Induction heating has limited every-day applications, aside from melting pesky bolts or as a convenient way to cook rice. However, one small company has done what others had deemed impossible—they’ve gotten this technology into a handheld vaporizer.
Discovered in 1831 by Michael Faraday, said to be the “father of electromagnetism,” the inductive effect saw one of its first uses melting scrap metal in a smelter in England.
Induction heaters, such as those found on stovetops or rice cookers, pass very high frequency alternating current through a metallic object, generating eddy currents of electrons that can heat it to high temperatures very quickly. This technology seems ripe for vaporizers, so why has it taken so long for this to become a reality?
Normal e-cigarettes and BHO vapes work by passing a direct current though a resistance coil that generates heat, like a lightbulb.
Induction requires an extremely high-frequency alternating current in order to generate heat, and it took an electrical engineering genius from the team at Loto Labs to figure out how to pack it into a device you can hold in the palm of your hand. Unsurprisingly, the Loto Lux is no small vape, despite being handheld.
Patent application in hand as of May 2014, Neeraj Bhardwaj used an IndieGoGo campaign to fund his daring endeavor. The road got rocky after the company didn’t deliver on its first release date, but the Loto Labs team carried on.
After more investment, an appearance at a Cannabis Cup and some helpful media attention, Loto Labs has finally released their product and began shipping those first orders placed in 2014.
This writer hasn’t written reviews since he was more of a regular on HIGHTIMES.com, but the nerdy stoner inside couldn’t pass at the chance to take a whack at one of the most inventive feats in stoner ingenuity since the invention of the two-stage grinder.
This review is not sponsored in any way, this writer was not compensated by Loto Labs and, in fact, had to send the product back after reviewing.
The first thing you notice about the Loto Lux is its size and weight (it requires a substantial battery). Pop open the ceramic mouthpiece, if you can muster the strength, and you’ll see where the magic happens. A large red solenoid that forms a cylinder houses a removable glass insert where you put your product. This insert comes with a skinny coil in the middle. This coil is where the heat actually comes from.
Pack in a dab or two into the right insert for BHO, which has a conical shape at the bottom, and insert the coil. The device turns on with the press of a button, and the first hit you take immediately delivers a very tasty cloud of vapor. Open up the chamber once you don’t get a hit anymore, and voila, the oil is gone; no nasty residue, no charring.
This device also works for herb, but as is the case with many vapes, including this functionality was a little overzealous.
Most coil BHO vaporizers always have an acrid throat taste that is reminiscent of a “dry puff” off a normal e-liquid vaporizer, in almost every hit you take from it. Admittedly, the ones that have “ceramic coils” do taste better than metal coil vape pens, but at a severe price of vapor production.
That’s not the case with the Loto Lux; this puppy gives off big clouds with great flavor. With such a big device, it’s no surprise it provides very nice airflow, no more difficult than breathing air through a straw.
Electromagnetic energy from the solenoid passes through the insert and heats the coil without making any contact, but the heat still comes from a metal coil, so how is it really different from any other vaporizer? It has everything to do with induction eddy currents.
As a direct current flows through a coil, metal atoms resist against the energy of the electron. This random process often results in hot spots along the coil, depending on irregularities in the metal’s crystal structure. These hotspots are thought to be the culprit of off-flavors and coil burnouts.
However, the force of electromagnetic induction causes a uniform heating on the surface of the metal. Small currents, not a continuous flow from one direction or another, means no hotspots. The surface only heats the oil to the boiling point of the components in the oil.
Loto Labs is the first to use this technology for vaporizers, but it’s only natural that it will catch on with other companies. The main target market so far has been hash oil and cannabis vaping, but the Loto Lux also works for e-liquid.
Not much of an e-juicehead myself, I abstained from trying out that functionality. Interestingly, Bhardwaj’s first patent filed in 2014 had this technology adapted for glycerin/propylene glycol nicotine vapes. It was his 2015 patent that became the Loto Lux we know today for BHO and cannabis.
It’s possible that in the future, this tech will become more advanced and able to fit into smaller packages at a more affordable price.
Is it the perfect vape?
Perhaps it’s too early to tell. This product has some major room for improvement, and hopefully the designers will listen to any advice given to them. Just like waiting to buy a new phone until the kinks get worked out, this reviewer recommends waiting a few months until the Loto Lux is in prime shape.