With marijuana now legalized for medicinal or recreational use in 29 states plus D.C., it is perhaps no surprise to learn that the vaporizer industry is set for a significant boom period. In fact, the market was already growing because of the increasing number of people making the sensible shift away from traditional tobacco cigarettes.
The vaporizer and e-cigarette markets were worth around $9.5 billion in 2017, and this number is projected to grow far beyond these levels in the next decade – great news for brands like Firefly Vapes, who already have a decent foothold in the market. One report published in the Cision PR Newswire, for example, suggested the industry could be worth $61 billion by 2025! Other figures include price targets of $32 billion and $47 billion by 2025. Even if the lowest figure proves accurate, it is certainly a golden age for vaporizer manufacturers.
As such, there are dozens of firms producing vapes of drastically contrasting quality, and it is our goal to provide detailed information about the best and the worst in the industry. In this piece – our complete Firefly Vaporizer review – we take a look at some of the brand’s most popular products in an effort to see whether or not they’re up to snuff with some of the other top players in the industry like DaVinci and Pax.
Firefly Vaporizers: Who are they?
The Firefly vape company was founded by Mark Williams and Sasha Robinson in 2012. This might seem relatively recent, but in such a fledgling industry, they’ve actually been around for quite awhile!
Neither Robinson nor Williams fit the archetypal ‘stoner’ stereotype, though. Williams was rising through the Apple ranks where he was designing Mac OS Software, whereas Robinson also had a promising tech career in Silicon Valley. Both men were health-conscious smokers who had experimented with various vaporizers, and saw real potential in the industry. According to Williams, while the duo admired the early inventors of vapes (referring to them as ‘pioneers’), he was of the impression that available models were more ‘scientific experiments’ than they were actual hi-tech devices (keep in mind that even to this day, Firefly Vapes are not ‘officially’ designed for weed users).
As such, when these two “techy” minds came together, they attempted (and ultimately succeeded) in creating a dry herb vaporizer that nearly did for smoking what the iPhone did for music. It was very much a labor of love for Robinson and Williams, because both walked away from lucrative vocations to try their hand in the vaporizer market.
Creating the Firefly Vape
By January 2011, the enterprising duohad been working on their project for two years, but were still not satisfied with the quality and safety of their creation. The butane wasn’t reliable enough, and according to Robinson, “you couldn’t just hand it to your grandmother.” Ultimately, they flushed their original plan down the toilet and started again.
They elected to switch to an electrical power source (rather than butane), and focused on finding a top-grade heating coil with the goal being to ensure the air inside the chamber remained pure. The next step was to experiment with several metals that would be used for the inside chamber walls, but soon both men developed an allergy to the nickel/chromium alloy, which was the industry standard coil at the time. In a way, this was a stroke of good fortune because it forced them to try something new – a material that would end up changing the nature of the vape game!
The testing phase for the “new” material was a long and drawn out affair. They ran their model for ten seconds and powered it off for five, repeating the process around 50,000 times. Eventually, they were satisfied with their creation and in 2011, they showed the prototype to Aaron LaCascio, who was one of the top distributors of vape products in the world. LaCascio was blown away by what he saw, and the OG Firefly Vaporizer was released at the end of 2013.
The device was greeted with acclaim by the greater vaping world, and was actually deemed the best vaporizer on the market. Today, there are two models, aptly named the Firefly and the Firefly 2. In this article, we review them both in detail.
Firefly Vaporizer Review: – The “OG” Firefly Vape!
The original Firefly vaporizer was available for sale in December 2013, at which point it cost a wallet-busting $269. Some would say that it was a small price to pay for a revolutionary device, but while the Firefly 1 was exceptional in many ways, it also had a few issues which only became solved in its second incarnation (which is now run on the specialized Firefly App).
Key Features of the Firefly Vaporizer
The original Firefly vape is a portable convection vaporizer which heats up your dry herb in approximately seven seconds. During our Firefly vaporizer review, the thing that grabbed our attention most was just how little it resembled a standard vape device. This makes total sense though, as if you recall Robinson and Williams hated the designs of old-school vaporizers, and wanted to create something sleek and sexy.
They ultimately succeeded though with the first of their Firefly models, which looks more like a mobile phone than a vaporizer. Even though it is a portable device, it is extremely well-built and at 278 grams, is perhaps slightly heavier than the “industry average.” The reason for the extra heft is the addition of stainless steel heat sinks, which work to dissipate excess heat and allow the unit to stay cool during and immediately after a vaping session.
There are a host of great accessories with the Firefly, including a travel bag which offers extra space for other items. You also get five replacement screens, five cleaning picks, a multi-sided brush, and several cleaning wipes. We love the bag because it allows you to carry your vape device in secret. Also, the brush’s design makes cleaning pretty damn easy.
In terms of function, it uses a glass heating chamber which holds approximately 0.15 grams of dry herb. By today’s standards, that is on the small side of things but it still allows you to have 5-8 hits per vaping session.
The heating element reaches around 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and the instant heat increases the unit’s efficiency because it doesn’t waste herb during an extended heating up or cooling down session. When using the Firefly 1 vaporizer, for instance, you’ll notice the warm glow produced by the device. This is a signal that the heating element has reached its maximum temperature, and thus is ready to use (also makes for a pretty awesome sight at night).
The removable battery is arguably the biggest let down with the original Firefly vape, as you get little more than 45 minutes of continuous use per charge — nowadays, this is very much on the low side.
Indeed, some users complained that they could barely get through three full chambers of bud on a single charge. You can buy spare batteries and swap them out as needed, but everyone knows this is a pain in the ass. On the plus side, though, the battery charges in 45 minutes which is exceptionally fast and way above the industry standard.
How to Use the Firefly Vaporizer
The lid on the Firefly Vape is held by a pair of extremely powerful magnets and initially, you’ll be shocked by how much force it takes to open. We were a little annoyed by the lack of instructions provided by the manual, which essentially said using the Firefly is as easy as putting in the battery, plugging it in, charging it, adding your herb, pressing the power button, and vaping.
In reality, if you do this you’ll end up frustrated. Once your Firefly is charged, you’ll want to flip the power switch on the right-hand side of the device to turn it on (at which point you will see a green LED light). The heat button is on the other side and once you press it, the vaporizer will hit 400 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of seconds. Please note though that no matter how long you hold down the heating button for, the Firefly will heat for a maximum of 30 seconds continuously. The longer you hold the button, the thicker the vapor.
You will see the chamber as soon as you remove the lid, and we found that building a mound over it is the best method of loading. Make sure none of the herbs touch the steel or else you’ll make cleaning a little bit harder. Also, you need finely ground herb to benefit from the best results.
One of the best aspects of the Firefly is the ease of maintenance. We recommend cleaning the device after every session, because the window on the cover and stainless steel stay warm for an extended period of times, helping keep things more “fluid” and more easily wiped down. A paper towel will suffice when removing residue, though the double-sided cleaning tool also does an exceptional job.
After several heavy sessions with the Firefly vape, you may notice a residue on the window and the area surrounding the chamber. Wait for the heating element to cool down, and remove the build-up with alcohol. Most users say they have up to 15 sessions before the unit needs a thorough cleaning.
Firefly Vaporizer: Vapor Quality
During our OG Firefly vape review, we found that the actual vapor quality on the unit was best when we preheated the chamber for six seconds and held the power button for the 30-second maximum. You will benefit from a great draw and decent vapor quantity if you do this. Also, after drawing try and shake the Firefly to move the herbs to ensure you use every last piece.
If you can draw for up to 10 seconds on the second hit, you will be greeted with an exceptionally dense cloud. Most users get a minimum of eight hits per session, and our team managed ten. Overall, the vapor quality is superb and at the time, only desktop units were capable of better.
Overall Thoughts on the Firefly 1 Vape
When the Firefly 1 vape was released back in December 2013, it was rightly regarded as one of the best portable vaporizers on the market. As a convection model, it is extremely efficient because it only heats your herbs while you press the power button. The almost instant heating up time was also a coup at a time when other vaporizers were taking up to 60 seconds.
Aside from the first few uses, the Firefly is as easy as charging, pressing a switch and holding down a button after loading the chamber. Also, with no external batteries or extra pieces, it is the definition of ‘portable’ (and comes with a 5-year warranty for added peace of mind). Another bonus was the lightning fast battery charge time of 45 minutes, and the fact that the unit is remarkably easy to clean and maintain.
It has been almost five years since the original Firefly vape was released and, it there’s no denying that it now looks dated compared to newer models – especially its successor (which we review below). Moreover the battery life is very low at 45 minutes, and as the Firefly vaporizer was for sale at $269, it is a very expensive model. Indeed, there are arguably superior vaporizers on the market today for under $100.
The Firefly was a fantastic vaporizer for its time, but it has been comprehensively usurped by its big brother, the Firefly 2. When you learn about the app for this new Firefly vape, you will be astonished as Firefly’s software for vaporizer control is a game changer – just like their introduction of the OF Firefly was a game changer back in 2013.
Keep reading to learn more about the device, and if it’s worth the increase in price from the original design!
The Complete Firefly 2 Vape Review
This unit was launched amidst huge anticipation, and during our investigative Firefly 2 vaporizer review we quickly learned that the hype was justified. The $329.95 price tag will seem a bit bananas for many weed lovers (and will place the device outside the budget of most vapers), but if you want to treat yourself to one of the best in the game, we believe this vaporizer is the way to do it.
Upon its release, numerous cannabis and tech publications urged people to buy the Firefly 2. Here is what a few of the biggest names in the game had to say about it:
“The sleekest thing I have ever owned.” – New York Times.
“One of the most perfect vaping machines.” – TechCrunch
“A+ Vapor, A+ Flavor, A+ Efficiency.” – The Vape Critic
The list of positive reviews goes on and on and on, and it didn’t take us long to learn why.
Key Features of the Firefly 2 Vape
Like the original, the Firefly 2 vaporizer is a portable convection vape for dry herb. However, unlike the original you can also use wax and other concentrates such as butter and rosin. It is 55% lighter and 33% smaller than the Firefly 1, but is far more powerful with an even faster heating up time.
The device is unfortunately made in China (albeit with Grade A quality materials), and this is a fact which is immediately obvious as soon as you scan the box and its contents. (However, it’s worth noting that at the time of writing the vape’s defect rate is exceedingly low). So despite being lighter and smaller than its predecessor, the Firefly 2 loses none of its durability.
In terms of materials, the brand switched the main body from aluminum to magnesium alloy, which accounts for the drop in weight (and also means the unit has a far lower rate of thermal conductivity). In simple terms, the use of magnesium alloy means the outside of the device stays cool during sessions, even while the inside is a searing 400+ degrees Fahrenheit. Also, the whole vapor oven (barring the removable Firefly 2 mouthpiece), is lined with Gorilla glass – virtually indestructible unless you’ve got some serious anger issues and send it flying into oncoming traffic or something.
February 2016 was the initial release date of the Firefly 2 vaporizer, and this was a time when most units were still taking up tp 60 seconds to heat up. The Firefly 2 on the other hand, enables you to start vaping within three seconds – as close as you can get to an instant hit. In design terms, the Firefly team realized that they got it right the first time and there are actually few significant aesthetic changes.
Firefly 2 vape accessories include a pair of swappable batteries, a cleaning kit with two plastic toothpicks, a multi-sided cleaning brush & alcohol wipes, concentrate pads, and a USB charging dock.
Where the Firefly 2 really diverges from its original, though, is in its temperature settings. While the original was a one-shot deal, the Firefly 2 offers you six heat settings, which is crucial as it now allows you to fully customize your high. It uses a 50-watt heater and a bowl made from borosilicate glass, and one of the six settings is specifically for concentrates such as wax and butter.
The heating element will warm your herb (or wax) to 400 degrees Fahrenheit in a scarcely believable three seconds, and it takes just five seconds to reach the lofty heights of 420 degrees. When using concentrate, the heating element hits 500 degrees, and one of the many amazing things about the new Firefly model is the fact that the glass chamber transfers hardly any heat at all. For example we were able to keep our finger in the chamber for almost 10 seconds while holding down the trigger, before we felt any danger of getting scalded
For the record, here is the full list of the five dry herb temperature settings:
- 340 °F
- 360 °F
- 380 °F
- 400 °F
- 420 °F
If you recall you’ll remember that one of the biggest issues with the first Firefly was the painfully short battery life, but this has been addressed in the new model to more than make up for it, with the addition of a removable 770mAh lithium-ion battery. While the original allowed perhaps three full chambers on a single charge, the Firefly 2 vape is good for up to eight sessions of at least eight draws each (battery life is lower when using concentrates).
One minor issue that the Firefly 2 vape review team found, though, is that the battery has to be in the device to charge it. This means that you have to have a second battery, and that can be a downer to some. If battery #1 dies during the session and you switch to #2, for instance, you have to wait until the end of your session to charge #1. On the plus side, the battery charges to 100% in 45 minutes (and amazingly to 80% in just 20 minutes), so it’s really not a big deal either way.
How to use the Firefly 2 Vaporizer
There are some slight changes to the original in design terms. The power switch is gone and has been replaced by a dual capacitive touch sensor on both sides of the vaporizer. As the buttons are only activated by your fingers, there is no danger of the unit getting turned on accidentally.
Put your thumb at the arrow on the bottom of the unit, press down and push up to see the battery. Put your finger beneath the lip at the top of the battery to pull it out and putting it back in is easy. We found the mouthpiece a little irritating to remove as it requires wiggling it a bit.
One crucial thing to note is that the Firefly 2 has no power button which means it is always in standby mode. You can control the temperature by installing the Firefly 2 app which connects to the device via Bluetooth. It is quick and easy to use and also tells you how much battery is left. You have the option to choose which button controls the heater; left, right, or both and we discuss the app in more detail below.
One slight issue is the size of the oven which only allows you to pack around 0.15 grams of dry herb, more or less the same as the original. We recommend stirring or mixing your herbs every few hits to ensure they heat evenly. The default temperature setting for herbs is 400 degrees and is an excellent starting point. If you want more vapor, increase to 420 degrees or lower it for a smoother and longer lasting session.
The Firefly 2 retains the efficiency of the original as your herbs are only cooked when you press the heating button and begin drawing. After letting go of the button, the vaporizer stops cooking the herb. Therefore, while the chamber is small, you use every tiny part of your herbs. When you press both sensors, the green light at the top of the device will flash for five seconds and then turn solid.
Now is the time to start drawing from the mouthpiece. After lots of experimentation, we concluded that long and slow draws help you get the best out of your weed. Once you hold down the buttons for 30 seconds, the unit goes into standby mode.
The Firefly 2 is one of the easiest vaporizers to clean. If you fail to clean it for several sessions in a row, you will see a build-up on the window but it doesn’t affect performance. As a bonus, there is no screen in the bowl to worry about so you can clean the device with a power towel soaked in a bit of ISO propyl alcohol. Make sure you wipe down the vapor both on the lid and body; and that’s it!
The Firefly 2 warranty is of the limited kind and covers your device against defects in material/workmanship for up to two years after purchase. If your Firefly 2 doesn’t work, get in touch with the company’s team via email at [email protected]
The Firefly 2 comes with three concentrate pads which enable you to vape wax or e-liquids. Simply take one of the pads, place it in the chamber, and add your e-liquid or wax. We found that a few drops of oil or 0.1 grams of wax were enough for a satisfying session.
Preheating the device for concentrates use requires you to hold down the heat button for 30 seconds before letting go and drawing in the usual way. If you hold the button down for a few seconds before taking a hit, you’ll benefit from a denser cloud of vapor.
Using the Firefly 2 App
The app is available for iOS and Android and pairing the vaporizer to your phone is as easy as opening the app and ensuring the device is awake by touching one of the sensors; the app does the rest.
Once you have downloaded it, you can control the six heat settings and select your preferred activation option. There is also a battery charge indicator which ensures you know precisely how much power is left.
The Firefly 2 power tuning option enables you to adjust your base temperature up to 111%. In other words, if you set the device to the 420-degree setting, the temperature output will be around 466-467 degrees. It is the best way to get the densest clouds of vapor but there is a risk of combustion. We found that keeping the device at a maximum of 105% ensured better vapor with little risk of combustion.
The Firefly 2 is for sale at the cost of $330, and you would expect it to deliver extraordinary vapor clouds. Fortunately, it easily passes the test. When you use the power tuning option, you can produce even better clouds than before and the flavor is practically desktop vaporizer standard. Slow draws lead to especially satisfying vapor and if you can use the 111% setting without causing combustion, you will receive clouds the likes of which you can’t get from any other vaporizer on the market.
Obviously, flavor dissipates slightly on the highest temperature settings but when you use the lower settings, the flavor hits you like a sledgehammer. As you need to stir the bowl every 3-4 draws, the lack of a stirring tool is a puzzling oversight. The 500-degree concentrate settings allow for potent draws and incredible flavor.
The Firefly 2 is a significant improvement over its predecessor. Essentially, the brand managed to remove all of the less favorable aspects of the first incarnation while keeping the things that made it great. The Firefly 2 is lighter, slimmer and more portable and the battery life is markedly longer.
It still charges incredibly quickly and the temperature settings and control are as good as it gets in the portable vaporizer industry at present. Not only do you have five settings for your herbs, but there is also a special concentrate setting. The app and the power tuning update have only heightened the sense of control.
The main downsides are the small chamber, the fact you can’t charge a battery outside the unit, and the extremely high price tag. However, if you love your herb and can afford it, we believe the Firefly 2 is worth the cost.
Battle of the Firefly Vapes
What Are the Main Benefits of the Firefly 2?
- Exceptional vapor quality regardless of whether you use herbs or concentrates.
- Ideal for long or short sessions.
- The battery charges to 80% in just 20 minutes.
- Two removable batteries are included.
- The mobile app enables you to choose between the six heat settings and also monitors battery life.
- The power tuning option adds an extra 11% to the unit’s temperature so you can have a tailored smoke.
What Are the Downsides of the Firefly 2?
- Very expensive for a portable vaporizer.
- Small chamber capacity.
- There is a bit of a learning curve when trying to use it at first.
- The finish can scratch. For example, if you have it in your pocket, your house keys could damage the surface.
- The draw resistance is a little high.
The Firefly vs. the Firefly 2
There were just over two years between the release of the Firefly and the Firefly 2 so let’s see how the brand upgraded their new model.
Firefly 1 had a gorgeous, sleek appearance and resembled a cell phone. You could leave it on a table and no one would guess that it is a vaporizer. It is a bulky device, too large for some users and the company changed things with the second model. The Firefly 2 is significantly smaller and lighter and you can purchase covers in multiple colors including red, blue, black, and gold.
The Firefly 1 is made of stainless steel and borosilicate glass while the heating chamber is made of ceramic superalloy. The Firefly 2 is made with lighter magnesium alloy which accounts for its relative lightness.
Ease of Use
To be frank, the first Firefly is a lot easier to use; mainly because of the lack of tech. All you have to do, once you have loaded the chamber, is press a button on the side and the herb heats up. The coil hits 400 degrees Fahrenheit in around five seconds with seven as the limit. You can hold down the button to increase vapor production.
The Firefly 2 is a bit more complicated because it has six temperature settings; five for the dry herb and one for the concentrate. You can download the app which enables you to control the temperature. You can also view battery life and with the brand-new Power Tuning option, you can add 11% to the existing temperature.
Users bemoaned the low battery life with the first Firefly model. It was normal to kill a 100% battery in less than 45 minutes. Fortunately, the company listened and the battery on the Firefly 2 lasts twice as long. The batteries in both models charge to full capacity in around 45 minutes.
Neither model excels in this category but for differing reasons. The Firefly 1 is far too heavy and bulky; it doesn’t ‘feel’ right in your pocket. The Firefly 2 is much smaller and while it is made with high-quality materials, you’re never sure if it will withstand much wear and tear or a heavy fall. When using the second model on the go, make sure you have preset the temperature to your preferred specifications because changing it on the app is a pain in crowded places.
To be fair, the original Firefly offered excellent vapor production and quality. However, there is only one temperature setting so getting the best results involves a lot of trial and error by holding down the power button for various lengths of time.
With the Firefly 2, you have a greater degree of control because of the temperature settings. Vapor flavor on the lower settings and vapor production on the highest settings are remarkable. The power tuning only helps your quest to create the biggest clouds ever. There is a danger of combustion if you set the power tuning to the maximum setting of 111%.
Chamber Size & Heating Up Time
You can’t fault either device for heating up time. It takes a maximum of seven seconds to heat your herb in the Firefly 1 but in the Firefly 2, you can start vaping in as little as three seconds! Unfortunately, the chamber is too small for both devices. When rival vaporizers can fit quadruple the amount of herb, questions need to be asked.
In reality, comparing the two is a moot point because the Firefly 1 has been discontinued. You can still buy it second-hand of course. Ultimately, the Firefly 2 is equal to, or better than, the original in every single department. It offers longer battery life, even better vapor production, extra temperature settings, cool app extras, more accessories, and the ability to vape concentrate.
The Firefly 1’s only advantage is price and we firmly believe its successor is worth the extra $60 if you could purchase the original in the first place. Our goal is to educate readers and we believe you should always choose the best vaporizer on the market which is arguably the Firefly 2.
|Type of Material Used||Dry Herb||Dry Herb & Wax/Oil|
|Price||$269.95 (No Longer Available)||$329.95|
|Temperature Settings||One Setting: Approx. 400 degrees Fahrenheit||Six Settings in total: Five Dry Herb Settings 340-420 degrees & one Concentrate setting of approx. 500 degrees|
|Battery Performance||Three full chambers per full charge||Up to eight full chambers per charge|
|Charging Time||45 minutes||45 minutes; 20 minutes to reach 80%|
|Vapor Production & Smoothness||Excellent vapor production and reasonable smoothness||Outstanding vapor production and smoothness|
|Heating-Up Time||5-7 seconds||3-5 seconds|
|Chamber Size||0.15 grams||0.15 grams|
|Warranty||5 Years||2-Year Limited|
Firefly 3 – When is it Coming?
Given the success of the Firefly 2, it seems inevitable that a successor will be created. However, the answer to the burning question: When will the Firefly 3 be released? is: ‘We don’t know!’ There is no information as to when, or even if, there will be a third installment although we will be astonished if there isn’t.
What should you expect from the Firefly 3 if it gets released? Perhaps the best thing to do is take a look at where Firefly 2 went right and where it went wrong. On the plus side, the battery charges remarkably quickly, the herb gets heated up in seconds and it is very small, light, slim and beautifully designed. In other words, it is hard to see where the brand improves in these areas.
What we would like to see is a significantly larger oven. At present, the 0.15-0.2-gram capacity is woefully inadequate as there are cheaper dry herb vaporizers capable of holding 0.6 grams or more. If you add inserts to the existing model or create a higher lid, you would immediately increase oven capacity.
Another possible improvement must come in the form of battery life. While you may get up to eight sessions per 100% charge, there is clearly room for further improvement. We already know that companies like Tesla are likely to release smaller and more advanced batteries so it isn’t a stretch to say that Firefly could follow suit.
The app, temperature control, and power tuning options are all sensational upgrades but there could be more to come. To get to the next level, the Firefly 3 could include temperature control to the precise degree; a feature already available in rival devices. We would expect a device with the above upgrades to retail at close to $400 but at least the release of a Firefly 3 would lower the price of the Firefly 2!
Conclusion on FireFly Vapes
So, here are our final thoughts of Firefly vapes. The original model was a real shot in the arm for the industry. No longer did you have to purchase a vape that looked like a blender. It was a cool, sleek and sophisticated device that looked like a cellphone and enabled you to vape in peace.
However, it soon became dated and the people at Firefly knew it. They worked hard to fix the flaws in the first model and in 2016, they released what soon became known as the gold standard in portable vaporizers. The Firefly 2 was surrounded by hype but the fanfare was more than justified.
Issues such as the short battery life, excessive weight, and lack of temperature control were addressed; and the result was a device that rivaled anything available in the market. The addition of the app, followed by the game-changing power tuning update, meant that vapers had a chic portable vaporizer that easily fitted in their pockets and allowed them more control over vapor quality and production.
There are of course a few areas where the Firefly 2 could have been improved upon and we fully expect the team at Firefly to rectify these issues when they release their third model. We have no idea when that will be, but if it is as big an improvement on the last vaporizer as the Firefly 2 was on the original, then the company will once again have created the best vaping device in the world.