The Carta is a portable electronic dab rig made for concentrates that also works with dry herb. The first comparison everyone makes is to the Puffco Peak. This won’t be a direct compare and contrast, but we will go over some of the key differences and some references will be made to the Peak for context.
The Carta consists of a few major pieces. The borosilicate water attachment, the base unit, and the atomizer. It comes with a concentrate atomizer plus a titanium and quartz bowl to choose from. The water attachment holds considerably more water than the Peaks water piece, and it really helps with cooling down the vapour. You also get a carb cap, two 18350 batteries that you can swap out yourself, some tools, and a charging cable. The entire unit is about 7” tall and heavier than it looks with the plastic finish. I’m not big on the two-tone design, but there is an all-black model that I think is much better looking. There is also a Carta phone app coming soon.
Battery Life/Charging/Heat Up Time
Since it has USB-C charging, the Carta juices up pretty fast. Less than an hour every time I’ve recharged. However, if you’re short on time and don’t want to wait for your dab, you can always keep a set of fully charged 18350s handy and just swap them out. This feature sets the Carta apart from the competition. I was able to get around 30 hits before needing to plug in. Heat up time is also fast. The titanium bowl at setting two takes less than ten seconds, full temperature power takes less than 15 seconds.
How to Use
Using the Carta is easy as can be. Click the button five times to start up and it’ll vibrate and display its battery life, then it goes into standby mode, ready to dab when you are. To heat up just press the button once and the base unit will go to your last temp setting. To change temps one-click cycles through the power settings from 500°F up to 842°F. As your Carta heats up the lights will flash blue. When ready it’ll vibrate again, and the lights will stay solid green until the cycle is over.
The bowl can handle large amounts if you’re wanting a big dab. When you’re done and want to end stop the heating cycle, just press the button five times or hold it to shut down your Carta. There is an automatic turnoff feature to save your battery life, something the Peak was missing. There is even a dry herb atomizer that works well and it’s only $30, a unique feature in a portable e-rig. I found it vaped herb most consistently when one load was vaped for one cycle, more than that was a little uneven. This won’t replace a stand-along dry herb vape, but still a nice option for the price.
I found the Carta best at what it was made for – vaping concentrates. The extra water vs. the Peak makes hits smoother in general. If you want to go big, turn it up to the highest temp and load up a monster slab, the Carta can handle. I prefer the titanium bowl, temperature setting two or three.
Like its competitors, this device is an efficient way to use extracts. No torches, no temp guns or timers. Just press a button and inhale when it vibrates, so easy. You also get great mileage out of the concentrates, especially at temp setting three. Start with smaller dabs and work your way up to learn how it all operates, but it will only take a couple of sessions. Q-tip the atomizer out after your session and use a little isopropyl alcohol for a deeper clean if needed. Be sure to air dry thoroughly afterwards. A fan will make this go much faster.
Build Quality & Cost
The Carta feels like a solid device. It weighs more than you’d expect for its size, and the glass is thick and sturdy. The atomizers seem to be more reliable than the Peak’s based on customer feedback and my experience is similar, my Carta hasn’t failed me once. I’m not big on the two-tone plastic, but there is an all-black version that I think looks more premium. Either way, it does feel and behave like a more expensive device.
The strongest point is the price. It’s only $250 compared to $380 for a Peak and $400 for a Switch. With the Carta being so much more affordable and just as (if not more) capable than its competition, we will probably see an answer to the Carta sometime soon.
I like how fast the Carta heats up, how consistent the hits are, and the quality of the vapour. The price is great comparatively, and for just $30 more you can vape dry herb through it. Much more affordable than any other handheld electronic rig out there. I love the community Focus has built around the Carta. Since day one they’ve showcased custom glass, collaborations, third party accessories… excelling in areas where the other companies have struggled.
There is no doubt the Peak is the sexier of the two pieces. Improving the finish on the Carta’s plastic base will help the looks a lot. Also, the App must get into the App Store. Most people aren’t going to mess with sideloading apps, and just saying “App is coming” isn’t going to cut it anymore.
The Carta is a fantastic portable dab rig. Not much to complain about with this one. I love the removable batteries, the auto-shutoff safety, fast heat-up time, and the glass piece is quality and holds a lot of water for super cool dabs. It isn’t as good looking as the Peak, and if you already own a Peak this won’t be a huge upgrade or anything. However, if you are new to handheld electronic rigs you won’t find a better value right now than the Carta and its performance is as good as any competitor.
Be sure to head to sneakypetestore.com and vapenorth.ca for your own Carta. This portable dab rig easily hangs with the competition. Also, don’t miss the upcoming Vape Talk premier and chat with me live! It's next Saturday, July 27th at 12 pm PT. We will be giving away an INDUCTION HEATER (boom 😊).
See ya there!