Developed by Hermes Medical of San Sebastian, Spain, the MiniVap is a hybrid desktop and portable vaporizer made using high grade materials. In 2011 the miniVap underwent an evaluation from with Bedrocan’s MGC (University of Leiden, The Netherlands), where it was found to use materials which are temperature resistant and suitable for vaping loose leaf products as well as cannabis concentrates. After unboxing the MiniVap, the first thing that I noticed was its sleek design. Boasting a brushed aluminum shell, the MiniVap is both stylish as well as sturdy, and it definitely doesn’t look out of place on a desk full of high tech gadgets. The MiniVap employs a modular design made up of four modules (which can be attached and detached by twisting them together); the main unit, the battery, the desktop power supply, and the bowl cover/mouthpiece. I find the modular design to be a big plus as it keeps the unit compact both while in storage and in use. The loose leaf bowl is fairly large, and there’s also a concentrates pad which can be used for hash and oils. Although the MiniVap doesn’t have a digital temperature gauge, it does have four temperature settings (indicated via an LED light on the front of the unit) which cover several popular temperature settings including:
- Blue 190ºC (374ºF)
- Pink 200ºC (392ºF)
- Green 210ºC (410ºF)
- Red 225ºC (437ºF)
After loading my bowl with some freshly ground herb, I used the buttons on the side of my unit to set the temperature to 190C by choosing the blue setting. The MiniVap only heats up when you take a puff, so you can vary the amount of vapor produced depending on how long you inhale for. The unit heats up very fast, and after finishing a bowl of loose leaf, I was quite surprised at how pure and tasty the vapor was (especially on the lower temperature settings), and the heating element design definitely does a good job at producing large clouds of vapor when on the higher settings. Aside from using loose leaf, I also tested the concentrates pad with some BHO as well as bubblehash and discovered that the red setting works the best for concentrates. However, since the MiniVap doesn’t reach high enough temperatures, don’t expect to be able to take dab style hits like you can using something like the VapeXNail.
Although the Minivap produces tasty vapor (and a lot of it while using loose leaf!), one downside that I noticed was that I find the vapor tends be hotter and drier than the average desktop vape, and this can be irritating if you vape on a routine basis (like me!). However, you can alleviate this problem by attaching a bong to the end of your MiniVap’s silicone mouthpiece as this will cool the vapor significantly (I do this with most of my vaporizers anyways!). Cleaning the MiniVap is a straightforward process, simply wipe the unit down from time to time and clean out the vapor path using some rubbing alcohol and a few pipe cleaners.
Aside from the mains power attachment, there’s also the option to use the included lithium ion battery for times when you’d like to use your MiniVap while you’re out and about. Although the unit is technically portable, attaching the battery makes the unit large and definitely not as portable as other portable vapes on the market. However, this is a non-issue if you plan on primarily using your MiniVap at home or don’t mind bringing a carrying case along with you (the MiniVap is great for picnics and barbecues where you don’t need to be discreet but want the convenience of having no cords!). Charging the battery takes a few hours going from totally empty and can be done using the included base plate. When you have the battery attached, the LED on the rear of the MiniVap will glow one of the following colors to indicate charge level (it’ll glow green continuously when connect to AC power), and I’ve found that they’ve been pretty accurate during my testing:
- Green: up to 180 minutes
- Orange: 60-90 minutes
- Red: 30 minutes or less
Overall, I’ve been happy with the MiniVap, and has great vapor production as well as an inert vapor path which produces some great tasting hits. Furthermore, the MiniVap is certainly one of the most stylish desktop vaporizers on the market, and I’ve had several friends comment on how compact and nice it looks sitting on my computer desk. You also have the added benefit of being able to use it on the go as well, but if portability is a key factor then I recommend taking a look at a more compact portable vape instead.