Puffco unveils the $299 Proxy, an innovative, modular cannabis vaporizer

Puffco has long led the market with innovative cannabis vaporizers. The Puffco Peak Pro is easily one of the best e-rigs available, and the company just unveiled a new vape called the Proxy. It offers the best of the Peak Pro and can be built into various form factors.

Don’t be distracted by the lovely pipe. That’s just a piece of glass. The Proxy slides into the glass piece. Think of the Proxy as a modular dabbing rig, able to fit into any form factor made for the unit. Bubbler? Sure. Glass beaker? Yep. Pipe? Obviously.

The $299 self-contained rig is about the size of a taller D-cell battery. Inside is the same heating element found in the company’s other flagship product, the Peak Pro. USB-C recharges the battery, and the unit comes pre-programmed with four different heat levels.

Puffco ships the Proxy with the pipe shown here, along with a travel case that holds cables, a cleaning kit and a concentrate container spot.

It’s simple to use: Open the carb cap at the top, drop in your favorite concentrate (resin, shatter, hash, etc.), and hit the button twice to activate the oven. Then, a couple of seconds later, blast off. I found the glass pipe smooth and comfortable, but I would also love to try it with a water piece.

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“This looks like a vaporizer, just in a pipe form,” Puffco founder Roger Volodarsky said to TechCrunch. “But it’s the first truly modular vaporizer that’s been made to work in any design you want. And [Puffco] will release different accessories in other form factors that the Proxy can drop into.”

And the company is looking to makers to build other unique accessories for the Proxy.

Puffco has long had an active community that built accessories for the company’s flagship product, the Puffco Peak and the Peak Pro. Puffco sells a few on its site, and Etsy and eBay are full of custom glass pieces and utility accessories. However, the Peak’s design is limiting and requires makers to build glass pieces to a specific form factor.

Volodarsky hopes makers will find it easier to build around the self-contained Proxy.

“It takes much less work to build for the Proxy,” Volodarsky said. “If an artist is going to make a top for a Peak, it’s going to take them eight to 16 hours … unless it’s really, really cheap. [The Proxy] takes much less effort, so artists can get the value for their time. If it takes four hours to make a piece, they can charge way less for it. We think there will be much more affordable options in our community.”

The Proxy is available today at Puffco.com and several retailers for $299. In addition, the company expects new form factors and accessories to be available in the next couple of months.

Volodarsky founded Puffco in 2013 and has bootstrapped the company since. Roger doesn’t want to take venture capital money.

“I have a big problem with having to serve investors,” he told TechCrunch. “Everything has to be deeply profitable, and usually that means you’re paying employees as little as you could. It means you’re cutting corners to drive profitability. We’re here to grow and professionalize the space, and that doesn’t align with the returns I think shareholders would want. So yeah, I’m avoiding having any investors for as long as I can, and it doesn’t look like that need is coming up in the future. The only people that have any ownership interest in Puffco are early-stage employees.”

Volodarsky says the company has experienced exponential growth from 2016 to 2021, consistently doubling its revenue yearly. The chip shortage affected the company, though. The Proxy was supposed to be released in 2021, but the company had to push it back until now, when it could acquire enough inventory to launch the product.

The Puffco Proxy is hitting the market at a pivotal time. Cannabis is now legal in various forms throughout the United States, with Europe showing signs of turning on the lights. With the explosion in domestic markets, more consumers are discovering the plant, and some are looking for high-end experiences and equipment — that’s where Puffco’s products play.

I’ve long been a fan of Puffco’s products, and the Proxy carries the best of the company into new form factors. I had a few days with the Proxy, and it’s much easier to clean than other Puffco products, and it’s a joy to use. It’s easy to take the Proxy out of the glass pipe and imagine it fitting into all sorts of glass pieces. I can’t wait to see what people build for this thing.