Published on March 2nd, 2013 | by Trick5
The AC9 by Vapinaze
Summary: A well-built, easy-to-use Genesis from a maker who is at least trying to stay ahead of the demand curve.
The AC9 is a new Genesis-style atomizer from Vapinaze, based in North Carolina. According to Vapinaze, the aim of the AC9 was “to produce an atomizer that was easy to use and accessible to everyone.” To a large degree, they seem to have succeeded.
As you probably know, one of the problems with higher-end atomizers and PVs is that many of them are practically unobtainable. They are produced in small batches and released in a trickle, forcing people interested in buying them to spring during predefined time windows. Vapinaze has addressed this issue by producing the AC9 in very large numbers. How many were sold during the time it was available on their site is not known, but unlike some items which go out of stock in minutes, the AC9 kit was available for several days. Considering the popularity and word-of-mouth about this atomizer, we suspect the number sold could easily have been in the thousands. Now, to truly call this atomizer “accessible,” they will need to have more than one open sale window, but the quantity available for this last run shows that Vapinaze is at least attempting to meet the demand for the atomizer.
This leads us to the ease of use of the atomizer. The AC9 kit is a good start, providing three sheets stainless steel mesh for wicks, two types of kanthal wire, a drip tip, and spare parts; more than enough to get up and running with a Genesis atomizer. Pre-built wicks and coils might have made it even easier to use, but considering how many people would want to build their own setup out of the box, it’s understandable that Vapinaze chose not to.
However, the ease of use doesn’t simply include providing all the right materials to set it up: the design of the AC9 simplifies much of what can make Genesis atomizers difficult. The first thing we noticed was a rather generous wick hole. Not only will this likely make it easier to keep juice flowing on the wick — we’ve found thicker wicks tend to provide juice to the coil, with less tilting, than thinner ones — but the simple, roomy configuration of the AC9 makes it relatively easy to get the coil hooked up with tools no more complicated than a standard screwdriver. We were relieved not to have to go find a tiny eyeglass driver or hex wrench to get it set up — the big screwdriver we use for things like putting up fences and prying off paint can lids worked just fine.
Another unique feature of the AC9, and the one probably talked about most, is the tank. It is made of PMMA, a very durable plastic that resistant to nearly all juices, though their website warns against using Mad Murdock’s Pluid, including a somewhat ominous, if unsubstantiated, health warning about the juice. The tank is built in a unique shape that allows it to be removed from the atomizer at any time, even if it is full of juice. This makes it very easy to clean, as well as to swap out juice any time you want.
The draw of the AC9 is quite airy; those familiar with the Z-Atty-Pro have experienced a similar draw. An optional cap is also available to provide a tighter draw, and while we have one on the way to use here at the Vape Squad, is has not yet arrived, so we haven’t been able to try it out.
The launch of the AC9 was not without controversy. When a Chinese company was preparing to release a clone of the AC9 (or at least an atomizer that closely resembled it), it led to a confrontation between a representative of Vapinaze and the managers of co-ops looking to buy the Chinese clone atomizer. Harsh words were spoken, legal threats were made against the co-op managers, and soon afterward profuse apologies were offered by steadier heads at Vapinaze towards the co-op managers and their members. There were calls to remove the representative, “RipTrippers,” from his position at Vapinaze, but fortunately at this point the whole thing appears to have blown over.
So, what do we really think about the AC9?
Build Quality: 4
The build quality of the AC9 is excellent. The materials are solid, the pieces fit together beautifully, and the overall design is outstanding. The only room we can really see for improvement would be to either make it lighter (the AC9 is a heavy atomizer), and to provide a glass tank. However, in the latter case, the complexity of the tank’s design could make it difficult to produce in glass, and in the former, using a lighter material like titanium would surely drive the cost of the unit up significantly.
We did, however, have one technical issue with the AC9. We’ve had difficulty in getting it to screw down onto some of our PVs. We had no trouble attaching it to a Provari and GG Stealth, but cannot get it to thread onto the 510 connectors of other mods, including the EA Mod and SmokTech Telescope and Natural mods. Whether this is the fault of the mods or the atomizer is difficult to say, but with the exception of some atomizers on the SmokTech mods, this is not a problem we experience with other atomizers.
We can find no faults in the looks of the AC9. Its clean design, brushed finish, and translucent tank all combine into striking look that will compliment a wide variety of mods.
Several features of the AC9 make it more flexible than the average RBA. The distance from the bottom to the top of the coil, for example, can be adjusted by raising or lowering the adjustable center post. The removable tank also enhances the AC9 by allowing easy juice changes and cleaning. However, the AC9 does not allow multiple configurations in the way that, for example, the Siam Mods Cobra does.
Airflow in the AC9 seems excellent, and the wide wick hole allows plenty of juice to the coil. Vapor production and flavor on the AC9 were both excellent, and we could find no real room for improvement within the constraints of a Genesis-style atomizer, with the exception of the limited configurability mentioned above. The availability of a tight draw cap in addition to the default cap should meet the needs of nearly everyone.
At $124.95 for the atomizer and $139.95 for the complete kit, the AC9 is not cheap, but is still less expensive than many other comparable Genesis atomizers.
Overall Score: 4.2