There is no shortage of small vaporizers that market themselves as an affordable way to vape both herbs and concentrates, but there are very few that actually live up to these claims. Most have the nagging and frustrating problem of combusting any dried material you choose to use, defeating the whole point of choosing a vaporizer! At first glance, the unassuming Pulsar APX looks like it will follow in the long line of underperforming vapes on the market, but looks can be deceiving. When put to the test, we were actually surprised to see how it performed. Keep reading to let the full breakdown…
Review: Pulsar APX
How it Works
The Pulsar APX is a very straightforward vape in terms of functionality. It incorporates a 1-button design, which gives users the ability to turn the unit on/off or set the temperature. Powering the device requires 5 clicks, which is a pretty standard setting that helps make sure the vape can’t be accidently turned on while in a pocket or bag. As soon you turn it on, it will begin to heat up. There are 5 temperature settings, and these are cycled through while the device is on by holding the button down. An LED light indicates which temperature is currently chosen, and the light will glow red while the unit is heating then turn green when it is ready for use. Once the APX is heated, you are ready to start taking draws of vapor. The chamber can be used with dried material as is, but Pulsar also includes a small metal oil and wax canister that slides inside. There is also an automatic shut-off that engages after 5 minutes.
Temperature flexibility for the Pulsar APX isn’t bad, as there are 5 pre-sets to choose between: 356°, 374°, 392°, 410°, and 428° Fahrenheit ( 180°, 190°, 200°, 210°, 220° Celsius )This is a fairly wide range of temperatures that should give you enough variability to find a level that delivers the results that you desire. In fact vaporizers that space their temperature settings by 10 degrees make it simple and easy to do something we like to call vapor tasting, a technique used to get the very most out of your herbs by vaporizing them on a continuum of temperatures. Obviously precise temperature control is ideal, but this is still a significant step up over units that only offer 1 setting.
Overall the vapor quality of the Pulsar APX is pleasing, especially considering that its true vapor and does not combust! It’s a shame that we’re conditioned to expect combustion out of devices that market themselves as vaporizers, but the reality is that many low-priced units claim to be vaporizers while having poor designs that overheat the material you use. The Pulsar did not do this, and in fact put out some pretty flavorful vapor! It seems to perform best between 374° and 410° (190 – 210° C – which is what we normally recommend as the ideal temperature range for vaporizing). In this range the vapor is flavorful, there are visible clouds when exhaling, and dried material comes out perfectly heated with a consistent brown color – no indication of combustion anywhere in sight! When using the wax cartridge we noticed vaporizing at 428° F (220° C) was most efficient and although this unit is not a dedicated wax pen vape by any means, it is a budget friendly option for those who occasionally use waxes but primarily want a dry portable.
The strongest elements of the Pulsar APX are its extremely small size and the ceramic heating chamber. The air pathway doesn’t seem to be separated from the electrical components at all, which is likely the cause of a somewhat restrictive air flow when taking draws. The body is entirely plastic, but the bulk of it is given a slightly rubberized texture that helps with grip and also gives a higher-quality feel than an all plastic device ( like the Puffit 2 ) would normally have. However, the button feels like a very cheap plastic and it moves around a bit when you press it, which leads us to believe the APX could experience some warranty issues resulting from a faulty controller down the road, but otherwise everything fits together well. There is a slight buzz that comes from inside the unit when you turn it on, but it isn’t loud enough to be annoying. You have to hold it close to your ears to really notice it. It again, is just a bit concerning for the longevity of the unit. There’s nothing particularly glamorous about this unit, but it gets the job done with cheap materials dressed up in a nice patterned skin.
This vape has a 1600mAh lithium-ion battery, which is enough to power it for about 7-10 sessions or 1 – 1.5 of use. Exact results will vary depending on the temperature settings chosen and this is a pretty average battery life for vaporizers, but it’s nice that they were able to achieve this in such a small package, considering it only takes about 1.5 hours to recharge it. After our experience with units like the Utillian 650, which offers 3 hours of battery life in a small package, anything less is always a bit of a disappointment.
If you are looking for a portable vape, you’d be hard-pressed to find one more portable than this one. It’s very comparable in size to the PAX 2, also noted by many other reviewers, like VapoRReview. It’s size makes it easy to conceal in a hand, and it feels durable enough that you should have no problems carrying it in a pocket or bag. Arguably its price even contributes to its portability, as taken a vaporizer out into the world involves a certain amount of risks (dropping, breaking, losing, etc…) and the low-price tag on the Pulsar ( well under $100 ) helps to alleviate some of stress you may feel at the thought of taking an expensive device on an adventure like a hike. With all that said about its size, its battery life is still average at best so if you are planning to take the APX on a journey with you and a couple friends for the day, it may not be the best choice.
Ease of Use
The 1-button design makes this vape extremely easy to use. Loading and unloading the chamber is as easy as popping the mouthpiece on and off, and there really isn’t much more to it. This is a very straightforward vape, and if you are looking for something easy, this definitely fits the bill. Cleaning is also pretty easy as the mouthpieces screen can be removed, cleaned and replaced to keep the air pathway as fresh as possible and the entire mouthpiece can soak in some gentle cleaning solution. A quick swab of the heating chamber with some ZEUS Grime Sticks, (after dumping out your ABV) is all else required to keep this little unit ready for your next session.
The Pulsar APX’s tiny size means it’s also very discreet. The entire unit can easily be hidden inside a hand. Even during use, there isn’t any overwhelming odor produced, so you should be able to use it without attracting any attention. If you are worried about visible vapor when close to others, we recommend using the APX on the first or temperature settings which will produce light and wispy vapor. There are many different color and design options, and some are more flashy than others, so if discretion is important to you, be sure to choose a color option that is plain or dark in color.
Overall, the Pulsar APX exceeded expectations and proved itself to be a good value unit considering its about half the price of even the most budget friendly of units. The unit successfully vaporizes both dried material and concentrates, which can be a hard find at the price this is offered at. The vapor is pleasant, and the 5 temperature settings give enough flexibility to accommodate different preferences.
Keep in mind, these comments are made in consideration with the vaporizer’s price point. You’re obviously going to get better results from higher powered units, such as the ZEUS Thunder if you are looking for something for your concentrates or the Arizer Air if you are looking for supreme vapor quality, 5 temperature settings and steadfast Canadian manufacturing. That’s a given. It all depends on what you are looking for in a vaporizer. So if you are unsure if you should enter the vape game and want to try it out relatively risk-free, the APX might just be what you need at a price point you can justify. However we also recommend checking out the ZEUS Smite which has triple the battery life of the Pulsar APX and double the warranty, for a hassle free switch from combusting to vaporizing.
If you’ve tried the APX or are looking into getting one, let us know your thoughts below!