“Log vaporizers have long-held the title of “Most Efficient” vaporization method on the market.”
Often overlooked by all but the most devout vaporizer enthusiasts, log vaporizers have long-held the title of “Most Efficient” vaporizer style on the market. Their smaller herb chamber capacity coupled with their incredible ability to generate and maintain a constant and even level of heat allows the maximum extraction from the herb.
Underdog vaporizer (sold by Underdog Aromatherapy) is a log style vaporizer built out of a variety of high quality sustainably sourced wood. No two Underdogs are alike due to the nature of working with solid wood, and many designs have been retired as new ones are offered. This means that the Underdog you purchase is unique to you and has no external branding or serializing. In fact, the only “blemish” on the exterior the vaporizer is the power connector port.
What this means is that the when not in use the Underdog doesn’t look out-of-place on a nightstand or shelf while serving its secondary function as an aromatherapy diffuser. While I wouldn’t normally rate a plug-in vaporizer on its stealth, the Underdog gets high marks in that department.
How does it work?
The Underdog has a stainless steel heating core in the center that can efficiently generate and maintain heat due to its size and construction. Further the wood shell of the Underdog acts to insulate the heating core making it easier to maintain a constant level of heat. This is one of the only vaporizers (that I have used) which can keep a consistent level of heat regardless of how quickly you draw. Thats not to say that drawing slowing won’t create thicker hits, but drawing quickly won’t be followed by a short downtime to let your vaporizer reach its appropriate temperature again.
From the time you plug the Underdog in to the time heats up to its appropriate vaporizing temperature varies depending on a few different factors. The first factor is the size and shape of your underdog. The second is the power supply you’re using.
For the purpose of this review I’ll be referencing a standard sized underdog with a standard power supply. If you have a small-sized underdog (twig style) your warm up time will be shorter. Using a VVPS (Variable Voltage Power Supply) you’ll be able to control the operating temperature of your underdog, the warmup time with be directly linked to the temperature you set. Standard warmup time will be between 30 – 40 minutes, the extreme outliers based on size alone range from 15 – 60 minutes.
Once you’re up to temperature and read to get vaping you’ll have a selection of stems and attachments to choose from.
Each stem comes with its own set of pros and cons, but the selection is varied enough that you’ll always have the right stem for the occasion.
- If placed correctly the screen will stay in place until you’re ready to change or clean it.
- It takes practice to shape and place a screen into this stem without multiple unsuccessful tries.
- The screen in this stem is a smaller diameter and doesn’t require any shaping to fit in or replace.
- the screen can sometimes get dislodged while emptying the stem, be careful not to lose it.
The nylon stem will only fit into the newest generation of UD models and snaps into the heating chamber of the UD with a stainless steel tip for a solid fit. The stem itself feels solid and tapers at the top for a comfortable drawing experience.(Note: While I own a nylon stem, I haven’t used it due to incompatibility with my UD model)
- The step snaps into the UD, therefore has the most solid connection.
- The screen seems like it would be a pain to replace because of its snug fit into ridges built into the stem. (Note: I haven’t changed the screen on mine yet)
The UD requires no maintenance short of occasionally rubbing the supplied Underbutter on the outside of the vaporizer to keep the wood looking fresh and healthy. In fact, the lack of moving parts means that the UD is a resilient vaporizer which can withstand some otherwise gnarly incidents. In my time using the UD I accidentally spilled the contents of my aromatherapy cup (beeswax and lemongrass essential oil) into the UD. Upon contacting the manufacturer I received a quick reply which simply stated that he’s done this a few times and the best thing to do would be to leave it on for a few days and let the wax and oil burn off. Since I’ve opted to leave my UD running 24/7 since purchasing it I retired it for a few days, when I returned to it i found it was running perfectly without any blemishes or foreign odors.
How to use the Underdog
When I first received my UD I was unsure how to use it as it came with no instructions on actual use, just setup. I was worried that because the herb was in direct contact with the heating chamber that resin would seep down into the chamber. This has proven to be a non-issue. I order to load your UD stem you simply vacuum up your herb (ground to your desired consistency) and place the end with the herb directly onto the heating chamber. The herb will be trapped between the chamber and screen. If you want to remove the stem, simply pull on the stem as if you we’re taking a hit while lifting the stem off the heating chamber. By pulling air through the stem while removing it you’re guaranteeing that you won’t empty your stem into the UD. I have found that removing the stem will keep the herb from cooking while not in use, but over the course of a session, the difference is negligible.
Overall I’m very happy with the UD, but a few things to note:
- The top of the UD can become very warm, bordering on hot. This varies by both design and thickness of the wood.
- The silicone/glass that connects directly to the chamber will become extremely hot. When you remove it make sure not to touch that end. I have burned myself multiple times by grabbing the hot glass end of my 14mm adapter shortly after removing it.
- Due to its long warmup time it is most convenient to leave the UD on 24/7, this will shorten the lifespan of your UD. I have yet to see any side effects of this after months of use.
Should you get one?
Every vaporizer design suits different needs and lifestyles. If you are able to have a vaporizer at home plugged in 24/7 and don’t mind leaving it out and not packing it away between uses, I’d say absolutely!
Look and Feel
My UD is about the size of a soda can, is a gorgeous California Claro Walnut, and has a solid heft that makes it feel substantial in the hand. The bottom is an 1/8″ thick leather pad which gives the UD a bit of grip to keep from sliding across a surface.
The Underdog ranges in price from $165 – $335. Since each design is hand made from a different variety of wood, the price is set by a combination of quality/rarity of wood, and intricacy of design. On occasion a “lost dog” springs up for sale. A lost dog is one that has some visual blemishes, but the functionality remains unaffected. These lost dogs make up the majority of the lower price range of the Underdog line of vaporizers.
“All things considered, the UD is a high quality hand-built vaporizer with a strong following and high level of communication, and support from the manufacturer. If you can remember to avoid the hot ends of the stems and handle the UD closer to the base, you should have no problems.”
The UD has a large (almost cult-like) following on the FC Forums. There is a strong manufacturer presence there as well providing hints, tips, and support for folks with questions or concerns. All things considered, the UD is a high quality hand-built vaporizer with a strong following and high level of communication, and support from the manufacturer. If you can remember to avoid the hot ends of the stems and handle the UD closer to the base, you should have no problems.
If you’re looking to purchase an Underdog you can do so at Underdog Aromatherapy. You can use the coupon code VRBGoodies at checkout for free priority shipping on vaporizer orders and a few special goodies thrown in!