What we have for you guys today is the Lotus vaporizer. This is a butane powered, on-demand convection heating portable vaporizer that honestly gives a lot of higher end battery powered units and desktops a run for their money.
Many people are very unaware of these butane powered vaporizers, or they are just flat out turned off by the notion of having to use a butane powered torch to vaporize their material.
While I agree using a torch is a little unorthodox for what most people are used to, all I have to say is if you give the Lotus vaporizer a chance you’ll be happy that you did.
We’re going to break down this review into a few different categories. Each of these categories will showcase certain features of the Lotus vaporizer in an easy to follow and understand format.
- Vapor Path
- Temperature Control
- Oven Capacity and Efficiency
- Vapor Quality
- Lotus Pipe
- Water Pipe
- Build Quality
- Pros/Cons Breakdown
- Final Subjective Assessment
Without further ado let’s get into our Lotus Vaporizer review!
Vapor Path on the Lotus
For starters, let’s talk about the vapor path of the Lotus and the materials that make it up. The actual part of this vape that produces vapor is called the “Vapor Cap.”
There is a nickel plate on top of the vapor cap called the hot plate that is used to transfer the heat applied from the torch to the air you inhale through the vapor cap. This allows the Lotus to effectively vape your material with convection heating.
The vapor cap snaps onto the bowl which is present on the lotus pipe, as well as the water pipe adapter (WPA.) The bowl is made out of stainless steel, and the lotus pipe itself is made out of aluminum.
From my experience, I haven’t noticed any off flavoring from the vapor path itself, and any off flavoring was due to myself heating the herb too much with the torch. I have never experienced any “factory” type flavors with this vaporizer at all – the unit was flavorless and odorless when I first received it.
Given the prevalence of vaporizers manufactured overseas in China, it’s just nice to see a vaporizer that is designed and manufactured in the USA by people who actually use their own product. There’s no foul electronics, plastics, gaskets, or anything like that in the vapor path.
Likewise, unlike some other butane powered vaporizers, you do not inhale any of the by-products that are produced from the butane torch’s flame. I’ve seen a lot of debate whether the by-products of a butane flame are actually harmful or not, but regardless of where you stand on that debate – you can be assured that you won’t be inhaling any of them at all.
With the water pipe adapter you can also use something like a J-Hook. This is a great option for someone who wants to take dry hits with the Lotus, but wants to see their vapor as they inhale.
Unfortunately, I do not have one available to try it out with a J-Hook, but using the Lotus with a J-Hook is a fairly popular combination and Lotus even offers a kit with an included J-Hook if you’re interested.
Temperature Control for the Lotus vaporizer
This is an interesting topic to bring up when talking about the Lotus; how do you control the temperature?
First, we need to talk about which torch you will be using. A few of the Lotus bundles include this small single flame torch:
Some people have had good luck with theirs, but mine wasn’t so good. My torch ended up dying on me the second day of use (albeit I used the hell out of the poor little thing), but it just stopped producing a strong flame even with 2 different types of butane and lots of troubleshooting.
I went out to a local cigar shop and picked up a more robust single flame torch. It’s been a lot more reliable than the Honest brand torch that came with the Lotus, and it only set me back $20. You’re really just looking for a gooseneck style torch.
You can also get cheaper ones like the ones found at gas stations which resemble the torch that is included with the Lotus kit.
Regardless of what kind of torch you have, there’s a technique to determining how big your flame has to be. Your flame should be as long as the distance between two points on the Lotus flower as seen below.
Determining how thick the vapor you get is pretty simple to learn, but difficult to master. It’s a combination of draw speed and how much you’re heating the hot plate on top of the vapor cap.
Let’s start with heating the hot plate. You want to first heat it up without drawing from the Lotus. Start preheating the hot plate for about 4 seconds as per Lotus’ instructions. When you begin to draw, you want to start moving the flame in a circle around the center of the hot plate.
Here is where it gets a little tricky…
Your draw speed once the unit is hot is what determines the vapor production. A slow draw will instantly fill your lungs with thick vapor, while a faster draw will give you smoother, more flavorful, and airier vapor.
The slower you draw, the faster you will have to take the flame away as this unit can combust if you get carried away. You can get away with heating the hot plate more when drawing faster but even then you can only heat it so much.
This is where the technique really comes into play. Knowing when you need to take the flame away, and when you need to change your draw speed comes with experience. It doesn’t take long to figure out how to use the Lotus vaporizer, but I would be lying if I said it was easy to master.
Oven Capacity and Efficiency on the Lotus
Both the Lotus Pipe and the Lotus WPA each respectively have the same size bowl. I found I got the best results when I loaded .1 of coarsely ground flower in the Lotus.
You can load slightly more or less, but I found .1 filled about one third of the bowl and this yielded great all around efficiency from my experience.
Now the Lotus vaporizer doesn’t natively do concentrates by themselves, however I would like to share with you guys a little technique I discovered.
Whilst testing the Lotus, I really wanted to vaporize some concentrates with it. What I at first did was top off a few bowls with some oil and hash. That worked great, fantastic actually. Mixing flower and different types of concentrates in the Lotus in is in general one of the best cannabis experiences I have ever had.
However, I wanted to try to just vaporize oil without the need of having a medium like flower to put it on top of.
So what I did was fit one of these Firefly concentrate pads into my water pipe adapter.
With a little effort to get it in, it actually fits perfectly and doesn’t damage the concentrate pad or your Lotus.
All I have to say is if you try this method, you won’t be disappointed. This technique of using the Lotus will save you lots of oil over traditional methods of dabbing concentrates, and it even allows you to do it in the same piece you would typically dab the same oil out of.
Simply load a small or large sized dab onto the concentrate pad and heat the hot plate normally. I found it best to not get the hot plate hotter than normal when vaping concentrates. You wont necessarily “combust” the oil, but I found the experience to be better when you don’t overheat the concentrates.
Vapor Quality From the Lotus vaporizer
So my experience with the Lotus is limited to the Lotus Pipe and the Lotus WPA. I would love the opportunity to try the J-Hook in the future to update this review and give you all a better overview of this vape, but for now we’re limited to the Lotus Pipe and the Water Pipe Adapter, which are honestly both awesome in my opinion.
Both options give you fantastic vapor quality and vapor production, but there’s some key differences I would like to talk about.
For this portion I’m going to break down the Lotus Pipe and the Water Pipe Adapter and talk about each of their respective results in terms of vapor production, flavor, and smoothness.
Vapor Quality with the Lotus Pipe
For starters, let’s talk about vapor production. It can be pretty insane, let me tell you.
The Lotus Pipe I find really sneaks up on you, especially if you are someone who is just coming from primarily using traditional combustion methods. You definitely feel the vapor as it rushes into your chest, but it’s not as harsh as you would think.
It’s the exhale that will surprise you. Even with the dry pipe, you can get VapeXhale Cloud EVO type vapor production from a vape of this size and price.
Flavor next to portability would be the main reason why I use the Lotus Pipe. If you don’t get carried away and gently heat your Lotus, you can achieve some of the tastiest vapor I have ever experienced – very close to the Firefly 2 actually, which is our #1 ranked portable vaporizer right now. We’ll talk about that more in the future in our upcoming Firefly 2 vs Lotus comparison.
Something to note is that at a certain point there is a bit of trade off between vapor production and flavor. However, if you aren’t after the craziest clouds, you will get a great compromise between flavor and vapor production with typical usage.
Even when the Lotus fills my lungs with dense hot vapor from the Lotus pipe, it never leaves me feeling like I got a really hot and harsh hit. The hot vapor from this vape just doesn’t tickle my throat the way other units like the PAX 2 or the Haze V3 do.
The vapor for the most part chokes me up mostly due to sheer volume of vapor that gets moved into your lungs. It’s hard not to cough after you exhale 2 lungs full of dense vapor.
Vapor Quality with the Water Pipe Adapter
This so far has been my preferred method of using the Lotus. I found the water pipe adapter to offer the best compromise between vapor production and smoothness.
The Lotus left me breathless the first time I used it through a waterpipe, literally. I was expecting the Lotus to do great, but I wasn’t expecting it to wow me right away.
It did though. The Lotus has some of the best vapor production from any vaporizer I have ever used in general. This vape has no issues completely filling any water pipe with dense vapor.
If you’re going to be chasing after the really dense vapor bong hits, your flavor is going to take an impact. The flavor definitely isn’t bad, you just get more of a roasted flavor if you take it to the brink of combustion.
If you go easy on the torch, you can get really good flavorful hits from a water pipe, but I found if I was looking for a flavorful experience I went for the Lotus Pipe instead.
Smoothness and vapor production are ultimately why the water pipe adapter is my favorite method of using the Lotus. The Lotus pipe offers pretty cool vapor, but no where near what a waterpipe offers.
When using a water pipe, you really can achieve one or two hit extractions of a whole bowl if you so desire. The water filtration does a great job at effectively filtering the hot vapor before reaching you.
I have tested the Lotus so far with 7 different water pipes ranging from small heady dab rigs, to larger flower pieces. I found every piece I wanted to use the Lotus with worked great and offered great vapor.
Here’s a video so you can check it out:
The overall build quality of the Lotus is phenomenal. The wood construction of the vapor cap feels great in the hand and offers great reliability and durability as opposed to plastic or other fragile material.
The hot plate does discolor over time; the more you use it, the darker the center will become. I don’t personally mind this and I think it adds character to an already rustic design.
If you do eventually wish to bring your Lotus back to pristine condition though, they do offer replacement hotplates for about $15.
Build quality wise, this is the vape I am the most confident with. It is durable and not much can go wrong with it. This is a great option for the outdoorsman – 1 can of butane will last you awhile and that is all you will have to bring with you alongside the Lotus and a torch.
If you love the outdoors and need a vaporizer that is rugged and reliable, the Lotus is what you’re looking for in my opinion.
With the pipe, the Lotus is pretty portable, but it’s definitely on the “less portable” side of the spectrum, especially if you want something you can use in public
The black carrying case makes it really easy to bring the Lotus, pipe, and torch with you. I found it best to transport the Lotus in a bag rather than a pocket as I found the whole case to be a bit much to cram into a pocket. A larger hoodie pocket is another story however, the case would fit fine in one of those.
The vape isn’t hard to bring from Point A to Point B, but with the Lotus I wouldn’t be using it between Point A and Point B. It’s not a discrete unit in my opinion, and it looks pretty sketchy to use especially to someone ignorant about it.
Walking around suburbia with the Lotus pipe might get the cops called on you, which are situations I tend to try and avoid.
This is a great portable vape, but it’s not one you use walking around town. If you’re heading out to the woods, a friends house, a festival, or something like that, this is a great vape to bring with you and use once you have reached your destination – especially considering you aren’t tied to a battery or electrical outlet.
Cleaning the Lotus
Cleaning the Lotus is very simple. For starters, the vapor cap itself shouldn’t get dirty and doesn’t require regular maintenance. There is a guide on how to dissemble it all on Lotus’ website, but it isn’t necessary to do regularly or at all.
The waterpipe adapter is really easy to clean, especially if you accidentally combust. I just soak a few cotton swabs with isopropyl alcohol and scrub the inside of the water pipe adapter until it is clean and odorless.
The Lotus pipe can simply be soaked in isopropyl alcohol in a baggie or container. It doesn’t require much effort other than soaking it and rinsing it thoroughly afterwards.
You can also soak the screens in alcohol or burn them off with a torch. Both methods work, but I found torching the screens constantly degraded them a lot faster than soaking them.
I found it easier to just buy a bunch of screens from Lotus directly. I just replace the screen now when they get gummed up. They’re reasonably priced and they save a lot of effort by not having to clean the screens.
Accessories with the Lotus vaporizer
The kit I received is the “Combination Pipe and Water Pipe Adapter Kit” which includes the following:
- Vapor Cap Model 226
- Nylon Carry Bag
- Long Aluminum Lotus Pipe
- Standard Single Flame Torch
- Water Pipe Adapter
I do recommend picking up a pack of Firefly concentrate pads if you do have any desire to vaporize oil solely by itself. You can pick up a pack of 3 concentrate pads for under $10, which will last you awhile before you have to replace them.
Lotus offers a 3 year warranty on the vapor cap itself, with exceptions for cases of “physical abuse or severe overheating.”
Lotus also offers warranties on both their standard model 226 hot plate and their 234 high-temp hot plates.
The Standard model 226 hot plate which we reviewed is covered for 1 year with exceptions of punctures and dents from foreign objects.
And due to the extreme temperatures the model 234 cap is expected to face, it is only covered for 90 days with exceptions of punctures and dents from foreign objects.
To summarize the review, we’re going to give a brief overview of the pros and cons.
- Great value
- Compromise between desktop and portable
- Top tier vapor production
- Efficient use of herbs and concentrates
- Best portable for use with water pipes
- Durable design
- No batteries or electricity needed
- Learning curve
- Possibility of combustion
- Included torch can be unreliable
- Not discrete for public use
- Doesn’t fit well in normal pockets
Final Subjective Assessment
In closing, I just want to say I am really satisfied with the overall experience I got from my Lotus vaporizer. I have put down a lot of my other vapes in favor of using the Lotus. My Mighty, Firefly 2, and EVO haven’t been getting as much love as they used to because the Lotus really offers a great all around experience.
Using my water pipes with my vapes is my preferred method of vaping, and the Lotus excels when used with water pipes. When vaping through water, the Lotus holds its own against the likes of the Cloud EVO and other high performance desktop vaporizers.
The power that a torch offers is very great and allows you to really push your herbs onto the brink of combustion if you’re looking to extract all of the active compounds in your material as fast as possible.
This is also one of my top picks for vapes under $200. For $147, the kit I got is a great value – would’ve been better if my torch lasted, but that’s besides the point. The unit itself is excellent and reliable and the Lotus delivers the lung busting desktop hits in a small form factor.
If you’re looking for a vape that delivers potent on-demand vapor in an affordable package – the Lotus is the vape you’ve been missing out on.