Portable vaporizers are quickly becoming smaller, and more popular, but discretion is the name of the game, and sacrifice is often the cost. Well-known options like the PAX, Crafty, and Firefly offer premium features and design, but expect to shell out around $300 for the privilege.
Which makes options like the Boundless CFC particularly intriguing at just $89.99. It carries some of the same features we expect at higher price points, including a digital display, internal rechargeable battery, and a compact, discreet design.
It’s competing with just a few other, herb-only portable vaporizers around $100, including the Magic Flight Launch Box, Flowermate Mini V5.0S, and the Focus Pro. All three are tried and true options, and the CFC has its work cut out for it.
Ridges are in
The Boundless CFC’s ridged structure isn’t just attractive, it works to its advantage. Despite the materials not being all that premium, it feels sturdy and durable. Only time will tell whether it actually holds up to abuse, but the mouthpiece fits snugly and the buttons have a solid press to them, both strong marks for longevity.
Unfortunately, the unique teardrop shape isn’t exactly the most ergonomic. The bottom end is wider than the mouthpiece, so it isn’t as comfortable to hold as it looks. Most of the device keeps cool, apart from the two spots closest to the oven on either side. Some people never noticed, while others happened to put their hand right on it. Either way, it’s something to look out for, and higher-end devices like the PAX 3 keep cooler overall.
The controls are simple and effective, and the buttons and display stray from the cheap feel often associated with lower-end devices. It heats up quickly, allowing you to tune the temperature and wake the device up from idle when you set it down after a session.
One hand loading
There’s also the issue of loading the vaporizer. Like other herbal-only vaporizers, it works best with a full oven, packed down tightly. No problem there, but its unique shape means actually filling and tamping the oven requires you to hold the device while you do, so you’ll have to grind, pour, and tamp one-handed.
Should anything go wrong under the hood, Boundless provides a warranty that covers the device for three years and the battery for 90 days. At the price point, if the battery goes south, you’re likely to just go out and look at a new vape, but it’s nice to know there’s some coverage there.
Clean, flavorful vapor
On to where the Boundless CFC really excels -- clouds. This compact little vaporizer produces thick draws that fill your lungs and hang in the air. We were immediately impressed with the CFC’s ability to output a whole lot of vapor without much effort at all. As long as you keep your ovens consistent, and pull slow, you’ll see the results in every draw.
Volume isn’t the only important aspect when it comes to a portable vaporizer, and the CFC falls behind when it comes to taste. Granted, that’s a tough ask for the category, which isn’t known for perfecting showcasing flavor profiles. It carries some of the same toasted popcorn taste that tends to show up in smaller vaporizers, but strong flavors and lower heat -- preferably around 350 degrees fahrenheit or lower -- can help.
Move up the temperature scale, and you’ll trade flavors for the trademark clouds. They don’t taste good at all, but they’re certainly impressive, and provide a strong, heady pull that will hit the spot out and about, or after a long day.
(PAX 3 vs CFC)
The CFC’s massive cloud production puts it in the same awkward place as other portable vaporizers. The device itself is understated, but unless you play it cool when you hit it, you might not be. Smell from the turned-off device is at a minimum so far though, as long as you keep it clean. The one caveat is that the mouthpiece is also the oven lid. Should it pop off in your pocket, you’re also likely to spill the contents in there.
The good news is there’s plenty of battery in the compact device for a number of long sessions. We managed to stretch the device for about an hour at 390 degree fahrenheit, 12 full heating and discharging cycles, with 10 to 15 draws per packed oven. Many will appreciate the rechargeable battery and standardized MicroUSB port for charging. The Focus Pro and Magic Flight use external rechargeables, which should appeal more to the already indoctrinated.
The CFC has some minor inconveniences, but its best features are vapor production and sturdy design, important highlights for any portable vaporizer. It’s a good fit for someone looking to see if portable, herbal vaporization is for them. It provides a solid version of the experience, without the big commitment of the Pax and Craftys of the world.
Which means the trick up sleeve is actually price. At just $89.99, the CFC falls right in line with a few, our favorite of which is the Focus Pro. The Focus has a removable battery, digital display, and a classy tumbled texture. The Magic Flight, while an excellent product, has a steeper learning curve that won’t appeal to the same crowd.
The issues, then, are the hot spots on the side, middling flavor, and awkward loading procedure. All in all, those aren’t terrible compromises for a vaporizer at the price point. If you want to smoothe out those issues, the only option is to spend a bit more and make the jump to the $300 price point. If you have $100 or so to spend, this is a solid option at a good price, but the Focus Pro may edge it out with better flavor.