I switched to edibles last year. It seemed like the healthiest way to go, especially with a nasty respiratory virus sweeping the globe, and I did not want to add any risk to my lungs. Edibles are kind of a commitment, though. They take a long time to kick in, and then they stay in your system a lot longer, too. Sometimes, you want to kick back get a little stoned right away—as you would with a post work glass of wine—and know it’ll mostly wear off before bedtime. I still wanted to avoid smoke, though, which meant I would be searching for the perfect, convenient, smooth-hitting, portable vaporizer. And I found it.
DaVinci has been making really solid vaporizers for years, but its latest, the DaVinci IQC, strikes the perfect balance between quality and price. Coming in at $230, it is by no means the cheapest vaporizer out there, but it just works so well that it instantly became the top vaporizer I would recommend to friends.
A very quick vaporizer primer, for those who don’t know: Vaporizing cannabis is not the same as smoking cannabis. The idea is that you have a device (a vaporizer) that heats your bud up to the point where all the good stuff (such as THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids) aerosolize so you can inhale them, but not so hot that the bud actually burns. This means you don’t end up inhaling as many harsh carcinogens (though it’s certainly not 100-percent clean). Vaporizers hit smoother, are much easier on your throat and lungs, they taste a lot better, and typically produce a “cleaner” high.
The ICQ can be used for both flower (a.k.a. ground-up bud) and extract (i.e. oils, shatter, and other concentrates). This makes it extremely versatile. For flower, the chamber can hold up to half a gram of herb, which is very generous and will likely last you several sessions. One thing that drives me crazy with virtually every portable vaporizer I’ve used is that the bowls are frequently small and hard to load, which leads to spilling herb-crumbs everywhere. That is one of the many things that sets the IQC apart. The surface around the bowl gently slopes inward, so even if you miss the bowl itself it’s extremely easy to push the rest in with your finger. It’s such a small thing, but it ends up making a huge difference. It also has a little stirring/scraping tool that hides away inside it, under the mouthpiece. Again, it’s a little detail, but it’s wonderfully convenient.
The rest of the design is rather immaculate, too. It might seem lazy to say that “it’s as if Apple made it,” but that feels weirdly accurate in this case. The IQC features clean, rounded lines that fit nicely in your palm. The exterior is made of brushed aluminum that feels silky smooth. The doors all snap shut with magnetic assistance. It has just three buttons and an easy-to-read display. It is, dare I say, elegant to look at?
But the star of the show is the way it hits. The entire airpath—from the oven to the mouthpiece—is zirconia-coated ceramic, so no plastics or metals along the way. This means you don’t get any flavors in there except for the weed you’re puffing. Not only that, but it’s extremely easy to dial in your temperature. You can choose to use one of the four pre-programed Smart Paths that start at one temperature and automatically turn the heat up to get maximum extraction out of your bud, or if you’re a geek like me you can put it in precision mode and dial in the temperature you want one degree at a time. Personally, I find that 392 degrees Fahrenheit is my favorite temp for most strains, but sometimes I like going a little higher, and sometimes I’ll go a bit lower. It’s also worth noting that if you don’t like the pro-programmed Smart Path settings you can connect the IQC to your phone via Bluetooth and change those numbers.
The ICQ is DaVinci’s first vaporizer that charges via USB-C. That means you can charge it from zero to full in about two hours (though you can charge it enough for a single session much faster than that). It can also act as a portable power supply, should your phone die and you decide that reading Gizmodo is more important than getting stoned. While the 3,000 mAh battery should get you one to two hours of burn time (depending on your temperatures), it’s also removable and replaceable, so you could always bring extra batteries if you’re going backpacking or something. Spare batteries will run you a very reasonable $13 a pop.
Speaking of accessories, you can get these little ceramic Dosage Pods from DaVinci. They look like little white, porcelain baskets and are designed for when you’re on the go and don’t want to worry about grinding your bud, emptying out your last bowl, and then reloading it. You can swap in one of these little pods that you filled at home and you’re off to the races. You’ll also need these pods if you want to vaporize some extract, in addition to DaVinci’s Extract Kit. It’s basically a little ceramic disk and some small cotton pads to keep the oil from getting your vaporizer all goopy. Loading it up is a little bit of a process, but it’s not bad at all, and the vapor you get from extracts is very clean and nowhere near as lung-destroying as a dabbing rig.
The IQC also features a new “Sharesafe Mouthpiece” made of an FDA-approved antimicrobial polymer. Theoretically this means it’s less likely that you’ll spread cooties while sharing your vape. I did not have lab-testing equipment to test the validity of these claims, but I did share this vape with several friends and none of us got cooties (or covid), so… maybe? One thing I can tell you, is that this mouthpiece stays slightly cooler on the lips than the metal mouthpiece on most other vapes, including those DaVinci makes.
It is worth mentioning the IQC’s closest competitor is also made by DaVinci. The IQ2 came out before the IQC, and it costs $80 more. What do you get for that $80? Well, if you punch in the percentage of THC and CBD in the strain of weed you’re vaping, the IQ2 can measure the size of the hits you’re taking and estimate the dosage you’re getting. That’s kinda cool, though I found it to be somewhat buggy when I tried it. It also has a dial at the bottom that allows you to control the airflow. Other than that, it’s effectively the same vaporizer as the IQC, except it lacks USB-C and the Sharesafe Mouthpiece. The IQ2 is excellent, but I think you’re better off saving the $80 and getting the IQC.
Really, it’s hard to find something to dislike about the IQC. If anything, I’d say I still think it’s slightly more expensive than it should be, especially considering you need to buy the Dosage Pods and Extract Kit if you want to vaporize some extract. If this thing came with those items, or if it didn’t and it cost $200 instead, I would say everybody who smokes cannabis should buy this, because it’s healthier, it tastes better, and it’s just so convenient. At $230 it seems just a liiiittle steep and pushes it a bit close to “enthusiast” territory. That being said, if you don’t mind spending that much, this is the best portable vaporizer I’ve ever used. It disappears in your jean pocket, it’s easy to load, it holds a lot, it lasts a long time, it tastes delicious, and it gets you really high. What more do you need?