My Arizer Solo 2 Review (Write-up & Pics)
I have the Solo 2 on my top picks list now as the
best portable vaporizer for $200
overall, with the word
being used loosely, and
meaning for the general population.
Some of the reasons I would consider it the best for $200 are:
Excellent build quality
- I haven't taken it apart to examine the insides but it's a solid feeling unit on the outside that's better made than most. It looks nice too with the glass stem (when clean).
Very easy to use
- This is one of the first vapes I'll be recommending to beginners because of how simple the vaping process is, and how consistent the results are.
Clean tasting vapor
- Stainless steel oven and glass mouthpiece stem provide above-average vapor quality.
Excellent battery life
- It lasts a very long time, you should be able to get ~90-120 mins of usage at typical vaping temps before it dies.
See below for my VapeRating breakdown
UPDATE: Here's a new comparison video I made with the Solo 2, Mighty, Ghost MV1, Milaana and a few others:
VAPOR PRODUCTION: A-
Vapor production is good at higher temperatures above ~380F, when I want max clouds I usually set it at ~392F (200C), anything beyond that and I start to get some charring. It gets a few points off because it doesn't produce as much vapor as I'd like to see at ~365F. You'll wanna grind fine for maximum vapor but you'll have to experiment with packing loose versus packing tight to see which way you like better (I seem to prefer loose).
The glass mouthpiece stem helps keep the flavor of the vapor pretty pure and the taste unadulterated. There are other portables that I find to produce a slightly stronger herb flavor, but it's certainly pleasant and non-plasticy with the Solo.
It's definitely more potent than most strictly-conduction vapes, it's above-average, it's just not quite top tier status. The bowl size is below-average and I typically find that I need to load it up for a second session to equal the effects of a single Crafty session (for example), but it does end up being basically the same amount of herb in total.
VAPOR SMOOTHESS: B+
One of the only things about the vapor quality that I'm personally not 100% satisfied with is the smoothness of the vapor with the stock mouthpiece stems. This goes for the original Solo also, I've always found that the straight stem delivered slightly more "raw" feeling vapor than the bent stem. Most people don't have a problem with the smoothness with the straight stem, I've just noticed a slight difference with the bent stem and that's what I prefer, although the Solo 2 only comes with straight stems. They make water-pipe adapter stems for the Solo also, which takes care of the whole smoothness thing.
DRAW RESISTANCE: C+
In my original Solo review I describe the draw resistance as a similar feeling to drinking a thick milkshake through a straw, and I haven't noticed a real difference with the new model. It's not as hard to draw from as some other more compact vapes, and you can position the stem certain ways to slightly increase air flow, but the resistance is definitely something that I notice every time and wish wasn't there. I just bought an aftermarket stem from Ed's TnT that has extra air inlets in it, and I didn't get it yet but I'm guessing I'm gonna like how this one performs.
With a rough max capacity of ~0.15g when packed full and tight the size of the bowl at the end of the glass stems is fairly small. I've found that I prefer packing about 0.1g loosely to the top, it helps ease up draw resistance a little and also seems to give me better vapor production personally. From 0.1g I usually get what I would consider 5 good hits, and then a few wispy ones.
LOOK & FEEL: A
Even though it's not really a true portable vape it does have a nice sleek look to it and I do think it's an improvement over the original. I like the stainless steel plates on the top and bottom, it's a nice touch. And then of course with a clean glass stem it looks even better. They also have a new LCD display on the front and even though that looks like a dial on the front you can only click it up or down, nothing happens if you click on either side.
BUILD QUALITY: A
This kinda goes along with Look & Feel but I do consider the build quality above-average, and actually pretty close to top-tier on the outside. I'm not 100% sure what they have going on inside the vape as far as where the air intake is and things like that, but it's generally considered by users to be a well-made unit.
EASE OF USE: A+
One of the strongest advantages of the Solo II in my opinion is how easy it is to use, even for complete newbies. The controls on the front are simple to understand, it's easy to set your preferred temperature, and loading the glass stem with your herb takes 2 seconds. Then once you turn it on and it heats up (which happens quickly) all you do is take sips of vapor from the stem over a session of up to 15 minutes.
I originally gave it a C in portability but I changed it to a C+, because I
taken this outside my home before, but it's not something I do often nor do I really recommend it for that. I feel that it's a strong contender for being one of the best portable vapes to use at home as a "cordless" unit, but there's not many scenarios where using it on-the-go will be convenient.
BATTERY LIFE: A+
I originally gave it an A here but I bumped it to an A+, you really do get ~90-120 minutes of usage before it dies at normal vaping temps. In addition to that it has pass-through charging, so if it does happen to die in the middle of a session you can just plug it in and continue. It has a proprietary charging adapter, so you can't use a micro-USB cable to charge it, but I think I'm actually starting to prefer vapes that have chargers like this lately, they're more powerful and charge much faster than USB.
I actually gave it a B here originally, but I'm lowering it a tad because the glass stems really do buildup residue pretty fast, and you can see it. When I refer to "cleanliness" I'm specifically talking about how dirty the vape looks or feels after repeat usage, the next section on maintenance is where I talk about the cleaning process. A cool thing with the Solo's stainless heating chamber is that it doesn't seem to get much buildup on it at all, it stays clean.
Since the chamber itself stays pretty clean there's not much you'll need to do there besides maybe a quick wipe down with an ISO-moistended cotton swab. The glass stem is really where all the residue buildup happens, and it's a combination of oil/concentrate buildup with tiny herb speckles mixed in. Cleaning is easy, all you need is some ISO and a ziplock. I like to run my stem under hot water first to soften up the residue and then I stick it in the alcohol and shake it up, it usually doesn't take long to come clean.
Below-average odor with this one, it does a great job of keeping the smell confined to the vapor itself. Since it doesn't usually produce huge clouds of vapor under normal use it typically will smell up a room less than most others.
VALUE FOR PRICE: A
The list price of the Solo 2 is $239.99 which I think is a tad rich for what it is but still not bad at all. POTV made me a $40 OFF promo code for you guys (VCSOLO$40) to bring it down to $200, which to me makes it a really good deal.
MY PERSONAL OPINION: B+
There really is a lot of good things with this vape, it checks a lot of boxes and comes in a very easy to use package. I will not hesitate to recommend this to anyone looking for what it has to offer. The main reason I'm personally not giving it an A is that I find myself preferring the vapor even from my Crafty for example, and that one has a lot of plastic in the air path. I expected to be a little more impressed by the flavor of the vapor from this one, I personally have found it a little muted compared to some of my other favorites. The smoothness of the vapor is the only other thing for me, with the straight stems it comes with I notice a very slight scratchiness sometimes. Overall though I think it's a very solid vape!
I am on the same page with your points in the review. Here are some other thoughts.
It's much more efficient than most of the more portable vapes, so it could pay for itself in getting more bang for your buck with your herb.
If you have a plastic tube like the ones that dispensaries sell pre-rolls in, you can use the larger ones to clean the stem. A lot of a dispensaries give away a free pre-roll from time to time, so I've got a bunch of them, and three of them had plastic containers that we're just slightly larger than the stem in every direction, and made for a perfect and efficient use of just a small amount of ISO.
I'm loving my Solo 2! A cordless home portable unit is perfect for my needs. On the go I just take a cartridge based oil vape pen.
I would have liked the Vape to have included a better case than the one it comes with. But,
I found a great air tight plastic box with lid that clamps shut, at Daiso for $1.50 that fits the Solo 2 and all the accessories as well as some herbs. This box is too large for putting in your pocket, but great for a quick grab to stick in a back pack or over night bag.
gotta say i disagree with some of this ( of course i do) ..... I think even at $239 the Solo2 is a great deal for the money. For vapor production I would give it a solid A, build quality I find right up there at an A+, and for portability ... i understand it is not the best, but if the stem is nicely in the case and the Solo 2 is in the carry case too .... is it any less portable than the MV1 really? both need a glass stem sticking out to use ... granted the solo 2 needs it's stem actually inserted but after use it can be tucked away in the carry tube again. Cleanliness for me hasn't been an issue. Yeah it gets a little dirty ...but nothing bad ... i would say a B +. Anyway, i am not a critic but those are my thoughts. I still choose it any day over my crafty .... i find the flavor to be better. in the end you say B+ and I guess I hover near a solid A.
Thanks for the review. Fair as usual.
Your perception of the Arizer products has always been a bit less glowing than my own. I think the Solo 2 is fantastic and a steal even at standard retail price. I love how this thing works. It is a solid reliable piece that does not let down.
I'm surprised you found charing at higher settings. I pack mine very loosely and run it at 410 degrees, always. I am not a flavor chaser admittedly and evidently I am less sensitive than some to harshness. But at 410, I get billows of clouds, a very potent vapor, and never any charing.
It does exactly what I want from a vape - it get me high on a minimum amount of material and it does it in a consistent and reliable way. No fuss, no muss, the Solo2 just works.
The Solos have always been my daily drivers (until recently, I've switched over to a SBJr - because it hits a bit harder.)
Your perception of the Arizer products has always been a bit less glowing
I can't figure out why exactly my experiences with their vapes aren't as good as most other people's, but that's why I try and make it a point to still recommend them.
Thanks for the thorough review. I recently went with the original Solo because I just didn't see a big enough difference between the two to justify the cost. From the sounds of your review, all my same "concerns" still apply to the Solo II, so I'm not kicking myself yet (the 1 degree increment controls are definitely a bonus though).
Definitely let us know how the aftermarket stem works out. I've been debating getting one for the OG Solo so I'm curious to see what you think about it.
I noticed this on the Arizer website:
Metal screens are available for your convenience but they make vapor harsh and diminish the flavors. The Solo II Glass Aroma Tubes have a built-in glass screen to keep vapor pure and flavorful so we recommend using whole or coarsely ground botanicals with no metal screen for smooth and tasty vapor.
Did you try it without the metal screen? I just did. I think I noticed a bit of a difference. But I could be imagining it.
Funny you mention the metal screens... I started off not using the screen in my OG Solo and found the stem was getting dirty too fast for my liking so I cleaned the stem and added a screen to the mix. At about the same time I started slightly increasing my vape temp and assumed the "irritation" I was feeling in my throat was due to the temp increase and never thought to try pulling the screen back out. I'll dabble with it tonight and see if I get the same results.
Enano offers fixed glass screen stems and basket screen stems.
The fixed glass screen ones let too much particulate through, IMO. If you use hand torn, its ok. But I don't think hand torn provides enough surface area for good extraction without breaking it up in the middle of the load, as many do, which undermines hand torn's advantage with the glass screens.
I tend to use the basket screen stems most often and have not noticed any difference in the quality of the vapor from doing so.
It is really efficient! Love it!
I agree some might find that it builds up quick but you do get 2 stems so I just drop the dirty syem in iso and use the other.
I find that I always have a bag with me for ecigg stuff and my camera when I go for long trips so for portability I dont mind the glass stem.
I have used it on high temps also without charing.
I use it around 180-195c usually and I get very good clouds and flavor and over 200c I get more than big and potent enough clouds. It is a very well built and easy to use fantastic vaporizer.
Very nice review Bud!
I agree with most of it but would also rate it higher here and there but we are all as different as the strains we can get a hold of.
All I can say is Thank You Bud, you have done it again. That long straw is incredible, you are sipping straight out of the heating chamber. I actually had visible water like mist. I never had that from a vape. It always feels like dry vape, this vape produced a moist humid vape, not a cough (345 Degrees (F) to 387 Degrees (F).
1st class as usual, Comes with an aroma bowl with a sample, A carry case, lids and tubes for the glass so it doesn't break, a quality pick tool.
I do wish there were a Micro USB and a retractable mouthpiece (like the MV1) I LOVE ARIZER VAPES!!!
I get it. I have an air and I like it a lot. Taste is great, uses very little efficiently. But I just don't get high enough fast enough or something. When I use it I just want to reload it over and over, so you lose that efficiency. With crafty or boundless i use it and then put it down and don't feel like immediately using it again.
Also I dropped mine and it has a dent, warranty doesn't cover drops. Mine works but if you put it down or tap it with any minimal force at all it shuts off. So I retired it for when I really want to taste something.
If you use any arizer get the bent stem.
Still gotta watch the review.
I got an Ed's TnT stem (Blackwood one). It gets hotter because it has a metal bowl, never touch it after, it's hot as the sun. The Vapour is different. It's hotter and harsher. It fits more so you can load it more. The main reason I got it, is that I dropped 3 stems in two weeks and they broke, so this is indestructible. Also though my air is not in great shape anymore, if I ever buy another arizer I can use it.
very true, my Ed's TnT stem has a metal screen. It's a huge difference with the Vapour. Hard to handle, and I'm a guy who vapes hot and smokes here and there still.
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