Evolv Cricket Review – Instant, Tasty Dabs Anywhere
The Evolve Cricket Pocket Dab Rig vapes smaller dabs with incredible taste anywhere, anytime. It’s expensive and requires a little technique, but man does it perform! Once I got the hang of it, the Cricket quickly became my go-to pocket dab rig. It’s excellent with smaller dabs, but those that like larger dabs can save their time and look elsewhere.
Instant heat up
Embrace your impatience and stop waiting for your dabs…the Cricket is ready before you even start your draw! Just press the button and take your hit. This isn’t like your other dab pens that need to heat up for ten or more seconds. The pace is more like a cartridge vape pen.
You can adjust the warm-up time between zero and five seconds depending on your style. Most people will keep the warm-up time lower than two seconds, and that’s good for the recommended dab size (50mg…or about half a standard dab). But if you must load up more than that, or you take a fast draw, it’s better to set the warm-up time closer to five seconds. This will keep things cleaner in the oven and mouthpiece.
Great taste is in the DNA
Let’s just say it – Cricket dabs taste great. And not just on the first hit, either. I usually get about four hits per dab, and the flavor is present on all of them until I turn it up to the highest temperatures.
The Cricket nails tasty dabs with impeccable temperature control made possible by Evolv’s DNA guts. If you’re not familiar with box mods for e-cigs, the DNA chipset has been a leader for years and has been an absolute game-changer for cannabis users. Here’s why it’s important…
Flavor is the first thing to go in a dab, and the higher the temp, the quicker it fades. Inferior box mods have temperature spikes that overheat your concentrate and run through the flavor instantly. If you want your taste to last, you need to keep the temperature stable, and that’s where the DNA chipset and the Cricket come in.
Once the Cricket hits temp it stays within five degrees in either direction. I got incredibly clear and consistent flavor between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit (176 to 204 Celsius), and the flavor was still very present all the way up to 525F (274C). I would typically temp step through my dabs, starting around 390F (199C) and ending at 550F (288C). It wasn’t until that last hit that the flavor was lost as the last of the concentrate boiled off.
Easy, thoughtful, and precise controls
I have no complaints about how the Cricket operates. I think it’s a little messy with the concentrates, but operating it is very well thought out. The more I use it, the more I notice the attention to detial.
Total temp control
First, the basics. The Cricket has full digital temp control to every degree from 150 to 600F, and two different heat modes. Press the power button while the cap is off, and it heats low and slow to melt your dab into place after you load it. Put the cap on and it heats normal for dabs. When you need to adjust the preheat time (more on that later), press and hold the Power and Up buttons together for a second.
Built-in dab tool with storage
Now to the details, and I’ll start at the beginning. This dinky-ass vape has a built-in dab tool with concentrate storage. I don’t even get that with my full-size Dr. Dabber Switch! Think about that…it’s pretty impressive.
The dab tool is the right size for the recommended dab, and its handle houses a silicone dab case that’s good for about four or five dabs. When I first noticed the dab case I thought “I guess the tool twists off the handle, otherwise I’m screwed.” Nope. Even better – the dab tool is magnetically attached. I love that. And the handle has a bearing in it that snaps into place when it slides in – just because it’s satisfying.
Buttons and lights
The buttons on the Cricket feel right. They don’t wiggle, have a slight resistance to them, and have that satisfying click as they activate. Press and hold the up or down button and the temp changes slowly at first, then quickly speeds up just the right amount. The screen gets just a tad brighter when you fire up the heater, almost subliminally. All this adds up to a seamless interface that I rarely notice.
Slim and pocketable
The Evolve Cricket isn’t the smallest vape I have, but it might be the slimmest, and that makes a huge difference. I barely feel it in my pockets, except for the weight. It’s as surprisingly heavy as it is small.
It measures 4.6″ (117mm) tall, 1.6″ (39.5mm) wide, a half-inch (12mm) deep, and weighs 6.2oz (176 grams). In other words, it’s about as tall as a Crafty+, as wide as a DaVinci IQ, but as slim as a PAX Era. Factor in the on-board storage, and it feels even smaller!
Let me tell you what it’s like to use the Cricket pocket dab rig. The dab tool is so well thought through that I have to use it, even though I don’t like the silicone container. Just don’t pack it full or it can squeeze out and get sticky, and don’t pack more than you’ll use that day or the goodies will dry out.
To get ready for the day, have it fully charged and transfer your concentrate to the silicone container. Then take the cap off and load a first dab into the tub (that’s what they call the bowl, or cup, in other dab rigs). Stow away the dab tool. Now look into the tub and press the power button to watch your dab melt into place. This takes a few seconds and is fun to watch. I like to smell it! Put the cap on, throw it in your pocket and get going.
You’re gonna be happier with a slow, long draw with the Cricket than with a faster one. Too fast and it will quickly get messy and start to clog the chimney (the glass tube inside the mouthpiece).
Whenever you’re ready, pull it out, set the temp and hit the power button. The display will ready “Ready” when it’s to temp, but who are we kidding here. I hit that thing as soon as I start to fire it up. I use a long draw and like to get started early. Let go of the button when you’re done with your hit, enjoy the exhale, and throw it back in the pocket until it’s time for another hit.
I like to start my dabs in the low 400’s (fahrenheit) and add 30 to 50 degrees per hit until it’s done, usually about four or five hits later. Load, hit, repeat…that’s it. You can clean it between dabs with a q-tip, or not. That can wait til the end of the day if I don’t hit it too hard.
All-day battery life
I consider myself a heavy user, and could get through a whole day with the Cricket on a full battery (850mAh). On days when I use it more than usual, it quickly recharges anywhere with a USB-C charge port.
The average user will get about fifty hits over ten full dabs before the Cricket needs to recharge. As with all vapes, battery life is shorter when you choose higher temperatures, like anything over 550F (288C), and longer with settings below 450F (232C).
At some point the internal battery will die. I asked Evolv if they had a battery replacement plan, and thye said they would by the time things were out of warranty. That’s good news. No one wants their $400 vape to be a paperweight just because the battery wore out.
Everything feels high quality
The Cricket feels like something out of a Bang & Olufsen catalog. I struggle to think of another vape built to these quality standards. I could tell as soon as I picked it up.
It gets most of its weight from the outer shell that’s CNC’d from a single block of 416 stainless steel. That’s what they make screws and wrenches out of. The Cricket is tough as nails, and feels like it.
You’ll definitely notice the carbon fiber faceplate that fits in with other high end electronics today. But you might miss the paper thin heater made from Grade 9 titanium, or the custom glass chimney that can only be sourced from one place in the world right now. No matter where you look on the Cricket, you’ll find quality custom parts and designs.
Built for small doses
This is where things can get messy, but let’s look at the bright side first. The Cricket excels with smaller doses, and even leaves me regularly thinking the effects outweight the dose. At least once every couple of sessions I’ll get a hit that feels so strong I say “wtf?” Evolv says their design produces smaller particles of vapor that get absorbed in the lungs easier, thus fucking us up more on less. They have the lab equipment to prove it, and my sessions give me no reason to doubt it.
But if you get greedy and load more concentrate for bigger hits, you’re just gonna quickly make a mess. When I stuck to the recommended load size, or what I would consider a small / conservative dab, I could vape effortlessly over and over again without much maintenance. However, when I used a standard sized load, I clogged things up within a few dabs. And when I went for oversized loads, the Cricket clogged immediately.
Bottom line, if you like or want to be forced into smaller dabs, the Cricket is perfect. But if you’re hooked on bigger dabs you’ll just spend your time cleaning it up.
Messy, but easy to clean
My biggest gripe about the Cricket is the mess. And it’s not that the mess is more than other dab rigs, but it’s front and center for you to deal with. There are no hidden vapor paths deep down in the bowels of the vape. If you want it crystal clean, you can easily get there again. What’s more important is that you use it as designed so it stays clean and manageable.
Concentrates are messy by nature, and the first place I noticed a buildup was on the top of the mouthpiece. I just started to use it and was loading too much and pulling too hard. What I didn’t know at the time was this is a signal that the chimney is clogging.
The chimney is the glass vapor path in the mouthpiece. It’s oblong and flat (for reasons I’ll save for the nerdy sections below) and clogs up when bigger globs of extract get whipped up into the vapor stream. Once I read the instructions and adjusted my style, I was able to get really good sessions without much fuss.
While I don’t like the messy oven and mouthpiece, at least nothing is hidden. I can see and clean everywhere the vapor touches, and it doesn’t take much more than a q-tip or alcohol wipe for regular maintenance.
I can go for days with just a q-tip to wipe things down while it’s still warm. If it’s cold, just use the Cap Off heat mode to warm it up enough to clean up. When the chimney clogs, however, it’s time to break out those flat wooden skewers that came with the Cricket. Push the skewer into the chimney and scrape out the concentrate (I like to put this back in the tub for another hit). It works better right after a session than later, and I get the feeling I’m gonna need a big bag of these skewers.
When it’s time to deep clean, remove the silicone gasket from the mouthpiece and separate the chimney. Soak the mouthpiece housing and the chimney in rubbing alcohol, and wipe down the silicone gasket with an alcohol wipe. Don’t be afraid to unscrew the tub. There’s nothing to break, so just be gentle with the black gasket. I found some residues on the underside of the tub and in the pit below.
A connoisseur’s vape
The Evolv Cricket was made for connoisseurs. It feels like my rich uncle’s vape, with a style and price tag that are usually out of my reach.
The build quality is top shelf and the feature set is incredibly unique. The goal was to make a pocket dab rig that could heat up and cool down instantly so you could take the dab hits anywhere, anytime, without sacrificing taste. That’s an incredibly ambitious target, and Evolv did a great job.
Like a lot of connoisseur products, the Cricket gives you enough control to mess things up. You’re not on the rails, even though there aren’t many options to tweak. If you want to load up a ton and hit it hard, you can, and you’ll completely clog it. It forces you to use the correct method, and the payoffs are worth it.
Deep tech dive for the nerds
If vape theory makes your eyes glaze over, skip to the next section. I spent some time with the CTO of Cricket to ask all my nerdy questions, and the answers were fascinating.
The Cricket uses a modified version of the DNA software that is accessible through EScribe on any PC or Mac, but there’s not a lot to do. The firmware is already configured and is really only for software updates. There isn’t anything to adjust that I couldn’t do on the vape itself. But it was cool to connect it and look at some of the stats.
The tub, or bowl, is paper thin (3/1000’s” thick) and made of Grade 9 titanium. The tub is the bowl and heater…there is no heater below. That’s why it gets to temperature and cools down so quickly. Replacement tubs are only $20.
The entire air and vapor paths are in the cap and are fully visible. The air comes in the holes in the side of the mouthpiece that line up with the silicone gasket inside. Fresh air comes in very quickly and immediately scours down the side of the tub until it turns back upward into the chimney.
The air comes in so quickly that it creates smaller vapor particles when it hits the oil. Evolv has a cascade impactor in the lab that measures particle size to confirm this. So what, you say? Well, smaller particles can penetrate deeper into our lungs and absorb better than larger particles. Remember when I said I think the effects outweigh the load size? This might be why.
If you look at the tub and chimney you may notice there aren’t corners. That’s by design because corners create dead spots in the airflow and oils collect there. That’s why most home rigs have carb caps – to blow the oil out of the coils. But the Cricket doesn’t have a carb cap, so they gave the vapor flow a path without them. The air flows down the sides of the oven and back up the curve into the chimney, which is flat with curved sides.
The Cricket taste has been engineered in a way I never considered before. When oils get hot, they lose their terps (taste) and splatter up the sides of a traditional bowl, where they continue to boil off with poor taste. But the Cricket design deliberately catches splatter where there is no heat, so the taste doesn’t suffer. Every time you hit it, you either inhale vapor or it gets stuck on the underside of the mouthpiece where it can’t cook. The oils still in the oven have yet to cook and still maintain some taste.
Tips and best practices
Hit it upright, with the mouthpiece pointing up. Don’t hit it with much of a side angle or it can get messy.
Hit it lightly, and use a very slow and steady draw speed. If you hit it too hard the oils will go everywhere and likely clog the chimney. Then it’s game over until you clean it.
Take advantage of the adjustable warm-up time. If your dab is on the larger side, or has solid chunks in it, extend the warm-up time for a cleaner session. If your dabs are small and/or oily, you can go with a shorter warm-up time.
I like to re-hit the goop I scrape out of the chimney. It’s not flavorful anymore, but potent, and it’s easy to scrape off into the tub.
The Cricket is pretty easy to wipe down when it’s still warm after a hit. My complaints about the mess went down once I started regularly wiping it with a cotton swab or alcohol wipe after a few dabs.
What I didn’t like
I think it’s pretty clear that my biggest gripe about the Cricket is the mess. Concentrates are messy no matter what, but some vapes make it easier than others to stay clean. The good news is the Cricket has no hidden collection spots down below – everything is accessible and cleanable. The downside is all that mess is in your face every time you open it up. Neat freaks will appreciate how clean they can get everything, while messy people will suffer through more cleanings than they’d like.
My other complaint is directed at the only design flaw I can find. Sometimes the Cricket doesn’t read when the cap is on, and it thinks it’s still in Cap Off mode. Turns out the magnets help it sense, and sometimes I need to press down on the gasket where the magnet lies underneath to get it to work correctly again. If it doesn’t correct, initiate a warranty claim. At one point I was able to turn the Cap Off temp up to vape temps and still use it until I fixed the problem.
Is the Cricket worth $400?
That’s such a hard question to answer, because $400 means different things to different people. But I can tell you how the Cricket compares to other vapes so you can decide for yourself.
If you look at the Cricket as a dab pen, then it’s four times the price of my favorite, the Puffco Plus. The Plus is smaller, but both fit in any pocket. The main difference is in the performance and session style.
The Plus is a session pen that you can overload for longer walk-arounds, but the Cricket uses a one-hitter style. With the Cricket, you can take one hit at a time at any pace you like, without any waits. It heats and cools faster than the Plus, and both vapes have a pretty messy mouthpiece to deal with. Personally, I reach for the Cricket more than the Plus.
If you see the Cricket as a portable dab rig, then it’s the same pirice as a Puffco Peak Pro, but fits in your pocket, hits instantly, and doesn’t have to be used for en entire session at once.
No matter how you loook at it, though, the Cricket isn’t for people who want massive dabs. It’s for people who want to manage their dab size with top-shelf performance. While some have no interest in a micro-dab style, I love it. It keeps my tolerance in check and my wallet happy.
The Cricket box. Fron on the left, back on the right.
Box Contents – Instructions, the Cricket, extra silicone dab containers, extra chimney, allen wrench, USB-C cord, cleaning sticks (only one shown here).
Front side of the Cricket.
Cricket side view. Look how slim it is!
Cricket rear view. See the dab tool on the bottom left?
Cricket rear view. USB-C charge port located on the side in the upper half.
View of the mouthpiece from the top. See the concentrates accumulating near the whole? This was the first sign that I my draw speed was too fast.
The on-board loading too with dab storage slides out of the bottom.
The amazing dab tool!
The silicone dab storage container oipens up, and the magnetic dab tool pulls off.
The magnetic dab tool puls off so it can load dabs. Scoop it out, and attach the dab tool. Then load
The magnetic cap slides off the Cricket to reveal the tub below.
Underside of the mouthpiece on top. Top of the Cricket and the tub on the bottom.
Looking through the chimney, This one is pretty clean right now.
The on-board dab tool guides you to the proper sized dab for the Cricket (50mg).
Load the dab in the bottom of the tub, or scrape it off against the side. The put the dab tool back in its storage slot.
When the cap is off, the Cricket only heats into “Cap Off” mode to melt the concentrates into place.
This is how a loaded Cricket looks before you melt the dab into place.
This is how it looks after you’ve melted your dab into place. Now just replace teh cap and it’s ready when you are.
Now that the cap is on, it’s ready to heat to dab temps. Press the big button and take your dab.
I got light vapor at 420F, and even down to 390F. Lower than that and it was all flavor.
Keep it upright when you hit it or things can get messier. I love those headphones, btw!
Some of the mess. Can you see the string cheese as I pull off the cap? Zoom in…
Earlier I showed you the underside of the lid when it was clean…this is after a dab.
How it looks after one dab. The mess builds up around the oven. Yes, it’s messy, but it’s all right there and easy to clean off.
Use the flat wood skewers to push out extract when it clogs. It’s easiest right after a hit. Forget it once it’s cold (heat it up again to mak it easier).
Right after a dab it’s easy to wipe down with a cotton swab or alcohol wipe.
Perfectly clean with just a cotton swab.
For deep cleanings, pull those little silicone tabs to get the gasket and chimney out.
A dirty gasket and chimney. The chimney is not clogged, but it’s ready for a clean up.
The mouthpiece consists of just three parts (mouthpiece shell, chimney and gasket). All three get dirty, but the chimney collects most of it.
The gasket by itself and opened up. Those little channels are the air intake holes.
This is a clogged chimney. Nothing can get through, and it’s time to clean it. I used a torch to warm it up and most of it dripped out.
A dirty chimney next to a clean one. They are leaning against a tube of colored silicone dab storage containers.
A loook at the mouthpiece from above. This one is dirty and ready to clean. When the dab builds up here, it’s a sign you’re pulling too hard and/or loading too much.
Use the included allen wrench to remove the tub for deeper cleans.
The tub removed. This is the underside, with some concentrate buildup.
With the tub removed, you can see some buildup along the sides and in the bottom of the pit. It all cleaned up with an alcohol wipe.
The tub is removed and laid upside down. This is the entire heater and bowl…nothing else. The two screws are above.
I’m consistently impressed with how thin the Cricket is.
The buttons I was raving about. They feel solid and great, with just the right amount of resistance before they click.
The USB-C charge port is located in the upper half, on the side. The Cricket lays nice and flat when it charges.
The stowage slot for the dab tool. The Cricket case is milled from a single piece of 416 stainless steel.
The dab tool has a dab storage container inside, and the Cricket comes with five different colored containers so you can keep track of them.