Staff Review -- VapeNow.com
February 13, 2009
Up for review is the Phyto-Lab Vaporizer.It is the most versatile portable vaporizer on the market. With this "vaporizing pipe" one can use a torch lighter to vaporize their tobacco or herbs. What makes this possible is a high radiance aluminum cap that is between the flame and the herb. This cap is heated by the flame and, with inhalation, the heat is sufficient to produce vapor. We at VapeNow.com hope you find this review helpful and informative.
Pros & Cons
- Use it ANYWHERE, without ever having to charge a battery.
- Moderately efficient.
- Can vaporize multiple materials, including liquids.
- Very durable unit with no real breakable parts.
- Easy, two-step vaporizing process.
- There is no temperature control.
- If the cap gets too hot it can burn the tobacco or herbs.
- You can go through a lot of butane with flame powered units.
- The bowl and cap of this portable model get very hot.
- Can require many accessories be carried with you.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The Phyto-Lab's approach is innovative and unique, even among flame-powered portables. Using a flame instead of electricity for the heat source gives you a lot of flexibility that electric models lack. This approach is gaining popularity, as there are now at least four or five flame powered portables on the market. The Phyto-Lab is small, moderately efficient and has a cool look. What sets this unit apart is its ability to vaporize multiple types of substances, including liquids. This versatility comes at a cost, however, as the unit is harder to learn to use due to it having more variables to manipulate. In the end, this unit is the only option for those wanting a portable that will vaporize both solids and liquids. The downside is that it gets very hot and can require more accessories be carried with you.
Essentially, there are three separate parts to the Phyto-Lab Vaporizer. There is the main pipe stem with adjustable silicon o-ring handles to protect from the heat, the detachable tobacco filling chamber and the high radiance aluminum cap. However, the Phyto-Lab package comes with several other accessories including: a pipe cleaner for the main stem, small and large screens, a piece of silicone tubing, a mouthpiece, instructions, a carrying bag and a Brazer torch lighter. When assembled the unit measures roughly 4 inches long and 1 inch tall. The pipe stem and filling chamber are made of food grade metal. The high radiance aluminum cap does not contain metals that may contaminate vapor. This cap serves as the heating element and has three small holes in it. As you draw air through the holes the air is heated by the hot cap and passes over the tobacco to vaporize it.
The first thing you need to do is unscrew the high radiance aluminum cap. It should be fairly easy to take off. Underneath it you will find the filling chamber. Place three small screens in the cap. Next, place your tobacco in the cap, followed by another small screen. You can continue to add levels of tobacco followed by another screen if you want more concentrated vapor. Once you’ve done this you can hold the pipe upside down and screw the high radiance aluminum cap back into place.
Get a torch lighter (flame lighters will work, but are not recommended as they take longer to heat the pipe and they will cover the pipe with black soot). The Brazer torch lighter included with the Phyto-Lab is a very good lighter and heats the pipe up quickly, but it is not self igniting and will need to be lit from another flame source. Hold the pipe upside down and the flame to the top of the high radiance aluminum cap. Heat the cap for approximately ten seconds if indoors, and thirty seconds if outside in the cold. Once heated, take your inhales. If you are not getting any vapor, heat it up some more. Once you start to get vapor you should be able to get several inhales before it needs to be heated up again. If the tobacco starts to combust (you can tell by the taste), stop your draw and wait a few seconds for the unit to cool down. The unit will usually produce a little bit of vapor on the first inhale. Consecutive inhales produce thicker vapor.
- The high radiance aluminum cap gets pretty hot and can easily burn your hands. The manufacturer’s instructional videos show him using a handkerchief to remove the hot cap for refilling.
- Start by heating the cap in short-time increments until you get the hang of how much heat is necessary to achieve vaporization without combustion.
- We highly recommend the included Brazer lighter, as it is a very good lighter. We found that cheaper lighters sometimes did not heat the pipe well enough and, in some instances, broke. However, the manufacturer stated that we were the first he had heard of anyone breaking lighters using the Phyto-Lab.
- This unit can vaporize multiple materials, including liquids. The ability to do this lies in the screens that are put in the filling chamber. Play around with different screen configurations depending on how dry or wet your material is. The manufacturer recommends vaporizing liquids by first adding 7-10 small screens in the cap, followed by one bigger screen, then putting in the liquid. Finally, put 2-5 big screens in the bottom of the filling chamber and close the unit by screwing the lid on while holding the pipe upside down.
- Before the first use, it is best to heat the stainless steel screens until they are red. Heat the screens with the included Brazer lighter or another torch lighter.
- Your tobacco or herbs are probably finished when you can feel the stem of the Phyto-Lab getting warm.
- You’ll know that you are proficient with the Phyto-Lab when you can use it for about 30 minutes with a decent filling.
The metal pieces can be detached and cleaned in rubbing alcohol or something similar. The screens will get used over time and are best replaced. The included pipe cleaner is perfect for cleaning the pipe stem.
That's all for the Phyto-Lab. Thanks for reading.
-- The VapeNow Staff