Design & Quality
Ease of Use
If a slim, polished look is most important to you, the Pro 2 might be just what you’re looking for. If tons of taste or cost affordable vaping options matter more, this is probably not for you.
PuffCo Pro 2 Review: Small & Sleek, but Falls Short
PuffCo’s third vaporizer the PuffCo Pro 2 is their smallest yet. It’s a fancy looking, solid feeling little pen. It features a stainless steel body and an easy to access single coil chamber. PuffCo claims to be “the New Standard.” So let’s see how this $90 pen measures up! We do expect a lot at that price point!
Note: The review unit was purchased independently to provide an unbiased honest review.
Design & Quality
- 1 430mah battery (Internal)
- 510 Threaded
- 3 Power Settings
- 1 Single Coil Ceramic Rod atomizer
- Kanthal Coil (Confirmed by Co. / No Documentation)
- 1 PuffCo Flat Dab Tool
- 1 Shock-Proof Travel Case
- 1 Charger
The PuffCo Pro 2 sits in between a ‘thin’ 11mm and ‘standard’ 14mm pen at 12.5mm wide. It feels very solid thanks to its stainless steel construction. They’ve placed a shock absorbing silicone cap on the bottom in case of drops, a nice touch for durability’s sake. A silicone splash guard has been placed inside the mouthpiece, and to power the Pro 2, a squishy cloud shaped button is used to activate the vaporizer and cycle through three heat settings:
Green for low, Blue for medium, and White delivers high power hits; double click to activate “Sesh” mode at any power setting. Sesh mode sends power for twelve seconds straight. Press four times to get to the next heat level. Five presses to turn the battery on and off, all explained on the enclosed instruction card.
The heater and battery thread together easily. The chamber’s been hiding this whole time – keep twisting once the atomizer seats, and the mouthpiece easily twists off clockwise. There’s a high level of precision in the fitment of the mouthpiece to atomizer chamber. The fitment allows each part to be as small as possible with minimal to no tolerances. This means frequent cleaning of the atomizer and mouthpiece walls are needed.
The most important part of an oil vaporizer is its heating element.
The PuffCo Pro 2 employs a single white ceramic rod with an “Iron/chromium/aluminum alloy” wire wrapped around it four times. PuffCo support confirmed they specify Kanthal heating wire, and join their heating wire to non-resistance leads with crimps, but couldn’t satisfactorily answer why our heating wire had a large blob of unknown material inside the ceramic cup.
White ceramic is fairly non-porous, it doesn’t have the capacity to absorb or wick oil. For that reason, the white rod the wire is wrapped around serves mostly to hold the wire in place. A bit of oil adheres to it when initially loaded. Once the oil gets hot it tends to run away from the hot wire as well as that non-wick. The thin wire wrapped only four times doesn’t provide much surface area for heat transfer, and locally hotter temperatures are thus needed for the oils loaded in the chamber to reach vaporization temperature. The air inlets have been moved for better airflow across the heater (a positive improvement), and the vape needs a bit of cool-down draw to prevent clogging.
Ease of Use
The PuffCo Pro 2 comes in a small plastic case that holds the battery side by side with the atomizer and mouthpiece, a flat, wide loading tool, and a thread-on USB charger. The carrying case unfortunately can’t accommodate the assembled Pro 2. It requires unthreading the atomizer off the battery each time you put the pen in the case. The Pro 2’s brushed stainless body holds up well in a pocket, even against keys, so the inconvenience of the carrying case wasn’t a big factor for me.
The threaded charger requires you to unthread the atomizer for each charge. Having to thread and unthread the atomizer so often is an unnecessary hassle. So is having to remember to bring that special charger along in the first place. A micro USB port could’ve made this a much easier vape to use. Instead, PuffCo spent time on a “Sesh mode” that holds the button down 12 seconds for you, so that you don’t have to pulse the button twice. If you use this mode on Blue or White, buckle your lungs up, there’s a lot of vapor coming your way. I only enjoyed it on Green (and honestly, I prefer just pulsing the button twice).
Pushing the button, cycling through settings, and taking a draw are all simple steps that PuffCo keeps easy. The one surprise I found was how hard it is to inhale through the Pro 2’s atomizer. Even before the first load, the Pro 2 had a very restricted airflow, similar to sipping through two coffee stirrers, and almost as restrictive as that of a typical pre-fill cartridge. The airflow on the PuffCo Pro 2 disappoints compared to other pens. Once I began using it, I noticed each time how much effort I had to put into each draw.
Strong hits are one of the PuffCo Pro 2’s strengths. Despite the restricted airflow (and perhaps partly in thanks to it) the Pro 2 effortlessly delivers clouds. Even the lowest setting churns out visible vapor hits, medium creates a hazy clouds and White is hot enough to choke me out. Have no fear of weak hits here. The Pro 2 packs a lot of power in a small package. However, the single wick coil doesn’t have the same quality of vapor or vapor production at a given heat level compared to a dual coil atomizer. A dual coil could put out the same amount of vapor with less peak heat, and better flavor.
The PuffCo Pro 2’s high powered heating wire ensures efficient use of your oils, so long as they’re loaded sparingly. 2-3 hits worth works well. More than this and you’ll end up splattering unvaped oil on the chamber walls and inside of the splatter guard. The guard is effective at preventing splatter from reaching your mouth, but it’s also really effective at collecting a lot of unvaporized oil and reclaim of vaporized oil. Its shape makes it fairly difficult to recover the oil off of. I ended up taking it out and leaving it that way.
The airflow seems to be under the ceramic rod for more airflow across the heater. I’m not sure if this contributes to the restricted airflow, but it helps with vapor production. Without a real wick to feed oils into the heater, a little oil pooling is unavoidable.
Versatility / Atomizer Options
The Puffco Pro 2 supports only one style of heating element, their single white ceramic rod with four wraps of a thin gauge unknown alloy wire, fit to the Pro 2’s mouthpiece. Their other vaporizer, the PuffCo Plus also has a single type of atomizer, a ceramic plate coil-less atomizer. PuffCo Pro “1” owners were already upset at the need to purchase a complete new vaporizer with a very similar form factor to experience the new heating chamber. PuffCo explained that the Plus’ battery is more powerful than the Pro, so it was required.
Now the story repeats itself with a twist, because there’s no way the PuffCo Pro 2’s heater requires more power. Why the new PuffCo Pro 2 atomizer could not work on the Plus doesn’t make sense. Today’s vaporists like flexibility in the vaporizers they use. PuffCo’s decision to require complete units to try different heating elements seems out of touch.
It baffles us that you can’t use their own PuffCo Plus atomizer with this model. In 2017 when most vape pens have at least a coiled and coil-less option available for a vape pen, the Pro 2 feels very 2015.
The PuffCo Pro 2 is one of the smallest wax pens I’ve ever used and is very portable on its own. If you’ll need to charge it you’ll have to bring along its special USB thread on charger. Without a micro USB port you can’t simply use an existing charging cable. If you have a shatter or pull & snap, you may want to use a different loading tool, but if you bring the case along you’ll have their included flat tool, too.
The small size of the PuffCo Pro 2 allows you to pocket it and bust it out anywhere you see the need. It’s pretty shiny and it would be nice to see it available in a darker color scheme for those who really prefer discretion. Other than that, there isn’t much that could be improved upon here.
With PuffCo Pro 2’s emphasis on ease of use and cloud production, there’s no surprise that flavor isn’t a big factor here. The first hit of a load on a freshly cleaned chamber tastes great, and after that the flavor degrades pretty quickly; even with very small loads (2-3 hits per load). The small heater must heat up quite hot in order to vaporize a given load. This is evident by test firing the heating element when totally clean, even on Green a glow may be seen on the wire on the third pulse. On higher heat settings cloud production goes up, and flavor goes down.
When kept on Green (low heat) the taste stays decent for some time, and the first hit or two taste nice, and fresh. After those first few hits I never get the same level of flavor until I do a full on deep clean. One accidental high power blast on White is all it takes for a flavor chaser to require a full clean. Even after trying PuffCo’s suggested high temp burn off suggestion and going back to a fresh load on Green, the taste could not be restored. If you are looking for a vaporizer to deliver fantastic flavor from terpene rich oils, keep looking, this one’s meant for heavy hitters.
Priced at $89.99 the PuffCo Pro 2 is positioned at the top end of the wax pen market. Its packaging and looks certainly give an impression of quality, as does its solid build quality and precision fitment of parts.
However, the four-wrap Kanthal wire around a single ceramic rod heating element and chamber seems quite dated compared to many other of todays pens which employ dual coil heating elements, porous black ceramic wicks, quartz walls & rods. Not to mention wireless, donut style heaters, and the next gen of sealed chambers like PuffCo’s own Plus model, Kandypens Galaxy, or Source Nail & Terra 2)- the flavor and performance of the Pro 2 reflect the technology its heater contains.
The high costs of high class for a restricted draw with low flavor potential and one atomizer don’t seem worth the price of admission.
The best price on the Puffco Pro 2 as of July 12, 2017 we could find is at Puff Avenue. After using coupon code “SUMMER” the total comes to $62.99.
With the discount, when you can get it, the Puffco Pro 2 is much more reasonably priced.
The Puffco Pro 2 replacements for its white ceramic single coil are $19.99. That is more than a fifth of the cost of the complete kit. They don’t tend to have coupons to get them cheaper, so you’re stuck paying the full $20 for replacements. That’s a real high price for a low-tech heater of white ceramic single coil with four wraps of an aluminum-alloyed metal. It’s not offered with any savings if purchased in bulk.
Take good care of your coil and keep your metal tools away, these will get expensive to replace over time.
If a slim, polished look is most important to you, the Pro 2 might be just what you’re looking for. If tons of taste or cost affordable vaping options matter more, this is probably not the pen for you. If you do like the sleek design of Puffco, but want an overall better vape pen, check out our Puffco Plus review.