Inhalater INH004 Review
In the last year or so the portable vaporizer market has been extremely fast-moving. All sorts of new and unique units have been introduced by companies like TCT, Karma, Ploom, and Puffit. The prospective vaporist interested in a portable has all sorts of choices right now; and as if the array of choices wasn’t already confusing enough, French-Canadian pharmaceutical company PharamCor has come along with an offering of their own. And it just might end up being best portable on the market right now.
PhramaCor’s subsidiary Inhalater is no stranger to the vaporizer market. Inhalater released their first vaporizer two years ago; it was a unique flame powered portable unit for concentrates with temperature control. It was never particularly popular unit but performed well for its intended functions. Inhalater has been hard at work on their second contribution to the vaporizer market since releasing their first model, and it shows. The Inhalater INH004 is a complete departure from the previous design; it is a sleek, battery-powered, convection-based vaporizer designed for use with plant materials.
The unit is about 6 inches tall and 1 inch in diameter, it feels very solid and fits nicely in hand and pocket. On the bottom is the temperature dial and on switch, on the top is the heatport and mouthpiece. There are two LEDs on the cylindrical body; one is the heating light, one is the charging light. The cap and dial are both made from stainless steel, while the body is made from
carbon fiber Delrin enwrapped in an aluminum sticker. The unit uses capsules which incorporate both a mouthpiece and crucible into one piece. A unique characteristic of this vaporizer is that for the crucible and heatport, a special material called polyimide is used in place of other common materials like glass or metal. Polyimide is a polymer with incredible thermal properties; it can stand temperatures up to 400°C before experiencing any degradation and is very fast and efficient at thermal transmission and conduction. There is absolutely no taste imparted by the polyimide, making this one of the best tasting portables.
The Inhalater works by drawing air through two holes located near the top of the unit into the area surrounding the heatport. The air is pulled through the chamber and heated by the polyimide clad nicrome wire spiral. Then it is pulled directly into the heatport and into the capsule. This vaporizer is primarily convection based, but because of the capsules proximity to the heating chamber there is a fair degree of conduction heating as well.
One of the most welcome features of this vaporizer is that it uses a micro-USB port to charge. Because of the recent proliferation of devices with this charging port, most already own several chargers which will work for the vaporizer and can charge off of other power sources like a computer, car charger or portable battery pack. The battery life of the Inhalater is very impressive, with an approximate battery life of ten to twelve 8 minute long sessions.
To turn on the vaporizer, turn the bottom dial to the desired level. The heat up time is very good; it will reach the temperature in less than a minute. The heat light flashes at an increasing speed until holding at solid to show that the vaporizer is ready. Once it is ready, insert the capsule and draw. The taste of the initial draws are among the most flavorful and pure tasting vaporizing experiences I have ever had; the combination of the mostly convection heating action with the polyimide design keeps the taste well preserved and fresh much longer than other vaporizers, especially conduction ones like the iolite. The heating chamber does not have much thermal mass however, and between draws the vaporizer needs to heat back up. As the battery gets low, and/or you take the temperature higher, the amount of time that it will take to heat back up increases. The vaporizer can be used while it is plugged in and charging, but not if the battery is completely dead. After 8 minutes of use the vaporizer will shut itself off to prevent overheating. During normal use, the top the unit will get hot to the touch and the mouthpiece can get quite warm as well, but never too severe. It is a good idea to give the unit a few minutes to rest during extended sessions, but it does not need long.
There is much to like about the Inhalater; but there are also some minor issues with it as well. First and foremost, the dial is very loose and easy to turn, to the point where setting the unit down or passing it between friends runs a very good risk of changing the temperature setting. Luckily, this can be fixed by wrapping a rubber band or hair elastic around the gap between the dial, but out of the box it can be quite an annoyance. As well, there is no reliable battery indicator, so the user has no way of telling when they need to top up until the unit starts underperforming due to low power.
The polyimide capsules are great, but are not as durable as they would have been if they were made from glass or metal. The polyimide is a flexible material and it could chip or crack under excess strain. The unit comes with two of these capsules and they will probably need to be replaced after 3 months of hard use. Because the crucible isn’t a solid piece of material, rather a sheet of polyimide wrapped around the mouthpiece; it is difficult to clean completely. Even though the capsule based design lends itself to pre-filling, there are no endcaps for the capsules, leaving the user to fashion one for themselves (a cut down earplug works wonderfully). However, these are minor gripes with an otherwise impressive unit.
The Inhalater fills a niche of the portable vaporizer market that previously had little competition, and does it exceptionally well. Previously, anyone looking for a small, sleek, plant-material based unit had two choices, the ThermoVape T-1 and the Launch Box. Both of these vaporizers, while working well, have their issues with battery life and vapor production. The Inhalater does not have any of those issues, with a battery life outlasting that of the Arizer Solo and copious amounts of vapor output on higher settings. Along with the great taste, and the fact you can charge it anywhere through the Micro-USB port, The Inhalater is one the best portable vaporizers on the market right now. Once the Pax arrives there may be some real competition, but for right now there aren’t many small portable vaporizers that can hold a candle to the Inhalater.
Here are some tips to get the most out of your Inhalater:
- Do not pack your plant-material into the Inhalater
- Add a fine screen to the bottom of the heatport, the one in there already is kind of coarse
- Adding small rubber bands to underneath the dial will make it less susceptible to accidental turning
- Cutting up a disposable earplug into small discs will make for perfect capsule endcaps
- Clear tape on the dial can prevent any damage/peeling of the numerical labeling
- Flashlight caddies make great cases for it
- Wonderful taste, especially on lower settings
- Massive clouds of vapor on higher settings
- Easy to carry in a pocket (no smell at all either)
- Capsules make for easy pre-packing
- Great battery life
- Standard Micro-USB charging port
- Unit becomes noticeably hot during extended use
- Performance decreases significantly at lower battery levels
- 8 minute shut off timer is a little too short
- Polyimide capsules are difficult to clean and need replacing over time