Is it Hammer time? You bet!
This pocket-sized, go-anywhere butane-powered system could well be the most robust, versatile and effective butane vape to date.
There is a bit of a learning curve to navigate before reaching the Promised Land, but persevere, my brothers and sistahs!
Hammer by name, Hammer by nature
As it’s name suggests, the Hammer consists of a T-shaped handgrip and heat exchanger.
A butane reservoir sits inside the handle, on the side of which is a red ignition button.
Depress that and a flame heats up the heat exchanger (based on a similar system to portable butane soldering irons on the market).
Using it could not be easier: lightly pack the glass mouthpiece that comes with the heater with a small amount of herb (having inserted the small screen with the aid of the flat-head nail that arrives with the Hammer – of course).
Click to heat, suck to vape
Press the ignition button and once the heat exchanger is at the right temperature (about 30 seconds out of the box!), the user holds the tip of the filled end of the glass mouthpiece to the heat exchanger and inhales slowly.
Air comes in one end of the Hammer head, is heated, and exits at the other (inhalation) end. Based on early adopter feedback, a small silicone baffle is now included in the Hammer pack, and when fitted this allows the glass tube to be attached to the vapor exit.
Novel heat exchanger
Spent hot air is vented upwards via a third hole, keeping the vapor path free of hydrocarbon waste, and it has to be said: the taste quality of the vapor from this patent-pending heat exchanger is excellent.
The Hammer is a fast way of consuming a small ‘single-hitter’ amount of herb, making it an economical vaporizer compared to other more expensive models that require a larger amount of herb in their chamber to function properly.
A toggle on the handle allows the temperature in the heat exchanger to be raised and lowered. While medium is fine for most users, lovers of clouds can crank up the heat to near combustion level and adjust inhalation speed to prevent herb scorching.
On the (minor) downside, the black Hammer is not quite in the stealth category, if this is important to you.
It’s a little obtrusive even at just 5 inches in height, and the butane makes some noise (though less than the Iolite).
Nailing the Hammer
I mentioned the learning curve – it can take 2-3 sessions before you learn to calibrate the heat of the device and speed of inhalation to your satisfaction.
But this is hardly a deal breaker, given that the Hammer is sturdily built and with just one moving part – the ignition – will probably last years.
It’s reliance on glass tubes will please the glass fans and displease its non-fans, and the clumsy, so it’s kind of a neutral point. But the Hammer’s makers are constantly bringing out new mouthpieces and are encouraging the independent glass blowers out there to make their own innovations.