When choosing between dry herb vaporizers, there’s definitely a lot of factors you’ll need to consider. Depending on your lifestyle and your requirements from a device, discretion/stealth may be a big factor. The two devices pitted in this comparison couldn’t be more opposed in that category. The Arizer Solo 2 (review | buy) and the Zeus Arc GT (review | buy) differ greatly in design but offer excellent performance and vapor quality. In sum, they’re made for users of different requirements - keep reading to see which of the two will suit you best!
Canadian brand Zeus Arsenal reportedly spent nearly 2 years designing and crafting their performance vaporizers - the Zeus Arc and the Zeus Arc GT. The two vaporizers are the same in many ways - yet the GT takes it a step further and defines “solid-gold vaping”. Zeus Arsenal means this literally since the Zeus Arc GT swaps out standard metal/aluminum parts for gold. The Arc also features easy to access heat cycles, great battery life, haptic feedback, an accelerometer, and has a hidden multi-tool.
The Arizer Solo 2 is a flagship device made by Arizer - another Canada- based brand. It features several Arizer signature features such as high-quality borosilicate glass mouthpieces that cool down the vapor and make loading pretty easy. It also has a relatively wide temperature spectrum of 122-428°F, which can be controlled and viewed on the built-in OLED screen. The entire device body is made from sturdy brushed aluminum which adds to its overall premium feel.
Both devices are compatible with dry herb and I tested their performance with Sour Glue CBD from InHemp (visit store) and THC herb from my local dispensary
Kit and Accessories
The Zeus Arc GT’s kit is definitely leaner than the Solo 2’s and comes with the Zeus Arc GT Vaporiser, pipe cleaners + Q-tips, alcohol wipes, and a USB charging cable. While it’s not much, it’s definitely more than enough to get you started.
If you’re looking to expand on the kit, there are a range of accessories that are made for the Zeus Arc GT, including the Zeus Bolt grinder and a water pipe adapter, so you can use the device with a 14 mm rig. There’s also the ZEUS Iceborn V2 - which can be attached to nearly any vaporizer to further cool down vapor by placing ice in its canister. Use our exclusive coupon code: TVG10 for 10% off your total purchase.
The Solo 2’s kit is definitely extensive, other than the basics like the unit itself, charging cable, and cleaning tools - you get 2 glass tubes in 90mm and 110mm, a glass aroma dish for using aromatherapy herbs, and two silicone stem caps.
There are also a few accessories worth checking out - all of which are made for the Solo 2 and all other products in Arizer’s line-up.
- Curved Mouthpiece – This allows you to use the device without having to hold it directly under your lip. (In my opinion- it’s also the best mouthpiece for the Solo 2.)
- Frosted Glass Tube – (available in 14mm and 19mm) This allows the Solo 2 to be attached to a water pipe. I tested this accessory with my rig from Higher Standards.
- Tipped Aroma Tube – This mouthpiece has a tapered opening that reduces the amount of vapor you inhale, making it less overwhelming for some users and more natural to use.
Design and Features
This is a section where these two couldn’t be more different, the Solo 2’s glass stems greatly hamper its portability and stealth, not only that - it measures 4.5 x 1.7 x 1 inches and weighs around 200grams. This is a lot larger than The Arc which is 3.5 inches (9 cm) in height, 2 inches (5 cm) wide, is about less than an inch deep - the Arc also has a recessed mouthpiece.
The Solo 2 is definitely an eye-catching device due to its size and stems. It sports a sleek, minimal columnar design that places function over style. The entire device body is constructed with aluminum and its finish definitely adds to its solid and sturdy feel.
On the device body, the next detail that’ll grab your attention is the circular menu pad and the OLED screen right above it. The OLED screen is pretty bright and displays necessary information such as device temperature and battery levels. The menu pad is pretty responsive, needing only light touches to use. It’s also well-sized, meaning you won’t find yourself fumbling for the controls or pressing two buttons at the same time.
One of the best features of the Solo 2 is the ease of loading the device. All you need to do is remove the mouthpiece and stick its end into the ground herb and then place it into the oven. It’s one of the easiest and quickest filling procedures out there. Eliminating the need to have to manually scoop herb and place it into the chamber. The overall design and its size might not be too enticing, but that is made up for by the sheer ease of use of the whole device.
Zeus Arc GT
The Arc’s body is also constructed out of aluminum and has nearly the same sort of finish as the Solo 2 - which is matte and adds to the dense feeling you get when the device is in your hand. It has a rectangular body with flat sides and a slight center curve. The entire device is all matte black and is punctuated by the gold “GT” lettering on the side, making it look incredibly premium in a very simple way. Other than being a design element, it also differentiates it from the basic Zeus Arc.
While the Arc doesn’t exactly have a display, on the same side of the gold lettering are three (3) small horizontal LED lights. Which tells you what heating cycle you’re on and the current battery level of the Arc. The lights are an intuitive enough visual cue since the number of lights indicates the cycle that’s currently active. . The Arc GT also features haptic feedback, so it vibrates whenever heating is complete.
The top lid/ mouthpiece is fully removable to expose the gold heatsink and is secured by strong magnets when placed back on the device. One cool detail is that the Arc GT comes with a multi-tool that’s magnetically attached to the base of the device. It covers the micro-USB charging port, but you have the option to place the tool on the mouthpiece (which is also magnetic) while charging - so you won’t lose it.
The Zeus Arc has an internal battery with a capacity of 3500mAH which is good for about 90 minutes of use of 6-9 sessions. It takes 90 minutes to charge from empty with the included cable. To access the current battery level, since the ARC has an accelerometer, all you’ll have to do is shake it and the LED lights will let you know. It charges via micro-USB and the port is located on the side of the device, right under the stirring tool. The fact that the port is at the bottom instead of the side means the Arc can stand upright while charging - a quality that strangely isn’t that common amongst devices.
The Solo 2 lasts about 3 hours without needing a recharge - that’s one of the best battery lives on a device we’ve seen. Although, when you do run out of juice, you’ll need to make use of the accompanying proprietary charger, which charges the Solo 2 in 90 minutes. The Solo also features pass-through charging, meaning you can continue to use the device while it’s plugged in.
Both devices have vastly different battery lives, with the Arc being good for only half the time the Solo is. But the trade-off is that the proprietary charger may be a little inconvenient at times, unlike a micro-USB which is always readily available. Both devices are sure to last you half a day to a whole day’s worth of intermittent sessions.
It’s impossible to talk about the Solo 2 without pointing out its signature heat-resistant borosilicate glass mouthpieces. It’s definitely an Arizer signature and is seen on both the Arizer Air 2 (review | buy) and the ArGo (review | buy). This type of glass is completely non-toxic and helps to keep the flavor of the vapor pure so it’s untainted by any foreign materials - the added length of the mouthpiece also further cools down the vapor for an even better experience.
While the Solo 2 has a tall mouthpiece, the Zeus Arc GT has the total opposite: a recessed mouthpiece. It is a small and narrow slit that that sits flush on top of the devices- while it does feel a little weird to draw from, especially when compared to extended mouthpieces. It does make the device more discreet since nothing is sticking out of it. Loading is also quite easy thanks to this mouthpiece -since raised lip surrounding the herb chamber can be used it to scoop up your herb, keeping your fingers free of herb.
Ease of Use
Both devices are relatively easy to use, with their functions quick to learn and become second nature after only a couple of sessions. This is important since you wouldn’t want your device to be something you consistently and constantly have to figure out at each turn.
The Solo 2’s large display and responsive circular panel take the guessing out of everything. The larger than usual size of this panel makes locating its functions pretty easy - something to note especially if you’re a medical marijuana user.
To use the Solo 2
- To load the Solo, just place the bottom of the mouthpiece onto the herb and twist slightly to load. I definitely recommend having a great grinder like the SLX (review | buy) that grinds your herb to a fluffy consistency - making it easier for the glass stem to collect.
- Tap the stem lightly to create a small gap between the herb and the opening
- Place the tube back into the chamber
- Hold the menu button and the “up” button to turn it on
- Press the up-down buttons to increase the temperature in 1° increment or hold either of the buttons down to increase or decrease the temperature by 10°.
- Inhale from the mouthpiece when heating is complete.
The Zeus Arc is about as straightforward as any vaporizer gets. It is incredibly intuitive and easy to figure out on the first go. While yes, it may not have a digital display - the LED lights do indicate the three temperature settings of : 212C, 221C, and 230C.
To use the Arc:
- Remove the mouthpiece to expose the herb chamber.
- Scoop up some of your herb into the chamber and tamp it down using the multi-tool.
- Replace the mouthpiece then press down on it to turn on the device.
- Tap the mouthpiece to choose one of the three heating cycles.
- Once heating is complete, the device will vibrate and the lights will turn green.
- Inhale from the mouthpiece.
The Arc also has a firmware update that allows users to select the heating cycle that best matches their vaping styles and habits
- Performance mode: is the default setting for the Zeus Arc. Its temperature settings are 205 C, 215 C°, and 225 C°.
- Performance with Iceborn: This mode is for when using the Zeus Arc with the Iceborn Vapor Cooling System or any water-pipe, this setting disables the cool-down and motion sensor shut-off times. It also operates on the default heat settings.
- Flavor Mode: This one is obviously for the flavor fiends, in this setting, the default temperatures are scaled-down by 20C
- Balanced Mode: This is the best of both worlds, providing a more dramatic gap in between temperatures. The starting temp is lower at 185C, while the middle temp is 205C, before cranking it up to the default 225C
(This update is only available to download on Windows OS7 or higher )
Zeus Arc GT
When the Arc GT was released, there was a lot of hype around its “solid gold” parts. The idea of the gold conduction heating chamber and gold vapor path nearly seemed like a simple marketing ploy to get you to spend more money on the device. But after extensive testing and use, the use of gold within the Arc GT actually does make a difference!
The gold heating chamber allows for the rapid heating of your material, but a near-instant cooldown of the vapor. The resulting vapor is cool, flavor-forward, and dense. This is quite impressive for a conduction vaporizer with a flat mouthpiece since the combination of these factors has often resulted in hot, harsh vapor -which really isn’t the case at all for the Arc.
The temperature cycles on the Arc are also an interesting shift from the usual pre-set settings we see on most devices. Basically the cycles allow you to use the same load at different times or you can opt to have a long session in one go.
Arizer Solo 2
The glass stems are the star of this device. They do such a great job of keeping the vapor cool and flavorful at any point in your session. This is on top of the fact that hybrid heating makes for much better results especially when compared to conduction ovens. Hybrid heating is the combination of both conduction and convection heating methods so you get maximum flavor extraction and the most of your material.
The vapor quality on the Solo 2 is flavorful and rich, without being harsh or overly dense. The Solo 2 heats up in about 30-60 seconds, depending on your desired temperatures. The only downside is that the standard straight 10mm mouthpiece sometimes results in a somewhat restrictive, milkshake-like draw especially when packed too tightly. For best results, I recommend using the bent mouthpiece and to always remember to tap the mouthpiece to create a bit of a gap between the oven and the stem’s opening.
At the beginning of this comparison, I stated that both devices were clearly made for users of varied needs. The Solo 2 is definitely more of an at-home device that delivers excellent vapor quality. Hybrid heating plus its glass mouthpieces are tough to beat. It’s priced at $165, which isn’t too bad for the build quality and the extensiveness of its kit.
But if you are looking for something more stealthy, and more suited for adventures - the Zeus Arc GT is the one to get. At $230, it definitely is on the pricey side of things but its performance and vapor quality are very notable. Its simple usage also makes it an ideal device to get if you’re looking for a first device and have the $$$ to spend. If you’re still unsure, there are several more devices on our list of the best dry herb vaporizers of this year.