It seems to me that the general business plan for a vape pen company goes something like this:
- Pick brand name
- Order vape pens from China
- Market the hell out of your brand
And when I came across Jimmy Makoso and Brandon Gallagher at the Marijuana Business Association vendor fair in Seattle recently, that is essentially what I saw. I was grateful that they didn’t try to convince me otherwise, to suggest they have some secret sauce that is fundamentally different than their competitors.
“That’s basically it,” Gallagher admitted, adding that their startup vape pen company, called Vuber, hopes to capture a respectable market share.
Vuber sells a handful of standard-issue vape pens, from the O.penVape style to the G Pen style to the globe style, but Makoso wanted me to test their newest model, for which they had only recently finalized the design (and whose name might even change after this review, he warned me).
The Vuber Bullet is stainless steel from top to bottom, and consists of four distinct pieces: battery, heating element, air path and mouthpiece. It stands 5 inches tall and measures 1/2-inch in diameter. The atomizer features a ceramic bowl roughly 1/4-inch wide and nearly as deep. Strung across the bowl is a silica wick wrapped by a titanium heating coil. The pen uses the super-common “510” e-cigarette threading, so you can swap out other 510-threaded components.
I didn’t know much about vape pens before I got this gig doing reviews, and on first glance it seems like there’s a million product options. But as I mentioned previously, almost all of those options come from a handful of manufacturers. Also, they are almost entirely untested for safety, meaning nobody has a real clue about how much of the (amorphous, not crystalline) silica wick might break away over time and lodge in your esophagus or how many might use tin-containing solder that disintegrates into the lungs.
But the more I’ve learned, the more I’ve clarified my preferences, and in the world of vape pens, I want a pen that won’t poison me with toxic elements introduced during the manufacturing process. I don’t want my hash oil oozing into contact with solder points, and I don’t want plastics near the heat source. Comfort, style and function? All good stuff, but first and foremost, please don’t kill me, oh vape pen of mine.
So I really appreciate the stainless steel air path and mouthpiece on the Vuber Bullet. It’s the first vape pen I’ve used that didn’t have a plastic mouthpiece. Now, I’m not concerned about using plastic mouthpieces, I just think a stainless steel one is cooler. And encasing the ceramic bowl with stainless steel rather than plastic certainly comforts my mind.
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The Vuber Bullet uses a titanium heating coil, which most Internet vape nerds seem to prefer, saying it adulterates hash oil flavor less than other metals. I’m not experienced enough to compare the two, but I certainly taste my terpenes loud and clear, and that’s some highly-appreciated, cannabinoid-inspired synesthesia.
Time will certainly tell which startup vape pen companies can capture measurable market shares. It’s mostly about branding and hustle, to be sure, but it’s also about responding to market demands. And with their new Bullet model, Vuber is certainly giving people what they want. Focused on wholesale distribution, Vuber vape pens are available in over 50 medical cannabis dispensaries throughout Washington State and, as Mr. Makoso assures me, they would like to break into the Colorado market.