In 2018, Puffco liberated top shelf concentrate sessions from vape stations in bedroom corners to living rooms and parties everywhere, with the release of the Peak. It was such a hit that it inspired a whole new genre of portable electronic concentrate vaporizers, called “e-rigs.” We gave the Puffco Peak a full review, now that the market is crowded, to see how it stands up. Despite more competition, the Peak still leads the pack in a lot of categories.
Puffco Peak Review: Tasty hits
My favorite thing about the Puffco Peak smart rig is the hit. It’s tasty, full, and potent. All four temperatures taste great, yet are distinctly different. The lowest temp setting, 450° F, is full of flavor with light clouds. The top setting, 600° F, is thick and cloudy, and still retains some flavor. Over the past six months I’ve tested at least five e-rigs, whittled them down to three, and landed on the Peak as my favorite hit of the bunch.
The Peak is slower to heat up than the competition, sometimes by as much as 15 seconds, but it doesn’t feel slow in real world use. The longer heat up time adds to the flavor boost I detect with the Peak.
No dangerous hot spots
One of the best things Puffco did for concentrates was make them safe. Enjoy tasty and portable concentrate sessions on the Peak, without dancing around exposed hot metals or torches. The heater, bubbler, and power source are all contained in a beautiful little package that is easy to pass around the party.
Good battery life, if you turn it off
The Puffco Peaks’s battery life is good, if you don’t forget to turn it off when you’re done for the night. You can expect around 30 heat cycles per charge, depending on the temperature setting you choose. Higher heat settings will burn more juice and give you fewer cycles than lower temperatures. This is good-to-average battery life for an e-rig.
Things go south quickly, however, if you take a hit until it times out, set it down, and come back a day later. Somehow, the Peak’s battery dies quickly if you don’t fully power it down before going to sleep. Not a big deal if you get in the habit of turning it off, but I guarantee at some point you’ll forget and come back to the frustration of a dead Peak.
I love concentrates from the Peak atomizer. The ceramic dish tastes great, and is big enough to deliver massive hits. But the heater has an older design that’s costly and fragile, and comes with a one-month warranty. My first one broke after two weeks, and my second one is still going strong more than one month later. The Peak’s hits are fantastic, but the durability can be frustrating. At $40 per replacement, this cost has to be considered.
Price drop to $300
The Puffco Peak debuted in 2018 at $400. That’s a serious barrier for most people. Luckily, the price permanently dropped by a whopping 25% on April 20, 2020, and is more in line with the rest of the market. The Peak is now barely at the top of the price range for e-rigs.
Easy on the eyes
I think the Puffco Peak is the best looking e-rig on the market. That’s just an opinion, but one that’s often confirmed when I ask around. Its sleek lines, gentle curves and soft lighting have endured, making other designs look uninspired. The conical shape’s low center of gravity sits sturdily on a table, and feels safe in the hand. It reminds me of an ancient Greek statue, offering up a daily concentrate session, and I like that.
Solid travel case and accessories
E-rigs (or smart rigs) come standard with cases these days, but the Peak’s feels more protective than most. Instead of a zippered bag with foam inserts, this case is made from a molded foam material. It folds shut and is hard enough to protect, but not so hard that it scratches. Inside, it holds the Peak, carb cap, a loading tool, a charger and some cotton swabs. I had no trouble assembling it or putting it away with nothing more than the case and my lap.
Precision under the hood
Nerd Alert: I’m about to get technical, so skip to the next section if that’s not your thing. I put a temperature probe on the Peak’s ceramic dish and ran a session on all four temperatures, and I liked what I saw. All four settings graphed a similar curve, but with a good degree of separation, so cooler temps stayed cool and hotter temps stayed hot. They also flattened out when they reached target temperature, and none of them went over 600° F. This is why you can pause your breath during a heat cycle, and when you resume the taste is still good - the temperature didn’t shoot up during your pause.
This isn’t a perfect test - there was no concentrate in the dish, no air flow or vapor, and I didn’t repeat it a bunch of times. But it does indicate a more sophisticated heating algorithm in the Peak than simpler systems that just apply a static voltage throughout the hit.
Cleaning & Maintenance
Keep an eye out for our Cleaning & Maintenance Guide due out soon, but if you have some isopropyl alcohol, cleaning the Peak is easy. The only things to soak are the atomizer and the glass bubbler. The atomizer comes apart, but that’s when a lot of breaks occur. Puffco recommends soaking the entire atomizer, fully assembled.
Our Tips and Tricks Guide is coming, but for now, start small. Most problems with e-rigs happen when we get aggressive and load too much concentrate at once. Start with a BB sized amount, and experiment from there. If you load too much, concentrates will get all over the inside of the atomizer, cool down, and lock in place.
Who’s the Puffco Peak for?
The Puffco Peak has arguably the best hits of any e-rig. It tastes great with thick, satisfying hits on all temperatures. It’s attractive and inviting, and easy to use. If price isn’t a deterrent, grab a backup atomizer and safely take fantastic concentrate sessions with you anywhere.
Who’s the Puffco Peak not for?
If the Peak’s $300 price tag is out of your budget, you won’t suffer with a cheaper option. There are plenty of good alternatives out there, such as the XVAPE Vista Mini 2. True, the Peak’s price just dropped by $100. But it’s still more than the competition, and comes with a reputation for atomizer maintenance, to the tune of $40 each time around. The only other complaint I have is the battery drain during standby. I regularly forget to turn it off at the end of the night, ensuring it will be dead within a day or two.
When the Puffco Peak debuted, over two years before the time of this writing, I loved the function and form, but not the $400 price tag. Since then, the competition has confirmed the concept with e-rigs priced from $159 to $380, and the Peak has dropped to a penny under $300.
In the last year, we’ve tested and reviewed almost every e-rig on the market, and are happy to present the Peak as a top quality option. The Peak’s big ceramic dish and controlled heating profiles deliver a fantastic hit that’s noticeably different from the cheaper alternatives. There is still room for improvement, like a more durable atomizer, but Puffco’s innovative design still leads the pack.