, but I prefer a less frantic approach to getting high, personally.
Build and portability
This feels like a really solid unit. It’s closer to a metal bar than the classic plastic vaporiser build typical of this price range. While it doesn’t have the majestic aesthetics of something like the Da Vinci IQ, it isn’t ugly, and it even has some great features not present on more expensive devices. For instance, there’s a digital display which monitors the temperature and battery level. That’s something even my $300 Crafty never had.
It also feels less likely to crack than the Crafty, which has a tendency to lose some of the flimsy, protruding edges. The one slight issue is the shaky mouthpiece, which can lose a rubber ring and end-up quite loose, but it’s a minor thing.
Heating time and battery
The Spirit takes just over 35 seconds to reach 190c/374f, and 50 seconds to hit the top temperature of 240c/464f. Your preference may differ to mine, but I like to start on 170c and hit it for a 10-minute cycle, then jump to 210c and do another full cycle on that. I’m a big fan of getting maximum flavour, so I aim for low starting temperatures, but it’s anything goes once the terpenes have largely evaporated.
The battery will probably last you 50-70 minutes, depending on the temperature used. That’s around six cycles, which translates to a casual vaping of half a gram of flowers, or higher-temperature vaping of closer to 0.75 grams before you need to recharge. If you think you’ll need more than this, either a portable USB battery will do, or you can buy additional 18650 batteries and just swap them, which is a great feature of the device.
The Spirit stays surprisingly clean, so long as you don’t try hash or excessive dabs which get burned against the sides. The mouthpiece can just be popped in the dishwasher at 65c degrees and it’ll be perfectly free of gunk. The only issue is that the paint/coating on the outside of the mouthpiece fades to a metallic grey, but it’s not the end of the world. You can use rubbing alcohol on a cloth to swipe around the bowl to guard against build-up.
While I do prefer full-on home units such as the VapeXhale Cloud Evo, if you’re in the market for a portable and don’t fancy paying close to £230/$300, then you can’t go wrong with this device, which delivers the goods both for dry flowers and high-end concentrates. The dabbing experience was an especial revelation to me, as somebody who had always been put-off by other mechanisms.