In January of 2012 I received a humble looking hand-held vaporizer named the “Lotus“. It didn’t look like much – just a simple body resembling that of a normal spoon pipe, and an interesting cap with a nickel heating pad. After the trial runs, I wrote a glowing review and praised the Lotus for being cost effective, durable, ergonomic and just all-around good. I predicted the Lotus would last a lifetime if left to its own devices, since the design is so simple and sturdy. Let’s take a look back on how this device has actually fared over the last two years.
Suffice it to say the Lotus looks great after 2 years. There is no rusting or unsightly blemishes on the body anywhere, and surprisingly little of the anodizing has scratched off. The wooden cap has some burn marks from stray flames, and the nickel cap is heat-colored and warped, but frankly both of those features are aesthetically pleasing. I said in the initial review that the Lotus would “age with dignity,” and it seems to have passed that test with flying colors.
Everything about the vape works just as well today as it did on day 1. Though the cap might look fragile and thin, it has withstood thousands of heat cycles without missing a beat. It has a slight dent as you can see in the above picture, but beyond that it looks and acts exactly as it should. Heat is transferred just as effectively as ever, and it seems to be sturdy enough that it could last many more years before it cracks or breaks.
Re-reading my old review it was funny just how much praise I gave the built-in stir stick. Nowadays it seems so mundane to me, yet manufacturers are still failing to include these basic devices. Just the other day a friend of mine was frantically searching his room for his vape’s stir-stick – it was simply a paperclip that he had straightened out. They’re just too hard to keep track of, and I’m certain that without gluing mine into the Lotus cap I would have lost it in a week. I’m not sure if Lotus is gluing these into the caps from the factory yet, but doing so has worked great for me. If you have the Lotus I would highly suggest gluing your metal stir stick into the hole on the cap. It can be very helpful if you tend to get stoned and forget where little metal sticks might be.
Even the Chinese torch lighter is still kicking, and surprisingly has not exploded my fingers. There are some tiny hairline cracks on the plastic housing, but it still torches fine and doesn’t seem to leak at all. I probably shouldn’t trust it for much longer, but it’s good to know these are lasting longer than they’d initially seem. I think it’s safe to say the lighter will die long before the actual Lotus ever does. And that’s just as well, there are plenty of replacement torch lighters available of much higher quality.
It had not occurred to me upon writing the initial review what the ease of cleaning would be like on the Lotus. I was very happy to find out later that it is unbelievably simple, and in fact a great feature of the device. You see, the main housing has one, consistent-diameter hole bored all the way through from one end to the other. On the cap side you’ll find a small set screw that can be removed with a 3/32″ allen key. This will allow you to easily clean the entire housing interior, while removing the screen will provide access to the bowl area. Once you’ve cleaned everything, you’re left with “vape hash,” which is simply highly concentrated THC resin that has coagulated along your pipe. You can collect this and smoke it to get very high.
I was also pleased to find that dropping the Lotus with the cap on means you won’t spill any precious herbs. The magnets holding the cap will be secure enough to protect against falls under most normal conditions. Your weed will be safely inside the bowl, and you should be able to simply pick the Lotus up, tap it on a table to settle the bowl, and light up! The aluminum/wood/nickel construction also prevents anything on the Lotus itself from damage – I think you could probably run over the thing with a truck and it would be fine.
One favorite hobby of mine is camping and backpacking. Naturally I prefer to have some relaxing herbs with me, but smoking is hard on the lungs when you’re doing lots of hiking, and vaporizing on a multi-day camping trip can be impossible for plug-in or battery-powered vaporizers. This is one area the Lotus truly shines. Since it is not affected by moisture, cold, or any other elements, you can comfortably throw the Lotus into your pack without concern. You can also use the Lotus without worrying about dropping it on rocks or into water or having any accidents. The smaller bowl is perfect for those quick toke breaks on the side of a mountain pass, or before a particularly scenic trail.
Is It Still Relevant?
Perhaps the most important question is whether or not the Lotus is still relevant to a vaporizer enthusiast in the modern day. Since early 2012 there have been many new portable vaporizers, and some of them make the MFLB and Iolite look like child’s play things. I’m talking about the Pax, Arizer Solo, and similar devices. They contain USB charged, Li-Ion batteries and look, perform and sell better than the Iolite or MFLB could have dreamed. But are they worth it?
This review proves that the Lotus laughs at two-years of use, and is clearly powering forward to a lifetime of vaping. The fact that I could pull it out of my attic in 30 years and teach the grandchildren about the history of marijuana vaping is benefit enough for me. The downsides to the Pax and the Solo are that the batteries will inevitably fail, and it will be too expensive, difficult or pointless to replace. Assuming the competition even lasts for two years, you can safely bet that the batteries will be slower to charge, shorter in duration, and the consistency will be questionable.
However, the Lotus is a bit of a strange brew. The very functions that allow it to last you a lifetime also severely limit your ability to vape inconspicuously and publicly. If you’re on the bus with a Solo or Pax, very few people would notice a subtle hit. It would be very difficult to maintain any level of secrecy with the Lotus. But it is still portable and pocketable, so if you can find some seclusion that isn’t necessarily a big concern. For my purposes I wouldn’t ever smoke in a public area anyway, due to the strict law enforcement of my county.
If I had one vape to buy right now, I would still heavily consider the Lotus. If it’s something you want to use on your daily commute or in public areas, I would probably recommend one of the battery-powered alternatives. But if it’s something you want to use at home, take to your friends’ houses, take camping, and rely upon without any real effort, then the Lotus is a great option. The price is relatively modest, especially for a device that you can trust to work for years and years. As long as you have a torch and some bud, the Lotus won’t ever let you down.