It seems that many (if not most) vaporizers are focussed for consuming one particular herb to the exclusion of others, so it was refreshing to learn about the Solo II. Not only is this vaporizer able to heat dry herbs for vaping, it can also heat dry herbs and essential oils for inhaling.
With that purpose in mind, a packet of aromatic lavender was included in the kit’s package, and there is a list of other dry herbs that are good for vaping available on the Arizer site. I’ve gone over some of the benefits of vaping dry herbs in my other vaporizer reviews, but I’ll give you a quick primer: Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic plant extracts and essential oils for various health purposes.
Whether you are smelling or inhaling the heated herbs, there are benefits to be found in certain plants. For instance, chamomile is a known relaxing sedative, even though the usual way to ingest it is tea. Eucalyptus is beneficial when you have a cold or the flu. Rosemary is good for the respiratory system. Lavender is very calming, and it helps with my occasional insomnia.
The thing to bear in mind is that each of these herbs has their own ideal vaping temperature, so if your vape is only able to do settings like hot, hotter, hottest, it won’t be ideal. The Solo II is able to hit individual temperatures 122ºF to 428ºF, so it is perfect for the precise temperatures needed to smoke dry “tea” herbs.
Let’s take a look!
Included in the package are the Solo II Multi-Purpose Micro-Heater, a charger/power adapter, a 90mm glass aroma tube, a 110mm glass aroma tube, a glass aroma dish, a belt-clip carry case, 2 silicone stem caps, a stainless steel stirring tool, 4 stainless steel filter screens, a sample of lavender aromatic botanicals, and an owner’s manual.
The Solo II is a chunky little beast. It measures 4.5″ tall (without any attachments) by 1.75″ wide by 1.1″ thick, and it weighs 7.4 ounces.
There are no buttons or ports on the sides or bottom.
On the front, there is an M (menu) power button with up and down buttons built into a circular rocker around it. Above the power button, there is a ~0.75″ LCD window. At the top of the Solo II, there is a stainless cook pot with a plastic cover that lifts up and swings away when the vaporizer is in use.
On the back, there is a speaker (the floral cutouts) and a proprietary port for the included charger. I would have liked to have seen a microUSB or Type-C USB port for charging, but it’s not the end of the world.
The design is very simple, and the vaporizer has a nice weighty feel in hand. When you are ready to use the vape, you’ll swing the little door off of the cook pot. At the top of the cook pot, there is a rubber flange that will help secure whichever boro-silicate glass tube you insert.
You have three glass tubes to choose from: the first is a short little aroma dish, and then there is a 90mm aroma tube and a 110 aroma tube. Each of the two aroma tubes have a rubber stopper on the end that you fill, so that you can travel with them loaded and ready to go.
If you are going to use the aroma dish, you can either load its larger end with dried herbs and/or with a few essential oil drops. After inserting the smaller end into the cook pot, you press and hold the up and M buttons together for six seconds; the LCD will count down until the vaporizer starts up.
At the end of the countdown, you get a smiley face telling you, “Hhi”.
You can adjust the temperature by pressing the up or down buttons to your desired degree. Lavender is best cooked at 266ºF, so that’s what I set the vaporizer for. As you can see by the large number displayed, the temperature had to come down from its original setting to meet my requirements.
Pressing the M button brings up the other options you can control, including sound (with the options of high, medium, and low) and the automatic shut-off timer which can be adjusted between 5 and 15 minutes in one-minute increments; the device arrives set to 10 minutes. You can decide if you want the temperature to be displayed in Celsius or Fahrenheit, and you can adjust the display brightness from high to medium to low; the default is medium. I should mention that the Solo II reaches whatever temperature you set quickly — with the degrees ticking by on the LCD.
If you prefer to inhale your aromatic herbs, you can use one of the two included tubes. To use a tube, you’ll load the bottom end with your coarsely ground herbs. You can either do this manually, or you can insert the end into the container holding your herbs, gently pushing and twisting to load it without pressing too hard or packing the herbs too tightly.
You should preheat the vaporizer before you insert any of the tight glass tubes. Once you’ve set the temperature to the optimal heat for whatever you’ll be inhaling, you can inhale the vapors through the glass tube using a slow and steady draw.
These type herbs don’t usually produce a lot of exhaled vapor; it’s more about the taste and the lovely feeling you get when inhaling their vapor.
It takes about three hours to fully charge the Solo II, and the battery lasts for about three full hours of use per charge, or up to 20 sessions. I like that the battery level is always displayed on the LCD.
Cleaning the Solo II is simply a matter of cleaning the glass tubes by soaking them in alcohol and then rinsing them with hot water; Arizer says that should be sufficient, but if your tube is really gunky, you can repeat the cleaning process again.
If you are smoking a larger herb that needs to be properly ground before being packed into one of the vapor tubes, might I suggest the Zeus Bolt? They come in several sizes, this is (obviously) the XL.
The Bolt has four pieces with three compartments: the top grinder is held on with a magnet, and it can be turned in either direction. The large middle compartment catches the ground herbs and it has a tight mesh screen underneath it to allow the finest parts of the grind to pass through. The two bottom sections screw or unscrew, depending on whether you are trying to put the grinder togehter or take it apart. The Zeus does a good job of keeping the herbs you’ve ground fresh, as it is pretty tightly sealed.
If you’ve been looking for an easy to operate vaporizer that can handle any and all herbs — whether for inhaling through the mouth or through the nose, the Solo II is a great choice. It is built like a tank, it’s easy to keep clean, and it comes with all of the accessories you might need — including your first pack of Lavender.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Lots of included accessories; Solo II is very solidly built; Excellent temperature control; LCD makes it easy to keep track of what’s going on; Adjustable auto shut-off time; Long battery life
What Needs Improvement: Uses a proprietary wall charger; Some people might think it’s too heavy (but I like the weight)