The Sidekick vaporizer by 7th Floor
The Sidekick vaporizer is the first battery-powered portable released by 7th Floor. Unique in both design and features, the Sidekick begs you to explore it from every angle. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the size and weight of this vape when you pick it up for the first time. The Sidekick wastes no time in presenting itself as a durable and premium machine.
The Sidekick is a session-style herbal vaporizer, so it’s designed to get you through a full bowl in one session. But! After setting the temperature level you have to press the power-button to turn on the heater. If you tap the power button between each draw you can get the Sidekick to act like an on-demand vape by turning the heater on and off. Doing so might extend the range of your batteries, and it will stop roasting your herbs if you decide to take a break.
Heating and Cooling
On to heating system. The Sidekick uses conduction heating to vaporize your herbs. The ceramic oven heats your botanicals via direct contact to produce nice and thick vapor. Secondary convection heating uses hot air to extract even more flavor. This combination of heating methods works well and the Sidekick is a delight from the first draw.
7th Floor – along with sister company Elev8 Glass – is run by master glass blowers. The Sidekick’s glass mouthpiece uses the same phallic design as the Life Saber’s. This design works well with both vapes, and both produce vapor that is smooth and rich in flavor. Another bonus point for the mouthpiece is that it docks nicely into a water tool with a 14mm female joint, allowing you to cool the vapor even further.
Another cool (pun intended) feature is the Vortex Cooling Rod. This steel helical thread cools the vapor by moving it over a larger surface area. Before starting your session you can even put the Vortex rod in the freezer for 20 minutes. The frozen Vortex rod lends a refreshing effect to the vapor, but this extra cooling wears off by the third draw.
First impressions are, well, impressive. The sidekick vape arrives in a Chambray carry bag that keeps everything safe and dry. The bag takes some time to explore since 7th Floor have included all but their workshop sink in this pouch. Here’s what you’ll receive with your Sidekick vaporizer:
- The Sidekick vape loaded with a pair of 18350 batteries
- A second pair of 18350 batteries
- A battery charger with car adapter
- Quick start guide
- Cleaning brush
- Artisan glass picking tool
- Coconut oil for lubricating the glass stem
- Battery caps
- Alcohol cleaning wipes
- Pod for storing concentrates
- Tool pouch with tweezers, screw driver, and another brush
- Stickers for pairing up your batteries
On the 7th Floor website you’ll find a wide range of accessories to upgrase your Sidekick vaporizer with super powers. My next investment will be the angled mouthpiece to run the vape more comfortably through my water rig.
The Sidekick vaporizer will deliver pretty great results without needing much practice. The temperature settings are digitally controlled for consistent results, and two up/down buttons are all you need to dial-in your favorite settings. Speaking of settings, everything is monitored via a bright and comprehensive display. Readings include battery level and voltage, temperature setting, and session time.
Regarding temperature range, the Sidekick vaporizer goes all the way up to 11! Adding to that, it offers half-step intervals for a total of 21 temperture settings. Vaporizer reviews must cover everything, but I didn’t find a temperature index in the manual so out comes the trusty infrared thermometer:
This broad range of temperatures might seem excessive, but it allows the Sidekick to be flexible regardless of what’s in the bowl. After a few months of regular use, I found that settings 5 to 8 are the ideal range for dry herbs. Level 5 is a great starting temperature. It’s low enough to extract the pure flavor of your herbs but it’s hot enough to produce light vapor. A good rule of thumb is to click your way up to the next level once the vapor starts to thin out. Levels 6.5 and 7 are a great sweet spot to produce rich and tasty vapor, while 7.5 to 8 are suitable to finish off the bowl. Once you venture over level 8 you risk combusting your material, so proceed with caution.
The Sidekick’s most important innovation is the stirring mechanism. This gizmo makes it super easy to stir your bowl between hits for uniform extraction with no hot spots. Two turns of the dial after every hit and your AVB will be nicely uniform throughout. The stirring mechanism will need cleaning after a week of continuous use, but the benefits are worth the extra maintenance.
What impressed me the most with the Sidekick’s vapor is the smoothness. I presume this is thanks to the metallic construction and the unusually long vapor path. The Vortex Cooling Rod is a simple concept that makes a lot of sense, and it makes a noticeable difference. Within normal temperature ranges, vapor is always cool and easy on the throat.
In the flavor department, the Sidekick yielded tasty vapor that echoed the quality of the bud in its oven. However, this herbal vaporizer does “color” the vapor with a very faint metallic character. This is worth noting for the sake of a thorough review, but one must stress that the flavor is never compromised or unpleasant.
The Sidekick’s battery life is on the shorter side of the scale when compared to other session vapes. On average, a charged pair of 18350 batteries will power 3 to 4 bowls peaking at heat level 7.5. This isn’t much of a concern, since 7th Floor have you covered with 2 pairs of batteries to keep your sessions rolling.
I can’t help but wonder if the vibration motor puts an unnecessary demand on the batteries. A suggestion to 7th Floor is to tune the long buzz into a shorter pulse to increase the sidekick’s fuel economy.
As with most conduction vapes, I recommend a medium to fine grind for the Sidekick to deliver the best possible extraction. You want your herb to make contact over the largest possible surface area since the conduction system transfers heat into the material through the oven’s walls.
To enjoy the full flavor of dry herbs with the Sidekick it helps to stay below heat level 7.5. I found that using heat level 8 and above will cause combustion and result in a blackened AVB. I enjoyed full extraction with heat level 7 as my upper limit, resulting in a toasty brown AVB with no charring in sight.
The AVB was consistent in color over several test sessions. This is where the stirring tool’s genius really shines. While testing the Sidekick I developed a habit of giving the stirring dial a few flicks after every draw. In fact, when using other vapes I catch my thumb prodding around for that dial! It really works, and it’s worth the extra time required to clean the mechanism when the Sidekick gets its monthly bath.
Burning-in the Sidekick vaporizer resulted in no off-gassing or fumes. This is a positive result, but for your lungs’ sake you should always burn-in a new vaporizer. With the Sidekick it’s easy to complete the following process:
- Press the power button to turn on your Sidekick
- Set the temperature level to 11 and press the power button to turn on the heater
- Remove the lid, and set down the Sidekick until it turns itself off
You shouldn’t experience too much gunk build-up as long as you brush out the Sidekick’s oven after each use. The stirring tool and Vortex Rod are both fantastic innovations, but they will add some complexity to the vape’s cleaning routine.
You can disassemble the stirring mechanism with the included screwdriver. When reassembling, turn the stirring dial until the white marker appears. Then, screw on the stirring rod for it to sit on the side of the oven that’s furthest away from the mouthpiece. This way, when the white marker is visible on the dial, the stirring rod will not hit the oven’s edge when you close the lid.
The Vortex Cooling Rod will benefit from an ISO bath when it gets sticky with resin. Harvesters of reclaim will enjoy the cooling rod’s ability to collect resin over time. The Sidekick’s polished vapor path is easy to clean with a brush soaked in ISO. After a thorough cleaning, make sure to leave the Sidekick vaporizer disassembled near a fan or open window. This will allow any leftover alcohol to evaporate from the herbal vaporizer before you use it again.
- Dense and cool vapor
- Premium construction and materials
- Comes with everything you need
- Broad range of temperature settings
- Mild coloring of flavor
- Not very stealthy
- Cleaning routine is a bit more complex
- Battery door could use a hinge and spring-loaded lock