Today you're getting the results of our month-long review of the DaVinci IQ. We tested the IQ on every possible metric a vaporizer can be tested on:
- Vapor quality;
- Efficiency, and many other metrics which you'll learn about today.
You'll also get an easy comparison table to compare the DaVinci IQ to its direct competition like the PAX 3.
The best part? You're getting simple but effective tips to optimize the performance of the DaVinci IQ.
DaVinci IQ Review Summary
- Size: 3.54 x 1.65 x 0.94 inches / 9 x 4.2 x 2.4 cm
- Weight: 142g ( = 5 oz / 0.32 pounds)
- Battery-Life: 50 minutes or 5-6 sessions
- Heating System: Conduction
- Draw-Resistance: Medium
- Bowl-Capacity: 0.4 grams
- Heat-Up Time: 30 seconds
- Materials Outer Shell: Anodized aluminium
- Materials Vapor Path: Zirconia ceramic, medical-grade silicone
- Materials Heating Element: Zirconia ceramic
- Materials Outside: Anodized aluminium
- Material Inside: Zirconia ceramic, medical-grade silicone
- Warranty: 10 years
Pros and Cons
- Small and compact, true pocket-vape
- Produces impressive clouds for such a small vape
- Great flavor all throughout your session (rare for a conduction vape)
- Sleek and elegant design with ergonomic shape. One of the most beautiful vapes
- Very easy to use
- Operates with replaceable and standard 18650 battery
- Easy to clean
- Gets very hot at the highest temperature setting
- Conduction-session vaporizers aren't good for efficiency or a few quick hits
- Slow charge-up time (3-4 hours)
The DaVinci IQ really is an impressive vape in terms of looks.
The first thing that will surprise you when you unbox the IQ, is the insanely compact design combined with the high-quality materials that really give it a premium feel.
This is one of those few vaporizers that leaves a very strong 1st impression, even on people who never vaped in their life.
The outer shell is made of aluminum. And this shell isn't only beautiful, but together with the ergonomic shape, it gives the IQ a really strong presence in your hand.
The DaVinci IQ is one of my favorite vapes to hold inside my hand. It just feels like a perfect fit, like it was designed to ‘click' inside the palm of your hand.
Then you open the IQ from either side, and you realize the inside is perfectly finished, everything clicks and twists well and the materials look and feel of superior quality. You won't find ANY cheap plastic parts in this vape.
The herb chamber and air-path are made from zirconia ceramic, which is one of the most crack-resistant and heat-insulating ceramics in the world.
In and out, this vape is finished properly, it literally has no weird parts sticking out or low-quality parts which make you wonder if they cut any corners while designing this vape.
The bottom line?
The IQ is a combination of beauty, elegance, and safe vape engineering.
Size & weight
The Davinci IQ is one of the few portable vaporizers which you can hide inside the palm of your hand.
And this is exactly one of the main reasons why you can vape so discreetly with it.
With its dimensions of 1.65″ W x 3.54″ H x 0.94″ D (4.2 x 9.0 x 2.4 cm) and weight of 5 oz (142 g), the IQ is a true pocket-vape.
Because this vape is mostly made from metal and ceramic, it does feel a bit heavier than you would expect for its size. But it's not too heavy. Its weight is the perfect balance of:
- Not feeling like a burden in your pocket, and;
- Feeling like you're really holding something solid in your hand.
Discreetness of design
Besides its small and compact form factor, the IQ has another very important design feature, which makes it one of the most discreet vapes on the market:
- You can use it with a flat mouthpiece.
Without a mouthpiece sticking out, the IQ is just a small block of metal, a block of metal which most people won't associate with vaping.
There is one thing though that takes away from the IQ's discreetness.
And that's the fact that it's a conduction vape. And conduction vapes always come with quite a lot of:
Conduction vapes usually do smell quite strongly, especially while you're vaping.
From the moment you turn on a session-conduction vape, it starts literally cooking your herb like you would cook it in an oven. From start, until you turn a session-conduction vape like the DaVinci IQ off, it's constantly heating your herb and therefore constantly giving off a smell.
A convection vaporizer in contrast only heats your herb while you're drawing vapor because that's the only time when the hot air over gets pulled through your herb. This means the smell is more temporary than with a conduction vape.
The IQ is no different than other conduction vapes in this regard. It does emit a lovely smell while you're vaping.
It gets better:
Once you turn off your IQ the smell is extremely well insulated. It emits no strange odors while your unit is off. This means you don't immediately have to empty your bowl because it's spreading a burnt herb odor.
But if you can't take any risks, just empty your bowl immediately after your session.
Operating on a removable, standard 18650 battery, the IQ provides 50-60 minutes of continuous uses.
This means you can get in at least 5-6 proper sessions before the battery dies.
This is nothing out of the ordinary and just average.
The good part about using a removable standard 18650 battery is that you can always bring extra batteries with you, to double or even triple your vaping up-time.
There is one thing that sucks about the battery:
Its charge-up time.
Needing around 4 hours, its charge-up time is much longer than you would expect.
If you get an external battery charger, it's around 2 hours, so it might be worth it to get one. The added benefit of this is that you can charge multiple 18650 batteries at the same time and it's safer!
Pro Tip: With the stock battery, the unit gets very hot at the highest temperature setting. If you want a cooler unit overall, I highly recommend getting the Sony VTC6 18650 battery. It cools down your unit under stress and gives a more consistent performance overall.
A quick recap on how we rate safety:
- What materials are used in the heating element?
- What materials are used in the air path (especially vapor path)?
- Is the air path separated from the electronics?
- Does it have any official (medical) certifications?
- Is there a risk of combustion?
So let's get started with:
The heating element and air path
Being a conduction vaporizer, the IQ's herb chamber is all that matters for your safety.
The heating element itself is completely separated from the vapor, air-path or even your herb.
The question is:
What material is the herb chamber?
It's zirconia ceramic. This is one of the most expensive and highest quality ceramics in the world. This ceramic is extremely resistant to cracks and insulates heat like no other ceramic.
There are 2 small medical-grade silicon cushions on both sides of the chamber. Most conduction heating chambers make use of silicone cushions because this is a very effective way to get an air-tight seal.
You might be wondering if this silicone can take the heat that the heating element of the DaVinci IQ produces. Vaporizers do reach high temperatures after all (sometimes up to 446°F / 230°C).
Assuming this is heat-resistant silicone (which I believe it is), you can be sure the temperatures reached by the IQ are well below the maximum temperature that the average heat-resistant silicone can take (most silicone can withstand temperatures up to 842°F 450°C, which is way below the maximum temperature vaporizers reach).
From the herb chamber we move onto the flavor chamber. They are connected with one of the medical-grade silicone cushions.
The flavor chamber as well is made fully from zirconia ceramic. So no issues there.
Then the vapor moves to the mouthpiece which is also from zirconia ceramic (you can by now tell how much DaVinci loves this type of ceramic).
The mouthpiece is connected to the device with medical-grade silicone.
So the air-path is not fully zirconia ceramic.
Is silicon in your air path bad?
If it's heat-resistant, medical-grade silicone, it's perfectly fine. And the IQ's silicone is exactly that.
This means any chances of hot vapor chemically reacting with it, is extremely low.
Separation air path and electronics
The air-path of the IQ is fully separated from the electronics.
The good folks at PuffItUp proved this by taking one of their beloved IQ's apart.
Most conduction vapes have their air-path separated from the electronics. But it's still nice to see proof of this.
You might not expect this, but this small little vape really packs a proper punch.
But impressive clouds mean nothing if the effects are underwhelming.
Well, I was a little bit surprised, but the IQ really medicates very effectively. I only need 4-5 good hits to get to my desired medication-level.
Why was I surprised?
With conduction vapes, the clouds sometimes look so impressive, but the effects can be underwhelming.
With the IQ, the effect of the clouds actually matches the initial kick you get from them.
This is the part which the IQ really nailed.
If you've been vaping for a while, you probably already know that conduction vapes don't have the best reputation in terms of flavor.
Although the initial hits of a conduction vape can be filled with terpenes and therefore have a strong flavor, this flavor always tapers off after the first few hits, quite strongly sometimes.
The IQ keeps great flavor all throughout your session, which is very rare for a conduction vape.
When your IQ is cooking your herb, the device can emit a ‘roasted' odor, which very much reminds me of the taste that conduction vapes have towards the end of your session. But interestingly enough, there's no roasted taste when you're drawing, which is all that matters really.
This only holds true, however, if you finish your bowl in a single session! If you leave your bowl half-way then later turn your IQ on for a new session, the flavor is much worse than your first session.
One issue with small vaporizers is that the vapor doesn't have enough time to cool down before it reaches you. You usually get warm and sometimes even harsh vapor with most small vapes.
The IQ found a pretty effective solution for this:
The flavor chamber.
The flavor chamber is the chamber which comes after the herb chamber and can be loaded up with different types of herbs to alter your flavor (hence the name).
Although this function (I found) is pretty useless for the quality of my experience, it does seem to cool the vapor very effectively.
You will get pretty smooth flavor with the IQ. Only on the highest temperature settings, the vapor is harsh.
If you want to consistently vape at the higher temps, in general, I highly recommend getting water filtration to moisten up the vapor and reduce its harshness.
Being a full conduction vaporizer, the IQ's efficiency definitely isn't top-tier.
Vaporizer-efficiency can be broken down into 3 types of efficiency:
- Threshold-efficiency (what’s the minimum amount of herb you need to produce proper vapor);
- Session-efficiency (how much herb gets baked and potentially wasted while you’re not drawing);
- Extraction-efficiency (how even and how quickly the goods get extracted out of your bowl).
Let's see how well the IQ scores in each of these categories.
Threshold-Efficiency (Related to Bowl Size)
The IQ has quite a large bowl, especially for such a small vaporizer (0.3-0.5 grams, depending on your grind). Combine this with the fact that conduction vapes NEED a properly packed bowl to produce proper vapor…
And you can see why the threshold-efficiency of the IQ isn't great. You will need at least 0.2 grams to produce proper vapor.
Although this large bowl is great for sharing with friends or long sessions, if you're a solo user looking to get in few quick hits, be prepared to waste some herb (this is compared to the more efficient vapes like the Firefly 2. It's still WAY more efficient than smoking!). To get in a few quick hits without wasting any herb either look for a vaporizer with an on-demand heating system like the Firefly 2, or a vaporizer with such a small bowl that micro-dosing becomes easy, like the MIQRO (the MIQRO is the DaVinci IQ's smaller brother).
There are tools and tricks to reduce this minimum amount of 0.2 grams that's needed to produce proper vapor.
The one you'll probably like the most is:
With this tool, you can reduce the minimum amount you need to produce proper vapor to 0.1 grams (which is very reasonable). But it's another extra cost on this already pricey vaporizer.
Conduction vapes have bad session-efficiency by design.
Because whether you're drawing or not, your herb gets cooked and precious cannabinoids go wasted. On top of this, it takes time for a conduction vape to heat-up and to cool down. In both these phases at least some herb gets wasted in the process.
The only way to reduce this wasting is to finish your bowl during the first session you vape it and don't take too long pauses between draws.
Although the IQ cools down relatively fast, it still wastes some herb in the cooling-down phase.
The IQ is very effective in extracting all the goods out of your herb.
This is clear by the fact that your ABV won't have green parts left after a full session:
And more importantly: you will be medicated PROPERLY after a full bowl. That's probably the strongest evidence of the IQ's amazing extraction-efficiency.
Ease of Use (9)
Although the IQ does have a small learning curve like every vape, it's still very beginner-friendly.
This means if you're new to vaping, the IQ is a good fit in terms of getting quickly and easily acquainted with vaping.
What exactly is there to learn about the IQ?
Actually, nothing more than the 4 main tips to optimize the performance of any dry herb vaporizer:
- Since it’s a conduction vaporizer, for best vapor production you would have to grind fine. But with the IQ a fine grind will lead to more cleaning downtime (because of herb particles getting stuck in the air-path, so we recommend between medium and fine (a Santa Cruz Shredder is perfect for this);
- Pack your bowl loosely compressed (don't pack tightly);
- Draw slowly and controlled for at least 5-10 seconds;
- Use the right temperature for your desired effect.
If you use these tips, you will have an amazing IQ experience each and every time!
This is one part which I don't like about the DaVinci IQ.
There's definitely some draw-resistance, it's not as bad as the Firefly 2 for example, but quite a bit worse than the MIGHTY or CRAFTY.
Will it be alright for you?
Well, this all depends on how high of a priority it is for you to have little to no draw-resistance. If it's extremely important to you, I recommend getting a free-flowing vape like the MIGHTY (this is not a pocket-vape though) or CRAFTY (this vape is amazing, but the defect rate is above average and battery-life sucks).
If it's important but not one of your top priorities to have a free-flowing vape, there's a big chance you will be fine with the IQ's draw-resistance.
It's important to really ‘maintain' your IQ to avoid problems further down the line (herb residue sticking to your ceramic parts which will lead to bad flavor mostly).
Best would be to do this maintenance after every session, but you can get away doing it every 2-3 sessions as well. Just realize the performance might take a small hit during the 2nd and 3rd sessions before you clean up again.
How you maintain your IQ is as follows:
Make sure that your bowl is fully empty after every session. Use the included brush to brush out any finer herb parts. It's important to do this before the IQ is fully cooled down because that's when the herb resin sticks to the ceramic and is harder to get off.
Do a deep cleaning session every 10-15 sessions to really keep your DaVinci IQ performing optimally.
Below you can see a deep cleaning tutorial from DaVinci itself:
Temperature Control (9.5)
With vaporizer technology advancing at a fast pace…
You see more and more portable vaporizers coming out with precise temperature control.
This is great news for us, because the more precise the temperature control, the more control you have over the effects over our vapor.
The IQ perfectly fits in this story. It has precise temperature control, controllable in 1-degree increments AND has a very wide temperature range:
- 250°F – 430°F (121°C – 221°C)
With this range, you'll be able to vape loads of different types of herbs besides cannabis, plus you'll be able to fine-tune the effects and taste of your vapor with cannabis.
If you like to vape at different temperatures within a single session, you'll be in for a pleasant surprise.
The IQ comes with a temperature control technology called ‘smart paths'. What you can do with smart paths is:
Choose a starting temperature and then turn the temperature up or down after a set period of time.
At the start of your session, you want to get those extremely smooth and flavorful hits, so you start your temperature at 356°F (180°C). Then after 2 minutes, you think: let's extract more THC and CBD out of this herb, so you want the temperature at 374°F(190°C). Then after 3 minutes, you want to extract everything that's left inside your herb, so you want the temperature at 430°F (221°C).
Instead of manually changing the temperature, you can set up a smart-path which does exactly what you've just read, automatically.
Whatever way you want to set up your smart-path, it's possible with the phone app.
Then there's the ‘boost mode', which temporarily turns the temperature of your bowl up to the maximum (430°F), for as long as you hold the power button pressed.
So any time you feel it's time for a massive hit or it's time to extract everything that's left, just use boost mode, and ALL the goods out of your herb will get extracted in no-time.
The heat-up time is pretty fast: around 30 seconds.
Reputation & Reliability (7)
DaVinci is an old-time player in the vaporizer industry.
The IQ is their 3rd vaporizer, so they did have some time to innovate and R&D.
Their older vapes were decent. They were never the vapes that really stood out a lot. They were average vapes.
The IQ, on the other hand, is an impressive and innovative vape and does stand out a lot: definitely in a positive way. It's one of the top-tier pocket-vapes that you can currently get (2019).
Onto the customer service.
The first year the IQ was out, DaVinci's customer support received quite a lot of negative feedback.
The main problem was their response time. They were slow to react. Most probably they were lacking manpower.
DaVinci did listen to all this feedback they received in the first year, and you will have a hard time finding negative feedback about their customer support from 2018 and onward.
Even though their customer-service should've been proper, right from the start, a company deserves respect when it listens to and implements customer feedback.
Plus, you get a 10-year warranty, and in the past 2 years, they have proven this warranty gets honored.
After this extensive review, how can we summarize the IQ?
If you're looking for:
- A small and compact pocket-vape for on the go, which you can easily hide inside the palm of your hand, or;
- A pocket-vape, which produces impressive clouds AND keeps consistent flavor all throughout your session,
The DaVinci IQ currently is one of your best options (2019).
What makes the IQ unique compared to other premium small pocket-vapes like the CRAFTY and the PAX 3, are mostly 2 points:
- It operates on standard removable 18650 Li-Ion batteries. This means that if you take extra batteries with you, you can basically vape as long as you want.
- It's the most beautiful, compact and well-designed pocket-vape that's currently on the market (it just looks absolutely beautiful and feels amazing in your hand).
Where to buy the DaVinci IQ Vaporizer:
Although the DaVinci IQ is an amazing vape, it could be that your vaping priorities don't necessarily match the IQ's strengths.
Below you can find the 3 main competitors of the IQ, which score better on some points than the IQ, but worse on others. So you can decide which vape best matches your wants and needs.
Tips and Tricks for the DaVinci IQ
How to grind your herb
- Use a fine grind for best performance, but increased cleaning downtime.
- Use a medium grind for slightly worse performance, but less cleaning annoyances.
If you still need a good grinder, look for one here (we recommend Santa Cruz Shredders):
How to pack your bowl
- Always pack your bowl loosely compressed;
- Without the IQ Glass Spacers, pack at least 0.2-0.3 grams (depending on your grind). You want the bowl to be filled over more than half.
- With the IQ Glass Spacers, you can pack as little as 0.1 grams.
How to draw your vapor
- Draw slowly and controlled for at least 5-10 seconds
The best temperature for the DaVinci IQ
Here’s a general guideline:
- Up till 356°F(180°C): Best for flavor and very light, mostly mental medication;
- 356°F(180°C) – 392°F(200°C): Great flavor with great medication level, bodily effects will be more apparent;
- 392°F(200°C) and up: Best if you don’t have anything else to do that day, very strong level of medication, heavy bodily effects.
Realize that all of these effects are at least, if not more so dependent on the particular strain you’re vaping with.
If you want to dive deeper on vaping temperatures and how they affect your medication, read our full guide on the best temperature to vape weed.
To Stir or Not to Stir?
You don’t really need to stir with the DaVinci IQ. Whether you're stirring or not, the IQ cooks your material evenly if you let it sit there for a full session of 5-10 minutes.
If you want to see a list of what we think are currently the best portable vaporizers, see our guide on:
If you want to learn more about vaping check out the following vaping and vaporizer guides:
If you still need a grinder for an easy way to grind your herb, check out our buyer's guide on herb grinders:
And if you want to get the best vaporizers for vaping concentrates, check out our buyer's guide on wax pens:
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