Quick thoughts on the Puffco Peak
No doubt that the aesthetics of the Puffco Peak are fantastic. But more than that, the slew of glowing online reviews led me to assume that its performance would blow me away. Heck, some people had gone as far as to say that it performed on par with the best enails and quartz bangers.
The Puffco Peak is probably the most hyped cannabis device in the history of cannabis dab rigs. Unfortunately, it may not just be the most hyped but also the most overhyped.
In actuality, my experience has been similar to that of thousands of other users – underwhelming!
This is my review of the Puffco Peak, a device that I was really looking forward to owning and using. Now though? the $400 price tag seems like waaay too much.
I honestly did persevere for a while in hope that one day the device would begin to soothe the pain of my empty wallet but it didn’t take long for me to revert back to my oldskool quartz banger & blow torch setup which certainly helped me not give a shit anymore.
How the Puffco Peak Dab Rig Works
Operation-wise the Peak works similar to most other enails and dab rigs. You have a heated bowl where you place your concentrates, which is usually attached to a water-pipe that you inhale through.
Where the Peak differs is, it’s battery power, with just a single button that works as the on/off switch and temperature control, there really isn’t much room for confusion.
One long press and it turns on with vibration. Another press puts it at the lowest setting of 450°F. Subsequent slow presses raise the temperature in increments of 50 degrees all the way up to 600°F.
Each setting is indicated by the LED strip glowing a different color in the sequence of green, blue, red and white.
Once you have selected your preferred heat setting, you place your dab in the bowl then double click the button to start heating. The Peak will take around 20 seconds to reach the set temperature.
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Puffco Peak Portable Dab Rig Review
What’s in the box?
The Puffco Peak comes nicely packaged in a custom-designed case with cutouts for all the separate parts. The kit contains:
- Puffco Peak
- Carrying case
- Carb cap + extra ceramic bowl
- 4 cleaning swabs + dab tool
- 1 Extra ceramic bowl
- USB cable
Puffco invested a lot of (too much?) effort in the design and look of the Peak, and not enough on the actual quality. The look and feel of the design are good, making it seem like a premium device that justifies its price tag, but in reality, It struggles to get the basics right.
Let’s start with the Atomizer.
The Peak’s atomizer is made of 4 different parts – the stainless steel bowl with ceramic base (heater), the ceramic bowl, a fragile ceramic ring, and the rubber/silicone that holds it all together.
While my atomizer did not display the most common malfunction of just stopping working which thousands of other users have complained about, I did have the stinky rubber smell that lingered for quite some time.
I also managed to break the ceramic ring as you will see in the photo.
I dropped it on to the table by accident, not even from a great height but it is so fragile that it never really stood a chance.
To make matters worse, Puffco only sells the complete atomizer or the ceramic bowls so I had to buy the whole thing and pay $50 for the pleasure.
It seems to me like they overcomplicated it for one reason or another.
Next is the Glass.
Honestly, this is the most pointless piece of glass in the cannabis industry. It does nothing really. It can’t actually hold enough water to be considered a water pipe, surely? ha!
The lines between how much you can put in it and a mouth full of water are millimeters apart. You have to fill it to just above the holes.
And, it’s $100 to replace the glass if you break it. On what planet is this piece of glass worth $100? Answers in the comments, please!
Now for the actual device.
As previously said, things are not so pretty when you look under the fancy coating. The reality is that the Peak is just cheap electronics.
Here’s a little Instagram video of it being taken apart.
This in my opinion, and many others is a $100 device. Think of what you can actually buy for that money $350-400. A flowerpot from NewVape, A Dr Dabber Switch, A VapeXhale and so many more devices that do concentrates.
Portability & Discretion
The Peak stands 7 inches tall and is 2.75 inches wide at its base. The device’s portability is probably the best single feature. Its small and svelte form means that you could actually fit the whole thing in your jacket pocket. Without water, obviously. Ha.
However, being small and portable does not necessarily mean that a device is discreet as well. Anyone who knows anything about cannabis use (like the authorities) can tell what the Peak is from a mile away. Use it for mobility around the home but use outside with care.
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Given the gushing reviews that dominated the conversation prior to the Peak’s general release, its vapor quality has been the biggest let down for me. I was super disappointed – it was just poor quality from start to finish.
If you vape it the way that CEO Rodger recommends vaping it you will cough your face off, but he knows that anyway, which is why he never inhales… and yet, even then, he still can’t handle his own device.
If you vape it on one of its lower temps it is very weak. It is not even close to an authentic dabbing experience by any stretch of the imagination.
Another thing that really bothered me was the ceramic taste and the chemical-y smell of the rubber on the atomizer. Even if they did subside after a while, they never completely disappeared for me, despite what other users have said.
The Peak is actually a very efficient device because it forces you to be efficient. The chamber is small and due to the awkward glass, you can’t suck very hard which means you ain’t gonna be ripping on half gram dabs on this thing.
However, I feel when using it on the lower temps which I feel is necessary, it doesn’t hit you between the eyes like a good quality quartz banger.
So… overall, it is efficient’ish if that’s what you’re after.
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Battery & Charging
The battery capacity is average for the size of the device, not the 30+ dabs I have heard claimed though. It is hard to tell whether this is because certain people are stretching the truth or if there are inconsistencies with the battery supplier.
You must charge your Peak using the micro USB cable supplied with the unit. A full charge takes about 2.5 hours. The battery is not easily user-replaceable and it will degrade over time.
It’s worth pointing out that the Peak lacks an auto-shutoff function. This doesn’t make sense – for something that costs $400 and is marketed as a smart rig, you would think that someone would and should have found a way to include that feature.
Unless you are super-alert when you indulge, the lack of an auto-shutoff can drain your battery pretty quickly.
You will see a lot of battery issues around the forums as well. Peoples devices just bricked (stopped working) out of the blue.
Ease of Use
As I said earlier, the Peak is pretty simple to use with its single button and 4 heat settings. Once you have figured out how many clicks for your session works best, you are good to go.
You will likely stick to one heat so it is a case of 1 long press to turn it on, and a double press to start heating the device.
How to use the Puffco Peak:
- Detach the glass bubbler from the base
- Fill it with water to just above the air holes and reattach it to the base
- Hold down the power button for three seconds to power up the unit
- Press the power button to reach the temperature preset you want as indicated by the LED light
- Dab your wax onto the bottom of the ceramic bowl then cover it with the carb cap
- Double click the power button to start the heating process
- The device will vibrate and the LED light will blink 3 times when the set temperature is reached
- Inhale from the bubbler to start vaping
Cleaning and Maintenance
How do I express my intense hate for this aspect of the Peak while still remaining neutral? Ahhh, fudge it. Hate Hate Hate.
In terms of maintenance, cleaning the atomizer is a pain. Unlike with other devices where I feel this way, it has nothing to do with the material but rather the construction. The atomizer disassembles into 4 pieces, 2 of which are fragile and 1 of those (the ring) is extremely fragile.
The ceramic will get messy quickly and you will need to take it apart to clean it using a blow torch. Seems like I could have just done that in the first place with my quartz banger and save myself $400 ha.
You can keep on top of the cleaning with the ceramic but we all know it gets dirty fast.
The water-piece with its tiny little holes is also a pain to clean in comparison to most bongs. Even worse considering that it’s useless.
I think this is where Puffco bagged a lot of their free publicity. Their public competition for glass designers to design custom glass for the Peak got immense attention and generated a lot of goodwill towards the company.
The prize ($5,000 and a trophy together with an all-expenses-paid trip to DFO glass show) turned this into what appeared to be a challenge for some really talented glass designers and they accepted the challenge in their droves.
You can see some of them here.
As an alternative to glass, you can buy yourself a nice new carb cap or a quartz bowl like I did. It does make a difference in the taste of the dabs but not significantly, and it was still hard to taste over the heat due to the minimal water filtration.
In one word, I feel the Peak is overpriced. You can buy a Vapexhale or Dr. Dabber Switch and many more decent vapes for the price, and you would be rewarded with a far more consistent and much less frustrating experience.
Next, when you factor in the cost of a decent glass piece that would help prevent water from getting in your mouth (and maybe also cool the vapor down), it pushes the cost way beyond the other devices which still offer you a lot more for the money.
They devices may not be as portable, but I think it will be a small percentage of Peak users who actually use the thing outside their house.
I’ve not had any of the concerns of atomizers/battery failing or oil getting in the electronics of the device yet, but I still think the atomizer itself is distinctly sub-par due to its multiple parts and fragile ceramic ring and bowl. Then the poor taste.
The Final Puff
The Peak seems to me like the Puffco Plus model on steroids, like they have just taken the same technology and encased it in a futuristic design to accommodate a bigger battery.
However, where the ‘plus’ can be forgiven for poor taste due to its size and price, the peak cannot.
Atomizer issues are dominating conversations about the device and, until recently, Puffco’s response seemed to be a belief that it was the users who were at fault.
The odds are that if I had been aware of all this drama surrounding one of the most highly-anticipated cannabis devices instead of being swayed by the hype, I would have probably avoided buying it altogether.
It’s a huge disappointment when you take the word of so many reviewers, only to be left wondering if you had a completely different device to them. (Big commissions on a $400 Peak though, right?)
This is probably the most gutted I’ve been with a $400 purchase. The evidence to back this up, is the fact that my Anthony dab rig and blow torch are sitting next to me right now and the Peak is in the cupboard where it has been since I took the photos.
Just to finish off I thought I’d leave you with this little gem I found of Thr Puffcoo owner addressing a customer who asked for help on his Instagram live feed. Remember that this customer has likely exhausted all other methods trying to get a response from Puffco like everyone else.
I just can't see where this thing justifies its price, and as many people have found, it is certainly not in the customer service department.
Puffco has achieved its goal of producing a portable dab rig but unfortunately, that's about it.