Lavatube 3 Intro
The Lavatube 3 is an ultra-lightweight 18650 aluminum tube mod equipped with an authentic DNA 40 (temperature controlled and variable wattage chip) powered by Evolv. The DNA 40 got off to a bit of a rocky start, but all the kinks have been worked out and all products powered by this chip, Lavatube 3 included, share the same ease of functions and accuracy of settings. It’s a solid chip that begat the temperature controlled era of vaping!
For some that have been vaping for a several years, the name Lavatube should ring a bell. With respect to the Buzz Pro, several years ago the Lavatube was the viewed as the ‘other’ variable voltage device aside from the Provari, but the Lavatube was about half the price and quality as the Provari. At a time when there were only but a couple other options in the variable power realm, Volcanoecigs made it possible for more people to have access to a device that could function relatively well and do a decent portion of what the pricey counterparts could do.
Volcanoecigs has really stepped up their game in more recent times while also staying true to who they had always been: a vape company that would cater to the rank newbie and to those looking to get more out of the vape. With their new selection of various mods (and now with many of their electronic mods being powered by Evolv), Volcanoecigs is doing what they can to not only get vapers on the path to getting more out of the vape, but getting their customers to stay with them for the long haul.
Price of the Lavatube (device only): $149.99
Let’s take a look at the Lavatube 3…
Lavatube 3 Specs and Features
- Lavatube 3
- Wall adapter
- USB cable
- Warranty card
Volcanoecigs’ packaging is top notch! Their products are packaged in a way that looks more like something you’d see out of a Best Buy than a vape shop.
Most of their products that I’ve seen come in branded, multi-part cardboard boxes with sleeves, inserts and padded housing for the device; with pertinent information about the contents, safety recommendations and technical stuff all neatly laid out and in a visually appealing manner.
Maybe we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but if we were to judge in such a way, Volcanoeigs makes a first fantastic impression.
- Powered by USA-Made EVOLV DNA 40 Technology
- 1-40 Watts adjustable power output
- 25 amp peak current / 15 amp continuous
- 9 volts maximum output
- 1 volt minimum output
- Temperature control (200F to 600F)
- Reverse polarity protection
- Weak battery protection
- Short-circuit protection
- Step up / step down capability
- Diameter: 26mm
- Height: 124mm
- Threading: 510
- Available Colors: Black, Gun Metal Gray, Polished Silver
- Material: 6061 Billet Aluminum
- Sleeve Material: USA Made Rubber (Available in ten bold colors)
Build Quality of the Lavatube 3
My Lavatube 3 is built well. It’s machined out of 6061 billet aluminum which makes it extremely light in weight. I prefer heft, but I can totally understand why there is a market for mods that are not so heavy. For comparison’s sake, the Dicodes 2380 in 18650 mode (which similarly, in a single 18650 battery configuration, will put out 40 watts of power and TC) weighs 211 grams vs. the Lavatube 3 at 130 grams (both using the same Samsung 25r R5 batteries).
All parts fit together smoothly and there are no issues with battery rattle, button rattle, a skewed screen or anything of the sort.
Ergonomics of the Lavatube 3
The Lavatube 3 clearly was designed to be comfortable in the hand of any number of users. It’s not only lightweight, it has an interchangeable rubber grip (that comes in various colors) on the bottom half of the mod that makes the already lightweight device that much easier to hold securely.
The Lavatube 3 has three buttons in a circular pattern (with the +/- buttons circulating around the fire button) placed above the rubber grip and it feels natural to hold the device while firing. The buttons are firmly set and practically flush-mounted, but raised just enough to be felt while running your thumb over the surface. They are made out of what appears to be a hard plastic and they have a really nice clicky feel.
I do take exception with the fire button being on the same surface level as the +/- button and it being so small because often when I think I am pressing the fire button, I am actually pressing one of the adjustment buttons. Luckily, the DNA40 chip allows for a power lock setting so that in the likely event of you pressing the wrong button when firing, you won’t adjust the power. But if you do press the wrong button, although it won’t adjust the power, you won’t get a vape—you’d have to reposition your trigger finger. I would’ve preferred a larger fire button or one raised higher for easier and more confident accessibility.
Note: To access the power lock, press the +/- buttons simultaneously for approximately 4 seconds to lock or unlock this feature.
The Lavatube 3 is 26 mm in diameter and 124 mm in height. In spite of its lack of heft, this is a pretty large tube mod. I am fine with the height, but I am not a fan of the 25 mm diameter as virtually every topper I have is 22 mm and the Lavatube 3 is far too wide, in my opinion, to look good with any of my atomizers (though a TFV4 or maybe a Subtank Plus would look swell).
The finish of the 6061 billet aluminum is done well, but the actual physical appeal of it, to me, is pretty low. It has a shimmery finish (think silver iStick) and, for a tube mod, that looks a bit cheap considering how many options we have for quality metals and finishes.
But just standing on my desk, I actually like the way the mod looks in its totality. The contrast in the colors available with the black buttons and the wide, black screen play well off of each other—it looks tough, and I like that.
I do appreciate the rubber grip for its feel and the way it looks. It’s nice too that you can change it out and purchase various other colors.
Ease of Use
Simply put, this device is easy to use. Click the fire button one time and you are ready to go. With the button’s placement, adjusting the power up or down and accessing the menu features can all be achieved rapidly with one finger (save for the power-lock mode and ‘change temp’ feature which require the +/- buttons held at the same time).
The Manual of the Lavatube 3
The manual is a short little booklet (about 2”x5”) with 22 pages. It is very thorough and well-written without being unnecessarily wonky. On each page, one feature of the device is presented with an image and a very short blurb on what that feature does and how to access it. There are countless videos and other sources out there for how to use a DNA40 device, but this manual is very easy to read should you need a refresher or just a quick and dirty guide for getting up and running.
As I mentioned, this chip is where it all began for TC. After a few issues were sorted out by Evolv, this chip runs fantastically, does what it says it does and does it remarkably well. I have had zero issues with it doing what it is supposed to do. But, since the DNA 40 came out, TC has seen new advances in chipsets and temp sensing wires. So while this device could probably use titanium coils (and maybe some others), the Lavatube 3 is best suited for Ni200 coils (or Kanthal for regular wattage mode).
I used my Crown Ni200 .15Ω coils with this mod at the same temp and power as my SXmini (40 watts/500F) and they vaped pretty much the same (though the SXmini M-Class has the option for higher power output). I am sure there is a difference in the two but I don’t notice it in the vape, and that’s what’s important: will you notice a difference in two well-regarded devices, using different chips, with the same settings? I didn’t. Unfortunately though, I am not too much a fan of Ni200 and I am more inclined to give priority to a mod that has adjustable coefficients for different temp sensing wires and the DNA40 does not—although Volcanoecigs has a DNA200 device that will accommodate various temp sensing wires. So Volcanoeciggs has me covered there.
Screen of the Lavatube 3
One of the cooler features of this device over many other DNA40 units. The OLED screen on this mod is quite large. It’s like a little television screen. It is easy to read in most normal lighting conditions, but in extreme light it’s is a bit harder to read as I find that the window covering the screen produces a bit of a glare.
The 510 Pin
The 510 pin is not spring loaded, though it is adjustable. If your atomizer is not sitting flush, you will have to take it off and adjust the pin with a flathead screwdriver. It’s not really a big deal, but for the price of this unit, a spring-loaded 510 pin should’ve been used. And because temperature control really needs a solid connection, my fear is that some will experience problems with this pin.
Micro USB Port
The charge port is in a good location; it’s about 10mm away from the bottom of the screen on the left. The provided cable works well with it, but I would rarely charge an 18650 in the mod unless it was an all-in-one unit. But it’s good to have the option should you ever need it.
Note: the DNA40 does not have an upgradeable firmware.
- Easy to use
- ~4-month warranty
- Free from glitches
- Large and easy-to-read screen
- Customizable appearance
- Accurate settings
- User friendly manual
- Nice packaging
- Manual adjusted 510
- Small buttons
- A bit pricey in today’s market
There are far more pros to this device than there are cons. It’s works well and I can’t find much objective fault with it. If you are in the market for a DNA40 device, I see no reason why you should not consider the Lavatube 3.