7th Floor Vaporizers is a pioneering company that started in 2004 with its launch of the Silver Surfer Vaporizer. Since then, the company has put out the Super Surfer, Da Buddha, the Light Saber, and now the Sidekick.
The Sidekick vaporizer brings a new perspective to 7th Floor’s lineup of stellar vapes. While this isn’t 7th Floor’s first handheld vape, it is their first portable vaporizer. 7th Floor in general is highly regarded in the community for their unique designs, outstanding workmanship, and day to day reliability.
This Sidekick review will be broken down into the following categories. These points will cover everything about the vape, and give detailed analysis into its performance and design:
- Oven Capacity and Efficiency
- Dry Herbs
- Vapor Path
- Temperature Control
- Vapor Quality
- Dry Herbs
- Portability and Build Quality
- Switching Between Dry Herbs and Concentrates
- Battery Life and Charging
- Pros/Cons Breakdown
- Final Subjective Assessment
With all that said, let’s start breaking down the Sidekick vaporizer!
Oven Capacity and Efficiency of the Sidekick
The oven capacity and efficiency category will cover how much material you can load respectively into the oven, and how efficiently it vaporizes your material.
The Sidekick utilizes a fairly large ceramic conduction heating chamber to vaporize your herbs and concentrate.
Dry herbs in the Sidekick vaporizer
The Sidekick is primarily designed to vaporize dry herbs, and as such is sporting a fairly large ceramic oven. In this section, we are just looking at how much we can load into it, and how efficiently does it vape your herb.
The Sidekicks oven holds roughly .2-.3 of ground herb. You can fit closer to the .3 mark if you grind finer, but I found somewhere around .2 was average with a normal grind consistency.
The Sidekick will also fully extract all of the cannabinoid-rich resin on your herbs. I am happy to say this vaporizer will leave nothing behind if you vape at the higher temperature spectrum which peaks at around 450F.
Personally, I found myself under 380F most of the time on average.
The included stir mechanism is a great addition since the Sidekick is a conduction vaporizer. The stir tool allows for you to stir your bowl while you’re hitting it or during the intermediary period of you hitting it or passing it to someone.
This is great because it allows for all of the herb to make contact with the oven and become evenly vaporized without the need of taking off the top and using some kind of tool to stir it the old fashioned way.
The need to stir your oven is something I usually do not look forward to doing when I am using any of my portable vapes, but with the Sidekick it isn’t bad at all. Simply give the gear on the lid a few rotations and your oven is stirred and ready for another toke.
Depending on your herbs and how long you like to draw, I found myself getting about 10-12 draws before I wanted to repack the oven. I found myself stepping up the temperature every 3-4 draws or every rotation if I were using it in a group setting.
Concentrates in the Sidekick vaporizer
The Sidekick also comes equipped with an optional oil can which you can use to vaporize your concentrates. There’s a bit of work on the end users part to go from vaping herb to concentrates. We’ll cover that in depth later in the review; for now, we’re just going to talk about efficiency with concentrates.
The oil can allows you to load large and small amounts of your favorite concentrates – any type of oil or melty hash will work.
I got better results personally with a larger amount of 0.1. You can probably even get away with more if you desire. In general, the larger amounts of concentrate just produce more vapor per draw as expected, but some people get discouraged when they pack small amounts and don’t get crazy vapor production.
Smaller loads of concentrate in the Sidekick work well and lasts awhile, they just won’t give you lung busting hits unless you draw really long!
I found myself getting about 8 large draws from approximately 0.1 in the oil can. I get about the same amount of draws from smaller amounts, but the clouds you get aren’t as dense or potent.
Vapor Path in the Sidekick
The Sidekick is sporting a proprietary vapor path with a vortex cooling rod that can be removed if you want to.
Essentially what it does is take the vapor through a longer path, allowing it time to cool and become less harsh on yourself.
The great thing is, this is an optional portion of the vapor path. If you would prefer a more open and shorter path, you can remove it and your device will still function properly.
Personally, I like the vortex cooling rod present in the vapor path when I use it. I’m not a fan of the lack of draw resistance the vape has when you don’t have the cooling rod installed.
Another cool thing you can do is remove the vortex cooling rod and place it in the freezer before use.
Personally, I wasn’t that big of a fan of this. The hits were different, but I wouldn’t say they were necessarily that much better than with the vortex cooling rod at ambient temperature.
It’s really subjective and is just one of those things you’ll see if you really like or not when you actually have the vape in your hands and give it a try.
Anyone who knows me, knows I love glass. This is something about the Sidekick I appreciate having in my vapes.
The Sidekick comes standard with a clear standard mouthpiece. However, 7th Floor’s in-house glass studio also offers other beautiful options for your Sidekick. I love the matching red mouthpiece and red bubbler mouthpiece that compliment my unit. I find myself switching between them both frequently.
I like both, but they both have pros and cons.
The regular mouthpieces are usually what you expect from a vaporizer, nothing fancy. With that said though, they are executed great and are very comfortable on the lips. The flavor is only slightly better than the bubbler – I didn’t find much difference between the two flavor wise.
When it comes to a smooth draw, the bubbler mouthpiece definitely exceeds the dry mouthpiece in smoothness and overall comfort over a session. It doesn’t filter your vapor through anything crazy, just a simple 2 hole diffuser with a little bit of water. It cools your hit down without stripping away your flavor.
While I’m happy with the vapor path and glass in general, I do have some gripes.
The bubbler mouthpiece is a bit of a pain to fill up, and it’s very easy to overfill it and have water spill out on your lap from the stem.
Also, it’s not that much of a big deal, but you pretty much have to lubricate your mouthpieces. 7th Floor provides you with enough lubricant to last for awhile, but it’s still something I don’t want to do when I pull my Sidekick out to use it.
A valid complaint of the original Pax was the fact that you had to lubricate it now and again or else the mouthpiece would become sticky and hard to manage. In general, I like designs that require as little maintenance as possible, or if you need it, it should be something simple and easy to do in a few seconds with readily accessible materials and supplies.
Coconut oil is something I generally do not have laying around my house; not everyone’s case of course, but I would prefer just not having to lubricate my mouthpieces.
The vapor path in general is easy to clean which I’m happy to say! The vortex cooler can be soaked in alcohol, and the rest of the vapor path can be cotton swabbed with alcohol and brushed out.
Always be mindful of letting your vapes sit out and dry out before using them again – you do not want to inhale alcohol vapors!
Temperature Control on the Sidekick
On the device itself, there are 3 buttons and 1 LCD screen.
The top button starts and shuts down the unit by holding it down. The next button will raise the temperature, and you guessed it, the last button will lower the temperature.
Once you have selected your temperature setting, you will then tap the power button once and the unit will go from “Setting” to “Heating.” Once the Sidekick reaches temperature, the Sidekick will vibrate and the LCD screen will then say “Surfing.”
I like when my vapes vibrate when they are heated to temperature, it’s a nice little addition and is actually pretty handy. It’s easy to just set it down and wait till you hear or feel it vibrate on your table or whatever you rest it on.
Also, the Sidekick will tell you how long the heater has been operating since you turned it on. This is great for keeping track of how long you have been vaping a pack.
The Sidekick vaporizer offers 21 preset temperature settings. While it is nice to have more “exact” control over your temperature, this isn’t an issue as most digital temperature controllers aren’t accurate to begin with anyways.
The Sidekick’s temperature ranges from 248F-455F, so it is essentially giving us a full spectrum to vape from and I have no issues with the Sidekick’s provided temperature spectrum.
The following section is going to break down vapor production, smoothness, flavor, and overall quality for both dry herbs and concentrates.
Vapor Quality for dry herbs in the Sidekick
The Sidekick performs pretty well with dry herbs, but unfortunately, I’m not blown away by its vapor production or flavor. I’m willing to compromise on one or the other, but in my opinion the Sidekick isn’t quite hitting the mark with either.
This is not to say the Sidekick doesn’t perform well, but at it’s MSRP of $300 for the basic kit, it’s vapor quality in my opinion just isn’t stacking up with vapes in its general price range like the Haze v3, Crafty, or the Firefly 2.
The Sidekick’s vapor production is about average. To get the best results, I’ve found nice long slow draws is the way to go. Also, I got better results if I stirred after each hit and let it rest 15-30 seconds between hits. I didn’t get good results trying to hit the unit back to back.
I found myself parked between heat settings 6-8 for dry herb. 6.5 has been my preferred temperature in general, but 8 is great with the bubbler. The higher temperatures around 8-10 do produce decent clouds but at the expense of pretty much all the flavor.
Flavor with this device is okay, definitely not something I would write home about in my opinion. The first few hits are good, but only after a few pulls it just tastes like the herb is spent when it isn’t.
I haven’t really been able to find a balance of vapor production and flavor with the Sidekick. No matter what temperature I go to, I always find myself wanting more of something whether it be flavor or just more vapor.
For $300, I think this going to be a hurdle a lot of people are going to have a hard time getting over. This unit is going up against units that produce monstrous clouds, praise worthy and godly flavor, or even both. With all the options on the market today, I think a lot of people are going to have a hard time biting onto this one.
Concentrates in the Sidekick
Concentrates, now those are exceptional in the Sidekick. On par with other vapes in its class.
I like to bump the temperature up to 9-10, and the bubbler mouthpiece is great if you plan on using this with a lot of concentrates. However, I didn’t actually find the bubbler that necessary when I was using it with concentrates. The vapor is very smooth and easy on the throat even with the dry mouthpiece.
Vapor production is great with concentrates as well. Like with the herb though, being mindful of the frequency of your hits plays a key role in getting satisfying results, in my experience. Giving the unit 15-30 seconds between hits and drawing slowly is necessary for pulling those large clouds.
Flavor is also excellent – your concentrates will taste the way they should. Like other vaporizers in this price bracket, you can taste the complex flavors of high quality extractions. The oil can will build up some residual oil, so I found it is best to let it soak in some isopropyl alcohol every now and again to keep the experience fresh and flavorful.
Portability and Build Quality
This following segment is going to break down how portable the Sidekick vaporizer is and its overall build quality.
Ergonomically speaking, I love the Sidekick’s shape. It fits really well in the hand and I find it much more comfortable to hold than my two favorite portables: the Mighty and the Firefly 2.
The shape also conforms to your leg in the pocket if you are wearing tighter pants or have smaller pockets. The Sidekick fits well in every pair of pants and shorts I’ve pocketed it in.
In terms of discrete use, it’s about on par with most herbal vapes of its size like the Mighty. Most people won’t know what it is, but I of course advise anyone who lives in an area that is not cannabis friendly to always be cautious and never draw more attention than necessary to yourself. Someone with larger hands would have an easier time concealing this vape, but even then the Sidekick is still fairly large.
The Sidekick comes with a beautiful and handy carrying case. It is big enough and has plenty of space for the vape itself, extra mouthpieces, batteries, brushes, car chargers, etc making this a great option for a travel vape.
The build quality is how you know this a 7th Floor vaporizer. It isn’t heavy, but it feels solid – and I mean really solid. Full metal construction, and it is beautifully machined and crafted.
My first impressions in my hand were phenomenal. There’s so many different materials being used in the vaporizer market today, but nothing quite compares to the Sidekick’s anodized aluminum finish.
7th Floor also offers custom engraving! They were kind enough to engrave our website’s name and a cool design onto our Sidekick, which really makes your vaporizer feel more personal!
Something I would like to bring up about the build quality however, there is some rattling when you shake the device. The Sidekick has a top lid which exposes the oven and a bottom lid which gives you access to the battery compartment. When you shake the device, the stirring mechanism will rattle, and both the top and bottom lids will rattle ever so slightly. Likewise, the buttons will also rattle too.
Switching Between Dry Herbs and Concentrates
As we established earlier, the Sidekick has a stirring mechanism that is incorporated into the design. Because of how the unit is designed, you will have to remove the stirring mechanism when you want to vaporize concentrates, and you will have to reinstall it again when you want to use your unit for dry herbs.
This isn’t that big of deal, but the first time you have to loosen the screw on the stirring mechanism is a big pain in the ass if you don’t know what you’re doing. The screw driver just can’t break the screw loose unless you do the following as per 7th Floors Instructions:
“The initial loosening of the screw can be kind of difficult. I have found the easiest way to loosen it is to hold the lid with the stir tool pointed up and your left hand pointer finger on the stirring gear. With your right hand, take the stirring rod. While holding the gear, try to crank that rod away toward the left (away from you). This may give you enough leverage to loosen it up enough where you can use the screw driver to get it the rest of the way out.” -Sam from 7th Floor
After I received that bit of wisdom, it really was a non-issue. I’m not sure if every unit comes out of the factory tight like that, but hopefully this will help out anyone that runs across this issue like I did!
Battery Life and Charging
The Sidekick uses 2x 3.7V 800mAh 18630 in series configuration for power. This is unlike other vaporizers on the market like the Arizer Air, or the Haze v3. Most vapes with removable batteries will use something like a single 18650 battery. As far as I am aware, this is the only herbal vape on the market that uses 18630’s.
Something to be mindful of is the fact that you need to keep each pair of batteries married together.
What does this mean?
They are charged together, they are used together, and they die together. Do not mix and match batteries. Each set of two 18630 batteries should be kept as if it is a single battery. 7th Floor provides handy color coding stickers so you don’t get your different pairs of batteries confused.
I found each pair of batteries to last about 25-30 minutes, and each Sidekick includes two pairs of 18630 batteries. If you factor in both pairs of batteries, that’s about what I expect from a portable vape, however you still have to carry around an extra set of batteries somewhere. Each pair will take about 1-2 hours to charge.
Besides the Sidekick itself, the standard package includes the following:
- Sidekick Vaporizer Storage Bag
- Glass Mouthpiece
- 2 Cleaning Brushes
- Small Bowl-Packing Tongs
- 2 Sets of Batteries
- External battery wall charger
- Small Philips Screwdriver
- Cleaning pads
- Oil Can
- Mouthpiece lubricant
The kit includes pretty much everything you need, and the included storage bag holds it all. Great for keeping everything in the same place, and also having a safe means of transporting your vape and accessories.
Each Sidekick gets a 90 day warranty, which is then extendable to a year with registration of your device. Pretty much like every other vape with glass, your clumsiness will not be covered. But faults and issues in the devices operation and workmanship will be covered by the 1 year warranty.
1 year is pretty standard, but obviously I always like to see a longer warranty if possible!
In summary, I would like to compile all the pros and cons of the Sidekick from 7th Floor.
- Solid and Sturdy Build Quality.
- Ergonomic and comfortable design.
- Very Easy to clean.
- Custom Engraving.
- Optional Glass Accessories.
- Stir Mechanism.
- Replaceable Batteries.
- Vapor quality and vapor production lacking for price.
- Have to keep battery paired together.
- Must lubricate mouthpieces.
- Removing and re-installing the stir mechanism.
Final Subjective Assessment on the Sidekick
Firstly, I would just like to say that for 7th Floors first portable vape you guys did good. There’s room for improvement, but you guys are onto something here.
As it stands, this unit is great, I just feel the market would bite onto it a little harder if it came in at a more economical price point. At the end of the day, a lot of the market now is just looking for that raw vapor production from units like the Grasshopper, Millana, Mighty etc.
While the Sidekick vaporizer has in my opinion the best build quality out of any of my portables, it just doesn’t quite hit the mark when it comes to actual performance. And for the price point of $300, there are better options (Check out our Portable Buyer’s Guide to see our top rated portable vaporizers)
I was just hoping for a little more coming into this review. 7th Floor’s vapor production has always blown me out of the water whenever I witness someone using one of their great desktops to their maximum potential.
I’m really looking forward to see future iterations of 7th Floor portable vaporizers. Only time will tell what’s going to happen, but I always have my ear to the ground when it comes to companies like 7th Floor. Lots of great minds over there, and I’m looking forward to what they are going to offer next.