Puffco, a portable vaporizer company, became famous for their full-flavored pens as soon as their earliest models hit the market. Now, a few generations later, options like the Plus and Pro2 still hold their own. With that success and pedigree, Puffco has decided to take on the mediocre electronic dab rig market and bring it to new levels of sophistication. This month, Puffco announced the launch of their newest design, a “smart rig” that the company has dubbed “the Peak.”
This new tabletop rig has been an idea at Puffco since even before they released the first of their award-winning vaporizers, according to CEO Roger Volodarsky. The premise first came up in August of 2014.
“I was very far away from being able to develop something like this,” Volodarsky told Cannabis Now. “We were a two-person company, and as I added engineers and designers I would tell them this is what you’re working on today, this vape pen project, but this rig is my dream to build. So always keep it in the back of your mind and let’s see how we can get this done.”
Thanks to the success of their pen line, Puffco built up a pool of tech and one day decided it was time to make the Peak a reality. In November, they began to merge everything they’d learned over the previous two years, which meant verifying each idea piece by piece.
“The designers would take all of the vision we’d given them and start drawing up a bunch of designs and then on the engineering side we immediately get to work. What does the atomizer look like? What does the air path look like? How can we get this thing to work?” said Volodarsky. “That went on for a crazy long time, until we got to the point after banging our heads for seven months where we think we have something that works.”
From there, they hit California to get that early Peak mockup into the hands of their trusted beta testers. They wanted to verify it worked to them, with the only ultimate goals being high-quality flavor and vapor, often at the expense of big clouds of smoke.
The resulting quality is top notch. Cannabis Now’s editorial team had a chance to sample the Peak a few weeks before its big showing at the Consumer Electronics Show. Even with all the hype and results, we had to ask Volodarsky about entering the tabletop vape market, which has proven difficult over the years.
“I mean the reason this idea came up in 2014 is because what we wanted didn’t exist. E-nails existed at that time, but e-rigs didn’t exist, ” said Volodarsky, before recalling the perils of early e-nails.
“Then e-rigs popped up, if you take a look, they’re all the same model. These are all white label products. There is no difference — well, there might be a slight difference in price. What you’re really paying for is a U.S.-based company to have pretty good marketing and offer you customer service. But they’re designed and engineered in a place where you can’t consume.”
Volodarsky admitted to testing out his competitors to see what was up. “They were a means to an end,” he said. “They weren’t a solution, or upgrade, or replacement for the conventional dab style.”
Volodarsky knew he had to shoot for something that was a lot closer to the flavor of high-end extracts hitting clean quartz if he wanted to get every dabber coming back to a now unstigmatized process via the Peak.
“The Peak is a replacement for your rig,” Volodarsky noted.
As an enthusiast himself, Volodarsky isn’t expecting people to ditch their expensive functional art. “We’re not coming for that market,” he said with a laugh, “but if you’re someone buying $300 or $400 dollar rigs, with a torch, and buying at least a can of butane a month… you’re spending a lot of money on an inconvenient process that is highly stigmatized.
“We wanted something attractive, with no learning curve, that will give you something with an equal experience and it feels like we hit the nail on the head here,” Volodarsky said.
Despite being prevented from officially taking part in the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, the Peak made waves via a press showcase not far away. And despite the barriers put in place, many journalists found it to be one of the unique pieces of tech at a show filled with rollable televisions and artificial intelligence making your kitchen smarter.
Unfortunately for all of us, this enthusiasm led to the entire first production run of Peaks getting pre-ordered in 24 hours. Volodarsky told us they’re hoping to do a big drop in March with enough for all.
TELL US, would you try out Puffco’s Peak?