2018 saw the introduction of the first modern portable dab rig to the market in the form of the Puffco Peak. Offering the most cutting edge technology, this device combined outstanding portability with desktop-like performance.
However, hot on its heels, rival companies were soon to launch their own models, taking their inspiration from Puffco’s pioneering spirit.
One of the best was Focus V’s Carta Vape Rig. Taking a similar approach to the Puffco Peak, the Carta Vape has taken many of the same elements, but given them a contemporary tweak to bring them more in line with market expectations.
The big question is which is the best?
Here, we review each element that matters to us in a dab rig to see which model comes out on top.
First, let’s take a closer look at the shape and size of both models.
Construction & Design
Winner: Puffco Peak
The Puffco Peak has a triangular shape, and this gives it quite a stable base so that it can either be used with two hands or single-handed. Measuring 7 inches in height and with a 2.75 inch base, it isn’t quite as portable as the standard vape pen, but it is pretty stylish and incredibly easy to use. It is offered in tons of different colors and even offers a popular travel pack, which also comes in more colors than we want to list here.
The Carta Vape also measures just over 7” in height, and has a rounder base which isn’t quite as stable as the Peak. It also has a more chunky and bulky design than the Peak, which also makes it difficult to use on the move. It does come with a carrying case, however, which makes it a little easy to take it from A to B.
If we take a look at the bowls, the Puffco Peak only comes with a standard ceramic bowl, while the Carta Vape comes with a choice of either a titanium or a quartz bowl for even better results.
Winner: Carta Vape
The Puffco Peak doesn’t use a wall adapter. Instead, it has a smart proprietary battery pack which is non-removable without destroying the seals and warranty. Its battery is rapid-charging within just 2 hours and it lasts for around 30 dabs before requiring a recharge.
The Carta Vape utilizes 2 rechargeable and removable 13650 batteries. This is an advantage over the Peak since you can carry spare batteries around with you in case you need to recharge in a place where there’s no power outlet. This lets you vape for longer without having to worry about running out of power. It does, on the other hand, mean you need to carry spare batteries everywhere you go, and this could be cumbersome but worth it.
User Settings And Temperature Profiles
Winner: Carta Vape
The Peak features four different temperature profiles which users can adjust to get the perfect experience. The intelligent battery is also capable of adjusting the vaporizer’s temperature and calibrating the settings automatically to ensure the concentrates won’t be burned by excessive heat. As a result, the vaping temperature remains constant and allows for the best possible flavor as well as impressive clouds.
The Carta Vape also features different temperature profiles. However, the temperature adjusting features that this device offers far outstrip the capabilities of the Puffco Peak. The downloadable app allows for complete customization of your vaping experience that is hard to beat.
Heat Up Time
Winner: Carta Vape
The Puffco Peak heats up in just 20 seconds, so you’ll be able to get started with vaping very rapidly.
However, the Carta Vape has the edge, heating to temperature in as little as 5-7 seconds. This speed of heat up rivals the popular Dr. Dabber Switch and Firefly 2's heat up time of about 3 seconds (although not necessarily a dab rig).
Unfortunately both companies have had their share of issues dealing with customer service.
We found that the rise in overnight popularity of the Carta caused a lot of issues with their customer service team. -they weren't exactly ready for a waterfall of defective of emails.
In most cases we found that user error seemed to plague issues with the Carta and Peak. A lot of times having to do with connection, or just simply not using the correct button press combinations to activate.
If you are patient then both companies should honor their warranty and at the end of the day we've seen our customers happy (although this may take longer than we wish)
Slight Winner: Carta Vape (Only because of atomizer warranty)
Both the Puffco Peak and the Carta Vape offer buyers a manufacturer’s warranty for their complete peace of mind. While the Peak’s warranty lasts for a year.
Carta Vape offers a one year warranty, for even better value for users. Focus V also offers a one month warranty on it's atomizers! No other company we've seen does this.
Winner: Carta Vape
The Puffco Peak is only suitable for use with wax concentrates.
The Carta Vape has been designed to offer both dry herb and wax concentrate vaping. Keep in mind the dry herb atomizer must be purchased separately as it does not come with the kit. Also, the Carta Vape can be used with a wide variety of accessories like heating cups and bubblers for a more enhanced vaping experience.
Winner: Carta Vape (edit: prices have increased and certain items are no longer available like the v2 wax atomizer and repair kits for carta)
edit 4/2020: by a slim margin now the carta is a bit cheaper at first however with the price of atomizers now only everlast available it starts to even out over time, if not be slightly more expensive...
With these units and all vape units, you'll want to not only compare the price of the device itself, but the price of it's consumables (atomizers, heating cups, glass replacements, batteries). Below you can compare:
|Puffco Peak||Focus V Carta V2|
|Peak Kit: was $399 now $249||Focus V Carta: $250|
|Peak Atomizer: $39.99||Everlast Atomizer: $60 (6 mo warranty)
Dry Herb Atomizer: $30~$40
|Peak Carb Caps: $19.99
Peak Ball Caps~ $19.99+ (more for colored)
Carb Caps: $9.99
|Peak Battery: Not replaceable||Battery set: $25|
|Replacement Glass: $79.99||Replacement Glass Top: $40|
So, overall, which is the best device, and is there a clear winner? After all, both are portable, both offer high performance, and both produce fantastic vapor.
In our experience, the taste produced by the Puffco Peak is slightly better than that produced by the Carta Vape while the Carta has an edge on cloud production (a bit thicker vapor in our opinion).
When taking everything into account, it’s clear that the Puffco Peak does offer users some advantages over its rival. In terms of colors and looks, it wins hands down. Its stylish triangular-based design is easy to use and is also more visually appealing than the Carta Vape.
However, in most other aspects the Carta Vape is the clear winner.
Not only is it a cheaper device, but it also offers much better versatility. Thanks to its array of compatible accessories, the choice of bowls and the ability to vape either dry herbs or wax concentrates.
It also has removable batteries, so you can enjoy greater convenience when using this device on the go.
The Focus V Carta Vape offers buyers the best value for money over its rival, and is our top pick on the market today for anyone who wants a portable dab rig.
Want to see more? We've compared the Dr Dabber Switch as well here.