Design & Build Quality
The elm&owl Wing Vaporizer scores high on efficiency, portability and discretion. It could benefit from a wider air path
The elm&owl Wing Vaporizer Delivered Great Hits Without a Huge Bowl Commitment, but Air Path Could Be Better
elm&oil has introduced the Wing vaporizer, a budget friendly dry herb vape with a compact form factor. At $129.95, it's at the lower end of the dry herb vape price range. In short, the Wing vape is impressive for the price and one of the most discreet dry herb vapes on the market.
Wing Vaporizer Design and Quality
The Wing feels solid for being mostly made out of plastic. Considering the price it is excellent but when you are holding one of the more expensive vapes side by side you can feel the difference in build. Most new vapes in this price range don't feel to solid. However, some older vapes that are still available such as the original DaVinci vape offer a more solid build at the same price.
Air Path of the Wing Vape
I broke down the air path to get a clear view of how it works. It is almost all ceramic to metal which is good. There is air path but it does not seem like there was any damage to these areas and they may not get hot enough for an issue. This is explained below.
The metal tube is where all the air flows from the ceramic cup below into the mouthpiece. In the connection between the cup and the metal rod, there is n O-ring and a plastic piece that does come in contact with the vapor as can be seen by the material in there.
There was no signs of melting issues with the air path and as mentioned in the taste section below, taste was great. However, this could cause concern for some and will turn many hard core vapers away. This air path could have been made much better without it going over the rubber-like ring and plastic.
The ring and plastic parts seems to far away from the heat source to actually melt. The only potential issues I can see with the air path is that it looks like it can be prone to build up on a particular part of the airflow chamber and after a while it might not taste so great. See below.
This part of the vape could build up with dry herb over time. However, there may be a safe way to clean it or the small build up may stop a further build up. It is hard to tell without extensive long term use. There may be also a safe way to disassemble and clean it. I am not good at safely deconstructing so it is my fault the item broke when I took it apart.
Wing Vaporizer Design and Size
The Wing is on the smaller end of handheld vaporizers and is held easily in the pocket without taking up much room. The total length is about 4.5 inches. The width with the side wing on it is less than 2 inches. The bowl is also small, which is a nice change as for me I rather keep packing fresh bud then hit the same bowl twice.
The mouthpiece was a bit odd and more like a slit on the corner of the device. Once you get used to it it's fine, but a different shape here may have improved airflow.
However, changing the mouthpiece would also make the Wing less discreet, so it is a trade off. I see why they went with this mouthpiece design as the trade off is pretty good. The Wing vaporizer is the most discreet I have seen that actually works well.
Dry Herb Holder: The "Wing"
The Wing has a dry herb holder that connects onto the side with a magnet. The metal tool is convenient and pops into the attachment itself. Great design on this dry herb holder. Surprised no one else has thought of this before, this really helps keep things simple and on the go. You do not have to carry anything extra but the vape to be able to hit it on the go.
Strength: Wing Is Pretty Strong, Especially for It's Size
Strength was good, but seemed a bit limited by the airflow. At first I thought this may be due to the mouthpiece, but after breaking it down it appears to be the air path. See the above. Overall strength was close to a DaVinci Ascent or Pax 2, but not near the power range of the Storz & Bickel Mighty.
The Wing's Heating is Efficient
The Wing is on par with all the more expensive vapes on efficiency. One thing that could be improved is a wider airflow path as that would add to overall efficiency. You can see the airflow restrictions when the vape is broken down. The bowl is smaller than a lot of vapes which is great for users who do not want to vape too much herb all at once. I prefer this bowl size over any other vapes i have tried. Feels like the perfect amount.
The AVB is evenly vaped as you can see to the right. The seal was compact and the bowl was completely ceramic.
Awesome on Portability
Portable dry herb vapes are typically way bigger than vape pens. Not so with the Wing vaporizer. Its shorter in length than almost all vape pens and not that much wider. Its dimensions are: 1.75" width and 4.5" length. Much less mass to carry than a typical box mod battery.
A lot of dry herb vapes won't fit comfortably into a small pocket. So far the Wing has been pocket-friendly on everything, even a shirt pocket. Regardless of price, the Wing wins on portability.
Discretion: Looks Like a Backup Battery
The Wing vaporizer is very discreet. Someone saw it on my desk and asked, "Is that another backup battery?" If someone is looking right at you when hitting it, they might figure out its a vape. But it looks more like a backup battery than anything else. You could probably leave this on your desk at work and nobody would know what it is. The Wing's mouthpiece placement could be better for airflow. Discretion was the priority it appears on this vape, and the mouthpiece not sticking out makes it much more discreet. The Wing vaporizer is one of the most discreet dry herb vapes out there.
Taste: No Plastic Taste/Smell
A lot of vapes. but not all in the sub-$150 price range have a plastic taste to them. Usually due to poor quality components and the air path going over a lot plastic. This vape is not one of them. The Wing vape's air path does go over some plastic and rubber, it appears nothing is too heated that it is melting. You could clearly taste the bud you were smoking without any after taste or added on tastes by the vape. Taste is on par with vapes in the $200-$250 range.
There is only the slightest bit of contact with an O-ring and possibly the rubber mouthpiece with the vapor. It showed no signs of any damage after use. The rubber can also be taken off and the mouthpiece still fits fine. I have tried many vapes in this price range or lower and many of them have a melting plastic taste, I did not experience that on this one. However, it is hard to say how this air path will taste with longer term, extensive use.
Value: Not bad at $129
For the newer model vapes, this is one of the best at this price. Comparing to older high end vapes the closest competitor is the original DaVinci, which now is $129 also. The Wing vaporizer wins on discretion and hit strength, while the DaVinci wins on build quality. Whichever specs are more important to you, at this price range both of these would be high on the list. Based on the feel of the build quality on both, I do think the DaVinci would last longer.
At $129 it is priced more expensive than no-name Chinese vapes, but much cheaper than mainstream higher end vapes. It kind of is in it's own value category. It is much better than you would probably get at most local smoke shops for $129 among newer models. Hunting around the internet though, there may be options many would prefer in this price range.
Should You Get a Wing Vaporizer?
Overall the Wing is a decent vaporizer for it's price range. The elm&owl Wing vape is not as good as vapes that cost 2.5x-3x as much, and they don't claim it is. A lot of people might get a Wing vaporizer solely for the discreetness of it as it is hard to beat in that department. The other bonus is the bowl size, it really is compact and does not use a bunch of bud at once. Really even other users won't know it is a vape unless they specifically know about Elm & Owl's Wing.
If you are looking to spend more and just want one vape there are a lot of options out there, but in this price range the Wing is a decent choice for a very discreet dry herb vape. It also comes with a one year warranty which is re-assuring. You can find the Wing on the elm&owl website here.