Dr. Dabber Switch vaporizer review

It doesn’t matter if it’s leafy herbs or sticky concentrates: Dr. Dabber’s Switch will vaporize it like a champ
MSRP $399.99
It doesn’t matter if it’s leafy herbs or sticky concentrates: Dr. Dabber’s Switch will vaporize it like a champ
It doesn’t matter if it’s leafy herbs or sticky concentrates: Dr. Dabber’s Switch will vaporize it like a champ

Highs

  • Burns flower and concentrates
  • Very fast heat-up times
  • Self-cleaning function
  • Long battery life

Lows

  • Large size
  • Expensive

Ever since we started reviewing cannabis vaporizers and pens here on Digital Trends, we’ve seen devices from a host of manufacturers come through our doors. Some are stalwarts of the industry like Pax, Grenco, and Kandypens, while others are brand new such as Prohibited and Cloudious9.

But one company hasn’t been able to break through even despite being in the industry for the better part of a decade, and that’s Dr. Dabber. While the Las Vegas-based company has quite the extensive line of concentrate-centric vapes to choose from, the ones we’ve received in the past haven’t exactly impressed, and were often easily eclipsed by other companies in terms of both performance and build quality.

For this reason, we were admittedly a bit skeptical when we received a pre-production model of Dr. Dabber’s Switch. At $400, it’s nearly at the top of the price range for portable vaporizers, and its large size is a little intimidating. To find out if it’s actually worth your time, we used it as our main rig for a few weeks and put it to the test.

Design

The first thing you’ll notice about the Dr. Dabber Switch is its size. Make no mistake: this thing’s big. Fully assembled with the bubbler top attached, it’s over a foot high and four inches wide. However, despite the Switch’s size, it’s also fairly light. We’d compare it to the weight of a larger high-quality glass water pipe.

“There’s no other way to say this: The Dr. Dabber Switch rips.

Operation of the Switch is easy. A switch (go figure, right?) on the bottom ring of the device allows you to quickly go between leaf and oil modes, with three button operation, while the + and – keys allow you to switch between five different power levels per mode, and a large center button makes it easy to start the heat-up process with a single push.

The heating element on the top of the Switch features induction coils surrounded by ground glass, and removable metal cups work to heat your material via the same technology as induction cooktops.

dr dabber switch drdabber 2

The bubbler itself is made of heavy-duty borosilicate glass and is as solid as you’d expect. You’ll be able to clean this easily just like you would any other dab rig (we highly recommend Mile High Cleaner), and the chamber is large enough to allow for some heavy-duty rips. Included with the Switch is a glass loading tool and carb accessory which works great, as well as a pair of reverse-action tweezers that help you remove and place the induction cups after loading.

“What makes the Dr. Dabber Switch so special is its ease of use.”

What makes the Dr. Dabber Switch so special is its ease of use. We had absolutely no problem loading the device at all. You simply fill the induction cups: a black cup for loose leaf that holds about a 1/3 of a gram of product, and a white cup for concentrates (be sure to use the correct one!). Just use the tweezers to place it back in the device, switch it on, select a power level, and press the center button to start the process. When the LED lights on the top of the device to turn from red to green, you’re clear to start puffing.

Induction heating is truly a dream. Thanks to this technology, we were impressed by how fast the Switch was able to power up produce great vapor: less than ten seconds every time. When the smoke sesh was over, the device’s self-cleaning function allowed us to burn off excess product after using it for concentrates easily, making regular alcohol baths for the pieces unnecessary.

Performance

There’s no other way to say this: The Dr. Dabber Switch rips. At the three highest power settings on either mode we were regularly getting huge clouds out of this thing. In leaf mode, the induction heating vaporized but also burned the material evenly, and in concentrate mode all that was left was residue (which is what you want). Of any vaporizer we’ve tested, the Switch is actually the first to do both forms (flower and concentrates) equally well, and perhaps the closest experience you’ll get to the traditional dab rig/torch method, but without the potential for third-degree burns.

Why is it so big though? Much of the size of the Switch has to do with the removeable 33.3 watt-hour battery, which is one of this rig’s biggest strengths. While Dr. Dabber claims that you’ll get up to 150 cycles on a full charge, we only got about 40 percent of that on average – most likely because we used the self-cleaning function often. The Switch is also is a “passthrough” device, so if you want to use it while it’s connected to the included AC charger, you can do that too. No waiting around for it to charge before you smoke.

dr dabber switch drdabber 3

Overall we had almost no trouble with this rig — although a few times it appeared to get caught in a “cool-down cycle” that couldn’t be switched off (though it’s worth mentioning that we had a pre-production device, so this issue may have been fixed by now). This is typically because the cool down cycle was interrupted, and a power cycle fixed it.

(Editor’s note: Dr. Dabber cautions NOT to interrupt the cool-down cycle as it may damage the device. However, if your Switch gets stuck, and the device feels cool already, try the above trick and everything should be good. Otherwise, try resetting the device – those instructions are at the end of the user manual.)

“The Switch is by far the best vaporizer we’ve tried to date”

There are some advanced functions which allow for even greater customization, including heat settings and “hold time” – where the unit holds the desired heating profile for anywhere from five to 30 seconds. Most of us won’t need to mess with this, but the options are there in case you need them.

Some Extra, But Useless Features

The LEDs around the top of the device can also be set to either light up as one of 10 different solid colors, 14 different cycling colors, or in stealth (no LED) mode. It’s a cool feature, and more of a conversation starter than anything, but hey if you want to customize your device, here’s one way to do it.

Warranty information

Dr. Dabber’s warranty for the Switch is pretty fair, although far less than the five and ten-year warranties of many of its smaller brethren. A two-year limited warranty is provided on the electronic components and battery pack, but the glass pieces do not carry a warranty. Break the bubbler and you’ll need to fork over $75 for a new one. We’d assume, however, that if there were imperfections in the glass that a quick email to their customer support would help remedy the situation.

Our Take

Despite our misgivings about earlier Dr. Dabber products, the Switch is by far the best vaporizer we’ve tried to date. Induction heating certainly seems like the way of the future when it comes to weed vapes, given its efficiency and proper vaporization of product. Dr. Dabber’s method here is patent pending, so it may be awhile before we see something similar.

Is there a better alternative?

For the serious smoker, no. For cannabis users who are new to the game, there are better options out there. While the Switch is easy enough for just about anyone of any experience level to use, the $400 price tag is going to scare most away. For these folks, we’d recommend going with more entry level unit with a much more budget-friendly price tag.

However, for experienced cannabis users, there is no current equal to this device — at least that we have tested so far. In terms of efficiency and performance, this rig is top-tier and you won’t be able to do much better.

How long will it last?

At least in the near term, we don’t expect to find any devices that may replace this one in terms of the full package. One area where we’re a bit disappointed in is the fact that there’s no app control. It sure would be nice to have the ability to set custom heating profiles without fiddling with the device — which is something you can do with other portables like the Pax 3 and Davinci IQ.

This said, the construction of the device is sturdy and not cheap, so there’s no reason why your Switch shouldn’t give you years of reliable performance.

Should you buy it?

If you are an intermediate or advanced cannabis user, this is definitely a device to consider if you have the disposable income to do so. However, if concentrates aren’t your thing, or you simply don’t need a device that can handle both flower and concentrates, then you’d be wise to consider other (likely cheaper) options.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Racing drones and robotic ping pong trainers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

Think soundbars look boring? The Klipsch Bar 40 offers affordable style

Klipsch’s Bar 40 does its namesake proud when it comes to both style and sound, with a great look and impressively clear performance. However, those seeking loads of features may want to look elsewhere.
Computing

Keep your laptop battery in tip-top condition with these handy tips

Learn how to care for your laptop's battery, how it works, and what you can do to make sure yours last for years and retains its charge. Check out our handy guide for valuable tips, no matter what type of laptop you have.
Product Review

Frigidaire FGIP2468UD dishwasher review

This Frigidaire dishwasher has a lot of pros, including the ability to run quietly and impressive cleaning capabilities. But do they come at a price? Read our review to find out how it stacks up.
News

UPS partners with TuSimple to test self-driving semi-trucks

UPS has been carrying truckloads of goods in self-driving semi-trucks since May. The vehicles are being tested in Arizona routes between Phoenix and Tucson for better service and efficiency for UPS delivery.
Emerging Tech

Astro the dog-inspired quadruped robot can sit, lie down, and… learn?

Move over Spot! Researchers from Florida Atlantic University have built a new dog robot called Astro. Thanks to deep learning technology, it promises to be able to learn just like a real dog.
Emerging Tech

Eric Geusz: Apple engineer by day, spaceship designer by night

An Apple software engineer by day, artist Eric Geusz spends his nights drawing everyday household objects as amazing, science fiction-style spaceships. Check out the impressive results.
Health & Fitness

We spit in a ton of test tubes to find the best and most unique DNA tests

DNA tests aren’t just limited to ancestry. You can test for your risks for certain diseases, the best workouts and diets for your health and fitness, and more.
Emerging Tech

Artificial tree promises to suck up as much air pollution as a small forest

Startup Biomitech has developed an artificial tree that it claims is capable of sucking up as much air pollution as 368 real trees. It could be a game-changer for cities with limited free space.
Emerging Tech

Mars 2020 rover now has a rotating array of drill bits for sampling Martian rock

Most the key components in the Mars 2020 rover are installed and ready to go. The next phase of construction was to install the bit carousel, an important mechanism for the gathering and sorting of samples from the Martian surface.
Emerging Tech

NASA selects landing site candidates for OSIRIS-Rex to sample asteroid Bennu

Last year, the OSIRIS-REx craft arrived at asteroid Bennu, from which it will collect a sample from the asteroid to be brought back to Earth. Now, the NASA team has selected four potential sites to choose from for the sampling mission.
Emerging Tech

NASA wants to send two more missions to Mars to collect rock samples

With its Mars 2020 mission, NASA hopes to collect samples from the surface of the planet. The challenge is how to get those samples back to Earth. Now, NASA has revealed its plans for two followup missions to Mars.
Emerging Tech

The black hole at the center of our galaxy is flaring and no one knows why

At the heart of our galaxy lies a supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*. Normally this giant monster is relatively docile, but recently it's been a hotbed of unexpected activity, rapidly glowing 75 times brighter than normal.
Emerging Tech

SpaceIL’s crashed lander may have sent thousands of tardigrades to the moon

When the SpaceIL craft Beresheet crashed into the moon earlier this year, it left more than just an impact mark. Thousands of micro-animals called tardigrades were along for the ride and may have survived the crash.